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Historical Cusps

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  • Historical Cusps

    There seems to be a great interest here in this historical forum for the “What If…?” theory of history. It is also one of my own particular interests, which is why I like books by authors like Harry Turteldove, S.M. Sterling, H.B. Piper and the like.
    So what I’m proposing is locating specific times in history where the very history of the world was at a “cusp” – that is to say hanging balance of a single event, where the Fates/Norns /Chance were in a crapshoot and the everything depended on a single toss of the dice.
    It might have been a major battle involving tens of thousands of people; the death/assassination of a certain person or it might be some seemingly insignificant action that we now with the aid of hindsight can see altered everything.
    Case in point for the latter might be made for what happened in July 19944 at Hitler’s headquarters in Eastern Prussia. When von Stauffenberg activated the bomb in the briefcase, which he had brought to a conference with Hitler and his staff. He placed the briefcase under a heavy wooden table, after which he left the room. It has later been ascertained that after he had left the room someone else at the table moved the briefcase a few feet down the table behind a heavy solid wooden trestle. So that when the bomb exploded Hitler at the head of the table only received light wounds. Modern recreations of the event using state-of-the-art methods have established that if the bomb would have been left where won Stauffenberg had placed it, Hitler would have born the brunt of the explosion, but moved behind the trestle, the force of the explosion was directed away from him.
    So the question is, would history have been altered drastically if someone hadn’t moved the briefcase?
    When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. - Anais Nin

  • #2
    George Washington's great-grandfather was "marooned" in the colonies, married and stayed here, rather than return to England. If the ship carrying his cargo hadn't sunk, ruining him financially and forcing him to stay, George Washington would never have been born.

    (I'm a fan of the Pivotol Figure school of speculative history.)
    sigpicUSS North Dakota