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The Last Article

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"The Last Article"  
Fantasy&SF Jan1988
Author Harry Turtledove
First Appearance Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction


The Best Military Science Fiction of the Twentieth Century
Illustrator Jill Bauman
Genre(s) Alternate History
Publication date January 1988

"The Last Article" is a short story by Harry Turtledove (originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 1988; reprinted in Kaleidoscope and The Best Military Science Fiction of the Twentieth Century). It is an alternate history which depicts the occupation of India by the Nazis following their victory in World War II. Mohandas Gandhi continues to employ techniques of Satyagraha against the occupation forces led by Field Marshal Walther Model. While the techniques may have worked well against the British, the Germans respond with violence. Despite Jawaharlal Nehru's urging that Gandhi to change tactics, Gandhi does not comprehend the horrific violence the Nazis were willing to employ, and refuses. He is finally arrested and summarily executed by Model.

The theme of this story is summed up at the end, as Gandhi realizes that his pacifism worked because the British were at least capable of being ethical, although they didn't always act ethically. The Nazis, on the hand, were by definition unethical, and so had to be met with force.

Literary NoteEdit

Turtledove includes certain details and plot points that suggest that "The Last Article" could take place in the same timeline as In the Presence of Mine Enemies. Specifically, American neutrality during World War II seems the primary Point of Divergence in both, Britain met defeat early on, and the Soviet Union is finally defeated sometime later. In the Presence of Mine Enemies notes that India is a critical part of the Greater German Reich. Turtledove has never confirmed this.

"The Phantom Tolbukhin" could also fit into the ItPoME universe, however it cannot be in the same universe as "The Last Article", as the references to Georgy Zhukov are at odds with each other. "Last" says that he was killed by the Nazis in 1946, "Phantom" says he was killed by Stalin's Great Purge in 1937-8. Since Zhukov is not mentioned in ItPoME, neither reference contradicts the longer book.

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