An Early Alternate History Series (on Radio!): "Stroke of Fate" (1953)
I'd like to extend a hearty h/t to Washington and Lee literature professor, Hank Dobin, who recently alerted me to the existence of what I see as a significant early example of post-1945 alternate history in a very unconventional medium: radio.
In 1953, NBC debuted the alternate history series, Stroke of Fate. The series featured 13 original radio plays examining a variety of counterfactual scenarios, including the Civil War, the Norman Conquest, and the Nazi re-occupation of the Rhineland.
To me, the most notable fact about the series is that received the active support of professional historians, including Allan Nevins, Richard B. Morris, Gordon Craig, Moses Hadas, and James Thomas Flexner. The series also received support from the Society of American Historians.
I'd like to learn more about the chief writers, Mort Lewis and George Faulkner, and why they came up with the series in the first place. 1953 is the same year that Ward Moore's famous novel, Bring the Jubilee, was published, but the radio show began before the novel appeared -- so any influence is likely nil.
I haven't yet listened to any of the broadcasts, which can be accessed HERE, but they promise to be interesting.
Episode 01, 4 October 1953
What if, at Winfield Scott's request, Robert E. Lee became General of the United States Army at the beginning of the Civil War, instead of later leading the Army of the Confederacy?
Episode 03, 18 October 1953
What if, during their duel, Alexander Hamilton shot and killed Aaron Burr, rather than being killed himself?
Episode 04, 4 October 1953
What if Marie Antoinette fled Paris during the French Revolution, and was not executed by guillotine?
Episode 05, 1 November 1953
What if Abraham Lincoln obtained the consular job he wanted in 1841, and did not become President of the United States?
Episode 06, 8 November 1953
What if Benedict Arnold managed to hand West Point over to the British during the American Revolution?
Episode 07, 15 November 1953
What if Julius Caesar wed Cleopatra VII of Egypt in 50 BCE?
Episode 08, 22 November 1953
What if France used military force to oppose Adolf Hitler's occupation of the Rhineland in 1936?
Episode 09, 29 November 1953
What if France won the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759, and retained Quebec, Canada?
Episode 10, 6 December 1953
What if Russia did not sell Alaska to the United States in 1867?
Episode 11, 13 December 1953
What if Alexander the Great survived his illness in 323 BCE and continued his conquest of Asia?
Episode 12, 20 December 1953
What if David Bushnell's submarine, The Turtle, was used successfully to sink and destroy British ships during the American Revolution?
Episode 13, 27 December 1953
What if the Normans failed to conquer England in 1066?