Bad events (other than wars) that resulted in some positive outcomes

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,302
SoCal
Which bad events--other than wars--resulted in some positive outcomes at some future point in time? Personally, I think that one of the best examples of this would be the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia. Bolshevik rule was a huge tragedy for Russia, but due to the Bolsheviks' nominal support for national self-determination and ethnic federalization, the Bolsheviks' seizure of power in Russia ironically paved the way for the independence of various ex-USSR countries over 70 years later. Granted, some of these countries--such as Georgia, Ukraine, and the Baltic countries--could have acquired and kept their independence much earlier--for instance, if Germany would have won World War I. However, some of these countries--especially the Central Asian countries--ironically needed Bolshevik rule in order to eventually acquire their independence.

Anyway, what other examples of this can you think of that don't include any wars? (Including wars in regards to this would simply make answering this question way too easy.)
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,605
Dispargum
Black Death ended serfdom in Europe and eventually led to the Industrial Revolution. (The plague left a labor shortage behind that started people thinking how to do more work with fewer people - answer, machines.)
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,498
Netherlands
Air plane crashes. Almost all of them result in improvement of safety.

On a more historical note, the Dutch flood of 1953 was a huge disaster. After the disaster the Delta Works were started, which, apart from bragging rights, secured our coast and lead to quite some economic and engineering advances.
 
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Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,658
Republika Srpska
Given that Germany had some colonization plans for the East, I doubt the Baltic states could have hoped for independence under a victorious WW1 Germany. Perhaps a token independence with a puppet government like Niedra's in Latvia.
 
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May 2011
515
UK
Black Death ended serfdom in Europe and eventually led to the Industrial Revolution. (The plague left a labor shortage behind that started people thinking how to do more work with fewer people - answer, machines.)
population levels had recovered long before the industrial revolution, I don't think there is any connection. The true significance was that the labour shortage created a new class of freeholders. labourers could now demand higher wages and if their demand wasn't met, they could sell their labour to someone else. There was also large amounts of land which could be bought cheaply. the effects of this eliminated serfdom in England by the early 16th century and created a middle class
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,605
Dispargum
population levels had recovered long before the industrial revolution, I don't think there is any connection. The true significance was that the labour shortage created a new class of freeholders. labourers could now demand higher wages and if their demand wasn't met, they could sell their labour to someone else. There was also large amounts of land which could be bought cheaply. the effects of this eliminated serfdom in England by the early 16th century and created a middle class
The key word in my previous post was eventually. One of the first world changing machines to come along after the Black Death was Gutenburg's printing press, less than 100 years after the plague. When you think about how many books can be printed on a press instead of by manuscript, you can already see machines replacing people as early as the 1450s. Pre-Black Death there was a labor surplus with little incentive to improve efficiency - it would have just increased unemployment. After the Black Death innovation really took off. It took a few centuries before the Industrial Revolution began, but the necessary innovation started in the 1300s.
 
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May 2011
515
UK
The key word in my previous post was eventually. One of the first world changing machines to come along after the Black Death was Gutenburg's printing press, less than 100 years after the plague. When you think about how many books can be printed on a press instead of by manuscript, you can already see machines replacing people as early as the 1450s. Pre-Black Death there was a labor surplus with little incentive to improve efficiency - it would have just increased unemployment. After the Black Death innovation really took off. It took a few centuries before the Industrial Revolution began, but the necessary innovation started in the 1300s.
but most of the commercial and agricultural practices remained unchanged. and these innovations can be explained simply by rising literacy rates, establishment of new educational institutions and increasingly efficient governments in europe, which I think was an ongoing process unconnected with the black death
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,302
SoCal
Black Death ended serfdom in Europe and eventually led to the Industrial Revolution. (The plague left a labor shortage behind that started people thinking how to do more work with fewer people - answer, machines.)
Excellent example! One of the best examples of this, in fact!

Air plane crashes. Almost all of them result in improvement of safety.

On a more historical note, the Dutch flood of 1953 was a huge disaster. After the disaster the Delta Works were started, which, apart from bragging rights, secured our coast and lead to quite some economic and engineering advances.
Yep.

The comet that wiped out the dinosaurs, without which we wouldn't be here.

Some might say that's not a good outcome.
Because the dinosaurs would have eaten us?

Given that Germany had some colonization plans for the East, I doubt the Baltic states could have hoped for independence under a victorious WW1 Germany. Perhaps a token independence with a puppet government like Niedra's in Latvia.
Yeah, Eastern European countries would have initially been German satellite states. However, if Germany would have eventually experienced a political liberalization after a German WWI victory, so will Germany's Eastern European satellite states. That's what happened with the Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe and Mongolia in the late 1980s. Of course, Eastern European countries might still feel like they need Germany's help in protecting themselves from Russia--so liberalization won't result in a total break between Germany and these Eastern European countries.

As for German colonization, in order for it to make a real dent, you'd probably have to get Russian Germans to settle en masse in Latvia and Estonia. That's actually not impossible if a harsh WWI peace treaty creates vehement anti-German sentiment in Russia. Still, even if this actually does occur, it's probably unlikely to be more successful than the Russian/Slavic colonization of Latvia and Estonia after 1945 was in real life. Plus, it might even be less successful since a sizable number of the Germans in Latvia and Estonia and/or their descendants might eventually decide to move west to Germany proper in order to have an even better life.