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The weak are forced to create alternative realities essay

January 9, 2013 ThinkStock Alternate history, long popular with fiction writers, has also been explored by historians and journalists. Here are some of their intriguing conclusions. What if the South won the Civil War?

America becomes one nation again… in 1960. In a 1960 article published in Look magazine, author and Civil War buff MacKinlay Kantor envisioned a history in which the Confederate forces won the Civil War in 1863, forcing the despised President Lincoln into exile.

Texas, unhappy with the new arrangement, declares its independence in 1878. Under international pressure, the Southern states gradually abolish slavery.

  • Sometimes rumours like these spread out of panic, sometimes out of malice, and sometimes deliberate manipulation, in which a corporation or regime pays people to convey their message;
  • They're like a food that's not merely healthy, but counteracts the unhealthy effects of things you've already eaten.

What if Charles Lindbergh were elected President in 1940? America joins the Nazis. President Lindbergh, a white supremacist and anti-Semite, declares martial law, throws his opponents in prison, and allies with Nazi Germany in World War II. What if Hitler successfully invaded Russia?

The Fuhrer is revered in history as a great leader. Learning that Britain has broken the Enigma codehowever, the Nazis play it safe and make peace with the west. Through the magic of propaganda, Hitler is revered 20 years later as a beloved leader.

What if James Dean had survived his car crash? Robert Kennedy survives his assassination attempt. Dean would later become the Democratic Governor of California, consigning his opponent Ronald Reagan to the dustbin of history. What if President Kennedy had survived the assassination attempt?

Republicans win every election for the next 30 years. The 1963 Kennedy assassination is a popular event of alternate history, inspiring novels, stage plays and short story collections.

The weak are forced to create alternative realities essay an essay in the book What Ifs? Other writers have been less kind, envisioning that JFK would provoke violent anti-war marches, accidentally start World War III, or continue his affair with Marilyn Monroe who also survives her early death for another 30 years. What if Christianity missed the West?

The Enlightenment starts early — and lasts a thousand years. In this history, while the word of Christ still spreads throughout the east, Europe enjoys an extra millennium of classical culture. When Christianity finally goes West, it is absorbed harmlessly into the multi-religious society. What if The Beatles had broken up in 1966? Ronald Reagan is assassinated in 1985 obviously. Almost 20 years later, Lennon, now an embittered has-been, assassinates Reagan, whose actions — as the conservative Governor of California — had played their part in the break-up.

In this history, while Reagan died 19 years early, other people are granted extended lives. Bangs also survives the fate he suffered in reality, where he died of an accidental overdose in 1982, aged 33.

Paul Halpern

What if the Romans won the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest? No one would speak English. Many of these were popular questions — What if the Americans lost the Revolutionary War? What if the D-Day invasion had failed in 1944? But an essay by the late Lewis H. The tribes ambushed and destroyed three Roman legions in this campaign, and the Romans would never again attempt to conquer Germania beyond the Rhine. What if the Protestant Reformation never happened? Christianity would continue to rule the world.

Science, not so much. Naturally, this turns Europe into a vastly different place.

How Many Dimensions Does the Universe Really Have?

What if Napoleon had kept going? Revolution in South America. Probably the first book-length alternate history, Napoleon and the Conquest of the World: One chapter mentions a fantasy novel in which the Emperor suffered a major defeat in the Belgian town of Waterloo. But what if Napoleon had won the Battle of Waterloo in 1815? The winning essay, by G. Trevelyan, suggested that Napoleon would lose interest in expanding his empire, partly because his health was suffering, and partly because the mood in Paris was for peace.

England, however, would suffer economically, with many people starving. Byron's execution, of course, would only inspire revolution.

Meanwhile, a war of independence would stir in South America. With Napoleon ailing, the French government would nearly cease functioning, attacked from all sides. The essay ended there — on a cliffhanger. The Union would be over… forever. Of course, the idea has also been popular in fiction.

The popular Harry Turtledove, who specializes in alternate history novels, has suggested what might have happened — in 11 volumes so far. The first novel, How Few Remain 1997introduced a world where, years after the war, the former USA is divided into two nations: Using advanced technology, the U. In the South, post-war measures lead to runaway inflation, poverty, and the victory of the violent Freedom party. In the Second Great War 1941-1944three American cities and six European cities are destroyed in nuclear attacks.

At the end of the war, the U.

Sadly, it is too late for the South to rejoin the Union. Instead, the CSA is offered neither independence nor civil rights, but is kept under military rule. What if the Cuban Missile Crisis escalated into a full-scale war? The end of nuclear proliferation. This envisions a world in which the U. The United States invades Cuba, making the Crisis escalate into nuclear warfare.

However, all surviving nations renounce their possession of nuclear weapons — with the exception of the USA, now under martial law as the military had planned all along. What if Marilyn Monroe survived? She would win an Oscar — and be brainwashed.

What If? 19 Alternate Histories Imagining a Very Different World

She would then record a hit song with Frank Sinatra, make bad films, and give up acting in 1980 to look after her drug-addicted twin sons. Then there was the American supermarket tabloid The Sun. According to The Sun, after threatening to reveal an affair with Robert Kennedy, she was drugged, brainwashed and taken to Australia, where she lives the "simple life of a sheep rancher's wife. What if Shakespeare was a renowned historian? Due to advanced technology, the Industrial Revolution happens 200 years early.

Shakespeare has impressed scholars not only with his literary brilliance, but also with the historical detail of his plays.

Radical dimensions

He did get a few things wrong, however—such as having a clock strike in Julius Caesar, 1500 years before such clocks were invented. Hence, fairies and other magical beings exist on this world, and the clockwork technology of Ancient Rome advanced to the stage where, in the age of Cromwell, steam trains are already running through England. What if Woodrow Wilson had never been US president? World War II would have been avoided.

In the book, a teenage math genius is mysteriously summoned to the Smithsonian Institution in 1939, where he glimpses the upcoming World War II. Determined to prevent it, he goes back in history to seek its origins. What if Frank Sinatra was never born? In "Road to the Multiverse," a 2009 episode of Family Guy, Stewie and Brian find themselves hopping between universes. One of the most intriguing was a universe where Sinatra was never born, and is therefore unable to use his influence to get President Kennedy elected in 1960.

How technology disrupted the truth

That bit was never explained. What if Franklin Roosevelt was assassinated in 1933? Colonization of the moon, Venus, and Mars by 1962. Any reality envisioned by Philip K. Dick was bound to be fascinating. His 1962 novel The Man in the High Castle, which established him as a top science fiction writer, is set in a world where the Axis powers win World War II in 1947 and divide most of the world between them. In the America of 1962, slavery is legal once again, and the few surviving Jews hide out under assumed names.

However, the Nazis have the hydrogen bomb, which also gives them the technology to fuel super-fast air travel and colonize space. This book, with its historical commentary, made many critics take sci-fi far more seriously, showing that it was more than just the weak are forced to create alternative realities essay invasions and spaceships.

Unlike many of Dick's later works, it has yet to be turned in to a movie, though a SyFy TV series is currently in planning stages, produced by Sir Ridley Scott. What if Germany had invaded Britain by sea?

World War II might have ended earlier—but Hitler would still have lost. The plan was shelved in 1940, but some 30 years later, the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst started a war-games module, set in a world where Sea Lion had happened.

Military academies, in their war-games, often speculate about how different strategies might have changed history.

  • When conflict over money arises between people who have a close relationship, the conflict is a microcosm of the haves-versus-have-nots;
  • Almost 20 years later, Lennon, now an embittered has-been, assassinates Reagan, whose actions — as the conservative Governor of California — had played their part in the break-up;
  • For 500 years after Gutenberg, the dominant form of information was the printed page;
  • And so began the study of modern literature;
  • Sadly, it is too late for the South to rejoin the Union;
  • I didn't notice those things at the time, though.