What If You Had the Power to Change One Event in History?

by Tanner M. on


Now playing: Ulrich Schnauss – In All The Wrong Places

Recently, I asked an online message board that I frequent a simple question: “If you can go back in time and change one event in history. What would you change and how would you go about changing it?”

Here are some of the responses I have received:

I think I would have to go back to the pinnacle point in history to extinguish the birth of Christianity, for ever since in the name of God has killed more people and wiped out entire beliefs and cultures as it did not fit the goal of the Church. To this day it still creates division and prejudice in people continues & fuels wars and lays down an assortment of judgemental ideals.”
-scrooge of Better Photo School

For a lot of significant personal events its hard for me to say I’d change it, because I learned something that has helped me be who I am today.”
-Paul of Blogging Teacher

I think I’d change Columbus’ “discovery” of America.

So many bad things happened as a result of it for so many people, that I often believe America (both the land and it’s original inhabitants) would have been better off if he’d just gotten lost instead.”
-Treacle of Confessions of a Lingerie Addict

I would change the Emperor Constantine’s late conversion to Christianity which indirectly laid the foundations of countless historical conflicts. Reckon we could save a few hundred million lives by that little change.”
-StumbleRum of Link Bait Writing

Events in our past shape us for who we are today. I don’t like to live with regrets in my life, so I try to minimize them as much as I can. I don’t regret anything in my past. It’s over with. If we didn’t live through the difficult times, maybe we wouldn’t be as resilient as we are today. So, I wouldn’t change anything, either.”
-Karen of A Meaningful Existence

“You never know what wonderful things in this world were brought to be as the result of some horrible thing happening. Take out the horrible things, and you may very well take out some things you wouldn’t want to be without.”
-Shawn of Ninja Blog Setup

“Genocide – that it never happened and the concentration camps in Europe never wiped out so many people, regardless of their political, or family heritage.”

“As said before there are so many and ALL of them are excellent choices. I have always been curious as to how things might have been had JFK not been assasinated. Would he have been re-elected? I can only guess that most likely he would have and who would have followed him as President? What course would the USA taken in that case?”

“I wouldn’t change one event in history per se, rather I would increase the likelihood of us learning from history and avoiding making the same mistakes in the future. There is a saying that goes something like, ‘stupidity isn’t making a mistake, stupidity is failing to learn from that mistake’.

The reason why I wouldn’t change an isolated event in history is because each event teaches us something important for the present and the future. ie, the National Socialists’ ability to enter into German government in the aftermath of the Great Depression shows us that extremist political views can become popularised by economic turmoil. If, say, the British government wants to put a stop to the BNP’s increasing popularity, it should be more accountable and transparent regarding the state of the UK economy, that way the electorate won’t go looking elsewhere for answers.

To increase our ability to learn lessons from history, I would make sure that we actually had more of an appetite for analysing historical events from an early age. I would try and counter its reputation as a boring school subject by teaching students different types of history early on. That way they’ll hopefully see that history isn’t just all dates and names. I would introduce them to economic history, social history, political history, cultural history etc and hopefully they would find a type of history they really enjoy and that will help them to like history in general.”

I turn it over to you. Do not over think the question. It is not meant to be specific.  “If you can go back in time and change one event in history. What would you change and how would you go about changing it?”

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  • unbjames

    I'd assassinate Hitler before he rose to power … outside of this mental exercise, I feel it's a pointless pursuit to think about changing the past … so many people spin their wheels in life because they can't let go of it.

    • http://lifedestiny.net Tanner @LifeDestiny.net

      Looking at historical events and thinking of possible solutions that could have prevented that outcome can help in determining a disastrous trend for the future.

  • http://www.osborneink.com OsborneInk

    I wouldn't change a thing. It's dangerous to muck about in your timeline; after all, you might undo yourself.

    But it's the departure point for “alternate history” fiction, so I'll name the historical events that, having played out differently, might have led to a very different world: (1) Alexander does NOT get wounded in India, does NOT die young of infection, and founds the most powerful empire in the world (2) China does NOT burn its trading fleet in 1490 and instead creates and Indo-Pacific trade empire, complete with colonies on the West coast of the United States; and (3) Britain crushes the 1776 revolt. Any of those three would make for a completely different planet, though not necessarily a better one.

    • http://lifedestiny.net Tanner @LifeDestiny.net

      Very interesting choice OsbornInk. The imagination of what this world might be like if any of those events were that way is quite astonishing and really mind blowing, it is actually hard to fathom and come to a conclusion.

  • 39clues

    I want to say I would get rid of the Rockefeller's for reasons that I'd rather not say publicly. However, they have brought us so many good things. Did you know that the founders of Google are related to the Rockefeller's?

    Therefore, I guess I would go back and prevent slavery from ever existing. So many people's lives were ruined by it, so many people died in the Civil War, and there is still so much prejudice. It's a close call between that in the Holocaust, but I think more people were affected by slavery.

    • http://lifedestiny.net Tanner @LifeDestiny.net

      Hmm, very interesting 39. I did not know that, but do know they were a big part of shaping history.

      What if we did not have slavery? What if slavery helped shape who African-Americans identify with?

      • Kit

        Tanner writes : What if slavery helped shape who African-Americans identify with?

        What percentage of United States citizens would be of African heritage had slavery NOT existed?
        Well, the overwhelming majority of African Americans today are descended FROM slaves.
        It's likely that given the technological differences in conditions in Africa and in Europe during the crucial years the U.S. was settled and developed that the percentage of U.S. citizens of African heritage would be far lower than it is today. Given the impetus and circumstances of voluntary emigration to the U.S. , it's likely that African Americans would constitute single digit minority status , and it's quite possible that Africa would have seen a positive impact through NOT losing peoples to the slave trade.

        • http://lifedestiny.net/ Tanner @ Life Destiny

          Very thought provoking. Seems like you know a good bit on this issue. The slave trade did impact the entire world, mostly for the negative.

      • 39clues

        Perhaps it may have helped shaped who African-Americans identify with, but I think it would be better if we were all seen equally, and obviously the slavery was inexcusable, even if there may be certain benefits (like more African-Americans in America).

        • http://lifedestiny.net/ Tanner @ Life Destiny

          Hey thanks for stopping over39. Without a doubt slavery is inexcusable and is still happening today (as much as people like to hide that fact).

          I am a strong proponent of everything happens for a positive reason..A true optimist in the sense, still tough to challenge slavery as a positive.

          • 39clues

            I normally think that everything (no matter what) happens for a good reason in some way. However, the damage that was/is done in slavery seems much worse than any possible positives.

            Of course, though, we'll never know for sure what would've happened if slavery would never have gone on.

  • kruby

    Thanks for the mention, Tanner.

    I'm interested in what others have to say on this topic, as I wouldn't change anything.

    Btw, am loving your new header image – very nice!


    • http://lifedestiny.net Tanner @LifeDestiny.net

      No problem Karen.

      THank you so much! I decided I needed a new look. Something to more identify with.

  • http://twitter.com/bluepop13 Eric


    I might go back and change something in my own personal life but wouldn't mess with anything beyond that.

  • Zero_freedom02

    Id go back nn stop creation

  • Zero_freedom02

    Id go back nn stop creation

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