1)– THE DEATH OF OGEDEI KAHN
Ogedei Khan, the son of Genghis Khan, died in 1241. Shortly before Ogedei died he approved a plan to invade Western Europe. The execution of the plan was to be carried out by Batu Khan. However, when Ogedei Khan died, it took five years for Mongol princes to elect a replacement Emperor By the time the new emperor took power, Batu Kahn felt he was too old and weak to invade Western Europe. The Mongols would never again come close to conquering the region.
Good thing, that. Because it was during this time that the basic ideas of “modern” banking and the concepts of capitalism were being developed in Austria. A Mongol invasion at such a time could very well have ended these early forays into what is currently the most prominent economic system in the world.
2)—NORWEGIAN COMMANDO DESTROYS GERMAN HEAVY WATER SUPPLY
Germany had the scientific ability to generate a nuclear weapon, but they lacked the materials. A nuclear weapon program requires a large quantity of “heavy water”, a.k.a., Deuterium Oxide. It is used to produce isotopes for nuclear weapons — a.k.a., Plutonium-239. A fertilizer production plant in Norway had been producing heavy water since 1934, at the rate of twelve tons per year.
Recognizing that German scientists were trying to create a nuclear weapon, Allied special forces alerted Norwegian resistance groups in 1940, encouraging them to destroy the facilities. They failed several times. Finally, in 1944, a single Norwegian commando managed to sneak onto a ferry carrying hard water and sink it. The war wasn’t going well for Germany at this point, and this ended Germany’s plan to acquire nuclear weapons. Had it not been for the Norwegian resistance, Germany may well have been able to create an atomic bomb—altering the war, and changing world history.
3)– SHOGUN LEMITSU EXPELS CHRISTIANS FROM JAPAN
Catholic Missionaries in early 1600’s Japan were successful in converting a number of powerful feudal lords to Catholicism. In 1639, Shogun Tokugawa Lemitsu, alarmed at the fast growing Christian population … and the rebellions that these groups were causing … expelled ALL Christians from the island.
The following is conjecture, of course, but it is highly reasonable. Had Tokugawa not expelled the Christians, it is most likely that, with time, a Catholic Shogun would have risen to power. An allegiance to the Pope would have fostered an alliance with France and Spain … and had Japan been on the side of France and Spain during the Seven Years’ War against England, it is probable that the British would have been defeated. Such a defeat would have made the colonization of America by the British unlikely— thus reshaping the world entirely as we know it.
4)– THE HAITIAN REVOLUTION OF 1791
Haiti —- or, as the French called it, Saint-Domingue —- became independent following a violent slave revolt from 1791 – 1804. The island’s sugar cane crop proved to be lucrative business among the wealthy in Europe. More importantly, Napoleon used the funds from these sugar cane plantations to establish a foothold in Louisiana. Not only was Napoleon unable to quell the rebellion …. it broke the Froggie bank.
Deeply in debt after thirteen years of fighting a war against the Haitians, Napoleon sold the American government its Louisiana territories at a remarkably low price ….. the Louisiana purchase. Not only did the Haitian Revolution help form the modern day United States; it also prevented France from attempting to build its desired North American Empire.
[Blood Sucking Mosquitoes (the insect, not US Congressman) also helped defeat France. In the spring of 1802 Napoleon had sent a formidable army under his brother-in-law, General Charles Leclerc, to quell the Haitian rebellion. On April 19, Leclerc reported to Napoleon that the rainy season had arrived, and his troops were falling ill. By the end of the year, almost the whole French force, including Leclerc himself, were dead of mosquito-borne yellow fever.]
5)– THE CRIMEAN WAR IN 1854
Quick background. The Ottoman Empire had nothing to do with soft cushy recliners. It was a Turkish Empire that lasted from 1299 – 1922. At their height of power the empire stretched from Vienna to much of southeast Europe, Western Asia (middle east) and North Africa.
The Crimean War; Russia on one side. The Ottoman Empire, the French Empire, and the British Empire on the other side. The Russians lost. However ….. the Ottoman Empire was forced to take out massive loans from France and England to pay for the war.
Fast forward sixty years to WWI. The Ottomans decided to side with the Germans. Why? Because they were still heavily indebted to the French and English …. they thought the Germans would win …. and a victory would nullify their debt. The Ottomans picked the wrong team. France and England were really pissed off and were going to enact revenge. They split the Ottoman Empire into a number of nations, creating new borders and political entities …. an area we now refer to as the Middle-East. So debt from the Crimean War of 1854 sowed the seed for a great many of the problems we find in the Middle East today.
6)– THE WOBBLY CHAIR
5 rounds at 25 feet …. a man who can’t see out of one eye and blind in the other could make that shot. But, not on Feb 15, 1933. Anarchist Giuseppe Zangara lost his balance atop a wobbly chair, and instead of hitting President-elect FDR, he fatally wounded the mayor of Chicago (who was shaking hands with F.D.R.)
If Giuseppe hit his mark, FDR’s conservative Texas running mate, John Nance Garner, would have come to power. Scholars are confident the world would be very different. For example, Professor Alan Brinkley of Columbia University stated — “The New Deal, the move toward internationalism — these would never have happened. FDR’s assassination would have changed the history of the world in the 20th century.”
7)– GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER
On June 20, 1790, Thomas Jefferson invited Alexander Hamilton and James Madison to dinner at his rented house in Lower Manhattan. In the course of the evening, these three men brokered one of the great political deals in American history. They decided that the national capital would be situated on the Potomac, and that the federal government would agree to take on the enormous war debts of the 13 states.
Otherwise, New York might still be the nation’s capital. More importantly, the primacy of the central government might never have been established. Ron Chernow, the Hamilton biographer, writes —- “The assumption of state debts was the most powerful bonding mechanism of the new Union. Without it, we would have had a far more decentralized federal system.”
8)– AN ACT OF MERCY THAT WOUND UP TERRORIZING THE WORLD
The banks of the River Inn provided an idyllic setting for the children to play. In 1894, while playing tag with a group of other children, the way many children do in Passau to this day, the four year old boy – who could not swim — fell into the river. The current was very strong and the water ice cold, flowing as it did straight from the mountains. No one could survive for more than a minute or two in such conditions, especially a child. Luckily, a man who lived close by, Johann Kuehberger (who would later become Europe’s most famous organist), dove in the icy waters and saved the terrified child —- whose first name was Adolph.