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The Buffalo Bill Wild West Show nearly changed the course of history and saved 90m people.

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posted on May, 6 2012 @ 11:07 AM
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People in the future will look back on the 20th century and see the rise and fall of Communism and Fascism, they will see 2 World Wars from which humanity is still recoiling from the horror of. They will see industrialisation of China and India. The fall of the British Empire from the long standing by and far the most powerful country in the world to a European Union state struggling in the face of the rise of the east.

And they will attribute this to the political ideals and enlightenment of millions of people, huge advances in technology.Largely the actions of major figures such as CEO's, activists, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Premiers and generals. They will point out how the World Wars were decided at the gates of Moscow, at Midway, over the English Channel and in the fields of France. Truly a century written in blood.

However, this is not always the case. Sometimes it is the most unlikely, and in some people's opinions unqualified of people who held the entire fate of the human race in their hands and their actions, or inactions will echo throughout the entirety of human history. In this case I want to talk about Annie Oakley, and the below is an actual event which did take place which could have changed everything.

Annie Oakley was a legendary sharpshooter who was the star of the "Buffalo Bill Wild West Show". She was so good, she could even shoot the cork out of a champagne bottle at 20 feet. The show was quite varied and had many acts from hunting and battle renactments, rope tricks, animal shows, and most relevantly- trick shooting.

The popularity of Wild West shows had exploded worldwide, and weren't long confined to Buffalo Bill's Oklahoma venue and at the turn of the 20th century he was well known as the most reputable showman in the entire world.

I digress. In 1890, the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show was touring Europe. One of the staunch fans of the show was a young Friedrich Wilhelm II, later to become Kaiser Wilhelm II who dragged France, and thus Britain and thus the world into World War 1. He had been to several runs of the show already, and was especially fascinated by Annie Oakley's shooting.

One night when Annie was doing her routine, she asked for a volunteer from the audience who would be happy to hold a cigar in their mouth from which she would shoot the ashes. Usually the request was just met with laughter and her husband Frank Butler would begrudgingly be put in the firing line. But tonight was different.

A voice from the Royal box pipes up from a young Friedrich Wilhelm II, eager to put her abilities to the test. Now, she was in a difficult situation. She couldn't deny his request as it certainly wouldn't instill any confidence in her legendary abilities and lack an expected degree of showmanship. On the other hand, this was the Crown Prince of Germany. No doubt a mistake here would end Annie's career, and probably her life too. She smiles with her usual swagger and invites the Prince down to the stage.

The Royal Guards realised that this wasn't just one of Friedrich's jokes and that he was deadly serious about going through with this. They moved to intervene however his father, then Kaiser Frederick III told them not to, that if it was what the Prince wanted to do, they shouldn't get in the way. Giving, perhaps, a little too much faith in Annie's abilities.

He lit up a cigar, took a few puffs sharing a bit of banter with Annie (He spoke fluent English) before standing on horizontally to her, cigar in mouth. She took a few paces before turning around. She levelled her sights and after tense few moments, pulled the trigger.

What happened next set the stage for the rest of modern human history. If the bullet had landed squarely in Willhelm's temple, killing him instantly then there would not have been a World War 1. As a result there would not have been a World War 2 as there would have been no Treaty of Versailles and no sentiment by which Hitler could have been voted into power.

Further than this though, Lenin would have remained in prison. Meaning no Russian Revolution. Karl Marx would be a writer only a select few students would learn about in philosophy class. No Russian Revolution would have meant no Chinese revolution and maybe today we would have the Republic of China ruling the whole country, not just Taiwan. Monarchy's would have remained the status quo.

Europe would still be the center of the world as America would remain largely backwards isolationists and would pale in comparison to the bold, powerful British and French Empire who wouldn't bankrupt themselves twice in the next 60 years through fighting wars. They would retain their colonial holdings across Africa and Asia.

Perhaps to even greater consequence, we would have been spared the deaths of the 20,000,000 people who died in World War 1, and the 72,000,000 who died in World War 2. Out of those, how many of those contained the next Einstein, Wright Brothers or Newton? Or had the potential to have children with those qualities.

This would have also meant no Israel as there would never have been a holocaust. An event which made Europe's previous vibrant Jewish community almost now non-existent.

Would there have ever been any nuclear weapons without any world wars? Massive advances in rocketry, radar, communications, medicine and so on were all because of World War 2. Would we have computers if Alan Turing didn't have to father them in response to German ambitions?

The world wars made the world weary of mass conflict, and the other wars we have had in the 20th century were minuscule in scope compared to those of the previous 500 years. Would we go to war over slight differences and disputes as we did in the 19th century today if we hadn't been mortified in World War 2 by what human beings can do to one another?

But of course, the bullet flew true and the tip of the cigar exploded in a flash of embers. She was met with a standing ovation and instead of being taken to a morgue, Friedrich retook his seat to enjoy the rest of the show.

And this is just one such example throughout history. It's such a strange state set of coincidences that set us on our current course. And the only reason that we are in our impossibly unlikely situation is because "Something had to happen." Sometimes the biggest changes can be brought on by the smallest changes.

At the onset of World War 1, Annie realised what her meeting with the Kaiser may have wrought. She even went as far as to send him a letter, asking if she could take another shot.

The Kaiser never replied.
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posted on May, 6 2012 @ 11:30 AM
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reply to post by sajuek
 

Remember Quantum Leap, the TV show? Just jump 'into' Annie Oakley and pull the bullet a few inches over.

Another what if...Sirhan Sirhan, who later killed Robert Kennedy, wanted to be a jockey. Yet a horse threw him or tripped or something, and he hurt himself, thus setting Sirhan off on a new future track. Of course if the horse hadn't stepped in a hole, or buckled, Sirhan would have been a jockey and RFK elected President of the U.S., and the Vietnam War would have ended, no Watergate would have happened, and a million other things would have changed. Nixon to China? Probably RFK would have done it sooner.

edit on 6-5-2012 by Aleister because: edit



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 11:50 AM
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Wow, this was absolutely mind blowing! Amazing what damage small events can do.

This reminds me of the plot of the Movie, The Butterfly Effect. Except in that instance the main character ( Ashton Kutcher) wasn't a person with as much influence as Wilhelm.



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 11:54 AM
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reply to post by sajuek
 


I don't think you can say that the World Wars would not have happened. There was more behind them than just the existence of one man. I think these events would have been somewhat inevatble.




Annie Oakley was a legendary sharpshooter who was the star of the "Buffalo Bill Wild West Show". She was so good, she could even shoot the cork out of a champagne bottle at 20 feet.


I can do that with a bow and arrow at that distance, btw.

Cool story though.

edit on 6-5-2012 by RandomEsotericScreenname because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 12:01 PM
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OP has clearly read the "What If?" books, as this is word-for-word from one of the articles between essays in (I think) the second installment



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 12:10 PM
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reply to post by Kolya
 


WWI was inevitable with the number of mutual defense pacts they had floating around. That it started because of an Austrian war against the relative backwater of Serbia (the result of Franz Ferdinand's assassination) Shows that it doesn't really have much to do with Wilhelm. Wilhelm was an important part of the war effort and the morale of the troops though, and perhaps if he had not been at the helm Germany would have surrendered sooner and on more favorable terms, or perhaps they would have won the war. If either of those divergences came about from a lack of Wilhelm II then WWII would have a much lower probability, as the crushing impositions of the treaty of Versailles could have been avoided.

You're right that the death of Wilhelm II there would have have resounding knock on effects, but it wouldn't prevent WWI. WWI would be quite different however, and the effects from that would be hard to predict.



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 12:31 PM
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reply to post by RandomEsotericScreenname
 


I am actually quite confident that without Kaiser Wilhelm II there wouldn't have been a World War 1. He was the end of dynasty with only Prince Henry as a suitable heir, who was far less radical and more suitable as a successor to Otto von Bismark than Wilhelm II.

Wilhelm pursued a nationalist, and expansionist foreign policy which largely upset the fine balance Bismark has created through his careful politicing some 40 years before. Evidenced by the fact that the first thing Wilhelm II did as Kaiser was force Bismark to resign as chancellor and to grant himself more executive powers.

Before he took power, German relations were actually really good with Great Britain. He was the favoured grandson of Queen Victoria, and in the UK was actually very popular for a time. That was until it was he who decreed that Germany should impose itself on the European stage, seek a colonial empire and start an arms race with Great Britain and France which was meant relations greatly deteriorated and Germany was no longer a friend.

He was a Prussian through and through. And that macho-militaristic disposition rang true in all of his political dealings. Austria-Hungary was the only ally Willhelm could find on the continent, and he signed a lot of treaties a sounder man would have bawlked and he was driven by perception of German supremacy. Something his brother did not see.

The Sarajevo assassinations didn't even have to lead to war, Willhelm resisted all attempts at mediation. As though war would have been favourable. Most importantly, Wilhelm II stated publicly that it was ‘now or never for Austria to deal the Serbs’, which led to Austria-Hungary being pressured into declaring war on Russia on August 6, thus escalating a localised conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia into a European war.

Not only that, but in other countries too the only reason there was such pro-war sentiment was because of Wilhelm's belligerency. I believe, had a more reasonable man been in power, namely Prince Henry, World War 1 would have been averted.



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 12:32 PM
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Originally posted by Kolya
OP has clearly read the "What If?" books, as this is word-for-word from one of the articles between essays in (I think) the second installment


It shares some concepts. But it is hardly word for word and draws different conclusions.



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 12:46 PM
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reply to post by sajuek
 


I didn't really know that much about Wilhelm, but with what you presented it would make sense if WWI was avoided or ended sooner if he was out of the picture. I thought that Russia declared war on Austria as part of the mutual defense pact with Serbia though?



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 12:49 PM
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I think that its pretty well accepted that the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand was the main cause of WW1.



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 12:52 PM
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reply to post by Juggernog
 


It is no doubt. But if the players were different then it wouldn't have degenerated into a World War.



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 12:55 PM
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reply to post by Mkoll
 


It was Austria-Hungary who declared war on Russia, and demanded France's neutrality. France declined and declared war on Austria. In response, Germany declared war on both Russia and France. Great Britain got involved a few months later. As the war grew in scope, more countries such as the Ottoman Empire and Italy got pulled into it too.

Italy was actually originally a Central Power, but threw in its cards with the Allies as it saw the Central Powers as being the belligerents.



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 01:49 PM
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Originally posted by sajuek
If the bullet had landed squarely in Willhelm's temple, killing him instantly then there would not have been a World War 1. As a result there would not have been a World War 2 as there would have been no Treaty of Versailles and no sentiment by which Hitler could have been voted into power.


Interesting story but you can't say the Wilhelm II was solely responsible for WWI. Wilhelm didn't have anything to do with the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand and what brought about the war was the alliances of the two initial combatants (Austria-Hungary and Serbia) and their partners (Germany on one side and Britain, France, Russia on the other).

Fact is, the causes of WWI were many and varied and cannot be boiled down to a single item. Nationalism, imperialism and militarism prevalent at the time was a factor and Wilhelm II is certainly guilty of these aspects of it.

en.wikipedia.org...



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