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An entire channel dedicated to the "What If?". Using knowledge of geography, population and other historical facts I predict what could have happened had things gone differently in history.
Official channel description

Alternate History Hub is, as the quote suggests, a YouTube channel created by Cody Franklin that is dedicated to Alternate History scenarios. In addition, Cody makes videos discussing the lore of popular franchises like Fallout or The Man in the High Castle and what would happen if various pop culture scenarios would happen in real life. Another feature is his "Contro-History" videos, which takes the Alternate History approach to various controversial subjects.

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You can find Cody's Twitter here. He also has two alternate channels: one hosted by him and his brother Tyler, "Knowledge Hub", which discusses other topics like geography, flags, pop culture stuff, and other things that would not fit into the main channel, and a podcast channel called So That Happened.

Cody has also written his own alternate history novel, The Atlantropa Articles.


Tropes appearing in this channel include:

  • Alternate History: The main theme of the channel.
  • Alternate Techline: Posits that if the internet never happened, the main driving force in computer tech would be portable storage, since there'd be no way to download data. Also, modern cellphones would more closely resemble mini-laptops, as the lack of web pages to browse would make touchscreens unnecessary.
  • Atlantis: The topic of What if Atlantis Was Real? In this timeline, the Atlantean empire forms on a continent in the middle of the Atlantic a thousand years before the rest of humanity even develops agriculture. They rule the Atlantic world, setting up colonies and expelling the natives, inevitably butterflying away the existence of people like the Spanish, British, Italians, and Polish. After Atlantis is destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami, the empire collapses, but the culture it leaves behind forms the basis for many in their former lands.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor:
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    • In a video sponsored by the The Purge TV show, Cody deconstructs and explains why the Purge will never happen in Real Life.
    • He does this again in another video on why the Earth won't have the tech and manpower to fight the aliens after the events of Independence Day, sponsored by the Independence Day: Resurgence mobile game.
  • Black and Grey Morality: In one scenario, Cody explores what would have happened if Leon Trotsky had come to power after Lenin's death instead of Joseph Stalin. He points out that while Stalin and his policies were certainly terrible, Leon Trotsky was also a fanatic willing to kill for communist ideology. Cody concludes Leon Trotsky would have led the Soviet Union down that path of jingoism by spreading communist ideology everywhere through military action, potentially even triggering World War II by scaring the hell out of the West.
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  • Blah Blah Blah: in his video on swords, he mentions that the invention of the printing press caused the spread of books teaching sword fighting skills. He shows an image of a book that has "Blah blah blah" on it with pictures of sword stuff.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: The Trope Maker is discussed in "What if France didn't Surrender in World War II", and is actually somewhat justified: Cody points out that by the time France surrendered, it had already lost all of its best soldiers (either captured or dead) and that fighting on past this point only brings on Nazi retaliation. In particular, it's theorized that Paris would have had the same fate as Warsaw (being bombarded by Nazi artillery and airstrikes until almost nothing was left).
  • Crapsack World: One gradually comes into fruition in the four-parter "What if Germany Won World War II?" Assuming the best case scenario plays out for the Nazis, they successfully dominate Europe, transforming nations like Britain and France into puppet states. Poland, Ukraine, and most of Russia are assimilated by Germany, with over 50 million of their people dead as a result of the hunger plan, and the survivors either enslaved or "Germanized," their history and culture eradicated. Each generation born in Germany becomes more and more fanatical and xenophobic, sacrificing their individuality for the prosperity of the state, ready to kill and destroy their perceived enemies. The nations around the world now have to accept the existence of Nazi Germany, and thus fascism ends up playing a much larger and more pivotal role in shaping mankind's future.
  • Crossover:
    • Cody had one with the The Great War which focuses on the failed Schlieffen Plan and he guesses on what would happened if the plan succeeded.
    • He and Emperor Tigerstar did a 4-part series detailing Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191 books and how this alternate timeline is different from ours.
    • Cody makes a surprise cameo in History Buffs near the end of Nick Hodges review of Apocalypto where he "tries" to help explain to Nick over one of the movie's jarring plot points, particularly how the Spanish could have encountered the Classic Mayan civilization hundreds of years much earlier than they did in Real Life which when they actually did came to South America, the Classic Mayan civilization have collapsed.
    • Cody makes another cameo on Extra History on their video on the Articles of Confederation to advertise his what-if scenario on what if the Articles were kept? Dan returns the favor by appearing at the end of Cody's video.
    • Cody does a collaboration with The Cynical Historian on The Election That Ruined Everything (And If It Never Happened) which is a follow up on the latter's criticisms on Woodrow Wilson.
  • Darkest Africa: In the timeline presented in What if Africa was never colonized?, Central Africa remains largely tribal and underdeveloped, surrounded by large coastal kingdoms.
    • He also subverts it in the scenario on "What if the Sahara was green?" The lack of the Sahara desert meant the Roman Empire and other early European nations could've interacted much more with Africa beyond the North Africa shores.
  • Divided States of America: In both What if America had a King? and What if we kept the Articles of Confederation?, the early United States ends up fracturing and splitting up.
    • Many other scenarios, such as What if Cars Never Existed? feature a downplayed example of this trope where United States continues to exist as a single entity, but states wield more power than the federal government and American citizens identify themselves as Texans, New Yorkers, New Englanders etc. rather than as Americans.
  • Dystopia: Cody explores the concept in Utopia is Dystopia with Thomas More's novel. While it's presented as a perfect society, it contains elements that have since been incorporated into many modern dystopian works: communal living, slavery, a lack of privacy, lifetime leaders, etc. He also points out that, even with today's problems, we can't simply say we've entered a Dystopia. It's not just a bad society, but one that's completely inescapable, undefeatable, and nobody would even realize anything is wrong with it.
    • Also touched upon in his video "Worlds That Didn't Make the Cut," where he discusses how one person's version of a Utopia can be another person's Dystopia. For example, Herman Sörgel's vision of the Atlantropa Project was one that would ensure peace and prosperity for Europe, but would inevitably have to ensure 19th-century imperialism would carry on, ensuring the assimilation and even eradication of much of Africa for the project.
  • Eagle Land: When the United States is personified, it's always as a blue person with aviator sunglasses. Cody himself is American and makes plenty of jokes that poke fun at the U.S.
  • Fantastic Racism: Inverted in What if (X-men) Mutants were Real? Instead of mutantkind being oppressed second-class citizens, they would be the ones on top. Being on an entirely different level of strength and power from humankind, mutants would be the ones who decide the fate of nations and shape the course of history. Normal humans, meanwhile, would be little more than a Slave Race subject to the whims of which ever mutant leader is in power.
  • For Want of a Nail: A lot of videos change one specific thing and see what happens. For example, what if Trotsky had taken control of the Soviet Union instead of Stalin?
    • One of the most significant changes he talks about is in What if the Fourth Plane hit its target? (9/11) He brings up the fact that, the only reason we see the White House and the Capitol Building today, both possible targets, is because Flight 93's takeoff was delayed by 40 minutes.
    • What if the Soviets Never Invaded Afghanistan? Cody proposes that even if the communist revolution in Afghanistan was delayed by just a few years, such as 1985, Afghanistan is spared 40 years of war, Al Qaeda doesn't control the country, and a 9/11-style attack on the U.S. is highly unlikely. In our timeline, the Soviet politician who ordered the Soviets to invade Afghanistan died 2 years later. By 1985, Gorbachev would've been in power, and he never would've sent the military in.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • What if Texas lost its revolution? Easy answer: it couldn't have. No matter what divergence takes place, Texas would have not been able to remain a Mexican state (though Cody does mention the minor chance it being a rump state between its two neighbors). However, he does propose the fascinating possibility of Texas surviving long enough to ally or join the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War (which in turn, could likely bring Mexico onto the side of the Union...)
    • What if Lincoln Was Never Assassinated? American history in the long term would still remain the same even if Abraham Lincoln lived. Lincoln was guarantee to ensure black civil rights (though he wanted to give educated and combat veteran blacks the vote), but his survival doesn't mean the end of racial discrimination and blacks would still be segregated under the Jim Crow laws. The only differences is that the South would take much longer to fall back into the Union due to the Southerners' hatred of Lincoln, and Lincoln never agreed with the Radical Republicans' plans for Reconstruction.
    • What if the 'War on Terror' never happened? Everything we experience today- the 2008 recession, the Arab Spring, the rise of Islamic extremism, a civil war in Iraq, the refugee crisis- all of that would've still happened, just a few years later. These events had been building up for decades and 9/11 was simply the spark that ignited the powder keg. The biggest changes are simply that America never launches a full invasion of any Middle Eastern country and Saddam Hussein remains in power.
    • What if Germany had invaded Britain? Concludes that the goal of forcing a surrender was unlikely, German troops would be stranded on the island and the mission would be a complete failure, even if all of Hitler's conditions were met and Germany's pathetic navy had everything in their favour.
    • What if the State of Deseret was founded? It would just be a really large US state, pretty much exactly like Utah.
    • What if Japan won the Battle of Midway? They would still get mowed down by the American presence on the island, still ensuring that they lose the Pacific War. Simply put, Japan never had a chance at beating the U.S.
    • Would German Jets Have Changed WWII? Even if Hitler had not interfered and allowed all of the German Air Force Jets to be made into fighter planes instead of bombers, Germany would still be defeated by the Allies since the latter had more fuel, resources and planes while the former was suffering a shortage of fuel and materials needed to make new jets.
    • What if France didn't Surrender in World War II? France would still be conquered and, consequently, its cities such as Paris are reduced to ruins by the German military.
    • What if the Communists Lost the Chinese Civil War? China would still be an authoritarian one-party state, and global economic power under the Kuomintang. As Cody points out that the Kuomintang grew from a "pro-democracy" entity into a domineering unitary state not so different from the Communists. The major differences is that a Nationalist China would ensure the Korean War and Vietnam War to end in communist defeat, the Cultural Revolution never happens and the old Chinese culture and ideals are preserved.
    • What if the Fourth Plane hit its Target? (9/11) While it would change the perception of the attack on the country, along with its effects on culture, the United States and the world ultimately carry on like normal. The biggest change is likely a more extreme War on Terror.
    • What if there was an 8th continent? Surprisingly, even with another continent, human history doesn't really change up until the 13th century, when the Polynesians arrive and grow in population by the thousands. It isn't until Europe makes contact with them 500 years later, when the continent is colonized by the British, that history truly starts to shift.
  • Invisible Anatomy: Characters are drawn with no visible arms or legs.
  • Middle Eastern Coalition: Well, beyond the coalition What if the Middle East had unified? presents the scenario on if Britain remained true to their initial deal with the Hashemites and presented a unified Arabia. However, despite this, it would not necessarily be peaceful. Granted, the Hashemites would be in charge rather than the House of Saud, (see the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as a general direction.) However, the Arab state is largely shaped by struggles between differing ideologies regarding tradition, liberalizing or so on (due to the Cold War.) Cody has admitted the most likely one would be of Hashemite Arabia being in the NATO sphere and modernizing over a long period of time, thus reducing the chance of reactionary back lash. He has also mentioned that the Baathists could take over as a form of "third way" and set them in conflict against the remaining Sauds and other reactionaries. However, the biggest change is that the region could see actual social progress and change rather than setbacks and reactionary movements. He did mention religious extremists would still exist, but without the funding they recieve in OTL, they are much less prominent.
  • Monumental Damage: In What if France didn't Surrender in World War II?, Parisian monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and the Notre-Dame Cathedral are destroyed by the German military in stark contrast to their real-life counterparts which survived because France chose to surrender rather than being reduce to rubble by the Germans.
  • No Swastikas: Due to YouTube's demonetization policy, as of the video What if Mussolini Remade the Roman Empire?, all Swastikas on the channel are being replaced with other symbols; first smiley faces, and then (as of What if Russia was Never Invaded During WWII? with YouTube Play Buttons.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: In What if Dragons Existed?, dragons would be hunted to extinction due to being a threat to humanity.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: In The Election That Ruined Everything (And If It Never Happened), Theodore Roosevelt is elected in an unprecedented third term in office and allowing America to enter World War I and ending it much earlier, and furthering his progressive domestic policies such as social insurance for the elderly, a nationalized health service, and even recall elections for politicians and judges.
  • Reality Ensues: A majority of the channel's pop culture videos focus on this.
    • What if The Purge was real?: It would do nothing but just kicking an already downed U.S. economy. Without emergency services, fires would rage out of control, even just from an uncontrolled kitchen fire. Banks can be robbed, companies can use corporate sabotage, small businesses are now terrible investments, and insurance is a nightmare. Realistically, there would be a revolution at the immediate news that this policy was going to be implemented.
    • What if Red Dawn really happened?: It would immediately turn into nuclear war. If not, then the U.S. could just fight off the invading communist forces through sheer military superiority. The Soviets, who were already spread thin across North America, Europe, and China, and dealing with a wheat famine, simply wouldn't have the manpower to keep fighting a conventional war like this.
    • Cody also often uses this to take various "stock" alternate history scenarios in different directions than what is usually focused on. For example, in his video on a Muslim victory at Tours, he rather quickly shuts down the notion that Europe would be wholly Islamized, or even that the Arabs would take over large parts of Europe, but he does focus on the wide-reaching consequences of Charlemagne never being born, which would be a likely consequence of such a scenario.
    • What if the Middle East had unified?: Removing the artificial borders of the region does not automatically mean everything is peaceful. What it does mean is that the region experiences change as a whole, either gradually or suddenly and forcefully. Furthermore, it would be the result of internal affairs rather than outside forces (barring if the rest of the world gets involved.)
  • Regional Redecoration: What if there was an 8th continent? has Zealandia, the sunken continent that rests beneath New Zealand, as a landmass entirely above the water. Its presence causes changes in the local climate due to diverting water currents, remains isolated for roughly 80 million years, and has a much large Maori population than in our timeline. Despite this, the landmass existing really doesn't change the course of history up until the 18th century, when the British colonize the region.
    • What if California was an Island? re-imagines everything from Central Oregon down to the tip of Baja California as a huge island, as cartographers once believed. The land around the strait separating it from North America would boast cliffs over 13,000 feet tall, making colonization of California extremely difficult. Once again, this really doesn't change much in the grand scheme of history. The biggest difference is that, in the Mexican-American war, the U.S. would take the far more valuable land of Sonora. While they would probably still take the island, its entire identity would be changed.
    • In his 3 scrapped scenarios video, Cody talks about the Atlantropa Project. The goal of this project was to lower the Mediterranean Sea level, allowing new land to form for colonization and agriculture. Except Reality Ensues as the seabed is too salty for agriculture and, as the sea continues to dry out, it turns the area into an extension of the Sahara as millions are forced to flee from the collapsing ecosystem.
    • "What if the Sahara was Green?" explores what would happen if we lived in a Saharan wet period, where the desert is a large grassland with several inland seas. With no desert preventing exploration, empires and nations could explore further into the continent, allowing groups who had little to no contact to mingle. This could allow for entirely new ethnic groups to emerge in the region.
  • Russia Takes Over the World: Averted. In "What if Russia won the Cold War?", instead of Soviet meddling, the USA turns to communism as a reaction against everything from Vietnam to Watergate and the oil crisis, with the new regime dismissing the USSR as a dictatorship.
    • In "What If Japan Never Attacked Pearl Harbor?", with the USA never intervening in World War II, the war becomes more bloodier where the Soviet Union takes the burden and conquer Japan and Nazi Germany, and securing Soviet global dominance.
  • Self-Deprecation: Cody's made more than a few jabs at himself for his wonky release schedule.
    "In an alternate timeline where I was actually an efficient person who had videos out on time, my name wouldn't be Cody. I'd be an entirely different man. Maybe my name would be Kevin. Yes, in a world where I didn't have late videos, my name would be Kevin.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Cody notes that if aliens murdered two billion people in 1996, then the world would be screwed.
    • Likewise, if Thanos really did wipe out half of life on Earth, including plants and animals according to Kevin Feige, this wouldn't result in balance. In the short term, the brain drain of so many people needed to do everything from farm crops to run nuclear power plants would be devastating enough. However, the results in the long term would be widespread war over remaining resources, mass migrations, famine, rapid climate change from the loss of so many forests, and ultimately a mass extinction. Without any context for it, humanity would never have an explanation as to why any of this happened, likely triggering some kind of spiritual revolution.
  • Signing-Off Catchphrase: "This is Cody from the Alternate History Hub."
  • Something Completely Different: Occasionally takes a break from creating alternate history scenarios, though that is what he's most known for.
    • Before the creation of the Knowledge Hub spinoff channel, Cody also covered various real-world history topics, usually lesser-known ones, such as the Beaver Wars.
    • He also often discusses Alternate History fiction, or Alternate Universes of established fiction; such videos are tagged "[LORE]." He has covered Attack on Titan, Injustice: Gods Among Us, among others. The longest of these is his collaboration with Emperor Tigerstar, a 4-part series detailing Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191, rather than creating his own alternate history of a Confederate victory (which he'd already done in a previous video).
    • The video on the Armenian Genocide does not deal with alternate history, but rather to show why there really was a genocide of Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians in spite of Turkey's denial. The video is completely serious, with no humor or even music, fitting for the somber nature of the genocide.
    • He once did a video featuring 3 scenarios he planned to do, but ultimately found the results would've been too short or underwhelming for a single video. These include Atlantropa (ends on a depressing note), Deseret (suffers from In Spite of a Nail), and the Empire of Ethiopia undergoing their own industrialization ala Meiji Japan (ends on a depressing note ''and'' in spite of a nail.)
    • Cody also made an incredibly serious video in regards to how news media helped fuel violent mass shooting in relations to increased frequency of mass shootings in public places (such as the recent Parkland school shooting, the Waffle House shooting, and the Santa Fe shooting in a three month time period). According to him, he wanted to "get this off his chest" and the video is not a discussion about solutions since something like gun control is just too controversial to talk about.
    • In an Older & Less Popular video of is The Fires of Kiev, a Ukranian Revolution is just footage of the riots in Ukraine at the Russian Intervention in Ukraine. Cody also writes in the description about Protests elsewhere in the world against regimes like Venuzuela and Thailand.
    • Continuing with the above mentioned Ukraine video, in December 1st, 2018, Cody held a live stream with two other YouTubers, Emperor Tigerstar and Tristan from the Step Back History channel, discussing the implications of the Kerch Strait incident where Russia closed off the Sea of Azov from Ukraine and seized some of their ships.
    • In response to the United States government's threats to declaring war on Iran in June 2019, Cody makes a self-explanatory video Why War With Iran Is Just....A Horrendous Idea and discusses the ramification of such a conflict would create another (and possibly more worse) repeat of the Iraq War.
  • Take That!: In response of YouTube demonetizing videos for showing things like a swastikas regardless of context, like say you have a series about history that often covers subjects pertaining to World War II in which case you're likely to show swastikas often, Cody has taken to replacing the swastika with a black version of the You Tube logo.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In The Decision That Ruined the Middle East, Cody explains the current problems the Middle East has were the result of Britain and France not honoring their promise to allow the Arabs to rule their own nation for helping fight Turkey during World War I. Because of the artificial borders made by Britain and France without considering the various ethnic and religious groups living there, tensions and Sectarian violence by those groups continue to exist in the Middle East. Furthermore, due to their broken promise, the Sharif of Mecca, who led the Arab Revolt, refuse to seek aid from Britain when he was attack by the House of Saud, a rival tribe who practice Wahhabism, an ultraconservative version of Islam, who would later overthrow him and become the new rulers of Mecca and the nation of Saudi Arabia. With the moderate Sharif of Mecca gone, the Saudis spread Wahhabism throughout the Islamic world thanks to the riches they gained from oil, which would later influence the rise of Islamic Terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
    • In The Election That Ruined Everything (And If It Never Happened), Cody explains that all the international problems after World War I began with the policies of Woodrow Wilson.
  • World War III: Several scenarios focus on turning points in the Cold War that could have sparked World War III, and none of which end well for everyone.
    • In What if the Cold War Went Nuclear, the 1983 Soviet nuclear false alarm incident inadvertently caused mutual assured destruction. Everything in the Northern Hemisphere are left obliterated in nuclear hellfire, leaving a irradiated hellscape of raging winter and polluted water. Everything south of the equator, however, are spared from the devastation because there aren't any strategic areas to actually bomb. But those southern countries will experience social upheaval from the nuclear aftermath ranging from famines, revolutions, and even genocide. At the very least humanity will survive.
    • What if America Had Nuked China? has Douglas MacArthur authorized to use tactical nuclear bombing against Communist China in the Korean War (specifically nuking the Manchurian border and preventing the Chinese from helping the North Koreans). This act terrified the Soviets, and leading to two outcomes all resulting in World War III: the Soviets and China immediately declared war on America and its allies, and everyone die as nuclear technology progresses, destroying cities, before both nuclear powers obliterate each other; the Soviets doesn't declare war on America, but use MacArthur's actions as an excuse to use their own nukes in their proxy wars which eventually lead to World War III.
    • What if the Berlin Blockade Sparked War III has both the United States and Soviet Union caught into war in 1949 after a small skirmish. However, both sides are unprepared for war as the Americans didn't have the troops to defend Western Europe, and the Soviets didn't have a nuclear arsenal at the time. Countless Soviet tanks from the East overrun the outnumbered Americans and their allies. But the Soviets could not hold Western Europe for long and American nuclear bombers nuked the Soviets into submission than what Nazi Germany did in all of World War II.
    • In What if the Cuban Missile Crisis Went Hot?, John F. Kennedy allowed military intervention in Cuba and provoking a nuclear exchange between the U.S. and Russia, causing hundreds of millions to die. JFK is reviled in memory as the man who pushed the button that started World War III.
    • In What If the Nuclear Bomb Never Existed, due to the aforementioned nuclear bomb was never developed, World War III between the Soviets and Americans becomes a conventional war not unlike that of the previous one. Because of the Soviets lacking the logistics and economic benefits than their NATO counterparts and geography, the Soviets are unable to make any significant advances into Europe while the West simply outlast the Soviet tide until they finally buckle, ultimately leading to the Soviet Union collapsing from domestic unrest.
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