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Started by GreenFuture on Sep 8, 2018 8:24:25 PM
The Butterfly Effect In History - Tiny Occurrences With Huge Consequences.

Have we done this before? Don't remember.

Anyway, See post 1.

GreenFuture - 08 Sep 2018 20:24:33 (#1 of 102)

In late 2010, a fruit seller named Mohammed Bouazizi, frustrated at the petty corruption and bureaucracy impacting on his living, decided on a protest stunt.

He would set himself on fire. His cousin would put out the fire with an extinguisher.

The extinguisher didn't work properly, after several days in hospital, Bouazizi died.

Thus started the Arab Spring and rebellions across North Africa and Middle East causing huge numbers of deaths, waves of migration and geo political chaos to this day.


During the 2nd World War, a Russian soldier returns to his hometown on leave. He sees bodies piled up in the street for removal and burning. He recognises a leg and foot sticking from the pile as belonging to his wife. He asks that he can take her body, but the soldiers refuse. |

He persists, they relent. She turns out to be alive. She recovers, and some years later the hardy Mrs Putin gives birth to Vladimir.


I think we all know the one about the former German army corporal who was refused entry to an art academy in Vienna.


A faulty fire extinguisher, a persistent husband, admittance protocol at an art school: On such things can history sometimes turn.

Over to you.

AshburtonAbove - 08 Sep 2018 20:27:27 (#2 of 102)

I love the Butterfly effect. It is just so cool.

GreenFuture - 08 Sep 2018 20:33:10 (#3 of 102)

Going from memory, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand nearly went tits up. Can someone remember the details?

TRaney - 08 Sep 2018 20:33:40 (#4 of 102)

Didn’t they do a detour?

TRaney - 08 Sep 2018 20:34:46 (#5 of 102)

It to be a killjoy but don’t all lives contain defining moments that could easily have been different?

Junkion - 08 Sep 2018 20:35:47 (#6 of 102)

I remember a story that said they bottled the attack, ended up drinking in a pub, then the Archduke's driver got lost and stopped right next to said pub, then BANG

nac1001 - 08 Sep 2018 20:38:23 (#7 of 102)

They messed up spectacularly but the driver took a wrong turning and ended up stopped just by where Princip was standing.

nac1001 - 08 Sep 2018 20:40:30 (#8 of 102)

They now have a replica car at the spot and tourists can dress up as the archduke and be shot -

by a photographer

GreenFuture - 08 Sep 2018 20:41:55 (#9 of 102)

Thanks for clarifying guys :-)

virgil5 - 08 Sep 2018 20:43:04 (#10 of 102)

John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry Virginia 1859.

Galvanized both sides to precipitate US Civil War.

Brown had a cold and the raid never would have happened but someone found a bottle of cough medicine.

GreenFuture - 08 Sep 2018 20:44:35 (#11 of 102)

Wow virgil, that's worth checking out. US Civil War is a bit of a gap in my knowledge.

That will be John Brown of "John Brown's Body" I take it.

Arjuna - 08 Sep 2018 20:46:11 (#12 of 102)

Things would have come to a head without his raid - slavery was a big issue

virgil5 - 08 Sep 2018 20:56:44 (#13 of 102)

The raid was madness.

No slaves were freed or armed with the pikes made by Ambrose Bierce's father, but a map of plantations to be burned was found after Robt E Lee was sent to capture Brown.

J Wilkes Booth was in the crowd

Tenesmus - 08 Sep 2018 21:17:58 (#14 of 102)

What if some woman hadn't sat in the wrong seat on a bus?

invicta - 08 Sep 2018 23:57:03 (#15 of 102)

What if some woman hadn't sat in the wrong seat on a bus?

She didn't. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the colored section when asked by a white person. She was always in the right place, always doing what she should have been doing.

--- Anyway.

In 1914, Rear-Admiral Ernest Troubridge is commanding four relatively modern, but technically outmoded armoured cruisers. He is seeking the German Mediterranean fleet, the Battlecruiser Goeben, and the cruiser Breslau.

He is supposed to be supported by the modern battlecruisers HMS Inflexible and HMS Indefatigable but the Admiral in charge of those ships, under pressure from Winston Churchill, the deeply unpopular First Lord of Admiralty, has deployed his ships in completely the wrong area of the Med.

Troubridge has been kept in contact with Goeben by a light cruiser, and sets a course to intercept. The night before his small fleet is due to meet Goeben, his chief gunnery officer comes to his Captain and explains that his armoured cruisers - Defence, Black Prince, Warrior and Edinburgh - are not capable of either catching or damaging Goeben - indeed this one modern German battlecruiser is capable of destroying each of Troubridge's ships before Goeben is even in range of their guns. Reluctantly, Troubridge informs the Admiralty that he will not engage the German battlecruiser. He does this knowing that the service has the severest penalties for failing to engage the enemy (more than one Admiral has been hung for failing to do so).

Goeben and Breslau escape, and are interned in Istanbul. Troubridge is court-martialled and never held another sea command.

Turkey is neutral in the War at this point, but Germany gifts these powerful and modern ships to the country as a propaganda exercise, as Britain has seized two battleships under construction for Turkey in British ship yards.

Later in 1914, another outgunned British squadron meets a German cruiser force near Coronel, off the coast of Chile. The Admiral in command - Sir Christopher Cradock - has been exchanging telegrams with Winston Churchill for over two months, in which neither party has understood each other's intentions. Cradock's ships are old and outgunned. He had been promised reinforcements, but Churchill has changed his mind at least three times and the key ship - HMS Defence, part of Troubridge's squadron - has been sailing back and forth between Gibraltar and Brazil for over a month. Cradock thinks Defence is coming, but what he gets instead is HMS Canopus - an obsolete Battleship built in the 1890s. Crewed by reservists and dockyard workers, its chief engineer has gone mad and has locked himself in his cabin ever since the ship left Devonport. It is capable of moving at ten miles per hour and is frequently forced to signal that it is no longer under control of the helm.

On November 1 2014, having abandoned Canopus and told his officers that "they will not do for me as they did for poor old Troubridge", Cradock's squadron engage the German squadron in a one-sided engagement off the coast of Chile. His ships are destroyed and 1500 men die.

The commander of the German squadron, Maximillian Von Spee, takes his squadron to Valparaiso and are welcomed as heroes. On being given flowers in celebration of his victory, Von Spee refuses to take them, remarking that "They will do well for my grave". On 8th December 1914, Von Spee and his Squadron are destroyed at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, by a British force including HMS Inflexible. Two thousand men die.

Meanwhile, Turkey - emboldened by the German gift of two modern warships - enters the war on the side of the Central Powers. It closes the Dardanelles and attacks Russian ports in the Black Sea. This closes the only ice-free port available to Russia and stifles the Russian economy and war effort. Not until 1916 is a railway constructed to the port of Murmansk, by which time any Russian wartime momentum has been lost.

In 1915, Winston Churchill proposes an attack on Turkey and attempts to force an entry to the Dardanelles, firstly via a naval bombardment, and then through landings of troops on the Gallipoli peninsula. Both attacks fail, and over half a million troops are killed.

In 1916, the British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet meet at Jutland, in the largest naval battle ever fought. In the middle of this battle Rear Admiral Arbuthnot - a lunatic martinet in charge of the same cruiser squadron led by Troubridge in the pursuit of Goeben two years previously - charges a damaged German cruiser, Wiesbaden. In doing so he nearly collides with the flagship of the British Battlecruiser Force, HMS Lion, and places himself and his fleet in firing distance of the greatest concentration of naval firepower in human history. Arbuthnot, HMS Defence, and two other ships of his fleet are rapidly destroyed with the loss of over 3000 men.

It is estimated by historians that the gifting of Goeben and Breslau to Turkey, by precipitating the Ottoman Empire's entry into World War One, extended the duration of the First World War by at least two years, causing around four million deaths. The closure of Russia's Black Sea ports led to an economic and social crisis so great that it precipitated the October Revolution and the formation of the Soviet Union. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WW1 led to the creation of countries such as the Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria, and directly to the creation of the Jewish homeland, Israel.

invicta - 09 Sep 2018 00:00:28 (#16 of 102)


If Admiral Troubridge had known, he'd probably have taken his ships to the bottom of the sea to prevent Goeben and Breslau escaping. To quote Churchill himself, Goeben's escape had brought "more slaughter, more misery, and more ruin than has ever before been borne within the compass of a ship".

Tenesmus - 09 Sep 2018 00:21:12 (#17 of 102)

My effort was piss-poor, so let's ask instead what if she'd given up her seat?

toffle - 09 Sep 2018 00:21:50 (#18 of 102)

To quote Churchill himself,

who conveniently doesn't mention his own contribution to the tally with the Gallipoli fiasco.

brooklyn - 09 Sep 2018 03:04:15 (#19 of 102)

McClellan fails to capture Richmond in the Peninsula campaign. he is replaced by the pompous John Pope, who is badly outclassed by Lee and soundly defeated at the second battle of bull run. so McClellan is back.

Lee divides his relatively small force and sends 2/3 of it under Stonewall Jackson to take a key Union post at Harper's Ferry. a copy of his orders is found, wrapped around three cigars, by a Union sergeant. no one has ever figured out where the cigars came from.

but the butterfly wings have flapped. the key to victory is in McClellan's hands. a quick strike at Lee, an easy win, and then beat Jackson. next: on to Richmond. and then, inevitably, to the White House.

and so McClellan does ... nothing. he displays his fatal flaw: "the slows." that's what got him fired the first time. it will again.

Jackson takes 12,000 prisoners at Harper's Ferry. Lee's force reunites. McClellan finally attacks at antietam creek, but waits an unnecessary day as he nears Lee. when his much superior force finally attacks, the assaults are uncoordinated. the battle is a draw. it is the bloodiest day of the war.

Lee waits a day and withdraws. Lincoln declares victory, and announces the Emancipation Proclamation, at least "legally" freeing all the slaves in confederate areas. the war is now plainly one to end slavery, and the north rallies to the battle hymn of the republic.

what has this to do with the butterfly effect? nothing. the cigars and the plans were found. but then nothing. the wings created no wind.

but who knows. without that info, McClellan might have done worse.

upgoerfive - 09 Sep 2018 03:47:30 (#20 of 102)

September 1928.

Dr. Alexander Fleming is assigned a laboratory room in St Mary's Hospital which is so malodorous and stuffy that he keeps the windows open all day long.

A laboratory assistant goes home early one day, and forgets to clear away some petri dishes containing Staphylococci left out on the bench without lids.

A few spores of Penicillium chrysogenum drift in through the open window, and settle on the culture medium.

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