Harry Turtledove

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    • Harry Turtledove

      Is anybody here, apart from myself, familiar with the books of Harry Turtledove? He is an author that is well known for his alternative history books. Two of his rare scenarios are the CSA being given AK-47s by time travelling white supremacists and an alien invasion of Earth occurring during WW2.
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      The post was edited 1 time, last by Doctor_Cavendish: *The abbreviation CSA means the Confederate States of America, not, for example, the Canadian Space Agency. ().

    • I have read the first book. It was interesting exploring how new technology weapons could change the balance of power even in relatively limited quantities. What I enjoyed even more was learning some extra details of the actual Civil War. It was followed by another HT book about how the South and North remained separate countries and how that influenced the situation when WWI started in Europe. One things that comes from reading Alternative History, and indeed of Science Fiction, of which it is a subfield, is a feel for how fluid the future is based on even relatively minor things. Suppose, for example, that Germany had found out with some certainty that the main Allied invasion would come at Normandy and in which month. This would probably lead to a major catastrophe for the American, British, and Canadian armies (not to mention other national forces) extending the war by years, assuming that the allies did not suffer so much domestic opposition to continuing the war that they agreed to some type of settlement. What a different and unclear future world it would be.
    • I also learned about the American Civil War through the Guns of The South. In Scotland, where I live, the period is not part of the school curriculum; books such as those of Harry Turtledove have given me quite a good knowledge of the time period. I agree with what you said on how fluid history can be; I really like your example of D-Day; if the Nazis had know when and where the invasion was to take place they could have prepared for it, leading to a massacred of all the soldiers on the beach. That is why Operation Bodyguard, which may not seem that important to people that do not have a good knowledge of the war, was so important. It would indeed be an unclear yet certainly dark future.
    • Very True. I know of that intel deception operation. It would be fascinating to have a Turtledove like History of the English Civil war or any other number of events. My preference would be a book where so very minor change of events led to a large change similar to chaos theory whereby possibly the death of a butterfly and stopping the movements of his wings could lead to a change of events leading to a major change such as starting or stopping a hurricane. Plot-wise it must be plausible. In "Guns of the South" it was based on a major change such as a large group sending modern weapons to back to one side to use in the Civil war. In Operation Body guard for instance think of the repercussions if some little glitch made German Intelligent fairly certain that they were deliberately being deceived into believing that Pas de Calais was a much more likely landing point so countering forces would be at the beach very quickly. Chaos Theory sound remarkably similar to Quantum Theory's denial of an exact force or location for a particle and instead insisting these occupy probability space. I wonder if QT explains CT.
    • The closet thing that he has written about to the English Civil War was a scenario wherein the Spanish Armada was victorious in the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585-1604 which then led to a Spanish conquest of England. William Shakespeare tries to write a play that inspires the people of England to revolt against the Spanish. I have the book but have not yet read it so my details do not get much more precise than that. A scenario with a very minor change that has a great effect could be the Southern Victory series where the messenger with Robert E Lee's battle plans for the Battle of Gettysburg are not intercepted which leads the CSA to eventually win the war. This to me is fairly plausible. Chaos and quantum theory seem to be linked with each other; I have not looked into either of them much.
    • As to the scenario of Germany wiping the Western allies from the beaches of Normandy, it wouldn't have meant much for the defeat of the Third Reich. At the same time, operation Bagration was launched in the East, again claiming a few hundred miles of the entire Eastern front, just like had happened in 1943. Germany was unable to stop this giant juggernaut taking a similar million square miles each summer; the reason it was "only" a few hundred miles per summer was that these offensives got smothered in logistics, rather than German resistance. The summer of 1944 ended at Warsaw, which is a few hundred miles from Berlin; so it is reasonable to assume the Red Army would have taken Berlin in the summer of 1945 even without ANY landing in France. This doesn't even include the winter offensives they also launched, though these didn't take the same amounts of territory.

      Of course, the power balance of the Cold War might have been a lot different; even though the European division lines were drawn by the Big Three long before the invasion, Stalin might not have felt bound by them if he had conquered "everything" alone. Countries like Netherlands, France, and Italy might well have ended up "behind" the iron country instead of in front of it.
      When the enemy is driven back, we have failed. When he is cut off, encircled and dispersed, we have succeeded. - Aleksandr Suvorov.
    • New

      To "Of course, the power balance of the Cold War might have been a lot different; even though the European division lines were drawn by the Big Three long before the invasion, Stalin might not have felt bound by them if he had conquered "everything" alone. Countries like Netherlands, France, and Italy might well have ended up "behind" the iron country instead of in front of it." I agree, provided Russia did win.

      Stalin could care less about any treaty provision unless following the treaty was better for Russia than coming up with a pretext to ignore it. Marxist-Leninist theory has from Lenin's day, if not before, taught that negotiation and treaties are to be used as tools for the success of Communism. The beliefs of “Useful Idiots” (Stalin's term for someone who believes all people are equally honest and no country therefore superior) would always give Communists opportunities to stall and to betray agreements when the time is ripe. Lenin literally wrote the book on this subject widely taught to aspiring Communists, Russian and otherwise.


      The hundreds of miles lost per year was due to several factors that could change. First Hitler was a dope fiend and a narcissist. Neither group is known for wisdom and judgement. He planned to finish off the West before turning East so he would not get bogged down with a two-front war. When that did not work as quickly as he assumed, narcissist that he was, he did not adjust his plans because it was important to him to show what a genius he was and follow the plan in his book to take the lands in the East from lesser humans and provide them for Germans alone. So then he imagined he would quickly knock out the Russians before the English would recover and the Americans and Canadians would arrive. But instead of starting in the early Spring he wasted six weeks to be a hero by ensuring Italy did not go down in defeat made seemingly certain by its narcissist leader. He invaded the Balkans first and spent the worst winter in 40 years with his troops out in the field instead of in the cities of Russia. Had Normandy been a disaster, there were plenty of English elites who wanted to quit the War, the same ones who secretly negotiated with Hitler for about the first year of the war. The same can be said of factions in America. Had we made a separate peace, the Germans in a year falling back on their lines of logistical support could easily turn things around. That would take getting rid of Hitler and his inflexibility on withdrawals and his refusal to recognize that the “sub-humans” he conquered were the most anti-communist people in the world. Germany’s fight could have been their fight. There were many leaders in the German Military who saw the liability that Hitler was, even ardent Nazi Rommel.