Alternative History

Following are a few possible Points of Departure. These represent specific events without prior certainty as to their resolution ("hinge moments") and avoid those which would require ASB (which is why the justification is included for each) or those which are based on alternate trends.

The ramifications are meant to represent various possibilities, not a group of related results.

These are posted to give ideas to others, so feel free to contribute your own to this page.

Ancient World

  • Egypt and the Hittites Unite
Justification: After Tutankhamen died his widow sent letters to the Hittite king Dahamunzu asking if he had any sons available for a marriage and political union ["My husband has died, a son I have not. But to thee, they say, the sons are many. If thou wouldst give me one son of thine, he would become my husband. Never shall I pick out a servant of mine and make him my husband. I am afraid!"]. Dahamunzu's son Zannanza was chosen and traveled to Egypt, but he was murdered at the border (1327BC). If he survived the journey he would have been the Pharaoh.
Ramifications: The united kingdoms would have been even stronger. They would not have wasted energies warring against each other and would have been able to pose a serious threat to the Assyrians. Also a unified Hittite/Egyptian nation may been able to withstand the invasion by the "Sea Peoples".
It could also be argued that the combined kingdoms would be more susceptible to attack from the Sea Peoples. The Egyptian+Hittite empire would be able to put down the people in the mountains to the north of Hittite portion of the empire. And the Egypt part would have easy access to horses and wood. So both portions would have a reduced infantry and would rely more on chariots. The Sea People had a way to neutralize chariots and could be better able to topple the combined empire. This timeline could be "What if Egypt/Hittite survived intact deep into the iron age?" or it could be the opposite: "What if Egypt was destroyed in the 13th century bc". The path would be up to the creator of the timeline.
  • Early Rome Destroyed
Justification: According to historians, there were two events which could have easily wiped out early Rome:
- In the early Fourth Century BCE, Celtic tribes invaded Rome and burned much of the town in retaliation for treaty-breaking. Legendarily, all of Rome was holed up in the Citadel, and a nighttime attack by the Celts was foiled only by Vesta's holy "watch geese". One could imagine that a single Celt with some ideas on taking fortifications could have ended Rome.
- At the end of Hannibal's first push toward Rome he was actually within a day's march of an undefended Rome but turned aside due to misinformation about the Roman forces. Had he believed his Roman spy instead of his aides, he could have sacked Rome, leading to an eventual, permanent, Cathegenian victory.
- It's hard to imagine what Western History would be like without Rome.
- No Christianity, since Jesus of Nazareth's movement was rebelling against Roman tyrrany in Judea.
- Jesus might've rebelled against Parthian oppresion or some other conqueror. Thus, Christianity would still exist, but its initial spread would be eastwards rather than westwards. Europe might be rather late to Christianization, if it's Christinized at all, while the Middle East would be the center of Christianity. No Islam in that case - Nik 08:57, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Jesus is a reform movement into Judaism, he never opposed Roman power (not, at least, according to the ghospels). Of course, a POD affecting the rulers of Judea and Nazareth by 1st century BCE, would affect the existance of any historical character (assuming Jesus is) and how the movement would later spread (i.e. no Paul as Roman citizen). -- Carlos Th
If England was late christinazed,, then oppression might've been a bit more bearable to the Americans, and, it's possible, America never seperates from Britain!
Well, this is about history, albeit alternate. What the gospels (= religious propaganda) say tells us very little about what actually happened. Michael riber 21:11, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
- Jesus' line would probably die off, and if not the seleucids (No Rome=Longer lasting Seleucid Empire) would be very efficient at killing off the people of Bethlehem (or Jerusalem (No census)). And because of no Bar Khoba Revolt they would be considered extremist judaism and just like all the other extremists fade into irrelevance. - Willbell123
- Possibly the Celts would have formed a powerful kingdom under Vercingetorix?
- Possibly the Parthian Empire would have conquered Palestine, Egypt and the Near East?
- Maybe Zorastrianism would be a major world religion?
  • Rome Falls to Radicals
Justification: The Zealots were a Jewish terrorist group during the Roman era. If they had absorbed Christianity (which was very possible), then it would have taken on a much more radical tone.
Ramifications: As Christianity spread, a weakened and more politically divided Rome may have fallen to invaders very quickly and been completely lost.
- No Rennaisance (Roman culture would be destroyed by Christians and barbarians).
- In that case, in one of the civil wars one of the patriarchs could rally the christians and become emperor. Then, Rome might have lasted longer. (one big problem of the empire is no clear line of succession for the emperor. Also, if the Pope/emperor has to be chosen as the modern pope is, a capable ruler might be picked, instead of tyrants (ei Commodus) Also, possible no schism--Mean Mr Mustard 22:07, January 2, 2010 (UTC)
  • Athens Wins the Pelopenesian Wars
Justification: Athens was on the verge of a lasting victory in the Pelopenesian wars when they embroiled themselves in a war with Syracuse, which they prosecuted very badly and lost disasterously. If the Syracuse expedition had been confined to its original scope, or if it had been better led, the Athenian Empire would have ended the era supreme over all the Greeks.
- A united Greece might not have fallen so easily to Philip of Macedon, or indeed fallen at all. This would have meant a very different career (and personality) for Alexander of Macedon.
- The Pelopenesian Wars were seen by many in the Eastern Mediterranean as a litmus test of democracy vs. ogliarchy. Had Athens won, Athenian-style democracy might have caught on through much of the Middle East, and even the Middle Ages might have been different, with constitutional monarcy arising much earlier than it did.
- The collapse of Greek hegemony following the Spartan victory and Alexander's rise and fall cleared the way for Rome and Carthage. Had the Greeks held on Medditeranean dominance for even another century, one or both of these empires might have been quite different.
- Aristotle's career, and his teachings, would presumably have been substantially different.
  • Athens accepts peace after the battle of Arginusae durig the Pelloponesian war

Justification: The Spartans came to the Athenians after this battle looking for peace, as their moral was low, and their fleet was in poor condition. The Spartans agreed to go with the status quo, but the Spartans would remove a fort they had in Decelea. At the urging of Cleophon, the Athenians rejected the peace. They could have accepted the peace, against Cleophon.


- The Athenians would have been able to replenish their treasury, and would have continued with their naval dominance of the region.

- Lysander would possibly not have regained power in Sparta.

  • Rome adopts the technology of Archimedes
Justification: Romans saw their warships mangled by war machines and burned by mirrors. They ignored this and went on as though nothing had ever happened. What if someone happened to be paying attention?
- Roman armies might have become even more dangerous with more potent machinery backing them.
- Naval warfare would have been forever changed as ships gained the ability to sink one another at great distance.

Medieval Era

  • Scandinavia Stays Pagan
Justification: The Nordic countries adopting Christianity was to a large extent a result of individual rulers trying to fortify their position by becoming part of the "Big European Family". Had other kings and chieftains been in charge, they might very well have rejected Christianity and stuck with the old religion.
- The Norsemen might not have given up on Vinland so easily. Denmark-Norway might have become a major player in European politics with American colonies to back them up.
- Had the Vikings in Britain, Normandy, and Russia maintained their own religion, they might have fortified their position as a ruling class instead of being assimilated into the local population so quickly, creating a Scandinavian Empire in large parts of Northern Europe and preventing the rise of England - and possibly France, at least as we know it.
  • Henry II Conquers France
Justification: Henry II had already taken most of France, when he was killed by a chance arrow from the forces of his son, Richard in an ill-conceived 1189 revolt against his father. If Henry had been luckier or a slightly better father and husband to Eleanor, he might have lasted the remaining ten years necessary to find a pretext to conquer Louis' tiny remaining kingdom.
- A united Angevin France and England would have been the most powerful kingdom in Europe by a wide margin and might have held an empire for centuries (see the works of Randal Garrett for an excellent example of this).
- The Hundred Years War and resulting social chaos is seen by many historians as a major contributor to the breakdown of the Feudal System and the rise of Capitalism. Without that war, might Feudalism have lasted another few centuries?
- The misrule of Henry's son, John Lackland, gave rise to the Magna Carta which was an precedent for constitutional governments everywhere, the British Parliament, and the American Revolution. With a strong Angevin Empire, constitutionalism and republican government might have remained confined to Italy for much longer.
- Without French help, it is unlikely that Scotland would ever have resisted England.
- A Kingdom of France and England would have had both the incentive and the cash to have financed the voyage of Italian expatriate Christopher Columbus.
- An Angevin Empire might have also become the Holy Roman Empire and moved the Holy See permanently to Avignon. This would have kept England a primarily Catholic country, yet paradoxically reduced the power of the Church. Taken together, the Protestant Reformation might have been much smaller and less bloody.

  • Saladin dies before his wars against the Crusaders
Justification: Saladin picked a fight against a group called the Assassins. At one point during the conflict, their representative snuck into his tent, made it quite clear that Saladin could be killed in spite of all his precautions, and snuck back out. This encounter could have easily ended with Saladin dead.
- Saladin united a large portion of the Arab World to defeat the crusading armies and conquer their territory. Without him, the Western forces might have had time to dig in better. Possibly, their descendants could have been living in the Middle East even today.


  • Francois II of France survive his illness
Justification: Nobody is entirely sure what his illness was, although so hypothesis were treatable.
- Having married Mary Stuart (queen of scotland) he might have engendered offspring that would have inherited both kingdoms.
  • Jacobite Britain
Justification: According to some historians, the Jacobite Rising of 1745 came close to succeeding at two points, either of which could have gone a different way. If the French invading force in 1744 hadn't been stopped by bad weather, they've have lent 10,000 troops to the cause. Later, in 1745 the Jacobites were within striking distance of London and could have seized it but their intelligence was bad and Murray believed the Jacobites to have more enemies and less friends than they in fact did. If either event had gone a different way, Stuart could have seized the English throne, at least temporarily.
  • No Spain

Justification: Isabella I of Castile or Ferdinand II of Aragon and Leon both could have died from a number of things that effected the emerging world. From disease in tainted food to being too close to a person carrying a virus Isabella or ferdinand may not have been able to marry. Also even if they lived their marriage could have fallen apart. The brother of Isabella, King Henry IV, or the father of Ferdinand, John II of Aragon, could have had a falling out or they could be overthrown by a rival which could also lead to the death of one of these two.


-Castille and Aragon would not have been united, the Reconquista would not have been completed.
-No Spanish Inquisition.
-No discovery of America, as there wouldn't be funding for Columbus. Or perhaps it was discovered by someone else from another country, since Spain would not exists. Something like the Portuguese, French, Dutch, or English could have landed in the Americas.

- Might have triggered another fifty years of religious warfare in England
- Seems unlikely that Charles could have actually held on to the throne
- May have led to a less democratic Britain by removing power from the parliament.

French Revolution Era

  • Louis XVI manage to escape to Belgium
Justification: No one knew where he was until he got out of the coach and was seen by a civil servant who recognised him and warned the Gendarmes.
- The king serves as a unifying symbol for the royalists who do not become fractioned and manage with foreign help to regain the throne. No napoleonic Era.
- He stays in exile until the restoration when he comes back to the throne.

Napoleonic Era

  • The French landing in Ireland (1798) is a success
Justification: The only problem *here* was bad weather which damaged a few ships and dispersed the rest.
- Ireland becomes one of the "sister republics" of France, and later becomes a kingdom under one of Napoleon's siblings
- No clear resolution is achieved by either side. British involvement in the defence of Ireland reduce its resources during later Napoleonic wars.
- Ireland becomes independent and declares neutrality during the French Imperial era (claiming that they have a debt of gratitude to the republic, not the empire). It manages to make a large profit as a neutral trader and eventually becomes a world power in the late 19th or early 20th century.
  • Napoleon dies in battle
Justification: Napoleon frequently fought on the front lines. It's quite plausible that a lucky bullet could've struck him
Depends on when he was killed. Some possibilities
- Napoleon's successor negotiates a peace treaty. As France is in a position of power, he is able to keep many of France's conquests and sattelite states. Those satellites eventually break away.
Hmmmm ... I think that Imperial France would have collapsed very quickly without Napoleon after he had eliminated his rivals; his wars of conquest were to assuage the bankruptcy that France was in, after all. So if he had been killed, for example, in the invasion of Italy, I think France would have collapsed within weeks and been dismembered by the Austrians and Prussians. However, in his early years he had a number of rivals for rulership of France, a couple of whom were very capable and might have made successful Emperors themselves had he been killed in, say, 1804. --TheFuzzy 17:19, 7 Jul 2005 (UTC)
- Britian came quite late to the land war, and the victory over Napoleon established the British Army as (for a while) the premier military in the world. Had the French Empire fallen earlier, the British Empire might have had considerably more competition from the Austrians and Prussians.

-The generals pull off a "Moon Over Parador" scenario to save the French Empire.
- The deposition of the Spanish Royals by Napoleon, which happened late in the war, did a considerable amount to encourage the collapse of the Spanish Empire and inspire revolution in South America. Had Napoleon died before 1809, Simon de Boliviar might not have been successful.
Other thoughts?
  • Napoleon leads the Republic of (South) America
Justification: in 1821 a bunch of aristocratic rebels, British and American adventurers had a plan to spring Napoleon from St. Helena to lead a war of revolutionary conquest and create a united South America. The main reason for their failure to do so was arriving in St. Helena 3 months after Napoleon died. If Napoleon had not contracted stomach cancer (as is currently believed) South America might be very different.
Ramifications and Possibilities:
- The Republic of America survives Napoleon's death a few years later and becomes a power equal to the United States.
- Trans-American rivalry dominates politics in the Western Hemisphere for the next century. The Republic sends arms to exacerbate the devastation of the US Civil War, resulting in the collapse of North American power.
- By the 20th century, the Republic of America is a major world power. This results in a world dominated by South American culture instead of North American.
- Possibly the Catholic Church would scism, with a new Vatican in Latin America.

Victorian England

  • The pregnant Queen Victoria does not escape unscathed from the 29 May 1840 assassination attempt by Edward Oxford
Victoria was lucky, plain and simple
  • Victoria is killed
- Britain and Hanover are reunited under Ernest Augustus I of Hanover, Duke of Cumberland.
  • Victoria survives, but dies givng birth to Princess Victoria
- Princess Victoria (1840-1901) becomes Victoria II (r. 1840-1901) and gives her name to the Victorian era.
- Victoria II of Britain does not marry the future Kaiser Wilhelm I.
  • Victoria survives, but suffers wounds (a stillbirth?) that make her barren
- The John Brown scandal of OTL is much worse
- After 1866, George V, King of Hanover, agrees to renounce Hanover to become Prince of Wales.

Post-Napoleonic Europe

- If Hungary became a state in personal-union with Austria, it would have reduced the non-German population in Austria proper.
- Germany is (even) more contininentaly involved
- Lombardy-Venetia may be included in Germany, thus making Italy smaller
  • The Republic of Sonora becomes independent from Mexico (or possible a State)
- William Walker, who had conquered the Mexican States of Baja California and Sonora, intended to establish a Republic of Sonora. It was Popular in 1854, the era of Manifest Destiny, but fell apart due to Walkers disorganization, lack of supplies, and inability to maintain independence in the face of the strong push back from the Mexicans. What if this Republic gained its independence, say it fought with Mexico and won due to greater backing from the US Government or less interest from Mexico, and then wanted annexation to the United States, so it would handle its war debts.
- Another State to the United States, which would have to be either a slave or a free state.
- This could alter the outcome of the Civil War and may lead to a total takeover of Mexico by the US, especially if combined with the below idea.
-This could also lead to an American Empire which spreads throughout the Americas.
  • The Republic of the Rio Grande becomes independent from Mexico (or possible a State).
-In 1840 a rebellion led by Generals Mariano Arista and Antonia Canales, with the intention of asserting the independence of their new Country, failed because Antonio Canales was offered a higher position in the Mexican Military. What if he refused the offer and fought Mexico or even won. Maps and Flags for this Republic can be seen here.
-Mexico is not as large or powerful.
-Part of Texas would be in this Republic (as well as the Mexican States of Coahuila, Nueva Leon, and Tamaulipas.
-If it became a state it could be a slave or free state and drastically change the Civil War, not to mention the fact that (if it doesnt tear the US apart then America would be much larger.)
-Revolutions in texas may not hav happened and there may be no Texas
-If it remain indepndent it could change the whole political stage of the US, and perhaps resist the move westward by the United States
  • Karl Marx never comes up with Communism
- If Marx had not come up with Communism, it would have drastically changed the history of the 20th Century
- Income redistribution policies are never thought up.
- Russia becomes a Constitutional Monarchy?
- A far more prosperous world? The Internet invented much earlier?
- The nonexistence of Fascism?
- Far fewer wars?
- An Anarcho-Capitalist America?
- Other versions of socialism thought of by different people rise in prominence.

Pre-Civil War US History

  • The British win the battle of Saratoga
If the British army from New York had fought alongside the British Army from Canada, the Americans may have been defeated.
America loses the Revolutionary War. The British decides to give each of its many colonies a representative in Parliament. Land west of these colonial borders was organized as Indian Territory by Britain. Spain sells Florida to Britain. Britain did not buy Louisiana from France as they had no incentive to do so. Louis-Napoleon encouraged settlement of Louisiana, which became an important French colony. Mexico kept the land north of the current border.
  • The 1787 Constitutional Convention breaks up
It is not clear that Roger Sherman's small state/large state compromise would necessarily have been adopted. There were many conflicts between different states, and the convention could have broken up without adopting a unified constitution. Each state might then have either gone independent on its own or joined with one or two neighbors.
- Possible boundary wars (New York vs. New England over Vermont, Virginia vs. other states over the "Northwest Territories")
- A weaker collection of nations along the East Coast, with some states (such as New England) looking toward England for protection, others (such as Virginia, given Jefferson's predilections) to France:
  • followers of Franklin (who by 1787 was an old man, but with much prestige) would make Pennsylvania among the pro-French states
  • as mentioned above, Virginia would also be among the pro-French
  • Maryland, squeezed between these two large pro-French states, would look to England for protection
  • New England, always pro-British anyway (almost seceding in the War of 1812 in our timeline!) would confederate and join the pro-British group
  • New York, opposed to both Pennsylvania and New England, might try to go it alone, under the leadership of a pro-strong-government Alexander Hamilton
- France retaining Louisiana (which was a lot more than the current state of that name; it was rather almost the central 1/3 of the continent!) perhaps inciting a francophone Quebec to revolt against the British and allying Louisiana to Quebec to form a major francophone alliance in North America
- No War of 1812 or Civil War, but rather many small wars altering boundaries through the 19th century
- No unification of British North America in a single large nation. Perhaps the Province of Canada becomes a dominion, followed by a union of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Newfoundland becomes a dominion later.
(However, see earlier note re Quebec; it seems likely that Quebec would secede from a Province of Canada, opting to remain francophone and ally itself with a Louisiana that would be a powerful force in North America!)
I'm not so sure about that last part myself. --Sikulu 11:03, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
That, I guess, is one of the things about alternate history; different people have different ideas on what the result of a particular change would be. I was discussing this idea with my wife, and one of the ideas that came to me didn't seem too plausible to her. (Though she agrees with me on Quebec!) -- BruceG 17:51, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
- The Oregon Country is entirely under British rule.
The Federalist Party was opposed to the Purchase, and if the party structure was different, Congress may have voted against it.
The United States never expanded west of the Mississippi. Smaller nations may settle in the West.
  • The New England States (and possibly neighbouring ones) secede from the US in 1812
The (mostly pro-Federalist) New England states threatened to secede from the union (see the Hartford Convention)
- The US becomes more dominated by the slave-owning states, particularly Virginia
- Possibly other states might decide to secede from the union (see Nullification Crisis)
- The Louisiana purchase would probably have been returned to Spain in such a case, or bought by Britain
  • Cuba annexed in 1854
Annexation of Cuba had been considered (see Ostend Manifesto)
- Expansion of slavery
- Admission of another slave state
- Intensified North-South debate
- Earlier Spanish-American War
  • Corporations are not legally deemed to be "people" in the United States.
The legal concept of "corporate personhood" may have been snuffed out with an early death of Alexander Hamilton or James Webster. A slight rewording of the 14th Amendment may also prevent corporate personhood. Another possible POD is in the late 1800's if someone other than Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite presided over some of the legal challenges to US railroads.
If corporations are not "people," then owners and stock holders could be more legally liable for the actions of the corporations (notably in bankruptcies and law suits). Corporations would also not have "personal" freedoms, like the right to free speech, which allows them to influence political campaigns in OTL. This could lead to corporations which act more responsibly and to a more ideal democratic process.

American Civil War

  • Lincoln shot much earlier.
It may be feasible for Lincoln to be shot "on the field".

He was almost shot while overseeing the defense of one fort near Washington (I forget which). He had been standing in plain sight of confederate soldiers, and by that time, even in the pre-internet time period, knew what he looked like. Any sharpshooter could have killed him.--Mean Mr Mustard 01:43, December 5, 2009 (UTC)

Also there were 80 reported threats (assassination plots) against Lincoln's life, some more serious than others. Most notable:
- Lincoln snuck into Washington D.C. shortly after the election due to reports of assassination plots in Baltimore. If the plot was undiscovered and Lincoln remained in Baltimore, he may have been killed before he was inaugurated.
- Entire character of Civil War and its aftermath is changed.
  • Lincoln not shot
Conspiracy to kill Lincoln uncovered before it can advance
Reconstruction goes very differently
Possible socialist leanings in Lincoln's second term?
  • Washington Seized
Justification: After the first Battle of Bull Run, the Confederate Army was within striking distance of a suddenly undefended Washington DC. Only a bout of political paralysis held them back, not realizing it was as close as they would get ever. If President Davis had been more decisive, or his generals more willing to overrule him, the Civil War might have ended in only a couple of months, in favor of the South.
- The Confederate states would have been, for at least a short time, a separate country.
- There would be no lasting North/South bitterness because so few people were killed.
- There was already a bitterness before the War. However, it probably would've faded over time. -- Nik 06:55, 10 Jul 2005 (UTC)
- If they remained separated for many years, the conflict might have become a trade war which the North would have won.
- More likely, I think, is a growing friendship between the two. -- Nik 06:55, 10 Jul 2005 (UTC)
- Even if the CS rejoined, state governments would probably be much stronger than they are now.
- In the CSA, most likely, in the US, however, I suspect there'd be even more centralization, quite possibly including an amendemtn or two intended to prevent a repeat of the short war. Perhaps Amendment 13 would've been something like "This Union is permament, and may not be dissolved by act of a state government", since the CSA's indepenence would've cemented secession as a right of the states. No equivalents of OTL's 13th, 14th, and 15th amendements. However, slavery wouldn't've lasted very long in either the USA or CSA. By the 20th anniversary of the CSA's birth (1881), the US would probably be slave-free, and the CS might very well be too.
Secession of Texas (perhaps with Louisiana and Arkansas) from the CSA is quite possible, too.
The CSA would definitely be a strongly states-rights-oriented nation, and would be held back economically, probably becoming dependent upon the US for industrial products. Dissolution of the CSA into several nations, possibly one nation for each state, must be considered
Kentucky is an interesting question, as well. In OTL, Kentucky initially declared neutrality. Where would they go after the war? Staying with the US, or joining the CSA?
Maryland - would a Confederate victory cause them to bolt and join the CSA, too? In OTL, it was largely martial law that prevented it from joining the CSA, and as it was, they contributed a large number of troops to the Confederate cause, almost as many Marylanders as fought for the Union, in fact, despite conscription dragging people into the Union army!
With Maryland, and hence DC, in Confederate hands, where would the capital move too? Philadelphia? Westerners might object to another Eastern capital. Columbus, Ohio is a possibility, being central to most of the population at the time, the Trans-Mississippi still being fairly sparsely populated
The US, however, would remain a much weaker nation. Probably no Spanish-American War, for example. Definitely no Alaska Purchase or Hawaii annexation.
The Republicans would be history, and with that, probably fewer, but larger, states in the West (compare the 1860 map [1] with the 1870 map [2] - the Republicans had a good deal of support in the far west, and hence, carved up the territories into smaller entities to make way for more states, hence greater strength in the Senate and Electoral College. The Dems might well reconsolidate western territories, and favor admitting them in larger pieces, in order to maintain Eastern strength
Who would've risen as the opposition party? Socialists, as Harry Turtledove suggested? Some other populist movement? -- Nik 06:55, 10 Jul 2005 (UTC)
I see you like this thread idea, Nik. If you start it, I'll contribute to it! (After I get back from my trip, that is) --TheFuzzy 02:48, 11 Jul 2005 (UTC)

Post-Civil War North America

  • Russia does not sell Alaska.
Many people both in Russia and America opposed the deal. Russia obviously did ask too little, if the price was higher, it's likely that Americans would refuse.
In 1896-98 bursts out the Klondike Gold Rush. Alaska becomes invaded with adventurers from Canada and USA, who very soon outnumber the scarce local Russian population. Russian authorities try to take under control the gold mining (try to drive the chuzhaki (outlanders) out of the province?), which brings them into conflict with the British Empire and the United States. British and American navy organize the naval blockade of Alaska, while British ground forces invade the region. Alaska becomes a puppet regime under British and/or American protectorate.
Similar processes led to occupation of California by the United States and occupation of the Boer republics by the British Empire.
Russia becomes a bitter enemy of Britain. Russia's defeat is likely to trigger the Ruso-Japanese war (ealier than in OTL). Russia is unwilling negotiate peaceful terms with Britain in Persia, and it leads to the Persian War, in which the two empires are eager to "liberate" the country from each other's presence. Britain allies with the Russian arch-rival, the Ottoman Empire. Russia allies with the British arch-rival, the German Empire. Balance of forces is shifted, the Central Powers (Germany + Austria + Italy + Russia) are likely to win the Great War.

World War I

  • Germany doesn't give unlimited guarantees to Austria-Hungary.
Justification: The Emperor wanted to soften the wordings, his Generals made sure the strong version was sent to Austria-Hungary. A slightly different timing might have made a big difference.
Ramifications: Austria-Hungary acts more careful. Mobilisation and tension is slightly less. Western Allies and Prussia are more neutral. The war may still happen, but it starts between Austria-Hungary and Russia. Prussia still joins on the side of Austria-Hungary, but doesn't feel as threatened by western powers, therefore avoids war against France. The desperate situation of Austria-Hungary makes western powers more wary of Russia, therefore more neutral. Germany beats Russia similar to OTL, but probably faster. To avoid too much mistrust by Britain and the US, Germany refrains from conquering more than Poland, making Finland, the Baltics, the Ukraine and maybe a few other countries independent instead. Russia may or may not have a Revolution afterwards, it will sure have a change of leadership and more parliamentary power. Austria-Hungary might still fall apart after the poor showing against Russia. It will definitely have a change in leadership. If nothing else happens, militarism might become even more popular in Germany, which might lead to an early WWII. If France decides to use the opportunity to retake Alsace-Lorraine, it would probably get into a similar trenchwar as IOTL, thanks to the machine gun. Britain and the US would probably like Germany to be weakened by that, but they might not see a reason to intervene, as no neutral countries have been attacked by Germany yet. If Germany makes the mistake of attacking Belgium to try to stop the trench war in Alsace Lorraine, Britain would help France, with hard to guess result, as the CP would be much stronger in that scenario.
  • Germany finances WWI using long term bonds (or other instruments) instead of short term bonds.
- Financially: war can last longer, and debt is much easier to deal with, hyperinflation does not occur.
  • Death of Adolf hitler during WWI.
Justification: he was badly wounded at least once
- The Third Reich ends up controlled by The Steel Helmets (right wing but more conservative than fascistic and not particularly antisemitic).

Spanish Civil War

  • General Franco dies before the begining of the Spanish Civil War
Justification: He was wounded on the 29th of June, 1916, by a bullet which narrowly missed any vital organs.
- without a strong charismatic figure, the various rebel factions fight separately, and against one another in some cases.
  • In 1934, Companys (head of the Catalan government) declares independence and armed the workers' militias.
Justification: *here* he believed that the security forces would be enough to ensure Catalan independence.
- with other groups leading their own uprising, the Civil War would have started two years earlier with the role being inverted of a conservative republican government fighting left wing rebels.
  • General Sanjurjo arrives in Spain and takes control of the rebel forces.
Justification: He was prevented from doing so due to his accidental death during a plane crash while leaving his exile in Portugal.
- Those close to him thought that, as the war bore down, he might have accepted a compromise peace treaty with the Republicans.
  • Right-wing politician Calvo Sotelo is not executed
Justification: He was killed in retaliation for the murder of a left-wing officer. He was not, however, the first target (which was Gil Robles) of the assassins, who simply kidnapped and shot the first high ranking rightwinger they could find(!)
- He was considered to be the senior civilian of the Movement's conspiracy and a popular figure in his own right. He might have prevented the military from obscuring the other factions which could have lead to an authoritarian but not totalitarian regime.
  • José Antonio Primo de Rivera is broken out of prison at Alicante
Justification: the raid was well planned and backed by German help. Last minute changes ruined an escape that might have succeeded.
- As one of the most charismatic leaders of the nationalists, he and his Falange could have manage to gain control of the others. Under Primo de Rivera, Spain would have had become something similar to fascist Italy, and might have well joined the Axis during WWII instead of adopting neutrality.

World War II

  • Roosevelt declines a 3rd term. John Nance Garner, the Vice-President, is elected by a modest margin.
Justification: Roosevelt's third term was unprecedented. Though not un-Constitutional, it was traditional for Presidents to only serve two terms "as Washington had". Garner was highly regarded in Democratic politics and likely to get the nomination in 1940. He was however more traditionalist and opposed to some "New Deal" programs.
Ramification: Unlike Roosevelt, Garner would have had little influence on decreasing American isolationism. He likely would not have passed Lend-Lease or possibly even the Japanese oil embargo. Without the embargo, the Japanese likely would not have attacked Pearl Harbor. And without Lend-Lease, the British would have faced a dire situation from the U-boat threat.
  • The attempt to assassinate Hitler on November 8th, 1939 succeeds.
Justification: Johann Georg Elser placed a large bomb in a column behind the speakers podium in preparation for Hitler's annual speech commemorating the failed putsch of 1923. The bomb went off, half the building was destroyed, 8 people were killed, and 65 wounded - but Hitler was uninjured because he had finished his speech early and left the building eight minutes earlier. If Elser had timed his explosion differently, Hitler would have been killed.
Ramifications: This is after Germany invaded Poland. Britain and France had already declared war on Germany but the real fighting was still in the future. With Hitler gone, all the big decision will be different and will depend on who becomes the next leader. Had Germany sued for peace quickly a large-scale war might have been avoided.
  • Operation Barbarossa is successful.

Justification: Hitler's troops made a directional error while going for Moscow. If this mistake had not been made, Moscow, and quite possibly the rest of the Soviet Union might have fallen to the Nazis, potentially causing the rise of a Fascist Eurasia.

Ramifications and Possibilities: This would have shifted the scales considerably toward the Axis, possibly even causing them to win after a more drawn-out European Front. Another, more risky course of events involves the Americans, having no other choice, nuking Fascist Eurasia. This would result in:

-World population drastically decreased, as all of Europe and northern Asia would have been nuked.

-Possible nuclear winter and/or apocalypse

  • The assassination attempt on Hitler on July 20, 1944 is a success.
Justification: The plan was for a bomb (hidden in a satchel) to blow up right next to Hitler. Before the meeting however, an aide had moved the satchel in question under a chair at the other end of the table. When it blew up, the table (one of those monsters made of hardwood) took the brunt of the blast, sparing Hitler.
- Germany sues for an end to the war.
- Germany signs a peace treaty with the allied countries minus Russia.
- The government fractures into factions and this lead to a civil war.
  • France is occupied by the Allies after the Normandy landing and treated in a manner similar to Italy.
Justification: A plan to do this had been drafted before D-day. Only de Gaulle's actions prevented its application
- Resentment eventually pushes France into the communist camp
- Various groups including maquis, communists and former military under de Gaulle keep up a guerilla warfare against the occupation.
  • Hitler does not betray Stalin
Justification: At one point Germany and Russia were Allies but Hitler quickly betrayed the alliance, many Germans died because of harsh Russian weather while invading, Russia's army also would have made the axis more powerful, and would have given a connection from Europe to the Pacific Theater, possibly helping Japan.
  • D-Day fails
Justification: The Normandy landings were always somewhat iffy-there were several moments where the battle could have gone either way. Eisenhower even had a speech prepared to give in the event the landings failed and he was forced to withdraw.
-With no western front, Stalin ends up defeating Hitler on his own and occupies all of Europe instead of just Eastern Europe
-The war lasts long enough for the new German aviation technologies (V2 rocket, jets, etc.) to have an effect on the outcome.
-The war lasts long enough for nuclear weapons to be used in the European theater.
  • France and England drag the Soviet Union in together with Germany into the war.
Justification: There was a plan, Operation Pike, drafted and subsequently developed by the French and Brittish to bomb Bakı and the Caucasian oil fields. 48 Blenheims, 65 Marylands, 24 Farman F.222 heavies and several airfields in Syria were prepared for the operation. Around 900 tons of bombs were allocated to the operation: 404 armour-piecing bombs, 554 * 230 kg, 5188 * 110 kg general-purpose bombs, and 69190 * 1.8 kg incendiary bombs. Everything was neatly prepared but the operation was one week too late: Fall Gelb started one week too soon for the plans to be done.
Short-term, the Red Army helps the Wehrmacht in the push through France, far better cooperation between the Union and the Reich, and as some would like to call it, an "Unholy Alliance" Da Kommt Jakob Angerannt 07:24, July 26, 2011 (UTC)
  • The Atomic Bombings of.... (alternate targets)

Justification: When it came to the A-Bombs President Truman was presented with the following targets to approve; Nagasaki, Kokura, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Yokohama, Tokyo, and Niigata. As options presented any of them where possible and this choice of targets is a hinge moment. Kokura for example, was the intended target for the second bomb but when visual conditions where unfavorable the secondary target of Nagasaki was hit; had conditions been in the bomber's favor one would have learned in school of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Kokura.


Cold War

  • Cuban Missile Crisis leads to World War Three
Justification: At this time the world came very close to a nuclear exchange OTL (some sources say the orders to launch a nuclear attack were revoked two minutes before such orders were no longer reversible).
Ramifications: Hundreds of nuclear explosions would reduce the industrial capacity of the USA, USSR and many other nations to about zero. Large scale long term environmental damage to the target nations and nations down wind.
  • JFK survives assassination attempt
Justification: Any number of coincidences could have made the attempt fail. Basically, the shot got lucky, not the president.
Ramifications: With Kennedy in office until at least 1965, the Vietnam War might have looked very different.
  • Gerald Ford wins re-election
Justification: Ford's bid for re-election hinged on Carter's ability to appear as a reformer. Also public dissatisfaction with the Nixon pardon. If either had been lessened, Ford could have won re-election in 1976.
-Perhaps PLO succeeds in Black September, prompting Israel to be more willing to negotiate with Egypt (PLO will still try to start war, but perhaps delayed Yom Kippur war, causing an oil embargo in the late, not mid, 70s [that, on top of stagflation, would kill Bob Dole or George H W Bush or whichever Republican who runs in 1980])Mean Mr Mustard 20:17, April 2, 2010 (UTC)
Ramifications: Ford's victory would have lessened the chance of a Ronald Reagan nomination in 1980. Bob Dole was Ford's running mate, and given Republican Party politics, likely as not "given" the nomination. Dole would then probably have faced off with Ted Kennedy for the 1980 Presidential election.
It also might have squashed the conservative wing of the GOP or even caused a rift in the Republicans.

Gulf War

  • Saddam Hussein uses nerve gas against US troops during Persian Gulf War in 1989/90
Justification: Saddam Hussein had various chemical weapons at his disposal at this time including nerve gas. The scud missiles were proving to be too inaccurate for their payload of 500lb of explosives to be of much use. A chemical payload would not require as much accuracy.
- If there were large US casualties in Dhahran or Riyadh due to nerve gas, this could result in harsher terms at the end of the war, helping anti-Saddam insurgents. Or it could even cause the scope of the war to increase to "regime change". An Iraq War style conflict could have occurred a decade earlier than in OTL but with 500,000 US troops rather than the 150,000 seen in OTL.

The 2000 US Presidential Election

Bill Clinton doesn't lie about Lewinsky, Gore isn't embarrassed by him and accepts Clinton's help in winning the election.

Hillary Clinton does more to help Gore's election campaign.

"Butterfly Ballots" are not used in Florida, and the voters there are not confused.

Just a few hundred more people go to the polls, and Al Gore wins a few more electoral votes, and the election.

-Earlier transition to fuel effecient and hybred vehicles.
You overestimate the President's influence here.
Look what he is doing with a single doccumentary. You underestimate to most powerful position in the country.
-Possible electoral reform, including constitutional amenments to have a proportional electoral college, or even to abolish it all together.
Any party which has achieved power is unlikely to have the rules-of-the-game changed.
This depands on how Gore would have one. If he won through straight numbers then there would be no incentive to change the electoral system. But if it was post- Florida and the Supreme Court ruling in his favor then there could be a push for changes in the way we handle our elections.
-No Iraq or Afghanistan wars, as it's quite probable that 9/11 would have been reacted to differently.
Afghan War is still likely (assuming 9/11 occurs) but Iraq War would not happen
Posibile Saudi war, considering the ties between the Royal family and the bin Ladens. Also there would be no personal/political friendship between the Saudis and Gore.
-No record economic upswings.
Definitely a matter of opinion on how the economy was handled under GWB.
Economy would have been much better without Bush wasting trillions on the military and as plums to his rich friends. History has shown that liberal presidents lead to economic prosperity, while conservatives destroy the economy and attempt to blame liberals.
-Shoe bombers and other attempted terrorist attacks may have succeeded.
Does the election ensure that the stewardess Hermis Moutardier is not on flight AA 63 or that she is not attentive enough to notice that Mr. Reid is trying to light a fuse on his shoe? Consider also that the Department of Homeland Security was an idea forced on the Republicans by the Democrats and by propaganda stating (untruthfully) that there was popular support - a different president may change its nature but not its existence.
-Tax cuts may have not happened.
. . . but federal spending would also be much smaller.
... thus leading to the continuation of Clinton's surplus.
-Iraq and Afghanistan war/invasion/occupations may not have happened (depending on your political POV)
-System of Carbon Credits adopted to reduce pollution and "Climate Change".
-Greater federal control of the internet.
Not sure how you mean that. Do you mean censorship? I'm not so sure a liberal president would be behind censoring free speech.
-No 9/11, since Al Gore might have paid serious attention to the CIA document that Bush ignored and took action to prevent the terrorist attacks or at least to be able to take down the airplanes before they hit their targets.

The 2004 US Presidential Election

Howard Dean doesn't give that scream during one of his speeches, he doesn't get ridiculed, and more people vote for the Democrats.

A few thousand more people go to the polls, John Kerry wins a few more electoral votes, and the election.

Evidence that the Republicans were cheating during George W. Bush's debates with John Kerry, is publicized before the election.

Here are web sites with articles on accusations of cheating by the Bush team:

And an accusation of Kerry cheating by using note cards during a debate:


Kerry may go "Nixon-1968" and instead of "winning in Iraq", prolong it as much as Bush is in OTL, in an effort to stave off being "the Democratic President who lost Iraq". (Given his stance during OTL's 2004 campaign, not his post-defeat stance).

The Republicans may have kept Congress in 2006, despite the Abramoff and Foley scandals, due to public desire for "divided government".

See also

  • Counterfactualities
  • Alternate trends
  • Today in Alternate History, a daily-updated blog, featuring "Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today" in several recurring timelines. Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility.