The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime

I have a question about the parallel worlds, following the third season finale we understand that one cannot enter another world which his alternative version exists, so both Tagomi and Julienne did not visit the same world, so which of the 2 is our world? It doesn't really matter but I looking forward for some insights.
One of the things I like in this season is the background of the early days after WWII was over, I wonder what happened to Ike...
 
Of the two we saw Tagomi's was closest to our world, though I'm not really convinced it was our world and there still could have been differences we never saw.

Julianna absolutely wasn't ours because of the sabotage done by Nazi agents to things like the space program (and the throwaway line about men and women astronauts).
 
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One of the things I like in this season is the background of the early days after WWII was over, I wonder what happened to Ike...
Patton surrendered to Rommel at West Point, so presumably the Nazi invasion had only physically overrun New England and perhaps NYC before Washington went up in smoke. Fort Monmouth is still American at the surrender, so they certainly haven't taken much or any of NJ. Eisenhower's forces are presumably concentrated in the midwest, and anti-Nazi rebel activity is likely concentrated there and in the South. The late-1940s and early-1950s presumably feature stamping out of this rebellion--I would presume Eisenhower is killed in battle or dies of age-related complications (he suffered a severe heart attack in 1955--either that one or an earlier one kills him ITTL). [/QUOTE]
 
Patton surrendered to Rommel at West Point, so presumably the Nazi invasion had only physically overrun New England and perhaps NYC before Washington went up in smoke. Fort Monmouth is still American at the surrender, so they certainly haven't taken much or any of NJ. Eisenhower's forces are presumably concentrated in the midwest, and anti-Nazi rebel activity is likely concentrated there and in the South. The late-1940s and early-1950s presumably feature stamping out of this rebellion--I would presume Eisenhower is killed in battle or dies of age-related complications (he suffered a severe heart attack in 1955--either that one or an earlier one kills him ITTL).
I do recall it being mentioned that there was fighting on Virginia Beach back in season 1 as well.
 
I do recall it being mentioned that there was fighting on Virginia Beach back in season 1 as well.
I wonder about the logistics of that. Geography makes the shortest distance between Europe and the US mainland the distance between Iceland and Newfoundland. I would expect any Nazi invasion of North America to begin with island-hopping--Britain to Iceland to the southern tip of Greenland, and then an invasion of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Virginia Beach? I think I remember that dialogue too. The only way the main thrust of the invasion would go that way would be if the Nazis stage out of Bermuda. Which they could, though that would piss away any operational surprise. And I'm struggling to put together a campaign history that ends at West Point while beginning in Virginia that also has Washington nuked but not NYC--one really would expect the capital of American Jewry to be at the top of the Nazis' nuke-list if they had a bomb. So I assumed NYC fell before Washington. Nuking a city that they already held would be kind of pointless--maybe there's a Siege of Washington akin to the Siege of Leningrad. This would allow the Nazis to advance north, the Appalachians on their left flank, New Jersey on their right flank, until they reach West Point. But that doesn't make much operational sense--it means they end up occupying a lot of unimportant farmland and second-class industrial towns while the real points of strategic interest--NYC, Washington, Pittsburgh--remain in US hands.

Maybe there are two invasion thrusts? One through the northeast, another through Virginia?
 
I wonder about the logistics of that. Geography makes the shortest distance between Europe and the US mainland the distance between Iceland and Newfoundland. I would expect any Nazi invasion of North America to begin with island-hopping--Britain to Iceland to the southern tip of Greenland, and then an invasion of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Virginia Beach? I think I remember that dialogue too. The only way the main thrust of the invasion would go that way would be if the Nazis stage out of Bermuda. Which they could, though that would piss away any operational surprise. And I'm struggling to put together a campaign history that ends at West Point while beginning in Virginia that also has Washington nuked but not NYC--one really would expect the capital of American Jewry to be at the top of the Nazis' nuke-list if they had a bomb. So I assumed NYC fell before Washington. Nuking a city that they already held would be kind of pointless--maybe there's a Siege of Washington akin to the Siege of Leningrad. This would allow the Nazis to advance north, the Appalachians on their left flank, New Jersey on their right flank, until they reach West Point. But that doesn't make much operational sense--it means they end up occupying a lot of unimportant farmland and second-class industrial towns while the real points of strategic interest--NYC, Washington, Pittsburgh--remain in US hands.

Maybe there are two invasion thrusts? One through the northeast, another through Virginia?
The events at Virginia Beach could've taken place after the US surrendered in the Post-War cleanup. I doubt that every Soldier in the US Army laid down there arms just like that.
 
On to more serious analysis of the entire season:

I was initially cold on the idea of the BCR being the dominant rebel group in the JPS (not to sound like a 'gamergate' type, it seemed more like it was put in to be 'woke' than plausible), but the idea has grown on me a bit. It makes sense that there would be considerable white-flight from the JPS to the Reich and considerable movement of black refugees westward. The 1940 population of California was 6.9 M. The black population of the US in 1940 was almost 13 M. It wouldn't take all that much of the black population fleeing west to give them local majorities in much of the state, particularly if many white Americans leave.

If the Japanese were smart about it, they could have had a very pliable subject population in the refugee blacks--a group of people already hostile to the white population, and of near-guaranteed loyalty when the alternative is the Nazis. But, apparently, they weren't.

The obviously-Soviet weapons and the fact that China is supposed to be a major threat to Japan in the 1960s raises too many questions about China. Honestly, the most plausible explanation is that Mao's China has its own portal through which its funneling lots of weapons and soldiers. Realistically, with the Nazis in complete control of Europe and America occupied, China should have disintegrated by 1950 under the strain of a decade of nonstop war and such things as the Henan Famine.

The immediate aftermath of Smith's death is likely a long power struggle and consolidation by a junta of generals in the reconstituted US Army. Probably Whitcroft in charge. It's to be noted, though, that between them, Smith and Goertzmann have culled the majority of recognizable charismatic would-be Fuhrers--Heydrich, Hoover, Rockwell, Himmler, Heusmann, all gone. The military junta is going to be a bit weak-kneed without someone like Smith to unite them. Whitcroft is the closest thing to such a figure--the conquest of the Neutral Zone makes him a war hero and someone around whom 'Americanist' Nazis can rally. If he avoids assassination, he can probably consolidate his position enough to complete his goal in a few years...

Assuming the Japanese don't extend their nuclear umbrella over the JPS, which they might. The BCR and their allies might realize just how unstable their position is, and sheepishly ask for that back in exchange for trade deals very advantageous to Japan.

Which brings me to my complaints about the season: As I said, the BCR grew on me, but they should have been built up longer. They should have done more than one good strike on an oil pipeline. Ideally, they should have been built up in previous seasons, but if this was a late idea, they should have spent a whole 10 episodes building them up as a threat to the Japanese. Maybe also explain the changed demographics of California as I suggest. The season should have been stretched another few episodes, maybe to 15, to allow for this and not make the Japanese Empire look like it has a glass jaw.

And that ending with the people coming out of the portal--that's just baffling. My own pet theory is that those are people who died in the Man in the High Castle timeline (in German camps and Japanese killing fields), but lived in other universes, but that's really not all that satisfying--why should they just be allowed to cross over? That could have used some build-up, or just been left on the cutting-room floor. A better ending, IMO, would have just been to follow through with toppling the Nazi American Reich and establishing some kind of real free government, even if that does clash with the BCR's stated goal of not being the old America--which is a good thing in the show, so admittedly it's a bit hard to square this circle.

But back to the good stuff: Sewell's performance as John Smith is still the show's best element. He brings such a pathos to the role that one almost forgets just how monstrous he really is. Almost. It didn't even occur to me until about a minute before Helen tells Smith to stop (the genocide) and he answer's "I don't know how" to stop and remember that, as Reichsfuhrer, he doesn't actually have to go through with building death camps. He's in charge. He's eliminated his opposition. He can scale it back--slave labor, deportation--he doesn't have to fire up gas chambers. Is he a committed Nazi? The show seems to lean toward no, that he's justified everything he's done with 'for my family.' But the fact that he doesn't stop calls that into question. Is he trying to keep some constituents in line--but who? Rockwell is dead and the Germans have given him autonomy. He doesn't answer to anyone. Everyone who knew about his misgivings except Goertzmann is dead, so there's no one he has to prove his ideology to. Does it just never actually occur to him? That's plausible--he is so engaged in his Nebenwelt project that he might actually not be giving the invasion much attention.

I wish there had been some meeting between Smith and Alt-Smith, but the show ruled that out last season.

His daughters were also played well, Amy in particular having the creepy vibe we should associate with Nazi children.

Childen is still the collaborator extraordinaire, just the right mix of sad, pathetic, and sympathetic.

Juliana...meh, she's still not all that interesting compared to the others. More interesting things happen around her than anything she does is interesting.

Kido's arc with his son was a satisfying end.

Thoughts on the aftermath (ignoring the portal-people and disregarding my hypothesis of Mao's China having its own portal):

By the mid-1960s, I expect Whitcroft to be solidly in command of a Nazi American Reich that includes the former Neutral Zone. A lot of the Jahr Null policies will be rolled back and a much more American-flavored Nazism will emerge. But they will be unable to push through into the Western States because those will have reentered the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere for its nuclear umbrella. Japan will have crushed the Chinese with reinforcements from across the ocean and have secured its position in Asia. Both them and the Nazis will have tested a hydrogen bomb, so a new cold war will settle into place. Nazi America will be a third power, kind of akin to OTL China or France--its own nuclear arsenal and geopolitical agenda (like China), but aligned with the Nazis (France was never really going to join the Warsaw Pact). The Germans are said to still be fighting military campaigns in the Urals, so some kind of Soviet government still exists--the Japanese will probably be supplying and arming that one after China is crushed, to keep the Nazis busy.

Sooner or later, the Nazis' habit of massacring their leaders in bloody coups is going to send them into an actual civil war, which will probably go nuclear and escalate to a global thermonuclear war. I predict that that will happen by 1980.
I also noticed what I thought was another pathetic attempt at getting "woke points" from the audience. It was mostly from the homosexual scenes.

The BCR coming into focus was so late in the show that it was very distracting and I thought that I was watching either a different show or a spin-off.

Agreed with most of review, there are a lot of interesting concept in this series that either ended up suddenly dropped in the background (the Jahr Null, Frank art serving as a resistance symbols, nazi spying in OTL) or being too suddenly introduced (the BCR).

Most of the global events of the later half of the season makes not a lot of sense. I mean, why the Japanese pull out so suddenly and agree on the Reich providing them oil, when they used an embargo as a weapon in the earlier season ? There was an interesting plot device to use in the form of an “American” puppet government set in place by the Japanese and both the BCR and the American Reich trying to undermine it, with the former knowing than a sudden collapse would lead to a Reich invasion and their extermination.

Same with Whitecroft, he seemed to be an interesting character but his first scene (shooting resistance fighters and pleading for invading the pacific States) introduce him as an hardliner, so why the fuck does he seems to have a sudden change of mind and reject Nazism in the end ?

If John Smith (IIRC) seems to agree that carpet bombing the West Coast is a bad idea and might makes the occupation very costly, why the fuck does he stick to the original “GeneralPlan America” after effectively becoming Führer of the US ?

And from where the fuck did this “Coup d’état in the Nazi Reich” plot device came from ? There was a good opportunity to have the same effect on the overall stories by using the idea of a powerstruggle between like, Old Guard Military and Jahre Null fanatics after Himmler assassination.



On the other hand, really liked the overall character development of Smith on a “personal level”. His last scene with Helen (and her last words) was very good. Kind of regret they didn’t played more with the idea of OTL, but I guess production was force to end the show with this season (and that Man in the High Castle: Interdimensional Portal War might have been a bit cheesy).


Will not comment the last scene as creator interview stating that “the spectator should interpret as they want” show a clear laziness on their part.

Good Show overall, really liked the attention they gave to the small background & atmosphere details, such as the nazi art-déco and the propaganda poster, made the universe feel very alive.





Totally agree with you on the BCR. The idea by itself was very good, as blacks in this TL would have both the number, the incentive and the “community” spirit to form an efficient Resistance nucleus.

However, the idea itself came literally from nowhere (and why didn’t they tried to attach it to Frank “inspiring” Resistance?), and they should have played more on the idea of them being the bigger fish in a the large pond of the various Resistance movement (there was only one sense in that sense with the Aztlan and Jewish fighter planning the defense with them).

I guess they wanted to present Bell as a strong (almost Mary Sueish tbh) character, but the naivete of the BCR ignoring the possibility of nazis rushing up to set up Death Camps if the Japanese pulled back was really annoying, especially after what happens in Denver earlier in the season.
Despite being one big cliché, I was actually curious how Aztlán was like, since it was one of the few, if not only country, to remain completely in the neutral zone.

I also would like to mention that I was beyond curious about the Catholic-Jewish village that we saw in the show. What happened to the Catholic hierarchy? What about the Pope? Is he in exile somewhere in the Neutral Zone?
 
Possible Nazi invasion (note Nazis in OTL had plans to take Iceland, Operation Ikarus). The Fascist regime in Portugal (Azores belong to Portugal) had good views about Hitler in OTL.

NorthAtlantic.jpg
 
There was in 1942 a Life Magazine issue about what route the Germans would take in order to invade the United States: What If The Nazis Had Invaded America? Maps Reveal How Hitler Could Have Attacked The U.S. (As Imagined By 1942 Issue Of Life Magazine)
I do like this map, but I do have some problems with it.

1. it was created during the war, and people during the war didn't have hindsight on their side, so they would'nt have known about the Nazi's true capabilities and probably would've just assumed the absolute worst

2. It was created during the war, so it was also most likely propaganda, so it could've also just been scaremongering of a sort.
 
With the apparent role of Britain in this timeline, I have always assumed that the Nazis likely invaded from Bermuda, made possible via an alliance with the British.
 
While I enjoy the Man in the High Castle I have some problems with its world-building.

Possible Nazi invasion (note Nazis in OTL had plans to take Iceland, Operation Ikarus). The Fascist regime in Portugal (Azores belong to Portugal) had good views about Hitler in OTL.

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The Germans in otl were running out of fuel all the back during the invasion of France. Thus they had to partially de-motorize their invasion force relying on horses to pull in artillery pieces. In some cases Panzers were left abandoned due to them running out of fuel. One of the main reasons they invaded Russia was because of it having the nearest supply of oil which was necessary to continue the war.

At best the Nazis could get away with was putting client states in Europe with shaky legitimacy in their home regions. There was no way that Sea Lion could ever have been successful as the Royal Navy reigned supreme on the seas. The German Kriegsmarine wasn't ready to go toe toe with the Royal Navy until 1948 based on German naval buildup plans. Germany also only occupied Northern France as a means to protect themselves from another invasion by the allies. Even if Germany somehow forced Britain to surrender, there was no real way he could occupy the country without the Royal Navy destroying his fleet and/or the fierce resistance from the British making an invasion very costly and untenable.

Stalin in otl also had plans to continue the War from the other side of the Urals anyway. By the time the Germans got to Moscow the Soviets had transplanted much of their infrastructure and industrial apparatus to other parts of Russia so that if Moscow was lost the War would still go on. Halder took the wrong lessons from the war and changed Hitler's plan to go Southwards to take Baku (Hitler and the General Staff didn't find out about it until it was too late). Even if the Germans do manage to get to the oil fields before the Russians bomb it, the German army would have sustained great losses and even if the eek out a victory it will be a near Pyrrhic one at best.

Supposing that Germany nuked the US, they still wouldn't be able to occupy it. The US is very large and decentralized with a very low population density compared to Europe. The Japanese even knew that an invasion wouldn't work because American citizens were armed to the teeth. The US had a large manpower pool as well with a huge distance between it and Europe, making German logistics very difficult.

Also Germany occupying Italy and integrating into another set of provinces directly ruled from Berlin would not work. The Italians wouldn't take this lying down. The Italians during the war also had a pretty good fleet and air force which was hampered by a lack of fuel. Germany had also faced this similar situation. Germany would also have its hand full administering its vast new territorial holdings. Nazi Administration was not very good especially in terms of economics. The German recovery after the Depression was fueled by debt. They only paid it off by plundering the nations they invaded. This is not a very good long-term strategy for an empire. The Nazi's own racial policy would also cause many rebellions. The frequent plundering of conquered territories combined with their nonsensical racial hierarchies would mean that the Nazi Empire would be a ticking time bomb. For example in Ukraine where the Nazis were initially welcomed as liberators saving them from the Soviets during the Holdomir, the Nazis committed horrible atrocities which caused the Ukrainians to fight alongside the Soviets.
 
^all fair points. But I think Hitler’s fascination with the movies is the plot hammer to fix any issues. In this crazy world where travel of people and thing between realities is possible, the likely explanation is that Hitler has the movies as far back at the late 30s and tailored his approach to avoid what he knew of the many (likely most) worlds whether he failed.
 
Depending on how far back Hitler had the films, its very likely that the Man in the High Castle version of Hitler is essentially a Machiavellian mastermind. Its very likely he could've done stuff like, back up a "Trotskyist plot" in the USSR, to cause it to fall to a civil war as Barbarossa is carried out with impunity. Then take out FDR to assure that an isolationist gets in the White House, cooperate with pro-Nazi elements in the UK long before World War 2 to get that guarantee on Poland off, so UK never joins the war and is likely subverted from within. Basically, this Hitler wouldn't be the one we know, he'd be Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars.
 
Depending on how far back Hitler had the films, its very likely that the Man in the High Castle version of Hitler is essentially a Machiavellian mastermind. Its very likely he could've done stuff like, back up a "Trotskyist plot" in the USSR, to cause it to fall to a civil war as Barbarossa is carried out with impunity. Then take out FDR to assure that an isolationist gets in the White House, cooperate with pro-Nazi elements in the UK long before World War 2 to get that guarantee on Poland off, so UK never joins the war and is likely subverted from within. Basically, this Hitler wouldn't be the one we know, he'd be Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars.
Kinda reminds me of this one TL I read on here. I believe it was "Screw the Rebels, Screw the Allies, and Screw the Union," where someone from OTL decides to give insight to Palpatine, Hitler, and Davis to help win their respective wars.
 
So I finally finished it. And this felt like Two Seasons smashed together. I wonder why they decided to wrap up their only original show, other than the miniseries Good Omens, that doesn't completely suck in such a hurry.

Most people have, by now, made all the points that I thought of but I do want to say at least this had a somewhat satisfying ending.
The only character I really wanted to see what happens to next is Kido. I was a bit dissapointed that Frank and Joe seemed totally forgotten after being such important parts of the show and it was a shame that Tagomi, the heart of the First three seasons isn't there, but Juliana and the Smith family were at a pretty satisfying end point. I dont know what's up with the Portal but eh. Not as good as Season 2 but hey, it could've been a Game of Thrones Tier burnout.
 
Does anyone else think that it sucks that characters like Ed and Nicole just completely vanished in Season 4? Considering how they were featured rather prominently in the previous seasons, I was hoping that we'd get somewhat of an explanation as to what happened to them.
 
I mean, if there is one good thing I'll give Season 4, its that epic shot of the American Reich Bombers pulling away. Just the shot combined with the Soundtrack made it a great scene, and its the main scene that I rewatch for this season.
 
I mean, if there is one good thing I'll give Season 4, its that epic shot of the American Reich Bombers pulling away. Just the shot combined with the Soundtrack made it a great scene, and its the main scene that I rewatch for this season.
Agreed
 
This might be a bit of a digression but watching the Axis dominated America in the show kinda makes me think of the setting of the Fatherland book and wonder about what that USA is like there. Since for them while the Nazis are a threat there are still a bit distant in the way the Soviets were OTL.
 
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