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Author Topic: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?  (Read 1091 times)

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Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« on: March 05, 2014, 09:10:07 AM »
I'm sure that this topic has been tossed about more times than I can count and generated their own timelines all by itself.

As a rule, I don't mind alternative histories, timelines, universes and so on. I enjoy reading a number of AU books, movies, games and the rest. The catch is that the changes have to make sense to me. Cause and effect don't simply disappear just because someone wants to change the past to get a different today.

As an example, I just tried to read The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. I've been fasenated by the Steampunk Universe for about a year, but there is precious little that I've found that relates to the how and whys of the universe. I was informed on several occasions that this book is a wonderful source of what Steampunk is. I will agree that it offered an interesting insite into the world, but it failed to explain itself, nor the glaring failures in it's own timeline.

Example. The book takes place, at least as far as I got, in 1855. The world, and the computer appears to already be well established and so common place that the average person has some contact with it on at least some basis. However, the book also states that the Difference Engine, the first computer, was created IN 1855... so, how do you have a well established card reading based computer system before it's created?

I don't have any problem with england being the power that it had before the colonies began to seperate and the empire falters. That it maintained it's hold and expanded it into other parts of the worldcan be explained fairly easily. That France has an empiror who descends from Neopolean and Texas is still a republic to itself is less so. I don't even care that the Confederate States of America is not only solidly in it's own independence from the United States and reliable ocean going steam ships exist in the world of 1855. That's all fine... but the question of why stands up here and begs to be asked.

As examples. What prompts the Confederacy to break off from the United states at least 15 years earlier in time? Why is the 1st president of Texas represented more as a king in exile than a president who lost an election? Why did Neopolean NOT get defeated and exiled and allow for his son to take the throne of France? WHY are there American refugees flooding London?

If The Difference Engine in and of itself is the ultimate cause of the divergence of the time line, how does it manage all of these changes before it's appearance and what reasons are used for the events that apparently took place before this point?

Example: Why would/did the south leave the union in the late 1840's to very early 1850's?

Historically, the proposed main reason for the sucession of the southern states was the anti-slavery policies being pushed by the Republican party, acts by abolitionist, with the election of Lincoln without carrying a single southern state being the event that caused the final decision in 1861. Slavery was already on the decline in the northt, the border areas between north and south, and in the less profitable areas of the south. It came down, most historians believe, to whether the federal government or the states had the right to decide the issue and the federal government was trying to limit slavery. Other factors included  Economic and social issues between the quickly industrializing north and the agracultural south.

To further complicate the state's rights, it was proposed that a slave owner had the right to take his slave outside of states that allowed slavery and into non-slavery states and retain ownership, to purchase slaves and transport them back to his home state because his state allowed slavery. This was strongly disagreed on in the 1850's and there were economic and social issues at stake as well. Slavery was only one of several reasons, but the only one really grasped by either side. So, what would prompt the south to leave the union before 1845 (Thus leaving Texas as it's own republic)?  As the Confederacy was never an undustrial power in the 19th century, the influence of steam power or the yet to come difference Engince couldn't be a cause for it's success.

There are many questions that I have, and I hope that someone might give me hints as to why certain events take place years, or decades early and before the given cause of the whole steampunk slip. How you, yourselves, justify changes in alternate histories or timelines, or if you go so far as to come up with a why, or simply say "It is so."

I would also love a conversation on the pro's and cons of playing with alternates and how it effects a modern setting.

Thank you for your time and patience in reading all of this.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 10:13:56 AM »
Let me try and boil down your question in its simplest form, for my own sake. You're perplexed by why all these events have happened, but they're not explained sufficiently to as the whys of how they came about. Well, in general that's called a plot hole, if the difference engine is well-established by 1885 in 1885 that is.

The rest might be the author not explaining it to the reader. I do that a lot and fill it in as I need it. It avoids info-dumps and "As we all know, but I'm going to explain it to the invisible person who doesn't" kind of thing. How man paragraphs, if any does he dedicate to explaining Napoleon and Texas for instance.

I know I never try to just explain things, so maybe that's what the author is doing?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 10:38:18 AM »
I would suggest that Difference Engine might not be the best AU setting. There are some really good ones. Harry Turtledove does a better job of plotting otu the impact of a 'change'. One of the first AU stories I read was the Guns of the South.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 10:51:27 AM »
I would suggest that Difference Engine might not be the best AU setting. There are some really good ones. Harry Turtledove does a better job of plotting otu the impact of a 'change'. One of the first AU stories I read was the Guns of the South.
The man is the standard bearer of straight Alternate History. :)

The Southern Victory series is good. It consists of about eleven books split into several sub-series. One (South wins the Civil War), three (Great War), three (interim), four (WWII).

He tends not to do the more esoteric science-fiction elements though. Though he does do some good sci-fi that isn't exactly alt-history.

Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 11:10:01 AM »
I know about writing styles, and I use some of them myself. The problem, in this particular instance is that I've been trying for some time to figure out the whole Steampunk setting as every GM/storyteller that I've seen seems to create their own interpretation out of whole cloth. Several people have told me that reading The Difference Engine pretty much answers all of the questions about what, exactly, a steampunk setting is like; in fact the quenticential definition of the whole setting. But, it states two desperate facts.

1. The Difference Engine is created in 1855, essencially bringing a 1940's erra computer to the world a century early. That's not a problem. I see it and it's cool. I can see how this may effect the world both in the second half of the 19th century and well into the 20th century. I'm not sure why advancement of power sources stopped with simple steam engines, but I can deal with it as simply a part of the setting.

2. The book takes place in 1855. Not 1885, but 1855. It's mentioned several times during the story and again, it's cool. the issue is in the paradox of having machines that can do what the early computers could BEFORE it's created in the setting that the story is taking place. Steam power makes perfect sense to me. Rather than simply being a tool for transportation, it's become a power source for everything in a world craving power. No big leap in that. It's the paradox of having something before it's created.

The other part that didn't make sense, and again, it's writers priogrative to do so, but sometimes, you just need it, is why the world changed before your own plot hook takes place to alter the universe.

An info dump is to be avoided, I agree. There are at least 4 other ways to pass on information in less distracting and helpful ways though. For example, why are there apparently thousands of american refugees... what are they a refugee from? A simple line, "From the crop failures" adds in the needed detail to make it make sense. Why the civil war started at least 15 years early...not so much. I've seen writers go to some lengths to make their worlds make sense; it helps with the suspension of disbelief that all writers strive for. Others simply don't bother and that's the way some stories go. But even a character driven story has to have a backdrop, a context and of all of the settings I've come across, Steampunk is the only one that fails on nearly all fronts.

Again, I can love an alternative history, timeline or universe. I've both written in and played in both... but the "Why" question should stand out a little.You don't need every detail of the world, but you do need a setting that holds up if a reader/player ask you, "Why?"

"Why did the fledging United States lose it's fight for independence?"
"Because it's poor leadership failed to take advantage of it's few lucky breaks." (Not far from the truth, actually)

"Why didn't oil become a power source?"
"Because the production of steam power became less costly than extraction and refinement of oil." Ok, that makes sense.

"If there was never a United States of America, how can there be a Confederates States of America?"
"Ummmm...."

See how that little detail pops the bubble? If, as suggested in some alternate histories, the United States never existed, how can you have a set of states declaring independence from it? True, the Confederate States could of declared independence from England, Spain and France all at the same time, but the chances of it succeeding are even smaller than it's success against the US.

Anyway,thanks for the explanation. I'm glad someone offered a suggestion. I'm just confused by one setting, and wondered how others dealt with creating settings that take advantage of altered histories, timelines and universes. I've been playing with a possible group game on E that involves an altered timeline, but I'm concerned with trying to detail too much and avoiding paradoxes while providing a story with an obtainable goal. But simply saying "This is how it is and you don't need to know." bugs me as both a player and a GM. It's too much like telling a child, "Because I said so."

If any of that made sense. lol


Thanks for the names and titles, I'll have to see if I can get access to them. :)
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 11:12:26 AM by Blinkin »

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 11:20:51 AM »
I know about writing styles, and I use some of them myself. The problem, in this particular instance is that I've been trying for some time to figure out the whole Steampunk setting as every GM/storyteller that I've seen seems to create their own interpretation out of whole cloth. Several people have told me that reading The Difference Engine pretty much answers all of the questions about what, exactly, a steampunk setting is like; in fact the quenticential definition of the whole setting. But, it states two desperate facts.

1. The Difference Engine is created in 1855, essencially bringing a 1940's erra computer to the world a century early. That's not a problem. I see it and it's cool. I can see how this may effect the world both in the second half of the 19th century and well into the 20th century. I'm not sure why advancement of power sources stopped with simple steam engines, but I can deal with it as simply a part of the setting.
Well that could be explained in that computers and internal-combustion engines aren't exactly fields that need to overlap to be created. It might not have stopped, but it might not have been "hit upon" yet.

Quote
2. The book takes place in 1855. Not 1885, but 1855. It's mentioned several times during the story and again, it's cool. the issue is in the paradox of having machines that can do what the early computers could BEFORE it's created in the setting that the story is taking place. Steam power makes perfect sense to me. Rather than simply being a tool for transportation, it's become a power source for everything in a world craving power. No big leap in that. It's the paradox of having something before it's created.
That's my typo, sorry. Now, I'm a little confused by your wording. Is your issue that 1940s analogue computing has been invented in 1855, or that the computing technology the world is based on is well established before 1855, but not invented until 1855. The former is just how the book works, the latter is a plot hole. 

Quote
The other part that didn't make sense, and again, it's writers priogrative to do so, but sometimes, you just need it, is why the world changed before your own plot hook takes place to alter the universe.
Plot hook, or plot device? There's a difference.

Quote
An info dump is to be avoided, I agree. There are at least 4 other ways to pass on information in less distracting and helpful ways though. For example, why are there apparently thousands of american refugees... what are they a refugee from? A simple line, "From the crop failures" adds in the needed detail to make it make sense. Why the civil war started at least 15 years early...not so much. I've seen writers go to some lengths to make their worlds make sense; it helps with the suspension of disbelief that all writers strive for. Others simply don't bother and that's the way some stories go. But even a character driven story has to have a backdrop, a context and of all of the settings I've come across, Steampunk is the only one that fails on nearly all fronts.

Again, I can love an alternative history, timeline or universe. I've both written in and played in both... but the "Why" question should stand out a little.You don't need every detail of the world, but you do need a setting that holds up if a reader/player ask you, "Why?"

"Why did the fledging United States lose it's fight for independence?"
"Because it's poor leadership failed to take advantage of it's few lucky breaks." (Not far from the truth, actually)

"Why didn't oil become a power source?"
"Because the production of steam power became less costly than extraction and refinement of oil." Ok, that makes sense.

"If there was never a United States of America, how can there be a Confederates States of America?"
"Ummmm...."

See how that little detail pops the bubble? If, as suggested in some alternate histories, the United States never existed, how can you have a set of states declaring independence from it? True, the Confederate States could of declared independence from England, Spain and France all at the same time, but the chances of it succeeding are even smaller than it's success against the US.

Anyway,thanks for the explanation. I'm glad someone offered a suggestion. I'm just confused by one setting, and wondered how others dealt with creating settings that take advantage of altered histories, timelines and universes. I've been playing with a possible group game on E that involves an altered timeline, but I'm concerned with trying to detail too much and avoiding paradoxes while providing a story with an obtainable goal. But simply saying "This is how it is and you don't need to know." bugs me as both a player and a GM. It's too much like telling a child, "Because I said so."

If any of that made sense. lol


Thanks for the names and titles, I'll have to see if I can get access to them. :)
That all sounds like a bunch off gaping plot holes. How the hell does this book get held up as a standard of the genre, how the hell did it even get published? :\

Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 12:36:00 PM »
Well that could be explained in that computers and internal-combustion engines aren't exactly fields that need to overlap to be created. It might not have stopped, but it might not have been "hit upon" yet.

AsI said, the steam powered thing is cool. Doesn't bother me at all. It is period and expanding it out some makes sense in the context of the world setting. No, computers and steam power don't overlap, hell, we still have steam at the core of nearly all of our large-scale power production systems. Ships? Convert fuel into steam for electrical power via a admittedly huge internal combustion engine, but it's still steam power that turns the turbines, the props and generates electricity. Nuclear plants? The rods heats water (or another liquid medium) into a gas, steam, to turn a turbine, as above, the turbine generates propulsion, electrical power and the other power needs on subs. and on and on. The only two power sources that doesn't directly use steam in some form are hydro and wind. I exclude internal conbustion as it's not a major power source in and of itself. Even the main battle tank of the US uses a turbine. So, the steam power theam is great for me.

That's my typo, sorry. Now, I'm a little confused by your wording. Is your issue that 1940s analogue computing has been invented in 1855, or that the computing technology the world is based on is well established before 1855, but not invented until 1855. The former is just how the book works, the latter

The issue is that a setting that has a computer in the form of the Difference Engine has a paradox. In the book, the stated year is 1855. This is when the events take place. The book also states that The Difference Engine, the computing device created that changes history in the setting is CREATED in 1855. To further the paradox, or to explain it further, the characters already know of, and apparently has wide spread use of this  technology BEFORE it's invented. Everyone has a "Citizen" number, like the US social Security Number. This number is kept as a records keeping system for a computer, which can call up information by using this number. It is used in communications as a way of sorting mail and telegraph messages and so on. But, it doesn't exist yet.

I do not have any problem with it existing in the setting. Computers, in one form or another has been at lest a theory since before the 1920's, so someone coming up with it in the mid 19th century isn't a strtch, nor is is a story killer as it's part of the story. It's just that you cannot use a thing until it exist in some form, much less have it so expansive as to be a form of records keeping on a national scale.

it's a plot hole.  Plot hook, or plot device? There's a difference.
That all sounds like a bunch off gaping plot holes. How the hell does this book get held up as a standard of the genre, how the hell did it even get published? :\

I guess that is a good question. When you have one thing that destoys the suspension of disbelief, the rest of it starts to fall in on itself. It sort of glosses over everything except for the characters, so it's a character driven story rather than a plot driven one, but it still suffers if the things that the characters are doing don't hold up to what they should be able to do. You can't steal a computer program, in the form of a box of cards, if the computer that uses them hasn't been invented, and if it hasn't been invented, you cannot have a rapid national records system to access to get the cards.

Offline Avis habilis

Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2014, 12:52:14 PM »
According to the Wikipedia article Babbidge's engine was supposed to have come into general use in 1824 in the book, so there's that at least.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2014, 12:54:23 PM »
I think Avis has you covered. Because honestly, if the case were that it was invented in 1885 and proliferated before that year, well that's a pretty massive issue. :\

Even the worst editor in the world might pick up on that.

Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2014, 12:56:19 PM »
if it was invented in 1824, that removes the paradox and answers the question. I'm going by the book's information, so the 1855 date was the issue.

So, moving on to other ideas. I would like your (everyone, anyone, beuler) opinion on a concept. It's sort of been done and written to death, but two facts and then a short hypothesis

During World War II, one of Nazi Germany's greatest issue was Adolf Hitler's growing mental issues and his short-sightedness.

Germany was doing atomic research as early as 1939 and had, at least, on paper, a design for a atomic powered electrical plant in, or around 1940-41. They had gone far enough to consider the weapons potential of atomic fision. The Nazi leadership was not interested in unconventional weapons and focused on more conventional concepts. More planes, more guns, more tanks and the regular advancement of these items. There is significant backing of this information on a historic level.

So... What if Hitler was actually assassinated as early as 1942; leaving his underlings to conduct the war, and the view on research into an atomic weapon had been revived.

Question:

Could have the death of Hitler and the assumption of the Nazi war effort by compititant leaders of altered the duration of the war and could have a Nazi atomic weapon, on say a V-2 or V-3 rocket in 1944 altered the outcome of the war in some way?
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 01:03:13 PM by Blinkin »

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2014, 12:59:51 PM »
Probably not. Germany just didn't have the manpower. You can have all the jets in the world, but if you don't have pilots its moot. :|

Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2014, 01:06:11 PM »
ah, but pilots are only one facet of a war. in 1942, the allies had not achieved air superiority over Germany. They were closing in, but the losses of bombers implies that superiority wasn't yet achieved. The introduction of the jet was too late in the war and both in too fewer numbers and too limited flight time. Resources were aleady being diverted from the western front to the East in ever growing numbers. If you remove the soviets from the picture, what happens?

Offline Avis habilis

Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2014, 01:13:26 PM »
Could have the death of Hitler and the assumption of the Nazi war effort by compititant leaders of altered the duration of the war and could have a Nazi atomic weapon, on say a V-2 or V-3 rocket in 1944 altered the outcome of the war in some way?

I suspect it could have. Combine proper military leadership with a cult of a "martyred" Hitler & you'd have deep, deep trouble. (I'm assuming here that the assassins spin the killing as the doing of the Allies, to keep the German populace from knowing how eager half the Nazi command were to rub out the other half.)

Also, I'm fairly sure I read somewhere that the Nazis were within months of having a suborbital plane ready that could have dropped a nuke on Manhattan. That might have been enough to get the Americans thinking it was time to cut their losses & leave the Nazis in charge of whatever they held at the time.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 01:14:48 PM by Avis habilis »

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2014, 01:50:38 PM »
ah, but pilots are only one facet of a war. in 1942, the allies had not achieved air superiority over Germany. They were closing in, but the losses of bombers implies that superiority wasn't yet achieved. The introduction of the jet was too late in the war and both in too fewer numbers and too limited flight time. Resources were aleady being diverted from the western front to the East in ever growing numbers. If you remove the soviets from the picture, what happens?
I don't think Germany could have beat both America, Britain, and Russia. Yeah they had the Tiger, but for every high-end Tiger there were ten Shermans ready to blow it apart. Perhaps if the Axis Powers acted more like an alliance, and maybe if Hitler could have kept in Stalin's good graces, but that was nearly impossible. Nazis and communists were destined to fight, and Hitler needed the oil in Russia.

Also, I don't see much of a nuke program because the Nazis already chased away much of their best and brightest.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2014, 02:00:50 PM »
ah, but pilots are only one facet of a war. in 1942, the allies had not achieved air superiority over Germany. They were closing in, but the losses of bombers implies that superiority wasn't yet achieved. The introduction of the jet was too late in the war and both in too fewer numbers and too limited flight time. Resources were aleady being diverted from the western front to the East in ever growing numbers. If you remove the soviets from the picture, what happens?

The thing is, those Jets were flying coffins. The lack of manpower AND the f at that over half the planet was focused on stoping the Germans before things went to far was going to push things towards the Allies. Only the number of bodies in the end would have changed.

Had hitler renewed his non-aggression pact with the Soviets and not let the Allies in Japan draw the US in, the out come would have been different.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2014, 02:04:57 PM »
The thing is, those Jets were flying coffins. The lack of manpower AND the f at that over half the planet was focused on stoping the Germans before things went to far was going to push things towards the Allies. Only the number of bodies in the end would have changed.

Had hitler renewed his non-aggression pact with the Soviets and not let the Allies in Japan draw the US in, the out come would have been different.
That renewal would never have happened. Once the can of worms was opened it wasn't closing.

If Hitler had not declared war on the US after Pearl Harbor the war in Europe might have been different though. The US at the time was adamant about not going back to Europe.

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2014, 03:30:30 PM »
Again, what if the russians could of been removed from the fighting, either via a ciese fire or negoiciated treety in 1942? The war was only about 9 months along by early 1942 and the russians were still fighting from their heels. With Hitler dead, would Stalin of wanted to continue the war with the risk of japan (a known allie of Germany) coming in from the east?

The US had not had a victory against the Japanese by spring of 1942 and without Hitler, what would of been their reaction to a peace treaty to keep them out of the war in Europe?

Aircraft and tanks are grand things, but they don't win wars. Boots win wars. In 1942, the Allies were still in hard straights everywhere and the North Africa campaigns were yet to arive. It would be another 2 full years of hard fighting to set foot in western Europe. Italy had fallen, but advancement on that front was stalled.

The question remains, without Hitler after 1942, could Nazi Germany of prolonged the war, regardless of the ultimate outcome?

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2014, 04:03:43 PM »
Oh definitely, they could have probably sued for peace too. I don't think Germany could have won it, but they could have definitely come out "better". Though that has a whole other host of sociological issues. What about the Holocaust? Would the world ever know, and what about the Nazi Party? Remember, Hitler was the party by the time the war was in full motion.

Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2014, 06:08:38 PM »
True, they could of sued for peace with Hitler gone, they could of blamed it all on Hitler and the Nazi party; turning them into the scape goat of the whole thing. The war had not reached it's worst in 1942, so the allies may of even of gone for it. But, I tend to think that the effects of the 1918 treaty forced onto Germany would of soured the idea in the Nazi's eyes. A ciese fire may of been more probable, with Germany keeping it's gains, or surrending the land in exchange for better terms.

The holocost is an interesting issue. Assuming that it is ever discovered or made public, it could end up costing  the leadership more than freedom, much like what happened to them anyway. They could claim that Hitler did it, and the SS. That they faught against it but were overruled, etc... but that would be a total unknown. It would probably have reprocussions in the founding of Israel, or at least, the israeli aggressive tendencies toward just about everything though.

I'm interested in what the results of an extended war would of meant for the allies though. More man-power, more material and resources; would the Allies of threatened the use of the Atomic bomb to bring an end to the war in Europe? It's rumored that Truman, after hearing of the results of the first bomb and forced to use a second bomb may not be willing to use it.

Then, there is the question of what if the Germans had managed to build a functioning atomic tipped missile with range to hit London or deep into Russia. What would that effect have on the war? Again, assuming that the Germans managed to produce one before it became too late to use it.

Armchair generals, with 20/20 hindsight, usually claim that if D-day had failed, that the russians would of won the war anyway, but the reprocussions of that opens a huge can of worms in regards to the shift of power that would of hapened between the US and Soviets as well as the face of Europe becoming part of the USSR. They may of won the war, but would the remaining allies be willing to start another war to free western Europe from the russians?

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2014, 06:52:39 PM »
True, they could of sued for peace with Hitler gone, they could of blamed it all on Hitler and the Nazi party; turning them into the scape goat of the whole thing. The war had not reached it's worst in 1942, so the allies may of even of gone for it. But, I tend to think that the effects of the 1918 treaty forced onto Germany would of soured the idea in the Nazi's eyes. A ciese fire may of been more probable, with Germany keeping it's gains, or surrending the land in exchange for better terms.

The holocost is an interesting issue. Assuming that it is ever discovered or made public, it could end up costing  the leadership more than freedom, much like what happened to them anyway. They could claim that Hitler did it, and the SS. That they faught against it but were overruled, etc... but that would be a total unknown. It would probably have reprocussions in the founding of Israel, or at least, the israeli aggressive tendencies toward just about everything though.

I'm interested in what the results of an extended war would of meant for the allies though. More man-power, more material and resources; would the Allies of threatened the use of the Atomic bomb to bring an end to the war in Europe? It's rumored that Truman, after hearing of the results of the first bomb and forced to use a second bomb may not be willing to use it.

Then, there is the question of what if the Germans had managed to build a functioning atomic tipped missile with range to hit London or deep into Russia. What would that effect have on the war? Again, assuming that the Germans managed to produce one before it became too late to use it.

Armchair generals, with 20/20 hindsight, usually claim that if D-day had failed, that the russians would of won the war anyway, but the reprocussions of that opens a huge can of worms in regards to the shift of power that would of hapened between the US and Soviets as well as the face of Europe becoming part of the USSR. They may of won the war, but would the remaining allies be willing to start another war to free western Europe from the russians?
If I were leading the non-Nazi side of the German military, one of my terms would be torching the party to the ground. That would probably by them a lot of leeway with the 1942 Allies. Scapegaoting the National Socialists.

As for the nuke. They might have got it in a plane, or on a truck, but a rocket would require another decade of miniaturization. Turtle Dove actually explores that in the Settling Accounts portion of the Southern Victory series. It made me realize how lucky the world is that only two atomic bombs have ever been dropped :\

Still, one two or three bombs would not win Germany the war, it might end up being Pyrrhic. They might hit London and knock England out of the war, but I think Radar would probably protect them from nuke bombs, they're an island so a truck is a no go. So it would have to be a V2 which wouldn't happen. I also don't put a lot of stock in a sub-space plane. Those are a lot trickier than people think. That's why the only one that has ever been (admitted to being) in service was a spy plane, unarmed. 

I think America would have been safe though, if only via distance. 

D-Day was very effective, it's less that it failed and more that non plan survives contact with the enemy.

This is all based on pure historical conjecture on my part though. As fiction I think this is fantastic. :)

Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2014, 07:07:22 PM »
It's all conjecture as it didn't happen, but I find it entertaining to offer what if's and see what people think would of happened. It's just harmless fun to speculate on how things may of changed if A didn't happen and B did.

On a personal level, I do think that removing Hitler from the decision chain before mid 1942 would of had significant changes on the war as a whole. With compitant leadership and sound strategic judgement, the gains that Germany might of made before the end of the war may of ended in a stalemate. Neither side able to make any serious progress after 1945 unless something else significant happened on the Allied side. Germany probably would not of won the war, but they may of firmly established a new german state that held a significant portion of Europe.

I think that the one vital thing that might of given Germany all of Europe and kept it was if they had left the russians alone. If they could of focused fully on any one front, the results may be very different. Not that we would all be speakng German, but that the balance of power would be much different today.

I do wonder if the famed German engineering might of made a very low-yield weapon that would none the less be effective enough to create a pause in the war. The bombs dropped during WW II by the US were crude for their own time, which was part of the size issue. Two of them were considerably different in size on their own, so who knows.

One of Germany's biggest failures was that Hitler refused, repeatedly to build a heavy bomber with range. The buzz bomb was effective in it's own way, but the production cost was high and for the cost of 1 500 pound buzz bomb, you could of probably of built a mid-range bomber to carry 2 or 3 of the things. Again, if they could of carpet bombed England, things may of been different for the war.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2014, 07:22:00 PM »
Then there is the John Birmingham story of WW2 meeting the 2030's pacific fleet. A scientist miscarries an equation and drops them in the middle of the US Pacific the night before Midway.

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Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2014, 03:46:14 AM »
There's a movie made back in the 80's called Countdown where an aircraft carrier (san's fleet escorts) passes through an unidentified,strange vortex like thing a few days out of Pearl harbor. When things settle down, they find that they have lost all communications with HQ, but are picking up radio traffic from a radio station that is dated December 6, 1941. Things are further confirmed when two F-14's doing a patrol shoot down 2 Japanese Zeroes straffing a pleasure craft. The passengers are rescued, but a computer search on their names tells the captain that they were suppose to die from a sinking boat. So, he's crated a paradox, but the ship is still uneffected and he's faced with what to do with them. He is further faced with the idea that he could stop the US entering the war by engaging the 3 Japanese carriers and sinking them. The question is, should he?

In the end, he launches his aircraft with that intention in mind, a helicopter takes the survivors to an isolated island and leaves them to die, but one of the survivors gets a gun and kills the pilot and everone on board gets dead from the crash. Ultimately though, the aircraft are called back before they can attack, within sight of the carriers, and just as the last aircraft is retrieved, the vortex returns and puts the carrier back into it's own time.

When the carrier returns to Pearl Harbor, the captain finds his first officer, many years older and a admiral who had been one of the minds behind the Doolittle raid in 1942.

Some time ago, someone offered a theory on the theory of changing history. The further back you go, the less a change will effect history. His view is that history has a way of balancing out paradoxes the further back you go.

For example, there was another movie back in the late 70's to early 80's. I forget the name. In it, an exotic hunting company sends a group of hunters back to a specific point in time to hunt and kill a T-rex. They have even marked out a trail. The rule is, "Stay on the trail, touch nothng else." When a man misses his shot and must run for his life, he accidently steps on this huge butterfly. When he returns to his own time, the death of a butterfly has caused the near extension of mankind and dinosaurs still roam the world... I'm not entirely sure how the connection is made as killing a butterfly saves the dinosaurs, but anyway...

The idea is that if you go back to say 1600, and kill someone, then that whole bloodline should be pulled from the time line, including any significant people, but time acts to correct the paradox. That bloodline may be erased, but the accomplishments will simply be done by someone else. I'm not fully in with this idea, but it kinda makes a litle sense.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2014, 12:07:38 PM »
I did a bit of research back about 2 years ago into my family. It was kind of amazing to see some of the 'threads' in the tapestry of history that my family has made. My family has ties, distance, to no less than three presidential families as well as an aide de camp to Marshall Micheal Ney, and if you go far enough back.. a royal tie to the King of Scotland David the first.

It's amazing to see how one thread could derail all those things. I mean.. one duel at the right time going the other way (the Burr-Hamilton duel in 1804). You'd have had Alexander Hamilton survive and possibly the course of  politics would have greatly changed

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Alternate timelines/ universes and why?
« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2014, 11:15:35 PM »
I'm going to answer the title.

I am, by hobby, a tabletop roleplayer, Dungeons and Dragons, Palladium, White Wolf and many, many, many other systems to boot.  And for me, let's say it am running/playing a Star Wars game.

Seems OK, the mythology is more or less set, but the moment you let players in, everything changes, because everyone has a different idea what Star Wars is.  So even if you try to mimic the movies, the fact that you have these people in, it changes everything.  Alternate universe.

Also as a comic book reader/fan, alt. universes are common enough for me to accept.