Historical events where timing made a huge difference

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,996
SoCal
#1
Which historical events were there where timing made a huge difference?

So far, I can think of:

-The assassination of Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry in February 1820. Had this assassination occurred just a couple of months earlier, Charles Ferdinand would not have had time to impregnate his wife yet again--which would mean that he doesn't have a surviving son (Henri, Count of Chambord) and that the Orleanists are able to eventually assume the French throne in the early 19th century without a revolution (specifically the Revolution of 1830). Also, with Henri, Count of Chambord never being born, the odds of a restored French monarchy under the Orleanists in the early 1870s (if the Franco-Prussian War still occurs on schedule in this scenario, that is) would have certainly been extremely high--which would mean that either France never becomes a republic or France doesn't become a republic until much later, depending on the developments in France after that point in time in this scenario.

-The French conquest of Algeria in 1830. Had Charles X been overthrown just a couple of months earlier, this conquest might have very well never happened since Charles's successor Louis-Philippe doesn't appear to have been as eager for foreign conquest as Charles was (Charles presented Louis-Philippe with a popular fait accompli, which is why L-P never actually withdrew from Algeria). I think that we can all agree that it would have ultimately been better for both the Algerians and for the Europeans who ultimately ended up moving to Algeria had France not conquered Algeria back in 1830.

-The explosion of the USS Maine. Had it occurred a couple of weeks earlier--specifically before it was sent to Havana--there might not have been a Spanish-American War since Spain wouldn't have been blamed for the explosion which sunk the USS Maine. This would have meant that Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam never end up under US rule.

-Timing isn't as tight here as it is in the three cases above, but had a member of the Austro-Hungarian royal family been assassinated in Sarajevo just a couple of years (or more) after 1914, it is possible that Germany would have refrained from giving Austria-Hungary a blank check to go to war against Serbia due to the very real possibility that Germany would have felt much less confident about winning a Great War in the late 1910s and afterwards than it would have been in 1914. In turn, this would mean that such an assassination might very well have not triggered a Great War had it occurred just a couple of years later or more.

Anyway, which other cases can you think of where timing made a huge difference?
 
Likes: Frank81

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,169
US
#4
Possibly, but wouldn't Harold's Army have then been at risk of being defeated by the Norwegians?
I was speculating, what would have happened if the Norwegians had not invaded and Harold had his full force. Could he have defeated William? Two invasions within 3 weeks is ill timing.
 
Likes: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,996
SoCal
#5
I was speculating, what would have happened if the Norwegians had not invaded and Harold had his full force. Could he have defeated William?
Possibly Yes.

However, I'll let someone else with more knowledge about this comment on this part since my own knowledge of this time period is unfortunately rather weak.

Which historical events were there where timing made a huge difference?

So far, I can think of:

-The assassination of Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry in February 1820. Had this assassination occurred just a couple of months earlier, Charles Ferdinand would not have had time to impregnate his wife yet again--which would mean that he doesn't have a surviving son (Henri, Count of Chambord) and that the Orleanists are able to eventually assume the French throne in the early 19th century without a revolution (specifically the Revolution of 1830). Also, with Henri, Count of Chambord never being born, the odds of a restored French monarchy under the Orleanists in the early 1870s (if the Franco-Prussian War still occurs on schedule in this scenario, that is) would have certainly been extremely high--which would mean that either France never becomes a republic or France doesn't become a republic until much later, depending on the developments in France after that point in time in this scenario.

-The French conquest of Algeria in 1830. Had Charles X been overthrown just a couple of months earlier, this conquest might have very well never happened since Charles's successor Louis-Philippe doesn't appear to have been as eager for foreign conquest as Charles was (Charles presented Louis-Philippe with a popular fait accompli, which is why L-P never actually withdrew from Algeria). I think that we can all agree that it would have ultimately been better for both the Algerians and for the Europeans who ultimately ended up moving to Algeria had France not conquered Algeria back in 1830.

-The explosion of the USS Maine. Had it occurred a couple of weeks earlier--specifically before it was sent to Havana--there might not have been a Spanish-American War since Spain wouldn't have been blamed for the explosion which sunk the USS Maine. This would have meant that Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam never end up under US rule.

-Timing isn't as tight here as it is in the three cases above, but had a member of the Austro-Hungarian royal family been assassinated in Sarajevo just a couple of years (or more) after 1914, it is possible that Germany would have refrained from giving Austria-Hungary a blank check to go to war against Serbia due to the very real possibility that Germany would have felt much less confident about winning a Great War in the late 1910s and afterwards than it would have been in 1914. In turn, this would mean that such an assassination might very well have not triggered a Great War had it occurred just a couple of years later or more.

Anyway, which other cases can you think of where timing made a huge difference?
I just realized that I forgot to mention this:

-While it's certainly not guaranteed, it's possible that had Russia descended into revolution just a couple of months earlier, Germany would have refrained from declaring unrestricted submarine warfare (USW) on the US--which in turn would have ensured continued US neutrality in the Great War. As for the consequences of continued US neutrality in WWI, while this summary isn't perfect, I think that it's good enough for me to post parts of it here:

How World War I Shapes U.S. Foreign Policy - The Atlantic

"By the summer of 1917, the Western Allies had exhausted their credit in U.S. financial markets. Without direct U.S. government-to-government aid, they could not have afforded any more offensives in the West. The exhausted Allies would have had to negotiate some kind of settlement with Central Power forces occupying almost all of what is now Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic republics in the east; most of Romania and Yugoslavia in Southern Europe, as well as a bit of Italy; and almost all of Belgium and most of northeast France. Even if the Germans had traded concessions in the West to preserve their gains in the East, the kaiser’s Germany would have emerged from such an outcome as the dominant power on the continent of Europe. The United States would have found itself after such a negotiated peace confronting the same outcome as it faced in 1946: a Europe divided between East and West, with the battered West looking to the United States for protection. As in 1946, the East would have been dominated by an authoritarian regime that looked upon the liberal and democratic Anglo-American West not just as a geopolitical antagonist, but as an ideological threat."

The only hope in such a scenario would have been if Russia would have been smart enough to make peace before the Bolshevik Revolution. Maybe it would have done this without the hope of US entry into the war turning the tide of the war around--though it's certainly not guaranteed.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,996
SoCal
#6
I want to add another event onto here:

-Had Muhammad Ali Jinnah died just a year or two earlier, it is possible that the partition of India would have never actually occurred. After all, I've previously heard that the Muslim League could have lost a lot of its popularity after Jinnah's death due to the lack of charismatic figures who could replace him--which in turn might have very well meant that it would have been possible to avoid the partition of India since this partition idea was floated about as a result of the Muslim League's demands for Muslim self-rule in India.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,996
SoCal
#7
Another event that I just remembered which qualifies for this:

-Had Colorado not been admitted as a US state just months before the 1876 US presidential election, Samuel Tilden would have won this election.
 
Feb 2016
575
ROK
#10
The Battle of Midway - The Japanese planes had finished one of their raids on Midway. When most of the Zeros were busy fighting off the US planes from Midway, and when the Japanese bombers (Aichi D3As and Nakajima B5Ns) were still on the carriers and most were rearmed with bombs, a Japanese search plane discovered the US fleet that included carriers. (Originally, the search plane saw only one US carrier). The Japanese didn't expect such a large US fleet to be there. The Japanese bombers were ordered to be rearmed with torpedo bombs for an attack on the US carriers. In a rush, the crew took out the bombs from the bombers and placed them hastily in piles beside the hangar, which were severe fire hazards. When the US bombers got near to the Japanese fleet, the Zeros near the Japanese carriers shot down the US planes. Some of the Zeros ran out of ammo. During the lull in the fighting around the Japanese fleet, some of the Zeros were rearmed and one Zero took off. It was at this time that another group of US bombers reached the Japanese carriers. These were dive bombers who came from a higher altitude. The Zeros that had fought off the torpedo bombers at lower altitude didn't have time to gain altitude and fight against the dive bombers. The US bombs hit the Japanese carriers, Akagi and Kaga. Another Japanese carrier, Soryu, was hit shortly after. Bombers escorted by Zeros were launched from Japan's undamaged carrier, Hiryu, to strike the US carriers..... What was amazing was that it was Admiral Chester Nimitz's planning (with the deciphering of the Japanese codes) that made this timing possible. The Japanese bomber captain Mitsuo Fuchida, the moustached pilot depicted in Tora Tora Tora and Pearl Harbor, had respect for Admiral Nimitz. After the war, the two met as friends. I'm not sure if Admiral Nimitz expected the Japanese planes to be unprepared, but the order of the US's air attacks seem to indicate this.

 
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