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Friday, 8 April 2016

What If: Godzilla Was Real?

http://www.thefocuspull.com/features/gojira-japanese-original/
This post will be the 100th post on this blog! To celebrate I'm remaking my second alternate history scenario. I am a massive fan of the Godzilla movies and this original scenario was released to coincide with the 2014 remake of the series. Godzilla has been one of the most endearing movie characters appearing in over twenty films, having a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and, having two remakes to his name (a bad one be Roland Emmerich and a good one by Gareth Edwards). With a new film being released this year in Japan by Toho it is more fitting to revise what the world would be like if he existed. The existence of a giant monster (kaiju) in real life would fundamentally change world history and Godzilla would seriously change the course of history if he existed. Although Godzilla could not exist in real life, (this very good VSauce video explains why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cesaPTik_Q), we'll overlook this issue and do two scenarios: one following the Toho films and one following the 2014 film.

The King of Monsters Rises
http://manapop.com/film/retrospective-review-gojira-1954/
The first Godzilla movie was released in 1954; the world was gripped in the fear of total nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union, the occupation of Japan had mostly ended and, the economies of Japan and the United States were booming. Japan is peaceful until one day one of the Bonin Islands is attacked by a 50 meter tall creature. The world press soon learn of the existence of the kaiju Godzilla: a giant dinosaur which can breathe fire as well as leaving a trail of destruction and radioactivity in its wake. Soon Godzilla attacks Tokyo completely destroying it. The Japanese Self-Defense Force is powerless to fight the kaiju and it is only stopped when scientist, Daisuke Serizawa, sacrifices himself to kill the creature with a new weapon called the 'Oxygen Destroyer'. 

Following Godzilla's rampage Japan is devastated. Most of Tokyo is destroyed and the area, as well as the surrounding area, is bathed in radiation. One scene in the film shows fish dying from the residue of Godzilla's radiation so we can assume that the same would happen in Tokyo. In 1955 Tokyo had a population of around 8,037,000 so following Godzilla's attack millions would die due to there being little time to evacuate the city. Thousands more would go on to die of radiation poisoning. Everyone who was not killed through Godzilla or his radiation would be left homeless. Japan would face a major refugee crisis with thousands fleeing inland or to one of the other islands, like Hokkaido. Some may flee abroad to the United States and Australia, especially those who had family. Hawaii and California would have a massive influx in the Japanese population. The politics and economy of Japan would collapse. With Tokyo an irradiated wasteland the capital would have to move to Osaka and the government of Shigeru Yoshida would be discredited. Far right and far left politics would flourish in the turmoil of Godzilla and, Shigeru would likely be forced to resign over it. The Post-War Economic Miracle would collapse. Many major companies like Sony and Casio were located in Tokyo so they would likely disappear thanks to Godzilla; not to mention how the withdrawal of foreign investment and high unemployment (created via refugees and collapsing companies) would place so much pressure on the economy. Finally we would see large amounts of anti-Americanism in Japan. Through US nuclear bomb testing Godzilla awoke so people would blame the US for their suffering; the USSR, China and North Korea may even use it as propaganda to criticize the US. Riots would occur on Okinawa where the United States still held military bases. In modern day Okinawa there is still large amounts of resentment to the presence of US forces on the island so following Godzilla's attack this would be greatly escalated. Clashes between Japanese citizens and US forces would exacerbate already frayed tensions. 
https://mubi.com/films/godzilla-raids-again
Just a year after Godzilla Toho released the (much weaker) Godzilla Raids Again. Here a new Godzilla emerges and fights another kaiju called Anguirus in Osaka. In this scenario just a year after Godzilla's attack a new Godzilla duels another giant monster in the new capital. Like what happened in Tokyo Osaka is destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of people are killed and many more are left as refugees. Here the world makes three realizations: the weapons that did so much damage just ten years prior are useless against kaiju, kaiju attacks are becoming common and nuclear weapons had now created three monsters. Full blown anti-American riots break out in Japan as soldiers are lynched in Okinawa, American aid workers are attacked and, stores selling US goods are vandalized. The Japanese people are angry that America's carelessness had destroyed their two largest cities, killed millions of their family members and had destroyed their economy. The Communist Party gets thousands of members among the unemployed while the (then newly formed) far-right Ishin Seito Shimpu gets just as many with ultra-nationalists driven to the edge thanks to the kaiju. Between 1955 and 1975 (the last of the Showa Godzilla films) thirteen Godzilla movies would be released as well as thirteen other kaiju films including Mothra, Rodan and Varan the Unbelievable. With the constant kaiju attacks Japan would fundamentally change. Cities near the sea like Kobe and Yamato would become deserted as people flee inland with there being a reduced chance of kaiju attack. Hawaii, Australia and California would become heavily influenced by Japanese culture due to the amount of people fleeing there. Sydney, Los Angeles and San Diego would have large numbers of Japanese citizens living there and Japanese would become an everyday language in these cities alongside English. 

As the years drag by and Godzilla (and other monsters) ravage cities more frequently the Pacific world would change. Most of Japan's economy would be devoted to the Self-Defense Force in order to fend off the monsters. Conscription for all adults for several years would be implemented early on and coastal cities such as Yamamto would become virtually military bases preparing for the inevitable attacks. Tokyo would slowly be reclaimed although food and water would have to be imported as the land (and Tokyo Bay) would still be too unsafe to take food/drink from. The coastal cities would be lightly populated with the military comprising the largest residents although there would be civilians to cater for the army like store owners and teachers for a soldier's family. Many aspects of Japanese culture now big in the west, such as anime, would never even develop never mind leave Japan. With a total war economy Nintendo, for example, would never be created so there would be no video game industry, anime got big in the 1970s so we would not see anime outside of Japan and, many domestic appliances were developed in Japan so they would not be created in this timeline. In the Heisei era films it is implied that kaiju attack cities as they are heavily populated. In real life cities cannot be instantly rebuilt as they are in the films so likely many future attacks would happen on cities on the Pacific. Due to the fact that the initial attacks only occurred on Japan these cities would be instantly taken off-guard. Darwin, Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore just to name a few cities would be demolished by Godzilla, Mothra and various other kaiju. Like Japan, countries bordering the Pacific would spend millions turning coastal areas into defensive areas against giant monsters. Richer countries like China and the US would build coastal walls to prevent monsters ravaging their lands. Military technology, however, would become something equivalent to that of a sci-fi movie, almost like the film Pacific Rim, as the world realizes they have to upgrade warfare as tanks and planes prove ineffective against kaiju. Inevitably wars between countries would become ever more devastating. However, as nuclear weapons had created the monsters and proved to be effective the campaigns against nukes would be universally supported. In 1998 Roland Emmerich created an abysmal remake of the King of Monsters but, in a Toho movie (Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack) made a reference to that film. That means in this scenario there is a monster attack in the Atlantic and New York is devastated. The world then realizes: nowhere is safe from kaiju.

2014 Godzilla
http://cinefantastiqueonline.com/2014/05/godzilla-2014-review/
In this new scenario Godzilla awakens to battle the two MUTO where the 1954 attack never happened. Like in the film the three kaiju battle leaving Las Vegas, Honolulu and Los Angeles devastated in their wake. Following the battle America would be in crisis. Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Honolulu have a combined population of 19,528,146 people and we can assume all three cities were devastated thanks to the MUTOs and Godzilla. A good few million of this number would manage to make it out okay as Los Angeles was mostly evacuated. However, Honolulu and Las Vegas received no warning so it is likely that there was a high casualty rate. Worse case scenario and only a quarter of this number survived that means around 4,882,036 would be displaced. North Korea would use the kaiju rampage as propaganda hailing it is a great victory against the United States. The economy would be seriously hit. All three cities offer huge revenue in regards to tourism but, the loss of Los Angeles would be especially hard on the USA. Many major companies are located in Los Angeles, such as 20th Century Fox, so the stock in these companies would plummet. Naturally unemployment would skyrocket and billions would have to be paid to rebuilt what was destroyed. Unlike the last scenario Godzilla did not emit radiation in the 2014 film so rebuilding Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Honolulu would be an easier task (although still extremely costly). Sanitation, rubble clearing, road surfacing and fire control would be the main tasks although in Las Vegas and Honolulu the job would be harder. Honolulu was flooded by a tsunami created by Godzilla surfacing and Las Vegas is in a desert where the nearest water source is many miles away. Rebuilding could take generations but the immense loss of life (through displacement or death) would leave a toll on the cities. Nuclear issues, however, would be a much less controversial case. In the UK General Election in 2015 there were intense debates about whether to keep the UK's Trident program (the UK's nuclear weapon program). In the light of nuclear weapons attracting the MUTO and awakening Godzilla the general consensus would be they have to go. World populations would be fearful if the nuclear weapons of their countries would attract other kaiju. Three had appeared virtually out of nowhere so the feeling would be that there could be many more. The campaign for nuclear disarmament would get a new lease of life.

Thanks for reading and staying with me over 100 posts! Did you like the two alternate history scenarios? Please leave any comments.

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