We know how one action can lead to another; the next thing we know, a war would break out. The Confederate army’s decision to open fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Bay triggered the American Civil War. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife sparked World War I. Hitler’s invasion of Poland marked the beginning of the Second World War. There were also those wars that nearly happened, but because of a single small action, they never happened, and thankfully so. Here are some of them:

The Trent Affair

The incident of the Trent Affair during the American Civil war almost caused a war between Great Britain and the United States.

On Nov. 8, 1861, during the opening months of the American Civil War, the Union frigate San Jacinto led by Captain Charles Wilkes, approached and boarded the neutral British ship, Trent. Onboard were two Confederate diplomats, James Murray Mason and John Slidell, who were on their way to convincing England and France to assist and support the cause of the Confederacy.

Lt. Charles Wilkes, ca. 1860. (the University of Washington, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Initially, the Northern populace and Congress rejoiced upon the ship’s seizure, but when they found out this aroused a storm of indignant protest and demand for war back in England, they realized they shouldn’t.