If It Had Happened Otherwise

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If It Had Happened Otherwise (ISBN 028397821X) is a 1931 collection of essays edited by J. C. Squire and published by Longmans, Green. Each essay in the collection could be considered alternate history or counterfactual history, a few written by leading historians of the period and one by Winston Churchill.


The original edition included the following essays:[1]

  • "If Lee Had Not Won the Battle of Gettysburg" by Winston Churchill: This essay is written from the viewpoint of a historian in a world where the Confederacy won the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War. Although the Confederate States of America achieves independence, the British Empire becomes a broker between the USA and CSA, resulting in an eventual unification of all three as the "English Speaking Association", which prevents World War I.[3]
  • "If Napoleon Had Escaped to America" by H. A. L. Fisher: Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from his exile in St. Helena and liberates most of Central America and South America from Spanish and Portuguese rule.
  • "If the Moors in Spain Had Won" by Philip Guedalla: Islamic Granada survives as a separate political entity, weakening Spain from the late fifteenth century onward, but resulting in a liberal humanist brand of Islam, the adoption of constitutional monarchy, and Spanish participation on the Central Powers' side during World War I against Granada and the Allies.
  • "If the General Strike Had Succeeded" by Ronald Knox: This essay is in the form of an article from The Times of 1931, which discloses the outcome as Great Britain under communist rule.
  • "If the Emperor Frederick Had Not Had Cancer" by Emil Ludwig: German Emperor Frederick III survives, and with his wife, Princess Victoria, rules a liberal humanist Germany where their son never succumbs to militarism, due to the long-term benign effects of this scenario. Therefore, World War I never happens in this world.
  • "If Louis XVI Had Had an Atom of Firmness" by André Maurois: As with Hilaire Belloc's essay above, this posits Louis XVI as retaining the French throne and averting the French Revolution. However, in this version of French history, he makes necessary financial and constitutional reforms beforehand that prevent the circumstances that led to the revolution, and result in the survival of France as a constitutional monarchy into the twentieth century.
  • "If Byron Had Become King of Greece" by Harold Nicolson.
  • "If It Had Been Discovered in 1930 that Bacon Really Did Write Shakespeare" by J. C. Squire.
  • "If Booth Had Missed Lincoln" by Milton Waldman: In this world, Lincoln is charged with mismanaging the recently concluded Civil War, and there is repeated friction between Lincoln and a hostile US federal Congress. Before Congress can impeach him in 1867, however, Lincoln dies, discredited and castigated as a spendthrift warmonger.

Revised edition[edit]

A revised edition with the alternate title If: or, History Rewritten was also released by the American publisher Viking in 1931, deleting Ronald Knox's essay and adding one new essay along with reprints of two older ones:

  • "If the Dutch Had Kept Nieuw Amsterdam" by Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • "If: A Jacobite Fantasy" by Charles Petrie (1926): In this universe, Charles Edward Stuart ("Bonnie Prince Charlie") won the Battle of Culloden in 1745, resulting in Hanoverian flight back to their home German province. James Francis Edward Stuart (son of James II of England, or the "Old Pretender") is restored to the British throne as "James III", but proves conciliatory in terms of religion and government. When "Bonnie Prince Charlie" succeeds his father as Charles III in 1766, his adroit diplomatic skills prevent the American Revolution through sharing his own dislike for the House of Commons with his American counterparts. Henry Benedict Stuart succeeds his childless brother in 1788, as "Henry IX". In this world, he never entered the clergy and was able to father surviving children, so the Stuart dynasty effectively displaces that of the Hanoverians from that point on.[4]
  • "If Napoleon Had Won the Battle of Waterloo" by G. M. Trevelyan (1907): In this world, Great Britain becomes a reactionary dictatorship wracked with political instability in the early nineteenth century, dealing with the trauma of defeat and reparations, resulting in the censorship of much of English Romanticism. France governs much of Europe, and Napoleon eventually dies of old age.[5]

See also[edit]

Among many other works of alternate-history science fiction:


  1. ^ Uchronia Entry
  2. ^ "If Don John of Austria had Married Mary Queen of Scots" by G. K. Chesterton (scroll to bottom of page)
  3. ^ "If Lee Had Not Won the Battle of Gettysburg" by Winston Churchill. Reprinted in Wisconsin Magazine of History: Volume 44, number 4, summer, 1961.
  4. ^ "If: A Jacobite Fantasy" by Charles Petrie
  5. ^ "If Napoleon had Won the Battle of Waterloo" by G. M. Trevalyan at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 2009)