Questions tagged [alternate-history]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
14
votes
7answers
7k views

What is the most befitting place to drop 'H'itler bomb to score decisive victory in 1945?

Supposedly Adolf Hitler had in his possession a blueprint of a working atomic bomb. Its destructive power is estimated to be similar to or on par with "Fat Man" which was dropped on Nagasaki in 1945. ...
14
votes
15answers
5k views

How might a Professor of Mathematics Change History?

A professor of mathematics is sent back in time to a post-Neolithic farming village. They accept him as their wise man, and he spends 30 years teaching them all he knows about mathematics until he ...
14
votes
6answers
5k views

Julius Caesar with a one-time pad

Julius Caesar used a substitution cipher (now called a Caesar cipher) for sensitive private and military correspondence. The cipher involves shifting all of the letters in a message in one direction a ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

How can I prevent the Christian schism of 1054 in order to create a more unified church?

Schism of 1054, also called East-West Schism, event that precipitated the final separation between the Eastern Christian churches, led by the patriarch of Constantinople, and the Western church. ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

King John acting boldly and opening churches - would this work?

England, 1208. The Pope declares an Interdict on England because the King would not agree to the Papal choice for Archbishop of Canterbury. In our reality, King John tried to tough it out and to get ...
14
votes
7answers
946 views

Helping the Soviets to win the race to the moon

Because of an error in the interpretation of the Mayan calendar I just discovered, I know now that Earth will be destroyed on March 13, 2021 at 11 o'clock in the morning, time zone of Palenque. I ...
14
votes
4answers
681 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Can the Mongols conquer France?

Background In the mid 13th century, France was without a doubt the richest land of the West. Inside its modern borders there were perhaps 18 million people, and maybe more, at that time perhaps 1/5 ...
14
votes
3answers
6k views

Is it possible for a wooden medieval era ship to carry a ballista inside that fires from the ship s prow?

I'm writing a fantasy novel and in it I'm designing a huge wooden ship moved by sail and man powered wheel paddle, and I wonder if it would be possible for the ship to carry a ballista inside that ...
13
votes
9answers
689 views

Alternate timeline nomenclature [closed]

Let's say through some unexplained (and largely irrelevant) phenomena, an alternate timeline has suddenly "collided" with ours. The specifics don't really matter besides the idea that the two ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

Could a human civilization never invent the wheel?

Let's go back 10,000-12,000 years, when humans have yet to make strides in basic machines. In our world, the invention of the wheel makes things easy to move, starting a transportation revolution. ...
13
votes
7answers
991 views

What change in history would cause the Dutch to speak German?

What single change(s) in history would cause the Dutch people to be speaking German instead of Dutch? I understand that German and Dutch are both Germanic languages and share a common ancestry, as ...
13
votes
7answers
725 views

What are the minimal questions I need to answer for Muslims and Vikings to have discovered America?

I want to start writing alternate history story, set in the 'Wild West' where there are factions of Muslims and non-Muslims vying for territory and resources. I need to have a reality check on this ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

How long will it take to form a new dialect and language in underground steampunk London?

This is the start of an experiment to see just how useful Worldbuilding Stack Exchange can be. I'm planning a work of fiction, but rather than build the world around the story, I'd like to write the ...
13
votes
7answers
4k views

How could a time-traveler change a medieval society if he can prepare and bring something from our time?

I have been daydreaming about this scenario a lot. There are many similar questions here about time travellers being thrown to the middle ages, but they usually can't prepare and can't bring anything ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Steampunk…In a Realistic Timeline

Perhaps one of the most popular flavors of worldbuilding is steampunk, which is basically today's technology under Victorian attitude, architecture and materials. The clear inspiration for steampunk'...
13
votes
3answers
907 views

Alternate Timeline/Universe where the extinction level incident that occurred 65 million years ago didn't happen

Disclaimer : I'm working on the entire pseudo-science thing , so the scientific part of this whole thing isn't made up properly... Certain things have not been explained , this is to keep the post ...
12
votes
13answers
3k views

Present time travelers in bronze age - how much could they boost technological development?

Short version How much would reasonably well-educated but unprepared time travelers from the present be able to speed up the technological and social development of civilization from the first ...
12
votes
11answers
4k views

The internet without computers - 1940s era

Alternate 1900s Imagine that we are in an alternative Earth in the early to mid 1940s. There has been no World War 2. In this world there are analog computers used rarely in laboratories for ...
12
votes
16answers
3k views

Radio technology: Receiving without the ability to transmit

Scenario: In my alternate-Earth scenario, Europeans did not colonize the Americas. They use navigation only to circumnavigate Africa and go to India. Maybe they know there is something to the West, ...
12
votes
9answers
14k views

What if the Germans captured Moscow in WWII?

During Operation Barbarossa, the Germans came dangerously close to capturing Moscow - in fact they were within 20km of the city, and some could even see its buildings. The failure to take Moscow is ...
12
votes
9answers
2k views

Finding real world historic examples of cultures/organizations/tribes to represent Elves

I plan to make this a series of questions to avoid being overly broad. Each question will address a particular fantasy species ("race" in RPG terms). The "racial" traits will be based on the content ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

What if the attack on Pearl Harbor had been defeated in World War 2?

It is widely known that the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was attacked in the morning of Sunday, 7th December, 1941 - resulting in the US entering the Second World War (source: History.com). ...
12
votes
7answers
924 views

Would it be possible for Tsar to escape execution and form a great power elsewhere?

I imagined the scenario for a story where the USSR still forms and will later fight in a Cold War with the USA. However, I am imagining a scenario where the tsar escapes, goes with some loyal ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Zombie perpetual machines - logistics

Linked to Zombie perpetual machines This carriage was devised by Vitrivius as a way to make good use of the Zombies discovered in Roman territory. Question: How many zombies would be needed to ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

What would be the state of society without semiconductors? [closed]

So let's say that we never figure out how to purify silicon and germanium to the levels required to make transistors. This would readily happen in a technical culture that wanted clear and quick ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

What did the night sky look like 63 million years ago?

I'm working on a comic which is essentially alternate-history fiction, and a big upcoming part of it involves the formation of the Chicxulub crater 63 million years ago. As I am a stickler for ...
11
votes
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 ...
11
votes
8answers
3k views

Preventing the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire

In this alternative reality Constantine the Great never embraces the Christianity and the Roman Empire remains polytheistic. So I would like to know what realistic change(s) could have prevented the ...
11
votes
8answers
2k views

What is the smallest change one could make within the past two hundred years to save the most lives? [closed]

I have made a fairly simple time machine. It works by ... well that's not important. It can send one user back in time (up to two hundred years). This person can appear anywhere they want on this ...
11
votes
11answers
4k views

Would human civilization develop at a slower pace if Earth was 5.8x larger?

EDIT: Calculations were incorrect, the earth in my comic is not 5.8x larger, it is 2.4x larger. Its surface area is 5.8x larger but the diameter is 2.4x larger. Anyway I'm working on a comic that ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

How to create the Un-United States of America?

In the scenario proposed in this question, the Thirteen Colonies choose not to unite. Sure they work together, but not as a United Nation, as a coalition of Independent Nation States; all working ...
11
votes
12answers
965 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

How long would it take for the Americas to reach Renaissance-level technology?

Let's say history went on as it would have with one major exception - a virus/series of viruses decimated the European/Asian populations repeatedly to such a degree that they simply could not advance ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Cruelty Free Vampirism

Setting: "One Big Lie" Sci-fi RPG The lies in this setting are an extension of relativity with a couple of extra dimensions allowing for FTL/Backwards Time Travel, and Thaumons. Thaumons (Magic ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Can an independent country join the commonwealth?

Background: In a world I am building, France becomes a much larger power in the New world, actually maintaining control of French Louisiana and even gaining control of Canada during an alternate ...
11
votes
3answers
639 views

How can I keep the state of Muskogee independent?

Background The State of Muskogee was an independence movement in the late 1700's and early 1800's started by William Bowles. The goal was to create a united aboriginal nation in the southeast that ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Terra Australis: How can I minimize the effects of its existence on the climate in the rest of the world?

Imagine that Terra Australis was real, that there really was a vast continent in the Southern Hemisphere like that shown on old maps. It's massive, encompassing what in our world would be Antarctica, ...
11
votes
5answers
7k views

Modern Body Armor for Medieval Style Weapons

Imagine an alternate history, where weapons types didn't advance past "medieval" type weapons. So like: swords, maces, flails, crossbows, bows, polearms, mauls, etc. I'm intentionally excluding "gun"/...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Reasons for horns/antlers on helmets

One of the great misconceptions of history is the horned helmets of vikings. This is in fact untrue, they didn't have horned helmets. But horned helmets were a thing thousands of years before the ...
11
votes
8answers
780 views

Resolving anachronism: Have a modern society with outdated warfare

I am currently trying to resolve a problem of heavy anachronism in the story/world I am "building". I will start of by giving a small summary of the story/world, and why there is an anachronism. (...
11
votes
9answers
4k views

How much would a civilisation develop without war?

Conflict between civilizations has played a key role in the technological development of the human race. If humanity never had a single war, how would technology in such civilization evolve? Would it ...
11
votes
2answers
783 views

How far would science advance if we lived in a cave? [closed]

In the book The Quantum Universe, the author suggests that: If the human race evolved in an underground cave system, never to see the sky, it is possible that they could have imagined a ball of ...
10
votes
9answers
2k views

The biggest flaw with a Democratic Taxation system? [closed]

Imagine a country where once a year, the citizens file a sort of vote with their tax return, where each return decides how taxes will be spent. Each citizen controls an equal portion of the taxes, ...
10
votes
11answers
3k views

WW2 Era Soviet Rifle Squad, Time Travels to 1066 England, attempts to take over [closed]

(This part is pretty hand-wavy, and only exists to provide context for a fun thought-experiment/fictional story. Feel free to skip to next paragraph) In 1943, the Soviet Union has developed what they ...
10
votes
11answers
2k views

What language would the Anglo-French Empire use?

In the backstory for my world, the British and French royal families married into one another in the early-mid 18th Century. By the early 20th Century, what would the main language be for official (...
10
votes
6answers
3k views

Ancient tanks of war

I plan to go back in time and help Asterix and Obelix to turn the tide of Gallic wars against the romans. To achive this i will build ancient versions of our most dreaded land weapon: Tanks ! The ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

What would happen if Napoleon had won the battle of Waterloo

Okay, so the Napoleonic wars are raging. Many men are dying in Waterloo. It appeared as if the Duke of Wellington and his allied army would prevail, but Napoleon rallied his troops at the last ...
10
votes
7answers
1k views

The Rollercoasters of Ancient Egypt

Suppose that Khufu, pharaoh of Egypt and builder of the Great Pyramid of Giza, was introduced to the idea of an amusement park. More specifically, suppose that he was visited by a time traveler and ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

What prosthetics would be suitable for a rural aristocrat in history?

What kind of prosthetic technology would be available to a wealthy but rural aristocratic person without a leg and how would it affect their social standing? The time era is sort of pre-Elizabethan, ...

1 2
3
4 5
14