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Suppressed History

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Brian Griffin: Yeah, about your pamphlet... uh, I'm not seeing anything about German history between 1939 and 1945. There's just a big gap.
Tour Guide: Everyone vas on vacation. On your left is Munich's first city hall, erected in 15...
Brian Griffin: Wait, what are you talking about? Germany invaded Poland in 1939 and...
Tour Guide: We were invited. Punch vas served. Check vit Poland.
Family Guy, "Road to Europe"

Let's see... In the 9th century the Vikings came, and the 14th century had the Great Famine. But, what happened in the 11th century?

Asking grandparents and other elderly people yields nothing. Well, maybe they're just forgetful. But then, asking the librarian or a (dumb) historian yields nothing either. Could it be some sort of cover-up? Or is it something more scary still?

If a history is given, it usually consists of Fake Memories and a Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story or two. People remember hearing the history teacher talk about how that was a "great unrest" but no clarification of events is given. Or perhaps nothing happened in Germany during between 1939 and 1945 because everyone was on vacation.

This is usually a setup for some other plot, much like an Ontological Mystery, only instead of for the person themselves, it's concerning the past of everyone. May also involve a Platonic Cave to be explored, if enough events before this era don't add up. Is practically always part of either the Masquerade, the Ancient Conspiracy, or both.

Please note: Do not include examples where nothing much happened during a certain time period, these are for examples where history has been deliberately erased. Also, probably no examples that aren't ancient history. Modern countries have a tendency to get mad.

Compare Future Imperfect. Sister trope of Secret History and Alternate History.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Big O had the City of Amnesia (or "Paradigm City", in the English dub), where nobody could remember anything before 40 years or so. It eventually implied that all its inhabitants were spontaneously created forty years ago, thus they had no history to suppress.
  • The anime of Blue Dragon has the Book of the Beginning, which tells of the creation of the world. But it does so, in such a cryptic way, that it leads people to think that the world was one of light, before shadows came along to be stopped by the Warriors of Light. Actually, the world's original state was darkness, and probably nonexistence, until the Warriors of Light, who were themselves shadow-users, sealed it away, creating the world people live in. Most copies of the book have also had the last seven pages, which contain cryptic clues about how to unlock the full power of shadows, removed.
  • One Piece has the Void Century, after which the World Government took power. It's in fact a (little-known) crime for anyone to be able to read the ancient historical texts, because they might find out the history that was lost (which likely involves the World Government's methods of taking power). In the case of Nico Robin, other crimes were given to conceal this crime.
  • Full Metal Alchemist 2003 has the tablet of Xerxes, broken off in a key place. It tells of exactly how the empire fell, using alchemy to turn war zones into a giant Philosopher's Stone.
  • In Tales of Wedding Rings, no records exist of the time before the original war against the Abyss King. Most books that existed at the time were destroyed by the Abyss King himself, and the few that remained were burned by the war's survivors in a deliberate attempt to conceal the truth of how it ended from future generations.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Underworld, vampire society forbids "delving into the past", which serves the elders better than the younger vampires who weren't there personally. Once Selene starts digging, it comes out that the regent Kraven's "victory" over their werewolf enemy Lucien consisted of cutting a secret deal with him and that vampires and werewolves are two branches of the same family, neither of which casts the vampire-werewolf Forever War in the best light.
  • Rollerball. Jonathan tries to find out something about the Corporate Wars that shaped their Mega-Corp-controlled society. He consults the Master Computer which stores all of human history after the corporations digitized the books (though they lost the files for the 13th Century somewhere.) Although the computer technician is eager to help this famous sports hero, the computer suffers a Logic Bomb rather than release the information.

  • Excession. A particularly successful Final Solution is only discovered by the efforts of a vigilante Deus Est Machina. Of course it helps when you can look inside people's heads for answers (also helps for punishing those guilty of the crime as well.)
    The evidence was everywhere; across the desert, caked in loam, lodged in plants, sunk to the bottom of lakes, and there in the cultural record too; the sudden vanishings of art works, changes in architecture and agriculture. There were a few hidden records—books, photographs, sound recordings, indices, which contradicted the re-written histories—but they still didn't directly explain why so many people, so many peoples seemed to vanish so suddenly, without any sign of assimilation.
  • Fallen Dragon. As a teenager Lawrence Newton lives on an Earth colony on another planet, but finds it boring and wants to explore space. However he's told that the last interplanetary expeditions stopped years ago (and the library computers confirm this). He later discovers (only because a recent arrival from Earth casually mentions it) that while the expeditions have been wound down they are still going on, but this information has been removed from the computers to stop the inhabitants of the colony from feeling they can make a life elsewhere.
  • In I Do Not Want To Do This, Gareth Meranas claims to be from the Fifth Age, (the story is set in the Sixth,) and his accounts of contemporary life differ wildly from what history says about the Fifth Age. He suggests that this trope may be responsible.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Secrets of the Soul", the Hyach race had a missing period in their archived history from about 1200 to 800 years ago. It turned out this was a period when they committed genocide against a cohabiting sentient race called the Hyach-do, which led to certain genetic deficiencies in the Hyach (who used to interbreed with them) leading to their present infertility crisis, which Dr. Franklin was investigating at their ambassador's request.
  • The Barrier: The dictatorial government has been actively doing this for twenty-five years. By the end of the series, people are actively working on reversing the process.
  • Stargate SG-1: The episode "Memento" sees the team on a damaged Prometheus stranded on a planet that, due to having it's coordinates recorded, should have a Stargate, only to find that not only do the locals not have eny records of there being a gate (not even any legends or myths), but all historical records stop about 300 years back, and anything before that disregarded as having "no intrinsic value". Turns out that the locals' ancestors, after overthrowing their Goa'uld lord, proceeded to, in a final act of spite, Unperson him so hard, their history was completely erased.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. In "Remember", a program of genocide is covered up by the perpetuators, who rewrote history so that those Released to Elsewhere killed themselves off through disease and in-fighting. B'Elanna Torres finds herself reliving the telepathic memories of a guilt-ridden survivor.
  • Time Team: The episode "A Saintly Site" where they excavate a previously unknown Celtic monastery on the Isle of Mull; they have an expert on hand who says that large chunks of Scottish History, particularly in the Highlands and Islands, were suppressed and erased after the Jacobite Uprisings and the Highland Clearances along with the erasure of Gaelic place names in order to "pacify" the region. The lost monastery in question was lost because whoever was compiling the anglicized version of Gaelic place names misspelled the location.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • See the Fantastic Nuke page. India has a cyclical view of history where human civilization tends to repeat its mistakes. One of these is apparently a sutra version of a nuke (Magic? Psychic powers? Whatever it is, we're no longer able to do that, not with a machine).
  • The Bible has periods of gapped history for things it doesn't want to talk about. This is especially profound during large sections of Genesis: the Tower of Babel, Noah's Ark, and this seven-year famine all point to some strange global event that they refuse to mention between about 3000 BC and 2000 BC. Especially since this was a worldwide flood from its appearance in other myths, and the seven-year famine seem consistent with a nuclear winter or cosmic event.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Basic Dungeons & Dragons Known World setting, the Immortals not only destroyed the kingdom of Nithia but cast the Spell of Oblivion that erased all memory of its existence and history from the other peoples of the world.
  • In The Madness Dossier, the entirety of human history before 535 AD is in fact a fake, created to explain the situation from that date onward. In truth, that was the year that humanity rebelled against the Eldritch Abominations who created our minds and ruled us as a Slave Race. The game is about preventing them from restoring the Alternate History that is in fact the true reality.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has entire millennia of history called "The Dark Age of Technology", where some of mankind's greatest technological advances were created, like the Warp Drive, and subsequently lost. This is so significant in sight of current events, as the technology to create such ancient relics like Titans, Teleportatiums (entire complexes that allow entire groups to teleport), and STCs have been all but forgotten, making the items themselves practically priceless. Of course, rather than knowledge of that era being suppressed, the Dark Age's collapse and the ensuing Age of Strife caused them to essentially lose most of their knowledge of that time.
  • Starfinder is set some 300-odd years after The Gap, which was a galaxy-wide phenomenon that erased all memories and records of centuries of history. This included the disappearance of the planet Golarion, main setting of Pathfinder. The gods apparently know what happened, but aren't willing to divulge anything to mortals save that Golarion is somewhere safe, but certainly not where it used to be.

    Video Games 
  • The history of Norrath in EverQuest is highly detailed and was recorded by numerous races over countless millennia. Shortly after Humans came about, the great Combine Empire had rose up and nearly united all the races across Norrath in peace. An assassination attempt is what caused the Empire to ultimately fall, and the remnants moved up to the invisible moon, Luclin, just to remain safe from would-be attackers. Over the course of one night, all history of the Combine Empire's existence was lost, as was the knowledge of the magical arts known as Geomancy. This time period is appropriately known as the Lost Age.
  • Final Fantasy X has a massive suppression of Spira's history by Yevon's priests. Summoners typically don't know much about the Final Summon (to the point where they are surprised when Yunalesca asks them to "choose a hero"), the war between the Al Bhed and Yevon, they don't really know why machina is forbidden (beyond false teachings that it is somehow responsible for Sin), and they certainly don't know that the Final Summon itself is what continues the cycle of Sin. Instead, the people of Yevon are fed propaganda, and the Al Bhed have a noticeable gap where there's many things they only half-understand, including their own technology.
  • The official timeline for Marathon has a 139-year gap labelled "This century intentionally left blank. Seriously, nothing really happened."
  • In the X-Universe the Argon Federation erased all records of the period prior to 0 Argon Stardate (2170 AD) and presumably created a new history to replace it, in order to keep anyone from leading the Xenon back to Earth. Earth eventually became a fairy tale kept alive by the Goners, a pacifist fringe sect, who were proved right in X: Beyond the Frontier when a Terran test pilot suffered a jumpdrive malfunction and landed in the X-Universe.

    Web Videos 
  • This video is very interesting, but it basically claims that before the pyramids were built people from Atlantis got invaded by Martians and Hebrews, and gods (which in this thing, goes with the Sufficiently Advanced Alien theory of what a god is) built the pyramids. There's a reason this isn't categorized as History, even if it were true, it's too crazy to prove as such.

    Western Animation 
  • The citizens of the Crystal Empire in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic are initially unable to remember anything that happened before the rule of King Sombra. The mane six help them recover their memories.
  • In Family Guy Brian and Stewie visit Germany, and the tour guide subverts their own history. When pressed about WWII, the tour guide outright snaps and reveals he's a Neo-Nazi by mindlessly chanting propaganda while doing the salute. He then acts as if Nazis don't exist and nothing just happened.

    Real Life 
  • Some online articles believe the Sphinx and possibly the Great Pyramid are much older than we think. This is attributed to stuff like the Sphinx being catlike would make more sense for the stars to line up with Leo, and the tomb inside the Great Pyramid seems incidental, while the chambers and orientation line up with Orion in a certain position. This theory dates both buildings at roughly 10500 BC.
  • Historiography is the study of how history is written. This includes not only the study of what histories are popular in any given year, but also biases and omissions. One of the early historians for instance, Thucydides, had the History of the Peloponnesian War, which ended with consulting an oracle. The results of the augury are not told in the history, but Thucydides was an Athenian historian (Athens lost).
  • On that note, this site claims some of archaeological records (and by extension, history) has been suppressed as it doesn't fit the framework of how life evolved on Earth. Although it is a bit sketchy (especially in areas where it discusses aliens), it points to 5 perceived omissions in history (the main one is that all history before 6000 BC is missing).
  • At least one ruler in ancient Egypt actually had their hieroglyphs erased. Akhenaten's attempt to replace the Egyptian pantheon with a single god was so hated, that future rulers tried to deface his tomb. This treatment was also done to female pharaoh Hatshepsut, though the reasons for that are muddied (she and her co-monarch Thutmose III got along, but her name was removed and monuments defaced near the end of his reign by either him or by his son Amenhotep II).
  • The Library of Alexandria burning took with it numerous books (likely some histories too). However, historians aren't sure if this was arson or an accident.
  • China's First Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi violently (as in, killed the scholars as well) destroyed all books written before his era, with the exception of those on war, medicine, agriculture, and divination.
  • When they started losing the war, the Nazis started digging up remains of their victims to destroy them so the evidence would be erased from history. This didn't work, although Holocaust deniers to this day claim that the events didn't happen (at least not on the scale mainstream historians have concluded).