The Wacky What-If Thread

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The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Christian Ankerstjerne » Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:57 pm

I thought it would be fun to have an informal what-if thread. While alternate history is beginning to become a recognised field of history, they also have the potential for making some outlandish scenarios.

The rules of this thread are simple:
  1. The even you chose as the starting point for your alternate history scenario must be prior to the beginning of World War I (defined as the Murder in Sarajevo).
  2. The consequences you describe may be up to and including the year 2000.
  3. The events must be realistic (no aliens, no devine intervention, no time travellers and no creature from Uranus).

Go nuts!

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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Commando » Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:19 pm

What would have happened if the Austrian Archduke had decided to stay at home, and not go out and get himself assassinated? :)
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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Revere » Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:26 am

What if Britain had chosen to side with the Confederate states during the american civil war?

what if American Manifest Destiny was taken to completion of including Mexico and Canada?
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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Ricky » Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:49 pm

Ok, here is one:

The man who would become Ghengis Khan falls off his horse at an early age and dies. The Mongol empire never forms, remaining a bunch of skirmishing tribes.

Without the pressure from Mongols, China decides to see what the world is like outside its borders, and sends out a fleet to investigate (they did do this in the 15th Century - I'm just putting it a bit earlier).

It travels north. After being blown off course it ends up off the coast of Canada. Travelling south it explores the coast of North America, and reaches the Gulf of California. Thinking that this is the end of the continent, the Chinese fleet returns home.

Slightly put off by the existance of a populous and war-like collection of nations to the west, the Chinese Emperor decides that expansion would be a desirable idea. The fleet had reported that, while the new continent was inhabited, the natives seemed to have no government, infrastructure, or any great technology. Consequently, a massive effort of colonisation is undertaken. Every region in China is given a quota of soldiers, settlers and supplies to go on the venture. A fleet of ships is built, and sails. The vast majority arrive without much incident. The first Chinese settlement is established in Southern Canada, with 3 others being established at intervals between there and the Gulf of California.

The natives soon discover that they are unable to match the might of the disciplined Chinese warriors, and settle down to a system of truces punctuated by raids. Slowly but surely the Chinese settlements expand, aided by follow-up fleets from China, creating other outlying settlements, until by 1492 the entire West Coast is settled, and gazes are being cast both east and south.

Exploratory missions to the south discover great deserts, followed by densely jungled lands filled with a mighty (and rich) Empire. A flourishing trade is established by Chinese ships.

Exploratory missions to the East discover settlements of foriegn invaders. Allying with the local tribes, the Chinese missions destroy these settlements.

Word gets back to Europe about these attacks by a foriegn army on their American settlements. However, no individual European nation can send a force able to deal with the well-organised Chinese, who by now have established military bases along portions of the East Coast, and they are not willing to work together.

Eventually, Europe gives up on America. The fires of exploration are dimmed, as it seems that wherever they go they meet nations capable of resiting them. Europe turns inwards upon itself.
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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Revere » Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:12 pm

Are you sure that Europe would give up on there american project? I would think that the superpowers Britain,France,Spain,Portugal would team to get the Chinese.

heres anther one with china

Chiang Ki Shek wins the chinese civil war, and sides with the UN in the Korean war, reunifying Korea.
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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Ricky » Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:32 am

Revere wrote:Are you sure that Europe would give up on there american project? I would think that the superpowers Britain,France,Spain,Portugal would team to get the Chinese.


Well, back when the US was first being explored, France was subordinate to Spain, Britain was only just starting to become any kind of power at all, Portugal was too worried about not becomig part of Spain, and Spain was on a mission to convert all of Europe to Catholicism (preferrably under Spanish rule).

Short version, they were all too busy fighting each other to even consider an alliance.


Also, I forgot to mention that the destruction of the European colonies in America gives China some of the new-fangled European gunpowder weapons, which spurs China on in her own technological race (after all, they invented the damn stuff!). Hence the Real Life breakaway of European tech never really happens.
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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Ricky » Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:26 am

Ok, how about this one...


Back when the British were just beginning to annex chunks of India, the local Princes suddenly realised where this was going to end up, and decided to put aside their squabbles and unite against Britain. Enough of them actually do so to enable them to not only push out the British where they are established, but to make a piecemeal conquest of India (as happened in reality) impossible. Britain lacks the army to actually march throughout India subduing it all in one go, and a long protracted campaign against a much larger enemy at the end of such a long logistical chain is similarly impossible.

So, England steps away from India, concentrating on Africa, Australia and China (and the West Indies).

Unfortunately, both Africa and Australia are loss-making ventures (as they were in real life), and without the 'Jewel in the Crown' of India the British Empire is far more impoverished than in reality. Innovations occur less frequently, the Industrial revolution begins in France, the Royal Navy is cut back as it is too much of a drain on the already impoverished nation...

Essentially Britain becomes a bit like Portugal. A fading colonial power at the edge of Europe that nobody takes too seriously any more.

Within Continental Europe, France is the powerhouse, thanks to her Industrial Revolution. When Prussia unites Germany, France takes action and (despite the relatively poorer performance on an individual level) her more numerous and bettter-equipped soldiers triumph. In addition, the French navy (by now the largest in the world) blockades the new state. European history is still the story of French-Prussian tension, but by and large the French have the better of it.


Out East, when Japan opens up she now looks to France for the inspiration for her army and navy (in reality it was Germany and Britain, respectively). They are still able to triumph over China (1894-5) and Russia (1905). However, when they start to take an interest in expanding further in the 1930s/40s, they are faced with the following picture:

Indo-China is French - but a more powerful France with a better fleet.
Burma & India are autonomous states with largely obsolete armed forces.
The Pacific Ocean is speckled with French and American bases, protected by navies roughly equivalent to the Real Life Royal Navy and US navy.

Japan plots with Germany (no Nazis...) to lunch a co-ordinated assault on France. Indo-China is taken relatively easily (there is still the grave under-estimation of Japanese ability), and suddenly the French are without a substantial base in the region (unlike the British in Real Life, who had India to fall back on). Sudden conquest of island bases also occurs, effectively removing all French bases nearer than Africa. France, unable to project power that far when pre-occupied with Germany, makes no more than a token effort to reclaim her Empire. Sadly, this is an occaision when Germany wins, and the peace deal guarentees Japanese ownershp of all territorial gains.

...
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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Christian Ankerstjerne » Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:23 am

Quite an interesting one there, Ricky!

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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby bf109 Emil » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:36 am

French Admiral Brueys request not to tie the french fleet to Napoleons land expedition is successful...the bulk of the french fleet survives and thus the added firepower allows Napoleons armada to defeat Nelson and launch an invasion successfully of Great Britain???
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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Ricky » Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:32 am

This one has more holes than my previous two...


Napoleon's rather dashing exploits as an officer in Italy earn him a musket ball in the chest, and he dies. There is no immediate consequence - just another promising young officer paying the ultimate price for leading from the front.

However, without his firm hand the uprisings in Paris are not fully quenched. Rebellions against the Revolution take hold, and France is wracked with what becomes a civil war. Surrounding powers see their opportunities (Prussia and Austria to grab territory and end French aggression, and Britain to stamp out the politically dangerous ideals of Republicanism) and pitch in. Revolutionary France is crushed, and the Monarchy is restored (via some distant relative borrowed from somewhere). Territorially, France loses Alsace and Lorraine to the Prussians, and Corsica to the Austrians. Her king is tied to very restrictive treaties with just about everybody, essentially aiming to prevent any offensive actions by the French ever, as well as being less than subtly reminded by all parties that he sits on his throne purely from their support.

With France no longer the aggressor state, Prussia and Austria settle down to fighting each other, with Prussia emerging victorious. Austrian unity was initially strengthened by the war, but the actions of the elite in the war - as well as the result - cause massive disunity, and it begins to fragment. Prussia, ever the opportunist, begins to carve chunks out of the dying nation. Russia and The Ottoman Empire follow suit, but with lesser success.

Britain, though distracted by Imperial ambitions, recognises that Prussia has become the overbearingly dominant force in Europe. To counter this, it raises a coalition (based on Britain, France and Austria) and declares war on Prussia. The Ottoman Empire joins the Prussians, while Russia sits on the fence.

The war is a long one. The vaunted Franco-British naval blockade has little effect on Prussia, though it does manage to eventually knock The Ottoman Empire out of the war by forcing the Dardanelles (at great cost). However, that is no great help, as The Ottoman Empire's contribution is very ineffectual. The relatively small armies of Britain & France, coupled with the large but crumbling armies of Austria, struggle to defeat the large and well-oiled Prussian military machine. The situation is further complicated by the continuing breakup of Austria, with various regiments switching sides at will. Eventually, the issue is decided the Russians, who realise that they have a golden opportunity to cripple both Prussia and The Ottoman Empire while their backs are turned. The huge reinforcement of Russian troops tips the tide, and the coalition wins. The peace treaty is a long time coming, but eventually has the following decisions:

1) Alsace, Lorraine and Corsica return to France
2) Austria becomes two separate states, with an amnesty allowing people to move to whichever they choose.
3) Russia and Austria share the ex-Ottoman lands in Europe, with Constantinople falling under Russian control. Passage through to the Black Sea is laid out as a legal right for all nations at peace with Russia and her allies.
4) Prussia faces a variety of harsh terms.

The biggest outcome for the future is the unprecedented example of Austria. The imposed division causes great unrest and bad feeling within the country – and indeed in the ex-Ottoman lands it expands into (basically Greece). This corner of the world becomes analogous to the Balkans in real life, but on a much grander scale. Lots of unrest looms large in Europe’s future as a result. In related news, the Ottomans (stung by their easy defeat at European hands) modernise.


Notes – by ‘Prussia’ I mean a mixture of both Prussia and various of the Rhine confederation. Similar for Austria
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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Ricky » Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:45 pm

King Alfred loses against the Vikings. English identity is put back a while (Alfred basically invented it) and England remains a cluster of squabbling kingdoms - just ruled by Vikings not Anglo-Saxons. Essentially though, its history remains the same. The land is squabbled over by the Scandinavian races, everybody wants a chunk of the good farmland on offer. The important difference is that there is no real 'home-grown' set of rulers to compete for the crown.

Eventually the upstart Norman rulers decide that a divided England is an easier target than France, and the 'Norman Conquests' start. Obviously, it takes a little longer than historically, as they are effectively conquering 3 or 4 countries, not 1, and there is more Scandinavian involvement. The bonus is that they wind up conquering Wales as part of the extension.

From that point on, English history is much the same, with the exception of the Welsh border. In consequence, the Scots border becomes the place to be, with a similar level of castles & fighting as Wales had in reality. Oh, and the Victorians had to start their rose-tinted views of England's heritage with the Normans, whom they reinvented as enlightened Vikings. :mrgreen:
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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Ricky » Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:27 am

C'mon guys - I'm running out of inspiration :D

How about if cheese was never invented... would the world be a darker, joyless place?
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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Ricky » Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:54 am

I was wondering about doing a 'Guy Fawkes succeeds' what-if, but somebody beat me to it.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/ci ... n_01.shtml
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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Roel » Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:50 pm

I was posting a really nice one here but when I clicked 'reply' it told me I had to log back in, and of course when I did the post itself was lost. This is incredibly frustrating because I know my second try isn't nearly as well-written, and also isn't done yet and takes too long to write. Please bear with me, post will follow soon...
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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Grieg » Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:11 pm

Roel wrote:I was posting a really nice one here but when I clicked 'reply' it told me I had to log back in, and of course when I did the post itself was lost. This is incredibly frustrating because I know my second try isn't nearly as well-written, and also isn't done yet and takes too long to write. Please bear with me, post will follow soon...


That happened to me enough to make me learn a lesson. Highlight the entire post right click and hit copy before hitting the submit button. If you lose the post you can paste it back in after beginning again.
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