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The Sweep of Command & Conquer History

By Dogl - 8th May 2009 - 20:24 PM

He who controls the past commands the future. He who commands
the future conquers the past.
-Kane


Ever found yourself wondering how Red Alert was meant to link up to Tiberian Dawn? Have you ever found yourself asking just what the hell is going on in the storyline of these C&C games? Who those "Brotherhood of Nod" guys really are? Where they came from, and why there are so many of them? And why they seem to be such a powerful and vast group which is so well organized and so technologically advanced? If so, read on.

To begin with, view the 0:26 to 0:49 segment of this cutscene from Red Alert:



Done with that? Then you might want to go grab a large bag of popcorn. Here we go.

The most fundamental thing to understand about the original C&C games (Command & Conquer (1995) and Red Alert (1996)) is that both their storylines function as an allegorical world politics setting. (http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=49038 -- Read "The Political Climate" chapter of this interview.) What this means is that the plot of both C&C '95 and Red Alert are a perspective on the how and why behind our state of world affairs here in real life, both economically and politically, but viewed from an alternate history setting. Specifically, the story of Red Alert portrays an alternate take on how and why the Second World War was set into motion, and who the main actors of this war were. Command & Conquer '95 from its part (rather visionary) portrayed the political climate of our real world as it came to exist after the end of the Cold War, and the September 11, 2001 attacks in particular, and also came to retroactively establish what consequences the conflict shown in Red Alert would have for the future generations. That's the basic premise at least. But in order to truly paint the full picture, I will need to go into much more detail than that.

In our real world, the devastation brought by the Second World War here in Europe gave a critical boost to the awareness of the importance of European unity. This in everything from the need for political stability and economic welfare, to the block's influence and standing in the world in both of these areas. That new found awareness soon would give rise to the first treaties signed in the 1950s, which would eventually establish the European Union as it exists today. At the same time, far-right politics went out of favor, and became publicly shunned and opposed as to prevent conflicts springing from ethnic tensions and/or overly nationalistic politics from ever escalating in this manner again. In short, the lessons which the powers-that-be drew from the Second World War, and which would shape the landscape of our reality as we live in it today, were tailored after the events that caused the Second World War, and of which the survivors had experienced the consequences first-hand. In the story portrayed in Red Alert, however, this same historical mechanism would end up taking an entirely different route to its destination.

In the world of C&C, it wasn't the far-right which would end up causing the great world-wide firestorm, but in fact the far-left. Likewise, it wasn't Nazi-Germany which ended up initiating the great war, but instead the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. As a result, it also wasn't the far-right that would end up becoming reviled by future generations as a source of great misery and conflict, but in fact the far-left. The consequence of this was that the lessons which the powers-that-be would draw from their observed causes of the war became very different in nature as well, as were the measures they would put into place to prevent something like this from happening again. In our real world, measures were taken here in Europe in particular to ensure that certain individuals would no longer be able to successfully use the premise of ethnicity or nationalism as a way to rally a population behind them and/or against other groups in society. Or at least, not in the same manner as how Nazi politics had
managed to accomplish in the Germany of the 1930s.