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Weird Historical War

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Two combatants spar
Hindenburg against the Tsar
Move in 12 battalions large
Into a Russian counter-charge
They'll be fighting for their lives
As their enemy revives
Russians won't surrender, no
Striking fear into their foe
And that's when the dead men are marching again
Sabaton, "Attack of the Dead Men"

This specific flavor of Alternate History, or when the story is really historical but with unnoted elements, deals with a point of divergence that occurs during a large-scale war, usually (but not limited to) World War I or World War II. The divergence involves sci-fi, fantasy or supernatural elements added to the war's events. Examples can include use of weapons or technology that haven't been invented yet, vampire and/or werewolf soldiers, mysticism, superpowered historical figures, and alien intervention.

This trope differs from Fantasy Conflict Counterpart in that this trope is the real war plus "extras", where Fantasy Conflict Counterpart is a fictional war paralleling a real-life one.

In some cases, those stories are not complete examples of Alternate History, because history is changed only in the added elements. Everything else, such as the victor of the war and its main landmark events, still take place as they did, even if the new elements should alter the balance of power or have further ramifications (for example, if Hitler summoned an Eldritch Abomination to the war, wouldn't the Wehrmacht mutiny or desert?). A common explanation is that the supernatural added elements only take place in secrecy. In others, however, the new elements do change the outcome of the war, which then becomes the point when everything went wrong and leads to a modern-day dystopia.

Expect the use of the occasional Secret Weapon, often of the Raygun Gothic or Diesel Punk kind if set in the mid 20th century. World War II examples will overlap heavily with Ghostapo, Nazi Zombies, Stupid Jetpack Hitler, and/or We Didn't Start the Führer. Civil War versions will typically overlap with or serve as the prelude to Weird West stories. Cold War examples will often overlap with Soviet Superscience. Fantasy examples may overlap with Historical Fantasy. Often is a sub-trope of Diesel Punk or Secret History.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Gintama takes place in an Alternate History where the European invasion of Japan was replaced by aliens. The gap between archaic and advanced technologies filled to create a proto-modern Japanese setting with Edo-era designs.
  • Izetta: The Last Witch is set in an alternate World War II, where witches and magic become an important factor in the fight for mainland Europe.
  • Strike Witches tells about an alternate World War II where the enemy are alien Mechanical Lifeforms called the Neuroi.

  • Polish painter Jakub Rozalski uses his paintings to document the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921), but here waged with giant mechs and... bears?!

    Asian Animation 
  • The Malaysian animated film War of the Worlds: Goliath combines the War of the Worlds with the World War I timeframe. Set in a 1914 after the initial Martian invasion and wherein mankind has tank tripods and technology reverse-engineered from Martian tech, the first world war threatens to break. However all that is put aside when the Martians attempt a second invasion. What was supposed to be World War I is turned into the second War of the Worlds, with the likes of Manfred von Richthofen(the Red Baron), Nikola Tesla, and Theodore Roosevelt fighting together in a united special organization against Martians.

    Comic Books 
  • Sixty Eight was an Image Comics series revolving around a Zombie Apocalypse emerging during the Vietnam War and spreading to the rest of the world from there.
  • Arrowsmith is set in an Alternate History Earth in which the United States of America is actually the United States of Columbia, magic is real, and the World War I is fought with and by dragons, spells, vampires and all other kinds of magical weapons and beings.
  • Atomic Robo features the eponymous nuclear-powered automaton in adventures throughout his 80-year backstory. So far at least a couple stories have taken place during his time as a soldier in World War II.
  • Downplayed in The Boys: while Compound V (the drug responsible for supers) was invented by a German who fled the Nazis, the only attempt at having supers in combat was a cataclysmic failure, killing off a US tank division, all the supers involved, and Senator Prescott Bush. The Nazis did end up creating a single super, but he didn't participate in the war (and works for Vought American nowadays).
  • The Captain America franchise in general. The USA and Germany both have science research departments that result in Super-Soldier programs, crazy technologies, weird semi-demonic villains, and more.
    • The wars get even weirder in the Warp World setting, where — among other character combinations — Captain America is amalgamated with Doctor Strange into Soldier Supreme, a magically-powered American soldier fighting Hitler's priest of Hell, Dormammu Red, and becomes trapped in the Dark Dimension for decades instead of becoming frozen in ice.
    • In the Ultimate Marvel universe the US in World War II has the only superhuman in existence, Captain America. The nazis are helped out by an alien race, the Chitauri. And there are also mysterious aliens, the Watchers of the Universe, who simply witness it all. It does not go into the ludicrous levels of the mainstream Marvel comics set in WWII, but it's still an example.
  • Zig-Zagged Trope in DC Comics: While there were several war-time comics in Real Life showcasing superheroes like Superman helping the war effort (and the Axis upping the ante in various ways), a Retcon was done eventually saying that Hitler had in his possession The Spear of Destiny, which could shut down the powers of any superhuman within a given (yet undefined) radius, which prevented any superhero from simply blitzing Berlin on his/her own and ending the war early.
  • DC Comics had a lot of war comics, two of which adhered very closely to this trope:
    • Weird War Tales, as seen up top. For most of its run it was a horror anthology, sort of a war-themed The Twilight Zone (1959) that focused primarily on WWI and WWII and hosted by Death himself. Towards the end it was headlined by the Creature Commandos (an artificial Monster Mash created as an exercise in psychological warfare) and G.I. Robot (a mute, seemingly non-sentient robot fighting for the USMC in the Pacific)
    • The Haunted Tank, which ran in DC's G.I. Combat for about 25 years. During WWII Lt. Jeb Stuart commands an M3 Stuart tank haunted by his (and the tank's!) namesake, Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart. And only Jeb can see or hear Gen. Stuart, so his crew thinks he's a little crazy, but certainly still capable enough to get them through their duty in the field alive. For the record, J.E.B. Stuart was a real person.
  • The DC Comics Bombshells series follows the titular group of superwomen (yes, superwomen, with no supermen in sight) fighting for the Allies and preventing the Axis (or "neutral" (in the "kill everybody on both sides and conquer/destroy the world" sense)) from deploying unnatural weapons.
  • The major Point of Divergence in East of West is the American Civil War dragging out for several years longer than in real life before being ended by a meteor strike in the center of America. Things get weirder and weirder from there.
  • The 2000 AD series Fiends of the Eastern Front by Gerry Finley-Day and Carlos Ezquerra has vampires appear on the Romanian Front in World War II, led by the centuries-old monster Hauptmann Constanta. The Soviets tried to counter them by building a Golem in Stalingrad, which Constanta himself responded to by resurrecting dead German soldiers as zombies. He was also active during the French-Napoleonic Wars, hunting down Baba Yaga and her own ghoul army.
  • Hellboy: On the brink of defeat, the Nazis, with the help of Grigori Rasputin, are about to bring forth The End of the World as We Know It.
  • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016) revisits Diana's WWII days, but and includes Nazi Zombies created by the Nazis messing with a piece of a downed extraterrestrial giant, that is powered/contains the solidified vengeful souls of a dead planet.
  • David Brin's The Life Eaters is premised on the idea that mass human sacrifice can create godlike beings, which the Nazis use to create Nordic gods to fight for them. Then other countries get in on the game, and things get pretty horrible.
  • Avatar Press's Über attempts to deconstruct the typical comic book trope of super humans being used in World War II, instead painting them as walking Weapons of Mass Destruction that leave plenty of Gorn behind wherever they're deployed (especially when facing regular troops).
  • Guess the situation in Vampire Vixens of the Wehrmacht. Go on, guess.
  • Dr. Manhattan was used as a weapon in Vietnam in Watchmen, which changed the course of the war.
  • A (potentially to never be completed) Marvel What If? fancomic by James Stokoe, Spider-'Nam, has Spider-Man fighting in The Vietnam War (with Spidey costume under the G.I. gear and all). Here is a view of some completed pages.
    • The later officially published Elseworlds story Spider-Man: Life Story pays homage to this by having the Vietnam War get dragged out several years longer by the involvement of superheroes on both sides, with Iron Man and Giant Man fighting for the US and Captain America going rogue after deciding the war is unjustified. Later on in the timeline, the Cold War goes hot when the Russian supervillain Red Ghost fires nukes at America while most of its supers are busy offworld, with nuclear armageddon being only narrowly averted and the USA and Russia going into a shooting war. The conflict is later referred to as "the Russian War", with America coming out on top thanks to Iron Man sharing his technology with the government.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the short film 1945A, the Germans field a giant spider-like mech against the Allies, complete with a laser death ray.
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: in The American Civil War, the Confederacy employs vampire troops. Abe only managed to win the war by using silver weapons.
  • Army of Frankensteins is about Frankenstein Monsters and time travellers in The American Civil War.
  • In Bedknobs and Broomsticks, a Nazi attempt to disrupt communication lines on British soil is thwarted by a witch and some suits of armor that she magically brings to life.
  • Deathwatch (2002) has a small number of WWI British (and German) soldiers trapped in a maze-like abandoned trench that is inhabited by a demonic being.
  • Frankenstein's Army: A Soviet squad finds itself confronted to ...well, Dr. Viktor Frankenstein (or rather, his grandson), who's been coerced by Those Wacky Nazis into making them an army of zombie cyborgs.
  • Hellboy: Following suit with the source material, we have Rasputin and Kroenen bringing about The End of the World as We Know It, and Hitler being an accomplished mystic himself, dying in 1958—not at the end of World War II as everyone thinks.
  • In The Incredible Mr. Limpet Mr. Limpet—a former human, now a fish—uses his "thrum" call to guide Allied subs to German subs in order to sink them. The Germans develop a special torpedo which homes in on thrums.
  • The Indiana Jones film series (particularly Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade) revels in the idea that Hitler had a secret wing of his military searching for weapons of biblical proportions. While they didn't look for The Ark of the Covenant (a guy named Otto Rahn did go looking for the Holy Grail on behalf of Himmler), SS leader Heinrich Himmler with the support of some other Nazis formed the Ahnenerbe, a "scientific" research bureau that was meant to prove their own esoteric and crackpot ideas. The biggest expedition they mounted was one to Tibet in 1938.
  • Happened in the backstory of Iron Sky, when the Nazis evacuated their Antarctic base and fled to the moon with the aid of antigrav vehicles.
  • The climax of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen revolves around the League racing to prevent this from happening, when they figure out that Professor James Moriarty is the man who fanned the flames of war in Europe and his grand scheme is to mass-replicate the unusual abilities and technologies of the members of the League and sell them to the highest bidders.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Captain America: The First Avenger has HYDRA, the Nazi high-science division create the Super Soldier Serum and use it on their leader but after Dr. Erskine (who is implied to be Jewish) defects to the States, the Allied Strategic Scientific Reserve manage to create their own Super-Soldier, Captain America. HYDRA also uses the Tesseract, which they claim was once in the possession of Odin, as an energy source to power their blaster guns and cannons and weird vehicles and weapons of mass destruction.
    • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier it is revealed that Hydra was not destroyed after the Red Skull's disappearance, and in fact has been infiltrating power structures all over the world, causing many major wars. And one of their major weapons in controlling the outcome of the chaos has been a Brainwashed and Crazy Human Popsicle Super-Soldier with a robot arm while their whole schtick was masterminded by Arnim Zola, who has uploaded himself in a series of 80s computers.
    • Black Widow (2021) reveals the the Soviet/Russian spy program known as the "Red Room" has been essentially doing the same thing as Hydra, but with a less monumental end goal, which has allowed them to continue operating for even longer. Most of their work is done by brainwashed super spies.
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats involves a satirical view of the U.S. government's attempt at creating a psychic warfare division (based on the Real Life "Stargate Project", mentioned below) during the Cold War. The reason why they (and the Russians) decided to spend millions of dollars in such an insane proposal to begin with is explained as, simply enough, not wanting either side to hold supremacy in the field of the paranormal in very small chance that there was something real about it. The film opens with a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer, even.
  • Overlord (2018) is about a paratrooper unit sent to destroy a Nazi comms tower before the eponymous operation, and finding a secret lab experimenting to create Super-Soldier Nazi Zombies thanks to a black tar-like compound.
  • Multiple B-Movies created during the height of The War on Terror had the main characters performing top-secret missions (or just being the Right Man in the Wrong Place) to prevent monsters and Eldritch Abominations from being used to turn the war in the favor of the insurgents (and cause The End of the World as We Know It)-for example, OZombie and the resurrection of Osama Bin-Laden as "Patient Zero" of a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Reign of the Gargoyles has downed American pilots in France assisting a French woman on the quest for a lance from the tomb of a holy knight, after their plane is shredded by gargoyles. The gargoyles have many tactical advantages compared to a B-17, but can be killed with normal weapons; the lance is required as the master of the creatures cannot be killed with normal weapons. The gargoyles were a desperate delaying gambit by the Ghostapo, who summon the gargoyles but find out the hard way that they cannot command them.
  • The Rocketeer: The US hasn't entered WWII yet due to the war having not started yet, but the Nazis already plan on invading utilizing stolen jetpack designs invented by Howard Hughes.
  • Shadow in the Cloud: An American supply run in the Pacific Theater gets a whole lot more complicated when a gremlin starts tearing the plane apart.
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows has Moriarty heating the real war panic of 1891 between Germany and France, but Holmes and Watson manage to prevent war from breaking out. The revolutionary new weapons Moriarty is stockpilling and wants to sell to the highest bidder once war breaks out were unheard of in 1891, but were rather common in 1914, implying that they eventually found their way into the market and were put to good use when a world war finally broke out.
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: Subverted, in that in 1939 World War II seems not be on the verge of taking place but instead peace is breaking out, and the world is a much different place, featuring private militaries, Humongous Mecha, robotic fighter planes, Airborne Aircraft Carriers, and amphibious fighter planes.
  • Sucker Punch. One of the action sequences takes place during a sci-fi-infused version of World War I in which The Kaiser's scientists have figured out a way to bring dead German soldiers back to the front lines using steam power and clockwork. There are Humongous Mecha fighting triplanes, Zeppelins from Another World, and AK-47s thrown into the mix.
  • Wonder Woman (2017) has the title character involved in World War I, preventing supervillain Doctor Poison from making a gas that renders gas masks useless, on behalf of General Ludendorff. The Greek god Ares is revealed to have been manipulating Poison and Ludendorff as part of a plan to wipe out humanity.

  • The 1632 novel series takes place during the Thirty Years' War—and adds to this a whole town from late 20th century America, introducing new technology and societal concepts to the 17th century.
    • Downplayed most of the time. After the first book, most battles are still fought using largely 17th-century (or at most 19th-century) tactics and weapons, with American weapons and devices appearing in a supporting role, such as aircraft used for reconnaissance.
  • The Anno Dracula series involves Count Dracula surviving to influence 20th century civilisation, leading to an awful lot of vampires on both sides of WW1 in The Bloody Red Baron, where German experiments allow the Baron to fly planeless.
  • Mike Mignola's Baltimore, or The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire starts in the trenches of WWI, when the protagonist is attacked by vampires, their bloodlust awakened by the slaughter. Eventually, the war is inconclusively brought to an end by the outbreak of a supernatural plague. The comic book series that follows after reveals other... unusual occurrences.
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy indicates a few times that the American colonies, which never became independent in this setting, are gathering resources and wizards to fight a fantasy version of The American Revolution. This has the wizardly rulers of Britain very concerned.
  • Declare adds a supernatural background (specifically concerning the Jinn) to WW2 and particularly the Cold War.
  • Two of the Elemental Masters novels (Phoenix and Ashes and Unnatural Issue) refer to magic being used by spies on both sides of World War I. The second also has a necromantic summoning in No Man's Land, which goes as well as you'd expect with all that raw material around.
  • "The Fantastic World War II" includes stories by A.E. van Vogt, Cyril M. Kornbluth, Lester del Rey, and Harry Turtledove. Basically every story is an example of the genre of "weird WWII" in some way or another. It includes such stories about Sir Francis Drake participating in the Dunkirk evacuation, Count Dracula dining on Nazis, a Nazi teleportation device, and an entire army of cloned Hitlers.
  • In Fred, The Vampire Accountant, the titular character is told that The American Revolution only succeeded with the help of supernatural beings, especially dragons. Apparently, supernatural creatures wanted a land of their own, far from the Old World, so they made a deal with the Founding Fathers, which is still in force to this day. During The American Civil War, the wording of the contract forced all supernatural beings to fight on the side of the North (since the contract was signed with the "Union").
  • The Guns of the South, by Harry Turtledove. Racists from the future travel back in time and give modern machine guns to the (at that point in The American Civil War) losing Southern army. Needless to say, they crush the North after receiving this unfair advantage.
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has magicians helping out in the Napoleonic wars.
  • Lammas Night, by Katherine Kurtz, follows the magical Battle of Britain that was fought alongside the publicly-known one, with archmage Adolf Hitler's Nazi coven fighting the witches and mystics of the British isles.
  • Leviathan takes place during an Alternate History World War I fought between the Steampunk technology-using Clankers (Central Axis) and the Darwinists (Allies), who are using genetically engineered animals.
  • Briefly discussed in the Mediochre Q Seth Series, where a flashback to World War I has Pigeon mention a rumour that mancers on the German side had been working on Magitek weaponry. Whether those rumours were ever true is not mentioned.
  • The short stories "Missile Gap" and "A Colder War" by Charles Stross are the Cold War with added Cthulhu Mythos, inspired when he realized the two were remarkably similar in theme: the human race existing at the mercy of vast, uncaring entities with the power to end civilization at any moment.
  • The non-fiction book My Tank Is Fight! by Zack Parson shows the various Real Life plans drawn up by both sides in WWII. Had any of these been built, they would have certainly qualified for this trope. Examples include the Nazi Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte, a super-large tank that would have been 35 metres long and over one thousand tons in weight, and the Allied aircraft carrier made of ice, the HMS Habbakuk. It then goes to great lengths to demonstrate why many of these ideas wouldn't have worked or would have been utterly useless, with the most successful ones being the ancestors of weapons systems developed later, such as a Nazi-made MCLOS anti-tank missile.
  • A variation in Night Watch (Series). Some novels claim that Others secretly fought one another on both sides of World War II (yes, Ghostapo was real). Leningrad (now St. Petersburg again) was a particularly fierce battleground due to the city itself being full of magic. People still occasionally find powerful artifacts left over from those battles.
  • No Man's Land: Tales from the Weird Wars: A series from, where the German high command accepting the offer of help from an occultist in World War I resulted in the world being flooded with weirdness, most notably in various fictional characters and entities become real.
  • Appears in the backstory of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: apparently World War II was caused in part and fought largely by warring demigod children of Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. The effects were so devastating that they vowed never to have children after the war. Only Hades kept it.
    • In the sequel series, The Heroes of Olympus, the American Civil War was apparently caused by feuding Roman and Greek demigods.
  • Nine years earlier, Harry Harrison used a similar scenario to The Guns of the South (see above)—a racist from the future travelling back to the time of the American Civil War to help the Confederacy win using easily produced Sten guns—as the basic premise for his novel A Rebel In Time. Only here the black protagonist of the novel also travels back in time to prevent the changing of history.
  • In the Rivers of London series, WW2 had a distinct supernatural flavour in the background with the Germans doing all sorts of nasty things at Ettersberg (better known as Buchenwald concentration camp) involving death magic. The battle to shut down the Nazi's supernatural weapons at Ettersberg also destroyed the Allies magical corps too.
  • The book Shambling Towards Hiroshima is mostly written as a memoir (and potential suicide note) of an old B-Movie actor (of the type that wore rubber suits for a living a la Godzilla) and his involvement on "Project KNICKERBOCKER", an attempt by the United States Navy to create Real Life (In-Universe) Kaiju to unleash as Weapons Of Mass Destruction on the Japanese. It turns out that said monsters were not only almost impossible to breed in the customary size, but the man-sized prototypes, even if seemingly lethal, were very calm. The actor's involvement in the project was to wear a rubber costume based on the monsters' looks in order to film propaganda movies of their supposed effectiveness. The people in charge of Project KNICKERBOCKER also mention in passing that the Nazis are breeding Kaiju of their own, but are apparently running into the same issues as they are. In the end, this trope is subverted or maybe even defied: the Americans' attempt at intimidating the Japanese into surrendering by exposing the project is met with laughter because of a Disastrous Demonstration, so the Americans decide to pull the plug on the whole thing, kill the Kaiju they have already bred, and use the Manhattan Project instead. It's made clear that the Germans did the same to their own Kaiju project.
  • The SNAFU anthology book series by Cohesion Press centers around military operations that end up going wrong because of the operators running into rampaging Monsters.
  • The Suicide Exhibition begins a series depicting WW2 in which an alien menace is attempting to infiltrate and subvert the Earth's civilisation during the war, with Alastair Crowley's cult worshipping them and the Nazis trying to weaponise them; their main weapon is the Ubermensch, created from humans infected with an orange fungus.
  • The Supernatural tie-in novel The Unholy Cause. In the novel, during the waning days of the Civil War, the Confederacy turned to black magic to bolster their side. Unfortunately for them, as is often the case in the Supernatural-verse, magic has a tendency to backfire and cause more harm to those who use it, which is precisely what happened to the Confederates.
  • Orson Scott Card's The Tales of Alvin Maker series has magic that's super real. Also, Joseph Smith as a superhero. This may or may not be the explanation for why world history is so wildly different.
  • The Timeline Wars trilogy is about two groups of time and dimensional traveling groups waging a proxy war by giving improved technology to different groups or leaders throughout history:
    • In the first book, Patton's Spaceship, the villainous faction gives Nazi Germany the means of manufacturing optimized versions of the Me 262 jet fighter in 1936, before World War 2 breaks out. With, the Nazis annihilate both Britain and Russia before conquering the US. General Patton leads a counteroffensive using laser tanks and armed spaceships.
    • The second book, Washington's Dirigible, features George Washington using dirigibles to fight the British in the American Revolution.
  • The Temeraire series is the Napoleonic Wars plus dragons, giving an air force to every party involved. The war only gets weirder as successive books describe how the presence of dragons has altered and continues to alter global geopolitics, forcing the French and the British to negotiate with factions such as the Chinese royal court, the Africa-spanning Tswana alliance, and the still-powerful Inca empire for advantage.
  • The Whom Gods Would Destroy series is presented as "An Occult History of the First World War," and weaves many real paranormal happenings and historical oddities such as phantom airship flaps and the Angels of Mons with fictional accounts and an apocalyptic through-line.
  • Deconstructed in Lavie Tidhar's novel The Violent Century, which is mostly set during World War II. The USA, the UK, Germany, and the Soviet Union all have superpowered people before the war begins (due to a Mass Super-Empowering Event during the inter-war period), but as the novel progresses it becomes clear that history hardly changes at all, with even superpowered individuals being too small and petty to change the horrors of mechanised warfare and the Holocaust.
  • Another series, Vivere Militare Est, has its Point of Divergence in 1945 when the Nazis and the Japanese turn to the occult in order to stave off total collapse, pulling them Back from the Brink and prolonging the war until 1946 when it's revealed that the Americans were also working on their own occult superweapon in the form of a "despoiler bomb". From there, a multi-sided Weird Cold War develops between the Western Allies, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and Imperial Japan, all while various cults and preternatural forces run rampant across the Third World and among domestic extremist groups, producing a concurrent Weird War on Terror.
  • Worldwar by Harry Turtledove involves the Earth invaded by aliens during World War II.
  • The early parts of World War Z are a Weird War on Terror, as American special forces battle zombies in the mountains and caves of Central Asia while intelligence blunders similar to those that led up to the Iraq War cause The Virus to spread and fester across the world. It moves out of this once the full-blown Zombie Apocalypse starts, however.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Danger 5's first season showed a very silly version of World War II inspired by '60s pulp adventure magazines, with Living Dinosaurs, kaiju, Nazi mad science and occultism, and more. Season two gave us a very weird Cold War inspired by '80s pop culture, with Highly-Visible Ninja, Time Travel, sentai, and a toy commercial at the end of every episode.
  • Doctor Who: In "War of the Sontrans", due to historical meddling, The Crimean War is being fought not between the British Empire and the Russians, but the British Empire and the Sontarans, who are armed with Energy Weapons.
  • There was a 2013 mockumentary on The History Channel called The Great Martian War. It blended film footage from World War One with CG of Martian tripods. Watch some footage of it here. There was also a video game based on the film.
  • The premise of Motherland: Fort Salem involves witches having been an American military caste since the colonial era, with Salem, Massachusetts becoming a combination of Hogwarts and West Point. In the modern day, America is fighting a Weird War on Terror against a group called the Spree that stages violent occult attacks against civilians in places like malls and cruise ships.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus has the "Deadly Joke" sketch, in which a British man managed to create the world's greatest joke... one that literally made people Die Laughing. Cut to British Intelligence translating it in German and using it successfully as a battlefield weapon during World War II, with the Germans trying (pretty futilely) to enter the "weaponized joke" race and the 1949 Geneva Convention getting a joke ban.
  • The main plot of Sleepy Hollow involved the heroes trying to stop the preparations of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (and many other demons) from bringing about The End of the World as We Know It, preparations that started all the way back during The American Revolution (with General George Washington himself being one of the soldiers of this secret war and many other details such as Benedict Arnold becoming one of the most (in)famous examples of Les Collaborateurs in history courtesy of a demonic Mirror Morality Machine).
  • Season three of Stranger Things reveals that the Soviets are also researching the Upside Down, with The Stinger revealing that they have captured a live Demogorgon and plan to use it as a weapon in the Cold War.
  • White Rabbit Project: The episode "Crazy World War II Weapons" showcases some of the Real Life attempts by the Allied forces to create wonder weapons. Surprisingly Realistic Outcome as even the ones that actually worked when tested (which include such things as pigeon-guided smart bombs) were too Awesome, but Impractical.
  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles occasionally delved into this during the course of World War I. In a Halloween special, Indy faces an eccentric Romanian general that is actually a vampirized Vlad Tepes planning to create a vampire army and take over the world (his first attack is on a POW camp, resulting on soldiers from both sides being vampirified and joining his ranks). In another special, he infiltrates a German airbase and destroys an experimental plane design of Anthony Fokker that is capable of crossing the Atlantic years before this was accomplished in real life, and that the Germans intend to use to bomb New York City.

  • Sabaton: The band primarily plays Horrible History Metal focused on military history and battles and usually sticks to the history, but it is occasionally embellished for the sake of the song. "The Attack of the Dead Men", about an incident during the first World War where a group of Russians counter-attacked through poison gas without gas masks, evokes this trope by playing it up a bit more as if they were really undead soldiers. In reality, the Russian soldiers only looked like zombies due to the horrific effects of the chlorine and bromine gas.

  • The Twilight Histories episode “Lord of Heligoland” takes place in an alternate World War I where Germany has been conducting experiments and rituals to contact the Norse gods.

    Tabletop Games 
  • All Flesh Must Be Eaten has multiple "deadworld" sample scenarios spread throughout the entire line wherein a Zombie Apocalypse erupted right in the middle of anything from both World Wars to the Boxer Conflict to the Cold War, sometimes because of an actual project made by the military and sometimes just because.
  • Achtung! Cthulhu, is about a mix of Cthulhu Mythos and World War II in which the Player Characters fight a secret war against the Black Sun and Nachtwölfe.
  • Clockwork & Chivalry portrays an alternate-history version of the English Civil War, in which the Royalists use alchemical spells and the Roundheads use clockwork war machines.
  • Cold City deals with the aftermath of Weird War 2, as the occupying forces in Berlin in 1950 have to deal with horrors created by "twisted technology" - and each other, as some want it all wiped out, some want to study it, and some want it for themselves.
  • Rogue Games' Colonial Gothic RPG involves the characters living in the time of (and fighting) The American Revolution while dealing with monsters and demons that cause calamity in a myriad ways to both sides (and innocent bystanders) from the shadows.
  • Atomic Overmind Press' The Day After Ragnarok is a pulp After the End setting, with "The End" having been a Nazi regime that was about to be defeated deciding to do a Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum and using a ritual to summon Jörmungandr and have it destroy the world. The Americans were able to stop it by using one of the nukes made by the Manhattan Project to blow its head off... unfortunately the devastation it did with its death throes and all of its spilled mystically-tainted blood and poison was just as bad.
  • In Deadlands, The American Civil War was complicated by the sudden awakening of magical forces. The war now includes features like zombies and Steampunk mad science devices. While not the main focus, the supplement Deadlands: Noir also provides info about how World War I went in this universe and the Hell On Earth expansion provided some info on how World War II went. The Updated Re-release of the game Deadlands: The Weird West got rid of the "Union and Confederates at a detente" plot point through a literal Retcon — time travelers doing damage to the Greater-Scope Villain of the setting and its agents, the Reckoners, mean that their manipulations were undone and the Union won.
  • Death March (created by Neckbeardia's James) involves all the blood, death, and horror of World War 1 partially reawakening an Eldritch Abomination entombed in a crypt underneath the Somme. Its stirrings awaken the dead (and any severed body parts) into horrifying revenants, who attack both sides at night. They can only be truly killed with fire. Its power also enlivens the tangles of barbed wire into thrashing death-traps, and turned any sufficiently big patch of mud into quicksand.
  • The Dust series of games is about an alternative history World War 2 featuring walking tanks, powered armour, Nazi zombies and the like.
  • Dream Pod 9's Gear Krieg setting is a World War II which has both sides using Pulp Weird Science and most importantly Humongous Mecha of varying types (Mini-Mecha and Transforming Mecha modeled after and standing in for real-world military hardware, for example).
  • The Tabletop RPG Godlike has as its base setting a World War II where all sides have managed (through various means) to create or obtain superhumans and deploy them on the front lines (and its expansion, Brave New World, provides some information on how the Cold War went on the same universe). The system prides itself on being incredibly lethal even for the most powerful of player builds/supers, and thus seriously exposes that War Is Hell.
  • GURPS:
    • The "World War II" line included Weird War II. Want to use rune magic to send giant monsters against the alien supersoldiers working for the other side? It's in here. (note: Despite the name similarity, this isn't part of the Pinnacle series.)
    • GURPS Technomancer: after the Hellstorm in 1945, a number of real-world wars still went ahead with China facing stiff resistance from magic Tibetian monks in their invasion of 1950 and Iranian Revolution takes place while Shah is being treated for vampiric leukaemia in the United States in 1979. The supplement "Funny New Guys" focuses on roleplaying the Vietnam War if it were fought using wizards and dragons.
  • Kaisers Gate is a fantasy WW1, with the Tunguska event creating multiple gates between Earth and Faerie, where elves, dark elves, orcs, dwarves and other fantasy races live. The war begins as normal even though the mess left by the (re?)introduction of magic into the world has reshaped the world significantly; there is Native American nation, the Far East and Australia are bloody messes, New Orleans is now an independent city-state etc. The Red Baron now flies a wyvern against French gryphons, and golem accompany tanks into battle as golem are highly resistant to magic. At the end it gets worse, as Central American forces invade the US, and the dragons, who perform an act of mass destruction in a deal with a desperate Kaiser, decide he has stiffed them on the payment, sending the world into the Dragon War, which ends around 1920. Also there is no Soviet Union after this, as the Czar decided to quit the war early and develop walking huts based on the legend of Bab Yaga instead.
  • The tabletop strategy game Konflikt '47 has World War II still going on long after the war ended in Real Life (like the title says, the "current day" within the game's timeline is 1947), the Soviet Union splitting from the Allies... and all sides using Mad Science (a new era that was kick-started by the Manhattan Project. Specifically, the scientist race to decrypt and understand a mysterious signal being broadcasted from various dimensional rifts), like Nazi Zombies (and disposable robot troops), Mini-Mecha and Powered Armor used as "armored cavalry", tanks packing Tesla Coil cannons...
  • Wet Ink Games' RPG Never Going Home revolves around a First World War that is being tainted (in many occasions literally) by an eldritch horror.
  • Played with on the Old World of Darkness and New World of Darkness game series: while multiple members of the Fantasy Kitchen Sink factions that comprise the settings did work during World War II (and other conflicts), they remained deep in the shadows and the byline and when the games get to the point of talking about World War II proper they explicitly mention that none of them had absolutely anything to do with Adolf Hitler's monstrous actions (Word of God is that they decided that having, for example, the Camarilla as the one responsible for The Holocaust would have been in horrifyingly bad taste).
  • Scion: The aptly named The World at War supplement takes place in World War II and reveals it was a ploy by the Aesir to prevent Ragnarok Gone Horribly Wrong as the conflict would draw all the pantheons of the world into war with one another. The ensuing conflict would pit the Aesir, Dodekatheon, and Amatsukami against The Modern Gods of America, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union as demigods from various pantheons would enter the conflict bringing their divine birthrights to bear against one another.
  • Secrets of the Third Reich: World War II is still going on in 1949 (and going further into Alternate History as things go on) with an All Myths Are True Fantasy Kitchen Sink situation, with such things as Nazi zombie troopers, vampires, Powered Armor soldiers and Mini-Mecha being fought with Captain America Expies made from technology obtained from the Roswell UFO, a British Hero Unit that is a reincarnation of King Arthur, soldiers with Psychic Powers and Weird Science Military Mashup Machines.
  • Spirit of the Century, being set in the Roaring Twenties, naturally includes a fair amount of detail on what your "Centurions"—basically pulp heroes—got up to during WWI, including it as one of the major phases of the character's background. There's also an option to play during the war with younger and less formidable Centurions, in case you'd like to dodge artillery shells while pottering around France in your jetpack. The expansion book Shadow Of The Century advances the setting's timeline to The '80s and adds details like how The Vietnam War happened with the Centurions and their enemy the Shadows fighting in the shadows.
  • Pinnacle Games published a Weird Wars line of d20 games taking place in Real Life past and future wars with supernatural additions. For example, Weird War II had the PCs playing Allied soldiers during World War II, but the Nazis had mutant soldiers, characters could use haunted vehicles and cast spells, and there were monsters. Lots of monsters. The Updated Re-release of the game line for Savage Worlds so far includes World War I ("Weird War I"), World War II ("Weird War II"), The Vietnam War ("Tour Of Darkness"), and the Roman Empire and its campaigns of conquest ("Weird Wars Rome").
  • The Last War is a tactical gang-building game powered by the Mork Borg system where the survivors of a war that started in 1914 face off with the things that once lurked in the dark, struggling to survive the apocalypse caused by the war which is known in-universe as the Last War, because there ain't enough people to fight another. Features things like giant trench maggots, shadowy monsters and haunted landships.
  • Turnip 28 has the Napoleonic wars end in apocalypse as the world is covered in a mutant turnip horror which wipes out everything else edible, leaving nothing else to eat but the turnip horrors' offspring, which alters those who eat it. Also renders most of the Earth muddy.
  • The Silver Bayonet is a skirmish Gothic horror game set during the Napoleonic wars in which elite bands of monster hunters hunt the things lurking in the dark.
  • Zweihänder: The licensed game Flames Of Freedom has the players fighting in The American Revolution, with monsters such as flesh golems and the Leeds Devil standing in the shadows and magic with a high chance of horrible things happening even if works right.

    Theme Parks 
  • The roadside attraction Dinosaur Kingdom II in Natural Bridge, Virginia showcases an attempt by the Union Army at using dinosaurs resurrected from a glacier as weapons and industrial power. To call it an "Epic Fail" is being too charitable. The creator, Mark Cline, has mentioned that he wishes to expand the attraction with a showcase of the Confederate Army trying to use dinosaurs during Pickett's Charge with equally chaotic results.

    Video Games 
  • Azur Lane takes place (more or less) in an alternate version of World War II where the naval warships of both the Allies and Axis (referred to in-universe as the "Azur Lane" and "Crimson Axis" respectively) have been replaced with pretty but powerful shipgirls, thanks to the interference of the otherworldly Siren invaders (who have since been supporting the Crimson Axis for their own reasons).
  • Bioshock Infinite is quite possibly the only example of this treatment being given to the Boxer Rebellion. Prophet Comstock had the floating city fly to China and defeated the Boxers, something which is heavily promoted in propaganda throughout the city. What actually happened in the story's universe isn't too far off; it was actually Captain Slate who led the charge against the Boxers, and Comstock is covering it up due to personal feuds.
  • In Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land (set during World War I), you lead a small squad of British and American investigators in the Eastern French battlefield, attempting to stop the German to create an army of Undead and Eldritch Abominations. The game then received a prequel DLC campaign in which you play as Docktor [sic] Kaul, the Big Bad of the main campaign.
  • The Civilization IV official Game Mod Omen takes place in the French and Indian War and gives it an apocalyptic spin with the Horsemen of the Apocalypse terrorizing the hapless British and French forces.
  • Command & Conquer:
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert involves Albert Einstein developing a time machine during World War II, finally completing it in 1946 and using it to eliminate Hitler in 1924, just as he is exiting Landsberg Prison. This has less-than-ideal results: the Pacific War seems to proceed as usual, but World War II breaks out in 1946, with the European Allies (now including Germany, Turkey, and Spain) fighting against the Soviet Union in a war involving attack helicopters, nuclear submarines, Lightning Guns, spy satellites, energy shields, and space-time teleportation. The United States, which had provided support to the European Allies for much of the war, eventually enters when it seemed that the USSR was on the verge of overwhelming Europe and Asia. The direct sequel features a third World War in the 1970's, initiated by a Soviet invasion of the United States.
    • Things get even weirder in the third game, when the Soviets try to save themselves from losing the war in the second game by using a time machine to go back to 1927 and assassinate Einstein. This somehow has no effect on the events of the first game, but instead finds the Soviets now winning the "historical" World War III, at which point they are attacked by the Empire of Japan using Humongous Mecha.
  • Dino D-Day takes place in an alternate WW2 where the nazis developed the technology to clone dinosaurs and train them as deadly soldiers, often adding mounted guns and armor. The allies do have at least one as well, a triceratops the nazis rejected for a deformed leg. One prosthetic and a mounted machine gun later, and it's just as effective as the nazis replacement dino.
  • According to Empire Earth 2, the Cold War ended when the Soviet-invented stealth bomber (which looks a hell of a lot like a B-2) was stolen by American agents after an extended bombing campaign over Alaska. This embarrassing defeat caused the USSR to collapse soon after.
  • Despite Fallout and the Great War that is central to its narrative happening in the future, it still qualifies as a weird historical war in that the Cold War between America and the Soviet Union never ended in the series' backstory. The Soviet Union would still ultimately fall apart, but China would step up in its place. A very large number of weird, unethical, and just plain wrong things would ultimately happen in Fallout's timeline between the Divergence, which seemingly happened sometime in the 1950's, and the big kaboom.
  • Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 has the Nazis trying to create zombies as a wonder weapon, after the Dark Don (formerly small-fry gangster Frankie "The Fly") has handed them the poison-spiked zombie-making bathtub whiskey that caused the Zombie Apocalypse of the first game. The right person for the job of getting rid of this? One-Man Army Mob enforcer Vinnie Cannoli.
  • Decorum Est is an Alternate History mod for Hearts of Iron IV set in 1930, one year after the end of an alternate version of World War I which saw the use of superweapons, themselves the result of an arm race caused by the discovery of a "near magical" element named "Haephestium".
  • While the universe of Iron Harvest is not quite our own, it is still heavy inspired by the post-World War I period in the 1920s and is in many respects related to our own Earth, with most of its nations being obviously fictionalized versions of real ones (Saxony is Germany, Polania is Poland, the Rusviet Empire is Russia, Usonia is America). The big difference from our own world is that, instead of tanks and airplanes, Diesel Punk mechs and airships are in widespread use.
  • Jeanne d'Arc, taking place during the Hundred Year War, has beastmen and demons with magical armlets that transform men into divine warriors. Jeanne herself bears one of those armlets and became a Magical Girl Warrior.
  • Operation Darkness involves werewolves and firestarters, Jack the Ripper, and a descendant of the Van Helsing family working as Allied commandos versus Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany. Hitler is an archmage and has allies including a vampire. Oh yeah, Hitler can also summon a dragon and skeleton warriors to even out the odds.
  • In Ring of Red, Nazi Germany had been able to create Armored Fighting Walkers or AFWs in order to give the Wehrmacht a fighting edge against Allied troops. Due to the European terrain, they only saw limited service and instead, were used by North and South Japanese troops before and after the Japanese War when Japan was divided by the Allied Forces.
  • Sengoku Basara features various wars in Feudal Japan, and some of the playable characters uses modern equipments such as chainsaws, variety of guns, and at least one Humongous Mecha.
  • Shellshock 2: Blood Trails adds zombies to the Vietnam War. A Mad Scientist developed a zombie virus to sell as a weapon, but upon being turned away, decided to show them all by releasing it as a plague which affects both sides.
  • The Silent Storm series features the use of human-sized mecha called Panzerkleins (literally, "small tanks"), which were supplied by a terrorist group called Thor's Hammer to both Allied and Axis forces in order to reap off the profits while they waited for both factions to weaken each other off before they would start plans to take over the world.
  • In World War I shooter Snoopy vs. the Red Baron, the Triple Entente is working on their secret Doodlebug bomb (a V1-esque rocket, implied to be nuclear) when Charlie Brown is kidnapped by the Red Baron, Doodlebug plans in hand. It's up to Snoopy to fight through the Flying Circus's army of gigantic tanks, huge mechas, warships, and cool airships to rescue Charlie Brown and stop the Baron. This is 100% how World War I wentnote .
  • Strikers 1945: It is World War II as a Shoot 'Em Up with various historical gigantic vehicles being able to transform into gigantic robots, and at least one fight with an alien creature.
  • The "Rusty Hole" chapter from the second volume of Twilight Syndrome turns out to be all about this, featuring an old man who believes World War II never ended holed up in a secret network of tunnels alongside the ghosts of other soldiers and the malevolent memory of the commanding officer who gave him orders keeping him there to watch over the Iron Soldier, a mysterious weapon made from human corpses that is meant to be activated through some kind of Ritual Magic.
  • ULTRAKILL takes place in the aftermath of an alternate World War I, where the invention of blood powered robots started an arms race that dragged the war out 200 years too long. This culminated in the 1000-THR Earthmover, a Humongous Mecha combined with a mobile city that could obliterate everything, cities, other machines, the land itself, and so massive that their blood power had to be supplemented with solar power. The war only ended due to all the fighting causing enough ecological damage to blot out the sun, shutting down the Earthmovers one by one, making working towards peace the only option left.
  • Victory Belles is set in a version of WWII not too dissimilar to our own, with one major difference; the belligerent nations have all agreed to transfer operational command of any warship that has manifested a female personification known as a "Belle" to the League of Nations's joint fleet responsible for protecting the Earth's seas and coasts from the powerful and otherwordly Morgana, with the specific divergence point being when both the Belles and Morgana began appearing en masse right at the beginning of the invasion of Poland.
  • The Wolfenstein series has Nazis experimenting with both the supernatural and hyper-advanced technology, courtesy of the SS Paranormal Division and Mad Scientist Wilhelm "Deathshead" Strasse respectively, pitted against the Allied OSA (Office of Secret Actions) agent BJ Blazkowicz. The first couple of games in the modern series take place in 1943 and have the weird stuff happening "offscreen" from the real war, and it's implied that it was all covered up. However, Wolfenstein: The New Order pushes things into full-on Alternate History territory, with Deathshead's super-tech causing the war to last until 1948, whereupon it ends with Nazi Germany crushing the Allies and taking over the world.


    Web Original 
  • Actual Play series Games Night uses the UK tabletop wargame Bolt Action (and its cousin Konflict 47) to enact Weird Crossover battles. The most historically accurate battle to date (The Battle of Pegasus Bridge) still involves a Nazi sorcerer summoning the Kraken and an Anglican preist summoning King Arthur riding a Winged Unicorn in retaliation as the climax.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • The various "Occult Wars" are examples of this, with both sides of a given conflict secretly making use of anomalies, which the Foundation later has to cover up. The most frequent use of this trope is in the "Seventh Occult War", occuring parrallel to World War II and featuring the Allied Occult Initiative fighting against the Obskurrakorps. Other articles add paranormal elements to everything from the Cold War to the Boxer Rebellion.
    • SCP-4715 ("A Demon Born of War") is an Animalistic Abomination and a Blood Knight that grows larger based on the number of people and creatures around it with hostile intentions. It first came into the world during a war waged between SCP-1000 and the Fae during the ice age.
  • The Unbiased History of Rome is pretty much a Historical Dark Fantasy (especially the later and Byzantine episodes) wrapped up in the format of edutainment, and this shows itself in it's depictions of Rome's various wars. For example; Cleopatra was a reincarnated Queen Dido mind-controling Mark Antony, the Sassanid Persians were The Legions of Hell, the Goths were demon-kings, Attila was a Sorcerous Overlord who could only be cast out by the Pope, and fighting against it all were the Romans with the blood of the gods in their veins.
  • Unclassified Encounter is about a series of paranormal and supernatural encounters and attacks taking place during World War II, ranging from Atlantean submariners attacking both Allied and German ships, Wendigos in the Ardennes, and even aliens attacking a British airbase during a German bombing raid.

    Western Animation 
  • The second Justice League story arc, The Savage Time, involved the League going back in time to the European Theatre in order to Set Right What Once Went Wrong (in this case, Vandal Savage sending back a laptop full of information that his younger self uses to provide the Nazis with super-weapons like gigantic mono-wheel battle tanks). A later episode involved an island museum of Silver-Age style war machines.
  • The episode of Love, Death & Robots called "Shape-Shifters" is about the Iraq War in a world where werewolves are a known and discriminated against element. The story focuses on an American werewolf soldier choosing to go AWOL after avenging the death of his werewolf comrade at the hands of Iraqi werewolves, because of his mistreatment by his peers and superiors.
  • Present in the backstory of Miraculous Ladybug: as past Miraculous Holders are identified as Joan of Arc, Hua Mulan, Sarutobi Sasuke, and Tomoe Gozen, someone in The Hundred Years War, the Rouran invasions of China, the wars that led to the Tokugawa Shogunate, and the Genpei War was messing with dark forces to the point of needing the use of the Miraculous to be stopped, though what remains unknown.
    • La Mariquita is openly stated to have fought in the Mexican War of Independence.
    • Defied during World War II, as Fu, the last Guardian of the Miraculous, left Paris to avoid risking being involved with the war or, worse, the Miraculous falling into Nazi hands.
  • At the start of The Simpsons episode "The Sweetest Apu", during a Civil War re-enactment, in addition to the usual sleaziness of the reenactors bringing inaccuracies, the battle quickly goes off the rails when a nearby World War II veterans' gathering joins the Confederates in Sherman tanks, then Professor Frink brings in a giant Steampunk Mecha-Spider (a la The Wild Wild West) to attack both the Union and Confederates indiscrimminately.
  • MAD has a sketch called "My Little War Horse", which features World War I being fought by cartoon ponies, unicorns and pegasi.

    Real Life 
  • History transformed in VCE exam: a history exam accidentally has the Russian revolution considerably improved with the presence of a Marauder BattleMech from BattleTech.
  • The real-life investigation by the U.S. government and the Russians on whether or not psychic powers exist (as seen in the Stargate Project) and whether or not they could be useful for intelligence-gathering purposes. Funnily enough, the people involved did use a whole lot of Star Wars terminology amongst themselves, including calling themselves "Jedis". Investigative reporter Jon Ronson examined one bizarre aspect of this — an exploration of the idea that psychic powers could be used to deliver death at a distance — by getting interviews with Americans who claimed to have been employed in a US Army project to see if the death stare worked. The Men Who Stare at Goats is a surreal exploration of the psi-wars as seen from the USA.


Video Example(s):


Izetta: The Last Witch

In the midst of a war-torn Europe in 1940, witches and magic are suddenly brought into the modern battlefield, becoming a decisive weapon.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / WeirdHistoricalWar

Media sources: