"Minor Alternate History" PODs

some of you may remember that there was a thread way back when that was subjected to necromancy relatively recently. it predictably got locked, but i thought the idea was well and good enough to deserve revisiting, so here's a new version of that. i also compiled nearly all of the original suggestions from it, with some of the answers that went with them, though clearly alot of them aren't as "minor" as the thread premise meant them to be (some of the answers are why they aren't actually minor AH). here's a link to that thread for good measure: https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/minor-alternate-history.97243/
  1. What if the Golden Gate Bridge was painted gray? (Or azure?)
    1. It might cause several wrecks to take place on it.
  2. What if the United States declared independent on July 5th? (Or July 7th?)
  3. What if Joseph Stalin was cleanshaven?
  4. What if Jumbo the elephant died in the wild and the word “jumbo” never enters common use?
  5. What if John F. Kennedy wore a hat the day he was assassinated?
    1. Depending on the type of hat, it would become permanently associated with the assassination and probably fall out of style, or at least not be paired with a suit.
  6. What if Mount Rushmore was completed?
  7. What if the Statue of Liberty was male, held a lantern, and had a shield reading “July 4, 1776”?
  8. What if John Roebling didn’t die of lockjaw? (This is apparently linked to the Brooklyn Bridge.)
  9. What if people living in the Green Mountains agreed to become part of New Hampshire or New York? (E.g., what if Vermont wasn’t its own state?)
    1. This would have major effects on all subsequent legislation passage and every presidential election because of the missing two voters and three electors from Vermont. It would have further effects if the combined New Hampshire/Vermont still held the first primary of each year because the state would lean more liberal than libertarian.
  10. What if uranium had a half-life of only ten thousand years?
    1. The half-life of uranium-238 is about 4.47 billion years, and 704 million for uranium-235; if the half-life were only ten thousand then the whole supply on Earth would have depleted by the time fission was discovered, making it extremely impractical to develop nuclear weapons or power.
  11. What if the President of the United States’ residence was painted light blue?
    1. “Blue House” would result in slightly different oration and terminology. (As a note, this is exactly what the executive mansion of South Korea is called.)
  12. What if O was more common than E in the English language? (Meaning SES instead of SOS, or SMS or LSL, etc., because of differences to Morse code by necessity.)
  13. What if the Forth Rail Bridge was painted green?
  14. What with “Brunel’s greatest ship” was named The Great Easterly?
  15. What if the Channel Tunnel opened in 1992?
  16. What if the wings of the World War II-era Lancaster bomber were six inches longer? (This was apparently the original design.)
  17. What if a man in Hiroshima immediately before the atomic bombing walked around a building leftwards instead of rightwards, being incinerated by the bomb instead?
  18. What if King Chilperic of Neustria insists on his alphabet being used, substituting four Greek letters for common diphthongs?
  19. What if Rome was named after Remus instead of Romulus and was therefore “Reme”?
  20. What if Otto von Bismarck was cleanshaven?
  21. What if Abe Lincoln was 6’6” tall?
  22. What if the US $500 bill stayed in circulation?
  23. What if George Washington never lost his teeth?
  24. What if Max Schleming was killed during World War II?
  25. What if the streets in (the US version of) Monopoly were named after ones in New York instead of Atlantic City?
  26. What if the name of Arkansas was pronounced the way it’s spelled?
  27. What if Arnold Schwarzenegger kept using his “Arnold Strong” credit from Hercules in New York?
  28. What if the Pink Panther was the “Blue Panther”?
  29. What if Fidel Castro wore a cowboy hat?
  30. What if everyone except for the United Kingdom and Japan drove on the lefthand side of the road?
  31. What if most of Canada was francophone but Québec was anglophone?
  32. What if Makhno was successful in Ukraine?
  33. What if Texas reunited with México instead of joining the United States?
  34. What if Canada retained its title as a Dominion?
  35. What if Buzz Aldrin was the first man to set foot on the Moon?
    1. Apparently Aldrin had a prepared quote remarking on “sweet desolation,” and Aldrin fundamentally stayed in the limelight after the landing while Neil Armstrong mostly left the public eye.
  36. What if the stripes on the American flag were blue?
  37. What if the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XLII and went on undefeated?
  38. What if the AFL-NF merger never happened, or if the NFL was folded int the AFL?
  39. What if Waylon Jennings was killed on February 3rd, 1959, “the day the music died,” instead of the Big Boppa?
  40. What if New Coke wasn’t a huge failure?
  41. What if Walmart went out of business in the 1960s?
  42. What if the Sega Genesis outsold the Super Nintendo and almost put Nintendo out of business?
  43. What if Michael Jordon didn’t retire for 1½ seasons in the early 1990s?
  44. What if basketball hoops had a green rim holding up a blue net?
  45. What if a speck of dust was two inches to the left?
    1. A fly takes a slightly different course, lands on Elizabeth I’s maid’s eyebrow, startling her, causing her to knock over a candle, leading to the entire royal family dying in a house fire.
  46. What if the Titanic was named Gigantic instead?
  47. What if Finnish president Urho Kekkonen had a full head of hair through to the 1970s?
  48. What if Carlo Buonaparte named his son Nazario instead?
  49. What if the color scheme of the Alternate History Discussion Board was olive green instead of grayish-blue?
  50. What if Diet Pepsi was called “Pepsi Zero”?
  51. What if Luke Skywalker was still named “Luke Starkiller” in the final version of A New Hope?
  52. What if Tolkien never wrote The Lord of the Rings?
  53. What if rhetorical-you ate just one piece of bread instead of two twenty minutes ago?
  54. What if William Penn named his land “Sylvaepenn” instead? (This would avoid the corruption of Latin roots in “Pennsylvania.”)
  55. What if Pittsburgh kept its original name as “the City of Fort Pitt”? (And “City of Fort Detroit,” “City of Fort Chicago,” etc.)
  56. What if General Worth took his troops a few miles west? (Meaning there’s a Dallas-Fort Twiggs International Airport instead.)
  57. What if a five goal lead over the other team in soccer resulted in the match being immediately called?
  58. What if Hitler was shot during the Beer Hall Putsch but not badly, delaying Mein Kampf by two days?
  59. What if James Bond didn’t canonically die in the second book, From Russia with Love?
  60. What if the Czechs called themselves “Bohemians” and Czechia was therefore “Bohemia”?
  61. What if Andorra was invited to the Treaty of Versailles?
  62. What if no UFO sightings ever occurred in Roswell, New Mexico?
  63. What if Tutankhamun’s mask was made of silver?
  64. What if the Jewish state in the Middle East was named “Judea”?
  65. What if George W. Bush changed the terror alert to “guarded” after declaring “Mission Accomplished” in ‘Irāq?
  66. What if the Americans didn’t bomb Switzerland during World War II?
  67. What if Dag Hammarskjold’s personal journal (titled Markings in English) wasn’t published?
  68. What if Canada was named “Colonia” instead?
  69. What if the old London Bridge was broken up for its stone instead of being sold to an American?
  70. What if Jean Valjean’s first name was “Jacques” instead?
  71. What if the CD was colloquially known as the “Laser Disk”? (LD for short.)
  72. What if New York was renamed “New London”?
  73. What if the Theory of Relativity was written as “M=E/C^2”?
  74. What if the works of William Shakespeare weren’t written by him but by a different Englishman with the same name?
    1. The only possible change would be that this Shakespeare wouldn’t benefit from his father’s respected position and his works might not get as much attention as a result.
  75. What if the “Neue Reichskanzlei” wasn’t destroyed during World War II and torn down during the construction of the Berlin Wall instead?
  76. What if Kurt Lowenstein had reorganized the Berlin school system in the 1920s?
  77. What if East Germany had a major computer industry in the late 1960s or early 1970s as planned by Ulbricht?
  78. What if Staten Island left New York City to become its own city in 1974?
  79. What if John F. Kennedy never said, “Ich bin ein Berliner”?
  80. What if the Model-T came in black?
  81. What if Oregon was named “Lincoln?” (Paralleling Washington state.) Alternatively, what if Washington state was named “Jefferson”?
    1. Oregon was created in 1859, before Lincoln became President.
  82. What if William Henry Harrison had red hair?
  83. What if the Balrog in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings didn’t have wings?
  84. What if humans evolved a third, nonfunctional eye?
    1. This already exists—the pineal gland.
  85. What if Enoch Powell didn’t have a moustache?
  86. What if Vladimir Lenin wasn’t bald?
  87. What if John Lennon was bald?
    1. This might have a drastic effect on the Beatles, or at least their popularity, and would almost certainly have impacted his own importance post-breakup.
  88. What if Elvis Presley was Jewish?
    1. He would almost certainly not have his gospel roots, therefore affecting his music, but the actual effects on his career are otherwise unclear: it could have major or minor consequences, probably depending on how anti-Semitic certain people in his early career were.
  89. What if Konigsberg was “Konigsburg”?
    1. “We suddenly have a mountain on the Baltic coast.” (?)
  90. What if Jesus was born in Jerusalem instead of Bethlehem?
  91. What if Konrad Adenauer lived in Munich and not near Bonn?
  92. What if Theodore Roosevelt grew a beard?
  93. What if Abraham Lincoln didn’t have a beard?
  94. What if Australia was called “Cooksland”?
  95. What if the myth of the Flying Dutchman was never developed?
  96. What if mobile phones were marketed as “portable phones”? (“Ports” for short.)
  97. What if Walt Disney’s ancestors didn’t change their name from “D’Isingy”?
  98. What if Adolf Hitler had a cat instead of a dog?
  99. What if Adolf Hitler had a bigger mustache?
  100. What if the Long Island ice tea was never invented?
  101. What if men wore cosmetics instead of women?
  102. What if Julius Caesar wasn’t assassinated?
  103. What if Bill Gates went to jail for computer fraud instead of founding Microsoft?
  104. What if the Internet remained “military-only?”
  105. What is pasteurization was never developed?
  106. What if Richard Nixon wore a khaki suit coat to the 1960 debates?
  107. What if Bob Dole had a mustache, beard, and Southern accent?
  108. What if all kings George were named “Jacob” instead?
  109. What if Moscow was (consistently) named “Moscovy”?
  110. What if Adolf Hitler had no mustache or hair?
  111. What if Franklin Delano Roosevelt lived five seconds longer?
  112. What if John Cook’s first name was “George”?
  113. What is Canada was named “New Albion”?
  114. What if Mortal Kombat was released one day earlier?
  115. What if the Soviet Union fell one day earlier?
  116. What if William Henry Harrison died after thirty-four days instead of thirty?
  117. What if “Jesus Christ” was spelled (by translators) with a K?
    1. It might encourage the Ku Klux Klan, or they might be the Cu Clux Clan instead. (Note: it actually comes from the Greek kyklos, “circle,” combined with “clan,” [ultimately meant to mean “circle clan” or “circle of brothers” as a fraternal society] or alternatively is meant to resemble the onomatopoeia of a rifle being cocked.)
  118. What if Africa was named “Draka”? (Without acting like the fictional Draka Empire.)
  119. What if the eastern British Isle was called “Albion”?
  120. What if George Washington had a small gray goatee?
  121. What if Larry King wore contacts instead of glasses?
  122. What if humans were 0.001 inches taller on average?
  123. What if circumstances resulted in the Nazi salute being performed as a wave instead of all at once?
  124. What if Benito Mussolini was slim and “1.80” tall?
  125. What if Ronald Reagan gave a thumbs-up at his inauguration?
  126. What if Charlemagne was 0.00002 centimeters shorter?
  127. What if George Washington had a twin brother who died of typhoid, etc., at age 9?
    1. Such a death in Washington’s family could affect him greatly, given that his relationship wit his older brother led him to become an officer in the French and Indian War.
  128. What if there was an additional, tiny Hawaiian island? (In the range of 20 square kilometers.)
  129. What if footballs were designed with one flat end, like a projectile?
  130. What if Ææ remained in common used as a letter in English?
  131. What if people live five seconds longer?
  132. What if women have lips that are 0.05 inches “bigger” than men?
  133. What if Winston Churchill had sideburns?
  134. What if India owned 1 inch of Burmese territory?
  135. What if John Brown’s hanging was attended by a black woman who kisses him?
  136. Wat if Francis Scott Keye’s The Star Spangled Banner didn’t become popular “outside of bar rooms” in Washington, D.C.?
  137. What if Alexander Graham Bell’s device is used to find the bullet in Abraham Lincoln’s dead but causes him to die a few days earlier in the attempts to remove it?
  138. What if Richard Nixon wore a fedora during his administration?
  139. What if South Africa was named “Capeland”?
  140. What if Italy was consistently called “Italia” in English?
  141. What if the Republican Party was called the “Conservative Party”?
  142. What if “Europe” was spelled with a V instead of a U?
  143. What if Australia kept its original name of “New Holland”?
  144. What if New York kept its original name of “New Amsterdam”?
  145. What if İstanbul kept its earlier name of “Byzantium” or “Constantinople”?
  146. What if Tōkyō kept its original name of “Edo”?
  147. What if English was entirely written backwards, including its letters?
  148. What if the 1981 riots in Liverpool 8 were called “the Granby Riots” by mainstream news?
  149. What if Sam Carsten was replaced by “Sam Capstan” in Timeline-191?
  150. What if Spanish used the Cyrillic alphabet?
    1. While this by itself probably wouldn’t have many drastic consequences, many significant changes would be needed to get this change in the first place, assuming that traditional Cyrillic is used.
  151. What if Benito Mussolini always wore a black cape with the Italian flag in the middle of it?
  152. What if México was named “Latina”?
  153. What if Mike Dukakis chose Ted Kennedy as his running mate?
  154. What if Stephen Colbert had a mustache?
  155. What if John McCain had a mustache?
  156. What if Barack Obama had a nose piercing?
  157. What if Adolf Hitler always had a piece of non-smoked marijuana in his mouth?
  158. What if Los Angeles was named “San Maximilian”?
  159. What if Islām used the full moon as its symbol instead of a crescent?
  160. What if Richard Stallman had short hair?
  161. What if Bill Clinton didn’t have an accent?
  162. What if the Canadian flag was blue instead of red?
  163. What if Egypt was called “Agypta”?
  164. What if Peter the Great didn’t move the Russian seat of government to Moscow?
  165. What if Adolf Hitler learned English? (As suggested by Ernst Hanfstaengl.)
  166. What if the Hollywood sign still read as “Hollywoodland”?
  167. What if the United States of America was “the United States of Columbia”?
  168. What if Texas was named “Woodbury”?
  169. What if Zimbabwe was still called “Rhodesia”?
  170. What if Germany was still called “Prussia”?
  171. What if Gustave Eiffel’s ancestors didn’t change their name from Bonickhausen?
  172. What if the impeachment of Bill Clinton was completely successful?
    1. This would result in major changes in the rest of the 1990s and likely the 2000 election.
  173. What if Abraham Lincoln’s mother didn’t die when he was 9?
    1. His mother surviving would drastically affect the rest of his life.
  174. What if Portugal didn’t separate from Spain?
    1. This would result in significant changes.
  175. What if the 1981 Spanish coup attempt resulted in one of the princesses of Spain being accidentally killed?
    1. This would make the aftermath of the coup much messier than it was historically.
  176. What if German forces in Europe surrendered thirty seconds later?
  177. What if two virtually identical pebbles on top of Mount Snowden switched places?
  178. What if evidence that the 2002 FIFA world cup was manipulated was leaked to the press?
  179. What if a film of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was greenlit?
  180. What if Cleopatra chose death by elephant?
  181. What if Jesus was spelled “Jesu”?
  182. What if Franz Ferdinand shaved off his hair before his assassination?
  183. What if Mountain Dew was called “Mountain Mist”?
    1. Apparently Mountain Dew is called such in reference to moonshine, because it had a kick from its caffeine content.
  184. What if Columbus landed further north when he “discovered” the New World?
  185. What if the Canadian Crown was represented with a Governor-General instead of a Governor General?
  186. What if Julius Caesar is stabbed one more time before he dies?
  187. What if Jack the Ripper was caught?
    1. Because his identity would be known, there wouldn’t be so many works of fiction centered on who he might have been or his real motives.
  188. What if penicillin was discovered two days earlier?
  189. What if the Anglo-Zanzibar War lasted for one hour?
  190. What if the Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War didn’t end?
  191. What if the Place de la Concorde was still known as “Place de la Révolution”?
  192. What if Constantine IX lived one second longer?
  193. What if the American-Canadian border was one inch further north or south?
  194. What if “Canada” was spelled “Kanata”?
  195. What if Kenneth Branagh played Obi-Wan Kenobi?
  196. What if the Pyramid of Giza was 0.1mm to the left?
  197. What if there were Eight Wonders of the Ancient World?
  198. What if the Eiffel Tower was demolished after the world exhibition it was built for?
  199. What if Hermann Göring didn’t commit suicide and was executed at Nuremberg instead?
  200. What if the 1996 Summer Olympics were held in Athens?
  201. What if Muslims prayed in the direction of Jerusalem instead of Mecca?
  202. What if Adolf Hitler left the Catholic Church during World War II?
  203. What if the Russian-Kazakh border had an ancient analogue dating to the Persian Empire as a humorous map drawn as unpublished satire by a courtesan?
  204. What if English used ẞß as a letter?
  205. What if Russia changed to the Gregorian calendar?
  206. What if Denver taxpayers voted to pay for improvements so they could host the 1976 Winter Olympics instead of causing an emergency switch to Innsbruck?
  207. What if Latin-English dictionaries used Y instead of J?
  208. What if English retained the suffix “-eth,” the pronoun “thee,” and the possessive pronouns “thy” and “thine?”
    1. They still do this in Yorkshire.
  209. What if Kentucky was named Jefferson?
  210. What if Alexander the Great didn’t marry Roxana?
  211. What if Vincent van Gogh didn’t cut off his ear?
  212. What if Elisha Gray got the telephone patent before Alexander Graham Bell?
  213. What if beer was never invented?
  214. What if Mr. Game & Watch was omitted from Super Smash Bros. Mêlée?
  215. What if Key West was independent? (E.g., what if the Conch Republic was recognized as independent?)
  216. What if John Wilkes Booth misses his shot in killing Abraham Lincoln and hits his right ear instead, but Lincoln dies after a couple of months anyway from a post-surgery infection.
  217. What if Erik the Red reached Cape Hatteras and then turned back to Greenland?
  218. What if a German named Heinrich was born in Germany in 1895 and died at age 3?
  219. What if Chevy Chase didn’t have a drinking problem?
  220. What if John Ericsson won the Rainhill trials instead of George and Robert Stephenson?
feel free to try to answer any of these (or add to their answers) or add new questions. and let's try to make any new ones into actual minor AH, m'kay? ;)
6. What if Mount Rushmore was completed?
Who could be the fifth President to be featured in Mount Rushmore and in what year?

33. What if Texas reunited with México instead
of joining the United States?
Quite tough in the first place, but I thought of earlier immigration of Spanish-speaking settlers from Florida and Louisiana Territory; however, ATL Texas could be more autonomous in relation to Mexico.

34. What if Canada retained its title as a Dominion?
They are de facto, given that they shared the same Crown as the rest of the Commonwealth; only a law that confirm such official name would be needed.

[35]What if the stripes on the American flag were blue?
Then the canton in the flag would be red.

60. What if the Czechs called themselves “Bohemians” and Czechia was therefore “Bohemia”?
Moravia: 👀!

61. What if Andorra was invited to the Treaty of Versailles?
Why should they? Any territorial compensation on their part?

64.What if the Jewish state in the Middle East was named “Judea”?
"Eretz Israel" would remain their endonym.
  • What if Konigsberg was “Konigsburg”?
    1. “We suddenly have a mountain on the Baltic coast.” (?)
For reasons that don't make sense to me, the city ended in "-berg" (mountain) instead of "-burg" (fortress) IOTL. Flipping the original WI around, someone from a timeline with the -burg spelling might assume the city would only get -berg if there were a mountain there.
Why should they? Any territorial compensation on their part?
It would help avoid their OTL mistake of not making peace until the 50s.

What if the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario, were named Lakehead instead?


What if uranium had a half-life of only ten thousand years?
  1. The half-life of uranium-238 is about 4.47 billion years, and 704 million for uranium-235; if the half-life were only ten thousand then the whole supply on Earth would have depleted by the time fission was discovered, making it extremely impractical to develop nuclear weapons or power.

This is such a fundamental change that the evolution of human life is questionable at best.

What if the CD was colloquially known as the “Laser Disk”? (LD for short.)

LaserDisc was invented in 1978, four years before the CD.


What if humans evolved a third, nonfunctional eye?
  1. This already exists—the pineal gland.
If you are going to call the pineal gland in humans a third eye, you should also refer to the middle and inner ear as gills.
'27. What if Arnold Schwarzenegger kept using his “Arnold Strong” credit from Hercules in New York?'

Back in high school, I got jumped because I made a joke about Schwarzenegger and someone thought I said the hard-r. If he had kept going by Arnold Strong I would have had slightly better teenage years.
"What if Hermann Goering didn't commit suicide and received the hangman's noose the next day as planned (on 16 October 1946)?"

Despite involving one of the more important Nazis (Goering), the pod will only add a few more hours of difference to Goering's life and alternate history that this pod hasn't been posted as its own thread and is a minor pod. The only difference will be that Goering will get his opportunity to eat a last meal and say his last words before being hanged and the remaining Nuremberg executed Nazis will get to walk to the gallows with free hands until reaching the gallows. As Goering was to be the first to be executed and time was spent investigating his suicide, him being hanged instead of committing suicide will only mean the actually executed at Nuremberg will face the gallows a few minutes early than reality.