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Must and Shall

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"Must and Shall"  
Asimovs Nov1995
Author Harry Turtledove
First Appearance Asimov's
Collected Counting Up, Counting Down
Illustrator Bruce Jensen
Genre(s) Alternate History
Publication date November, 1995

"Must and Shall" is a short story which first appeared in Asimov's in November, 1995. It was subsequently reprinted in Nebula Awards 32, edited by Jack Dann, Harcourt Brace, 1998; Roads Not Taken, edited by Stanley Schmidt and Gardner Dozois, Del Rey, 1998, and; Counting Up, Counting Down; Del Rey, 2002. It is an alternate history story set in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1942, 78 years after the point of divergence. It was nominated for the Sidewise Award, the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award for Best Novelette.

History diverged during the Great Rebellion (1861-1865) when President Abraham Lincoln was killed by a Confederate sharpshooter on July 12, 1864 while inspecting the ramparts at Fort Stevens north of Washington, DC. His successor Hannibal Hamlin felt that Lincoln's plans for a Reconstruction of the rebellious territories were too lenient, and promised harsh retribution, including the execution of all Confederate higher-ups in his inaugural speech on July 21.

By the time the story takes place, the South has been seething under suppression as an occupied territory for 77 years. World War II is in progress. Agent Neil Michaels of the Federal Bureau of Suppression has been sent down from the North to stop a neo-Confederate uprising sponsored by the Nazis.

Literary CritiqueEdit

Turtledove has described this situation as a metaphor of "Northern Ireland in North America." The South is for all intents and purposes an occupied territory of the United States. Though the Confederacy was destroyed as a political and military entity, it exists underground as a focus of loyalty for the Southern whites. The Federal Government can only count on the support of the black population.

As is common in Turtledove timelines, the divergence from OTL is somewhat localized. While a number of changes have taken place in the U.S., the world has carried on in the exact same way as OTL. The story picks up with the U.S. at war with Nazi Germany, and references are made to World War I. Implicitly, a United States which cannot rely on its southern half in an external war effort and must constantly guard against that half breaking out in rebellion would be greatly hampered in going to war against Nazi Germany or any other foe. (This also makes the story's premise a little implausible, as it is difficult to imagine how such a fractured USA could have won WWI and caused the catalyst for a Nazi ascension.)

Parallelism in the story includes the "16th amendment," which enfranchised blacks and disenfranchised white rebels and their descendants, thus creating a black minority rule. A pervasive theme of the story is that New Orleans aristocrats and dandies are typically black, while shoe shiners, chauffeurs, and other menial laborers are typically white, in a direct reversal of the stereotypes of our timeline. The disenfranchisement of one race based on its ancestors' status is called a "grandfather clause," and was used in the South of OTL in the same way but with the races reversed. The minority rule aspect recalls 20th-century South Africa, again with the races reversed.

(Spoilers for "Southern Victory" series)

Turtledove's far longer and more elaborate Southern Victory in effect reaches the same final result by a completely different route. It, too, ends with the US in complete military control of Confederate territory and preparing for an open-ended occupation to last decades or even centuries (as clearly implied in Vice President Harry Truman's words to the US occupation troops in the end of In at the Death), while Confederates such as Clarence Potter - while realizing that there was no military way of getting free of the occupation - remain obdurately determined to never accept this situation.

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