What TL ideas do you have that will probably never see the light of day?

I've long had an idea for a kind of True Crime themed timeline. Taking famous figures from cults, serial killers, and organized crime figures and maximizing their influence and power. Ted Bundy running in a presidential election from Utah against John Wayne Gacy. Aum Shinrikyo linking up with the Knights of the Solar Temple to launch a global terror spree. The Five Families coming to control state governments across the country.

The stumbling block for me has always been that most of these guys just didn't have it at all. Ted Bundy was a smart, charismatic guy, but hadn't an ounce of hard worker in him. Gacey was never going to rise beyond "local hack politician". The Knights of the Solar Temple were too drug addled and sex-addicted to think of the long game. Water found its level in their grimy lives, and I feel like pushing it too hard would play into the myth of the hypercompetent criminal, a la American Psycho.
Cold War turns hot after a dispute between President Bundy and Premier Chikatilo?
 
my TL about what if Analogues HD actually existing during the late 80's and 90's and being successful to the general public. i have tried to make it twice and each time it has failed miserably and i probably not make another one again unless with a lot of help.

another one i considered doing was one about if the American Civil War actually lead into a global conflict like a predecessor to WWI. always thought about but never thought of actually making it however.
 
Last edited:
The Sep. 19th, 1980 nuclear missile accident at Damascus, AR somehow [1] results in a 9 megaton groundburst, dumping radioactive fallout across a wide swath of Arkansas and Oklahoma.

[1] exact details are classified, but the Feyman committee determines there is a design flaw in the W53's arming circuits, that can trigger an unintended full-yield detonation when exposed to certain unusual conditions present during the silo accident.

For a double-tap: the B-52 fire the previous day at Minot, ND also results in a nuclear explosion (though only 200 kT).

[ Also note that VP Mondale was in Little Rock the night of the missile accident... ]
Curious why you quoted my reply. A reactor can in no way, shape, or form can release energy like the “explosion” of a nuclear device. Chernobyl was basically a thermal release that the reactor core could not contain. Nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors are two entirely different systems.
 
My TL about Tsar Alexander refusing to Budge on the matter of Poland during the Congress of Vienna, leading to a series of events which prevent the Long Peace by pushing Prussia Westwards, screwing France a bit more, and generally making everyone unhappy with the new status quo until it boils over in a series of major wars a decade or two later.

Mostly because it would require a very deep dive into very specific era politics and I don't have the time or energy for that
 
Curious why you quoted my reply. A reactor can in no way, shape, or form can release energy like the “explosion” of a nuclear device. Chernobyl was basically a thermal release that the reactor core could not contain. Nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors are two entirely different systems.
I am proposing an alternate scenario that would cause a Chernobyl-like disaster but doesn't involve nuclear reactors (since, as you note, our designs could not plausibly do that).
 
Last edited:
I have had a idea for an ASB timeline inspired by Arose From Out the Azure Main

Britain of 1876 is transported 100 years in the past to 1776. The world will quickly become unrecognizable from ours, for one the American Revolutionary war will basically not happen and I planned the otl 13 colonies splitting into 3 or 4 different states instead of 1. European rulers (France) will be very worried and try to make changes. Britain will undoubtedly be a superpower due to technology alone but they are going to have plenty of internal problems that will have many years to sort out. There are so many fascinating historical figures that would be impacted by this, American founding fathers, British politicians (Disraeli is PM, Gladstone is prominent even tho not the liberal leader), and various other monarchs/princes/nobles trying to 'change the future.'
 
I have a million of these ideas pre-1914, but the one post-1914 idea that actually interests me enough to write one day (far in the future, but probably never) would be no 22nd amendment -- i.e., the Clinton 00s, since I think it very unlikely that much (if anything) changes before 2000.

I imagine Clinton-Gore coming to power with a Blair-Brown sort of agreement between them, but Clinton reneging on it after the impeachment to try and prove his innocence at the ballot box. It would have plenty of Clinton era soap operatics re: the fallout with Gore, Hillary having to put her own plans on hold, etc. and also have a huge political consequences from 9/11 to the Bush tax cuts, Russia, and more.
 
Last edited:
I actually did work on this idea a couple of years ago before running out of steam, but: a more difficult Civil War ends with a simmering Southern insurgency and a Republic of Texas that split off from the CSA just before the end of the war. The west either secedes entirely in the following years or is simply left largely on its own while the Federal government is busy in the South. Cue Wild West with multiple competing countries.
 
I have a memory of a shadow of an idea for a TL

"The Chancellorship of Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer 1934 - 1957" or "The father of Europe"

Basically Konrad who was generally opposed to the Nazis in the 1930s forms a working opposition to the national socialist helped by the timely death of its one testicul equipped leader during he early 30s and the NAZI party turning on itself along with a number of highly publicised failed assassination attempts on Adenauers life.

With the nazi's failing to ascend to lead Germany it is Konrad Adenauer who becomes Chancellor in the mid 30s and it is he that steers Germany back into the light (with not a MEFO bill in sight), reconciles his nation with France and the UK and manages to strengthen Germany enough to face down the red peril from the East.

This is a story of peace - no WW2 stains this TL, a less draconian 30s does not see the brain drain that crippled Germanys great universities due to the liberals and Jews fleeing to the west (or in many cases being murdered) - and no militarisation of its youth and education system as well as its industry and unsustainable financial practices leaves the nation better placed to arrive at the sunlit uplands during the late 1940s and 50s.
 
An elderly Himmler details his life’s story to a member of the SS decades after the Reich won the war for the sake of posterity. Dirlewanger would also be an interesting choice.
 
Timelines I have fiddled with:

The Southern Viper - a Cold War Timeline between the U.S. and CSA in a world in which the Confederacy barely survived a bloodier and longer ACW as a smaller country (only eight states when the war ends, and only seven after the end of the Great WR)

Belgian Stargate - a TL where the Belgians have the Stargate, and/or could be a TL w/o the sci-fi elements where Belgium is one of the world’s great powers.

New America - A TLIAW with all different presidents from Eisenhower onwards.

Der Kampf Cold War - a TL set in the Der Kampf world that covers from the end of WW2 to present day.
 
Last edited:
I've had a timeline idea for a while where Napoleon accepts the autonomy of Saint-Domingue and Marshall Toussaint is ultimately able to liberate/conquer the Caribbean for Imperial France. France wins the Napoleonic Wars and Africans- those who embrace European culture- are somewhat equal citizens, but the French colonial empire is still oppressive and extractive, just with a black aristocracy ruling over the workers of the Caribbean. You'd also get the US becoming more authoritarian amid fear of slave revolt and ultimately facing a massive slave revolt supported by the French in the 1830s. I'm ultimately not going to do it because I don't have nearly enough knowledge of Caribbean history to do the idea justice, but if someone else who did were to do it I think it could be really interesting
 
Cold War turns hot after a dispute between President Bundy and Premier Chikatilo?

Truthfully, the original ending was a nuclear apocalypse triggered by the Knights of the Solar Temple. They held a particular hatred for the French monarchy, as they thought they were reincarnations of the Knights Templar. So, after fifty-three attacks of varying intensity on remaining symbols of that monarchy and its supporters, the fifty-fourth (an important number-the number of Templars burned at the stake in 1310) would be the detonation of a large nuclear device in Reims. This would lead to an escalating series of provocations on both sides of the Cold War until a general nuclear exchange.
 
Truthfully, the original ending was a nuclear apocalypse triggered by the Knights of the Solar Temple. They held a particular hatred for the French monarchy, as they thought they were reincarnations of the Knights Templar. So, after fifty-three attacks of varying intensity on remaining symbols of that monarchy and its supporters, the fifty-fourth (an important number-the number of Templars burned at the stake in 1310) would be the detonation of a large nuclear device in Reims. This would lead to an escalating series of provocations on both sides of the Cold War until a general nuclear exchange.
Sounds pretty fun for an ASB TL. Hope it doesn't languish in this thread and you end up making it someday.
 
Finally, a few more questions (may presently be unanswerable given butterfly uncertainties):
  1. Who do you think is the likely GOP VP pick in 1920? You went with Lenroot on your mockup 1920 election map, how come? Who else is in the running for the VP slot assuming Knox or Harding get the nomination (having overcome Hiram Johnson, Frank Lowden, and William Sproul)? Is Coolidge's name in the ring ITTL too?
  2. Besides trying to join the war, what do you think Hughes does as president?
  3. What the hell does President Hearst try to do in a 6-year term 1921-1927 (it's seeming increasingly likely that he wins in 1920)? You said he'd be a conservative-progressive Dem, what sort of policies do you think he'd pursue in practice in that case?
  4. Who are the figures likely seeking the Dem nomination in 1926 after a Hearst presidency?
  5. Who are the figures likely seeking the GOP nomination in 1926 after a Hearst presidency? (seems pretty clear 1926 will be a GOP victory too.)
I think you make a good case regarding Roosevelt, election results, and for American entry and a following Entente victory, albeit one that is much more controversial and leaves everyone worse off than IOTL. It would certainly be easier to research!

Another potential outcome I've discovered is the possibility that the aftershocks of the Panic of the 1914 makes the war utterly unaffordable and forces a peace deal circa 1916. Apparently the British Admiralty had a plan ready to initiate a "controlled demolition" of the world economy by using Britain's plurality control of global finance to force a total shutdown of the investment market and international trade. It was expected that Britain could weather the storm best and thus force an end to the war on favourable terms. The British Department of Trade made it clear that this was a Very Bad Idea; beyond the economic catastrophe that would follow, it would ruin Britain's reputation with the neutral nations (especially the United States) at a time when it needed the neutrals to at least be friendly to help keep the war financed. Proponents argued that the much lower commitment to a ground war in Europe would save lives and money and enable a quick recovery. President Wilson's liaison to Britain also made it would be utterly unacceptable, and the British government decided to blockade Germany as a compromise. If the American economy is already in ruins because of British interference, there might be an argument of "in for a penny, in for a pound" and the Admiralty gets its way. The plan is detailed in Planning Armageddon: British Economic Warfare and the First World War by Nicholas Lambert.

As for those final questions, I'm afraid I don't have especially satisfying answers at the moment.
  1. I went with Lenroot because he was a favourite at the 1920 RNC but mostly for the novelty if it being someone other than Coolidge. It very well could have been someone else entirely. The more progressive/isolationist wing would likely have to be appeased without picking one of their staunchest members like Hiram Johnson or George Norris. Maybe Albert Cummins?
  2. I don't know enough about Hughes to say, but given his OTL behaviour as Chief Justice it appears that under pressure he tends to break progressive rather than conservative.
  3. Hearst had rather mercurial and shifting beliefs so its hard to say 'which Hearst' would be president. Given his authoritarian streak I suspect that he would be frustrated by the democratic process and wouldn't be very effective. Broadly progressive but given his eccentricities he'd probably focus on Culture War issues if you'll forgive the anachronism.
  4. I don't expect that Hearst could keep together a functional administration for six years. While not ideologically similar, in practice I think Heart's policies would shape out like Al Smith's: progressive for the time but nothing as far as the New Deal. I would guess that Hearst's faction would be thrown overboard by the party bosses in favour of an unproblematic centrist Democrat in 1926. Ironically, it may end up being Herbert Hoover. He decided to become a Republican IOTL in 1920 because it looked like the Republicans were going to win and he was chasing the chance of a presidential draft. If the reverse is true, then Hoover might become part of the Hearst Cabinet without being part of his faction.
  5. I think 1926 would be favourable to a conservative Republican nominee, although the Progressive Republicans would probably still have enough clout to stop an archconservative like Frank Lowden from winning. Someone like James Wadsworth or Lester Dickinson.
 
1. The consequences of a failed Business Plot coup. Besides becoming more leftist and liberal, the US embarks on a more aggressive anti-fascist foreign policy before WW2

2. A Decades of Darkness like scenario involving the North seceding from the US in 1812. Unlike DoD, the rump US is crippled forever while Mexico becomea the superpower of North America

3. The Iranian Hostage Crisis escalates in an earlier War on Terror, with Saddam becoming the US' best friend in the Middle East
 
The King of the Crescent City. A timeline about a more successful Reconstruction period in Louisiana, focusing on events in New Orleans from 1868 through to about 1900. The main focus characters would be Oscar Dunn (Louisiana's first black Lieutenant Governor), Henry Warmoth (the duplicitous young Governor of Louisiana) and Pinckney Bennet Stewart Pinchback (politician, inveterate schemer and very nearly America's first black Senator).

Most of it would be power struggles, politicking and an examination of what a functioning multiethnic democracy looks like in 1870s Louisiana. The trouble is that Reconstruction era politics are very complicated and oftentimes poorly documented (especially anything to do with New Orleans, where chaos is always manifest), so my research ended up being a lot spottier than I wanted.

I do want to write it eventually, but it would take a lot of work.
 
I've had a pretty recent idea in my head of a multipolar Cold War where CONEFO survived and was led by China and Indonesia; I wanna do a thread for it here, but it's more of a "just for fun" kinda thing (while I do try to keep plausibility) and honestly I wouldn't want to deal with criticism over probability on most of the stuff in it.
 
Top