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Topic Title: Did Gavrilo Princip determine the development of electronics?
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Created On: 29 January 2014 08:20 AM
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 29 January 2014 08:20 AM
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Several years ago I was involved in a discussion about who was the most influential person of the 20th century. No consensus was reached but one name which stood out was Gavrilo Princip, who fired a bullet killing Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, which sparked off a massive war in Europe. The aftermath of this war effectively set the course of history for the rest of the 20th century. If the bullet had missed then there would have been no World War 1; no communist Soviet Union; Hitler would have been an obscure artist rather than a great statesman; no World War 2; and no Cold War.

It's unclear exactly what would have happened after 1920. Would the British Empire have survived past the mid 20th century? The US would probably have become the world's largest economy by the 1930s but would it have kept itself to itself rather than pursued an imperialist ambition after 1945? How would Japan, Russia, and the Ottoman empire developed? Would Israel have been founded?

How would this different course of history have determined the development of electronics in a world that never experienced World War 2 or the Cold War? Would semiconductors have been developed and commercialised? Is it likely that by the 1980s computers would have become available to the masses?
 29 January 2014 11:15 PM
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I don't think anybody can possibly know.

However, there was a lot of business need for computers to handle payroll, billing and so on. So I would expect that electronic computers would have been invented one way or another.

S P Barker BSc PhD IEng MIET

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