By Paul K. DiCostanzo Managing Editor
History is replete with turning points; major intersections in which critical decisions, the benefit of wisdom, the outcome of folly, and damned luck have molded the world we know as the present. Being part and parcel to the human condition, many cannot help ask “What if?”when discussing major events in history and the possible consequences. “What if the Axis won the Second World War?” “What if Julius Caesar had not crossed the Rubicon?” “What if Mao Zedong had been assassinated in 1930?” YouTube’s AlternateHistoryHub is dedicated to analyzing these historical hypothetical scenarios in an incredibly innovative way with humor as dry as toast. It is quickly becoming one of the Internet’s best kept secrets.
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To understand the AlternateHistoryHub today, one must understand its own history and evolution. The AlternateHistoryHub was created in late 2012 by Cody Franklin, the channel’s narrator, animator, and overall brain trust. Mr. Franklin, or as he is known by his audience “Cody of the AlternateHistoryHub,” is a college student from Ohio responsible for this singular undertaking. Originally debuting with episodes that were little more than flowing PowerPoint’s with an ominous musical score, today the AlternateHistoryHub has a look that is a fully unique brand.
The channel uses animation that depicts various individuals or peoples from history as identifiable caricatures. Each are portrayed with a fundamental appearance of perfectly circular heads, theatrically placed black dotted eyes, atop modified-oblong bodies. Each caricature includes symbolic attributes of various peoples, and they’re used to flesh out on-screen potential outcomes from a changed event in history within the narrative of the episode.
Equally important to the stylized animation of the AlternateHistoryHub is the narration of Cody Franklin. As time has progressed, he has not only honed the perfect voice for his brand of humor and story telling, but has in every way that matters made each episode his own. The script writing for each scenario is not simply dry humor with impeccable timing, but includes an impressive understanding and appreciation for even the smallest details in history that are so often overlooked. If necessary, it is always made clear if certain episodes require the condensing of explanation regarding critical events relevant to the episode for time purposes. Moreover it is qualified that every scenario published is only one alternate possibility among infinite others possible to the thought experiment at hand.
In the channel’s tenure, AlternateHistoryHub has never shown overt reservation regarding any possible historical permutations. Whether modern or in antiquity, there is demonstration of clear respect when evaluating devastating portions of history, yet with the courage never to shy away from the facts they represent.
Audience generated content has served as a powerful cornerstone to the site’s character. Several episodes have been generated from audience submissions for alternate countries, how they may have emerged, and their uniquely created flags. It is clear that in stimulating thought as to what might have been, one can generate a greater insight into why history occurred as it did.
Following its recent three-year anniversary in December, the AlternateHistoryHub currently has over 471,000 subscribers on YouTube. In an attempt to further improve the AlternateHistoryHub product, the channel utilizes the crowd funding source Patreon where users can donate to the channel on a monthly basis, at their desired amount. For a certain level of contribution, one can have their own AlternateHistoryHub-style caricature created, or even have an episode published exploring their own desired “what if?” in history.
It is clear that when it comes to “what if?” questions, Cody Franklin clearly asked himself the most important one: ‘What if I do something different?’ Nearly half a million people are well pleased that he did, and have no desire to consider an alternative outcome in which he did not pursue this project. Enjoy the video below to understand just why that is.