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History’s Great “What Ifs?”: YouTube’s AlternateHistoryHub

YouTube’s AlternateHistoryHub hosted by Cody Franklin, explores history’s supreme counterfactual scenarios, with humor akin to burnt toast.

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AlternateHistoryHub

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 their possible alternate 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?” AlternateHistoryHub is dedicated to fleshing out these hypothetical historical counterfactual scenarios in a singular formula; self-evident erudition, imagination with a brand of humor approaching burnt toast. AlternateHistoryHub under the direction of it’s host Cody Franklin, continues to be one of the Internet’s best kept secrets.

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AlternateHistoryHub & Cody Franklin – A History All Their Own

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 – known to his audience as “Cody of the AlternateHistoryHub,” is a YouTube creator hailing from Ohio that is responsible for this undertaking, sharing in the creation of its sister channel KnowledgeHub.

AlternateHistoryHub originally debuted with episodes that were little more than flowing PowerPoint presentations, employing an ominous musical score. AlternateHistoryHub today realizes a look and feel entirely it’s own.

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The channel uses animation depicting  various individuals or peoples throughout history as identifiable caricatures. Each are portrayed with the fundamental appearance of perfectly circular heads, theatrically placed black dotted eyes, atop modified-oblong torsos and lacking all appendages south of their neck-less frames.

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AlternateHistoryHub caricatures each include symbolic attributes of various peoples; all used to flesh out the on-screen narratives for potential outcomes due to a changed event in history.

American freedom stick AlternateHistoryHub

America swinging its “Freedom Stick.

AlternateHistoryHub Honing It’s Own Brand of Storytelling

Cody Franklin’s narration has proven a cornerstone in the channel’s success. 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.

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The script writing for each scenario is not simply dry humor with impeccable timing, but includes an impressive understanding and appreciation for the minutiae of history so often overlooked elsewhere.

Occasionally episodes with significant historical substance require condensing. AlternateHistoryHub is very careful to recognize and thoughtfully note when it’s condensing important historical explanations for time purposes. 

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Moreover it is qualified that every scenario published is but one alternate possibility among infinite others regarding the thought experiment at hand.

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In the channel’s tenure, AlternateHistoryHub has never shown overt reservation regarding any possible historical permutations. 

Whether modern or in antiquity, there is clear respect when evaluating devastating portions of history, yet with the courage never to shy away from the facts they represent.

Setting the Counterfactual History Gold Standard

Audience generated content has served as a powerful cornerstone to the site’s character. Episodes depicting alternate countries and their fictional histories, created by fans, have shown to be immensely popular. Alternate countries and histories include how they emerged, and their uniquely designed 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.

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Alliance of Siberia: A fan favorite feature is the brainchild of Cody Franklin

Case and point: Alliance of Siberia.

Following its recent nine-year anniversary in December 2020, the AlternateHistoryHub currently has over 1.9 million 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.

According to AlternateHistoryHub for a certain level of contribution patrons recieve, “access to loosely edited videos that dive deeper into my most recent scenario after ever new video.” As well as themed desktop wallpapers depicted in the channels visual motif. 

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? 1.6 million subscribers are thankful he did. Those same fans eschew an alternate history where he did not.

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Write to Paul K. DiCostanzo at pdicostanzo@tgnreview.com

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Paul K. DiCostanzo is the Managing Editor for TGNR. He is a noted public speaker, an emerging historian of the Second World War, a vocal advocate for Crohn’s Disease/Ulcerative Colitis, and highly regarded interviewer. Paul K. DiCostanzo is Co-Host for the A.D. History Podcast. The A.D. History Podcast explores world history of the last 2000 years in an unprecedented fashion; with each episode covering a 10 year period beginning in 1AD, until reaching the present day. Ultimately finding the forgotten, as well as overlooked threads of history, and weaving a tapestry of true world history. Paul is author of the reader submitted Q&A column: WW2 Brain Bucket. The Brain Bucket answers readers submitted questions on all things regarding the Second World War. Paul has served as Managing Editor for TGNR since March 2015. Prior to TGNR, Paul has a background in American National Security and American Foreign Policy.

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