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"News From the Front"  
Asimovs June 2007
Author Harry Turtledove
First Appearance Isaac Asimov's
Collected Atlantis and Other Places
Illustrator John Allemand
Genre(s) Alternate History
Publication date June, 2007

"News From the Front" is an alternate history short story by Harry Turtledove, published in Asimov's (June, 2007), and reprinted in Atlantis and Other Places in 2010.

The story takes the form of a series of news clippings and transcripts from December 7, 1941 through June 1942. The story details the United States' entry into World War II as President Franklin D. Roosevelt is faced with harsh criticism from and strict scrutiny by the American press. The press attacks the Roosevelt Administration for not being prepared for the December 7 attack, as well as bringing on the attack by ignorantly imposing an oil embargo on Japan. As the war progresses on a similar track as in OTL, the press is constantly second-guessing the Administration and pondering the value of the war. Soon, the press is revealing important American secrets, questioning the morality of spying on the Axis, decrying the poor state of American technology, and giving away planned attacks days before they are to take place, leading to their failures. Most importantly, Midway results in a complete disaster. In the meantime, protests are heating up throughout the country, and a group of celebrities take it upon themselves to sail to Japan and Germany to offer peace. Prime Minister Winston Churchill is fairing no better in Great Britain.

Things reach a head when Vice President Henry Wallace breaks with the administration and publicly attacks Roosevelt's honesty. Calls for impeachment grew louder throughout the country and finally, in June 1942, Congress began the impeachment process.

Literary CommentEdit

At the time of publication, Turtledove's story appeared to be a satire of the debate over the then-ongoing Iraq War and the George W. Bush administration's handling of it. However, Turtledove prefaces his story with a reminder that the reader should not presume to know Turtledove's politics based on this single story. And there are certain differences between Turtledove's story and the present situation that suggest Turtledove was more interested in thought-experimentation than political criticism. The press attacks Roosevelt from the very beginning, whereas President Bush had substantial support in the first year or so of the Iraq War. Another possibly revealing difference is Vice President Henry Wallace's very public break with Roosevelt.  In OTL, Vice President Dick Cheney was one of the most vocal supporters of the Bush Administration's policy of preemptive war in Iraq, and continued to support US intervention after leaving office.

One line recalls the Vietnam War rather than Iraq. The protesters' chant "War! War! FDR! Now the President's gone too far!" is a parody of "Hey! Hey! LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?"

With the publication of The Man With the Iron Heart, "News From the Front" seems to have been a dry-run for Turtledove to explore the idea of melding World War II and the Iraq War. Therefore, the target of "News From the Front's" satire is further obfuscated.

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