Lockhart Removed My Bones!
Wizarding Cold War?
I don't think there is a thread on here about this (sorry if there is) so here goes! This isn't specifically for a story or anything- just interested by the idea.
I don't think it is possible for an equivalent to The Cold War to have occurred in the Wizarding World. Grindelwald was single handedly defeated by Dumbledore, whereas Grindelwald's equivalent (approximately) Hitler was defeated by the combined forces of USA, Russia and Britain (this is very simplistic but roughly speaking).
By having Grindelwald defeated in 1945 JK seems to be implying that events in the Wizarding world had rough parallels in the Muggle world. I've read journalist columns comparing Voldemort's rise to power, and the reason the HP books caught the world's imagination so much, to the rise of fundamental Islamist Terrorism.
However (sorry getting off the title thread) the Cold War dominated world events for so long, that the idea the Wizarding World's history could approximately follow/ parallel it seems silly.
Also (and I'm really hoping Tim will have some interesting things to say about this) how far would Wizards be able to interfer in Muggle events? Like would a Wizard in Germany in the 30s/40s who allows the persecution of Jews feel guilty in the same way as many German Muggles did and do?
Also would great social upheaval in the Muggle world (e.g Russian Revolution) be noticed by the Wizards, or have some rough equivalent? Considering Muggle inventions (like the Wireless) filter into Wizarding life, surely different political ideologies would as well?
And (thought of another one) the Statute of Secrecy was in 1692- therefore Wizards co-existed with Muggles during the English Civil War. WOuld they have taken sides, or just ignored it? Does this mean it is possible for figures from Muggle history to have been witches or wizards (meaning not just "official" wizards like Merlin or man I can't remember the name of who was Elizabeth's magician (when I do I'll edit it in)?
I'm sure there are similar things but that's all I can think of for now. Hope that makes some sort of sense. Any thoughts?
Setting Off Fireworks in Potions Class
No, I don't think there would be any reason for there to be a wizarding Cold War parallel to that of the Muggle world. For one, that just shows a lack of imagination - it assumes that the wizards of certain countries simply follow Muggle leads, and as we well know from the books, that is not the case. The wizarding world wants to distance itself as far away as possible from the events of the Muggle world, and it would make no sense for their history to match ours.
So, as appealing the idea of Soviet and American wizards staring at each other from opposite sides of a wall with their hands hovering above the "unleash über-dragons of death" button is, I don't see any reason for there to be a Cold War, because a wizarding version of the Soviet Union probably wouldn't even exist.
Let's talk about the Revolutions in Russia. The first in February toppled the Tsar. The second in October took down Kerensky's Provisional Government, and the Bolsheviks soon thereafter knocked over all the other parties. Pretty soon, we have a really big civil war, from which we get the Soviet Union. But the question is, would wizards notice, or even care?
Probably not. Most wizards are absorbed in their little world, and couldn't care less about what is happening in the Muggle world. Why should they? Even for those wizards who are aware of what is happening in the Muggle world, I think they'd just be confused and would have no idea why the Muggles are fighting. Wizards probably simply would not understand Marxism-Leninism, and they wouldn't want to emulate the Bolsheviks' example by starting a revolution in the wizarding world.
However, we have the issue of Muggle-borns. Unlike Pure-bloods and Half-bloods and so forth, Muggle-borns do understand the Muggle world better, and would probably have some attachment to the world of their birth. I suspect that during the October Revolution and Civil War, some Muggle-borns would sympathise with the Bolshevik cause, and might go so far as to agitate or even do some revolutionary activity themselves. However, I don't think this would be enough to change the Russian wizarding world. Though some Muggle-borns would probably want to see a wizarding red revolution, the rest of all the wizards in Russia would just go on with their lives, oblivious to what is happening in the Muggle world. Their Minister for Magic (or whatever his title is called) would probably keep calling the Soviet leaders "Tsar", and would be puzzled by why they keep getting angry.
That's just Russia. What about the other regions that were part of the Soviet Union, like the Ukraine and Belarus and Kazakhstan? They'd most likely have their own ministries of magic, and would not care the slightest about what is going on in the Muggle world.
I've put a lot of thought into this question, and I am actually going to write a story about it for my OC creation OWL class. It will concern a Muggle-born wizard's attempt to bring socialism to the wizarding world in the 1920s, with the aid of a certain Josef Stalin...
Now, let's talk about GERMANY!
It is common in fanfiction to portray Grindelwald as being in league with Adolf Hitler, or even controlling him as a puppet. Yes, the date of Grindelwald's defeat in 1945 implies that WWII and the wizarding war were directly linked, but I beg to differ. Again, we have the issue of wizards being more or less totally detached from the Muggle world. It will make little sense for wizards to just follow the Nazis, or vice-versa.
Their ideologies are not compatible either. National Socialism, to put it simply, stood for a racial state of Aryans over all manners of 'Untermenschen' - Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, etcetera. What about Grindelwald?
Grindelwald is an enigma. The books say very little about him, or his ideological beliefs. Most people simply assume that he was a pure-blood supremacist just like Voldemort, but I think otherwise.
I think the Grindelwald was a wizard supremacist, not a pure-blood supremacist. I always got the impression that Grindelwald fancied himself a philanthropist (he was friends with Dumbledore, after all), who would unite all wizards and bring them out of hiding to assert their benevolent domain over Muggles. There is a very practical reason to why Grindelwald would focus on pan-wizardry over Pure-blood supremacy - why on earth would Grindelwald want to base his entire movement around a small, shrinking portion of the wizarding population, like Voldemort?
Hitler appealed to almost everyone in Germany (who wasn't a communist, a homosexual, a Jew, etc.) by saying, "You are mighty because you are German! You are Aryan!" If Grindelwald's aim is power, then I think he'd be smart enough (like Hitler) to form his ideology to be as inclusive as possible. He'd say, "You are mighty because you are wizards!" This way, he would include all manner of wizards, and exclude people like Squibs, Muggles, vampires, etcetera.
I think proof of this approach lies in Grindelwald's fortress at Nurmengard. We know that Voldemort, a Pure-blood supremacist with a small group of followers, never built a giant prison. BUT GRINDELWALD DID. Power is like an iceberg - 90% of it is unseen. Nurmengard show's Grindelwald's power not just because it's there, but because of the massive effort and organisation necessary to make such a thing. He would need builders, architects, guards, and huge amounts of materials, and time. I don't think the construction of Nurmengard would be possible if Grindelwald just lorded over the wizarding world with a small cadre of Pure-bloods. It makes more sense for Grindelwald to be popular among the masses, and thus dangerous, because he has an ideology that can appeal to any wizard and can get them to do horrible things for the Greater Good.
So let's go back to Hitler and Grindelwald. I do not see these two men as being in league with each other. I see them as being in OPPOSITION. Their ideologies are very different - Hitler wants to pursue the interests of Germany, and the 'Aryan' race. Grindelwald wants to have all wizards regardless of nationality or blood-status rise up from hiding and rule Muggles. Grindelwald says that Muggles would be much better off if ruled by wizards, and that wizarding rule would be for the greater good.
Also, if Grindelwald wants to have wizards control the Muggle world, why would he help Hitler, a Muggle, try to conquer Europe? Grindelwald doesn't want a strong Muggle enemy, he want's someone who's weak. Grindelwald would probably undermine Muggle governments, including the Third Reich, to weaken them and make a wizarding takeover easier. He wouldn't want to help any of them.
So, about the Holocaust? I think the Grindelwald might just end up pointing to it as proof that Muggles in general are barbaric, and as justification to commit horrible crimes against Muggles.
My conclusion is that WWII and Grindelwald's war were parallel, but not dictated by either. They were separate, with Hitler and Grindelwald ideological enemies of each other. But Grindelwald would see events in the Muggle war and use them for his own advantage, probably citing how warmongering and bloodthirsty Muggles are, and thus unworthy of governing themselves.
Again, this is a topic that I've considered at great length, and is the subject of my historical fic, Für Das Größere Wohl.
Anyway, I'm tired of typing right now. I'll probably return with more comments, but this all for the moment. My thoughts on Grindelwald are, of course, my own interpretation of events, since there is not much canon information about him.
Tim the Enchanter
Wow, Tim! I could have guess that you would be the first to jump on a subject like this, and I see you did not disappoint.
Something else you might want to take into consideration with any wizarding war is to study history and find out old conflicts and wars that excist between nations. It could be possible that the wizarding world is not as quick to forgive and forget as the Muggle world was. For example, there might indeed be a group of British wizards who are still up in arms about the American Revolution for whatever reason.
Creativity is the key!
Setting Off Fireworks in Potions Class
There are some Muggles in Britain who do want the 'colonies' back, just as there are some the United States who'd like to be part of Britain again. So yes, there could be some wizards with the same sentiments.
Originally Posted by OliveOil_Med
However, do we even assume that American wizards even fought a war of independence against the Ministry of Magic? Personally, I think that the Ministry of Magic would have no reason to establish MoM-administered colonies in the Americas - European wizarding settlers probably just went across the Atlantic and formed their own governments with no political connections to home. Independence from the English MoM would not be an issue, since they were already independent the moment they arrived.
That said, the American Revolution would probably have no relevance to wizards, since they have their own independent government. American wizards might just consider the United States as some Muggle country, and wouldn't have the same borders. In fact, the Americas could be a hodgepodge of different wizarding governments formed by the descendants of the original settlers. For instance, there could be a Russian-speaking Ministry of Magic in Alaska, and California and the American Southwest could be under the administration of a Mexican magical government.
I think Inverarity's Alexandra Quick series gives a realistic look at what North American wizardry could be like, politically as well as culturally. I highly recommend it.
Tim the Enchanter
Well, something else to keep in mind is that what was the Cold War but a power struggle between two nations? That certainly seems like something that would be possible in the wizarding world. Even right down to the fact that they might be trying to create more powerful weapons and more advanced magic than the other.
But the reason it was a "cold war" (rather than a hot one) was that an actual war would have assured mutual destruction. Each side wanted to destroy the other, but they couldn't afford to engage each other directly. So they engaged in a war of influence, cultivating allies, fighting wars by proxy in smaller countries, and so on, trying to jockey for a position of supremacy from which they could prevail in a "conventional" war, decisively enough to prevent the nukes from being unleashed.
Originally Posted by OliveOil_Med
To have a wizarding cold war, you'd need some similar reason why the two sides don't just attack each other directly.
Also, perhaps more significantly, all wars are ultimately about land and resources. For wizards, that doesn't really seem to be an issue, so you need different motives. And if you're not fighting to control territory, then your wars are going to be completely different.