Real Alternative History

I recently completed two books that I think would make a great basis for an alternative history story.

Never Wars: The US War Plans to Invade the World by Blaine L. Pardoe, 2014 (ISBN: 978-1-78155-293-3) and War Plan Red: The United States Secret Plan to Invade Canada and Canada’s Secret Plan to Invade the United States by Kevin Lippert, 2015 (ISBN:978-1-61689-352-1).

Alternative history is popular now. Witness the Amazon hit series, The Man in the High Castle, adapted from the 1962 novel by Philip K. Dick. The Man in the High Castle takes place in an early 1960s America that lost the World War II to Germany and Japan. Eastern America is now controlled by Germany, Western US is controlled by Japan and the central US is a kind of neutral zone; a great story.

One of the best American Civil War alternative history authors is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. He has several alternative history novels out. I highly recommend them.

Never Wars is the more serious and detailed of the two books, outlining detailed military/political plans constructed by 20th century American leaders to invade and/or repel attack from numerous potential adversaries, including England, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Japan, China, Australia and Germany. The plans all had color codes, e.g., the United Kingdom was Plan Red, Japan was Plan Orange and Germany Plan Black. There was also a Plan White that dealt with the US military response to a domestic uprising or riot situation.

War Plan Black assumes a defeat of the American naval fleet and a successful German invasion of the American homeland that must be repelled. Fascinating!

The most famous of these plans is War Plan Orange (also a book by that name by Edward Miller). War Plan Orange did actually form the outline of the plans eventually adopted in the war against Japan in World War II. The creation of these types of detailed military plans began at the turn of the 19th to 20th century when the US was beginning to become a global military power. They were continually reviewed and updated over the years. The old Plan Tan (Cuba) that was originally developed after the Spanish-American War were dusted off and reviewed in detail during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Many of the old plans were ordered destroyed in the 1940s, when it was felt that having war plans against current allies might prove embarrassing. But as with most bureaucracies, many times rules are not followed and full or partial copies of some of the plans have survived.

While some of the old US War Plans have been forever lost to history, given the dangerous world we live in today, no doubt modernized War Plans that may be even more horrifying exist today.

War Plan Red focuses only on the US plans to invade Canada and the reverse plan of Canada to invade the US (known as Defence Scheme One).

While the plans were very real, War Plan Red is written a bit more tongue-in-cheek, but still an interesting tale. It turns out that the United States has looked at Canada with lust in her heart since the beginning of our country and there have been several clumsy attempts to lure our northern neighbor across the fence.

Both books are interesting reads. Never Wars is a more serious read and as a writer I can see numerous alternative history stories in its pages.

 Bill Powers    


“The Torch is Passed: A Harding Family Story” by Bill Powers


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