So we’re watching The Final Countdown, and while I thought this movie was cool as a kid because it had airplanes, ships, and time travel, the ending of the movie is really quite lame, because it negates the previous 1.5 hrs of story. It leaves you wondering what the point of all of it was, if they were just going to reset everything exactly back to where it was at the beginning of the movie.
Here’s the way the movie should have ended: The Nimitz’s air wing successfully executes its mission to prevent the attack on Pearl Harbor and sinks the Japanese carrier fleet, effectively neutering Japan’s ambitions in the Pacific. The Nimitz travels through the time vortex and emerges into a world radically transformed from the one they left…
Since the Japanese never bombed Pearl Harbor and their carrier fleet was mysteriously wiped out, the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere collapsed, leaving them a significant power in the Pacific Rim, but not strong enough to force the US to capitulate its interests in the region. Their failure to bomb Pearl Harbor left Roosevelt with no real excuse to enter the War that the American people would accept and support.
Instead, he could only ratchet-up the lend-lease program to Britain and Russia, lending further credence to isolationist and Nazi sympathizer propaganda accusing Roosevelt (who had begun building up the Armed Forces in 1940) of spoiling for a war and actively trying to provoke the Germans into attacking American shipping, thus giving him an excuse to get the US embroiled in yet another European mistake.
Buoyed by German failures in the Soviet Union, the Republican opposition, led by Charles Lindbergh and his America First Committee, intensifies its opposition to Roosevelt’s policies, claiming that Germany obviously isn’t the threat its been made out to be, as Great Britain and the Soviet Union have effectively stymied German expansionism and will undoubtedly turn the tide. American opinion is solidly in the isolationist corner. America stays out of the war, but continues its lend-lease program.
In 1944, facing the collapse of its Eastern occupied territories due to Soviet advance, the Germans launch their V-1 and V-2 rockets at cities taken by the Soviets. Since neither Italy nor the West were invaded by the Allies (North Africa was still taken by the Brits, but they were repelled in Sicily and are presently consolidating and marshaling forces from around their Empire for a second invasion of Sicily), Germany has the full resources of France and support from Italy to form a defensive line in Poland to stop the Soviet advance cold. They succeed at holding the line long enough for German scientists to procure fissile materials and develop the atomic bomb, which is promptly used in the Ukraine as a practical test of the technology.
The Germans then deliver atomic bombs simultaneously to Moscow, Leningrad, Stalingrad, and London. The Germans threaten more such atomic attacks against the British and Soviets if they do not capitulate. Britain, suffering the total loss of its government and capital in one fell swoop, signs an armistice with Germany.
Stalin, already well-known for his bloodthirsty policies against his own people and unwillingness to surrender, has no such intentions. In response to Soviet intransigence, Germany begins indiscriminate atomic bombing of the Soviet Union as quickly as it can make bombs (it actually had a very low stockpile of atomic weapons due to shortages of available fissile material and what many people thought were actual atomic bombings were really just firebombings).
Stalin is finally killed in one of the atomic bombings near Tblisi, but despite desperate messages from the remaining Soviet leadership signalling a willingness to talk, Germany uses two more atomic weapons anyway before agreeing to meet with them.
Hitler demands unconditional surrender or he and his new Chinese allies will split the country amongst themselves (the China mention is merely a ploy, though Germany has had talks with the Chinese government, nothing has been formalized). The Soviets say they need some time to discuss it. Hitler tell them to take all the time they need. 30 minutes later, Sevastopol is obliterated in atomic fire.
The Soviet envoys rush back to Hitler, eager to agree to his terms. While there, Hitler receives a message that Murmansk has been annihilated as well. He then tells the envoys that if they do not immediately agree to unconditional surrender, Germany will execute its plan to completely obliterate the Soviet people from the face of the earth. They agree and the Soviet Union is no more. Germany is able to execute its original goals for the Slavs in the East and in 1946, it finally launches its amphibious invasion of Britain and succeeds in eliminating its final enemy.
Nazi Germany, triumphant, finally turns its eye to the US, which is woefully unprepared to check German aggression and is economically weak (it never inaugurated the military-industrial complex and while no longer in a Depression, the nation is in a protracted recession). Germany consolidates its holdings, successfully completes its Final Solution, and with Hitler dead in ’47, enters into a temporary inward-looking phase as a power-struggle ensues and Goering emerges as the new Fuhrer.
Goering holds a summit with President Lindbergh, agreeing to end German aggression as long as America agrees to limit the expansion of its military and vows never to develop atomic weapons. American companies, eager to do business with the German regime, also accompany Lindbergh to the summit and agree to become suppliers to German companies. Many American companies also receive licenses to operate plants in annexed regions.
The promise of slave labor motivates many corporations to build factories and warehouses in Europe, further weakening manufacturing and employment in the United States, which never experiences a post-war boom (baby or economic), nor a transformation from a mostly rural, farm-based population to a largely urban population.
Goering is assassinated in ’54 and replaced with a hard-line government looking to continue the True Fuhrer’s goal of German domination. Working with American companies in Europe, who are more interested in increasing shareholder value than quaint notions of patriotism or loyalty, Germany expands its Atlantic Fleet of ballistic missile submarines and battleships, as well as its fleet of Zeppelins and modest carrier force.
With a secret agreement with Mexico to start armed border intrusions in April of ’56 to distract the Americans, Germany launches its armada at the eastern seaboard of the US in May of that year, quickly establishing a beachhead in the Northeast. Canada, which was liberated from the Dominion when the British fell, agrees to stay out of the war and does nothing to hinder the Germans nor help the Americans. It doesn’t hurt that they are promised control of the Great Lakes by the Germans, either.
With the largest amphibious operation in history underway, the Germans quickly capture the Northeast, including NYC and Boston. The residents try their best to resist, but alas, since the US never became the largest manufacturer and exporter of weaponry, from small-arms to tanks, these brave patriots are completely outclassed by advanced German machinery, most of it built by Ford in its various slave-labor plants in France and the Ukraine.
The Germans, augmented by various contractors hired by American corporations heavily involved in Europe, eventually battle the Americans to a standstill along the Mississippi. The M-Line, as it will come to be called, holds steady as the combined forces of Western Canadians, Americans, and Mexicans (though initially sympathetic to the Germans, the Mexicans are easily convinced by the Americans that they will be nothing more than slave labor should the Germans succeed in eliminating the US) resist further German advance, while at the same time homegrown “terrorists” attack and harass the Germans in their occupied territories.
The Free Territory of the US seizes the North American assets of US corporate collaborators and starts a nascent militarization program using their factories and supply chains. The Chinese, seeing an opportunity for northward expansion into Siberia, launch their own invasion, spooking the Germans into stopping their advance and shuffling forces around to deal with the Chinese threat.
This is the world the Nimitz finds itself in, not back to 1980 where it began its strange voyage, but the winter of 1957. The crew of the Nimitz knows nothing of the events just described, but they quickly discover that Nazi Germany not only won WWII, but has cleaved the US in two and is the only country with nuclear weapons. They also realize that they are the most advanced warship in the world with the most advanced aircraft and technology, as well as the only other power with nuclear weapons. And they are their country’s last, best hope for victory. Roll credits, greenlight the sequel.