(The following is a copyrighted excerpt from one of the Full Information Security projects.)
"What if the Americans had won?"
Markus frowned across the table. "What?"
Throwing up her hands, Sandra got out of her chair. "Christus, there he goes again. I'm getting a drink."
"No, really." Tobias leaned forward. "What if the Americans had won? Would we even know?"
Maria's brows drew with mild interest. "What?"
"Don't," warned Markus, realizing, but too late.
"Okay, picture this: it's 1944." Smiling, Tobias patted Maria's hand. "1944, right? 1944, summer, right before the invasion of France. You're not even born yet, okay? Britain turns on its own ally, right, and of course America's already involved, you know, the glue that was holding it all together from the beginning. The same national-capitalists that financed the greenshirt insurrections and relocation camps and even Hirohito's early military buildup. There's this giant battle, Britain against France, and Britain's defeated, right?"
Nervously, Maria nods.
"But it's not really that way!" Tobias' smile grew. "It's so big that it's just cover. The Brits, remember, they're slaughtering the Irish; slaughtering Africans all across their empire; slaughtering Kazakhs and Russians and Chinese. They've got a dozen death camps across the entire globe. They're working kids in factories to produce shells to crush the last few socialist regimes left, in Germany and France, and when the oriental colonies revolt, it's, like, all they can take. They just overreached."
Maria gave a repulsive shudder. "Please, don't make me relive Braugmeier again."
Laughing, Markus said, "I wonder what he did, anyway, after he got fired?"
"Who cares?" wondered Maria. "Who gets a doctorate in history, if they want a real job? It's no wonder the economy's in the pisshouse, if every adult thinks they can spend ten years in school before having to actually work for a living."
"We need more good teachers," Tobias said reflectively. "But Braugmeier could've been part of it. No, no, hear me out. That's just the story they tell everyone: that Marshal Pétain successfully threw off the invasion and defended France. But listen. Seriously." He clasped his hands at the center of the table. "So anyway, Britain's annexed most of Ireland; they've got death camps and mass graves across Scotland and Ireland, that won't even be discovered until after Churchill shoots himself. And across the Atlantic, America's rounding up orientals and starving them, shooting them, and the Empire's just gobbling up the Pacific, right?"
"Yes," Markus interjected, "but all the major powers in the Liberation War had concentration camps. Including Germany."
"Yeah, yeah." Tobias nodded quickly. "But, excuse me, but relocating some Romani and Jews, out of an admittedly inappropriate fear of internal dissent during the war, is completely different from what the Empire did to the orientals."
Markus crossed his arms. "In principle, it's the same. My grandmother was in one of those camps, all right, in Poland? They paid some of the survivors, later, to say how it wasn't that bad; to claim that it was just 'temporary relocation.' They hid how many people really got killed, right after the war. I hate to tell you, but Hitler was not some kind of 'tragic hero.' He was just as bad as Roosevelt."
"Oh, god help us all," groaned Tobias.
Angrily, Markus went on, "All those TV specials are dogpiss. They killed people there, and tested on them, like, with crazy doctors, same as the Democrats did to the orientals. You saw the old footage from California, right? It was just as bad here, only we had time to cover it--"
Tobias shuddered. "There's a difference."
"--would've looked just as bad for us if we'd lost!" finished Markus.
Maria rolled her eyes at him, then at Tobias. "Will you please get to the point?"
"So," continued Tobias, flushing, "the point, the point is, he's actually sorta making my point. Even if he's got some of it wrong. Point is, right before, or even during the invasion of France, Britain realizes they can't keep pushing like that. Not now that Germany has finally woken up and gotten its production capacity up after the invasion-occupation during the Great War, right? And Germany's actually keeping its treaty to defend France, and in the California Ghettoes, orientals are starting to rebel against the camps, and Hirohito's just fighting like crazy to try to save his people from extermination. It's all sort of falling apart for the Empire. So...!" His eyes lighting up, Tobias speaks, "There's a secret deal brokered. Roosevelt, Hitler, Stalin, and Ford, all get together, in a pillbox in friggin' Normandy, or something, or maybe on a battleship--whatever. They get together, and decide, it would be so much more efficient if we just divided up the world now, and stopped fighting each other, right? Because see, Hitler realizes that he can't resist America forever, but he knows that with nukes in the game, neither side can win without total destruction. They want to have something left to rule, right?"
He smiled devilishly at Sandra, who had finally returned with a beer. She gave a deliberate yawn and sat, toying with her VolkPad.
Markus uncrossed his arms to give an irritated tug at his yarmulke. Indecisive, he watched.
"So," spoke Tobias, voice growing in intensity, "they draw straws, and it just so happens that Roosevelt draws the short one. He's in the wheelchair, right, and maybe in this version of the timeline, he shuffles a little, and gets the short one. So it's decided that America's going to play the loser." His eyebrows jumped at the other three. "Which fits, anyway, since Germany's just developed the jet engine, the American Navy never could've recovered in ten years from Japanese attempts to hop islands to the California Ghettoes, and there's no way the sky war or the sea war would've gone in their favor. Even if nukes didn't come into play." Excited, he bobbed in place. "Churchill doesn't like it, but he continues his retreat. His soldiers just think it's a normal, inevitable retreat, since there's no way anyone could storm Normandy without losing half its population anyway, but Churchill's betrayed them: they get cut down by shells, because rescue pickup can't make it through the water with the Luftwaffe in the sky. The orientals get picked for taking the real defeat, since both Germany and America were planning to sell them out anyway, so Germany gets the green light to nuke there, so that peasants worldwide understand the power that the supernations can now use on them. The Democrats, remember, were too stupid to develop the nukes on their own, so our financiers had to send them scientists, so that the American Empire would have nukes ready in a few years. Making sure every major player has nukes keeps things safe, so that none of the important countries can risk actually settling the war.
"In the conventional war, the gentlemen's war, Britain's army goes down, America pretends to fall back, and everyone finally meets in occupied London. All the same players are there that were at the big meeting in the pillbox, except for Churchill, who shot himself when Nagasaki was nuked, and he realized there was no way he could recover a win for Britain, with everybody else sticking to the plan.
"Everyone makes a big show of the peace conference, like they're all friends, and all the normal people get told the war's 'over.' We occupy West America, the stolen Pacific islands are demilitarized and given self-rule by the Reich, and all the land the Americans took with their lightning raids on Mexico get returned. Roosevelt's forced to give up power, dies of disease, and even though Ford escapes, a lot of the national-capitalist horrors come out, and all the high Democratic Party officials get tried at Los Angeles, and executed. Okay? You with me?"
Everyone except Sandra nods; the latter is texting, and occasionally studying the TV on the other side of the bar.
"So!" Tobias positively beamed. "It's the postwar period. Everything seems different. It looks like the Liberation War is over, the Democrats are defeated, all the camps are emptied everywhere across the world, and it's this triumph for peoples' control of their own motherlands. An end to debt slavery, war reparations, international banking cartels, special "war powers" for governments, and especially, concentration camps or dual-citizenship statuses. But then--then it gets really interesting." For just a second, Tobias' face crumpled. "Fifty years pass. Sixty. Seventy. And instead of the promise that was supposed to come after the Great War, and the Liberation War, nothing has changed. The Democrats really won the war after all. Roosevelt's secretly a hero, even though it's, like, everyone's most basic knowledge of how bad he is. It seems like America's defeated, but it wasn't." Tobias makes a fist atop the table. "In reality, the entire rest of the twentieth century was just more war. Because Roosevelt, and even Hitler, were just figureheads. Even 'Germany' and 'America' were just figureheads. The same, exact people who--"
"Oh, please." Sandra stood, eyeing Markus. "You gonna see the new Bacharach?"
Markus shrugged through a smile. "Guess I could."
They looked to Maria, but she shook her head. "I'll just go home in a few."
"Guys!" Tobias protested, but Markus and Sandra had already headed out the door, and across the plaza for the ticket window. Tobias turned to Maria. "You've gotta understand," he said, low and earnest. "What if the Democrats were still out there? What if the Liberation War had never ended? What if the exact same people who paid for the original Democrat war machine, who planned the concentration camps and prisoner of war camps across California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, all those places, what if they were still out there, and they'd spent all the time since setting up even bigger bombs and torturing and killing people in different camps? What if the Cambodian War wasn't necessary, and we only invaded it because the Americans wanted us to? The same Empire, under a different name? And, and after that, the Brazilian War, and the annexation of Canada, and the breakup of Italy...? And all those kids in the Nagasaki area, who weren't even a part of it, that are still getting those weird cancers, and no one's held accountable? And now we're trying to 'prevent the rise' of new Democrat-type factions in the Middle East, and we're even working with half the countries in the American Union, with the same banks paying for it that, if you look back at it, paid for the weapons on both sides of the Liberation War, and the Great War, too!"
"Toby..." Maria reached across the table to pat his hand. "Calm down, dear."
Tobias rubbed his forehead. "What if all those marching Democrat soldiers, with their crazy faces, marching with stiff legs, with the big pictures of 'The President,' and olive-colored tanks, and gray battleships, and the soulless salutes where they bang their foreheads at attention before the bomb-stars and the bloody stripes...what if they were still with us? What if this is exactly the way the world is supposed to be, and we're living the Democrat legacy right now? What if Roosevelt only pretended to lose? What if it actually all never ended??!"