Playing With / Written by the Winners

Basic Trope: The winners of a conflict glorify themselves and vilify the losers retroactively.
  • Straight: The Empire attacks and conquers The Good Kingdom. The historians later present The Good Kingdom as Mordor who planned to release The Plague, so The Empire acted purely in self-defense.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed: The Empire's history books say that most of the Kingdom didn't really want a war, but their king and a few crazy nobles forced them into it.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted: …but that evidence was also forged.
  • Parodied: Just because they can, Imperial historians write that The Good Kingdom was populated by one-legged, two-headed people with flowers for hair who fought with golf clubs.
  • Zig Zagged: The Empire sets out to rewrite history, but their Blatant Lies spark off a rebellion and lead to a coup. Following this upheaval, the rebel leaders glorify themselves and vilify The Empire. Most citizens are aware of this, but don’t care because they hated The Empire anyway. …However, eventually some of the nastier things the rebels did to defeat their enemies come to light, including acts that make them Not So Different. This creates a rift between those demanding the full truth be told and those who prefer to ignore those travesties because they ultimately benefited from them. This leads to another revolution, the former heroes are overthrown, and these rebels set out to ensure their image remains clean…
  • Averted: The history of a conflict is written by an impartial observer (possibly by an even stronger superpower).
  • Enforced: “Just to show how evil The Emperor is, let’s give him a Propaganda Machine for Blatant Lies!”
  • Lampshaded: “History is written by the winners, remember?”
  • Invoked: “History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.”
  • Exploited:
    • The Protagonist doesn’t care if they have to slaughter everyone in that village to get the Spy, because if the Empire said that they found the village already slaughtered nobody would believe them.
    • Knowing the possibility that The Empire and the Good Kingdom could have potentially forged their written accounts, a third party not allied with either decides to write down their conflict... but hates them both, and so writes down every atrocious thing both have done to sour the public opinion of the two nations while spreading the accounts farther than the Empire and the Good Kingdom's reports ever would have reached on their own. The real "Winner" is the one whose story is the most well known, after all.
  • Defied:
    • “This folder contains the full truth I discovered about the war. Five hundred such folders are currently on the way to every major publishing house in the world.”
    • The historian cites both the reports made by the historians from The Empire and those made by The Good Kingdom apologists, compare them, analyze how does the historical evidence supports the claims made by both sides, and concludes what is right and what is wrong about each view, without fully taking a side.
  • Discussed: “If we die now, his truth will be the only one remaining.”
  • Conversed: “I mean, what’s the point of fighting in the first place, if they cannot win and will be remembered as villains for all eternity thanks to the winners’ propaganda?”
  • Implied: Imperial-friendly accounts from the time since it conquered the Kingdom are readily available to anyone inclined to read them; those friendly to the old Kingdom are restricted.
  • Deconstructed: The Empire tries to rewrite the history of a recent war but its citizens lose patience at such blatant lies and spark a rebellion.
  • Reconstructed: …after the coup, the rebel leaders glorify themselves and vilify the previous government even further.
  • Played for Laughs: The Kingdom is treated as having the stuff of a joke.
  • Played for Drama: Alice and Bob were 2 Mooks in service of The Empire, who were Just following orders to enact a final solution treatment on the Kingdom. Now that the empire has won, it has rewritten the history books to glorify itself and demonise The Good Kingdom. Unfortunately for Alice and Bob, The Empire sets out to exterminate the mooks ordered to do the dirty work so that the truth doesn't leak out.


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