Alternative History

See also: Hinge moments

These stray ideas are just tossed out here, and are not as well developed as ideas found in the Hinge Moments page.

  • New World Wheel.
Possibly a non-started for Incas, Mayans, etc due to jungle and mountainous terrain. Something interesting could develop if you could contrive a way for the Zuni to get the wheel. Or perhaps the failed Norse settlements spread the wheel to northern tribes. Lots of possibilities ...

  • Massive volcano does not erupt in 535 causing prolonged world wide drought.
In the book "Catastrophe" Davis Keys argues that a massive volcanic eruption changed the global environment for several decades and drastically altered history throughout the world.

According to Keys some of the historical effects of the climatic change were:

• Avars lose power in Mongolia. They travel westward, ally with the Slavs and force the empire at Byzantium into decline.
• The Avars forced the Lombards to migrate, and they in turn conquer northern Italy.
• The drought triggered plague which (among other things) allowed the Anglo-Saxons to take over England.
• Conditions become more favorable to the growth of Islam
• General revolt in southern China
• The fall of Teotihuacan in central America
• The fall of a couple of cultures in Peru
• The spread of bow and arrow technology in the Americas
• Change of dynasties and rise of Buddhism in Japan

If the volcano does not erupt then the historic changes would be very large and difficult to author. If the volcano was slightly smaller then the author could plausibly pick and choose which from the list above to change.

  • Archbishop Bradwardine does not die of plague in 1349.
Result: "the history of modern science in England (would) date from 14th century Oxford rather than from late-17th century Cambridge" - from In the Wake of the Plague

  • Cortez was going to travel to the new world in 1502, but could not because he was seriously injured by a jealous husband.
Cortez dies 1502 - Aztecs (and Inca) last a little longer
or someone else than Cortez goes there that actually respects his orders.
Cortes is unhurt and goes to the New World as planned - goes on some non-Aztec expedition, or trades peacefully with Aztec, or wars with Aztec without the benefit of smallpox.

  • Bacon's Rebellion of 1676 is more successful. Perhaps Nathaniel Bacon does not die of dysentery. Many troops sent from England eventually put down the rebellion but Virginia ends up less autonomous than in OTL. Class relations are also poor making a successful revolutions 100 years later less likely. Bacon's Rebellion was very anti-Indian so if it is more successful then things get worse for the indigenous peoples.
  • King Phillip's War end more favorably for the Indians. If the winter of 1675-76 was a little less harsh then the local tribes might have a better chance of winning (more food stock). If they act in a more unified manner or if they are able to strike at the English food supplies, then they also may have fared better. Whatever the cause, a victorious Metacom (a.k.a King Philip) should lead to a more unified Indian resistance and a delayed English settlement in the New World.
  • hmm ... maybe a mild winter could lead to both a successful Becon's Rebellion and a successful King Philips War. This would be a more polarized timeline.

  • No Australian Prison Colony.
In the 18th century Britain dumped debtors and other criminals in Australia. They actually considered dumping them 400 miles up the Gambia river in West Africa or at the mouth of the Orange River by Namibia and South Africa. What If undesirable Brits were sent to Africa instead of Australia?
If they lived near South Africa how would that influence the Boer Wars?
If they lived in Senegal how would that influence the French/British relationship? Would they become involved in the slave trade?
Either way, what would Australia's development be like?

  • Toussaint L'Ouverture dies in a coach accident in 1770.

Justification: Toussaint was coachman to Count de Breda, so a fatal accident is in the realm of possibility.

Result: Without Toussaint's leadership it is possible that the French would have suppressed the slave rebellion in Haiti. Napoleon would then decide to keep Haiti and Louisiana. Without the Louisiana Purchase, westward expansion in the US would be slowed and US/French relations would be altered.

  • Nikola Tesla successfully develops particle beam weapon a.k.a "Death Ray" (Anytime from 1908 to 1940 or so).

Justification: He worked on such a weapon before 1908 and continued to try to find a peaceful military market for it through WWII. Claims of the weapons effectiveness are controversial to say the least. Tesla was an unparalleled genius and it is possible that such a device was created. The device needed to be built on a large stationary tower with access to huge amounts of energy. It was claimed to be able to damage aircraft from 250 miles away and to cost $2 million per unit (in 1940 dollars).

Result: The result depends greatly on when the weapon is produced in quantity. Energy infrastructure built for the device could accelerate the adoption and use of electricity in peace time. The effective use of the device against air power would possibly slow the development of aircraft and would render "strategic bombing" less viable. Once nuclear power is available, mobile versions of the "death ray" can be considered - perhaps special particle beam enabled ships, for example.

  • Nikola Tesla successfully develops a form of radar in 1917.

Justification: He claimed to be doing advanced work on a radar like "exploring ray" in 1917 but faced wide-spread public ridicule and failed to get financing for his work in this area. Tesla was an unparalleled genius and it is possible that such a device could have been created.

Result: Early radar would help aircraft navigation and would greatly effect warfare - especially early WWII warfare. Both the Battle of Britain and the Pearl Harbor attacks would probably never have been attempted.

  • The Sparticist Uprising is Successful 1918

Rosa Luxembourg is much more pro-revolution and sets up a better organised communications system. The Revolution is better at both strategic and tactical levels and despite fierce resistance from the Friekorps succeeds due to public backing. The People's Republic of Germany is born.

  • Munich/Beer Hall Putsch less ambitious 1923

Hitler decides to settle for 'just Bavaria at present' believing the rest of Germany will revolt when they realise how good things are in the new county. He is more successful at garnering support and therefore manages to revolt successfully. The Weimar Republic considers attacking but decides not to because it cannot afford the war and 'the state will collapse anyway'.

  • FDR has stroke in early 1933. The "Bonus Army", with the backing of The American Liberty League and several rich industrialists, attempt a coup. Retired Major General Smedley Butler is dragged into the coup but is able to diffuse the situation and restore order in a very public manner demonstrating his great personal bravery and integrity. In the subsequent election he is elected president (again backed by the A.L.L and some rich folks - who wrongly think he will be a dumb puppet). One elected President Butler adopts a policy of extreme isolationism where US forces are forbidden from traveling more than 200 miles from US shores.

Justification: FDR had polio and was not in the best health so a stroke is not out of the question. Butler was a popular leader of the bonus armies during the depth of the depression and he was approached by several industrialist who wished to stage a coup.

Results: US would not become involved in any foreign entanglements for four to eight years or more (probably staying out of WWII), US commercial interests would not be supported abroad. US foreign holdings would be abandoned at least in part.

  • The CIA somehow (how?) forms a relationship with Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic. Trujillo has the largest military in the region and was unsuccessfully invaded by Cuba in 1959. This gives him plausible motivation and the means to assist the CIA in the invasion of Cuba in 1961 (alt Bay of Pigs). Is Castro overthrown? Who controls Cuba (expatriates, CIA, Trujillo)? Is Haiti annexed later on - trading Trujillo for Papa Doc? Of course, if Trujillo and the CIA are friends, then he is not assassinated in 1961.