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Alternate History: Points of Divergence

Discussion in 'Original Fiction Discussion' started by Taure, Jun 20, 2015.

  1. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    For what it's worth, as noted in Richard Rhodes's books, both Trinity and Fat Man had a finite probability of preinitiation from the spontaneous fission background. This was an entirely realistic possibility.
     
  2. Download

    Download Supreme Mugwump DLP Supporter

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    Can you link the Falklands story? I can't find it with Google...

    ---------- Post automerged at 07:48 ---------- Previous post was at 07:47 ----------

    The weapons would have still produced some nuclear yield if they did.
     
  3. Puzzled

    Puzzled High Inquisitor

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    You have to register to get onto the ASB forums for some reason. I understand they had a problem with bots at one point and now all new members have to be approved by the admin, it could take anywhere from an hour to a day but if and when you get in here's the link.
     
  4. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    But hardly the game-changing yields that would come to dominate the geopolitical landscape for the next six decades.
     
  5. Invictus

    Invictus Totally Sirius

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    • Hannibal at the Gates!

    Hannibal successfully sieges and utterly devastates Rome, winning massive support from Carthage, his brother Hasdubral is able to meet him with reinfocements since the roman army in Hispania was making a desperate attempt to salvage what they could, all of this culminating in Cartahge becoming the major power of the Mediterranean.


    • Constantinople the truly Second Rome.

    The Justinian Wars are not just the last powerful breath of the dying dream of a truly reunited Roman Empire. New Emperors and new Belisarus appear, and Byzantium is able to conquer the entire Italy and put the Pope under it's wing, and it's much stronger when the Arab Conquest starts, thus culling the world two largest religious denominations today, and with the flailing Sassanid Empire...
     
  6. Koalas

    Koalas First Year Prestige DLP Supporter

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    (Somewhat) Realistic:

    Through some twist of fate European diseases were not completely new to the Native population. 96% of the population were not wiped out before any serious settling attempt was made.

    Can't even imagine the full scale of the ripples from this.
     
  7. Spanks

    Spanks Minister of Magic

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    Sorta similiar. I haven't read it yet, but I pick up everytime at the bookstore and put down saying that I'll get it next time. Lion's Blood takes place in the a 19th century where Carthage destroyed Rome in the 2nd Punic War changing the course of history.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
  8. Download

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    You'd pretty much be getting a roll of the dice somewhere between sub-kiloton and full yield. The chance of getting a tiny yield is such a small chance.

    ---------- Post automerged at 17:57 ---------- Previous post was at 17:56 ----------

    I remember someone did the maths and figured the chance out. I'll look it up.

    ---------- Post automerged at 18:07 ---------- Previous post was at 17:57 ----------

    http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Nwfaq/Nfaq4-1.html

    In section 4.1.5 the author calculates that there was a 6% chance of a <5kt yield, a 2% chance of <1kt yield and it wasn't possible for there to be a less than 0.5kt yield.
     
  9. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Small, but finite, which is the relevant point for the thread.

    As there were no additional weapons that could have been dropped for several weeks following the detonation of Fat Man, a failure to achieve a militarily significant yield could plausibly have led to a substantial departure from the events of history following Japan's capitulation: Russia joining the invasion of Japan, Asia dividing in a manner reminiscent of post-war Europe, China becoming a Communist satellite of the Soviet Union, use of nuclear weapons in the subsequent Korean conflict (they were deployed and placed under military control during the conflict)... in short, lots of interesting ways this could have played out had a single Pu-240 nucleus undergone fission at the most inopportune (for the Allies) time.
     
  10. Garden

    Garden Minister of Magic

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    Colonization of the Americas would be a bit like the European colonization of Africa, which had much less mass death from disease. There'd still be some disease exchange on both sides, but with big differences.

    If colonial powers go forward I'd see something of a South Africa situation developing with an economic underclass of natives developing, living_with/exploited by colonists. Though since the difference in technology and education wouldn't be as huge as between European colonists and Africans, it might not be as separated.

    Interesting idea.
     
  11. Peace

    Peace High Inquisitor

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    In 1969 the Sino-Soviet border conflict escalates into a large, non-nuclear war. The two communist power fight it out while the US watches on gleefully and I'm sure other stuff happens as well.

    I understand the fascination with a US-Soviet conflict during the Cold War but I'm equally interested in what would happen if the Soviet Union and China went to war with each other, particularly in terms of how the US, Australia, Britain etc would act in the event of such a conflict.
     
  12. Spanks

    Spanks Minister of Magic

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    Speaking of Europe and disease there's a book called the Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson. In the book; instead of 1/3 of the population being wiped out by the Black Plague 99% is killed radically altering history. The destruction of Europes population changes how the work unfolds; for example Budhissm and Islam are the most influential religions, exploration of North America is started by the Chinese from the Pacific Ocean etc.
     
  13. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Another point of divergence, drawing on this idea of the discovery of the Americas by the Chinese:

    - After the death of the Yongle Emperor, the civil government does not gain control of the Imperial bureaucracy.

    - As a result, the great Treasure Voyages led by General Zheng He are not cancelled and China does not turn isolationist.

    - As Chinese shipbuilding and navigation was far superior to European maritime technology at the time, with Zheng He's ships absolutely dwarfing their Portuguese contemporaries, it is Ming China, not Europe, which leads the exploration and colonisation of the world.
     
  14. Equinox

    Equinox Seventh Year

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    1. The main bodies of the British and German fleets manage to close at the Battle of Jutland and the German High Seas Fleet gets trashed.

    2. Churchill is overridden, ignored or decides not to interfere in Greece in WWII. Imperial forces then completely drive the Axis from Africa.

    3. More resources and better planning in the Far East in WWII. Singapore doesn't fall.

    4. Continued acquisition of aircraft carriers by the Royal Australian Navy. Either through no Falklands War or some other avenue.

    5. The Eastern Roman Empire holds on to Anatolia. Obvious POD is a battle such as Manzikert, but more realistically a stable succession and the prevention of a/number of civil wars would be key. Moving further back, perhaps the Romans are more successful during the rise of Islam.

    6. Imperial Federation. The POD for this would probably be back around the Napoleonic Wars, if not before the American Revolution to cause the required shift in perspectives. Latest would probably be the end of the 19th C.

    7. British and French manage to force the Dardanelles in WWI.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
  15. Peace

    Peace High Inquisitor

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    1) The American Revolution isn't a total success. Britain maintains control over part of the colonies. The American Colony is rife with secret societies dedicated to overthrowing the British, Loyalists who murder Rebels, a British Army of occupation and American agents who run weapons and funds to the rebels. The French Revolution robs America of its most powerful ally but leads to an alliance with Napoleon, widening the Napoleonic Wars.

    2) Germany overruns France in 1914/early 1915. The BEF retreats in disarray and Britain makes peace with Germany. Large swathes of France are occupied (think WW2) but a fierce resistance movement develops. The US maintains its isolationist policy, though German influence in Mexico is taking on disturbingly militaristic overtones.
     
  16. Wynter

    Wynter Order Member

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    Ramesses II dies at the Battle of Kadesh - The Egyptian Empire is ultimately conquered by the Hittites
     
  17. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Saul dies on the road to Damascus and early Christianity loses its most ardent advocate.

    Christianity as a minor, ineffectual spiritual tradition would die a few decades later, leading to knock-on effects (no Roman Empire endorsement, no monastic intellectual tradition maintained throughout the Middle Ages, no Jesuit influence in the New World, no Eastern Orthodox tradition weaving through the Slavic nations, etc.)
     
  18. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I actually don't find "American revolution fails" divergences very interesting, for three reasons:

    1. The resulting British Empire is so ridiculously OP that conflicts are immensely one-sided.

    2. The high level of autonomy which the Thirteen Colonies would have means that they would pretty much develop in the same way as real life, at least up to the point where Britain outlawed slavery.

    3. As the Thirteen Colonies overtake Britain in population, economic power and industrial production, and as Britain suffers for its proximity to European wars (especially once air power develops), the centre of business and government in the British empire would naturally drift to the US over time, again resulting in a very similar situation to today.

    It depends on what kind of federation you want. I think it's still possible to go that direction up until 1931, when the Westminster Acts were passed. Even after that point, I think you could have it happen post-WWII, by the back door. It's easier post-WWI, but I think post-WWII could work. The key is that it wouldn't be started as a federation, but would naturally develop into one.

    I think there are three key factors: firstly, the ruinous costs of WWI/II; secondly, the fact that the Dominions continue (even after 1931) to be part of a personal union of Crowns under a single Monarch; thirdly, that the armed forces of the UK and the Dominions are all, at least nominally, the armed forces of the Crown, not the various governments.

    Citing these factors, the armed forces of UK and the Dominions are merged to save costs. The monarch creates a new executive committee of the Privy Council called the Imperial Committee (Cabinet is another such executive committee). This executive committee has a single representative from the UK and each Dominion (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Newfoundland, South Africa), and is chaired by the King (or more usually, a representative of the King). UK and Dominion militaries are merged into a single Royal Navy, Army and Air Force, control of which is given to this body.

    In the event of any direct military action against the British Empire, the members of the Committee are obliged to respond. The specific action taken is decided by simple majority vote (the King does not normally vote). In the event of a tie, the Royal Representative has the tiebreaker. Simple majority is the usual form of decision making of the committee. The exception to simple majority voting is the deployment of expeditionary forces (ie. invasion of other nations) which must be agreed by unanimity.

    The UK did this to save costs but also to bind the Dominions to it in the event of another war. The major downside was a loss of control over the military, but the country’s debts and economic situation made it impossible to sustain its military (and thus empire) without sharing the burden.

    For the Dominions, there would be considerable reluctance to join out of fear of more European wars. However, the fact that Britain would only have a single vote gave the Dominions confidence that they could veto frivolous wars. Further, the Dominions were attracted by the sharing of costs and the continued guaranteed protection of the still-considerable Royal Navy. Another important factor was that the Dominions could use their influence on the committee to get their share of procurement, thereby developing industry in the Dominions. (If prior to WWII, this would turn out to be a major advantage for Britain, as much of its military-industrial complex would be beyond the reach of German bombers).

    Britain initially tried to make votes on the committee proportional to population, but this was rejected on the basis that it would give Britain effective control. The committee would be unpopular with the British electorate, but there would be consensus between political parties that it was the only way to maintain the military, given fiscal constraints.

    Control of non-Dominion military (most importantly, India) is also transferred to this committee, but operational control remains in the hands of the Raj.

    The constitution of this committee outlines the method of calculating financial contributions required of each member, and also rules regarding procurement, preventing the committee from spending all the money in one Dominion. This agreement can only be changed by unanimity (and will have changed a couple of times in response to changing demographics).

    Once this committee is established, you can see how over time it would accumulate more powers. The first to go would be foreign policy, as it makes little sense to have a Foreign Office which cannot speak authoritatively for the military.

    One way you can imagine this “federal” authority expanding would be when the Commonwealth decides to create a single market, perhaps in response to the creation of the ECSC, and later the EC. The Imperial Committee would be a useful pre-existing platform and is therefore given competence over the regulation of the single market. The EU has shown us how this kind of competency can rapidly extend itself. Eventually it may result in a currency union, though Canada may object to this.

    Another way would be democratic reform, which the populations of the members would likely call for as the powers of this committee expanded. Once it had direct democratic legitimacy, you can imagine that the committee would develop into a kind of federal government.

    However, I don’t think this full federal state is necessarily the most attractive end result. I quite like the idea of the Dominions and the UK remaining largely autonomous, much as they are today, only with a combined military and foreign policy via the vehicle of a shared Head of State. That’s the route which would disturb the timeline least. The world would look much as it looks today, I think. The UK might even be a member of the EU, if the committee was kept to military and didn’t extend to any kind of single market. The major difference would be a) the Commonwealth military would likely be larger than simply adding up the current military strengths of the member nations, as it would benefit from economies of scale and b) the Commonwealth may have entered fewer foreign wars over the years due to the veto power of the members.

    The response to apartheid South Africa would be an interesting point of conflict. As Hong Kong and Singapore get richer, you can imagine them being added to the committee.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
  19. Equinox

    Equinox Seventh Year

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    Possible, potentially. For instance there have always been the rumours that a Dominion PM was targeted to take over as PM of GB if Churchill was ousted, though how that would work is questionable.

    On what you are saying re the merging of the separate armed forces, a different/expanded Five Powers Defence Agreement may be an option. I don't think the dominions would be concerned about European wars per sa (particularly Canada), but in the case of Aus/NZ, too much focus away from their areas of interest. Post WWII I see the damage caused in the relationship between Australia and the UK as a huge obstacle.

    You also couldn't have an Imperial Federation including India, unless it was simply one vote one nation (or similar). For any Imperial Federation I can't see UK entrance to the EU as being acceptable (unless the rest of the federation was included). The damage the UK did, particularly to NZ when it entered the EEC was bad enough without the potentially closer ties. It'd infuriate Australia and NZ if they did that.
     
  20. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I just came across an imgur album with maps and graphics in an immensely detailed AH:

    http://imgur.com/a/vMXBP

    It's rather scattershot, so you don't get too strong an idea of the overall world picture, but the level of detail is crazy (aircraft routes, advertising, election results by county).