Alter history


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Alec Siegel

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This is a question that I think most of us have thought about: What if the ship hadn't sunk? It's a monumental question and I think that the answer holds tremendous weight over the outcome of the 20th Century. I noticed another post that asked if you had the option of seeing either the ship's launch or the wreck, which would you choose. Another poster said they'd hide out on the Californian and try to alter history. So that is my actual question: If given the chance to alter history and stop the sinking, would you do so? If no, why? If yes, why, and how would you go about it? Please don't simply say yes or no without thinking about it. Seriously consider the ramifications of either decision and answer accordingly.

-Take care, everyone.
 
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Simon Welch

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I would imagine if Titanic hadn't of sunk it would have a few fans (steam ship fans inc) but to most of the world and probably me it would have been just a ship of its time, interesting to look at but like the Olympic it would have been broken up in the 30's and with few exceptions forgotten about. I think the reason why its so popular is from the laying of the Keel, to today its so well documented and is a snap shot of human life and how we all behave.

I've often wondered what I would do if I could prevent Titanic from sinking and I'm glad I’m never going to have to make that discussion. I think the results of the sinking did mean improved understanding of human limitation V’s Nature. I think it also began to look at how different classes are treated, in terms of human rights and safety regulations. Millions of slaves and people from 3rd and 2nd world countries have died in boats and ship but it took the sinking of ship with the rich and famous onboard to have a rethink of shipping methods (I know this is a generalisation but Titanic has become the before and after point in maritime history)

I’m of the opinion that if you did save the Titanic, you wouldn’t have to wait long for another tragedy just as large to come about and am glad that there is so much documentation to gain an understanding of it all. I genuinely am sorry for the people and families, who lost lives and loved ones, but their deaths have not been in vain, they have taught the world a thing or two and will always be remembered. I would not stop it sinking for the point of today. Obviously at the time I would have done my up most.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Alec, I would have to wonder what ramifications you would have one consider? Historically, Titanic was pretty much a footnote in the history books until Walter Lord wrote his seminal work "A Night To Remember" on this subject. Regretably, history does not reveal it's alternatives so I couldn't even begin to guess at what might have been.

>>I’m of the opinion that if you did save the Titanic, you wouldn’t have to wait long for another tragedy just as large to come about...<<

Unfortunately Simon, you're probably right. The Titanic was not really operated any differently from any of the other mail boats on the North Atlantic run, and that when you get down to it was the problem. It was only a matter of time befor somebody came to a very bad end.

Encyclopedia Lusitanica anyone?
 
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Alex McLean

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Just my thoughts;
If Titanic never did sink, Olympic and Gigantic (Britannic) wouldn't have had the reinforced bulkheads and double skin. Lifeboats may not have been increased for a time, although apparently there was to be a meeting of the BBoT sometime later in 1912 and the ideas about lifeboats would most likely have been brought up in discussion and possibly increased. The Gigantic would have retained it's name for the present, and the three of them would have most likely gone into war together. I had a mental picture a while ago in a class of mine of the Titanic being torpedoed and going down in The Great War. As Michael said, history doesn't offer alternatives. We can debate this issue for a long time, unfortunately however, I doubt anyone will come at all close to the final outcome.
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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As a history teacher, I take the perspective that it's impossible to speculate too far on the "what ifs" based on an alternate scenario. It's hard enough trying to do it with "what if there was no Hitler?"

I do know that if it were theoretically possible, I would never consider altering history for the simple reason that doing so amounts to playing God and opening up a can of worms in too many other areas. Sure, you might save 1500 lives from that one night, but you could easily cause the lives of untold thousands more to be changed in more damaging ways. Far too dangerous ultimately.
 
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Anna Reznik

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Personally, you have said it all. I wouldn't alter history. Some of the losses during the great war would be heavier because when they notice the problem, the war would stop them taking too much time to repair.

I doubt the lifeboat issue would be changed if the Titanic's fall had not happened. If not Titanic, wireless would not be commanded to be on 24/7 and ice warnings would be treated as they would before.

It's like saying what if Hitler been admitted to art school. (If Frediard not been shot to cause WWI, something else, that was just the final straw.)
 
May 8, 2001
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>>>Encyclopedia Lusitanica anyone?<<< I think the conversation is turning the same direction I am headed, but maybe one of you better historically inclined could jump in here. If Lusitania was the next "big shock" to the world, would it have made a bigger impact on society and war, had the Titanic not sunk? Already it was a huge kick in the gut, but if added to the shock and disbelief we feel for Titanic sinking, I wonder if we would have fought sooner, harder, longer and sought a greater justice? (Which opens up a new thought of how many more would have died in WW1?)
Now as far as altering history. I, by nature, could not just sit back and watch it happen again. If I was placed in the situation to BE in 1912, I would have to believe that I was allowed to be there BY God. However, Eric, I have to agree with your statement 100%. >>>Sure, you might save 1500 lives from that one night, but you could easily cause the lives of untold thousands more to be changed in more damaging ways. Far too dangerous ultimately.<<<
 
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If there had been no Titanic or Hitler, there wouldn't be a History Channel today. And I would be very sad. ;-)

Parks
 
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Matthew Lips

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Mar 8, 2001
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Very good question, with no easy answer. I tend to agree that to meddle with history, were it possible, could make things worse. But, maybe not.

What if Titanic, saved from disaster on her maiden voyage, had sunk on a later trip in a heavy storm (scarcely unknown in the North Atlantic!) when full to capacity? The death toll could easily be trebled.

What if instead of Hitler we had somebody who could make WW II last longer, with even greater fatalities?

The possibilities are endless, but that said who amongst us (for instance) who lost a friend or loved one on 9/11 would not say, to hell with the consequences, if I could stop it from happening I would.

Saving Titanic could work both ways. Given the chance, I don't think I could stop myself from doing exactly that - even if the end result may be worse. I would worry more about what DID happen, as opposed to what MIGHT happen.

Thank goodness this is all theoretical!
 
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Tom Pappas

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If there had been no Titanic, there wouldn't be a Discovery Channel today. And I would be very grateful. {:eek:í¾
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Colleen, I wonder if the Empress of Ireland might have made the bigger impression for want of the Titanic. Hard to say really. Were it not for the war that made for quite a distraction, this ship might be better remembered then she is today.

I suspect as the first of the class, the Olympic might be better remembered as well. She was a very popular ship in her day, but the Titanic stole the limelight from her.
 
Dec 12, 1999
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I came to the conclusion a long time ago, too many things would have to change in order to stop the sinking. Too many variables involved...and ultimately, too complex to acheive the desired result. (I have put quite a bit of thought into this notion, crazy me).

The thing I would try to do is to save as many people as I could...with this in mind, I wouldn't even try to do this as an individual...this would be a group mission, since you have so many different areas to cover, over such a wide space. No picking and choosing favorites, though if you could manage to get yourself into an area where one of those who struck your fancy whilst studying the Titanic's history might be, so much the better.
 
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Simon Welch

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If the Vulcan hadn't saved the New York from hitting the Titanic when she departed would it have caused enough damage to stop the Titanic from sailing that day?

I've always thought that to alter History of the Titanic, that would be a starting point
 
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Tom Pappas

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I think the probability of a collision with New York preventing the sinking is pretty high. Any alteration of the timeline that precluded steaming through that flat calm would have provided a good chance of avoiding the ice. The men navigating Titanic were counting on spotting ice and maneuvering around it in time, and the only thing that prevented that was the absence of a swell that would reveal the bergs at a distance.
 
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Anna Reznik

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Also avoiding The New York may have planted a seed in the crews head. If they could avoid collision with The New York, surely they could avoid anything else.

Hitting something shortly after departing might cause people to want to book travel on another boat. If that happened maybe less deaths, then less of an impact.
 
Apr 18, 2001
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Personally, If the option made itself available, I don't think I would do anything to stop the sinking of the Titanic. There are certain things thatcame out of the sinking,
1) The law relating to the number of lifeboats
on a vessel being related to size and tonnage
were changed so that there is now a space in
the boats for everyone on board.

2) radio watches are now twenty four hours

3) The ice lanes are patrolled 24/7

also, there were building lessons learned from the disaster, Brittanic sailed with a better bulkhead design

Rich
 

Don Tweed

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May 5, 2002
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I think the only thing that would be altered would be the name of the ship that went down.
With the complacent attitude of the Edwardian Age it was only a matter of time till a catastrophe of the Titanics magnitude took place.
Simon and Tom I think are on the right track.
Just as running a yellow light or braking for the same can alter anyones life.
Minutes come into to play. Give or take here or there and you alter everything from that point on.
Maybe a crewman who should have died on the Titanic, goes on to a life of crime and kills Lee Harvey Oswalds mother in a burglary attempt before his birth?
Far fetched, yes, but possible in the context in which we are speaking.
Respectfully, Don
 
Jun 12, 2004
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For those who believe in God and the the influencing of events through linear time, things happen for a reason. Sure, they hit us hard, make us bitter, resentful, angry, confused, even fills us with insight. But there's nothing we can do about it. Aside from psychics, most people cannot see into the future, and that is obvious by design by the Almighty. God knows how we are to easily manipulate things according to our own benefit and advantage, which would cause even more confusion, since everyone has conflicting preferences, and events cannot go forward to satisfy every person's desired outcome. We were meant not to know, so that we can focus on just living, on the now, which is our ultimate priority. Focusing on the now is that which influences, and even manipulates, our own respective futures. In making mistakes, we all discover for ourselves what is right and/or wrong for us. But the fact that we cannot see into the future enables us with the power to affect the future, by getting us to not worry about it and focus on the moment.

Does this make sense? Of course it does, at least to me. This is the great paradox of life: we are destined to change events by not having the power to do anything except live.

On the other hand, I want to post a scenario here that I know has been hanging on the edge of everyone's minds. This is by all means not fresh or new, but it does effectively make its point. Here goes:

Say that, for example, one of us was able to go back into time and board Titanic (The Time Tunnel). That selected person knows who lives and who dies. She or he meets, and falls in love with, a member of the opposite sex. The trouble is, that person in whom we fall in love was known to have perished in the disaster. Now, we could say that we wouldn't change anything because of possible consequences or whatever . . .yadda, yadda, yadda. But the reality is that, if put in that position, anyone would say "**** it--I love her/him and will try to save him or her!" The same reaction would come about (unless one has a cold heart or no heart at all) if the selected person to visit the Titanic saw people screaming in terror and could save those people somehow, that person would. It's in our nature. So please do not say that you wouldn't attempt to change history somehow, because everyone knows that you would. Is this unfair for me to say?... I don't think so, because it's the truth--and that even goes for the 'experts' here.

That's why we're not able, or allowed, to change events in time, either in the past or future--because it is within our nature to do so. We can't handle that kind of power, because we do not have the emotional self-control when it comes to thus close to us. That's why, in the above scenario, we can exchange the 'lover' with 'ancestors' who we know have died in the tragedy and still come out with the same type of "I must try to save them" attitude and reaction.

It is here that I say that we cannot go back into time and change events for a reason, and we are ultimately better off. But it's also important for each of us to look at ourselves and accept ourselves as we really are: people who would, regardless of wisdom and historical destiny, attempt to change things that have happened when it affects people close to us. We must admit this and accept this. Then, and only then, will we truly understand the role which time plays in human experiences.
 
Dec 12, 1999
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""The same reaction would come about (unless one has a cold heart or no heart at all) if the selected person to visit the Titanic saw people screaming in terror and could save those people somehow, that person would"

Hey, I've certainly got no heart (thank Artemis), but I'd have to throw that out the window when it comes to saving someone from the Titanic. I wouldn't be able to just sit/stand there, and not try to do SOMETHING.

"We can't handle that kind of power, because we do not have the emotional self-control when it comes to thus close to us"

None of those people never would be, nor ever have, been close to me. I've been drawn to a few of them because of certain characteristics, but that doesn't mean I've gone all giddy-giddy ga-ga and fell in love with any of them. I would just go back and get as many people out of there as possible because I want to. It's just something I always felt that should be done, which makes no sense, but hey, whatever.

I'll readily admit that I would change history in that way. Why not? It's not harming anything in the same way that you would argue preventing the sinking was harming the future. Getting twenty extra people off the Titanic isn't going to change the fact the damned thing still happened. And it's highly unlikely anyone who became a survivor instead of a statistic would wind up taking over the world, or becoming the progenitor of a future Hitler-type. Most likely, they would go on to have an average/somewhat average life, like the rest of the survivors.
 
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