Long-term impacts of no world wars?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by GustavusAdolphus1, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. GustavusAdolphus1 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2017
    Obviously, the world would be a much better place had neither of the World Wars occurred. However, I am curious about what some of the long term affects of these wars not occurring would be. I know I posted this in after 1900 (seeing how that's when the World Wars occurred), but for the sake of this scenario let's suppose these two things happen: A) Kaiser Frederick III quits smoking early on in his life, causing him to live longer and reform Germany into a British-style monarchy, and B) Archduke Franz Ferdinand is never assassinated, allowing him to go on and reform Austria-Hungary into the United States of Greater Austria later on in his life. Of course, this is mostly just so we can get an idea of why WW1 (and subsequently WW2) never occurred ITTL. Now, with that out of the way, there are two main questions I have.

    1. How would decolonization in Africa and Asia be affected by this? Would it be slowed down at all due to the idea of 'empire' never being tarnished by the war?

    2. How would technology look? For all the terrible things that occurred during the wars, they did facilitate technological growth, and even if most of that was military technology, some of it was later applied to other settings (i.e. rocketry became the basis for space travel later in the 20th century). Would technology be less advanced in some fields due to there being no need to advance?
    goalieboy82 likes this.
  2. interpoltomo please don't do coke in the bathroom

    Sep 18, 2007
    1. Yes for africa, not so much for asia
    2. say 40 years behind, but advancing at a faster rate by now -- multiple great powers/blocks to do a space program.
  3. Paul Large Banned

    Mar 1, 2017
    Colonial Africa will remain under greater European control for decades longer. The British Empire would remain a superpower for some time in fact they may still be one today? Indian freedom may never of happened. South east Asia could if broken free but at a much higher cost then in our timeline. With no world wars America would take much longer to become an indrustial power. Germany,Russia and France all would have power because of the lack of war. I can only assume that there would be allies and enemies as well as spying and somewhat of a Cold War feel throughout the world? England,USA,Germany and Russia being the major players. Tech is always pushed by way. Necessity is the motherhood of invention. It would be interesting to see such a world. War is a notable thing but quit often a needed thing.
    Ameck16 likes this.
  4. UCB79 Bookworm, 1st class

    Oct 8, 2017
    A good thing is of course millions would have
    lived who IOTL died(Anne Frank of course
    comes to mind)& they may well have then
    enriched us all with contributions of many
    types that IOTL they were unable to make.
    For example, JRR Tolkien served in WWI on
    the Western Front but survived. If instead the fortunes of war had gone differently & he’d been killed then we all would have been deprived of the LOTR(& what’s worse in a way, we never would- could- have known what we missed).
  5. jerseyguy Well-Known Member

    Feb 25, 2017
    The German language will maintain a larger degree of international usage and prestige. If Germany peacefully democratizes, the stereotype of Prussian militarism may be gradually replaced by an image as Das land der Dichter und Denker (The land of poets and thinkers). German nationalism would emphasize the cultural and scientific achievements of Germany and German-speaking culture.

    Without the world wars, English wouldn't be as dominant of an international language. It may be more common for Americans to be multilingual the way many Europeans are. A more multipolar world may also lead to the promotion of artificial languages like Esperanto as a "compromise" solution between the Great Powers.
  6. NiGHTS SEELE-14

    Mar 31, 2016
    The Moon
    Then again, the lack of certain experiences that came as a result of the wars may cause them to never make certain works.
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  7. DocJamore Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2015
    United States
    1. Decolonization is tied to India. Indian independence will serve as the trigger. First the rest Asia and then Africa will go, whether they have to fight their former overlords or not. The very nature of how India gains independence will effect decolonization. If India choses to be a dominion, than we could see some sort of dominion model being worked out for the African countries by the Europeans. I don't think the other Asian nations would chose dominion status though, they would want full sovereignty. If India wants complete independence than I think the Africans would want that as well.

    2. Technology would be different. Some things would be more advanced, some things less, and others would proceed like in OTL. As an example I would say trains and railroads would stay in the limelight for longer, airplanes would be behind in their development compared to OTL, and automobiles would be unaffected by the changes.
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  8. StevoJH Well-Known Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    Newcastle, NSW
    Sure, but who run the government is irrelevant if there are no World Wars, and the Empire/Commonwealth Countries don't have to sell off their overseas assets to buy USD. These countries (with the possible exception of India) will still be dominated economically by London and they will likely remain in the British sphere of influence. With a slower and more planned transfer to a Dominion structure it is hopefully less likely that Democratic structures fail in many of these countries.
  9. Brady Kj Well-Known Member

    May 20, 2010
    Between two oceans, above some dirt
    For the obvious results: there would be a lot more minorities in Europe and there would not be a baby boom.
    Would removing the world wars affect Mohandas Gandhi's interest in an independent India or his role as a leader?
    And a history professor told me in college that the world wars led to Europe revamping and modernizing its railroad system. Does that sound true?
  10. Dorknought Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2018
    Cost of WW1 - less money means less development:

    UK's GDP (Orange line), inflation adjusted (dashed Orange line) Blue dash - pre-war trend. The war equates to about 15 years of lost GDP.
  11. anotherlurker Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2010
    Mountains, everywhere...
    Ahead. There's some indication that WW1 retarded airplane development as during the war speed records were broken slower than before. Trains are still around today for shorter distances but they were never a real option for really large distances, they knew it back then already, in Russia a passenger plane was about to fly at the eve of war, it flew as a bomber instead.

    Also, without WW1 you have A-H, Germany, Russia and Ottomans also spending on aircraft, after ww1 Russia and Ottomans were a mess, Germany was banned and the parts of A-H too small to spend big to really push anything ahead.

    IMO the only thing that would suffer without WW1 is military tactics and leadership.
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  12. Nathan Bernacki Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2016
    My history teacher used to tell me 'necessity is the mother of invention'. I think without the World Wars, humanity's technological progress would be substantially impeded.

    • The airplane was seen as a novelty before World War I. Without that war, the development of aviation is much slower. Little research is done into their impact on the battlefield, so we might see a much later introduction of airplanes into warfare. Manfred von Richtofen and the other air aces of the time are erased from the history books.
    • The rocket was first put into action by the Nazis during World War II in the form of the V-1 flying bomb and the V-2 rocket, said rocket was the first manmade object to reach space. While I don't doubt Von brain would be able to invent the rocket in this timeline's Germany, you can kiss the Space Race and everything it spawned goodbye. Man would reach the moon far later in our timeline, which means space exploration is hampered significantly. NASA doesn't exist, because I think Germany would be ahead of everyone when it comes to space exploration.
    • The tank comes later in our timeline, because there is no need for a massive 'battleship on wheels' without the attrition of World War I. The British Mark tanks, the A7vs, they don't exist except for drawings on some board somewhere in London or Berlin.
    • The Spanish flu doesn't exist. The people who died still live full lives. But, our knowledge about medicine is impeded. Oswald Avery was studying bacteria as a result of the Spanish flu. Specifically, how it changed from one that didn't have hard coding into one. 20 years later, he discovered DNA. Many peopled believe Pfeiffer's Besillius caused the flu, so research into that never happens. This prevents Alexander Fleming from discovering penicillin. Bacterial infections remain untreatable for a longer period of time. More people die from what in our timeline are treatable illnesses. In 1998, it was discovered that the strain of flu which caused the Spanish flu was avian flu. Without the Spanish flu pandemic, we don't have a century of exposure to avian flu. It can easily strike in this timeline with a vengeance. Imagine this happening in the late 20th Century or the early 21st Century. The pandemic also aided the Indian independence movement in gaining prominence by exposing the gap between British overlords and their subjects.

    Also, it would impact the world in other ways.

    • World War I effectively destroyed the 19th Century idea of chivalrous warfare with soldiers marching in columns towards the battlefields and officers waving sabres and all that nonsense. Without the brutality of World War I, warfare is not seen as this gory, inhumane experience. It is still seen as honourable and worth having.
    • The colonial empires exist for much longer. The world wars effectively destroyed the colonial empires of Britain and France. Decolonization would still happen, but I think it would be much bloodier than in our timeline. More atrocities would be carried out against Africans, though hopefully, not on the scale of Leopold II.
    • Assuming Franz Ferdinand survives Sarajevo in this timeline, it's a coin toss as to whether the United States of Greater Austria is a success or it just results in the Empire collapsing. In that case, you would have this timeline's equivalent of the Yugoslav Wars, right in the middle of Europe. Atrocities and genocides abound.
    • The Ottoman Empire falls apart in the '20s or '30s. Arabs, Kurds and dozens of other ethnic groups battle it out for territory. Colonial interference by Britain, France and Germany is almost guaranteed. There would probably be a Israel since I don't see the support of a Jewish state stopping because of a lack of a world war.
    • It takes longer for some countries to establish national identities. Australia and New Zealand first gained their sense of true nationhood during World War I, with the Gallipoli campaign playing a great part in this. So, Australia and New Zealand would be delayed in their national development and some aspects of their governance is still delegated to Britain.
    • The United States never becomes a world superpower. It remains in isolation, extending it's influence over Central and South America. It may extend some influence in the Pacific, but not much compared to Britain, France and Germany.
    • Organizations related to internationalism such as the League of Nations and the United Nations don't exist. The UN, however useless the core organization may be, has many agencies that do genuine good work, especially when it comes to dealing with refugees and helping people in need. That good work in places like Africa and the Middle East never happens.
    • Internationalist concepts such as 'human rights' never take off. That concept, in particular, was given international prominence by atrocities such as the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust. So, we could see a lot more human rights abuses in this timeline.
    • The success of social movements such as woman's suffrage are delayed.

  13. Dorknought Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2018
    Vickers began experimenting with the concept of an armed warplane designed to destroy other aircraft in 1912. The Italians and Greeks had used aircraft in bombing and recon before WW1.

    Private enterprise was alive with innovation, prototyping and rapid development that died during the war.
  14. anotherlurker Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2010
    Mountains, everywhere...
    This is the Aggregat 5 rocket, first flight 1938, it's a downsized Aggregat 4 rocket, more comonly known as V2. Without the wars rocket experimentation and development will still live on, it only gets really expensive when you decide to go big.

  15. Salvador79 Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2015
    Don't forget Russia's meddling. Without WW1, it likely still is some Tsarist Russia, too.
  16. Gancio The Ranter Well-Known Member

    Aug 31, 2016
    The first use of airplanes in war dates back to the Italo Turkish war of 1912, aircraft development was a big thing back then and I don't think it would be significantly slowed, just look at the many records and breakthroughs that were made before the war. Surely the development might be different, with more focus on range and less on maneuvering
    The space race was an incredible boom followed by a ruinous burst, probably in a tl without world wars there would be a much more gradual approach to space exploration, so maybe we would reach the moon decades after 1969 but we would also establish a base
    Yeah the tank might be delayed, but the mechanization of armies was inevitable
    The objective benefit of no Spanish flu are indisputable, tens of millions of people survive, and research on medicine would obviously benefit from more wealthy countries doing research with more money
    It doesn't matter how one sees war if the war are fought anyways, the grim faces of French soldiers in 1939 didn't stop the war, and the fierce nationalism of the Germans kept peace in Europe for 40 years. War was romanticized by some, but few actually wanted it, usually old aristocrats like von Hotzendorf
    We can't say for sure whether the ottoman empire would fall, before the war it was in the process of rebuilding and renovating his military forces, and the most "problematic" regions were already independent. A war with Greece is a possibility tho. Also oil money will come in a few decades
    Yes, Australia and New Zealand may not gain a sense of nationhood and could be part of a future imperial federation. That said, the two countries would obviously benefit from the continuation of international trade and from the waves of European immigrants
    The US would be the main power in Central America and a major player in the pacific region, surely much more influential than France and probably even Germany. A war with Japan is a possibility. Central American countries would benefit from continuing free trade, foreign investment and immigration. Also there would be much less political turmoil and no large scale communist revolts. I think that most Latin America would be considered developed countries by now, especially Venezuela and Argentina
    Internationalism was very important before ww1 in most western countries, with many people supporting it from every side of the political spectrum. There were over 400 international organizations before the war. I really don't see how no fascist or communist countries would be a blow to internationalism. There would still be alliances, trading blocs and cooperation in many areas
    Internationalist concepts were a thing before the war, you don't need to have a piece of paper to know that genocide is bad, the entire world condemned Belgium and king Leopold for its atrocities in Congo
    Women's suffrage was implemented in many countries before the world wars, and it world be implemented earlier in countries that were taken by communist or fascist parties. That said, it may never come in countries where women's suffrage was forcefully imposed, such us Japan for example
  17. Gancio The Ranter Well-Known Member

    Aug 31, 2016
  18. Bougnas Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2018
    I'm not quite sure decolonization would be that much later than OTL. IIRC some Colonial Empires like the UK had a commercial deficit with their colonies before WWI or WWII.
    Of course no WWs means that more money can be spent on deep economic and industrial reforms but if those countries want to seriously adress that issue they will have to deeply change their relationship with the colonies.
    Whether they try to create a fully developped colonial economy more interdependent with the leading state or decolonize to save money is unknown but at some point colonial empires will look very different compared to OTL, and rather sooner than later, regardless of the independence movements.

    As for tech like aviation or space tech, remember that competition also happens in sport, not just in war.
    In a world where there are more strong powers and nationalism is somewhat more prevalent you can be sure that the contest will be technological.
    (The idea of United States of Austria competing with Germany and others to put a man on the Moon is definitely appealing btw)
  19. Inter2010 Well-Known Member

    Jun 17, 2018
    Would Hollywood exist as in OTL? Would American culture be more unique? I simply cannot see dominance of American pop-culture in European dominated world...

    What about architecture? Do we still have Art Deco or domination of classicism and neo-Baroque, especially in Europe?
  20. NiGHTS SEELE-14

    Mar 31, 2016
    The Moon
    Hollywood would probably have less money as other countries will put up restrictions on how many foreign movies can appear on their theatres, in order to make room for their domestic movies. You may see anerican movies made at a much cheaper rate than otl. Considering how expensive superhero live action movies can be, I doubt you'll see as many of them as we do today. If you do, it's because they're animated, which could lead to a dying down of the American stigma that all animation is solely for kids. A bunch of talented artists will not immigrate to the U.S. , so American movie techniques may end up less developed in the beginning, but they'll eventually adapt what the others are doing.

    Architecture will most definitely change. In Europe , a lot of old buildings destroyed in world war 2, will still exist, so you'll see those buildings will prevent new ones from being built as they were in otl. Frankfurt will look totally different. With a lot more people being alive, Europe will face a greater overpopulation than it already does , either people will have to live in skyscrapers like they do in many Asian countries, or they'll have to take down more nature areas in Europe , which will lead to it the more densely populated areas being even more densely populated, with these areas and others, who aren't in otl , becoming concrete jungles. Housing will be even more expensive and crowded in europe than otl. Areas in Europe could at worst look like areas in India , or at best look like areas in Japan in terms of how crowded everything is.

    Overseas immigration from europe would have to most likely increase as people decide to head out for cheaper and larger homes. Most will go to areas such as the Americas and Australiasia, but some will go to Africa. If decolonization occurs , it'll be uglier. Perhaps you'll see more apartheid like states, or at the very least Latin American type nations in which the wealthy minority are white or mixed race. If the latter, you'll probably see at least a few countries in Africa that resemble central America in terms of demographics of whites, mixed race, and natives. If the mixed race are discriminated against in Europe, you could see situations where they are leading decolonization or some form of dominionism. Just as the Latin American revolutions were lead mostly by the Creoles to gain independence from Spain , while still preserving their own exploitation of blacks and natives, you'll probably see this in Africa and some parts of Asia as well. It probably wouldn't be too different from otl, but instead of nations being led by corrupt natives selling out their people to the richer nations , you'll see a type of system were colonies are self governed by whites and mixed race people , who ultimately exploited everyone else for their mother countries.
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