In relation to this thread. concerning giveing advice to historical personages, what would change history the most, and for good or ill?
Warning Archduke Ferdinand about becoming lost in Sarajevo. Good or bad? Prevents WWI and possibly WWII. America does not become a super power.
Advising the founding fathers do outlaw slavery. Would the revolutionary war be successful without the Southern colonies? No US Civil War, but many Americans like Charles Drew wouldn’t be in a position to make there accomplishments, like transfusing blood.
My idea of warning Czar Nicholas II about Rasputin, Kaiser Wilhelm, Bloody Sunday and WWI; Perhaps no Russian revolution, no Cold War. Would there be a space race and a space program? How would Russia fare in WWII?
NASA—don’t launch when cold.
Pure O2 is a bad idea, no matter how it makes your lives easier.
Pick ONE unit of mesurment, and stick with it.
Let me begin with a first question: Are you familiar with the sub-genre of SF known as Alternate History, or Alt-His? That’s what we’re getting into, here. There’s been a lot of it done, some very good, some very bad. (And, yeah, to pick the low-hanging fruit, much in both categories has been written by Harry Turtledove. :p)
In Alt-His the author gets to change one factor in history and progress from there. The ideas can be as outre as having time travelling racists help the Confederacy win the US Civil War (Harry Turtledove’s The Guns of the South, an excellent read.), to simply changing some small detail in history and watching how the butterfly effect goes about scrambling things.
Some of my favorite ideas for alt-his include looking at the effect on science if the French Revolution hadn’t happened. I’m not sure I could prove this, but I believe that it’s not unreasonable to believe that the advances in science after the establishment of the Metric system and the way that the new regiemes in France deliberately scorned any kind of old thinking lead to many of the breakthroughs in medical and biological science we take for granted today. So, would you act to prevent the Terror, by convincing Louis XVI to find a competent Chancellor, like Richelieu, to prevent the fall of the dynasty, even if it you could know it would mean that anti-biotics and atomic theory would both still be unknown today?
Another one: Do you act, in India, to try to get the sub-continent to achieve some kind of internal stability so that the British (Or Europeans in general.) cannot simply walk in and take over? Especially given that it took (AIUI, and I may be wrong) decades of concerted effort by the British Empire to end things like suttee, and to begin loosening the caste restrictions?
If the OP is interested, I’d enjoy posting a short list of some more Alt-His books and short stories I’ve enjoyed that have stuck with me.
Sure, not forgetting William Sanders The Wild Blue and the Gray