DBWI: 1908 Paris Meteor hits elswhere

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Prince Charon, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. Prince Charon Well-Known Member

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    Its well known that on June 30th, 1908, the city of Paris, at the time capitol of France, was effectively destroyed by the explosion of what is believed to have been a meteor. However, that meteor could easily have hit elsewhere, by interaction with the gravity of other objects in space. Even a tiny change in trajectory could have had it hit as far away as Siberia, or miss the Earth, entirely.

    Lets say that that deviation did occur, and the meteor hit some remote, mostly uninhabited region.

    Would astronomers, and later rocket scientists, have gotten the budgets that they did in OTL?

    Would we still have spent so much time and money, searching for hostile extra-terrestrial intelligences, and ways to defend against them? (OOC: War of the Worlds was published ten years before, and was quite popular, so this could have happened.)

    How different would the Great War have been, without that fear distracting the Great Powers? (OOC: Europe was enough of a powder keg at the time, that I think something like WWI would still have happened.)

    Could Paris have continued to be the cultural centre of Europe, or would that title still have been split between London and Berlin?
     
  2. Wendell Wendell

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    I'm going to hazard a guess and say that France in a scenario where Paris was not obliterated would have lost control over the coastal portion of northwestern Africa where its capital, Algiers, thrives today.
     
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  3. Nicole Parallel Universe Imajin

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    Yes, I think the Algerian Genocide could have been avoided in TTL, which would be a great boon for humanity...

    Hm, France was absolutely crushed in the Great War, but I could imagine them putting up much more of a fight in TTL... and if Germany can't defeat France quickly, then they'll have less troops to devote to Russia, which could cause the collapse of Austria-Hungary and Italy may join the Allied side... and what would the post-war world look like? Eh, probably not too different, I doubt France has the resources to really occupy Germany- Austria-Hungary is another story, the dual monarchy hadn't undergone the reforms of Francis II Ferdinand and Maximilian ((OOC: Franz Ferdinand's son)), and could easily totally collapse- but could it really end the Hapsburg dynasty? Now that could make Europe totally unrecognizable... (But this becomes a standard "WI the Great War goes the other way TL", albeit perhaps a bit more plausible with an ASB-ish premise)
     
  4. Wendell Wendell

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    This is a very good point. Of course, the Algerians were not the only people subjected to such horror as a result of the destruction of Paris. The Melanesian emergency certainly did not end well. The New Hebrides, today including the apparently separately-administered New Caledonia at the time, would be demographically unrecognizable today to a person from 1908.
     
  5. Nicole Parallel Universe Imajin

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    Yes, the "Retreat" from Metropolitan France certainly left it's toll on the world... of course, one can not discount the similar movements that took place to the German colonies- would South-West Afrika still be German? (Well, if Germany lost the Great War, then they probably wouldn't have SWA at all) Of course, the actions against the Herero and similar tribes are pre-POD, but I don't think there would have been as much of a movement to try to spread populations out had the destruction of Paris not occurred.
     
  6. Wendell Wendell

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    It is said these days that the people of Sudwest Afrika are 'more German than the Germans themselves'. On this basis, it's no wonder that the Kaiser remains so popular there, even if he is increasingly unpopular in Europe.
     
  7. Thucydides Witticism.

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    At least the Kaiser is popular in his colonies. I heard yesterday that some crazy Syrian lynched a burning ethegy of the British Queen? Then they threw rocks at it. Jeez why don't the British just let the Middle East go?
     
  8. Geekhis Khan I'm Not Dead Yet...

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    God, you crazy Euros! I'm so glad to be safe and secure over here on the far side of the pond. Who the hell knows, maybe your stupid Great War goes on longer, maybe even drag US into it (god forbid).
     
  9. Wendell Wendell

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    Regardless of how much pressure the Americans and Germans put on the British to withdraw, they seem rather persistent in their desire to stay.
     
  10. Wendell Wendell

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    I, for one, am glad that the U.S. stayed out of the war. Although, I wonder if Japan would have still entered the war if the Paris tragedy had not happened.
     
  11. Geekhis Khan I'm Not Dead Yet...

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    Meh, probably. Crazy little guys seem to just live for bossing around their fellow orientals.

    OOC: I'm assuming a much more isolated, border-sealed, and therefore ethically-ignorant US. Think 1940s/50s mentality.
     
  12. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

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    The Meteor was one of histories great tragedies. Just to think that if the meteor had only been a little slower or faster, it could have collided into some wasteland in Canada or Alaska or something instead of smack dab in Europe is tragic.

    I suppose that whole "Death From Above!"* thing that we saw in the culture and media after wouldn't have been as strong if there at all.

    *OOC: Like the atomic scare years earlier and with less real threat and no foreign nation threat combined with fear of being annihilated by outer space stuff.
     
  13. Wendell Wendell

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    I disagree that hitting one of those areas of North America would have been less tragic. There may have been fewer immediate deaths, but the tectonic sensitivity of some of those areas could have resulted in disaster. Do recall the increase in volcanic activity in Italy often attributed as a result of the Paris Event.
     
  14. ljofa B4 f- t w cd g k- s+ m e r- p

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    Like so many natural disasters, the Paris Meteor had its share of unexpected benefits for humanity. Having the first people into space by 1950 probably wouldn't have happened on the appropriately named "Jules Verne" rocket-ship. Of course this was the joint European project with the USA coming up five years after Europe in the "Goddard".

    The devastation of Paris annhiliated the French banking system which in turn collapsed Russia having a devastating effect on world economic affairs. Only Britain and Japan emerged from the ten-year debacle; the former because of the empire and the latter because it picked up on the Chinese market which the Russians had to for all intents and purposes abandon. Without such a disaster, the Russians almost certainly would have rebuilt by 1915 and would be ready to challenge Germany and Austria-Hungary unaided. A war would have broken out, probably from the coveting of Constantinople from the Sultan and would have sucked in Britain who became Russia's new best European friend, especially after the marriage of Tsarevich Alexei to Princess Mary in 1922.
     
  15. Prince Charon Well-Known Member

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    Another thing to think about is the International Asteroid Tracking Service, which got its start near the end on 1908. Even nations at war with eachother still cooperate with the IATS, because we all acknowledge the danger. Without the Paris Disaster, would it exist at all?

    Another thing to think about is the Wellington/Verne Expedition, which gave us the first moon-landing on June 30th, 1958. Would the first men on the moon still have been an Englishman and a Frenchman, and if not, who would they have been? Would we still have built cities, up here (I'm writing this from my cousin's apartment in Wellington City, so I'm rather curious)?
     
  16. TheSevenLeggedFallyDowner A Displaced Washingtonian

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    Space technology obviously wouldn't have advanced as quickly, but we might be more advanced in other areas. For examply, maybe this new-fangled "computer" craze may have come sooner. I know it's a bit unlikely, but can you imagine personal computers in the early 90's? Maybe we wouldn't have had to wait till 2005 for the first GUI operating system. Also, I hear computer scientists are working on faster internet. Wouldn't it be cool if we didn't have to wait so long to dial-up?
     
  17. Prince Charon Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it would. Have you seen the new 'laptop' Teslacorp is putting out? Less than twenty pounds, and built into a pretty nice looking attaché case.
     
  18. TheSevenLeggedFallyDowner A Displaced Washingtonian

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    Yeah, I heard about the new laptop. It's light-years ahead of anything else that's been put out. I just wish it weren't so expensive.

    As to your earlier question about the moon. Without the Paris asteroid strike, there wouldn't have been as much interest in space exploration. We may have not seen a moon landing until as late as the mid-1970's (as crazy as that sounds). Also, when it eventually does happen I doubt it would have been a Frenchman and an Englishman. As bloody as the Great War was, at least it presented a clear result: a German victory. ITTL, I could see the result being less decisive. This could result in more tension and less cooperation in Europe. We could see the power bases being transfered outside of Europe altogether. The U.S.A. or Japan would be good candidates. Can you imagine how dominant the U.S. could have gotten if Europe had been fighting amongst themselves for the whole first half of the century instead of building themsleves into a semi-united superpower?
     
  19. MaskedPickle Well-Known Member

    Well, myself, I have lost a lot of my family when Nemesis felt on Paris on this darker day of 1908, so I have imagined many times, since here in Saigon, Indochina, what would have been France without this catastrophe. Above all: the entire French apparatus of state wouldn't have been wiped out in less than a minute, leaving only a few incompetent provincial Congressmen to represent France. As such, the French Empire wouldn't have been torn apart by the military Warlords that declared their independance in every part of the world. Thirty years of the Nationalist Dictatorship by Barrès and the following Restoration would have been avoided! And, above all, maybe the Great War too, as the Germans and Brits' appetite only grew stronger as they dismantled for themselves the French Empire...

    And what for a different falling point for the Nemesis meteor? The Atlantic ocean, creating a major tsunami? London? Rhineland? Or even, as some mad scientists said, an inhabited area in Siberia?
     
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  20. Mr_ Bondoc Member

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    People seem to forget about the vast leap in French "scientifiction" writing in the aftermath of the disaster. Joseph Henri Honoré Boex should be remembered for his creation of the "Ferromagnetals" (1910) (OOC: ATL version of "Transformers"). Arnould Galopin is credited for predicting the "Nemesis Event" with his novel Doctor Omega(1906). Gustave Henri Joseph Le Rouge's Dr. Prosper Bondonnat (1914-x) is credited with being the longest running science fiction series. As for television, who here doesn't remember watching any of the 26 seasons, Solaris by Jacques F. Vallée???