Questions tagged [alternate-history]

For questions that ask what might have happened if history had taken a different path.

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1answer
33 views

How could Mao Zedong have won the Chinese Civil War before 1931?

I'm aware of the history of the Chinese Civil War, from the First and Second United Fronts formed to combat the warlords and Empire of Japan respectively between 1927-1945, but I'm curious if there ...
15
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10answers
3k views

How could the Empire of Japan and America be allies in WWII? [closed]

I am slowly building an alternate history story where America and the Empire of Japan are closely allied during the early 1940s instead of at war. They are so close, in fact, that Anchorage is seen as ...
5
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7answers
279 views

How would a Stone age society make use of gunpowder?

Given that the main ingredients for gunpowder(Charcoal, Saltpetre, and Sulphur) exist in varying quantities pretty much everywhere, I've been wondering how it wasn't discovered much sooner than the ...
0
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0answers
89 views

Could Germany in this world drag out the Great War and win? [closed]

I'm working on a fictional reality that splits from our timeline during the American War of Independence. In this reality, Britain wins a pyrrhic war, leaving the USA, France and Britain broke. More ...
1
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1answer
78 views

How to maintain a large empire with pre-industrial revolution technology? [closed]

Putting the corruption of the political system and internal strife aside. Lets assume a Roman empire, something like Trajan's border, type empire that has a decently strong central government, but ...
2
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1answer
97 views

what essential material or ingredients in modern gunpowder that if changed to be expensive or rare, can ruin the evolution of advance/modern gun?

as the title, what materials or ingredients in modern gunpowder that if change to be expensive or rare to get, can ruin the evolution of advance gun or can turn modern gun obsolete or undesirable ? i ...
3
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4answers
175 views

The German Empire refuses to back Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia in 1914. What changes from there on? [closed]

When asked by Austria-Hungary to back their declaration of war on Serbia, the German Empire refuses, stating that with how unstable Europe currently is a war would be disastrous. How could WWI play ...
3
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0answers
76 views

BCS: Chola Empire colonizes Australia? [closed]

So, here's the premise- in the mid 11th century, a Vellalar prince, looking to gain influence and power in the Imperial Chola court, funds and organizes a small colonial expedition to search for new ...
5
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4answers
270 views

How Could a Scientist Intentionally Discover Penicillin

In our timeline Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin by accidentally leaving petri dishs out over a long period of time. If a person from an earlier time, e.g. ancient Rome, woke up ...
6
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2answers
169 views

Can agriculture and megafauna coexist?

Some say that one of the reason humans developed agriculture is because megafauna (specifically the Pleistocene megafauna) were hunted for food to extinction and humans were forced to develop ...
6
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3answers
172 views

Woodpunk World- 'Super Wood' developed in the mid-late 19th century?

So, here's the premise- in this alternate 'woodpunk' historical timeline, primarily focused upon Japan, someone stumbles across this development far earlier on, in the mid to late 19th century (as ...
4
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4answers
165 views

Earliest viable modern battery

I'm building a world where high-density, low cost batteries are discovered far, far in advance of modern times, leading to a decentralised power grid. It has become convention for homes and buildings ...
3
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8answers
285 views

What kind of alternatively history events would have the most effect at causing a more advanced multiverse? [closed]

Starting July 16, 1945, our local universe has been fractured into a myriad of multiverses. In these multiverses (not this one you are reading from right now) a number of events cause things to turn ...
-1
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1answer
105 views

Military Strength of an HRE in the 1940's? [closed]

How strong would a reincarnation of the Holy Roman Empire be during the 1940s? This includes all of the former Roman Empire's territory (before its collapse) and the Holy Roman Empire's territory.
1
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2answers
184 views

Could a Ancient Rome-like civilization develop with vastly different geology? [closed]

If, for example, they developed in a region known for its foggy forests and open highlands, could an empire similar to the Roman Empire? And would their military style also develop similar or would ...
3
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3answers
210 views

Decimating humanity though no daughters gene - when and where to introduce it?

At one point in the past, a man had a mutation on his Y chromosome. Anyone with the mutation would only produce Y sperm, and only have sons. My plan is to have this have a big impact that threatens to ...
-2
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3answers
101 views

Could a stone age civilization independently figure out about quantum mechanics [closed]

I was thinking of a stone age civilization that figures out how to use Quantum Mechanics. This civilization figures out some of the equations that describe Quantum Mechanics, and comes up with first ...
11
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18answers
4k views

What information could a Time Traveller give to Nazi Germany to make them win WWII?

So, let’s say a certain type of person steals a Time Machine and travels to Berlin August 1st, 1939. He shows his time machine to Adolf Hitler, and tries to give him advice necessary to win WW2 before ...
2
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1answer
1k views

What drastic changes would occur if an architect went to ancient times [closed]

My character Ray was transported to the most fertile region of Africa about 569 B.C. He was born in into a small farming family and learned about the history and evolution of farming because his ...
7
votes
2answers
242 views

If humans evolved on Mars instead of Earth, how quickly would we have detected life on Earth?

Suppose that both Earth and Mars was booming with life in a similar way. Except that, on Earth, there was no hominid family, and no humans evolved. Instead, humans evolved on Mars. Assuming we had ...
2
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0answers
105 views

Native American Society in a World Where Beringia Is Still High and Dry

Multiple times in Earth's geological history, a bridge connected Asia to North America, bringing in an influx of colonists. Without Beringia, North America would never have the iconic Triceratops or ...
9
votes
4answers
185 views

Why would China and UK peacefully agree Hong Kong to be returned to UK?

At mid-night 1 July 1997, UK returned HK to China. Call my imaginary China's handover to UK "Patriation" - it must happen after 1 July 1997. As we know from real world 2019 protests, some ...
9
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4answers
215 views

what could be used for flexible piping in the 1780s

How and out of what could flexible, thin air-tight tubes be made of at around 1780? These tubes need to be around a centimeter wide, with a 7.5 mm tube going through it. It must also be heat resistant ...
6
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2answers
253 views

Will the Dinosaur Empire Still Stand Strong If Chicxulub Hit Earth at the End of the Jurassic?

66 million years ago, the dinosaur empire was in its death throes when its final nail in the coffin came hurtling down from the sky. A clump of rock the size of Mount Everest smashed into the Gulf of ...
11
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12answers
912 views

What are the most important factors in determining how fast technology progresses?

What are the most important factors in determining how fast technology progresses? And roughly how fast might that be under optimal circumstances? Innovations have to be dreamed up, but there must ...
2
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0answers
100 views

What if the partition of India were bottom-up [closed]

In 1947 suppose that, instead of attempting to draw a fair line between Muslims and non-Muslims, British India has a referendum asking each village, “With which of your neighbors (including native ...
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1answer
231 views

Medieval/renaissance superweapon [closed]

Using the technology available at the time, what kind of superweapon could the medieval or renaissance age produce?
7
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5answers
395 views

How NOT to Turn Volkshalle Into a Rain Factory

This is a model of Volkshalle, the People's Dome, part of a vision of "Germania" by Adolf Hitler. But the tides of war had washed Germania away, yet this and other architectural plans by Albert Speer ...
7
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3answers
231 views

Maintaining a Moon Suit

The Apollo-era A7L Extravehicular Mobility Units were used for less than eight hours at a time, within a few days, with a maximum of three moonwalks per mission. Assume a fictional moonbase with ...
4
votes
2answers
330 views

Demon Empire annexs North America. How would the world react in 1972? [closed]

I had an urge to make an alternate history, which is an alien space bats scenario. Here some worldbuilding that I made. In another dimension, a planet is divided by 4 space filling empires. Theis ...
1
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1answer
136 views

Alternate history where Italy finds oil [closed]

One of the most important resources in the world in the modern era has been oil, but arguably at no time more than during WW2 where many of the Axis' plans revolved around the procurement of a steady ...
-1
votes
8answers
422 views

Aborting Abrahamism [closed]

Let's imagine that some powerful evil eldritch abomination decided to hijack Roman Republic 45 BC, saving Caesar in the last moment and fashion itself as Mercurius (Hermes), who was sent by Olympus as ...
2
votes
4answers
306 views

Helping the Roman Empire with chemistry and metallurgy [closed]

You are a modern chemist and metallurgist and unexpectedly get sent back in time to the era of Caesar Octavius Augustus. After spending a couple years learning ancient Latin, what changes or ...
1
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1answer
147 views

The Industrialization of Earth and the Effect on Magic [closed]

I am currently writing a story that takes place after what we would call World War Three, in a post-war setting. In this setting, magic exists along with creatures created by radiation from WW3 and ...
3
votes
6answers
659 views

Steampunk helicopter [closed]

In an alternate reality scenario that takes place during the renaissance, how can the world create a helicopter? Aside from the obvious need for machines, factories, and aviation knowledge, what other ...
14
votes
4answers
485 views

Moving the US capital to the Midwest before 1900?

A few years ago, an old map started circulating around the internet from 1850 with a proposed Western District of Columbia located in western Kentucky, across from the real Illinois town, named in a ...
2
votes
1answer
129 views

Could a large enough semi isolated population keep up with Eurasia in technology? [closed]

Could a semi-isolated country island about 3,000,000 square miles and 1000 miles south of India avoid becoming a colony and develop into a rich and strong modern state today? They have about the ...
1
vote
4answers
142 views

Technological Turning Points [closed]

OK so in my roleplaying game (inspired by AAW’s Future’s Past but using Savage Worlds in my homebrew universe) the big bad is a time travelling AI which the party will be chasing back in time. The AI ...
7
votes
3answers
185 views

Preserving the mammoth steppe

During much of the Late Pleistocene stage, the world's most widespread biome was the so-called "mammoth steppe" - a cold, dry grassland which spanned eastward all the way from Spain to Canada. It was ...
6
votes
1answer
119 views

Could a split cycle intercooled flamelicker have been a viable power source?

Flame lickers work by sucking hot air into a cylinder and then relying on the cooling of the air by the cylinder wall to create a partial vacuum to pull the piston back. see video In an alternate ...
3
votes
2answers
152 views

Handmade metallic cartridges [closed]

Could a group of survivors resupply metallic cartridges with hand-operated tools to be used on small arms in their shelter? What would those tools be and how usable are these handmade cartridges? ...
9
votes
2answers
149 views

Could Xenarthrans Be Ferried Outside South America?

Right from the beginning, the xenarthrans--armadillos, sloths and anteaters--have been at a disadvantage. For the longest time, their home was an island continent, which made them extremely ...
-6
votes
1answer
140 views

Bolt-action rifle in the 15th-17th century [duplicate]

Lets say a nation around this timeline was making research and advancements in firearms. Other than a flintlock or breech-loader, is it possible for them to produce a repeating bolt-action rifle? ...
0
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0answers
50 views

Could a steamship be built somewhere during the 14th-17th century? [duplicate]

Could an earlier and simple variation of the steamship be built around the 14th-17th century? If not, are there alternatives to having a ship not powered by sails?
-1
votes
2answers
127 views

Would a medieval-type castle still arise in an alternate history? [closed]

So, to set the background a bit. I'm writing a story that is an alternate history basically diverging midway through the 1st century BC: the roman empire falls. Here I am looking at a Germanic people ...
3
votes
0answers
145 views

Is it possible for industrial revolution to happen without colonialism? [closed]

As we all know, with Christopher Columbus re-"discovering" America in 1492, the wondrous Age of Discovery began - and with it new dreams of conquest and wealth, that became realized in the way of ...
0
votes
2answers
143 views

What are the logistics of wiping out the current world to the point a “new” generation of humans would not be able to find it? [closed]

Backstory I have a race of biologically advanced aliens that develop by fighting, adapting, and growing immune to the current highest standards of technology a species has to offer. By doing this they'...
2
votes
1answer
143 views

Last name earning system [closed]

I just had an idea for a story based on Islamic Spain and Barbary pirates. But after doing some research I found some kind of chaos and randomness in last names. The people's last names are either: ...
9
votes
1answer
166 views

Minimum tech level to invent core memory

Magnetic core memory was a critical innovation in the development of computers. Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic-core_memory it was the most advanced form of memory from about the mid-...
4
votes
2answers
174 views

Atmospheric pressure engine train in the 15th-16th century

With the knowledge and tools required, could an atmospheric pressure engine train be built in the 15th-16th century? If so how effective would it be and what change would it bring to the world in that ...