nodrog: T Dalton as Philip in Lion in Winter, saying “What If is a Game for Scholars” (Alternate History)
[personal profile] nodrog posting in [community profile] althistory

        “I pledge my allegiance to the flag of the community of American, Soviet,
        and United Nations of the World, and to the principle for which it stands –
        a nation indivisible with others of the Earth, joined in peace, and
        justice for all.

"Amerika" Miniseries, 1987

Youtube Playlist:

"Amerika" -- suggesting a Russified name for the United States -- is an American television miniseries
that was broadcast in 1987 on ABC. It starred Kris Kristofferson, Mariel Hemingway, Sam Neill, Robert
Urich, and a 17-year-old Lara Flynn Boyle in her first major role. "Amerika" was about life in the
United States after a bloodless takeover by the Soviet Union. Not wanting to depict the actual coup,
ABC Entertainment president Brandon Stoddard instead chose to set the action of the miniseries ten
years after the event, focusing on the demoralized American people a decade after the Soviet conquest.
The intent, he later explained, was to explore the American spirit under such conditions, not to
portray the conflict of the Soviet takeover.

Described in promotional materials as "the most ambitious American miniseries ever created," Amerika
aired for 14½ hours (including commercials) over seven nights, and reportedly cost US$40 million to
produce. The program was filmed in Toronto, London, and Hamilton, Ontario, as well as various
locations in Nebraska -- most notably the small town of Tecumseh and Milford, the setting for most of
the action of the series. Donald Wrye was the executive producer, director, and sole writer of
Amerika, while composer Basil Poledouris was hired to score the miniseries, ultimately recording (with
the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra) eight hours of music -- the equivalent of four feature films. (from

Main characters:

Devin Milford (Kris Kristofferson)

Colonel Andrei Denisov of the KGB (Sam Neill)

Peter Bradford (Robert Urich)

Peter Bradford's wife, Amanda (Cindy Pickett)

Colonel Andrei Denisov (Sam Neill)

Devin Milford's ex-wife, Marion (Wendy Hughes)

Devin's sister Alethea (Christine Lahti)

Bradford's teenage daughter, Jackie (Lara Flynn Boyle)

Kimberly Ballard (Mariel Hemingway)

"Kris played the part of right-leaning former presidential candidate Devin Milford, who leads a
rebellion against the Soviets.

“The Soviet forces are kitted out in uniforms much like those of United Nations peacekeeping troops.

“The series managed to upset just about everybody; the Soviet Union threatened to shut down ABC's
Moscow bureau, American conservatives felt that the Soviet brutality was understated, while left-
wingers saw it as a case of right-wing paranoia that might threaten détente" (Stephen Miller in his
Kris Kristofferson -- biography)

[In fact, the occupation forces were UN, technically, described as the UNSSU - United Nations Special Services Unit - in keeping with the rather John Birch notion that “You cannot spell 'Communist,' comrade, without 'UN'!”  Indeed, in the tradition that “history is written by the victors,” there is mention of the official version of events, how the “peace-loving peoples of the world” had acted to bring the USA to heel - deliberately and not coincidentally reminiscent of the self-loathing whining of the “limousine liberals” after 9/11, who insisted (and may still) that America is the Great Satan and deserves whatever calamity may befall as expiation for our supposed “sins” such as prosperity, freedom, ignoring these sanctimonious do-gooders, &c.- BW]

Military parade in Soviet occupied America

[The combination of Lenin and Lincoln depicted here isn't wrong, tho' it's not Politically Correct history as taught today in Federal schools.  Lincoln was a collectivist, a Marxist, and as Harry Turtledove has suggested, had he lived he might well have become an embarrassment to his own party and to the country at large.]


This was an interesting effort, the like of which would not, I believe, be seen again until Amazon's adaptation of P K Dick's The Man in the High Castle

One of the better elements of interest was that the supposed “Soviet victory” was not a 1950s “Red Nightmare,” an instant 1984 treatment - on the contrary, the gerontocracy in the Kremlin were still losing just as they did in reality, the future becoming the present and slipping away from their withered aged hands.  Indeed, just as Jesse Jackson's demands for “reparations” - extorted from those who have never owned slaves and paid to those who have never been slaves - fell down precisely because it would act as a quitclaim and kill the white-liberal-guilt gravy train, so now the ongoing, inherent failure of socialism could no longer be blamed on “the capitalist West,” on the United States in particular, and the Communist Party was losing control everywhere, from Eastern Europe to the “administrative areas” of the conquered USA!  By the end of the story the local authorities, acting now as the lawful government of the new nation of “Heartland,” openly defied and overruled the local Party commissars and actively fought the post-functionally irrelevant UNSSU!  (Who didn't like letting go.)

Though the screenplay was written before 1991, it depicted an eerie parallel with the soon-to-be-real events in the now-former Soviet satellite nations of Eastern Europe.  The United States of America might not return, but the supposedly “downer ending” suggests the new, smaller, more easily accountable nations of its former territory might not have a problem with that!


As such, it is interesting to compare this to W Streiber and J Kunetka's Fifth Columnist agitprop novel Warday (1984), blurbed by such notable patriots as Sen Edward Kennedy and Dr Helen Caldicott and also describing life in America following a far more severe but still limited strategic nuclear exchange.  A more detailed review will have to await another time, but here too the impression is gradually received that global super-powers are a thing of the past, that the pattern of the future would be smaller, almost feudal nation-states to whom geopolitics is irrelevant.

It might not take a nuclear war to bring that about; a deep and prolonged petroleum crisis could have much the same effect.  By the time it could be resolved people might not want to return to the way things were before.

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