There is one question, however, that has NEVER been adequately addressed, except once:
In case your brain didn't explode, let me blow that up for you a little bit:
Oh, my sweet heavens. This must be what it feels like to be a victim in Scanners. What, exactly, was Marvel thinking?
Oh, OK then, that explains it.
But it can't really explain anything, can it? How in the world do you justify this as a What If? Well, let's listen in as Uatu casually breaks his oath in order to entertain comic book readers:
Well, that's sorta plausible, but...I think there's a difference between a What If and an Elseworlds. An Elseworlds is (or rather was, until most of them were swept in the 52 multiverse...sigh) a fictional construct placing known characters in unknown environments. Hey, what if Bruce Wayne were born in the 1800's and fought Dracula? A What If is supposed to be an actual alternate universe, that differs in one key action from "our" universe: Spider-Man did join the Fantastic Four, or Rick Jones was exposed to the Gamma bomb and became the Hulk. It's still our universe, just changed in one specific event.
So how does having Sgt. Fury fighting WWII in outer space violate this? Because if Leonardo had changed the world so much, Sgt. Fury et al would never have been born!! Think about it: we're talking about a profound change in the history of the planet, centuries ago. Vastly increased travel and trade. People who wouldn't have met did, and people who did meet wouldn't. And even if, 400+ years later, somehow through all the ripples someone's parents, grandparents, great granparents, yada yada, still did meet, unless they...uhhh...expressed their love at the exact same time, different egg meets different sperm which equals different kid.
It's the same thing with the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror. Man, I love the episode and Spock's goatee, don't get me wrong. But any change profound enough to create an empire based on aggression and assassination operating for centuries would virtually ensure that none of crew were ever born. But to insist that they were born, AND all managed to survive long enough to end up serving on the same starship, AND that they would somehow manage to be at the exact same planet at the exact same time and send down exactly the same four crew members as our universe...that's not an alternate universe, that's a writers' conceit writ large. Which is fine, for an Elseworlds...but not a What If.
And who, pray tell, are Sarge Fury and the Howling Commandos (editors note: in space, no one can hear you howl) fighting in World War II in Outer Space? Why, the Betans, of course!:
Who? Well, apparently, this alternate universe, in addition to the different history of Earth itself, also is curiously lacking in Kree, Skrulls, Badoon, or other alien races we know about. Just humans and Betans. But of course, you know they're not the real villains:
See, you can't have World War II without Nazis, even if it is in space!
So even with a vastly altered Earth history:
- We still have Germany and America
- We still have the "great cause of Nazism," which was forged by a very specific set of historical circumstances
- We still have the same German ranks of nobility and the same people holding them
- Despite several centuries of advanced science, Strucker still has a scar and a monocle (not to mention Fury smoking...)
Oh, Dugan, you're always a dum dum, no matter what the rest of the universe is like!!