If you could a change single historical event, what would it be and why?

Fiver

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
3,742
TBH, I wonder if it would have been more prudent for the US to enter WWI earlier; that way, maybe the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia would have been prevented. Also, the US committed an absolutely huge dereliction of duty by refusing to make a postwar alliance with Britain and France and by refusing to enter the League of Nations after the war. If you're going to fight in a war, you better be prepared to subsequently enforce the peace.
Technically, the US wasn't allied with Britain and France during World War I, we were an "associated power". The US also made separate peace treaties with the Central Powers. After rejecting the Treaty of Versailles, the US negotiated a separate peace with Germany in 1921. After rejecting the Treaty of Saint-Germain, the US negotiated a separate peace with Austria in 1921. After rejecting the Treaty of Trianon, the US negotiated a separate peace with Hungary in 1921. (The US never declared war on the other Central Powers). The gen

While it is true that the US did not enforce the post-war peace, neither did Britain or France. The failure of the US to join the League of Nations was because most of Congress refused to give up their right to declare war and Wilson and his supporters refused to support any amendments to the agreement. The League of Nations required the unanimous vote or 9 (later 15) council members, so it was generally useless at resolving international disputes. The US joining would have done nothing to solve that problem and might have actually increased the times the Council deadlocked.

The US did participate in several naval treaties designed to avoid naval arms races and reduce the chance of war, signing the Four Power Treaty of 1921, the Washington Naval Trey of 1922, and the London Naval Treaties of 1930 and 1936. The US also signed the 1922 Nine Power Treaty affirming the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Chin and the anti-war Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928.
 
Likes: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,197
SoCal
Because Germany was on its last legs by 1918. British blockade and military prioritization led to starvation and economic distress, high casualties basically forced them to go behind the Hindenburg Line on the Western Front and their allies were also pretty much on the verge of collapse. Their victory in the East freed many troops for action in the West, but Germany also occupied large portions of the former Russian Empire. Those regions had to be organized, staffed with troops for defence, plus the whole region was in turmoil as the part of the Russian Civil War and Germany was involved in that. So it's not like the East was simply a closed chapter for the Germans. They hoped to obtain neccessary materials from the East, but as I said, the region was in chaos. All that is resource-consuming. Germany was being strangled to death and sure the Allies were also feeling the effects of the war, but they still had more strength than Germany. Even without the American entry into the war, I reckon Ludendorff would have still went forward with his big offensive in the West. Germany had to finish the job in 1918.
Do you think that the Entente would have actually had the willpower to carry on in 1917-1918 if it wasn't for the US's entry into WWI? Might the Russian Provisional Government's appeals for a compromise peace in 1917 look more attractive to the other Entente powers without the US actually being in the war?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,197
SoCal
Technically, the US wasn't allied with Britain and France during World War I, we were an "associated power". The US also made separate peace treaties with the Central Powers. After rejecting the Treaty of Versailles, the US negotiated a separate peace with Germany in 1921. After rejecting the Treaty of Saint-Germain, the US negotiated a separate peace with Austria in 1921. After rejecting the Treaty of Trianon, the US negotiated a separate peace with Hungary in 1921. (The US never declared war on the other Central Powers). The gen
Yep.

Also, what'd you want to say in your last sentence here? It's incomplete.

While it is true that the US did not enforce the post-war peace, neither did Britain or France. The failure of the US to join the League of Nations was because most of Congress refused to give up their right to declare war and Wilson and his supporters refused to support any amendments to the agreement. The League of Nations required the unanimous vote or 9 (later 15) council members, so it was generally useless at resolving international disputes. The US joining would have done nothing to solve that problem and might have actually increased the times the Council deadlocked.
Agreed, but the more important thing was to get the Security Treaty with Britain and France ratified by the US Senate. A sizable number of US Senate Republicans in 1919-1920 were actually open to supporting this treaty as an alternative to the League of Nations' open-ended commitments.

The US did participate in several naval treaties designed to avoid naval arms races and reduce the chance of war, signing the Four Power Treaty of 1921, the Washington Naval Trey of 1922, and the London Naval Treaties of 1930 and 1936. The US also signed the 1922 Nine Power Treaty affirming the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Chin and the anti-war Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928.
Yep.
 
Oct 2015
1,171
California
"They won't know what hit them" probably wouldn't work as justification for altering major events in the past and potentially erasing innocent people from existence.

Personally I don't believe travel into the past will ever be possible, but if it does become possible at some time in the far future, I would imagine some government body or international treaty would create something like Star Trek's Prime Directive. Anything other than observation of past events would be unethical and potentially extremely dangerous.
The laws of paradoxes are fixed that even if you could travel to the past and change an event, circumstances will conspire against you which eventually forces you to conform to it. But there is a way to get around it atleast according to theoretical physics, parallel universes.
 
May 2014
21,197
SoCal
The laws of paradoxes are fixed that even if you could travel to the past and change an event, circumstances will conspire against you which eventually forces you to conform to it. But there is a way to get around it atleast according to theoretical physics, parallel universes.
Yeah, IMHO, if time travel is actually possible, in all likelihood doing this will simply create a parallel universe as opposed to changing anything in this specific universe.
 
Aug 2015
2,895
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
Yeah, IMHO, if time travel is actually possible, in all likelihood doing this will simply create a parallel universe as opposed to changing anything in this specific universe.
The theory of alternate universes implies that countless alternate universes are branching off every second. So there are countless gazillions of alternate universes where a specific historical event happened and countless gazillions of alternate universes where it didn't happen. So if a time traveler travels back in time and prevents the Black Death or the Mongol Conquests in one alternate universe different from his own he will also prevent it in all of the alternate universes that will branch off from that one alternate universe in the future. Thus the time traveler could save millions of lives millions of times over in millions of alternate universes, without changing his own without changing his own alternate universe or preventing himself and the people he knows from being born.

Anyway, I think that one of the moderators wrote that discussing time travel theory is not allowed in the speculative history forum.
 
Likes: Futurist
Dec 2011
4,894
Iowa USA
The Holocaust was a huge tragedy for millions, the fate of your relatives is sad, but perhaps Hitler could get the A-bomb first with Jewish scientists ?
The Manhattan Project was largely owes its success to Jewish refugees from Europe.
Sziliard was a refugee that was valuable to the work, but "largely owes it success" would be, IMO, really hard to justify.

Now, there's a technicality which favors the proposition: though Enrico Fermi was a Catholic by family tradition he did leave Europe in part because his wife was Jewish. Fermi was probably the single most difficult individual contributor to replace by committee.
 
Likes: Futurist
May 2014
21,197
SoCal
Sziliard was a refugee that was valuable to the work, but "largely owes it success" would be, IMO, really hard to justify.
Einstein? Teller?

Now, there's a technicality which favors the proposition: though Enrico Fermi was a Catholic by family tradition he did leave Europe in part because his wife was Jewish. Fermi was probably the single most difficult individual contributor to replace by committee.
Interesting.