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Ferdinand Koenig

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Ferdinand Koenig was is a major antagonist in Harry Turtledove's Timeline 191, an alternate history in which the Confederacy winning the American Civil War eventually led to the rise of a fascist Confederate regime. Koenig was the second-in-command to Confederate dictator Jake Featherston, and the head of the secret police under the title of "Attorney General" (though he had no actual legal experience).

Little is known about Koenig's past prior to meeting Featherston, except that he was an extreme Confederate nationalist, though he is likely of German ancestry, given his name. After the Confederate defeat in the Great War, an alternate First World War after which the Confederacy was burdened with crippling war reparations and military restrictions by the victorious US (not unlike the real-world Treaty of Versailles on Germany), Koenig joined the ultranationalist Freedom Party and supported Featherston in his takeover of the party, voting out previous head Anthony Dresser.

Koenig ran as Featherston's Vice President in 1921 in the Confederate presidential election, but lost. The Freedom Party name was further tarnished when a member of the party, Grady Calkins, assassinated the victorious president Wade Hampton V, leading to a second defeat in the presidential election of 1927.

After the stock market crash, however, opinions began to sway against the Confederate political establishment, with Featherston winning along with running mate Willy Knight. While Koenig was initially infuriated by Featherston choosing a different vice president, Featherston assured him that the vice president would have no real power under his regime, and instead appointed him Attorney General.

Under this position, Koenig was placed in charge of the secret police, as well as overseeing the abolition of the Confederate Supreme Court. At the same time, Featherston also amended the constitution to allow Featherston to continue to the hold the office of president for life. Willy Knight, finally realizing Featherston's dictatorial ambitions, made a failed assassination attempt on Featherston.

Meanwhile, under Koenig's guidance, camps for political prisoners, almost exculsively blacks, were set up. Willy Knight had the dubious distinction of being one of the few white prisoners sent to these camps. When director Jefferson Pinkard complained overpopulation in the camps, Koenig ordered him to "reduce the population" by any means necessary. Initially victims, including Willy Knight in 1941, were executed by gunshot, but later, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide gas were used.

At around the same time, the Confederates, who had begun a massive military buildup over the last decade, declared war on the US, making initial advances in 1941 and 1942. By 1943, however, the tide had begun to turn. Even the successful construction of a single atomic bomb by the Confederates, and its use against Philadelphia could not save the Confederate war effort, and the Confederacy suffered nuclear retaliation at rumored hideout of Featherston's at Newport News.

Featherston escaped along with Koenig and a few other ranking leaders, however their escape plane was shot down over Alabama, and Featherston was shot and killed by a black resistance man in 1944. Soon afterward, Koenig and the others surrendered. Shortly after Featherston's death, Confederate president (former vice president) Don Partridge surrendered to the US. Koenig was, along with Jefferson Pinkard and others, charged with war crimes for their part in the "population reductions". Both Koenig and Pinkard were sentenced to death, and Koenig was executed by hanging in winter, 1945.

Trivia

Ferdinand Koenig is based off several prominent members of the real-life Nazi Party, in Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, and Rudolf Hess.

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