Historiography is the study of the narrative of history, interpreting how events are analyzed by sources, rather than directly analyzing the event. In Gosick, one could say that Victorique de Blois is a historiographer in her own right. Her “wellspring of wisdom” has the ability to vividly reconstruct events given only their “fragments of chaos”, or simple pieces of the entire story. It is also said that history repeats itself. The Marquis de Blois wants to take advantage of this ability to plan political maneuvers that will produce his desired outcome.
Because Gosick has a historical setting, we are able to make direct comparisons between it and our world. The main plot occurs in 1924 and 1925, at the peak of a period normally called the “Roaring Twenties”, when outlook for the future following the Great War seemed bright.
Attitudes of characters early in the story of Gosick seem to match the optimistic outlook during this period. Saubure, a small kingdom tucked in the western Alps between France and Italy, emerges out of the Great War victorious as part of the Allies. In our world, this would be the continental remnant of what was the Kingdom of Sardinia before it was split between France and Italy. Saubure enters the 1920s as a European power with ties to the rest of the world, including Japan, which was also part of the Allies. These are the circumstances which make it possible for Kazuya Kujo to enter Saubure as a student.
Parallels can be drawn between Saubure’s political developments in the interwar period and Japan’s rise to militarism. Nationalism plays a role in the desire for both Saubure and Japan to enter the 1930s as a world power. It is no coincidence that both Saubure and Japan, which were part of the Allies, show leanings toward expansionist policies employed by the Axis powers immediately prior to World War II.
The appointment of the Marquis de Blois as Prime Minister of Saubure also mirrors the rise of Italy’s Benito Mussolini, whose prime ministership during 1922–1925 eventually gave way to a dictatorship. Mussolini described his government as simultaneously “revolutionary” and “traditionalist”, much like the Marquis’ revolution which shows signs of (manipulated) populism yet maintains Saubure’s monarchy.
There is, however, a level of ambiguity in the setting of Gosick that may confuse viewers, thus leading many to believe that the circumstances leading up to a second world war have fundamentally changed.
Kazuya Kujo is described as being deployed in the ambiguous “north”. Assuming he trains with the Imperial Japanese army, there is speculation that he is in Japanese occupied territories of either Siberia or Manchuria. Both scenarios are possible but do not match the timeline. Japan’s presence in eastern Siberia during the Russian Civil War ended in 1922, and the occupation of Manchuria did not begin until 1931. There was no indication of major Japanese presence directly north of Saubure’s fictional location during the interwar period.
The Marquis de Blois is mentioned having discussions with the German envoy in 1925 regarding interests in Poland (which made territorial gains from Germany’s losses following the war). While it is true that Germany still did not recognize its boundary with Poland as of 1925, there was no indication of military buildup as suggested in Gosick until Germany began expanding in the 1930s.
Gosick can ultimately serve as a metanarrative of Japan’s interwar history. Japan’s feudal system and Saubure’s aristocracy give way to a military state driven by strong political figures. Propaganda becomes a weapon employed by Japanese nationalists and Saubure’s Ministry of the Occult.
Since their first case aboard the Queen Berry, Kazuya and Victorique become fully aware that the world has been profoundly impacted by the Great War. Although Gosick may seem like a normal mystery story, the Queen Berry incident begins a chain of events that trap both Kazuya and Victorique in the complex web of political intrigue of the interwar period.