World War Ii

World War Ii

Allowed many colonial and imperial issues to remain unresolved, shaping a different geopolitical landscape compared to the post-World War II era in our history


No single 'world war' drawn in all major powers

Key events

Regional conflicts and colonial wars in Africa and Asia • Tensions between the Russian Empire and Japan in East Asia

Time period

1930s to 1950s

World War Ii

In the alternative timeline, the period from the 1930s to the 1950s was marked by a series of regional conflicts and colonial wars, but did not see the emergence of a single, global "World War II" comparable to the cataclysmic struggle that unfolded in our own history. While tensions flared between various European powers and Japan, these conflicts remained largely localized, with no single event drawing in all the major powers into a truly worldwide war.

Colonial Rivalries and Regional Conflicts

The seeds of this series of regional conflicts were sown in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as the major European colonial powers - Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, and Portugal - competed for control over territories in Africa and Asia. These colonial rivalries, coupled with nationalist and anti-colonial movements in the occupied lands, led to a number of smaller-scale wars and uprisings throughout the interwar period.

In East Asia, the growing imperial ambitions of the Japanese Empire led to conflicts with the Russian Empire over control of Manchuria and other strategic territories. This culminated in the Russo-Japanese War of 1938-1940, a brutal but geographically confined struggle that ended in a stalemate but did not escalate into a wider conflagration.

Similarly, in Europe, tensions between the major powers over colonial possessions and spheres of influence sparked intermittent conflicts, such as the Greco-Italian War of 1940-1941 and the Polish-German War of 1943. However, these remained limited in scope and did not coalesce into an all-encompassing world war.

Lack of a Global Conflict

The absence of a true "world war" during this period can be attributed to several factors:

  1. The colonial powers, while jockeying for position, ultimately proved unwilling to risk a catastrophic, total war that could threaten the integrity of their empires.

  2. No single power or alliance emerged with the capability and ambition to forcibly unite the world under its dominion, as Nazi Germany attempted in our timeline.

  3. The rise of nationalism and anti-colonialism movements in occupied territories made the colonial systems increasingly unstable and difficult to defend, discouraging the powers from risking an all-out struggle.

  4. The lack of a unifying global conflict prevented the emergence of institutions like the United Nations that could have provided a framework for collective security and conflict resolution.

Lasting Colonial Tensions

Without a "great reckoning" of World War II to reshape the global order, many of the colonial tensions and unresolved nationalist aspirations that had fueled the regional conflicts remained. This would continue to be a source of instability and conflict in the decades that followed.

The decolonization process unfolded in a more piecemeal, drawn-out fashion, often marked by protracted wars of independence. Former colonial powers clung tenaciously to their possessions, while newly independent states jockeyed for position in the resulting power vacuum.

The lack of a dominant superpower like the United States also meant the postwar period lacked the same degree of bipolar geopolitical competition that defined the Cold War in our history. Instead, the world evolved into a more multipolar system, with shifting alliances and a greater degree of autonomy for newly emergent nations.

Ultimately, the absence of a cataclysmic World War II in this timeline has produced a geopolitical landscape markedly different from the one we inhabit. While avoiding the devastation of global total war, it has left many long-standing colonial and nationalist conflicts unresolved - with consequences that continue to reverberate in the present day.