The Timeline 191 series is Harry Turtledove's most sweeping Alternate History work so far: Either ten or eleven books (depending on who's counting). Set in a world where the Union failed to intercept a message (Special Order 191, hence the timeline's name) intended for a Confederate officer before Antietam, which resulted in an independent Confederate States of America, complete with slavery. The series proper starts around World War I, although the series is sometimes known by the title of its prequel book, How Few Remain, which takes place in the 1880s.
On the other hand, there's the approximately 100 times that a character mentions that Russia could do to the Jews what the CSA does to blacks, but the Germans are too civilized to do something like that...
Because Abraham Lincoln was never assassinated in this timeline, John Wilkes Booth never yells his famous "Sic Semper Tyrannis!" battle cry. Instead, Frederick Douglass yells it while shaking his fist at Stonewall Jackson.
The Confederacy launches its blitzkrieg against the United States on June 22, 1941. It's called "Operation Blackbeard".
Also in the series after the US Navy devastates the British Pacific Fleet in a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, a Confederate character calls the incident a "day that will live in infamy".
The Battle of Midway (between the Union and Japan) takes place on December 7, 1941. The Union loses its only Pacific fleet carrier (the rest are being used in the Atlantic against the British and Confederate navies) in the battle, forcing them to rely on escort carriers for the rest of the war.
In this Timeline, Japan is the only major power involved in World War II that isn't the victim of a nuclear bombing.
An especially odd one is two men named Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein who are experts at bugging rooms, despite the real Woodward not yet having been born at the time while Bernstein was only one year old. Turtledove later said that they were added as a joke and identified the third member of their surveillance team as Richard Nixon.
Mark Twain is a newspaper columnist in San Francisco using his real name of Samuel Clemens (see below) and scoffs at the idea of becoming an author, stating that the minimal pay would not be worth it.
Dowling's objections to MacArthur's plans for an amphibious invasion of the Virginia coast to circumvent Confederate defenders around Richmond hearken back to the ill-fated Peninsula Campaign of 1862. Only the setting is updated. In particular, Dowling cites every single thing that went wrong with the campaign in real life as reasons why the plan should not go forward.
In this timeline, the Emancipation Proclamation sits in draft form on Lincoln's desk as he negotiates a ceasefire with the Confederates and their British and French allies at the beginning of How Few Remain.
On one occasion when Flora Blackford is speaking to Franklin D. Roosevelt, she thinks to herself that it's a shame his being wheelchair bound prevents him from ever being able to run for President.
The Battle of Pittsburgh is a very clear analog of Stalingrad, from the reason it was originally targeted (industrial capital) to being forced into attacking the city directly due to flank attacks preventing the city from being surrounded and cut off, and finally to the encirclement of the Confederate Army inside Pittsburgh.
Football has supplanted baseball as the national sport for both the USA and CSA (although the CSA version more closely resembles rugby) and many prominent baseball players in Real Life (Lou Gehrig, Hank Greenberg, Jimmie Foxx) are known for football in this timeline. Baseball is stated to be a regional sport confined mainly to the northeast, not unlike hockey in our timeline during this period.
Clarence Potter is placed on trial for war crimes at the end of the story for having disguised himself and his troops in US uniforms to smuggle a nuclear weapon into Philadelphia. He is acquitted thanks in no small part due to testimony from Irving Morrell saying that US troops had also used the same strategy against the Confederates. This is reminiscent of the trial of Otto Skorzeny, who during the battle of the Ardennes put on US uniforms with a unit of Germans and snuck behind American lines. He was acquitted due to his claims that his soldiers only used the uniforms for sneaking and wore German uniforms in combat, which is allowed under the laws of war. The Allies let him off in part because convicting him would've required them to admit that they'd used similar tactics.
Custer wins a critical battle in the Second Mexican War with the use of a Gatling gun battery. Generals contemporary to Custer in reality noted that his failure to take along an available Gatling gun battery was a critical tactical error that may have led to his defeat and death at Little Bighorn.
The Battle of the Three Navies. It was the largest naval battle of the Great War, with the respective American, British and Japanese fleets utilizing hundreds of ships apiece and holding the most combined firepower in human history to that point. Whatever side lost that battle would inevitably lose the bulk of their naval forces and be forced to abdicate the war at sea. Or at least, that's what was supposed to happen; instead, the battle ended inconclusively, with neither side being able to thoroughly damage the other. All that said, guess what this battle was meant to representnote The Battle of Jutland.
In case it wasn't obvious, there's the battleship USS Dakota (in which Sam Carsen was serving at the time) and her actions during said battle. In the middle of maneuvering, the Dakota's steering would end up jammed, forcing the battleship to circle the British and Japanese fleets while enduring the brunt of their combined fire; regardless, the Dakota survived and inflicted damage on her attackers in turn. As the warship enthusiasts will recognize, the Dakota is pretty much a stand in for the HMS Warspite.
Alternate History : And not a very pleasant one either (considering a lot more countries end up being militaristic superpowers armed to the teeth or become battlefields of the various post-ACW conflicts).
And ending in a full-on atomic war, with bombs going off everywhere. (Except Japan, ironically enough.) To wit: Philadelphia was the first city nuked, by a bomb driven into the city on a truck by Confederate infiltrators. Newport News (near Richmond) and Charleston, both by the USA; the former as an attempt to assassinate Jake Featherston (Hitler-analogue) and the latter because it was one of the few Confederate cities not already completely destroyed or occupiednote as well as for symbolic vengeance against South Carolina for being the first state to originally secede from the Union. The Germans went on a huge spree, nuking Petrograd (St. Petersburg), Paris, London, Norwich, and Brighton, the last three as retaliation for the British nuking Hamburg. Aside from Hamburg, the British also dropped another bomb, probably intended for Berlin, but the plane carrying it was shot down and the bomb fizzled somewhere on the North German plain.
A very minor case from The Victorious Opposition. Jonathan Moss mentions buying a Model D Ford in 1933, in part because it was common on his block. Ford never made a Model D. By the date, it would likely correspond to a Model A Ford (1927-31) or possibly a Model B (32-34).
Alternate Universe George Custer Is Awesome: Inverted. Because the Battle of Little Bighorn did not take place in this universe, Custer rose to prominence in the Second Mexican War by providing the USA with its only conclusive victory. He actually got a chance to cash in on his fame by getting promoted to Brigadier General, and we get introduced to an alternate version of him who lives to serve in World War I. A far cry from the grizzled, Indian-fighting Badass of legend, this Custer is a broken down, overweight old man who's dangerously out of touch with the harsh realities of modern warfare.
Though he still gets his moment of awesome when he is the first general to appreciate the possibilities of massed tank warfare.
The American Civil War : The history of this alternate world diverges from ours in 1862, when the Battle of Antietam never takes place and Lee is able to defeat McClellan decisively on a field of his choice. In this timeline it's called the "War of Secession".
Analogy Backfire: In How Few Remain, Schlieffen quotes the Latin phrase "Vae Victus" (meaning "Woe to the Conquered", first said by Brennus the Gaul when he defeated the Romans in battle) when he's telling President Blaine that he has no choice but to accept defeat in the war with the Confederates. Blaine quickly points out that it was the Romans, not the Gauls, that ultimately won that war. Sure enough, America bounces back and ends up trouncing the Confederates in World War I.
Anonymous Ringer: There's a de-emphasis on geopolitics, so many characters are just referred to by title. Mind you, it's not difficult to figure out who "the Kaiser" and "the Tsar" are.
Anti-Villain: Clarence Potter, who ends up as the Confederate Army's Head of Intelligence and masterminds the near-destruction of Philadelphia with a nuclear weapon. He's also somewhat aware of what's going on at Camp Determination. Despite all this, it's easy to sympathise with him, as Potter is clearly My Country, Right or Wrong. He even attempts to assasinate Featherston!
Tom Colleton too. He's the most generic, normal guy in the series as a viewpoint character. Along with Potter and Dover, these three are the analog to Germans who weren't Nazis, but went along with the order of Germany. His death in Pittsburgh goes a long way towards changing the tone.
Anyone Can Die: Sadly Truth in Television, especially when it comes to viewpoint characters during both Great Wars. Taken to ridiculous extremes with some characters: Reggie Bartlett is randomly shot after tearing down a Freedom Party sign, Anne Colleton dies during the Remembrance's air raid on Charleston, McGregor dies after Custer throws his bomb back at him, and Nellie Jacobs dies from blood posioning caused by mishandling a chicken. A new viewpoint character usually takes over when another dies.
Turtledove is also fond of doing this at the very start of each novel - Bartlett and Colleton both die at the start of The Center Cannot Hold and Return Engagment.
In fact Turtledove kills off at least one POV character in every book. How Few Remain indeed.
As You Know: Turtledove often uses the characters to recap the alternate history and plots of the series by having characters engage in conversations or think to themselves about things that they would already know.
Attack! Attack! Attack!: General Custer's preferred method of winning battles. Nightmarishly wrong once trench warfare becomes predominant, though ironically it's Custer that ends up winning the war - just replace "soldiers" with "barrels"!
Author On Board: Turtledove's analogy to Islamic fundamentalism. He chooses Mormons for the role.
Early Mormons were actually pretty close. Ask about Joseph Smith's "Hand of God" sometime.
Then there was the "Utah War" of 1857-58, which was mostly bloodless, but did include the massacre of an entire pioneer wagon train, minus the small children, by Mormons who may or may not have been acting under the orders of Brigham Young (the Mountain Meadows Massacre). This was not Turtledove's biggest stretch.
They start out like this. In later books, though, the conflict that they inspire has a lot more parallels with The Troubles in Ireland, with the US playing the role of Britain.
Author Catchphrase: The phrase "It never even crossed his mind that..." or variations thereof shows up a lot to demonstrate some form of hypocrisy on the part of the viewpoint characters. Possible example of Narm, depending on your point of view.
There are many cases of characters thinking that "the next time X happens will be the first", when X is something deemed impossible or highly unlikely.
There are also many, many instances of events happening "as if to punctuate what was just said."
A typical form of Understatement the author uses is that a character will indicate that he is imperfectly X (e.g. imperfectly sympathetic) when he means the exact opposite of X.
Typically, in hostile negotiations, the author will emphasize that the parties are staying "what the diplomats called 'correct'", often explaining that the term means that they hate each other, but don't let it show.
"On Shank's mare" shows up in most of Turtledove's works set on Earth.
"It was as good an answer as and, and better than most," is a phrase this Troper had never heard before Turtledove used it... again... and again... and again....
Black Shirts: The Freedom Party "Stalwarts" and Oswald Mosley's "Silver Shirts".
Badass Grandpa: General Custer is a pretty poor general, to the point where some of his underlings consider him a Pointy-Haired Boss, but a scene where he foils an assassination attempt (on himself) by throwing a bomb back at the would-be assassin before it explodes shows why he managed to rise so high in the military hierarchy in the first place.
Anyone who manages to survive the entire series from beginning to end certainly counts!
The most obvious is tanks being called "barrels". Not as ridiculous as it sounds, as this was one of the names they were given during their genesis. The name "tank" actually comes from what the British claimed to be building. The British call their tanks "tanks" even in this alternate timeline, but it doesn't catch on internationally (much like "Char" is used only for French tanks and "Panzer" for German and Polish ones in our history). Tank destroyers are called "barrel busters".
Molotov Cocktails are called "Featherston Fizzes" after the President of the Confederacy. They hardly could have been named for Molotov, considering the White forces won the Russian Civil War and there is no Soviet Union.
The element neptunium is called "saturnium", and plutonium is called "jovium" (or "churchillium" if you're a Brit).
The US still calls the elements what they are called in our timeline. It's mostly because the Confederacy really hates the US.
Nuclear bombs are called "sunbombs" or "superbombs". And their mushroom clouds are aptly known as "toadstool clouds".
Regular atomic weapons are referred to as superbombs. Sunbombs are mentioned at the very end of the series as a future development and are described as far more devastating (and the sun persists on hydrogen fusion), so that term is likely referencing hydrogen/thermonuclear bombs (the first of which was tested in our timeline's 1952).
Suicide bombers are called "people bombs".
Radar is called "Y-range/Y-ranging" ("Y" for "wireless").
The Panzershreck-like antibarrel rockets used by the CS army in the Second Great War are called "Stove Pipes".
A certain Blackford is the US president during the Great Depression instead of Herbert Hoover, resulting in shanty towns of unlucky stockholders being called Blackfordburghs rather than Hoovervilles. In the Confederate States, they're called Mitcheltowns in "honor" of Burton Mitchel. And the funny thing is, Blackford is succeeded by Hoover as President. Throwing a little Allohistorical Allusion into the mix, Blackford's wife calls them "Hoovervilles" at least once in the series.
The influence of Imperial Germany on the US military and industry is also apparent once you realize The Union calls their monoplanes "one-deckers" (mirroring the German aviation terms "eindecker", "doppeldecker", "dreidecker" for a monoplane, biplane, triplane, etc.).
Jet fighters are called "Turbos."
A new word - "flabble" - (roughly synonymous with "whine") ends up gaining an awful lot of popularity.
Characters routinely say they are 'throwing in the sponge' rather than throwing in the towel when they decide to call it quits on something.
When the Confederacy changes their uniforms, they refer to the color as "butternut" rather than "khaki". Truth in Television, as "butternut" was the actual Confederate term for khaki.
Celibate Hero: Played straight and mildly subverted, with Jake Featherston being a rare Celibate Villain.
There's a couple of throwaway lines when he's campaigning about how he will sometimes bring a supporter back over later, but once he takes power, the trope holds.
Child Soldiers: In addition to the stated or implied participation in the numerous resistance and insurgency movements in the series, the Confederates have the 'National Assault Force', an analogue to the Volkssturm that like its real world counterpart utilized children, the elderly, and people otherwise unfit for military service as a last-ditch defense once the USA penetrated deep into their territory.
City of Adventure: Covington, Kentucky manages to become this by changing hands four times over the course of the series (and being the source of much intrigue from all sides in the interim).
City of Spies: Washington D.C., being much too close to the Confederate border to be a safe or effective US capitol, has become this at least through the First Great War.
Cluster F-Bomb: Jerry Dover occasionally talks like this, when he isn't using other obscenities.
After that there's the USS Josephus Daniels. While she's "only" a destroyer escort (otherwise known as a frigate), the Josephus Daniels (she's always referred to by her full name, even by her own crew) proves to be the Little Ship That Could throughout the Second Great War, performing various missions that range from interdiction to courier service for superbomb schematics. It helps that her captain is a POV character.
Cool Plane : Several, though they're really just doppelgängers of various planes from our history.
From the vague descriptions, the standard US fighter (Wright-27) sounds like the P-40 Warhawk while cover art portrays it as looking like the P-51. The Confederate fighter (Hound Dog) appears to be a turbocharged version of the P-39 Airacobra or (ironically) the Bf 109, given that its only uniquely described area is its propeller hub mounted cannon.
According to the cover illustrations, the Confederate "Razorback" bomber appears to be a B-17 Flying Fortress. However, given its medium bomber designation in-story, it's more likely a B-25 Mitchell expy.
Crapsack World: The complete lack of anything resembling a free society anywhere on the planet. The USA and CSA are effectively police states (with the CSA becoming an outright dictatorship under Featherston) for all that they have elections and pay lipservice to individual rights. Every other country mentioned in the series is either a dictatorship, becomes a dictatorship, is under occupation by a dictatorship, or a puppet state of a dictatorship ( Quebec and Houston—later the whole once-again-independent Republic of Texas for the USA, with Haiti implied as a USA protectorate. Parts of Mexico and the whole of Cuba were annexed by the CSA, and the Empire of Mexico is heavily implied to be a puppet of the CSA.). World War One and World War II equivalents playing out in full bloody detail in North America as well as Europe don't help matters.
As far as the USA is concerned. It's certainly true that the USA was close to a police-state during the period between 1881 and 1917, when it emulated its Imperial German ally in many spheres and the Democratic Party had a monopoly on the White House and Congress. However, after the USA's victory in the Great War, things loosened up a lot - not least in that the Democrats finally acquired serious political opposition in the form of the Socialist Party, which took the White House and both houses of Congress in the 1920 election and governed the USA with only one four-year break between 1920 and 1944. To cite just one example, once the Socialists got into power, labor unions (as seen in the Chester Martin storyline) had a far easier time of it organizing and agitating for better conditions and wages.
The USA has most of the North American continent either under direct military occupation or as puppet states (Texas, Quebec, likely fate of Cuba and Mexico) after 1944. Sustaining martial law in an area several times the size of the core USA probably will require its citizens to make even more sacrifices in the name of security. There are, however, indications that the USA's new acquisitions/puppets may fall into line. Perhaps most importantly, the Canadian resistance has been absolutely shattered, and most Canadians seem to be assimilating well (there are also indications that Candadian provinces will be granted statehood at some point). Texas will likely be able to govern itself. Cuba will probably be fairly pro-US, because it funded Fidel Castro's anti-Confederate rebellion. The US also has a lot of friends in Mexico, due to their funding of the (losing) republican side in their Spanish Civil War-analogue before WWII. Quebec has always been quiescent. As for the old Confederacy, though, it seems like the US will be in for a long insurgency.
The real crapsack world here would be those under the dominion of Imperial Japan, who are implied to be becoming more and more brutally militaristic with each success. And with the US uninterested in them after the Second Great War other than keeping them from US Pacific assets, they're pretty much left to Rape, Pillage, and Burn East Asia at their leisure.
Ironically thanks to the invention of the superbomb, there are signs that the world will turn out for the better in the future. Much like in OTL (but Up to Eleven), the rampant the superbombings has caused nations that have superbombs to be weary of deploying them, while those who don't have superbombs are more willing to fall in line lest they wind up like London, Hamburg, Paris, Philadelphia or Charleston. Alongside is the ratification of the Dewey Doctrine, in which the US, alongside Germany, will police the world to ensure that superbomb technology does not spread, all the while a growing focus on rebuilding is spreading amongst the nations. Overall, the end of the Second Great War is just as hopeful as the end of our World War II, perhaps even more so as the Soviet Union and accompanying Red Scare do not exist.
Cycle of Revenge: Besides the Real Life European one between Germany and the Allies, there's also the main one between the USA & CSA, with each side winning a war and the losing side becoming dominated by a culture that aims to get revenge in the next war.
Department of Redundancy Department: Sam Carsten has extremely fair skin, and burns easily - a bad trait for a sailor. As a result, he can often be seen slathering sunblock onto his skin, but it does little good - he still gets badly burnt. Forgotten all that? Don't worry, Sam will helpfully mention this every single time he makes an appearance. Multiply this by fifty other characters, and soon enough a 200 page book becomes a 500 page book.
Justified in that when he didn't do this in How Few Remain, people apparentlylost track of who was who. And that was a book where nearly all the major characters were real historical figures.
Let's not even get started on poor old Sam Carsten. He's lived through both Great Wars, risen up through the naval ranks to the point where he's a well-respected officer...and then in one of his last scenes scratches a mole that bleeds, implying that his sensitivity to the sun has given him melanoma, a cancer that's usually fatal even now, and certainly would be in 1945.
Duel to the Death: Confederate General George S. Patton challenges Clarence Potter to one; as challenged party, Potter has the right to choose the weapons. Potter's choice? Flamethrowers at two paces. Patton actually wanted to do go through with it, but Featherston, realizing the mind-blowing stupidity Patton exhibited, intervened.
Enemy Mine: The USA supplies arms and ammunition to the Red Marxists in the Confederacy during the Great War. Though the USA is racist and the Marxists would like to overthrow their ruling class as well as the Confederacy's, the two sides have a common enemy in the CSA. The CSA returns the favor by arming Utah's Mormon insurgents during both the First and Second Great Wars; the Confederates and the Mormons despise each other, but both hate the USA.
The Confederates bomb the USA's atomic bomb research facility in Washington state with a one-way mission resembling Doolittle's raid on Tokyo, landing their bombers in Canada. Although they don't expect the bombers to be useable after the mission, they figure there's an off-chance the Canadian resistance can use them against the US occupiers.
Even Evil Has Standards: Most of the US whites are as racist as their Confederate adversaries, such that they pay little mind to the sufferings of the Confederacy's black population. However, when the Freedom Party starts butchering blacks, and more so when Camp Determination is captured, the Yankees see that their already hated enemies have crossed the line. Indeed, as many a individual white Northerner has stated, it's one thing to hate blacks, it's another to actually slaughter them.note Truth in Television as this was pretty much the Allied attitude toward Jews when the Holocaust came to light; even the Russians, renowned for inventing the pogrom and other anti-Semitic tendencies, took issue to it.
Everybody Smokes: Being a period piece, this isn't so unusual (though since it's alternate history, one could argue that he's not bound by the need to make 1940s society of this timeline look like the 1940s society of this one). In the First Great War, US characters occasionally mention that the quality of tobacco products have gone downhill since the war put an end to trade with the Confederacy. Used in moderation, it adds texture to the story by reminding us of something we wouldn't really think about. But in the Second Great War, people talk about it all the flipping time!! We GET it! But once Turtledove starts making his characters discuss cigarettes frequently, he never lets up. Never—The very last sentence of the series is about smoking.
This seems to be a common theme with Turtledove, as smoking and the relative quality of various brands of cigarettes shows up in nearly every one of his series (excepting settings in which tobacco doesn't exist/has not yet been discovered).
Mainly of our timeline's military equipment. One example is the Confederate airforce's "Asskicker" dive bomber plane, which is largely analogous to the the German Stuka. However, most vehicles and weaponry go unnamed, aside from technical descriptions like the caliber of tank guns.
'Daniel' Mac Arthur is almost identical to the original timeline's Douglas Mac Arthur in temperment and professional skill. The only real difference is the use of a cigarette holder instead of a corncob pipe.
Irving Morrell is a pretty clear analog of Erwin Rommel, with a bit of Heinz Guderian thrown in for fun.
Face-Heel Turn: Jefferson Pinkard and Jake Featherston start out as sympathetic soldiers of the Confederacy. Later on in the series, Jake Featherston becomes Adolf Hitler, and Jefferson Pinkard becomes Rudolf Hoess (commandant of Auschwitz in OTL).
False Flag Operation: Both the Union of Confederacy make use of soldiers who sound like Southerners/Northerners and dress them in the other side's uniforms to cause confusion behind the lines. This is how Potter manages to smuggle a nuke over the border. His status as a Karma Houdini is only due to the Union doing the same thing.
Roger Kimball's raids on New York harbor and Chesapeake Bay are littoral examples of the trope.
Not really traditional versions of the trope—these are people who wear the enemy's uniforms to sneak behind enemy lines. A more classic example is the Freedom Party's use of a black assassin to get Huey Long out of the way.
Fan Sequel : One of the members of AlternateHistory.com has written one for the timeline's post-WWII years. Read it here. As of June 2013, it has been finally completed and chronicles the developments of the TL-191 world between the alternate 1944 and 2009.
Father Neptune: Sam Carsten develops into him over the course of the series. Arguably, George Enos Sr. already was the civilian version before joining the Navy in the First Great War. For the Confederates, Roger Kimball fills the role.
Final Solution: Jake's solution to the Confederacy's "nigger problem" involves a genocide.
By the time the series gets to the interwar period readers can probably guess what the next major event will be. Nonetheless, events like the Business Crash are foreshadowed by a number of civilian characters cheerfully describing how well their investments are doing.
Custer could be a military version of Disco Dan, as he appears to openly hate any military innovations introduced after his graduation from West Point in 1861. He nonetheless uses state-of-the-art military technology (massed Gatling guns) to earn the USA's sole victory in the Second Mexican War in How Few Remain. He does it again with massed barrels during the First Great War
From Nobody to Nightmare: Jake Featherston, Clarence Potter, Jefferson Pinkard, and the rest of the Freedom Party elite.
The Fundamentalist / Straw Character: Gordon McSweeney oh so very much. He is so narrow-minded and judgmental that he confuses a Greek character's worry beads for a rosary, and labels him as a "Papist" from that point on. Even after other characters mention that the guy wasn't Catholic.
Gatling Good: Armstrong Custer dislikes gatling guns even though he has personally used them to great effect against Confederates and their native american allies. He gets assigned a whole bunch of them and they play a vital role in defeating the British/Canadians at the Battle of the Teton River (the only U.S. victory during the Second Mexican War).
General Failure: Although his viewpoint chapters admit that he respects Custer, Abner Dowling thinks nonetheless thinks he's a senile old fool who ought to be replaced by Pershing or Morrell.
Dowling sees himself this way as well. In reality, he's considered by his Confederate counterparts as a formidable threat, able to improvise when the USA's lack of preparedness for the Second Great War rears its head and he is forced to make a fighting retreat through Ohio. Dowling has benefitted from years of experience covering for Custer's missteps. And for that matter, Custer, for all his deficiencies as a general, was a good professional mentor, and he did get a few things right.
Chinese Gordon (who is never encountered directly, but is glimpsed from afar during Custer and Roosevelt's skirmish with the British on the Canadian border during the 1882 war) is regarded by his opponents with bafflement for his attempts to use lancers on horseback against Custer's Gatling gun emplacement.
Pretty much Featherston's view of the entire Confederate general staff.
General Ripper: George Patton, who's so obsessed with pursuing the enemy that he doesn't care if his troops are exhausted, demoralized to the point of mutiny, or too far ahead of their supply lines.
Gray and Gray Morality : One thing Harry can handle very well in his works and this series is no exception. By the time of the Second Great War, the US and CSA are much more morally grey when compared to each other than, say, the USA and Nazi Germany of our history. But since the SGW US is basically becoming a more benevolent equivalent of our Soviet Union, this is quite understandable.
Arguably evolves into Black and Gray Morality in the later stages of the USA vs. CSA conflict. The US is not without its faults - the occupation of Canada, the suppression of the Mormons in Utah, several war crimes, etc. - but the Confederacy under Featherston is unmistakably evil.
Grenade Hot Potato: In Blood and Iron Arthur McGregor chucks a homemade bomb at George Custer during a parade. Custer catches the bomb and flings it back at McGregor, killing him.
Heel Realization: Hipolito Rodriguez. A humble Mexican farmer and Freedom Party supporter from Confederate Sonora, Rodriguez ends up as a guard at Camp Determination. Faced with the horrible realisation that the blacks he's been feeding into the gas chambers are not enemies of the Confederacy, but actual human beings, he ends up eating his gun. This is stated to be a common occurrence at the camp.
Hide Your Gays: Implied to be the case with Wilf Rokeby and Goodson Lord. It's justified; given that attitudes toward gays in this timeline seem to parallel those of our own during this period in history, gays would have every motivation to keep their sexuality secret.
High-Class Call Girl: Maggie Stevenson, a prostitute that Sam Carsten visits in Honolulu during World War I, fills this role. She charges about ten times as much as most other hookers in the city, she operates out of a large manor house (complete with armed guards), and she generally carries herself like a high-society gentlewoman. By World War II, she's effectively become the owner of Honolulu's Red Light district.
Historical-Domain Character: How Few Remain, where every viewpoint character was one. The rest of the series has original characters that frequently interact with people from our own history.
Historical Hero Upgrade: In an in-universe inversion, many of the United States' Founding Fathers, like the Virginians George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, are much less well-regarded by United States citizens in this timeline because they were Southern, and Northerners no longer consider Southerners to be their countrymen. Very few of the Founding Fathers appear on US currency, with their "national hero" roles being filled by figures like Custer and Roosevelt, who are celebrated for fighting the Confederates.
I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Defied in The Grapple. Koenig wants to name Pinkard's newest death camp "Camp Destruction" or "Camp Devastation". In refusing to do so, Pinkard warns of the effect such a name would have on the prisoners.
Info Dump: He generally manages to avert it, but there's one significant instance in the middle of the Settling Accounts arc when Featherston considers how the war has progressed in Europe almost as if he's narrating a story.
In Spite of a Nail: The Great War begins the same way it does it our world, despite nearly fifty years of completely divergent history before it. While history in general becomes For Want of a Nail afterwards, historical characters still crop up in similar positions to where they would have been. Winston Churchill is still born - despite having an American mother - and is Prime Minister during the Second Great War.
Justified in that Churchill was born in 1874, while the animosity between the US and Britain doesn't start until 1881. It is strange that his being half-American never comes up though.
Also justified in that Churchill probably didn't advertise his ancestry heavily given the hostility between the two countries. As a relentless self-promoter early in his career, Chruchill would be unlikely to bring up anything that would jeopardize his prospects. He was also estranged from his parents in Real Life, and there's no reason to suspect that the family dynamics were altered by the changes in this timeline.
George S. Patton is a Confederate general in this timeline; whether or not he's the same George S. Patton as in our timeline is a matter for debate, as the historical Patton's maternal grandfather settled in California (a US territory in TL-191) prior to the Civil Warnote Patton in Real Life was a California native, while his paternal grandfather remained in Virginia and fought for the Confederacy. In other words, TL-191 Patton is so awesome a character that he can survive even though his parents never met!
Fidel Castro appears as a Cuban revolutionary, but he may not be the same Fidel Castro as in our timeline. Castro in our timeline was the son of a Spanish conscript soldier who was sent to put down the rebellion in Cuba in 1895...long after the CSA seized Cuba in TL-191 (sufficiently long, in fact, for the historical Castro's father still to have been a young boy well below conscription age).
In the Past, Everyone Will Be Famous: Several famous historical figures pop up. It's justified in most cases; a long-term Congresswoman and former First Lady being friends with Senator Robert Taft, or Irving Morrell, regarded as one of the world's foremost experts on barrels, meeting Heinz Guderian.
Iron Lady: Custer's effectiveness as a general and administrator improves dramatically when his domineering wife Libby shows up to accompany him at the front.
Istanbul Not Constantinople: Several times. London, Ontario becomes Berlin, Ontario after the Union occupies it; Roanoke, Virginia becomes Big Lick; and Hawaii is British-controlled until the Great War and is known as the Sandwich Islands.
The Roanoke example is actually a subversion of this trope. Big Lick is the city's original name. It was changed to Roanoke in 1882 (which, apparently, did not happen in the alternate timeline).
The London-Berlin thing in Ontario could be Harry leaving a Genius Bonus for the readers : A certain Canadian town called "Berlin" was renamed "Kitchener" after the start of our world's World War One.
Also, Oklahoma is Sequoyahnote the name proposed by the eastern counties of what is now Oklahoma during a failed bid for statehood in 1905—incidentally, it was an attempt by the Native Americans in the region to retain their sovereignty within the framework of the United States, and a section of Texas ceded to the USA in the aftermath of the Great War is renamed Houston (not to be confused with the city of the same name in the CSA).
Jerkass Has a Point: At Jefferson Pinkard's trial, he offers no defence - not even "I was only Following Orders" - but points out that while his actions were horrific instituting their version of the "Final Solution", the victorious North only cares about what the Confederates were doing because it was the Confederates who were doing it. Given other comments from Northerners elsewhere, he clearly has a point (not that it saves him).
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jerry Dover, with regard to Scipio. Scipio and his family are able to survive almost to the end of the series mainly because Jerry repeatedly sticks his neck out for them, despite the risk to him and his business. Once Jerry gets drafted, all bets are off.
Jurisdiction Friction: The reason Scipio is able to escape from South Carolina to the relative safety of Georgia after the Marxist uprising. Because the Confederacy places heavy emphasis on state's rights, there is less cooperation between the Confederate states in law enforcement matters. Georgia is too busy tracking down its own black Marxists to worry about fugitives from another state, so any warrants from South Carolina don't carry a lot of weight and Anne Colleton doesn't have as many social contacts in Georgia with whom she can pull strings to expedite the issue.
As a nation, Imperial Japan. They're the only major power that doesn't get nuked in World War II, they betrayed their British and Russian allies, and they're left to rape and conquer most of East Asia because the USA is too concerned with its own North American concerns to give a crap about Japan other than making sure they don't attack the US's Pacific assets.
The Ottoman Empire is another nation that escapes karmic justice, as they're never called to account for the Armenian genocide. Their alliance with the victorious Central Powers (including Imperial Germany and the United States) and the fact that the remaining major powers are either too battered by the First Great War to do more than field a limp protest (or, in the case of Japan, completely apathetic regarding the situation) has a lot to do with this.
Lampshade Hanging: True to the genre, several characters wonder what their lives might have been like had history been different.
Then there's the reaction to people finding out about the Confederacy's "Population Reduction" program : "God forbid, it could happen to the Jews!"
More directly when Featherston's director of communications (and the analogue to Joseph Goebbels) remarks that if it had happened in Europe, people would probably be blaming Jews rather than blacks, which even Featherston agrees with. (Featherston, by the way, disapproves pretty strongly of Russian anti-Semitism; he himself doesn't have any especial use for Jews in general, but he makes a point of emphasizing, in his warped racial worldview, that Jews are whites as good as any other whites. One wonders how he would have reacted to the Falashas.)
And it's an even better lampshade when you take into account the fact that said communications director is himself Jewish.
The Victorious Opposition (which is mainly about the rise of the A Nazi by Any Other Name Freedom Party to power) is a reference to the Devil's Dictionary, and the full quote forms the book's prefix:
Manicheism: The ancient Persian doctrine of an incessant warfare between Good and Evil. When Good gave up the fight, the Persians joined the victorious opposition.
Drive to the East is an English translation of "Drang nach Osten", describing a German desire to expand into and settle Eastern Europe cited during the OTL Second World War.
Loads and Loads of Characters: Oh yeah. For example, Return Engagement opens with short runs of the different Viewpoint Characters. There are 17 of them, one of which dies along the way, and a Viewpoint Character doesn't repeat until page 98 (Hardback) when Carsten returns to the viewpoint. Tom Colleton is later added to replace his sister keeping it at 17.
Molotov Cocktail : Or should we say Featherston Fizz ? Used by Confederate die-hards in territory annexed by the US at the end of the Great War.
Moral Dissonance: Blacks are not liked by either the Union or the Confederacy - both see them as the reason they lost wars (The War of Secession for the Union, the Great War for the Confederacy). The majority of the white characters don't care much for them either. Of course, this is all overshadowed by the Freedom Party's plan to fix the problem.
This is to be expected given the parallels with European History where USA=France, CSA=Germany, Blacks=Jews. (Dreyfuss affair, anyone?)
Morality Pet: Lulu to Jake. She's the only person he's even remotely pleasant to.
My Greatest Second Chance: Clarence Potter telling a Confederate soldier - who's as angry and disgruntled about having lost the second war as Jake Featherston was after the first war - to move on and accept the loss of the war, the way he never did with Featherston.
N-Word Privileges: Dowling reflects about this during his conversation with Lucullus Wood.
Narrative Profanity Filter: Though Turtledove doesn't shy away from actual swear words, occasionally he employs this. Some notable examples:
"Why the devil is Wood taking my men?" Custer said, rather more pungently than that.
It [the order] was signed "F.K." What Jeff said had an "f" and a "k" too, with a couple of other letters in between. He said several other things right afterwards, most of them even hotter than what he’d started with.
Nepotism: During the Great War, Clarence Potter is looking for black Socialist sympathizers and artilleryman Jake Featherston points out his commanding officer (J. E. B. Stuart III)'s black servant. J. E. B. Stuart Jr. blocks any further investigation, and when the servant shows his true colors, the disgraced Stuart III gets himself killed in battle. Blaming them for what happened, Stuart Jr. prevents Potter and Featherston from ever seeing another promotion for the rest of their lives...which is Featherston's Start of Darkness.
And the US become a more democratic version of Dirty Communists in the first half of the 20th century. They're Soviet in everything but ideology, which is more like German Social Democracy of the time. And they stay a liberal democracy, despite the entry of a more left-wing political party into national politics, alongside the Democrats. Amusingly, the Democrats of TL-191 are more similar in values and rhetoric to our history's Republican Party (the Republicans themselves haven't reentered TL-191's US politics since the 19th century).
That one may be more of a What Could Have Been than anything. Fans have long suspected that Turtledove originally meant for the USA to lose the Great War and end up being the parallel to Weimar and later Nazi Germany. Had he gone this route, Flora Blackford would have been the Rosa Luxemburg parallel, while Gordon McSweeney would have been Hitler. As it stands, Blackford develops into much more an Eleanor Roosevelt Expy.
In-universe, the most popular comic book in the Confederacy is "Hyperman", a thinly-disguised Expy of Superman who was specifically created by the Confederates because they didn't want kids reading Superman comics, where he fight the evil Confederates.
Non-Indicative Name: the 'Empire' of Mexico has ceded large amounts of territory to both the CSA and USA over the course of the series, covers much less territory than Mexico in Real Life, and tends to do whatever the CSA 'politely requests'.
The Second Mexican War wasn't fought against Mexico, and only part of it took place south of the Mexican border. The war was between the United States and the Confederate States, and the part of Mexico where the fighting took place was technically part of the Confederacy at the time. The name refers to the fact that it was sparked by the Confederates acquiring two territories in Mexico, which led the US to invade to stop them from forming a transcontinental empire.
The 'Freedom' Party under Featherston changes the CSA from a nominal democracy where at least whites enjoy constitutional freedoms to a police state where everyone regardless of color can be eliminated if they step out of line.
Not So Different: Stonewall Jackson invites Frederick Douglass to eat with him in his tent after Douglass is taken prisoner by Confederate soldiers. They both expect the other to be the personification of evil, but are surprised to find that they have some things in common.
Also from How Few Remain, General Custer's constant mockery of the Mormons' polygamy while occupying Salt Lake City looks more hypocritical when he conducts an affair with a local woman that is nipped in the bud when his wife arrives unexpectedly.
Only Sane Man: Abner Dowling with regard to just about everything Custer did, MacArthur's plans for an amphibious invasion of the Virginia coast, and again with Camp Determination.
Also Lucien Galtier's response to just about everything that's happened.
Mark Twain's newspaper editorials fill this role in How Few Remain.
Parents as People: Several, but most prominently Cincinnatus Driver, Sylvia Enos, and Nellie Semproch. Jefferson Pinkard with regard to his second wife and her children also counts (if you discount the way he is during his day job).
Pet the Dog: Jefferson Pinkard, basically the Confederacy's version of Adolf Eichmann, genuinly loves his wife and children, to the point where he worries what will happen to them if they lose the war. Quite common with actual Nazi prison guards.
Even Featherston gets a few moments with his secretary. That Mercy Kill hurts.
Anne Colleton intercedes on behalf of Sylvia Enos before a Confederate court, despite Sylvia being from an enemy country and a much lower social class. Sylvia was in the dock for having shot Roger Kimball to avenge her dead husband, who was aboard a ship Kimball had sunk after the First Great War had ended. Given that Kimball had earlier tried to rape Anne, a little Laser-Guided Karma was at play here.
Pinkerton Detective: Pinkertons work as strike breakers and are present at several of those that Chester Martin takes part in.
Putting on the Reich: A rather unusual and amusing subversion in general. Almost everything about the CSA's Freedom Party is modelled after the Nazis - except their uniforms, which resemble those worn by our timeline's US troops during World War II.
The uniforms and equipment of TL-191 Confederates are also clearly based off of the ones of their traditional allies, the British and French: Tanks suspiciously similar to British WWI ones, the French 75 mm cannon, Spitfire-like fighter planes in WWII, etc. The small arms, especially during WWI, are implied to be license-built versions of British and French ones, or their knockoffs.
Ironically, the uniforms of the US forces resemble WWI and WWII German ones (Stalhelms, high boots, gas masks), since The Union had a long-standing alliance with Imperial Germany after The American Civil War (to the point of almost hero worship of the German Empire). The WWI US tanks are pretty clearly German A7Vs. Aircraft and armoured vehicles from WWII show a more American bent in their design, but still have some similarities to our history's German WWII tech.
John Wilkes Booth remained a popular stage actor until the 1880s.
Jimmy Carter was a Confederate sailor who was killed by black rebels while on leave.
Charles I remains emperor of Austria-Hungary well into the 1940s.
Winston Churchill still manages to become Prime Minister of Great Britain, but his authority is limited by the more powerful member of the coaltion government, Oswald Mosley. Churchill is ousted as Prime Minister after London, Norwich and Brighton are destroyed by sunbombs, and Horace Wilson becomes Prime Minister.
Calvin Coolidge ran for President in 1928 and 1932, winning in the latter. He died before he could be inaugurated, and his running mate Herbert Hoover became President.
George Custer never fought at Little Big Horn. Instead, he fought in Montana during the Second Mexican War, delivering one of the Union's few victories. In the Great War he was commander of the First Army in Tennessee, and was responsible for the breakthrough that ended the war. After the war he commanded the occupation forces in Canada and Utah before retiring.
Due to the Nazis never rising to power, Albert Einstein remains in Germany and works on the German sunbomb project.
Ulysses S. Grant was a broken and poor old man, one of the few people who supported the plight of the blacks of North America. He died of complications from alcoholism.
Ernest Hemingway was an ambulance driver in the Great War, where he suffered an injury that rendered him permanently impotentnote A character from one of Hemingway's novels has the same problem.. He co-wrote Sylvia Enos' novel and had an affair with her: this ended when, in a bout of depression, he accidentally shot and killed her. Horrified, he committed suicide in front of Sylvia before she succumbed to her wound.
Adolf Hitler is a Sergeant in the Germany Army an orderly to Heinz Guderian. While his hatred of Jews and Slavs is present here as in the real world, the changed history means he never rises to a position of authority.
Stonewall Jackson became head of the Confederate General Staff and masterminded the Confederacy's victory in the Second Mexican War.
Abraham Lincoln lost the 1864 presidential election and becomes a socialist activist. Years later, he is remembered as one of the pivotical figures in the American Socialist Party (which itself becomes one half of the American bipartisan political system), but he's widely reviled for failing to stop the Confederates from spreading across the continent.
George S. Patton was the greatest general in the Confederate army, responsible for many of its victories in the Second Great War. When the tide of the war turned, he commanded much of the rearguard action. An avid supporter of the Freedom Party, he once attempted to shoot a soldier suffering from battle fatique, and was taken into custody at the end of the war.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was Secretary of War in the Hoover administration and later Assistant Secretary of the Navy under two Socialist Administrations. He was also responsible for the the Union's sunbomb project.
Theodore Roosevelt led a volunteer cavalry regiment in the Second Mexican War, and was the US President from 1913-1921.note Interestingly, the cavalry unit in this book is actually made up of men on horseback. In Real Life, Roosevelt was the only member of his "cavalry" unit to have a horse.
Joseph Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov became the leaders of the Red forces in the Russian Civil War, which the Whites ultimately won.
Louis Armstrong was leader of the popular band "Satchmo and the Rhythm Aces". During the Second Great War he was forced to play for Confederate troops and eventually escaped into Union territory. He brought the plight of the blacks to the Union government and later recorded propaganda for them.
Incidentally, "What a Wonderful World" makes a great Tear Jerker soundtrack to the last couple of books if one imagines this version of Louis recording that song after the Population Reduction.
Kaiser Wilhelm II remained the German Emperor until his death in 1941. He was suceeded by his son, Friedrich Wilhelm V.
Woodrow Wilson was president of the Confederate States from 1910 - 1916, and led the Confederacy during the early years of the Great War.
Harry Truman was elected Vice President in 1944, alongside running mate Thomas Dewey.
Frederick Douglass is an aversion, as he's doing pretty much the same thing in How Few Remain as he was doing in real life.
Various members of the Kennedy clan also offer an aversion, as they end up in the same roles during the Second Great War that the Kennedys of our timeline held in World War Two: JFK is a naval officer, Joseph Kennedy Jr. a pilot in one of Jonathan Moss's squadrons, etc. As with the historical Kennedys, the family is also politically powerful (Joseph Kennedy Sr. is still a Massachusetts political operative), able to arrange the early discharge of George Enos Jr. from the Navy.
Ronald Reagan is a radio sportscaster, paralleling his real-life career at this point in history.
Another aversion: Marion Morrison, who still plays war heroes in motion pictures. He is described as making "a first-rate TR."
Elvis Presley as a young boy is wounded by US troops while participating in the Confederate 'National Assault Force', an analogue to the Volkssturm.
Nixon himself as noted above is a US Army specialist... in wiretapping and bugging rooms.note Nixon in reality served as a Navy logistics officer during World War Two, and saw no combat, although by his own admission he became (not surprisingly) a very good poker player during this period.
James Longstreet, a Confederate General in the Civil War, is President of the Confederacy in How Few Remain.
A bald US general named Ironhewer accepts CS General George Patton's surrender. In real life Eisenhower and Patton were friends and colleagues.
Fidel Castro appears in The Grapple as a 16 year old kid who is part of the underground resistance in Confederate Cuba, opposing the Freedom Party. Sam Carsten, who commands the ship smuggling guns, ammo and supplies into Cuba, is told that despite his young age and being white (unlike his black comrades), Fidel was clearly the one in charge.
Lou Gehrig is a well-paid football player who, when asked how he feels about having a higher salary than the president of the United States, cracks, "I had a better year than he did." In RL Gehrig was a baseball star, and that line was spoken by his teammate Babe Ruth.
Shel Silverstein is a surgeon in the United States Army, who operated on Irving Morrell after the attempted assassination on his life. In real life Shel Silverstein was a Korean War veteran, not a World War II veteran.
Rule of Cool: YMMV, but things seem to go all too well for the CSA between 1861 and about 1915 considering it is a nepotistic, ethnically divided country that ties itself to a rural economy and slavery while the rest of the world embraces the second industrial revolution. It's justified since the intention of the author was to recycle World War OneIN AMERICA!, but still.
Still plausible within limits, in that the Confederacy is no longer practicing slavery by 1915 (replacing it with an apartheid-analogue; South Africa in our timeline was able to industrialize well enough despite the limitations of the system). Proximity to the United States provides lots of opportunities for industrial espionage, with people like Clarence Potter able to take advantage of US university educations during peacetime. And Britain and France—two of the most industrialized countries in the world at the time—are close at hand to provide technical expertise. However, given that the Confederacy from the start is far behind the United States in population and expertise, and the United States as a tremendous head start in industrialization, their success in this timeline has to be taken with a grain of salt.
Separated by a Common Language and American Accents: The differences in accents and regionalisms is discussed a few times. Clarence Potter runs the Confederacy's spying operations in World War II and mostly recruits people who lived or were educated up North (like himself) and thus don't have Southern accents. In another segment, two Confederate POWs are planning an escape, and one teaches the other some Northern turns of phrase ("carrying a bucket" versus "toting a pail") to help blend in after they break out.
Setting Update: Timeline-191 is basically European history of the 19th and 20th century MOVED TO AMERICA ! Featherston is Hitler, West Texas/Kentucky/Sequoyah suffers a fate identical to Austria/Sudetenland, Irwing Morrell is an American Captain Ersatz of Erwin Rommel and the Battle of Pittsburgh becomes the equivalent of our Battle of Stalingrad. Blacks, Mormons and Indians become the equivalent of Jews, Slavs, Gypsies and other nationalities that died in our world's Holocaust. Canada is occupied by the totally-not-Soviet-Union USA during the later inter-war period and the Second Great War, becoming the US's satellite state (and later a full member). Sure, it's not very original, but works surprisingly well as a Historical In-Joke.
The mayor of Atlanta during the Second Great War is one ClarkButler.
Gone with the Wind gets another one when you consider that Anne Colleton and Roger Kimball play like a very dark version of Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler.
A medic assigned to work with Leonard O'Doull is named Vince Donofrio, a possible reference to actor Vincent D'Onofrio with the added bonus that both the fictional character and real life actor are musicians in their spare time.
Jonathan Moss is a hotshot pilot who becomes a military attorney (partly due to age and partly due to the US drawing down forces) after the Second Great War, not unlike a certain TV military attorney...
Shown Their Work: In addition to being a novelist, Turtledove is also a history Ph.D.
Start of Darkness: Jefferson Pinkard begins the series as a decent, hard-working man who loves his wife and bears no hatred towards blacks despite the atmosphere of the CSA at the time. It all starts going downhill after he catches his wife cheating on him with his next-door neighbor, which is what starts turning him bitter and cynical. After the Great War, he gets involved with the Freedom Party, and the distance causes his wife to cheat again, at which point he literally throws her out and dedicates himself wholly to the Party, eventually becoming the series' analogue of Eichmann.
As mentioned above, Jake Featherston's occurs when he hits a glass ceiling after being inconveniently right about his superior officer's black servant being a spy.
Arthur McGregor reluctantly tolerates the American occupation of Canada, until his son is killed by occupying authorities. Then he becomes obsessed with revenge.
Statue of Liberty: Its counterpart in this universe is the Statue of Remembrance, a gift from Germany to the United States. Visually, the only difference is that she holds a sword and shield in the place of the Statue of Liberty's torch and tablet of law, respectively. The statue is a symbol of the the US desire for vengeance against the CSA, Britain, and France.
Straw Civilian: Returning home after the Confederate defeat in the Great War, Jefferson Pinkard is accosted in a train station by a woman who criticises him for being a coward. This kind of thing did sometimes happen in real life in some European countries, but it was more common before everyone realised it wouldn't be over by Christmas.
Stylistic Suck: The Mein Kampf parallel, Jake Featherston's Over Open Sights, is intentionally terrible because Featherston is mostly self-educated and does nothing more than rant about how much he hates Yankees and black people. Unlike Mein Kampf it's only published after Featherston becomes president and starts the war with the USA (this change is likely because Turtledove felt that it would be implausible for a Hitler-parallel to write a "Mein Kampf" style book long before he came to power in a language that he shared with his primary rival nation and not attract more attention) and most Confederates are disappointed to find that it's just a less coherent version of the speeches he'd been giving for years.
Tank Goodness: Tanks are called "Barrels" in this universe. During the Great War, the U.S. General Staff wanted to use the tanks for support roles, but Armstrong Custer is the one who uses the barrels to great effect in the "Barrel Roll Offensive" when he gathered over 300 barrels into one force and used them to smash through Confederate trenches.
Title Drop: In the last book Flora Blackford notes that "It wasn't given to many men to be in at the birth of something wonderful. If you couldn't do that, being in at the death of something foul was almost as good." Several other characters also comment on "being in at the death."
In fact, most of the books in the series do it at one point or another.
Totally Radical: Several characters comment on the word "swell" replacing "bully".
Vetinari Job Security: In accordance with his status as a Hitler expy, Featherston is able to seize control of the Freedom Party by threatening to resign and challenging them to see how far they get without him.
Vice President Who: Donald Partridge, the second vice president of evil Confederate Nazi President Jake Featherston, is chosen for that office specifically because he is an ineffectual cipher. Featherston's first Vice President had tried to assassinate him. Partridge doesn't do much more than hang out with society ladies and tell jokes.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: Jonathan Moss, in his interwar career as an 'occupation law' attorney. Moss opposed his own government in court regarding claims made by Canadians for property seized by the US Army and was noted by Canadians as providing honest representation. Unfortunately this did not end well for Moss, whose family was killed by a resistance bombing.
Flora Hamburger's political career starts this way, although she does become an Iron Lady after being exposed to the inner circles of power.
You ALL Share My Story: Averted for the most part, though occasionally characters will meet each other: Jonathan Moss becomes Jefferson Pinkard's defence attorney, Flora Blackford meets Cassius Madison in a ceremony in his honour, etc.
There's also cases of it going the other way, where two characters who were together get separated and then both of them become viewpoint characters. Chester Martin and Gordon McSweeney being one example.