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Allohistorical Allusion

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"I mean, if we'd lost this war... I dunno, I think it might have driven us a little crazy, y'know? As a country. But thanks to you, we didn't, right?"
The Comedian to Dr. Manhattan (discussing U.S. victory in Vietnam), Watchmen

Allohistorical Allusion is a form of Lampshade Hanging or nod to the Fourth Wall used in Alternate History fiction where events, people, or jokes from real history ("Original/Our Timeline", or OTL) are mentioned in the Alternate Timeline (ATL). This is often done for the sake of tipping off the reader to the fate of someone important in OTL but insignificant in the ATL, such as taking the time to note that a certain Austrian corporal was killed in action in this timeline.

Can be in the form of a Historical In-Joke (in this case an Allohistorical In Joke), such as "I sure am glad that silly Rock & Roll fad ended" or "General MacArthur has been reassigned from the Philippines, but he swears he'll return". Can even be in the form of a misplaced pop culture reference: "Wow, I really didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition to attend King Phillip's court." Though this latter is arguably a traditional Historical In-Joke.

Another common form is more Meta: the fictional characters or fictionalized Historical Domain Character musing on What If? things happened the way they did in actual history, such as President Lee of the Confederate States wondering what would have happened if he'd lost at Gettysburg. When done badly this can turn into As You Know.

Richard Nixon, the Used Car Salesman is a specific subtype where a historical figure appears in a completely different occupation, same with Different World, Different Movies, sometimes. See also Double-Blind What-If.

Compare to Flash Sideways, where there's an actual in-universe reason for the cross-universe knowledge.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Strike Witches is set in an alternate 1944 in which aliens invaded and conquered most of continental Europe in 1939, and more than once it makes allusions to real history.
    • In an episode from the first season, Minna comments how if the aliens hadn't invaded, their superiors (Europe's political and military leaders) would likely be fighting among themselves.
    • An episode from the second season has the aircraft carrier Amagi supporting the Strike Witches in battle. In real life, there were two Amagis - one was a partially completed battle cruiser canceled under the conditions of the Washington Naval Treaty, which was intended to be converted into a carrier but was badly damaged in an earthquake and scrapped, and the other was an Unryu-class carrier built during the war but which didn't have much of a war record, since the IJN was just about out of planes when it entered service.
    • The witches are all genderflipped versions of real aces from the war, all of whom share character traits and accomplishments with their real-live counterparts, such as in the fact that aces from Karlsland, the series' analogue to Germany, are the most numerous and the most accomplished (Erica Hartmann in particular holds the record for the most victories against the Neuroi).
    • Side-material notes that when Karlsland fell to the Neuroi in 1940, most of the civilian populace was evacuated to "Neue Karlsland", a country situated along the southeastern coast of South America.

    Comic Books 
  • The Boys: Vought-American sells the U.S. Army the fictional M20 rifle whose poor performance (markedly inferior to the real-world M16's troubled initial introduction) in the Vietnam War results in the death of thousands of American soldiers (particularly, the battle of Ia Drang changes from the slightly-American-leaning stalemate it was in reality to a crushing North Vietnamese victory). It is drawn as the SA80, a British assault rifle with a reputation every bit as awful but very, very real.
  • Watchmen:
    • Robert Redford running against the incumbent Richard Nixon for the Presidency is met with derision, "This is still America! People don't want a cowboy actor for president!" In 1985 when it was written, the President was Ronald Reagan, who previously had a career as a cowboy actor. This is actually set up beautifully, because the newspaper headline being discussed says "RR to run for President?" It's only towards the end of the conversation you find out that RR is Robert Redford and not Ronald Reagan.
    • Celebrating victory in Vietnam (due to Dr. Manhattan), the Comedian says that defeat would have "driven us crazy, y'know, as a country."
    • A more light-hearted example would be when Vice President Ford stumbles a little bit, when walking down some stairs.
    • How about those two Washington Post reporters found dead in a parking garage?
    • Adrian Veidt, when referring to the idea of expanding his toyline to feature more of the superheroes Ozymandias interacted with, notes that "the American public has never really gone in for super-heroes in a big way."
    • In the movie, the Redford joke is updated to "People don't want a cowboy as president," referring to then-current President George W. Bush.
  • What If? occasionally has jokes to this effect, such as a young, powerless Johnny Storm telling his sister he wishes they could vanish into thin air only for said sister to reply that that's just silly. The more tragic scenarios posited by the series have more serious variations as well, with the characters contemplating the negative way events have transpired and wondering what if there wasn't a better way it could've gone.
  • In one Italian Disney comic, Mickey Mouse ends up in a parallel world where the Roman Empire never fell, though a lot of other things look like the late 20th century. As this alternate Earth has a science fiction genre, Mickey sets himself up as an author by repeating basic real world history as Alternate History. His first story of Columbus discovering America is severely edited, because "that's too unrealistic! It could never have happened that way!" In this timeline, the Native Americans developed an empire of their own and discovered Europe first.
  • In Beast Wars: Uprising, it’s mentioned that in this universe Duran Duran still made the song "Union Of The Snake"... and promptly ended up under investigation because people thought it was them showing support for Cobra.

    Fan Works 
  • In Code Geass: The Prepared Rebellion, when remarking on Zero's oratory skills, Urabe was reminded of an European masterful orator that "would have taken over an entire member-state of the EU had there not been safeguards in place to stop him" about twenty-five years ago. Given that Code Geass' Alternative Calendar starts in the 55 B.C., it follows that Urabe was most likely talking about Adolf Hitler.
  • In Crimson and Noire, Master Fu's original choice of his kwami was Wayzz like in canon. However, Wayzz noticed the boy's cautious personality and instead recommended the Fox kwami Trixx to be his partner, seeing their opposite nature will be beneficial to Fu's development.
  • Grey Skies Universe: In the epilogue of Every Generation, Matthew muses that Alfred/America would have liked Kiku/Japan. In the source material following real-life history, America and Japan are indeed fairly close friends.
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality became quite fond of using variants of this; often subverting things, for instance when a member of the Weasley family suspected their pet rat was really Peter Pettigrew, but he turned out not to be. The best example was Quirrell telling Harry a falsely accused person was in Azkaban, and Harry guessed they were called Black. Sirius, right? Not this time! Bellatrix.
  • In Equestria Divided Applejack has a Battering Ram that looks like a wooden statue of a pony on wheels.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Power Girl crossover Origin Story, several characters discuss Buffy and wonder what the show would have been like had it "run for more than just the two seasons."
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space:
    • TuMok uses his psychic powers to envision an alternate reality like ours where, among other things, Nikola Tesla never hired a secretary to note down his ideas.
    • The Cold War is a short and bloody conflict between the United States and Sino-Soviet Union in the Bering Strait.
  • The Prince and the Thief:
    • Striker sneaking off with Moxxie's grimoire is framed not unlike Blitzo sneaking off with Stolas's book in the Helluva Boss Pilot, complete with Striker blowing his escape by admitting he fucked Moxxie to his (sort of) fiance Hellsa.
    • Moxxie is implied to be Formerly Fat and it left him with self-esteem issues, not unlike the Running Gag where Loona would call him fat just to mess with him.
  • In Queen of All Oni, there are numerous allusions by the characters to the canon plot.
  • The Rigel Black Chronicles is full of these, from Archie shouting "TRROOOLLL IN THE BASEMENT! Thought you ought to know," as a distraction from Hermione's theft of Polyjuice Potion, to Draco explaining the importance of intent and visualisation in casting spells by telling Harry, "Look, just because it's in your mind doesn't mean it's not real."
  • This happens routinely in James Ryan's Beatles fanfics on Rooftop Sessions:
    • "Carry That Weight" is about if Apple Corp. merged with Apple Computer. Apple Computer manages to become a monopoly in the early '80s because of this. At one point, John Lennon manages to drive some programmers, including Bill Gates, out of the Apple programming system. The narrator tells us that none of them were ever heard from again...
    • In "For Want of a Nail," in which Stu Sutcliffe never joined the Beatles, he is still alive and painting in 1966. Pattie Boyd is his artist's model on the day the story happens.
  • In the universe of the My Little Pony fanfic The Son of the Emperor, Caligula placed his most trusted pony in the position of Consul. Because ponies are intelligent and sentient creatures capable of speech, his decision might have actually been a sensible one.
  • Rocketship Voyager is ostensibly a 1950's sci-fi story, including the requisite Failed Future Forecast of an Overpopulation Crisis caused by the inability to feed the current world population. Agritech Keshari talks of how her father envisioned a Green Revolution that would feed the world, but the people preferred to instead put their trust in a military dictator with genocidal intentions called Khan.
    • While the United States sent the first astronaut into space, the more efficient command economy of the Soviet Union has caused them to surpass the West in the fields of electronics, computer technology, and the safe production of atomic energy. Meanwhile the End of History, rather than presaging the fall of the Berlin Wall, is a purge of historical artifacts by Red China.
  • Near the ending of The Vow, the Villainous BSoD of Lord Shen is given weight by having him skip the canon gloating he gives the Furious Five about Po's apparent death and his upcoming conquest. The fact that Shen himself acknowledges that he'd have relished in it otherwise shows how heartbroken he is after he released his newlywed wife Lianne.
  • With This Ring includes a few references to how things have changed from the canon timeline, sometimes with a hint of Take That!. Such as Paul reflecting on how he's nudged Wonder Woman into adopting Superboy.
    "Superboy carries too much anger, though he is better when.. Wonder Woman..."
    We know, but that wasn't hard. She's very nice. Someone would have taken him on by now even if we hadn't said anything. Probably her.note 

    Film — Live Action 
  • I Am Not an Easy Man (original title: Je ne suis pas un homme facile) takes place in an alternate world run by a matriarchy, complete with an alternate, female-dominated history. For example, many famous novels were written by women rather than men, Jesus Christ plays second fiddle to the Virgin Mary, and Islam has a female prophet. One specific allusion relates to a scandal in our world with François Hollande: The Madame President in the gender-flipped universe has just been discovered in an affair and this is a source of amusement for the women, but not something to condemn her for. This is a reference to François Hollande's relationship with actress Julie Gayet, which started as an affair while he was in a long-time relationship with journalist Valérie Trierweiler (a relationship that also started as an affair while Hollande was in another relationship with politician Sególène Royal). At the time, Hollande's popularity was at an all-time low and it actually went up because of the affair.
  • The 1995 film of Richard III, which takes a story about the Wars of the Roses and transplants it into the 1930s, reinterprets some of its characters as counterparts to actual 20th-century figures. Specifically, Edward IV is apparently this timeline's version of Edward VIII, while his wife Elizabeth and the rest of the Woodvilles are played by Americans, suggesting Wallis Simpson. The Earl of Richmond and Princess Elizabeth rather resemble Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Dame Maggie Smith, as the Duchess of York (who is combined with Queen Margaret in this movie), is a dead ringer for Queen Mary, Edward VIII's mother.

  • In one of Keith Laumer's Imperium novels, a mild-mannered fellow named Hermann Göring is delighted to learn that in the hero's home timeline he is instantly recognizable and has the dashing title of Reichsmarschall. The hero mercifully doesn't explain the context.
  • Harry Turtledove loves this trope.
    • In the Timeline-191 series, where the South wins the The American Civil War and the USA ends up in the Central Powers in World War I:
      • Some characters have a run-in with a certain German sergeant who just seems to hate the Jewish character for no obvious reason.
      • After the US Navy devastates the British Pacific Fleet in a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in the British Sandwich Islands, a Confederate character calls the incident a "Day that will live in infamy".
      • In a single scene in Return Engagement alone, there's a Jewish Congresswoman saying that Germany is too civilized to kill off its Jews, FDR saying that President Blackford was unfairly blamed for the Depression because he was unlucky enough to be in office at the time, and the characters discussing an Italian politician who "promised to make the trains run on time," but was never elected. On the humorous side, a young Ronald Reagan ("Dutch") is a popular football announcer, with his catchphrase, "There they go again!"
      • Toward the end of the timeline's version of World War II, a straggling Confederate Army unit ends up being cornered by US troops in a certain Virginia town named Appomattox, where they are forced to surrender. One of the Confederate soldiers takes note of the town's courthouse as he's led away.
      • A pair of government spooks are named Nixon and Bernstein. Strictly a joke, given that it's the '40s.
      • Early in 1914, two white characters attend a black boxing match. After watching one of the fighters absolutely destroy his opponent, one of them ponders how the winner would fare against a white boxer, before dismissing the idea of a mixed boxing league as ridiculous, both in the CSA and the USA. It's a very subtle way to inform the reader that Jack Johnson (who probably wasn't even born in this timeline) never had the chance to win the heavyweight championship.
      • Later in the series, the CSA launches what is effectively The Holocaust, except targeting African-Americans. The Joseph Goebbels analogue character remarks that, had something like this happened in Europe, the victims would have been Jews like himself; the Hitler analogue character reassures him that that would never happen.
    • In one of the "Tosev Timeline" stories (Worldwar) he has an alien invasion craft's nuclear reactor get blown up and contaminate the surrounding area.... that area being Chernobyl. And then, later, a captured member of The Race is being interrogated by the Japanese and wishes that a nuke would fall on him. He is being interrogated in Nagasaki.
    • Played with in The Guns of the South, also by Turtledove; after losing the Civil War, Lincoln contemplates writing a book about what would have happened if "it hadn't been for Bobbie Lee".
    • At one point in The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump, the hero briefly wishes that instead of all the toxic magic, the world only had simple mechanical forces. He then states it would have been a clean, but very technologically primitive world. Just like we tend to see a world where everything is done by magic.
    • In The Two Georges (co-authored with Richard Dreyfuss), a world where the French Revolution never happened, Napoleon rose to prominence by firing a barrage on malcontents trying to assault the Bastille (instead of on counterrevolutionaries during the 13 Vendemiaire), and Beethoven wrote the "Heroic" symphony in honor of "the innocents".
    • Agent of Byzantium takes place in a universe where Muhammad, known as St. Mouamet, became a Christian archbishop and renowned religious poet rather than founding Islam. His most famous poem is a Christian version of the Shahada: "There is no God but the Lord, and Christ is His son".
  • One Wild Cards novel had a throwaway reference of The Beatles either suspected of or having mind powers. This was probably a Shout-Out to this real-life scare pamphlet.
    • And Fidel Castro being pitching coach for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
    • Buddy Holly never got on the same flight as The Big Bopper, and ended up a washed-up, nearly forgotten rocker. At least, until a comeback concert, when he draws the ace and becomes the shaman for a new age.
  • The historian Arnold Toynbee wrote an essay speculating on what would have happened if Heron's aeolipile and the Corinthian Diolkos were combined to give steam-powered rail travel in the second century BC. A brief mention is made of a failed prophet living at 4 Railway Cuttings, Nazareth.
  • One of the earlier Alternate History works, Winston Churchill's "If Lee Had Not Won The Battle of Gettysburg" in J.C. Squire's Alternate History collection If It Had Happened Otherwise (1929), used this as a framing device. Among the results if the Union had won, Disraeli might have become a Conservative and Gladstone a Liberal, Robert E. Lee might not have abolished slavery but prevented Negro enfranchisement, and a world war involving all the great powers might not have been averted.
  • Occasionally used in the Lord Darcy stories. Once, it's lampshaded when a character remarks that such an Alternate History might make a good sorcerous-fiction story.
  • There are several in Kim Newman and Eugene Byrne's Back in the USSA series of short stories. Including one where a character comments that something was as strange as finding London Bridge in the Arizona desert.
  • In "How I Lost the Second World War and Helped Turn Back the German Invasion" by Gene Wolfe, the Second World War only happens as a board game some of the characters are playing. The progress of the game includes several strange turns that the players remark would never have happened in real life, all of which are things that actually did.
  • Used in several of the stories in The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories: for instance Frederik Pohl's "Waiting For The Olympians" in which a science-romance author in a world where Rome never fell imagines what the world would be like if Tiberius had been Emperor; and Paul McAuley's "A Very British History", in which a review of a book about the Britain-dominated space program criticizes the historian for wasting a chapter speculating on what would have happened if the UK hadn't got all the German rocket scientists after World War II.
    • The story "His Powder'd Wig, His Crown Of Thorns" by Marc Laidlaw takes it a step further; the alternate history depicted is wrong, and Magical Native Americans know how the universe should be (i.e. ours).
  • Robert Silverberg's "A Hero of the Empire" has the Roman main character speculating what the world would be like if he doesn't assassinate Mohammed before Islam takes off. He does.
  • Resurrection Day by Brendan DuBois takes place in a United States turned into a Third World-type dictatorship after the Cuban Missile Crisis started World War III. A journalist talks of reading an alternate history novel in which the war didn't happen and JFK (reviled for supposedly starting the war) became a much beloved President. Needless to say there is no mention of Oswald. Other events include the protagonist reading a letter from his dead sister saying she was going to join a wonderful group that was going to change the world called the Students for a Democratic Society.
  • The Mirage, by Matt Ruff, features a version of the War on Terror where the roles of the Arabs and USA are reversed, so there are plenty of these. Perhaps the most entertaining is that Saddam Hussein, a gangster, also published several successful romance novels after Zabibah and the King (which here has a completely different plot).
  • In The Man in the High Castle, the novel-within-a-novel The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is alternate history about a world in which FDR wasn't assassinated. It turns out completely differently than in our timeline, but still with an Allied victory. There are references to our version of history within the novel, such as the Nazis landing on the moon, naming their airports after leaders within the German-American Bund, and commercializing Concorde jets (which hadn't even been completely built when Philip K. Dick wrote the novel!).
  • The Timeline Wars trilogy by John Barnes is full of these. Just look at the titles of the three volumes; Patton's Spaceship, Washington's Dirigible, and Caesar's Bicycle.
  • Brilliance by Marcus Sakey takes place in an alternate timeline that split off around 1980 when about 1% of all children mysteriously started being born geniuses. One of its between-chapter Encyclopedia Exposita entries is an ad for a book about what would happened if the gifted hadn't been born. It's all dead accurate; it's also written to suggest that our timeline is incredibly grim (in contrast to the rest of the book, which is mostly about how horrible the timeline with the gifted is).
  • In the Anno Dracula sequence, the novel Dracula exists exactly as it does in our universe, but it's wishful-thinking Alternate History about how the Count could have been stopped before he took the British throne. A Dance to the Music of Time also exists exactly as it does in our universe; it's wishful-thinking Alternate History about there not being any vampires at all. In The Bloody Red Baron, someone speculates that if it weren't for all these vampires, maybe World War I wouldn't have happened, or wouldn't be as cruel and mechanised.
  • The Hammer and the Cross is full of these, both subtle and large, from the English shouldering 'bows and bills' to the King of all England questing for the Holy Grail.
  • In the short story "The Best and the Rest of James Joyce" by Ian McDonald, the liner notes for the eponymous wax cylinder invites the listener to imagine a world where Joyce isn't a sarif music star or, even weirder, where the British Isles lie off the coast of France rather than North Africa.
  • A Scholar of Magics, set around 1920 in a world much like our own but with magic a known and scientifically-studied phenomenon, ends with a character departing for a tour of America on the Titanic, a famous ocean liner that has recently broken its own Atlantic crossing speed record.
  • Mercedes Lackey's short story Dance Track is based in an alternate reality where Isadora Duncan didn't die in 1927, and instead becomes a race driver and later mechanic for the Bugatti racing team. It's set during a tense car race, with a young driver Isadora personally mentored driving. At the end, the driver, Paul Newman, tells his young fan James Dean that if hadn't met Isadora he would have stayed an actor in Hollywood, rather than quitting to become a race car driver when the studio demanded he give up his dangerous hobby.
  • The above story was first published in 1994 anthology called By Any Other Fame; one of the other stories had Marilyn Monroe recover from her drug addiction and go into politics, becoming a trailblazer for women's rights, until she becomes President and is assassinated by John Hinkley. There's numerous references to Ronald Reagan, the President she "replaced" in history.
  • A Study in Emerald ends with a very eerie one. The story is set in a world where the Great Old Ones have returned and subjugated humanity. It ends with the narrator mentioning reports of turmoil in Russia, Sherlock Holmes hinting that he has been working on an atom bomb, and the year being given as 1881. In our world, 1881 was the year when Czar Alexander II of Russia was assassinated with a huge bomb, kickstarting the Disaster Dominoes that led into Red October. Now keep in mind that in the story's world, Czar Alexander is an Eldritch Abomination who rules alongside a bunch of other Eldritch Abominations. The Russian Revolution of this reality is not going to be pretty...
  • At one point in Napoleon And The Conquest Of The World, Napoleon's ship approaches Saint Helena, and Napoleon is overwhelmed by dread on seeing the island and orders the fleet to avoid it. He later has the island destroyed using copious amounts of explosives.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Alternate Universe in Fringe is home to a thousand and one of these. 20 dollar bills are called "Juniors" because of who's on them, and likewise Nixon is on the 50 cent piece and JFK is still alive, suggesting Kennedy's and Nixon's presidential wins might have been reversed. When Lincoln sees a $20 from our universe he doesn't recognise Andrew Jackson, indicating that Jackson wasn't President in their universe (though it may be that he was President but not depicted on money - how many early 19th century Presidents could you identify if they weren't on money?).
  • House of the Dragon: Episode 6 of Season 1 portrays the assassination of Lord Lyonel Strong and his son Harwin (via the fire of Harrenhal) as a Rhetorical Request Blunder by Alicent to Larys (who did not expect the latter to take her frustrated wish to its ruthless extremes). Students of medieval English history may eerily be reminded of Anglo-Norman King Henry II's own enraged rant against his nemesis Archbishop Thomas Becket, which four knights took as a command to brutally kill him.
  • The Man in the High Castle, which depicts an alternate history where the Axis won World War II and conquered the US. While keeping the allusions of the novel, the show introduces a few new ones:
    • While facing the realization that his actions have made nuclear war between Germany and Japan more likely instead of less, Tagomi asks his aide where he's from and learns he's from Nagasaki. It turns out that his aide is from our timeline where Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed, and he suffers from burns from the attacks. Later, the show introduces a Resistance member who suffered burns and scars from the Nazis having dropped an atomic bomb on Washington DC.
    • The show includes a reference to Operation Anthropoid, the successful plan to kill Reinhard Heydrich. Except, in our timeline, the irony is that Heydrich orchestrates the assassination attempt, and the intended target is Obergruppenfuhrer Smith.
    • Hermann Göring is said to have been executed for treason some time before the events of the series after he attempted to gain power as acting chancellor during a period when Adolf Hitler was seriously ill. Göring, who had been Hitler's chosen successor for much of the war, did a similar "power grab" in real life when Hitler was confined to the Führerbunker in the last days of World War 2.
    • At the end of season 2, Hitler is assassinated and succeeded by another high-ranking Nazi, before this conspiracy is outed by Heinrich Himmler based on intelligence he received from John Smith. In a speech to the German people he notably decries their lack of loyalty to their now dead Fuehrer. Historically, Himmler also attempted to throw Hitler under the bus when he tried to make a separate deal with the Allies through backwater diplomatic channels.
    • Early in season 3, the Japanese perform a nuclear test in the Utah territory as a warning to the Nazis, alluding to the Trinity nuclear test in New Mexico where the first functional atomic bomb was successfully detonated in 1945.
    • Admiral Inokuchi is assigned as the new overall leader of the Japanese Pacific States, but seldom leaves his flagship and fleet, likely for security since the headquarters bombing. This alludes to Admiral Yamamoto, who was actually against Japan going to war against America, which made him a target for assassination by zealot Japanese militants for a time, so for his own protection he had to confine himself to his ships.
    • Chief Inspector Kido's disgust when he describes how he liberated a Japanese-American internment camp parallels the Allied liberation of German concentration camps at the end of the war.
    • The Nazi policy to eradicate and erase all United States history from before the conquest by the Reich, is named "Jahr Null" which means "Year Zero". This is a reference to the real-life postwar German socio-historical concept of Stunde Null or "Zero Hour", wherein German society attempted to completely break from its pre-1945 past and focus on reconstruction and reintegration into the international order. As part of this process, German complicity in Nazism and responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity was ignored and suppressed, leading to the end of denazification and the reintegration of many former Nazis into leading positions in government, commerce, academia, etc.
    • Hawthorne Abendsen is forced to participate in Reich propaganda, one of which is a very clear analogue to The Twilight Zone, with him narrating the mysterious tales of characters placed in Kafka-esque nightmares, albeit filtered through a National Socialist dogma.
    • In one of John Smith's flashbacks, shortly after the end of the war, he is visited by his direct superior, who tells him that the US Army is being absorbed into the Reich forces. He mentions that Hermann Göring shook hands with a surrendering American General at Westpoint to seal the deal. This is referencing Goering's own surrender to the Allied forces, which caused a scandal when US officers treated him too kindly by shaking his hand and drinking with him, implying that he was a Worthy Opponent instead of a war criminal.
    • The Emperor's speech about relinquishing their occupation of the Pacific States is extremely similar to the real-life Imperial Japanese surrender speech, down to the entire first paragraph and the intentionally-vague "situation has not necessarily developed to our advantage" bit. General Yamori's subsequent suicide is also reminiscent of the wave of real-life seppukus committed by embittered and despairing officers upon hearing the surrender and period of national humiliation Japan was about to enter.
  • The Punisher (2017): The character of Sam Stein refers to 9/11, meaning the events took place in the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe, although generally the battle of New York takes its place in terms of trauma to the people of the US.
  • Watchmen (2019): The squid attack that served as the climax to the Watchmen graphic novel is treated as this universe's version of 9/11 — right down to being colloquially called "11/2". It should be noted that the Twin Towers are still standing in this universe, as a bit of cosmic irony.
  • Wonder Woman (1975): The first season was set in World War II, but generally dealt with fictional Nazis, such as Baroness von Gunther or Captain Radl. In "Beauty on Parade", though, the Nazi plot was to kill General Dwight David Eisenhower. Wonder Woman saves him, General Phil Blankenship, and Major Steve Trevor.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Claim the Sky: Two from very recent history.
    • Chinese superhero Daiyo found a cure for a coronavirus that arose in China in 2020; many believe that if she hadn't, it would have turned into a global pandemic.
    • Two villains are organizing an attack on the US Capitol Building by a mob of misinformed militia-supporting citizens.
  • Many in Rocket Age. Leon Trotsky is still assassinated in Mexico City on Stalin's orders for example, but for slightly different reasons. The Eagle was piloted to Mars by a barnstormer pilot named Ray Armstrong.
  • Averted or very special variant: Space 1889 is an alternate history game but surprisingly this trope is completely absent, unless you count Otto Strabisnäs. He is a nutcase who doesn't believe in the ether theory and instead has developed his own wave-particle duality theory in the adventure Canal Priests of Mars. Since Otto Strabisnäs is ahistorical but his theory is the correct one in our world, this is more like allo-science allusion. The reason for the absence of allo-historical allusion in what is obviously a piece of alternate history could be that this is alternate history very close to real history.

    Video Games 
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series:
    • After the Allies start pushing back the Soviets in the first Red Alert, Stalin realizes that he can't win a conventional conflict anymore and puts all his effort into completing the Soviet nuclear program in time to start bombing enemy cities with them. This mirrors Nazi Germany's putting its faith into vaunted Wunderwaffen (wonder weapons) towards the end of the war that would turn the tide in Germany's favor. The difference is that Stalin can actually back up his threat, with an entire mission revolving around infiltrating a missile silo to destroy it.
    • Several other allusions in the series take the form of missions, as both Red Alert 2 and 3 include two separate "unheard of" attacks on Pearl Harbor and instances of doomsday weapons in Cuba.
    • One interesting example from Red Alert 3 involves an Allohistorical Allusion as Dramatic Irony: the unspecified "technology" the player is sent to recover in Soviet Mission 5, Mykonos, is pretty clearly nuclear fission, which hasn't been developed yet in this timeline. Dr. Zelinsky tries to warn the player that this technology "should" exist already, but doesn't due to their meddling, only to be very pointedly cut off by Cherdenko.
    • After the canonical Allied victory in 3, the Allies occupy Japan during Red Alert 3: Uprising in a similar manner to what happened after the Second World War, even keeping Prince Tatsu as a puppet leader to quell the Imperial Warlords in Uprising's Allied campaign much like how Emperor Hirohito was allowed to keep his position as a bulwark against Communist expansion.
  • In Fallout 4 a 2077 article found in the offices of the Boston Bugle reveals that Boston's baseball team hadn't won the World Series in 159 years, which would date their last championship to 1918 — the real life Red Sox may have ended the Curse of the Bambino in 2004 but it remains alive and well here, with reference in particular to a misplayed grounder through an infilder's legs leading to heartbreak. The article also notes that Boston was up three games to none in the best-of-seven series, with Game 4 scheduled on October 23, 2077 — the day all-out nuclear war made such things a little less pressing.
    "But on Saturday, October 23, 2077, the only thing that could snatch away victory is an act of God, or some obscene calamity of man. Tomorrow, my friends, the unthinkable will happen. And life in Boston will never be the same."
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order:
    • In spite of the world being dominated by the Nazis, The '60s still see the rise of a particular 4-man band from occupied Britain, even if they're forced to sing in German by the regime. Their name? "Die Käfer". Go ahead and look up what that translates to.
    • For the 1946-set prologue, most Nazis are armed with slightly modified StG 44 rifles. By the time the main setting of 1960 rolls around, they've upgraded to a new version of it with several modifications, particularly more precise sights with an adjustable rotating rear drum, that make it resemble a cross between the StG and the H&K G3 — doubly so, the real G3 was derived from plans for an actual proposed but never-produced upgrade to the real StG 44.
    • The first Nazi moon landing is said to have taken place on July 20thnote  with the first man to walk on the moon having the last name of "Armstark".
  • Enigma: Rising Tide ends with a sneak attack by the US Navy on the Imperial German naval base at Scapa Flow (Germany having conquered Great Britain in World War I) eerily similar to the Pearl Harbor attack in Real Life. The game ends on a Cliffhanger (the sequels never got made), with Chancellor Manfred von Richthofen making an inspiring speech about a "day that will live in infamy" and declaring an end to the "age of the battleship". A photo montage then shows the unfinished Bismarck and Tirpitz being converted into "battlecarriers".


    Web Original 
  • Also very favorite in timelines from, like the Chaos Timeline and others.
    • Reds!: A Revolutionary Timeline plays with this trope extensively.
    • An instance of this that goes far enough to hurt suspension of disbelief is referred to as a Citroën DS incident, in reference to said car appearing in Battlestar Galactica (2003).
    • In A Giant Sucking Sound, Congressman Jon Stewart discusses all the comedians who have become politicians and jokes about "Senator Al Franken''.
    • "The Weed of Crime Bears Bitter Fruit", a vignette about an alternate version of The Shadow, says Alec Baldwin didn't get the title role because he was starring in Batman Forever. The next choice was Val Kilmer, who wasn't interested. Instead, new director John Woo cast Christian Slater as Lamont Cranston, John Travolta as the Shadow (Woo was really playing up the Secret-Identity Identity) and Samantha Mathis as Margo Lane. The plot still involved an early atomic bomb being stolen, just like it did in our universe, which the vignette even calls "a kind of prototypical 'broken arrow' situation".
    • Several in "'Phil won't leave his room' - A Doctor Who Production History", which opens with Derrick Sherwin mentioning that he very nearly cast Jon Pertwee as the Doctor. With Pertwee eventually later starring in The Incredible Gabriel Blaine, Sherwin and the actual Third Doctor, Roger Delgado, agree that Pertwee was much happier being a dashing leading man in a velvet frock coat than he'd ever have been as the Doctor. In a later example Colin Baker is cast as the Doctor, but complains that "I had a whole plan for what I wanted to do with The Doctor. I wanted a black costume, which I got and I wanted to explore the darker side of the character, which I very much didn't get." He had the same plan in our universe, but got the second and very much didn't get the first.
    • In Player Two Start, Avril Lavigne becomes a professional skateboarder (or rather, a "Sk8er Grrrl") instead of a musician. On a darker note, Christine Weston Chandler (of Sonichu and "Chris-chan" infamy in our world) becomes a Spree Killer instead of a controversial artist. A number of this person's real-life antics and writings are referenced as having also occurred here, but given a much darker context given that they're seen not just as the depraved ramblings of somebody with serious problems but also as a killer's manifesto.
  • In the Whateley Universe, The Necromancer once mused on his past, thinking about how Adolf Hitler appreciated all the macabre things he did for the Third Reich (including working on a zombie army). It's part of The 'Verse's backstory that during the Second World War there was a superhero war going on behind the scenes, as well as some sort of magical war with Thule Gemeinschaft facing off against a number of white wizards.
    • There are a number of minor changes in the timeline, as well, the most significant (so far as we know) being that after the failure of Operation Eagle Claw, a mercenary unit led by Lord Paramount successfully extracted most of the hostages; this actually made things worse for Carter, though, as the Reagan election campaign slammed him for being unable to get the job done without the help of foreign mercs.
    • A flashback indicates that the Space Shuttle Enterprise was on an active launch schedule in 1976, and that NASA had a plan to rescue Skylab. It is later mentioned that NASA still suffered the Challenger disaster, but in this world the cause was down to the use of Devisor components. Despite this and other setbacks, by 2006 the US, Russia, the EU, and China were all working to establish moon bases, and at least one supervillain already had his own ten years earlier (the Well-Intentioned Extremist Dr. Diabolik, who had tried to deliberately arrange for the US to seize it, only see it get destroyed in the process).
  • In For All Time, a President Kennedy is assassinated in Texas by a sniper. Only here, it's President Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. (JFK's older brother who was killed in World War II in OTL) and the assassin is Charles Whitman (responsible for the UT tower shooting in OTL).

    Western Animation 
  • Blue Eye Samurai: After storming the Shogun's Edo palace with an army of heavily armed men, Fowler comments that Japan might have managed to keep guns at arm's length for "a couple of centuries" were it not for his presence in the country. This is what happened in our world.
  • Steven Universe: Halloween has been confirmed not to exist in the show's 'Verse by Word of God. In "Gem Harvest", Greg's estranged cousin Andy, while arguing with him, says that Greg is giving out family property like "candy on... some candy-giving-out holiday!?"


Video Example(s):


Grigor II

Orginally built as the robotic bodyguard of Russian dictator Grigor Stoyanovich, the once mechanical servent was upgraded with sentience, and named Grigor's heir, when the elderly conqueror grew distrustful of his fellow man on his deathbed. Now dubbed, Grigor the Second, the towering machine continues his master's ambitions to see the flag of Novaya Russia fly across the world, with ruthless dedication.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheConqueror

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