Follow TV Tropes


Fantasy Conflict Counterpart

Go To

This trope deals with a story that features some sort of analogue of a real-world historical conflict in a fantasy or science fiction context in a different world from ours.

This is especially popular in Japan, since it allows them to tell stories utilizing the era of World War II without actively mentioning the war. Other common variations:

See also Recycled IN SPACE!, Fantasy Counterpart Culture, and Does This Remind You of Anything? Supertrope to Space Cold War. Compare and contrast Weird Historical War, which depicts a Real Life historical war, but with added fantastical elements.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • It's only seen through flashback, but the war between Thracia and Persia in Pluto is heavily based on the Iraq War (with robots). The United States of Thracia accuses the Middle East nation of Persia of making Robots of Mass Destruction, but before other countries can complete their investigation into whether it's true, Thracia sends troops in and starts a horrific, wasteful war that devastates the country. And this is all just a ploy to make Thracia the world's main superpower.
  • In One Piece, the New Fishman Pirates threaten the people of Fishman Island to commit Fumi-e on the late Queen Otohime's image, to shed out their loyalty to Queen Otohime (who has the exact opposite view of the Big Bad Hody Jones') which is a reference on feudal Japan's practice of purging Christians (they have their people step on a Christian imagery to prove that they're not Christian).
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • The persecution of the Ishvallan people is said to be a parallel to the Japanese treatment of the Ainu. The author was familiar with this conflict due to growing up in Hokkaido, where most of the Ainu people live.
    • There's another parallel that Western eyes will see even if they're unaware of its true inspiration: the Nazis' treatment of the Jews, Amestris being a militaristic European-like military dictatorship—led by a Fuhrer, no less—who committed genocide against a religious minority of monotheists. Though the Ishvallans share more in common with Middle Eastern Muslims than Jews, or any of the other groups the Nazis targetted.
  • In Violet Evergarden, the Continental War is distinctly similar to the First World War, with Lee Enfields, G98 rifles, and other weapons of the time in use by the two opposing sides, who are formed out of alliances of several countries each. The war lasted four years, with much devastation wrought on both sides. The series' focus is on the Post-War world, where many families have lost sons and fathers to battle, and those who do manage to return often don't come back in one piece, either physically or mentally. Violet herself is a veteran of the war.
  • The shadow conflict between Westalia and Ostania in Spy X Family is reminiscent of West and East Germany during the Cold War.

  • Micronauts opens with a bloody uprising against the ruling monarch of Homeworld, a bit like the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution (particularly the latter, if you see Mari as an Anastasia analogue).
  • In 2019, to avoid Refugee from Time problems, the comic series The History of the Marvel Universe retconned several well-known characters with histories related to the real-world Vietnam War as having fought in a decades-long conflict in Siancong, a Fictional Country in South-East Asia which had made a few previous appearances in the comics (sometimes instead Romanised as "Sin-Cong"). This also included Mister Fantastic and The Thing's original backstories of being involved in World War II.
  • An issue of What If? depicted an alternate world in which Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos fought World War Two... In SPACE! due to earth's technological development being accelerated during the fifteenth century. The Solar System has become divided into Alpha and Beta sectors, one on each side of the sun. The Beta side is populated by the hated Empire of Beta, which are analogous to Imperial Japan in the story, and Earth joins the conflict when the Defense Station Pearl is unexpectedly attacked by them.

    Fan Works 
  • Racer and the Geek has one of the main characters a Shell-Shocked Veteran of a war in "Afgneighistan".
  • The titular conflict of The Dilgar War presents more than a few similarities to World War II.
  • In Order in Chaos the war is practically the Western Front of World War I IN SPACE.
  • Don't Say Goodbye, Farewell makes a subtle reference to the Battle of Samar with the naming of Kanril Eleya's task force as TF 34. The sequence has them and Moabite ships drawn elsewhere while Fek-Day happens in the Moab system itself, leaving them unable to respond to help.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has a conflict between the Trainer and Ranger nations that's clearly an analogue for the Cold War.
  • In The Geeky Zoologist's reimagining of Jurassic World, the conflict between Isla Nublar's feral carnivores and Ingen's troops that took place during the construction of Jurassic World draws inspiration from the Indian Wars, the Vietnam War, the Roman conquest of Britain, and some episodes of the French Resistance.
  • Scootertrix the Abridged introduces a war reminiscent of World War I, with Equestria being the German analog. They have enemies on both sides, and their grand strategy for a quick, decisive victory in a two-front war is the Schlieffenpony Plan. To the surprise of no one who remembers history, this plan fails, and Equestria gets bogged down in a war of attrition instead.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In-Universe example in Argo: A group of American diplomats pretend to be a Canadian film crew to escape Iran. When questioned about the (fake) movie by the Revolutionary Guard at the airport, they describe the plot as the Iranian Revolution as a space opera.
  • Star Wars
    • The war against the Galactic Empire in the original trilogy has shades of WWII, with the Empire playing the part of Nazi Germany ("stormtrooper" is a direct translation of Sturmabteilung). Probably especially fitting given that a major influence on the series was old WWII-era serials: the operation against the Death Star in A New Hope was inspired by The Dam Busters, which was about Operation Chastise.
    • The prequel trilogy, although a bit more low-key, draws on aspects of the American Civil War, with the antagonists' side being called a "Confederacy", which utilizes slave labor and is mostly rebelling for economic reasons. The character of Senator/Chancellor/Emperor Sheev Palpatine also draws on Adolf Hitler's rise to power through democratic means before being granted absolute power by his government in a crisis.
    • The sequel trilogy seems to draw more on modern day asymmetrical conflicts with Iran, Syria, or North Korea (the First Order draws especially on imagery of the latter, with a "Supreme Leader" and a heavily indoctrinated military).
  • Avatar is about the American military intervening in another planet because they want a valuable energy source (you know, like oil) facing resistance from a group of religiously motivated natives who consider the area that the Americans want "holy land". Sounds like most of the Middle Eastern wars, but most notably the Iraqi War. It also resembles the Indian Wars in the US. The movie has been described as Dances with Wolves IN SPACE, so the latter analogy is much more apt.
  • Police example: S.W.A.T.'s opening sequence is based on the North Hollywood shootout, where a duo of heavily armed bank robbers engaged in an hour-long gun battle with the LAPD before they were finally killed by a SWAT Team. The film adds two additional robbers and a Hostage Situation but uses radio clips from the real event.

  • Older Than Radio: In The Begum's Millions by Jules Verne, two competing cities are expies for France and Germany. Verne made no bones on where his sympathies were.
  • Books by Harry Turtledove:
  • Codex Alera: The campaign fought in the Amaranth Vale between the invading Narashan Canim and the First Aleran Legion has many parallels to the Second Punic War, with Nasaug painted as an analogue to Hannibal Barca and his forces as the Carthagians invading the Italian Peninsula. It's also likely not a coincidence that he's matching wits with a foe named "Rufus Scipio" — as in, Scipio Africanus, the legendary Roman general who ultimately defeated Hannibal.
  • The second duology of Arcia Chronicles is a fantasy retelling of the Wars of the Roses, dubbed "War of the Daffodils".
  • A Song of Ice and Fire is based heavily on various Scottish and English internal wars of the Middle Ages.
    • The names of the Feuding Families Stark and Lannister (York and Lancaster) are less than subtle clues to inspiration from the Wars of the Roses. Even more directly, brief mentions are made of the Red and Green "Apple" Fossoways, who appear to have their own squabbles over titles and are two branches of a house. The symbol of House Tyrell, one of the major power players in the series, is depicted in the TV adaptation Game of Thrones as a dead ringer for the Tudor double rose.
    • The civil war between Aegon and Rhaenyra, is very similar - except for the dragons, of course - to the conflict between Stephen of Blois and Empress Matilda, cousins who vied over the English throne in the 12th century. Aegon is even persuaded to take the throne by his wife and mother, much as Stephen was. The Purple Wedding was also inspired by the death of Eustace (Stephen de Blois' son) at the the end of the Anarchy. Like the result of the Anarchy, Rhaenyra's claim is vindicated by her son Aegon III, a counterpart to Matilda's son Henry II Plantagenet.
    • Likewise, The Red Wedding is based on real-life violations of Sacred Hospitality such as the Glencoe Massacre and the Black Dinner.
    • The Reyne-Tarbeck revolt is one to the Second Barons' War, with Tywin Lannister being based on Edward I of England.
    • Cersei's (who is also inspired by Isabelle of France) convoluted "Fawlty Towers" Plot to frame Margaery for adultery was inspired by the Tour de Nesle affair, where the daughters-in-law of King Philip the Fair allegedly committed adultery.
    • The Blackfyre Rebellion is a reworking of the Jacobite Rebellion.
    • Cersei's situation in A Clash of Kings resembles that of the Bulgarian Empress regent known only as Smiltsena (named after her husband, Emperor Smilets) who ruled in 1298-1300: after her husband's death, she supports her infant son (Ivan IV Smilets) against her late husband's two brothers (boyars Voysil and Radoslav), and two other claimants (Theodor Svetoslav Terter, the son of a previously abdicated emperor, and Chaka, the son of a renegade Golden Horde warlord), with marrying her daughter off to secure an alliance with another nobleman (despot Aldimir).
    • Some aspects of the War of the Five Kings, namely the Brave Companions pillaging the countryside, the religious frenzy and the burning of whole villages as part of a terror campaign comes from The Hundred Years War.
    • In the series' more ancient backstory, the Andal invasion of Westeros was probably meant to parallel the Anglo-Saxon conquest of England. However, some archaeologists now dispute whether such an invasion ever actually took place: mounting evidence suggests a slower, mostly peaceful migration by Angle, Jute, and Saxon tribes after the Western Roman Empire released control of Britain.
  • Discworld has a few of these:
    • The historical wars between Ephebe and Tsort resemble the mythical Trojan War. In Pyramids, when there's a threat of the war re-erupting, both sides build wooden horses along the border.
    • Jingo combines elements of the Gulf War (the enemy is the Arabian Fantasy Counterpart Culture, it's mentioned that Ankh-Morpork (i.e. the West) actually sold the Klatchians their weapons for use in "pacifying" their own people, and jingoism leads to racism against Klatchian-Morporkians) and the Falklands War (the conflict is over an island that is of no real significance except that the other lot aren't getting their hands on it).
    • In the later novels, the terrorist actions of the fundamentalist "deep dwarfs" (who cover themselves from head to foot because they consider it a sin to look on sunlight) are reminiscent of The War on Terror.
  • The Nilfgaard Empire's conquest of the Aedirn Kingdom in The Witcher series, is intended by author Andrzej Sapkowski as a parallel to the Nazi invasion of Poland that led to World War II. Nilfgaard itself is a totalitarian state with visions of world domination and disdain for any nation it regards as less civilised, and tactics it employs against Aedirn include False Flag Operations, Blitzkrieg raids deep into the heart of their territory (with cavalry instead of tanks), and forming pacts with Aedirn's old allies, who betray it in exchange for a share of the conquered lands. Ironically, the Polish Sapkowski's Czech fans reportedly tend to interpret the same events as the Nazis' annexation of the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia, with Poland getting Silesia in a similar secret deal (both real situations were similar, so this is not surprising).
  • The Honor Harrington series draws a lot of inspiration for its setting and events from The Napoleonic Wars, but with the land battles ported to Space Navy battles. The comparison goes Off the Rails around book nine.
  • Tanya Huff admitted in the afterword of Valor's Choice that she based the book's major battle on Rorke's Drift. The fight involves hordes of adolescent Silsviss (standing in for the Zulus) trying to kill a small force of Confederation Marines (standing in for the Brits) in a dug-in position, with the battle finally being won by the Marines because the Silsviss leader was killed by his second-in-command, who then withdrew after offering a show of respect (mirroring the Zulus quitting the field).
  • Some claim that Fred Saberhagen's Berserker Fury - where our heroes recover from the sneak attack on Port Diamond to win the battle of 50/50 - was somehow influenced by real World War II events. Apart from all the places and ships being thesaurus equivalents, and the battle tactics being exactly those of the Battle of Midway, it's difficult to see why that is.
  • In Second Apocalypse, the Holy War has very clear parallels to the Crusades, with the Inrithi as the Christians, the Fanim as the Muslims, and the holy city of Shimeh as Jerusalem.
  • Short story "Lynortis Reprise" from Kane series is set in a fantasy equivalent of World War I Western front - complete with trench warfare, (magical) poisonous gases and tragic fate of numerous young men crippled in combat.
  • RCN: David Drake usually notes in the foreword to the book the sources of inspiration (normally 19th century naval battles).
    • Like a certain other long-running space opera, the novels are loosely based on the Napoleonic Wars, with the literary inspiration being the Aubrey-Maturin novels instead of Horatio Hornblower. The Republic of Cinnabar stands in for Britain (with bits of the Roman Republic thrown in), both good and bad (it's noted they favor dictatorships to democracies for their client states because they only have to control one guy, not the whole population), while the Alliance of Free Stars stands in for Napoleonic France, with elements of Prussia and the Soviet Union. Unlike the Napoleonic Wars, however, the Cinnabar-Alliance War ends in a negotiated peace after book seven, as both countries, by far the most powerful human states in The 'Verse, were on the verge of complete economic collapse after roughly forty years of fighting and would probably take most of human civilization with them.
    • The foreword to When the Tide Rises states that the book's conflicts, both military and political, are based on Lord Cochrane's memoirs from his time serving as commander of the Chilean Navy during its war of independence, and the major battle on the 1811 Battle of Lissa (not to be confused with the 1866 Battle of Lissa, which Drake comments was so farcical you couldn't use it as a basis for fiction: the Italian flagship's crew somehow forgot to load shells in their cannons and spent the entire battle shooting blanks).
  • Alexis Carew:
    • Despite the Horatio Hornblower IN SPACE! stylings of the series, the main conflict between New London and Hanover is more reminiscent of World War II than The Napoleonic Wars, with culturally British and trade-oriented New London opposing the culturally German and militarily expansionist Republic of Hanover mostly by itself for an extended period, and trying to get friendly but militarily neutral powers into the war on their side.
    • The mutiny in Mutineer is based on the historical mutiny aboard HMS Hermione, down to the name of the ship.
    • The Little Ships takes its name from the evacuation of Dunkirk. New London lands an army on Giron in the Berry March and for a while nothing happens (the so-called "Sitzkrieg"). Then Hanover draws away the fleet and counter-lands a much larger army that begins to Rape, Pillage, and Burn. Midshipman Artley marshals a small fleet of civilian ships to get the troops and as many civilians as can be carried back off of Giron (Dunkirk). The author furthers the homage by naming several of the civilian ships after real-life ones that took part in the operation.
    • In Privateer, the Marchant Company galleon Hind attempts to navigate a dangerous passage into a system used as a pirate nest, runs aground on a dark matter shoal, and is captured and put to use by the pirates. This mirrors the fate of USS Philadelphia during the Barbary Wars, with Alexis playing the role of Stephen Decatur Jr. and destroying it after infiltrating the system.
  • The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress is set shortly after the end of "The Great European War", an alternate World War I which took place on a slightly smaller scale, and was ultimately won by Wiltia (Germany) after they developed the Hunter Units. However, Wiltia's struggles to remain stable as they transition to peacetime also take many cues from Japan's Meiji Restoration.
  • Just to be different John G. Hemry based the first arc of The Lost Fleet series very loosely on Xenophon's Anabasis. Other aspects of the setting take inspiration from the late 20th century US Navy, which was also a case of Write What You Know.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Shortly after the trilogy's original release in 1954-55, audiences began drawing parallels between it and World War II. J. R. R. Tolkien disliked this interpretation strongly enough that subsequent releases included a foreword that discusses at length all the ways in which the War of the Ring is not like World War II.
    • On the flipside, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King shows many similarities to the 1683 Battle of Vienna between the Ottoman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, a siege of a fortified city that ended in the Turks' rout by the largest cavalry charge in history, led by King Jan III Sobieski of Poland. Meanwhile, Tolkien himself in The History of the Lord of the Rings pointed to an account of the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains by the late Roman historian Jordanes, in which Theodoric, King of the Visigoths, was slain in a nevertheless tactically successful battle against the Huns, invaders from the East.
  • The annexation of Cadiz by the Commonwealth in Angel in the Whirlwind is a very disparaging allegory to the American occupation of Iraq in the 2000s: a politically controversial long-running occupation of a neutral power begun for reasons of realpolitik, that has by now become mired in a bloody and expensive insurgency and is riven with corruption and incompetence on the part of the occupiers.
  • Into The Hinterlands and its sequel Into the Maelstrom by David Drake and John Lambshead is the wars of early America IN SPACE!, with viewpoint character Allen Allenson standing in for George Washington in respectively the French and Indian War (Brasilian colonies versus Terran soldiers and "Riders") and the American Revolution (Brasilian colonies seeking independence from Brasilia).
  • The Four Horsemen Universe: The Short Story "Unto the Last—Stand Fast" is based on the Stand of the Swiss Guard, with a group of 189 human mercenaries, outnumbered and outgunned, making a Last Stand against an invader to allow local religious leaders sought for heresy to escape. The twist is that the story is also a Whole Plot Reference to Sabaton's song about the same incident, "The Last Stand", with lyrics from the song quoted by the characters and even used as a Trust Password.
  • Siobhan Dunmoore: When the Guns Roar: Captain Dunmoore commands a Q-ship in a commerce raiding task force, and adapts U-boat wolfpack tactics from the Battle of the Atlantic to the situation. She later commands the task force in a reenactment of the Doolittle Raid.
  • In keeping with the allegory of Animal Farm, the animal revolt against Farmer Jones is the Russian Revolution, the Battle of the Cowshed is the Russian Civil War, and the Battle of the Windmill is the Eastern Front of World War II, with Mr Frederick and Pinchfield Farm as Nazi Germany.
  • Matt Stover's Mace Windu-centric Star Wars Legends novel Shatterpoint has a two-part example in the conflict over Haruun Kal.
    • The Summertime War is your average colonial war between Europeans wanting to exploit the land for profit, and the indigenous tribes who are in the way. Matt Stover was specifically inspired by Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness, an anti-colonialist novel set in the 1890s Belgian Congo.
    • The larger context turns the Summertime War into a Proxy War between the Republic and the Separatists over the strategically important jungle world, much like the Vietnam War, which Stover's other main inspiration Apocalypse Now was set within (and was itself a Setting Update of Heart of Darkness). The Separatists back the Balawai (offworlder settlers) with financing and weapons (South Vietnam), while the Republic inserted Jedi Master Depa Billaba to assist the native Korunnai (Vietcong).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Firefly was partially inspired by journals of Confederate soldiers on the frontier from The American Civil War, and the Unification War and aftermath has its similarities (Alliance occupation troops in the series' present = Union occupation troops during Reconstruction, for instance). However the comparison isn't perfect, as the Independent Faction started out independent instead of trying to secede and failing, and while it's left vague exactly what freedoms the independents were fighting to protect, it pretty obviously wasn't the freedom to own slaves.
  • Dinosaurs: The two-parter "Nuts to War", filmed shortly after the first Gulf War, had the two-legged dinosaurs go to war with the four-leggers over pistachio nuts in "Operation We Are Right."
  • Game of Thrones: The War of Five Kings is loosely inspired by the Wars of the Roses, Aegon's Conquest has obvious parallels to the Norman Conquest of England and the historical period the dance of the dragons was clearly based on the English Anarchy of 1135-1154.
  • Many battles in Space: Above and Beyond are directly based on parts of the Pacific and Normandy campaigns in World War II, with the similarities directly called out in the episodes.
    • The Pilot Movie largely parallels the Japanese advance after Pearl Harbor, up to the UN forces scoring a significant defensive victory at the climax that they're able to follow up with a counteroffensive (Midway).
    • In "Hostile Visit", the USS Saratoga captures a Chig bomber, which the 58th attempts to use in a reenactment of the Doolittle Raid. It Goes Horribly Wrong: due to heavy anti-aircraft fire and inexperience with their ship, they miss their intended target completely and are shot down and captured.
    • "Stardust" = a disinformation op in the leadup to D-Day. Also referenced are the code talkers, with the Marines using missives written in Navajo and attached to corpses to mislead the Chigs.
    • "Sugar Dirt" = Guadalcanal, with a landing force scoring an initial easy victory, then being abandoned to fend for themselves in the face of superior forces for months in favor of taking advantage of a more strategic position elsewhere (New Guinea in real life, the planet Ixion near the Chig homeworld in the episode). Complete with a Vanity Plate dedicating the episode to Guadalcanal veterans.
    • Round Hammer itself is inspired by the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands. But unlike the real one that never happened because the Japanese surrendered after the American nuclear attacks, Round Hammer is called off in the finale because the Wild Cards screw up and give away the battle plan to the Chigsnote , who offer to open peace negotiations instead of taking advantage. The negotiations go badly awry and the war restarts, but the UN has lost the initiative.
  • Star Trek:
    • Many conflicts in Star Trek: The Original Series take cues from conflicts of the time or the past. Throughout the series the United Federation of Planets typically stood in for the United States, while the Klingon Empire stood for the USSR. Consequently, the plot of "A Private Little War" draws from the various "brushfire wars" where the Americans and Soviets exported the Cold War to local proxies. One of the most lasting legacies of this series, the Prime Directive, was created as a reaction to such European and American imperial practices with the intent of keeping the Federation from repeating the mistakes of humanity's past.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • The Occupation of Bajor drew most of its cues from the Nazi occupation of Europe in World War II (and to a lesser extent the Japanese occupation of Pacific nations in the same period), with the Cardassians using concentration camps, forced labor, and sex slavery on the native Bajorans and pillaging their art and cultural resources, while the Bajorans themselves had both La Résistance and Les Collaborateurs. However, the Cardassians withdraw right before the series mostly due to their own internal politics.
      • The situation in "Rules of Engagement" where Worf accidentally destroys a passenger ship while defending a convoy against Klingon raiders (not really: it was a Klingon Frame-Up and the liner was unmanned) was inspired by the Iran Air Flight 655 incident during the Iran–Iraq War.
      • Much of the Dominion War story arc is based on World War II. The fall of Deep Space 9 in "Call to Arms" references US possessions falling to Japan, while "Favor the Bold" and "Sacrifice of Angels" parallel D-Day in part. "The Siege of AR-558" was primarily inspired by Guadalcanal, but director Winrich Kolbe also drew on his experiences in The Vietnam War, feeling the scenario was similar to Khe Sanh.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise's Xindi plot got started with a sudden raid by a Xindi superweapon against the southeastern United States that pulls United Earth into war. This was intended as an analogy to the September 11 terrorist attacks. In a notable aversion, however, the Suliban were not supposed to be a stand-in for the Taliban: they were named after them while the show was in preproduction simply because Brannon Braga thought the word "Taliban" sounded exotic, then the show premiered two weeks after the attacks.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The central concept of Flintloque: The Mordredian Wars are The Napoleonic Wars, only the French are elves (under Emperor Mordred and Marshal Sault), the British are orcsnote  (under King Gorge and the Duke of Wheeling-Turn), the Prussians are dwarves, the Russians are undead, and so on. There's an expansion called Slaughterloo.
  • Forgotten Realms: The Church of Helm gets a bad rap for reenacting the behavior of the conquistadors in the New World in its local equivalent Maztica, while the conflict with the Tuigan Horde is a clear parallel to the Mongol invasions.
  • Pathfinder:
    • The entire nation of Galt is copied directly from the Reign of Terror period during the French Revolution: demagoguery turned the Red Revolution on itself after the noble class was bloodily overthrown, and Galt has become a failed state, with the only consistent power center being the Grey Gardeners, the secretive order of executioners that mans the magical guillotines.
    • Andoran's independence war, on the other hand, mashes up the French 1848 revolution with the American Revolution: having learned the lessons of Galt, the Andoren revolutionaries overthrew their noble class with the minimum possible bloodshed and then wore out the willingness of Cheliax to hold onto its eastern province, thus successfully establishing the first large representative democracy in the Inner Sea region.
    • The Mendevian Crusades are, well, meant to be analogues to the Crusades, with the difference being that they're against demons boiling out of an interplanar breach called the Worldwound. The First Crusade was a notable success story, but the three subsequent Crusades were at best barely able to hold onto its gains due to infighting. The Wrath of the Righteous adventure path (and its CRPG adaptation) deals with the Fifth Crusade.
  • Warhammer features an analogue to the Umayyad conquest of Spain when Sultan Jaffar of Araby invades and takes over the Kingdom of Estalia, which ends up triggering the equivalent of The Crusades when Bretonnia, the Empire and Tilea join forces to strike back at the Arabyans and liberate Estalia. Unlike the Crusades, this started when a daemon of Tzeentch manipulated the Sultan into attacking.

    Video Games 
  • The developers of the FreeSpace 2 mod Blue Planet: War in Heaven have stated that the war between the United Earth Federation and the Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance is meant to be the Vietnam War in space. In both cases we have one side being far more powerful than the other but forced to fight a limited and conservative war due to political divisions and murky objectives while the much less powerful but more ideologically convinced side is simply trying to hold its own and ultimately push the other side out by costing them enough blood. Similarly to the Vietnam War, there is no clear-cut good guy.
  • The Wing Commander series was conceived as a sci-fi version of World War II aircraft carrier operations in the Pacific Theatre (with some Top Gun mixed in).
  • The general plot of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance seems has some parallels with World War II, particularly in the roles of many of the countries. Daein/Germany is a bigoted, militaristic aggressor nation, Crimea/France is a cultured nation invaded by said aggressor state, Begnion/Britain is a powerful, aristocratic empire to whom Crimea/France appeals to for help and the Laguz/United States are isolationists who come to join the Allies when they realize Daein/Germany threaten them. To top it all off, the leader of the allied force is called Ike (although he's actually from the France stand-in). note  The sequel didn't keep these parallels up; if anything, Daein in Radiant Dawn more closely resembled post-WWI Germany.
  • Ace Combat:
  • Gemfire, by Koei, is best described as Romance of the Three Kingdoms in a Standard Fantasy Setting version of the Wars of the Roses," down to the king being from House Lankshire. And Ishmeria being shaped like England and Wales (including the Isle of Man) and the king's bastard heading up House Tudoria.
  • You can't get any more obvious when your title is Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, with even a black lion and white lion standing in for the red rose and white rose. And there's even a 2-for-1 special in that the major event that shaped the game's backstory was the Fifty Years' War, an obvious analogue of the real life Hundred Years' War.
  • Tactics Ogre, written by the same mind behind Final Fantasy Tactics, features the nation of Valeria torn apart between three ethnic groups after the last great unifier died. It's a huge analogue of The Yugoslav Wars, even moreso given that the game originally released in 1995 when the wars were in full swing. It also qualifies as a Space Cold War, given that the conflict on Valeria is being influenced by agents from Xenobia (analagous to CIA operatives) and the Holy Lodis Empire is supporting one of the factions with a significant military presence (analogous to Soviet "advisers" propping up a local friendly government).
  • Mount & Blade mod The Red Wars is set in the 20th century equivalent of the original gamenote  and is inspired by World War 2 (with some World War 1 and Russian Civil War elements in it), three of the major factions involved being obvious expies of URSS, Nazi Germany, and Sweden/Finland.
  • Pillars of Eternity:
    • The Broken Stone War, the War of Black Trees and really the whole relationship between Aedyr (and later, Dyrwood) and Glanfathans resembles the European colonization of North America.
    • War of Defiance, where now Free Palatinate of Dyrwood gained independence from Aedyr Empire, is The American Revolution.
    • The Saint's War is a more ambiguous example, but has some notable familiarities with The American Civil War: agrarian, traditionalist Readceras and industrial, more liberal Dyrwood resemble the sides pretty well, though the reasons for war were different.
  • Valkyria Chronicles:
    • The First Europan War appears to be based on World War I, as it was started by the assassination of the crown prince of the East Europan Imperial Alliance (equivalent to Archduke Frank Ferdinand) featured the first use of tanks, and became bogged down in trench warfare. However, as this conflict didn't have an equivalent of the United States to join in and tip the balancenote , the trench warfare became so inconclusive that the Empire and the Atlantic Federation basically gave up and signed a ceasefire.
    • The Second Europan War that forms the backdrop to the series is based on World War II.
      • Like the Entente and Central Powers of World War I, The Atlantic Federation and the Imperial Alliance were both unsatisfied with the postwar balance of power and began to rearm as the resumption of hostilities came to be seen as increasingly inevitable. Thus, a new continent-wide war breaks out some twenty years after the first. The Empire invades three of the Federation's border republics, an act of aggression equivalent to Hitler's invasion of Poland in 1939, using new combined arms forces and rapid maneuver to quickly overwhelm everything in its path.
      • Emperor Maximilian takes the place of Adolf Hitler, a charismatic leader with ambitions of world domination who takes advantage of the climate of ethnic nationalism and racism that was allowed to fester during the interwar period.
      • The Darcsen people take the place of the Jews and Roma, who are distrusted by people on all sides and find themselves subjected to ethnic cleansing and genocide as a scapegoat to justify the Empire's conquest.
      • The ancient Valkyrur serve as a counterpart to Nazi Germany's idea of the superior Aryan race, and their investigation of Valkyrur sites and artifacts is comparable to SS leader Heinrich Himmler’s interest in archaeology and the occult.
      • The powers of the Valkyria and their ragnite lances take on the same strategic importance as weapons of mass destruction such as the atomic bomb did in World War II, with the major powers racing to obtain them first in order to gain an overwhelming advantage.
      • The main thing for which there is not a direct comparison is the protagonists' homeland of Gallia, which serves as a Fantasy Counterpart Culture for Switzerland by its policy of armed neutrality, but is invaded by the Empire for its ragnite in much the same way Nazi Germany invaded Norway in 1940 to secure its access to iron resources.note  Gallia is also located in roughly the real-life location of Lithuania (part of the USSR during World War II), rather than in central "Europa".
      • Operation Northern Cross is basically Operation Barbarossa, right down to why it eventually failed (at least part of why in real life): early snow in October.
      • Operation Cygnus doesn't quite have direct parallel due to some technology in real life that didn't exist in the game, with the closest thing would be extremely grueling, land/sea-based due to lack of heavier-than-air flight that is way more capable than Isara's prototype, version of Nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Thankfully, the bomb didn't end up destroying the target city in the game due to Last-Minute Reprieve.
    • The Gallian Civil War shares similarities with the American Civil War as the country erupts into inner conflict between the loyalist and the rebels from the southern region of the country. The Rebels were also motivated by racist ideology as their hatred of the Darscen lead to a systematic purge of the population.
  • The Game Within a Game of The Writer Will Do Something is like this, though no one wants to admit it; creative director Josh insists on referring to an "early, self-consciously studied war-is-bad desert battle — the second major combat encounter — as 'Afghanistan' so indefatigably that a panicked PR flack made him undergo emergency deprogramming right before E3 last year, lest he slip and actually say such a thing out loud to the press."
  • Star Trek Online has a fantasy postwar counterpart in the Cardassians, whose treaty with the Federation following the Dominion War reduced their military to a defensive organization of considerably smaller size, rather like what happened to Japan after World War II. The rest of the picture looks like post-invasion Iraq, with many former Cardassian Guard officers joining the True Way, a reactionary terrorist organization.
    • What little we see of Postwar Cardassian politics shows that there are some nostalgic movements in the government that wish that the defense force were allowed to be expanded to a full military force again. Coupled with said politician wishing to have a particular blend of Kanar that was made on Bajor during the occupation and that it's rare because most Bajorans see it as a sign of the occupation, it can be a nice blend of Postwar Iraq, Japan, and WWI Germany.
    • The introduction of Carrier ships into the game has led to many comparisons to WWII, especially with their growing prominence pushing out previously battle ship style capitol ships.
  • Dragon Age:
    • As the Andrastian Chantry is a religion more or less cloned from medieval Roman Catholicism, the concept of the "Exalted March" is clearly meant to be equivalent to a Crusade.
    • While culturally the Qunari practice something more akin to an extremist brand of Confucianism, in the setting their arrival by sea and conflicts with the humans of Thedas in the Backstory are clearly meant as an analogy to the Islamic expansion into mainland Europe in the Middle Ages (wherein they ruled most of modern-day Spain for hundreds of years before being driven out).
  • The ARMA games are typically set in fictional locations to avoid offending anyone or hitting too close to real-world politics. Never-the-less, the maps used are often based on real locations, and the conflicts are inspired by real counterparts.
    • The first ARMA features a mix between The Korean War and the Turkish Occupation of Cyprus. With the former, a nation is split in half, with the more militarized, communist North eyeing up the wealthier South. For the latter, it is the Mediterranean setting and the vague Middle Eastern and Greek influences that the island of Sahrani exhibits.
    • The second game is the most blatant, with the main campaign being based upon the Russo-Georgian War that was making headline news at the same time that it was in development. It also retroactively became a counterpart conflict for the War in Ukraine. It features a break-away state rebelling against a former Soviet state and drawing the intervention of Russian forces.
      • The expansion, Operation Arrowhead, is the most blatant of them all. It is set in Takistan, a nation that is quite clearly a pastiche of Iraq and Afghanistan. For the former, the US and co. invade to stop a dictator who reportedly has weapons of mass destruction, while for the latter, the occupiers must fight a local tribal insurgency in the mountains.
    • ARMA III is the only title to subvert this. The main conflict involves a minor clash between NATO and the military of a small Mediterranean island being supported by a coalition of countries led by Iran and China. This is deliberate, though, as the original plot for the game was set following what was essentially World War III and took place in Greece proper, specifically the island of Lemnos that the in-game map is based on. After two location scouts were arrested on counts of espionage by the Greek government, the developers reworked the plot to avoid any mention of Greece and to distance itself from real-world events.
  • The first Modern Warfare features a very blatant pastiche of the invasion of Iraq, with an American-led coalition invading an unnamed Middle Eastern country. The main difference is that the invasion is prompted by a Military Coup against the previous pro-US regime, not because of the possibility of WMDs.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the backstory features an series of military campaigns carried out by the Republic under the control of an fanatical cult known as Pius Dea to exterminate aliens that are pretty much The Crusades. Their forces' Battle Cry is "The Goddess wills it", which is an clear parallel to "Deus Vult" which is Latin for "God wills it".
  • Far Cry 2 features a central African conflict that has a few parallels with the Sierra Leone Civil War (severe human rights violations, blood diamond funding) and the Angolan Civil War (outside profiteers, including at least some from Cuba and South Africa).
  • The backstory of the world of Disco Elysium has several examples:
    • The Commune of Revachol hearkens to the Paris Commune, particularly in respect to its bloody repression and its formation as a socialist workers' government after the fall of the French Second Empire.
    • The World Revolution has aspects of most of the real-world wars of the 20th Century. Most directly it's a combination of the the rise of nationalism and fascism throughout Europe, Red October, and World War II, with Moralintern representing the Allies/burgeoning UN clamping down on Revachol's Germany and father of communism Kras Mazov as a stand-in for both Hitler and Lenin. The conflict between Commune and Capital, however, gives it a distinct post-Cold War flavour as well.
    • The Señorita Pineapple company being willing to go to war with other countries cuts out the middleman of the US's various "police actions" throughout Central America and the Caribbean from 1898 into the 1930s, in countries in which American corporations so happened to have interest — also known as the Banana Wars, in part due to those companies including the likes of the United Fruit Company.
      Half-Light: Those Señorita Pineapple people are scary motherfuckers, decimating your state if you don't give them your pineapples.
  • One of Battle Brothers late game crisis, the "Holy War" (addition of the Blazing Deserts DLC) is a fantasy version of The Crusades, consisting in the northern noble houses and the southern city-states (respectively a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of medieval Holy Roman Empire and medieval Arabia/Persia) fighting each others for the control of several holy sites.

    Western Animation 
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Over a Barrel" deals with a scenario much like early America's Indian Wars, settlers taking over the natives' ancestral land for their own purposes, without native consent, which in turn cranks off the natives. Due to the nature of the show, things get resolved before they...escalate too far. Specifically, it's a Lighter and Softer fantasy version of the Black Hills conflict, wherein the Lakota regarded the area as Sacred Ground (in the episode, a Buffalo Stampede Trail) whereas the settlers found a big mess of precious minerals (in the episode, the only place a farm could be planted).


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: