1. skistovasti
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    skistovasti Member

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    Where should I best split off the timeline?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by skistovasti, May 31, 2013.

    My "universe" is vastly different from our own. It split off somewhere during WW2, but I can't decide where. In the story the war raged for 5 years longer before ending in Allied victory. It led to the creation of 2 superpowers: The US, and the UCPR(United Communist Peoples Republic). These two countries would begin a cold war, ending with the Third World War in 2004.

    I'm trying to find a point in time where A)Nazi Germany can actually keep fighting, and B) The USSR and China will combine into one giant supernation. The pacific theater doesn't have to change much, it's just in the European theater. Is there a place I can do this, or will I have to keep making up events?

    Sorry if this makes no sense or is in the wrong forum, I just found this place and I got really excited at the prospect of help.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's your story, and that decision seems like it could be very important to the story.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Why do you bother answering? Skistovasti's new and is simply asking for some opinions.

    I would look at WWII turning points and focus on websites that are good historical sources like those that come from universities (.edu) or sites that focus on history as opposed to sites like Wiki or Yahoo answers where the quality of the answering source is variable.

    Major Turning Points in WWII.


    I'd also look into the history of Sino-Soviet relations during WWII. Japan and China were at war, something not well covered in US history books, so a Sino-Soviet Alliance is realistic given Germany and Japan became allies.

    History of Sino-Russian relations. Wiki is a reasonable source, but use it to find the orignal sources of information. So, for example, when you see a section like:
    And if you don't see any source for the information, Google a search string like Soviet invasion of Manchuria to find better sourced material. (I did not know Russia got involved in China during WWII, very interesting. :) )


    Any time you want to write historical fiction, you need to do some in depth research on the facts you do use or the readers will find the story less credible.
     
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  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Just to add to what GongerCoffee said, when you write alternative history, you need to really understand the history.

    On the subject of China during WWII, keep in mind that it was really almost two separate countries, with Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Tse Tung each having their own forces in the field, fighting each other as much as they fought the Japanese. Because of that, and because of Mao's Communist ideology, an alliance between China (where Mao did not yet have actual political power) and the Soviets would have been impossible, even given the fact that China was allied with the US and the US was allied with the USSR. I'm not sure how you work around that. A split of China into two separate countries, one Communist and one not, would do it, but then such a split would not be possible as long as China was still under Japanese occupation.

    T.H. White deals with the war in China in his book In Search of History. You may also want to check out Forgotten Ally: China's World War II, 1937-1945 by Rana Mitter when it comes out in September and The Chinese Army 1937-49: World War II and Civil War (Men-at-Arms) by Philip Jowett and Stephen Walsh. Also, Nomonhan, 1939: The Red Army's Victory That Shaped World War II by Stuart D. Goldman. With this kind of subject, books may be a better resource than the internet.

    If you're interested in an example of "alternative history" for this time period, you may want to check out Phillip Roth's novel, The Plot Against America.

    It sounds like an interesting idea. Good luck with it.
     
  5. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Make D day an utter failure. That changes everything.
     
  6. huntsman40
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    huntsman40 Active Member

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    If I was going to do a split point, or use something as a reason for the war going longer i would likely pick either the battle for Stalingrad or D-Day. It's been more than twenty years since I studied history, but those were very significant moments. Stalingrad was the stalling of the German's eastern front, and of course everyone knows what D-Day was. I would think either of those could provide food for thought, but plenty of other ideas as well I'm sure.
     
  7. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Whilst I half agree with you, understand also that Cogito is expressing his own opinion of the subject matter.

    Anyway, as for the OP's problem, as WWII is a popular 'turning point' for alternate universes anyway, I would suggest looking at a more obscure turning point than, say, Hitler's suicide. But if you do decide to use a popular turning point, then make it your own. Twist it. Change it so it becomes interesting for your reader, and not simply 'the complete opposite thing happened instead' kinda thing.
     
  8. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not exactly sure the Nazis died out, maybe not official govt sponsored Nazis but Neo Nazis are rife in America as well as Europe. Apart from these white supremacists the 1944 Nazis only stopped when their commander died. Id someone else took Hitler's reigns would they have continued?

    Looking at your Russian/Chinese superpower, you only have to look at the news today. These 2 Nations have completely saved Assad's ass in Syria so they have already combined and stuck a finger up to the West. The Russians have delivered ground to air missiles while the West are trying to arm the rebels, the Chinese are defending the actions of the Russians.

    History repeats itself - I'm sure you can find many examples or take some inspiration from today's events.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    He received one. I believe it's more important, and more useful, to shift someone's way of thinking than to feed poor writing habits.

    Deferring to others for writing decisions is a bad writing habit.
     
  10. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Cog, I agree with you. But I interpreted the OP as asking for help in understanding the history. He seems to have a pretty good handle on what he wants to accomplish, how his story should go, but he needs help in finding the correct point in history at which it might have plausibly happened. I don't see any harm in pointing him in the right direction for finding the answers he'll need to make his decision.

    Alternative historical fiction is an interesting concept, but in my opinion, very hard to get right. The writer's premise has to be fully plausible at the moment in history being presented, and then the story that follows has to be completely logical, given the premise. So, for example, Nee's suggestion, above, would not, in my opinion, be realistic because, given the array of forces marshaled by the allies, D-Day could not have been an utter failure, even if Hitler had released the forces being held in reserve at the Pas de Calais. It just would have begun the process of delay a little sooner, and in fact might have accelerated allied plans for breaking out. The OP's basic historical problem is that the USSR didn't declare war on Japan until the war in Europe was over and Japan itself was in the last throes of defeat. Hence, an alliance with China, even had it been possible, was not necessary.

    As I'm thinking about it, Communist China and the USSR were mutually supportive for a time after Mao took power in 1949. If I were the OP, I think I would look to the causes of the schism between them in the 1950s as a possible starting point. And the most likely source for that kind of information is in academic journals and the archives of international publications.
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Have you noticed how many new members here don't stick around? It's rare there is only one way to express an opinion. You might have known what Cog meant. I think I did. But if I were a new writer, very young, or even just new to the forum, that answer is unlikely to convey the information intended. That's why I asked, why bother?

    I start a lot of replies but when I find I can't answer adequately, I delete it. If all you have time to write is a drive-by, then maybe it's better to pass, let someone else answer.

    There are a lot of forum members who are fairly young. Young people ask different questions than older people. Young people, and new writers regardless of age sometimes need guidance. Answering so many new member inquiries with something that sounds like*, 'it's your problem, don't ask us' might be appropriate in some situations, especially if you know the person well or it's truly one of those, 'give me a plot' questions.

    Here's another way to say, "It's your story, and that decision seems like it could be very important to the story," without it sounding like a snub:

    Research the actual history and the mechanics will be apparent, but think about the what you are trying to say, what are the characters' goals? There's a difference between recounting history, even fictional history, and writing a good story. Consider what the changed war outcome means, don't just write what happens.

    In other words, look at WWII history to find the answer but consider how that split where your story diverges from actual history affects your characters, affects the story. What's different about your historical account? Everything in the story should tie in to the theme. If it doesn't then it's just an account. If it does then you might be writing a story worth telling.



    *Note I said "sounds like" not "was".


    See what a more adequate answer your is compared to Cog's? :)



    Do you believe that is what your answer conveyed? Think the message you wrote was one the reader understood? How useful an answer is depends on what message is heard, not just what message was intended.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not going to ride this merry-go-round with you again, Ginger.
     
  13. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Thomas addressed my comment and I felt I needed to further elaborate on my reaction to your post. Whether you take anything away from my comments is up to you.

    For the record, there's no need for any merry-go-round of further debate. All that needs to be said has been said.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Right...
     
  15. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Ginge...you have rather strong opinions yourself, and I disagree with both of you about half the time--well, maybe a little more than half the time with you--but, I don't demand that you or Cog phrase your opinions in a way I find acceptable.

    Part of what make someone's opinion their own is how they choose to phrase it.

    And it is my opinion that anyone who has a problem with the way other writers choose to write about their opinion, may have a problem that can not be helped (or dealt with) on a forum dedicated to the art and the act of writing.
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's getting a bit off topic. What I've already said speaks for itself.

    As for people having the right to speak their mind, of course they do. So what limits are you suggesting? That others cannot comment on the way something was worded if they have something to say about it?
     
  17. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Cognitive disconnect in action.
     
  18. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    The argument about voicing an 'opinion' on this forum seems to boil down to one factor : are you being dismissive, or persuasive? Persuasiveness makes people understand your point of view. Dismissiveness just creates antagonism and/or humiliation. I reckon it's all down to tone.
     
  19. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmmm, does the change HAVE to be during WW2? You could work with something funkier, like the Space Race.
     
  20. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    My own thought is that the change CAN'T take place during the war, at least not as long as Nazi Germany is in existence. The USSR was never going to fight a two-front war.
     
  21. Nikolay
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    Nikolay Member

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    Unite China and USSR, if you're still there.
    I see in that intention to write in Allied victory history an intention to reduce all merits, and say shorter, all heroes of a winner's victory.
    It's an attempt to support American version of victory and winners, if so, don't separate China and USSR. At least.
     
  22. skistovasti
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    skistovasti Member

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    Uniting China and the USSR is my biggest plan. thanks to some of the post here, I'm currently researching exactly why their relations went so sour, so that I can fix them. I've decided that Leo Szilard will die in a car crash on September 13, 1938 to prevent him from sending the Einstein–Szilárd letter. The July 20th plot'll work(and happen in late 1943), leaving someone who knows what they're doing in charge, letting Nazi Germany fight into the late 40's. After Japan falls in 1946 thanks to the American invasion of Japan, Soviet Forces wipe out the Japanese in Manchuria, then assist the Chinese rebels against their enemies, leading to a Communist victory. Afterwards, D-day happens in 1947, a chain reaction happens that leads to the military defeat of Nazi Germany. Instead of Soviet forces invading Germany, it'll be a combination of British, the Polish Free Army(because I like the Poles, they kicked ass), and others(but not America, though the USAAF was a major player).
     
  23. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    My only criticism of your plan is that as long as Nazi Germany has troops in the field, there is no way the USSR looks east, and especially not to let the Poles and British finish the job. The fighting between the two was arguably the most vicious of the war. Keep in mind, also, that the stinging defeat at Port Arthur in 1905 was still in recent Russian military memory, the change of regime notwithstanding.
     
  24. Nikolay
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    Nikolay Member

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    Soviet forces never invaded Germany, they killed invaders till the end.
    East Germany have had zones under Soviet and British jurisdiction straightly after war, though.
    To say clear, soldiers of other armies were fighting against nazis too.
     
  25. skistovasti
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    skistovasti Member

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    Very true, very true. Hm. How would you recommend fixing that?

    Maybe, thanks to Pyrrhic American victory at the Battle of Midway(resulting in the sinking of the USS Yorktown and USS Enterprise), the Great Marinas Turkey Shoot never happening, and Admiral Yamamoto never being killed, the Pacific theatre can be extended a few years longer, which will end a good year or two after the end of the European theater. My line of thinking with the Brits and Poles was that the Werhmacht, with their newer, more competent superiors, were able to push the Russians back, with massive casualties on both sides (though for the Reds it was much, much more numerous thanks to the surrounding and destruction of several major Red Army divisions, notably the 7th Panzer division completely wiping out the 8th Guards Army with minor casualties, and the infamous "Wikings" holding off a massive Soviet counterattack. This led to the Soviets desperately needing manpower, manpower that Communist China would be happy to provide if they were to help out. I know, this is stretching it extremely thin, but what do you think?
     

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