Epic History-Inspired Story Ideas

When I was earning my AA, I had a history professor (PhD) who was also a fabulous storyteller (going to class felt like episodes and I had to come back next week to find out what REALLY happened; AH! She was so good!). I would absolutely take her class again, just for her.

Aside from being educational and overall awesome, the way she explained history inspired story ideas like crazy. I especially liked the way she explained the Battle of Stalingrad.

Stalingrad, 1942-43 WWII 

The Nazi’s were marching toward Caucasus but Hitler spotted Stalingrad (it was out of the way but the city literally had his enemy’s name on it and that made him reeeeally want to crush it). So he divided his forces to cover both Caucasus and Stalingrad.

Stalin (paranoid like it’s nobody’s business) probably saw it coming because he responded at warp speed.

The Orders

The fighting became insane but both leaders refused to lose. Eventually both armies received orders from their highest commanders that could’ve been translated to mean something like this:

  • Hitler: Win or don’t come back!
  • Stalin: Win or DIE.

My Prof: (Slyly and having way too much fun) “Under those conditions, who do you think would win?”

She explained that it all came down to which side feared their leader more. Answer? The Russians.

The Ensuing Mayhem

In all-out no-rules urban warfare, the Russians jumped in with both feet. They took to the sewers and launched surprise attacks on tank convoys from below, planted snipers in buildings already hollowed out by shells, and booby trapped everything.



by Georgi Zelma, Stalingrad, c. 1942 Soviets soldiers taking cover in the ruins near a Factory


By RIA Novosti archive, image # 44732/Zelma/CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0


Russland, Kesselschlacht Stalingrad

By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-E0406-0022-001/CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0


By RIA Novosti archive, image #602161/Zelma/CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0


Story Ideas?

So… many… ideas.

(What about you? What historical events/people/discoveries/expeditions/issues have contributed to your tales?)

4 thoughts on “Epic History-Inspired Story Ideas

  1. Mun Haerin says:

    I’m always reading historical fiction as it’s my favourite genre. I tend to lean more towards ancient history (I’m not too fond of modern settings in fiction), although I make the occasional exception for World War 2.

    I can’t say what has and hasn’t inspired me, since I’m still outlining my first novel. I’ve been reading nonfiction on ancient civilisations for ideas, though.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Mun Haerin says:

        There isn’t a specific civilisation that I favour, although I do often find myself reading fiction set in ancient Greece or Rome. I’m attracted to periods of great change, so I enjoy reading about the transition of Rome from a democracy to an empire, the conquests of Alexander the Great, the Trojan War, etc. I’d love to read stories about ancient Persia, but unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of English-language fiction with that setting.

        Liked by 1 person

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