DBWI: Switch the Roles of Tolkien and Adolf Hitler

Maybe he could become a political leader after he fails art school?
Hitler already flunked his education at Vienna BEFORE the Great War, ostensibly because his Jewish Professor with connection to Viennese elites deliberately sabotaged his art project.

That's why he migrated, and later enrolled himself in the Bavarian Army instead of the Austrian Army at the first place.
 
Actually that brief mention of Lovecraft has me wondering: would the alliance between Chancellor (?) Hitler and President Lovecraft have been better or worse than that between President MacArthur and the Melkor*?

(*OOC- Tolkein's dictatorial title?)
 
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Yeah, I wasn't sure what you wanted to do with that. Thing is, if Tolkien is going to be Hitler in any sense besides just "killing a lot of people", he can't really be Pol Pot at the same time. Try to imagine pulling off Barbarossa and Year One similtaneously!

So I split the difference and made him a rhetorical anti-industrialist, with maybe a limited practical policy in that direction, but also a world-domination man(IOW more or less like our Hitler). Though I admit the prospect of Tolkien forcing the entire United Kingdom back to the shires at gunpoint is a tempting one!
OCC: So Tolkien ITTL is basically Sadao Araki?
 
The recent discussion about how the Great War affected the soldiers that fought in it gave me a interesting if rather absurd idea.

What would it take to switch the roles of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien and Adolf Hitler?

Have Hitler attempt to build some idealized utopia on the corpses of millions and go down as one of the most evil men who has ever lived, while Tolkien becomes the father of modern fantasy.

It doesn't have to be a direct switch, e.g. Hitler doesn't necessarily have to be a rabid anti-industrialist.
I have a hare time seeing it, Anglophone fantasy was dominated by the pulpish Sword and Fantasy until they adopted the modern fantasy which is heavier inspired by Hitler and Lovecraft, while Tolkien is most known for genocidal policies, he did write some minor novels, they’re incredible dry, and detail oriented. Hitler on the other hand wasn’t well known for his prose, but his manic energy and his incredible nature and building details. In Into the Depth he creates a vivid underworld. His masterful illustrations is still used today and it’s hard to imagine a fantasy illustrator whose landscapes aren’t inspired by him.
 
I have a hare time seeing it, Anglophone fantasy was dominated by the pulpish Sword and Fantasy until they adopted the modern fantasy which is heavier inspired by Hitler and Lovecraft, while Tolkien is most known for genocidal policies, he did write some minor novels, they’re incredible dry, and detail oriented. Hitler on the other hand wasn’t well known for his prose, but his manic energy and his incredible nature and building details. In Into the Depth he creates a vivid underworld. His masterful illustrations is still used today and it’s hard to imagine a fantasy illustrator whose landscapes aren’t inspired by him.
I suppose that's true, the fact that Hitler and Lovecraft even wrote a couple of short stories set in each other's settings set up links between the Yog-Sothothery and the Swastika Cycle that persist to this day, with frequent additions, homages and recontextualizations that have made the fantasy genre really vibrant and open to experimentation. From what I recall of Tolkein's forgotten works (don't judge, I was going through a phase 😳) his approach to fiction was almost unbearably rigid. If he somehow took Hitler's place as the founder of modern fantasy I feel like all we'd get are clones of the same mysticist anti-industrial Anglo-Saxon supremacist stuff.
 
Also if we assume "Germany loses World War I" is the best path to "Hitler as Tolkein" would he be rampaging through the colonies Germany would surely fight to keep at the peace table or trying to purify Germany proper or what?
 
It's interesting to think of what might have been with other leaders and authors. James Joyce, the famous Minister for Urban Planning in the early days of Irish independence, might well have written the definitive novel of Dublin city life. Could Clement Attlee have taken a break from writing detective novels in the gentlemanly English manner, and given George Orwell a run for his money as first Prime Minister in UK after democracy was restored? The possibilities are endless.
 
George Orwell a run for his money as first Prime Minister in UK after democracy was restored? The possibilities are endless.
Umm, democracy was RESTORED under Orwell? I'll grant you, that's the standard textbook description of the era, and it's true he came to power via an election, and generally allowed freedom for respectable mainstream English opinions, but you really have to overlook some major authoritarian tendencies to view his rule as uncomplicatedly democratic.

In addition to interning not only the remaining Inklings, but also the old-school Chesterbellocians(whose francophilia and Catholicism had rendered them irrelevant anyway), Orwell locked up any Marxists he disagreed with, often for longer stints than the reactionaries.

And that's not even getting into the censorship, eg. banning American crime stories(too sadistic) and exhibits of Salvador Dali's work(because they represented a "diseased" mentality). Not to mention firing civil-servants who used too many Greek or Latin-derived words in their papers.

And of course, for all his uptight petty chauvinism, he found some excuse to exempt the work of his buddy Henry Miller from the general crackdown. Kind of hypocritical, I'd say.
 
Umm, democracy was RESTORED under Orwell? I'll grant you, that's the standard textbook description of the era, and it's true he came to power via an election, and generally allowed freedom for respectable mainstream English opinions, but you really have to overlook some major authoritarian tendencies to view his rule as uncomplicatedly democratic.

In addition to interning not only the remaining Inklings, but also the old-school Chesterbellocians(whose francophilia and Catholicism had rendered them irrelevant anyway), Orwell locked up any Marxists he disagreed with, often for longer stints than the reactionaries.

And that's not even getting into the censorship, eg. banning American crime stories(too sadistic) and exhibits of Salvador Dali's work(because they represented a "diseased" mentality). Not to mention firing civil-servants who used too many Greek or Latin-derived words in their papers.

And of course, for all his uptight petty chauvinism, he found some excuse to exempt the work of his buddy Henry Miller from the general crackdown. Kind of hypocritical, I'd say.
To play devil's advocate, I'd say that given their complicity in the crimes of the Tolkein regime the internment of the remaining Inkling loyalists was justified given that the few that still flew their flag* after the '48 election were high ranking party members. The internment of Marxists is a bit beyond the pale, but at least an argument could be made that supporting the Guilds and cracking down on the Union of Britain prevented all out class warfare in the fragile post-Tolkein period and preserved Distributism as a third position on the world stage, as practiced by the remaining members of the Commonwealth even today. It's important to keep in mind the mood of the time, given that less than two decades before Tolkein had used popular discontent with the massive wave of postwar work stoppages and working class agitation to rise to power in the first place. Say what you will about the man's industrial and social policies, Tolkien's (domestic) economic reforms are one of the few areas that are regarded to have had a long-term positive impact. Even I refuse to defend Orwell's language reform Newspeak debacle, so don't even start.

*OOC- Think a BUF Union Jack but with this instead of the flash in the middle:
 
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With Hitler there's alæso another problem, as people have mentioned he left Austria for Germany to serve in the Great War. There's no way the Austrians would have elected him as leader with that personal history, and the idea that the Germans would have elected a Austrian is ridiculous. So he wopuld have needed to stay in Austria and serve in the KuK army, of course military service in Galicia could have radicalized him.
 
On a happier note, if the Inklings go the artistic route instead of the political one, what sort of literary collaboration could we see between Tolkien and C.S. Lewis?

OTL, Tolkien had Lewis and company taken out in The Witches' Sabbath Purge, partly because he thought they were too cozy with the low-church protestant faction that Tolkien distrusted, and also just because he thought Lewis moralizing in general could get in the way of political goals. But I could honestly have seen them doing some interesting stuff together, had they both focused on writing.
I don't know how well you can 1:1 the Hitler-Rohm relationship onto Tolkien-Lewis. There was always an undercurrent of tension between Lewis and Tolkien even as writers, whereas Rohm and Hitler were on much friendlier terms.
 
With Hitler there's alæso another problem, as people have mentioned he left Austria for Germany to serve in the Great War. There's no way the Austrians would have elected him as leader with that personal history, and the idea that the Germans would have elected a Austrian is ridiculous. So he wopuld have needed to stay in Austria and serve in the KuK army, of course military service in Galicia could have radicalized him.
Well we have to keep in mind the most likely scenario: in a world where the Central Powers lose WWI Austria would likely have been dismembered given ethnic tensions that persisted even into the early years of the Austrian Federation OTL, so with a defeated Germany and vestigial Austria pan-Germanism would likely be a much stronger movement in this WI.
 
This is incredibly random, its like asking what if Humphrey Bogart or Ronald Reagan became a politican.

I really can't see them switching without some real ailen space bats
 
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So, how do you think would India be affected by the lack of a Tolkien Regime? For starters, India's road to independence might have been more gradual and peaceful instead of the Indian War of Independence led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose which led to a united India.
 
This is incredibly random, its like asking what if Humphrey Bogart or Ronald Reagan became a politican.

I really can't see them switching.
I'm not sure about Bogart given the car crash but Reagan for one became more conservative as he got older, and spoke positively of the Distributism he saw when he went on a Commonwealth tour in the late fifties. I'd assume riding a movie star career to the White House would give him quite the bully pulpit to advocate for localization of production and maybe even an American take on the guild system?

So, how do you think would India be affected by the lack of a Tolkien Regime? For starters, India's road to independence might have been more gradual and peaceful instead of the Indian War of Independence led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose which led to a united India.
I mean given the historical British focus on selectively favoring different ethnic groups to divide and rule the more diverse colonies I could see India peacefully dividing into at least a half-dozen ethnostates. Tensions would probably be lower than OTL if all the different faiths and ethnicities of the subcontinent have their own space, given how artificial India as a united entity is in the historical context.
 
I mean given the historical British focus on selectively favoring different ethnic groups to divide and rule the more diverse colonies I could see India peacefully dividing into at least a half-dozen ethnostates. Tensions would probably be lower than OTL if all the different faiths and ethnicities of the subcontinent have their own space, given how artificial India as a united entity is in the historical context.
I mean, the shared experience of fighting the British in the trenches, an experience which united Indians regardless of caste, religion, or social background, has fostered a sense of unity amongst Indians. Shame it also empowered the Indian National Army as well.
 
I mean, the shared experience of fighting the British in the trenches, an experience which united Indians regardless of caste, religion, or social background, has fostered a sense of unity amongst Indians. Shame it also empowered the Indian National Army as well.
That's exactly what I'm saying. I mean sure Hindus and Muslims get along alright but the INA has always regarded Sikhs and their discerning pacifism as a potential threat. I know it's current politics but it's no wonder Punjab has had so much unrest recently! You know the world's gone insane when India is basically enforcing Tolkeinist police actions on the subcontinent!
 
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