It’s 1959, and the world is on the brink of destruction. But thanks to this handy dandy little guide, you – as the administrator of [INSERT EDUCATIONAL FACILITY] – can make sure the next generation can survive anything. No school in America can be certain that it is entirely safe from total and utter annihilation through threat of attack. From small nuclear bombs to bacteriological warfare, it’s important that you, as an administrator, have a detailed plan from start to finish memorized like the back of your hand. After all, where would these great United States be without the next generation of educated minds in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics?
World War II
During July of 1940, the people of Berlin were delighted with Hitler’s promises of success. France had collapsed after six weeks of fighting, and German troops stood on guard throughout Europe. Norway and Belgium, not to mention Poland, were under occupation. All that stands between Adolf Hitler and dictatorship of all of Europe is Great Britain. Conquest seems to be only a matter of time. Winston Churchill announced that Britain was unconquerable and that “the curse of Hitler will be lifted”, and for some period of time the British never thought of losing.
Let me introduce you to The Third Wave, a social experiment that took place in a Californian high school during April of 1967. High school history teacher Ron Jones found it difficult to answer the question “How did the Germans not realize what the Nazis were doing during the Second World War?” His students, your typical 15-year-old sophomores within a contemporary world history class, could not grasp the idea that the Germans claimed ignorance when it came to the extermination of the Jewish people within the Holocaust. Lost for words, Mr. Jones decided to demonstrate it to his students.
On September 1st, 1939, sixty three German divisions and over 2,000 planes advance into Poland. The German’s armor make them entirely unstoppable. London and Paris are entirely furious at Hitler’s advancement. The ideas of the Treaty of Versailles and the laws set down after The Great War had been ignored. On September 3rd, 1939, war is declared against Germany — although the assemblies were not unanimous towards the idea of war at the time. The atmosphere wasn’t as enthusiastic as the first war during these assemblies. According to many, the people of Britain and France were concerned with what was happening before their eyes.
Sweden maintained a policy of neutrality throughout World War II. Although the fate of the great Scandinavian state was, in the very least, unclear at the beginning of the conflict, Sweden managed to maintain official political neutrality throughout it all. A combination of geopolitical location (the Scandinavian Peninsula proved to be fruitful during this period of global uncertainty) and successful diplomatic factors (realpolitik) during the unpredictable timeline of the Second World War allowed Sweden to sit through, in short, a Cold War.
Imagine a world where World War II could have ended years beforehand. A world where millions of men, women, and children weren’t slaughtered horrendously in genocide. A world where Nazi Germany never really became a global, or even continental, threat. Alternative history is very interesting, perhaps one of the most interesting things to study in the recordings of our world’s past.