The terrifying true story behind The Plot Against America tracks US Nazi uprising under Charles Lindbergh
NEW HBO series The Plot Against America centres on the fictional Presidential victory of Charles Lindbergh over Franklin Roosevelt – and the facist reign that follows in a haunting new drama.
The programme, based on the book of the same name by Philip Roth, tells the story of what could have happened should Roosevelt have been defeated in the 1940 election of the Great Depression.
In real-life, Lindbergh was not the Republican candidate, but had been urged to campaign.
Philip's story takes the hypothetical one step further and details what may have happened if he had – while putting his background under the spotlight amid World War II America.
The Jewish Levin family form the heart of the plot, living in Newark, New Jersey, and linked to Lindbergh through his alleged anti semitic comments and supposed Nazi sympathies which, once elected, spark a wave of antisemitism washing over America.
Lindbergh previously wrote in a 1939 edition of Readers Digest that Hitler had: “Accomplished results which could hardly have been accomplished without some fanaticism.”
Meanwhile, in the alternative history plot, the Levin family can only sit and watch Lindbergh turn the nation towards cold, hard facism.
While he was hailed as a skilled pilot, and gained sympathy following the kidnap of his son, Lindbergh's controversial Nazi apologist stance took centre stage.
In real life, Roosevelt had publicly stated he was "absolutely convinced" that Lindbergh "was a Nazi."
Actor Ben Cole plays the role of Charles Lindbergh while Stranger Things actress Winona Ryder and Zoe Kazan also star in the series, now being aired on Sky Atlantic.
The Wire creator David Simon, himself American-Jewish, has told Esquire how he felt he was the right person to adapt Philip's 2004 book because of his heritage.
He said: "To doRoth, I think you have to be Jewish-American or you at least have to be familiar with that milieu. It’s not like you can’t acquire it."
Philip, who died in 2018, previously spoke of his tome and said: “My talent isn't for imagining events on the grand scale.
“I imagined something small, really, small enough to be credible, I hoped, that could easily have happened in an American presidential election in 1940, when the country was angrily divided between the Republican isolationists, who, not without reason, wanted no part of a second European war – and who probably represented a slight majority of the populace – and the Democratic interventionists, who didn't necessarily want to go to war either but who believed that Hitler had to be stopped before he invaded and conquered England and Europe was entirely fascist and totally his.”
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