History can certainly make you think what if this one thing didn’t happen. So indirectly I am going to call on the Gavrilo Princip. He was only 19 when he triggered the first global conflict. Surely history’s greatest teenage troublemaker, Princip was a student in his last year of high school — the eighth grade when he fired the shot that sparked World War I. A combination of plot, chance and pure luck with good timing led to him successfully assassinating Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary. This led to a complicated declaration of war sequence due to interesting treaties and promises and pretty much the First World War.
Princip was actually a south Slav nationalist; although ethnically a Bosnian Serb, he supported a group of activists calling for the unification of all local Slav people in Bosnia: Muslims, Croats and Serbs. Their dream was to drive out the Habsburg occupier, so shooting the Archduke was seen as a “grand gesture” to inspire others to rise up against the foreign power.
The driver of the Archduke’s car should have driven straight past Princip at speed but, because of a misunderstanding, he turned the car on the exact corner where Princip was standing and was immediately shouted at to stop. Princip found his target a sitting duck right in front of him. He fired only one shot at the Archduke with a pistol. By a fluke the bullet cut Franz Ferdinand’s jugular vein. He was dead in a matter of minutes.
The First World War, whilst killing millions, also aids/results in the abdication of the German monarchy and the Russian Revolution (which will kill millions more and pave the beginnings of the Cold War). After the millions who die in that war, Empires come to an end, dozens of new nations fight with themselves on whether they want to adopt Soviet Union style (which as previously mentioned was largely caused by the effects of The First World War) or not. Other nations just fight and lose to the Soviet Union who make the choice for them.
So millions and millions are dead over the space of 75 years or more. And the trigger (so to speak) was pulled by Gavrilo Princip. This is in no way historical. But ultimately everything happens in the context of what has happened before. But it does make you think, might things have happened differently if that one assassination didn’t take place on that day in June 1914.