Alternate history is a literary and film genre that posits the question “What if…?” It’s becoming increasingly more popular, especially the right-wing, fascist futurist variety.
But during the 1960s, MacKinlay Kantor started the alt-ball rolling with If the South Had Won the Civil War, which posits the idea that General U.S. Grant was killed, throwing the Union Army into chaos.
The “butterfly effect,” where small events may have large effects, has been the basis for dozens of narratives, many of them in the sci-fi genre. Recently, two such narratives have been created as TV miniseries. The Man in the High Castle, based on Philip K. Dick’s story about the United States losing World War II and the occupation of America by the Japanese Empire on the West Coast and the Nazi Reich on the East and Midwest. The trope is the intersection of multiple parallel realities that determine the fate of the world. The other, Colony, takes place in the future in Los Angeles under a regime of military occupation by a collaborating body known as the Colony Transitional Authority, representing a force of extraterrestrial “Hosts” or “Raps,” a reference to raptors. (In fact, their human proxies are represented by a logo features a stylized bird of prey.) The Hosts have built an enormous wall that surrounds the central part of Los Angeles (i.e., The Divergent Series).
Each of these and other alt-realities have used flags, signs and symbols to help define the shift from the democratic normal to the oppressive new normal of totalitarian occupation. I’ve gathered a few to show how the creators of these symbols think, from color to pattern to icon itself.
This flag represents the real German-American Nazi Bund in the late 1930s. Although patriotic U.S. symbols were also used, the flag exalts in the specter of power that was normal in Hitler’s Germany.
The adoption of the American flag and Nazi eagle represents the occupation as the Greater Reich in The Man The High Castle.
Also in The Man In The HIgh Castle, the Japanese adopted the color scheme of the U.S. for its military occupation of the Pacific States of America.
The 1995 film adaptation of Richard III features various symbols, uniforms and regalia with an eerie esthetic of the Third Reich as depicted in Nazi propaganda. The wild boar in the circle obviously resembles the Swastika.
On a classic comic note, Charlie Chaplin adopted the double cross as a satire of Nazi iconography.
Chaplin almost cancelled The Great Dictator as German atrocities in Europe became clearer, he felt there was simply nothing funny about Nazis. and, in any case, many countries might ban the movie to avoid Hitler’s ire.
In Orwell’s 1984 a glimpse of the ruling Party, INGSOC (English Socialism) appears with the “V” for “Victory”. Across the “V” are two hands, one white, one black, clasped in solidarity.
In The Hunger Games, the official seal of Panem, the Capitol, is a streamline variation of our own national eagle framed by a laurel.
Colony’s Homeland Security department is at the service of the Transitional Authority, the raptor is its symbol.
The Terran Dominion, otherwise known as the Dominion of r simply as the Dominion, is a terran government
Terrans, rally to a new banner. In unity lies strength; already many of the dissident factions have joined us. Out of the many, “we shall forge an indivisible whole, capitulating only to a single throne.he time has come, my fellow Terrans, to rally to a new banner. In unity lies strength; already many of the dissident factions have joined us. Out of the many, we shall forge an indivisible whole, capitulating only to a single throne.”
From the movie Equilibrium, 2002, an American dystopian drama, comes the flag of Libria. The four Ts on the flag represent the Tetragrammaton Council
Neue Slowenische Kunst (a German phrase meaning “New Slovenian Art”), a.k.a. NSK, is a political art collective that formed in Slovenia in 1984, when Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia. They parody the language of fascism in everything from imagery to music.
Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd, has long performed The Wall. “Pink” is a dictator and his concert is a neo-Nazi rally where his followers attack ethnic minorities. His logos are a pair of claw hammers with handles forming an X superimposed against a red ring in fascist style.
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