The argument of this paper is that counterfactuals are indispensable in reasoning in general and historical reasoning in particular. It illustrates the role of counterfactuals in the study of history and explores the connection between counterfactuals and the notions of historical necessity and contingency. Entertaining alternatives to the actual course of events is conducive to the assessment of the relative weight and impact of the various factors that combine to bring about a certain result. Counterfactuals are essentially involved in understanding what it means for an event, an action, or an individual to make a difference. Making a difference, in turn, is shown to be a central category of historical reasoning. Counterfactuals, though sensitive to the description they use, make objective claims that can be confirmed or disconfirmed by evidence.