The following references to cultural and/or historical events or people occur during "The Breaking of Nations" by Harry Turtledove, published in the mash-up novel And the Last Trump Shall Sound. Many of them are presented in the thoughts of the novella's sole POV character, Governor-President Nicole Yoshida of Pacifica.

Literary and performing arts

Alien (1979 Film)

Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and written by Dan O'Bannon. Based on a story by O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, it follows the crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo, who encounter the eponymous Xenomorph "alien," an aggressive and deadly parasitic animal set loose on the ship. The film was advertised with the tagline "In space, no one can hear you scream."

When all different kinds of rumors spread over the Internet in the wake of Pacifica's secession, Nicole thinks "In cyberspace, no one can hear you scream," and realizes the tagline is from a movie that came out right around her birth.[1]

Battle Hymn of the Republic

The "Battle Hymn of the Republic", is a popular American patriotic song. It was written in 1861 by the abolitionist Julia Ward Howe, and set to the tune of "John Brown's Body," which in turn borrowed the melody from the obscure hymn "Say, Brothers, Will You Meet Us." The song uses complex Biblical imagery to suggest that God wholeheartedly endorses the Union cause during the American Civil War. The song (and others set to the same tune) are often appropriated by groups with a variety of agendas, to suggest that their ideology is unquestionable.

When Nicole calls the White House hot line to complain to President Mike Pence after the battle of Vacaville, the Battle Hymn is included in the hold music.[2]


CHiPs is an American crime drama television series created by Rick Rosner, that originally aired on NBC from September 15, 1977, to May 1, 1983. It follows the lives of two motorcycle officers of the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

Nicole is irritated with the ancient show for using an inaccurate acronym. The correct expression for CHP is Chippies, not Chips.[3]

James Bond

James Bond, also known by his license to kill number 007, is a fictional secret agent for British Military Intelligence, known for his ability to defeat world-threatening schemes concocted by larger-than-life villains. Bond was created by Ian Fleming for a series of novels beginning with Casino Royale (1953). Bond's screen career was launched in earnest with Dr. No (1962), starring Scottish actor Sean Connery as James Bond. Connery's performance, which he reprises in six other movies, set a standard which has been emulated by most subsequent actors in the same role.

Axel Lysbakken compares his impromptu Pacifican spy network to James Bond, and tells Nicole that in his youth, he read all the original Ian Fleming novels and watched all the then-extant Bond movies on VHS, with a preference for Sean Connery's version.[4]

Jersey Shore (TV Show)

Jersey Shore is a reality television series that ran on MTV from December 3, 2009, to December 20, 2012, in the United States. The series follows the lives of eight housemates at a vacation home: in Seaside Heights, New Jersey in seasons one, three, five and six, South Beach, Florida in season two and Florence in season four, respectively. The Shore spawned several spin-off shows on MTV.

When Nicole says "Don't forget New Jersey" (in relation to the formation of proto-Newtopia), Brent Yoshida says, "If it weren't for that stupid MTV show, everyone would have by now."[5]

Onward, Christian Soldiers

"Onward, Christian Soldiers" is a 19th-century English hymn. The words were written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865, and the music was composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1871. The Salvation Army adopted the hymn as its favoured processional. The piece became Sullivan's most popular hymn. The hymn's theme is taken from references in the New Testament to the Christian being a soldier for Christ, for example II Timothy 2:3, "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."

When Nicole calls the White House hot line to complain to President Mike Pence after the battle of Vacaville, "Onward" is included in the hold music.[6]


Backstreet Boys

The Backstreet Boys (BSB) are an American vocal group, formed in Orlando, Florida in 1993. The group consists of Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean, Brian Littrell, and Kevin Richardson.

Nicole remembers attending a Backstreet Boys concert in 1995. She screamed in an ecstasy not matched until 36 years later, when she received the news of Pacifica's recognition by the international community.[7]

P.G.T. Beauregard

Pierre Gustave Toutant de Beauregard (May 28, 1818 – February 20, 1893), commonly referred to as P.G.T. Beauregard, was an American military officer who was the first prominent general of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.

Nicole is briefly fearful that a modern day Beauregard on either side will start a new war in 2031.[8]

Ambrose Bierce

General Malcolm Washington names Ambrose Bierce and recites a satirical diatribe on hollow patriotism for the benefit of the unnamed ICE Captain, who doesn't understand it at all.

Otto von Bismarck

Congressman Colin McCarty's ability to avoid corruption charges supposedly causes many to think of "Bismarck's comments about sausage-making and politics."[9]

Jerry Bruckheimer

Jerome Leon "Jerry" Bruckheimer (born September 21, 1943) is an American film and television producer. His action films, which include the Beverly Hills Cop, Bad Boys, Pirates of the Caribbean, and National Treasure franchises, are often accused of emphasizing crashes and explosions rather than plot and character development.

After the battle of Vacaville, Nicole is reminded of a hellish battlescape, typical of Bruckheimer's action films.[10]

George W. Bush

Nicole remembers that George W. Bush, like Donald Trump, was chosen President by the Electoral College but not the popular vote, yet wasn't as controversial as Trump. This is a factor in making sure there will be no Electoral College in the Constitution of Pacifica.[11]

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (born October 26, 1947) is an American politician, diplomat, lawyer, writer, and public speaker who served as the 67th United States secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, as a United States senator from New York State from 2001 to 2009, and as First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001, as the wife of Bill Clinton. Clinton became the first woman to be nominated for President of the United States by a major political party when she won the Democratic Party nomination in 2016. Clinton lost the general election to Republican opponent Donald Trump in the Electoral College, despite winning a plurality of the popular vote.

Political opponents in the Republican Party claimed that Clinton leaked classified e-mails when she was Secretary of State. Trump seized on this claim and made it central to the 2016 campaign. Trump supporters regularly chanted "Lock Her Up!" during the campaign, and continued to use it throughout Trump's term as president.

Brent Yoshida cites these chants as examples of Trump and his faction engaging in psychological projection.[12]

James Comey

James Brien Comey Jr. (born December 14, 1960) is an American lawyer who was the 7th director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 2013 under President Barack Obama until his dismissal in May 2017 by President Donald Trump. Comey had been a registered Republican for most of his adult life; in 2016, he described himself as unaffiliated.

Patrick O'Donnell regards Comey's firing as the moment he became disillusioned with Trump's regime.[13]

Dante Alighieri

When seeing Camp Calexico, Nicole imagines the Inferno line "All hope abandon, ye who enter here" on its gate.[14]

Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis, the sole historical President of the Confederate States, serves as a central metaphor for much of the story. As President of Pacifica, Nicole makes an effort to distance herself from similarities to him.

John Donne

Lamenting the death of American democracy, Nicole remembers John Donne's Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624) and its famous line "Therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."[15]

Jeffrey Epstein

Jeffrey Edward Epstein (January 20, 1953 – August 10, 2019) was an American financier and convicted sex offender. He began his professional life as a teacher, but then switched to the banking and finance sector in various roles, working at Bear Stearns before forming his own firm. He developed an elite social circle and procured many women and children who were then sexually abused by Epstein and some of his contacts.

A federal lawsuit filed in California in April 2016, against Epstein and Donald Trump (then a candidate for President of the United States) alleged that the two men sexually assaulted a woman at a series of parties at Epstein's Manhattan residence in 1994, when she was 13 years old. The suit was dismissed by a federal judge in May 2016 because it did not raise valid claims under federal law. The woman filed another federal suit in New York in June 2016, but it was withdrawn three months later, apparently without being served on the defendants. A third federal suit was filed in New York in September 2016.

Among the leaked data shown to Nicole by FBI whistleblower Patrick O'Donnell is previously unknown information about Trump's interactions with Epstein.[16]

George Foreman

George Edward Foreman (born January 10, 1949) is an American former professional boxer (active 1969-1997), entrepreneur, minister and author. He is a two-time world heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist. As an entrepreneur, he is known for his sponsorship of the George Foreman Grill.

Nicole uses "Satan's George Foreman Grill" as a colorful metaphor to describe Reverend Franklin Graham's most recent hellfire sermon.[17]

Benjamin Franklin

After the formal declaration of Pacifican independence, Nicole tells Axel Lysbakken and Dakotah Ng that "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately," a statement attributed to Benjamin Franklin under similar circumstances.[18]

Franz Ferdinand of Austria and Gavrilo Princip

After the battle of Vacaville, Nicole thinks of Sarajevo in 1914, when Gavrilo Princip shot Franz Ferdinand and began World War I.[19]

Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor

Jacob Yoshida builds his PhD thesis around the Hohenstaufen monarch Frederick II, despite the limited job prospects it offers.[20]

Mikhail Gorbachev

Vladimir Putin praises Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev for having the wisdom to see that the Soviet Union had become too large and unwieldy to survive, and urges Mike Pence to let Pacifica go in peace.[21]

Heather Heyer

Heather Danielle Heyer (May 29, 1985 – August 12, 2017) was a paralegal at a Charlottesville, Virginia law firm. As Heyer protested against a rally of fascist organizations, a man named James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into the protesters, killing Heyer and injuring 19 others. Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, said she wanted Heather's name to become "a rallying cry for justice and equality and fairness and compassion".

Nicole remembers Heyer as the first of many deaths which she blames on Donald Trump.[22]

Konrad Henlein

Nicole reflects that Konrad Henlein, whose prominence in German history was fairly brief, had a frightening impact as head of the Sudeten German Party. She worries that a number of latter day Henleins could be undermining Pacifica from within.[23]

Henry II of England and Thomas Beckett

Nicole thinks of King Henry's supposed line "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?" which allegedly led to the death of Archbishop Beckett, after Mike Pence issues a plausible denial of the battle of Vacaville.

Adolf Hitler

Nicole reflects that some of the MAGAheads she sees resemble how Adolf Hitler must have been during the Nazi Party's early days in Bavaria.[24]

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, the most popular historical President of the United States, is evoked by both sides in the story's main conflict. Mike Pence evokes Lincoln's commitment to national unity, and his Republican affiliation, in his speech denouncing Pacifica as a treasonous movement.[25]

Mary Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln, First Lady of the United States during the American Civil War, had several close relatives who fought for the Confederate States. Axel Lysbakken references this fact, to remind Nicole that Pacifica may not be a wholly united house, and gets Mrs. Lincoln's name wrong in the process.[26]

Jim Mattis

James Norman Mattis (born September 8, 1950) is a retired United States Marine Corps four-star general who served as the 26th U.S. Secretary of Defense from January 2017 to January 2019, under President Donald Trump. After a public disagreement with Trump over the Syrian intervention, Mattis resigned, and Trump said that he had "essentially fired" Mattis.

General Malcolm Washington tells Nicole that Mattis' firing was the first of many indications that the Trump-Pence regime seeks to pack the U.S. military with unquestioning yes-men. Nicole remembers how Trump was the one who emerged from that conflict looking bad.[27]

Timothy McVeigh

Timothy James McVeigh (April 23, 1968 – June 11, 2001) was a terrorist who carried out the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others, and destroyed one third of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. A United States Army veteran of the Gulf War, McVeigh sought revenge against the federal government for the 1993 Waco siege and 1992 Ruby Ridge incident, both of which had high death tolls of non-combatants. He hoped to inspire a revolution against a tyrannical Federal government. He was arrested shortly after the bombing, found guilty of multiple counts in 1997, and executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001 in Indiana.

Nicole, thinking of all the Federal executions carried out under Trump and Pence, incorrectly believes that McVeigh was the final such death in the pre-Trump USA, and gets the year wrong.[28]

Robert Mueller

Robert Swan Mueller III (born August 7, 1944) is an American lawyer and government official who served as the sixth Director of the FBI from 2001 to 2013.

On May 17, 2017, Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as special counsel overseeing an investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and related matters. He submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr on March 22, 2019. On April 18, the Department of Justice released it. On May 29, he resigned his post and the Office of the Special Counsel was closed.

Nicole finds that the files smuggled to Pacifica by Patrick O'Donnell contain details which Mueller never even dreamed of.[29]

Martin Niemöller

Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller (14 January 1892 – 6 March 1984) was a German Lutheran theologian, known for his opposition to the Nazi Party during the late 1930s, and for his widely quoted poem "First they came ...". The poem exists in many versions; the one featured on the United States Holocaust Memorial in Washington, DC reads: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Dakotah Ng recites this version of the poem verbatim during her speech following Nicole Yoshida's speech justifying secession.[30]

Richard Nixon

Axel Lysbakken blames Nixon and Watergate for the slippery authoritarian slope that led to the Mike Pence regime.[31]

James Petigru

James Louis Petigru (May 10, 1789 – March 9, 1863) was a lawyer and politician from South Carolina. He is best known for his service as the Attorney General of South Carolina, which included an overhaul of the state's law code. He was a Southern Unionist who opposed nullification and state secession, and denounced the Confederate States. He did not live to see the end of the American Civil War.

Mike Pence's speech denouncing Pacifica states that "someone before the Civil War" said that "it's too small for a country and too large for an insane asylum," referencing Petigru's reaction to his home state's secession, before any other states seceded.[32]

Theodore Roosevelt

When Nicole says that the politicians in Washington, DC have an inclination to "speak stupidly and carry a big stick," Malcolm Washington laughs and says "That isn't quite how Teddy Roosevelt put it."[33]

William Sherman

Nicole, when thinking of how American and Pacifican personnel will be repatriated across borders, remembers how the Confederate States repatriated William Tecumseh Sherman to the Union in 1861, and spent the next four years regretting it.[34]

George Soros

George Soros, ( György Schwartz, August 12, 1930) is a Hungarian-born American billionaire investor and philanthropist. As of May 2020, he had a net worth of $8.3 billion, having donated more than $32 billion to the Open Society Foundations, of which $15 billion have already been distributed, representing 64% of his original fortune, making him the "most generous giver" (in terms of percentage of net worth) according to Forbes.

Soros is a supporter of progressive and liberal political causes, to which he dispenses donations through the Open Society Foundations. His extensive funding of political causes has made him a "bugaboo of European nationalists". Numerous American conservatives have promoted false claims that characterize Soros as a singularly dangerous "puppet master" behind many alleged global plots. Conspiracy theories targeting Soros, who is of Jewish descent, have often been described as antisemitic.

The rant of the unnamed Deputy Sheriff of Modoc County includes the "Soros cartel" in his list of liberal bogeymen.[35] Within the story, it is unclear whether Soros himself is still alive in 2031.

Joseph Stalin

Axel Lysbakken tells Nicole of how Joseph Stalin turned the insignificant office of "general secretary" into something extremely powerful, when describing how Lysbakken infiltrated his own people into the counter-independence groups in Pacifica.[36]

William Tweed

Upon learning from Patrick O'Donnell just how deeply the Russians have sunk their hooks into American Presidential elections, Nicole thinks of Boss Tweed's alleged axiom, "As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it?"[37]


Nicole invokes the name of Roman military historian Vegetius at a Pacifican independence rally in San Francisco, recalling his statement "If you want peace, prepare for war," and reminding her listeners that the Empire fell soon after.[38]


  1. And the Last Trump Shall Sound, pg. 26.
  2. Ibid., pg. 31.
  3. Ibid., pg. 26.
  4. Ibid., pg. 55.
  5. Ibid., pg. 63.
  6. Ibid., pg. 31.
  7. Ibid., pg. 77.
  8. Ibid., pg. 67.
  9. Ibid., pg. 50.
  10. Ibid., pg. 29.
  11. Ibid., pg. 20.
  12. Ibid., pg. 27, tpb, pg. 30, loc. 418, ebook.
  13. Ibid., pg. 65.
  14. Ibid., pg. 37.
  15. Ibid., pg. 3.
  16. Ibid., pg. 68.
  17. Ibid., pg. 8.
  18. Ibid., pg. 16.
  19. Ibid., pg. 33.
  20. Ibid., pgs. 26-27.
  21. Ibid., pg. 78.
  22. Ibid., pg. 12.
  23. Ibid., pg. 47.
  24. Ibid., pg. 52.
  25. Ibid., pg. 8.
  26. Ibid., pg. 18.
  27. Ibid., pgs. 22-23.
  28. Ibid., pg. 73.
  29. Ibid., pg. 68.
  30. Ibid., pgs. 13-14.
  31. Ibid., pg. 55, tpb.
  32. Ibid., pg. 7.
  33. Ibid., pg. 43.
  34. Ibid., pg. 45.
  35. Ibid., pg. 52.
  36. Ibid., pg. 54.
  37. Ibid., pgs. 68-69.
  38. Ibid., pg. 35.