In 1970, on this day the filming of Roald Dahl's "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" began in Munich, Bavaria, West Germany (it was significantly cheaper than filming in the U.S. and the setting was conducive to Wonka's factory).
The CandymanThe author directed the screen play with the assistance of David Seltzer. Of course the most significant decision had already been taken, the casting of Richard Pryor in the lead role.
During the development of the 1964 novel "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", Dahl had based the character of Charlie Bucket on his old friend Mdisho in Africa. Also, he had described the Ooompa-Loompas as African pygmies. But accusation of racism forced him to backed out of both decisions in later editions of the book. However, by 1970 he felt emboldened to re-explore the issue of diversity but from a slightly different perspective.
In 1781, on this day George Washington Parke Custis was born at Mount Airy, Maryland.
King of AmericaThe son of John P. Custis, George Washington's stepson, Curtis was - in his private life, at least - a nineteenth-century American writer, orator, and agricultural reformer.
When Custis died in 1857, his son-in-law Robert E. Lee came to control (as executor of the will) almost 200 slaves on Custis's three plantations, Arlington, White House in New Kent County, and Romancoke in King William County. Under Custis's will, the slaves were to be freed once the legacies from his estate were paid, and absolutely no later than five years after his death.
Lee was also crowned King of America, the fourth hereditary monarch since "the Father of the Country" took afront that he should accept the reduced role of President.
In 92 A.H., on this fateful day an invading army of Arabs, Berbers and Iberian Jews under the command of the Muslim Governor of North Africa, Musa
ibn Nusair defeated King Rodrigo and his Visigoth nobility at the Battle of
Guadalete. Soon afterwards, they captured the Visigothic capital
of Toledo, and the Christian Kingdom of Hispania fell.
Farthest WestAnd yet the south-west of the Iberian Peninsula struggled to develop
into the Moorish Kingdom of al-Gharb, a sandwich of land "where
the Earth ends, the sea begins" located between the larger
al-Andalus and the Atlantic Ocean. Because the next three centuries
were interrupted by a series of increasingly determined Christian
attempts to recover the whole of the Iberian Peninsula. Finally, in
537 A.H. Afonso VI King of Castille invited Henry of Burgundy and his
Crusaders to force out the Moors. Being a younger brother to the heir
to the Kingdom of France, Henry was seeking an alternative realm. Had
he been successful, he would have become Count of Portucale and given
the hand in marriage of Afonso's daughter.
Although the recovery attempt ended in bitter defeat , the Moors knew that the Christians would eventually prevail. Because the
region known as Lusitania had been founded by the Romans who had
brought Christianity to the shores of Europe's most south-west point (the Visigoths had after all only filled the vacuum left by the departing Romans, and the Christians therefore laid historic claim to the region).
Knowing that their time of occupation was short, the embattled Moorish enclave set their sights "farthest west". The establishment of a set of Moorish colonies on the Eastern Seaboard of
the vast Atlantian continent: Maghrib al-Aqsa (pictured). But of course it was merely a continuation of a long-term historical cycle, because the region was a natural staging ground dating back to the time of sea-faring nations such as the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians that had displaced the indigenous Celts.
In 1789, on this day the Plural Executive took the oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street. It was the triumph of good governance that Benjamin Franklin had fought for at the Philadelphia Convention. And if he cut a less than striking image well perhaps that was the whole point, a first step towards collective responsibility.
We, the People..That truth had been self-evident when he chaired the convention, an arrangement forced upon the delegates by the tragic death of George Washington. Unbound, he strongly advocated a national government based upon the principles of the Pennsylvania Constitution which he had so recently played a major role in drafting.
Instead of a a presidency, the new constitution proposed an unpaid, plural executive without veto or salary and a single house with states represented by population size. And no Senate, an unnecessary House that Franklin warned would be filled by landowners.
Of course the loss of Washington removed both the principal candidate for head of the state and also the very man who could have shaped the office of the presidency. And perhaps with the General in the chair, both Washington and Franklin might have chosen to remain silent, adding gravitas but little direction to the proceedings. But instead Franklin was in the chair, demonstrating firm leadership. And the mastery of political genius that he had used to negotiate an endless series of loans in Paris that had ultimately bankrupted the French Monarchy and driven that nation into a state of revolution.
During that nine year service, the Continental Congress had forced a series of self-serving individuals upon him that had greatly hindered his progress. Understanding that good governance could so easily be undermined by human weakness, Franklin realised a great truth, that the direction of the United States could never be bestowed upon a single individual. Better that a small committee, with representation from across the States, worked through the critical decisions that would inevitably confront the infant republic.
In 1893, on this day Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim Ribbentrop was born in Wesel, Rhenish Prussia, to a career army officer, and his wife, Johanne Sophie Hertwig.
Birth of "the Rib"
The Canadian Führer's DiplomatHe was educated irregularly at private schools in Germany and Switzerland where he studied French and met his future wife Katherine Hamilton Ewing. At his school at Metz, the German Empire's most powerful fortress, a former teacher later recalled that Ribbentrop "was the most stupid in his class, full of vanity and very pushy". This trait was shared by his father who was cashiered from the Imperial German Army in 1908 - after repeatedly disparaging Kaiser Wilhelm II for his alleged homos*xuality - and the Ribbentrop family were often short of money. Fluent in both French and English, young Ribbentrop lived at various times in Grenoble, France, and London, before travelling to Canada in 1910.
Ewing's father was the Vice President of the Molson Bank, and through this connection he was able to secure a position at their offices on Stanley Street in Montreal. The Bank had accumulated considerable capital from the Molson Brewing Company's considerable trade on the St Lawrence River; as was the custom of the time, it also issued its own paper currency.
Ribbentrop travelled to Quebec City and also Ottawa where he was received at Rideau Hall by the Governor General, the Duke of Connaught. Because the Duke was related to German Royalty, the two men where able to speak freely in the German Language. As a result of these connections, Ribbentrop founded a profitable business, importing champagne and German wines for those discerning consumers who enjoy the grape.
Inevitably, he became increasingly Canadian earning the nickname "The Rib". In February of 1914, he competed for Ottawa's famous Minto ice-skating team, participating in the Ellis Memorial Trophy tournament in Boston. And because of his marriage to Ewing, and his connection with the Duke of Connaught, Ribbentrop was able to remain in Canada throughout the Great War and have the fateful opportunity to form a life long relationship with Adrien Arcand (pictured, right). And without the resources and support of Ribbentrop, Arcand would surely been a no mark, forced to rely upon his modest income as a mediocre journalist. But instead, he had the good fortune to be backed by the vast revenues of the alcohol industry.
Of course the Canadian Führer was gifted with both charisma and creativity of pro-fascist political thought which found fertile ground in the virulent anti-semitism of the era. And his father was a member of the Labour Movement, who despite their principled commitment to brotherhood, was deeply antagonist to immigrants who they feared as a threat to their own employment. A hatred of Jews and the Chinese simmered closed to the surface, and ultimately it was their shared racism that drew Arcand and Ribbentrop together.
When the National Unity Party of Canada was founded in 1938, Ribbentrop was able to secure the funding necessary to take forward what was in reality only a local political organisation with a small office in Old Montreal. He also added a diplomatic dimension that transformed Arcand into a global figure who could broker the historic meeting at Mansion House in London between King Edward VIII and Adolf Hitler. The result was a shared vision of imperial fascism which Ribbentrop described as "the clever way in which England grants absolute independence to her Dominions, but nevertheless - almost entirely through the person of the governor general - preserves their close contract in everything wih the mother country". Ironically, with the benefit of alcohol-fueled financial resources, this oddest assortment of cuckholds and anti-semites had become "Best Buds" that would drag the world through a drunken nightmare.
In 1961, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, flush with confidence after his success in crushing the Bay of Pigs invasion, made a decision that would have ruinous consquences for his country and himself and hasten the fall of the Soviet bloc: he directed his armed forces to immediately begin preparations for an amphibious landing at the western tip of the Florida Keys in a gambit to try and force the United States to close its naval base at Guantanamo Bay.
Florida Keys War by Chris OakleyRealizing that the proposed invasion, code-named Operation July 26th, would ultimately backfire on the Castro regime, his Soviet allies tried desperately to talk him out of launching it. The Soviets' fears proved to be well-founded -- as soon as the White House learned of the impending attack President John F. Kennedy initiated his own military plan, dubbed Operation Tripwire, aimed at stopping the invasion force dead in its tracks.
This chain of events would lead to the outbreak of the Florida Keys War less than a month later.
In 1945, on this day extremist elements of the Greater Zionist Resistance (GZR) movement broke into the laboratory at Isgarden and forced the theoretical physicist Wilhelm Schoemann to send their commandoes back to 1529 to engineer an Ottoman Victory at the Gates of Vienna.
Fall of the Greater Zionist Resistance
A New BogeymanAlthough the "City of Golden Apples" would be re-occupied by European Forces, the Habsburgs would suffer a devastating blow to their dynastic prestige. And the destiny of central Europe would be changed forever.
Schoemann's worst fears were realised only moments later with the manifestation of a novel from 1997 - "Elders of the Protocols of Mecca", written by the Rabbi Robert A. Taylor (pictured). A reflection upon Adolf Hitler's years in a post-Ottomanized Vienna. And the development of his genocidal plans for European Muslims.
Part one of the novel can be downloaded here and continues as a thread on this site.
In 1838, outside Lambeth Court on this day the public hanging of the carpenter Thomas Millbank descended into the very apotheosis of urban terror that his costumed alter ego Spring Heeled Jack had visited upon the City of London and its surrounding villages.
The WagerThe previous September three women were attacked, one of whom Polly Adams had her clothes torn off allowing Jack to scratch at her stomach with his iron clad fingers. All three described Jack as a tall, thin and powerful man who wore a dark cloak, glowing eyes and the ability to spit blue flames. A vigilante group formed by London's Lord Mayor, Sir John Cowan had been unable to capture him because he was able to escape all attempts with his extraordinarily high jumps.
"The highest ranks of life have laid a wager with a mischievous and foolhardy companion" ~ anonymous letter to the MayorThen five months later two cases and one drunken boast would lead to the bizarre arrest by the private investigator James Lea.
On February 19th a strange figure stood at the gate of a home and yelled out, "For God's sake, bring me a light, for we have caught Springheel Jack in the lane!". Within moments, eighteen year old Jane Alsop ran outside with a candle and confronted the figure who was enveloped in a large cloak and spit blue and white flames. The figure grabbed the young girl and clawed at her dress with his sharp fingers. Aslop's sister ran to her aid and dragged her inside the house.
Only eight days after the attack on Miss Alsop, 18-year-old Lucy Scales and her sister were returning home after visiting their brother, a butcher who lived in a respectable part of Limehouse. Miss Scales stated in her deposition to the police that as she and her sister were passing along Green Dragon Alley, they observed a person standing in an angle of the passage. She was walking in front of her sister at the time, and just as she came up to the person, who was wearing a large cloak, he spurted "a quantity of blue flame" in her face, which deprived her of her sight, and so alarmed her, that she instantly dropped to the ground, and was seized with violent fits which continued for several hours.
Immediately after the Alsop attack a carpenter named Thomas Millbank boasted in the Morgan's Arms that he was Spring Heeled Jack. He was arrested and tried at Lambeth Street court. The arresting officer was James Lea, who had earlier arrested William Corder, the Red Barn Murderer. Millbank had been wearing white overalls and a greatcoat, which he dropped outside the house, and the candle he dropped was also found.
The execution represented something of an early triumph for the newly formed Metropolitan Policy Authority. Or so it was intended. Because shortly after the noose was placed upon his neck, the villain breathed fire upon the rope before leaping to his escape. There could be only one explanation for the unspeakable events of the morning, reported The Times of London. Spring Heeled Jack had won another wager with the highest ranks of life.
In 1946, on this day Winston S. Churchill (pictured) is sworn in as first Prime Minister of the United Dominions of America. He will preside over a domain extending from the Arctic Circle to the Rio Grande and including Cuba.
Fruition of a Dream by Eric LippsThe UDA's nominal subordination to London will in practice amount to little more than continuing to accept the British pound as legal tender alongside the United Dominions' own. Theoretically, the UDA is to answer to the King and Parliament; in reality, it is strong enough, both economically and militarily, to say no to London and make it stick.
This reality is not lost on London, which dreads the prospect of having to enforce its will militarily. Incoming British prime minister Clement Attlee privately advises King Edward VIII that it will probably be necessary to treat the UDA as, de facto if not quite de jure, a sovereign nation. The King reluctantly concurs, but mourns being the monarch to in effect lose so large a portion of the British Empire. Attlee responds that he should console himself that the process has been underway for many years, and is not the fault of any failing on his part.
American nationalists celebrate throughout the UDA at the coming to fruition of a dream they have nurtured since the uprising of the 1770s. That attempt at secession from the British Empire had fallen apart when rebel leader Thomas Jefferson refused to excise a passage condemning the African slave trade from his proposed declaration of independence and the insurgents' "Continental Congress" broke apart over the issue. A second rebellion, launched by slaveholding Southerners after Britain outlawed slavery throughout the Empire in 1838, had likewise failed. But the power of the nominally subject North American colonies had grown steadily, and the terrible generation of the 1914-1942 World War, when Britain, Spain and Japan had battled for their lives against Imperial Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the totalitarian republics of France and Russia had only strengthened North America while badly weakening the Home Islands. At the same time, North American awareness of the colonies' strength had combined with a growing resentment of being ruled, however loosely, by a distant monarch to revive the movement for independence. At the close of the war, Americans had been in a position to press London for sovereignty, and Churchill, whose mother had been American and who had left England in 1913 following a bitter dispute with his father Lord Randolph Churchill, had been among the most eloquent and forceful advocates for the cause.
In 1945, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler and his mistress Eva Braun flee a devastated Berlin in disguise, leaving behind burned corpses culled from the rubble made to look like their own in accordance with a desperate rule concocted a week earlier.
Final Solution by Eric LippsIn 1961, Mossad agents discover them living in Argentina, and kidnap the pair from that country to stand trial in the Jewish state. To no one's surprise, both are found guilty, Hitler of crimes against humanity and Braun of "aiding and abetting" him. They are executed by hanging and the bodies incinerated and the ashes scattered in the Jordan River to avoid any possibility of their being stolen by right-wing fanatics for honorable burial.
In 1939, English writer, poet, philologist and university professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien published "The Children of Hurin", the first of his Great Tales. Fatefully, members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings - which included C.S. Lewis - encouraged Tolkien to disregard mainstream prose and adopt a high fantasy style of writing instead.
Obsure "Children of Hurin" is publishedWriting in his own cryptic Elvish language, the Great Tales received critical acclaim from a niche audience but were considered impenetrable for the popular audience (an examplar passage follows) ~
"Hurin wedded Morwen, the daught of Baradund son of Gregolas of the House of Beor, and she was thus of close kin to Beren One-hand. Morwen was dark-haired and tall, and for the light of her glance and the beauty of her face men called her Eledhwen, the elfen-fair; but she was somewhat stern of mood and proud. The sorrows of the house of Beor saddened her heart; for she came as an exile to Dorlomin from Dorthonion after the ruin of the Bragollach".
Following his death in 1973, his son Christopher sought to expand the audience for Great Tales. In this endeavour, he was ultimately successful through his collaborative work with the movie-maker Peter Jackson who finally presented the Great Tales in an accessible presentation form1.
In 1941, on this day NKVD hit squads assassinated Hans Frank, the Nazi governor-general of German-occupied western Poland.
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac spearheads the invasion of the northern French shores at the head of a combined force of British, Australian, North American and South African troops. The Central European Imperial resistance is minimal for some reason, and du Lac easily takes and fortifies the coast. The formerly French knight sends word to his old labor allies in the country to rise up and join with him to liberate France from the CEE. A hastily assembled meeting of the Illuminati's upper echelons in Switzerland is concerned, but Emperor Pierre assures them, 'This is not unexpected, and we have contingencies in place to handle this. Worry not. France will be ours again, as will the United Kingdom, and then - the world.'
In 1891, General Anthony Franklin begins his long journey back east to face his coming court-martial. In the aftermath of the massacre in western Missouri, Kansas City falls to the Kansans, and Missouri's Governor Silas Trent faces some similar rumblings which threaten to topple him if he continues supplying troops to the federals. He embarks on a statewide trip to apologize and shore up support for at least a defensive force on the Kansas border. He asks Lt. Colonel Theodore Monteith to move his base of operations out of Missouri, and Colonel Monteith sends a telegram to Major Mark Wainwright in Nebraska, telling him that the Kansas siege is about to be commanded from that state.
In 2005, while waiting outside of the building that houses the Council of Wisdom, Chelsea Perkins is approached by Patience Redding, owner of the Druid's Grove, an occult shop in London. Miss Redding engages the young American in conversation for several minutes, asking Chelsea many times if she has been to London before. Chelsea has, but only to see the Council, so she says no. Miss Redding leaves with a strange expression on her face.
In 1997, President Ralph Shephard commits suicide in the Cheyenne Mountain military facility in Colorado where he and his last few loyal followers are holed up. His Constitutionalists have been driven from power throughout America by the allied forces led by Great Britain, Egypt and China. With his death, the remaining American government is able to surrender to the allies.
In 1975, North Chile surrenders to the South Chilean military. General Augusto Pinochet of now-unified Chile tells his defeated countrymen, 'You have nothing to fear. Between Chileans there are no victors and no vanquished. Only the Americans have been beaten. If you are patriots, consider this a moment of joy. The war for our country is over.'
In 1803, a treaty is signed in Paris by U.S. Secretary of State Robert Livingston, James Monroe, and French Councilor of State Francois Barbe-Marbois, transferring to America France's huge holding of Louisiana. Announced to the American people by President Hamilton on July 4, it will be ratified in the Senate on October 30. The treaty is a tremendous coup for the Hamilton administration, doubling the territorial extent of the United States overnight at what seems an incredible bargain price of 15 million dollars. However, much of the land is held by Native American tribes, from which it will be purchased a second time, piecemeal, making the actual price much higher.
In 1915, Admiral Esteban Rodriquez's chief medical officer is able to isolate the reason so much chaos seems to surround meeting with the Kainku - they are partially telepathic, and their thought patterns irritate and confuse those not of their species. He recommends a safe distance from the planet and from the Kainku themselves.
the moving diary of Anne Frank, a Jewish victim of the Holocaust, was published and became available in British book shops entitled The Diary of a Young Girl. The book was first published in Dutch in 1947 under the title Het Achterhuis (The Secret House) by her father Otto Frank, who survived the concentration camps. Prime Minister Lord Halifax said that the publication would not effect the state visit from German Chancellor Adolf Hitler the following month. The event described 'excesses' of militia forces in the early phase of the war.Speaking in Port Stanley
, former Minister of Defence Winston Churchill strongly disagreed. Responsibility lay with his former boss for signing a Carthaginian peace with the Germans in May 1940.
President Richard Nixon took full responsibility for the Watergate scandal but denied any personal involvement. In a speech broadcast to the American people tonight he vowed to get to the bottom of the matter, saying: "There will be no whitewash at the Whitehouse". It was Tricky Dick's greatest triumph since the Checkers Speech
, yet another famous escape. The truth would not emerge until after his death in 1995.
In 1993, a deranged German fan of Steffi Graf nearly stabbed her opponent, Monica Seles, during a tournament in Hamburg, Germany. Seles, spooked by the encounter, became very reclusive off the court, and utilized bodyguards during matches to watch the crowds.
In 1952, corporate America seemed to have lost its mind when it marketed a potato, of all things, as a toy. The Mr. Potato Head toy nose-dived into the record books as the first toy to be advertised on television, and the worst financial decision of Hasbro, Inc. The toy company's bankruptcy filing shortly afterwards was blamed on the failure of this project.
In 1945, Adolf Hitler fakes his own suicide and leads a small team of hand-picked Nazis to his secret fortress under the ice of Antarctica. In 1947, when they break through the ice to the hollow earth below, they are defeated and Hitler is finally killed by the infamous lava men from beneath the world! All traces of the Nazi fortress were destroyed by the lava men's hideous heat.
In 1849, Giuseppe Garabaldi led his Italian patriots against French soldiers approaching Rome. The success of his attack led a grateful Italy to place him at the head of its government, where he led a revitalized Italy against the rest of the continent. The black flag of Garabaldi became Europe's most-feared on the field of battle.
In 1945, Stalin on hearing of Hitler's capture and as quoted in The Memoirs of Georgy Zhukov 'So the b*stard's alive! Too bad for him we didn't capture him dead! '
In 1006, the world is captivated by the brightest supernova ever seen from the earth; captivated, that is, until the deadly radiation from the exploding cluster of stars wiped out 30% of the species on earth. In the harsh, post-apocalyptic world that arose from the ashes of the extinction, humans were the prey of mutant species that hunted them - for sport!
In 1745, on this day third Chief Justice of the United States Oliver Ellsworth was born in Windsor, Connecticut.
Birth of Oliver Ellsworth
3rd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United StatesAn American lawyer and politician, a revolutionary against British rule, a drafter of the United States Constitution, he also served as United States Senator from Connecticut. While at the Federal Convention, Ellsworth moved to strike the word National from the motion made by Edmund Randolph of Virginia. Randolph had moved successfully to call the government the National Government of United States. Ellsworth moved that the government should continue to be called the United States Government.
In 1800 his conciliatory negotiations with France contributed to Napoleon's sudden choice three years later to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States for $15 million . But he suffered ill health on his return journey across the Atlantic. Fighting the temptation to resign, he return to the United States where he served in post until his death in 1807.
In 1861, in order to resolve the power-struggle between a pro-Confederate legislature and a pro-Union governor, Maryland's House of Delegates voted to secede from the Union.
Hagerstown becomes State Capital of West MarylandAlthough the decision was broadly welcomed in Baltimore and the eastern part of the State, the West remained firmly pro-Union. This support enabled President Abraham Lincoln to send Federal Troops into Washington, Allegany, Garrett and Frederick counties
to support a Western State's retrocession into the Union.
And so in reaction to the House vote, Hagerstown was declared the capital of the State of West Maryland. Mobilization orders were issued for the formation of a Maryland Eastern Shore Infantry for the Union. And because of the proximity to Washington City, bridges were burnt to forestall an invasion of the North. The vote ensured that the struggle for the future of the Union would be fought on the Potomac itself, within the geography's George Washington's capital.
But the fates chose otherwise. Because Lincoln himself was in dreadful ill health. Within weeks, he would die and his successor Hamlin would relocate the Union capital to Philadelphia. And it would soon become clear that it was Hamlin's own counter-productive decisions during Lincoln's final days that had directly led to the secession of Maryland.
In 1811, on this day Sally Cary Fairfax passed away in Charlestown on the Caribbean island of Nevis; she was survived by her second husband, Royal Navy Admiral George Washington (retd.).
This post is an article from the Midshipman George Washington thread.
Midshipman George Washington #7The leader of the Northern Federalist bloc Alexander Hamilton sent his condolences, assuring George that he could reside on his lands in the Leeward Islands for as long as he desired. Unfortunately before the year was out, Hamilton would be forced to flee from Philadelphia and join him on his Caribbean estate. But at least his nemesis Aaron Burr would take great delight in watching his Executive Mansion burn to the ground.
Although the Commander of the Chesapeake Bay fiasco was living in exile a state of disgrace, he did receive a sympathetic private letter from another indifferent sailor, the Prime Minister Horatio Nelson. Ironically he [Nelson] was about to suffer an even more ignominous defeat at the hands of the all-conquering Bourbon General, Napoleon Bonaparte. Eventually this setback would bring to a crashing end the Imperial Phase of Great Britain's development. Of course this latest chapter of the Anglo-French War had been going bad for quite some time, and in fact it was Nelson's unavoidable decision to recall his Redcoats from Philadelphia that had brought the curtain down on the Hamiltonian Regime.
It was a bitter legacy that Washington fully understood. But at least the Fairfax Inheritance would soon pass into the hands of Washington's children. It was the primary goal that George had set upon when he murdered James Cook in Tahiti, eliminating the troublesome third member of their love triangle and occasional ménage à trois. This is the end of the "Midshipman George Washington" thread.
In 711, the Gothic kingdom of Hispania had fallen to a time of all but straightforward civil war. King Wittiza had become sole ruler upon the death of his father, Egica, in AD 702.
Visigoths Notice Umayyad Invasion Initially, Wittiza looked to be a good king as he "redressed grievances, moderated the tributes of his subjects, and conducted himself with mingled mildness and energy in the administration of the laws", but after consolidating his powerful, he "showed himself in his true nature, cruel and luxurious," according to biographer/storyteller George Irving. Roderic, a young nobleman who had been exiled to Italy, invaded the kingdom at the behest of the people and usurped Wittiza in 710. Roderic worked to subdue the kingdom, many in the northwest supporting Wittiza's young son Achila II as king, the Basque in the north rebelling, and some in Toledo even supporting Wittiza's half-brother Oppas.
"Amid the chaos, the Umayyad Caliphate province to the south watched carefully. Governor Musa bin Nusair decided to test the Goths for weakness, ordering an expedition by his Berber general Tariq ibn Ziyad, whose armies had recently converted to Islam and had taken a small foothold at the southern tip of Hispania in a raid months before. Tariq began transporting thousands of troops across the strait from Africa, which the locals took as merchant parties until they noticed the war horses and weapons of an invading army. Word was sent to King Roderic, who was fighting the Basque in the north. Rather than finishing his campaign, he set immediately for the south. On his travels, he realized that the growing might of the unified Muslims could not be stopped by his few loyal lords alone. Over the past decades, the Umayyad Caliphate had swept westward and had taken Tangiers in 705, which allowed them to raid the south of Hispania with immunity. If Roderic's civil war continued, his kingdom would be utterly lost.
Instead of facing the Muslim army alone, Roderic called council in Toledo with his lords and those of the young king Achila as well as the political supporters of other campaigning parties. Since he had invaded Hispania to liberate it from tyranny, Roderic decided he could not hold power in his own hands. Rather than fighting to consolidate, he determined to share strength in a confederation of lords with a dual kingship of himself and Achila. With the army of Tariq marching northwest, the lords agreed, and a charter was drawn up (notoriously as anti-Jewish as it was anti-Muslim) out of organization, self-protection, and unity that would be similar to works achieved by the Franks in later years.
In 712, Tariq's force (estimated by various sources to be between 2,000 and 100,000) met with Roderic's unified army (between 2,900 and 200,000). Although the Berber cavalry were much feared, the larger Goth force cut off their supply trains and slew nearly the whole Muslim force as it retreated back to Africa. Musa bin Nusair determined Hispania's weakness to be solved, and he spent much of the rest of his career maintaining defense from Gothic raids.
Hispania, which would later transition to the Empire of Spain, became a center of strength rivaling the Kingdom of the Franks. As the Viking influence spread over Europe, the Spanish, especially their Gothic ruling minority, adapted to their naval techniques as an invasion force. They expanded through exploration and conquest, such as domination of the Canary Islands as well as wresting the Balearic Islands from the Byzantine Empire. In the Viking/Gothic fashion, they sailed southward for trade and domination, eventually coming to a long series of wars with the Forest Kingdoms of Western Africa.
The Franks, later to be known as French, were caught between the post-Crusade trade dominations of the Spanish to the south and the Italians in the Mediterranean until their own discovery of a New World to the west, where they would build an enormous empire through conquest of the Maya, Aztec, and Inca.
In 1945, on this day Adolf Schicklegruber married his long-time mistress Eva Braun. Somewhat out of character, Walt Disney's favourite cartoonist was coy about his honeymoon plans, only prepared to say that the happy couple were hoping to escape to South America. Privately, Schicklegruber felt that the intrusiveness of the American press had overshadowed the occasion, imposing something of a bunker mentality upon the wedding party at the Berghof, his summer holiday home at Obersalzberg in the Bavarian Alps.
Adolf & EvaUnaccustomed to American society, Schicklegruber was of course very much a German in outlook. He received an inheiritance from an aunt aged twenty-one, and used the money to emigrate to the United States.
By good fortune on the West Coast, he was to meet Walt Disney, who recognised a remarkable artistic talent1 that had been overlooked in his native Austria. Because Schicklegruber was rejected twice by the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna who cited "unfitness for painting," and was told his abilities lay instead in the field of architecture.
Due to excessive Aryan stereotyping in their cartoons, it has been suggested that perhaps Schicklegruber and Disney shared a white supremacist perspective that formed the basis of their life-long partnership, however there is little evidence of this. Whether the artwork is indicative of a utopian mindset or not is of no importance to the millions of children who enjoyed the fruits of their collaborative work - "The Wonderful World of Schicklegruber".
In 1964, on this day Malcolm Little returned to JFK Airport, New York wearing the ihram, a traditional two-piece garment comprising two white unhemmed sheets.Hajj Part 3 - Little returns to New York by Eric Oppen
Following his imprisonment in gaol, Little had been permitted by the Saudi authorities to complete the Hajj, making the seven circuits around the Kaaba, drinking from the Zamzam Well and running between the hills of Safah and Marwah seven times.
Accounts varied, but according to Little at least, he had remembered the book The Eternal Message of Muhammad by Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzam, which Dr. Mahmoud Yousseff Sharwabi had presented with his visa approval. He called Azzam's son, who arranged for his release. At the younger Azzam's home, he met Azzam Pasha, who gave Malcolm his suite at the Jeddah Palace Hotel. The next morning, Muhammad Faisal, the son of Prince Faisal, visited and informed Malcolm X that he was to be a state guest. The deputy chief of protocol accompanied Malcolm X to the Hajj Court, where he was allowed to make his pilgrimage.
The welcoming party at JFK airport represented the new diversity that Little was soon to promote. Amongst the crowd were threats old and new, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Nation of Islam of course plus Israeli secret service agents. Of his Nation of Islam colleague, Louis Farrakhan, there was no word. Before very long, Little began to fear for his own life too.
To be continued..
In 2001, Japan's longest-reigning emperor, Hirohito, celebrated his 100th birthday. Hirohito, who was crowned emperor in 1926, first presided over Japan's transition from semi-feudal kingdom to modern democracy and later played a key role in the global environmental movement (a role some of his biographers felt his interest in marine biology might have inspired him to take on).
In fact, Hirohito gave the concluding address at the 1995 Kyoto climate summit.
In 2009, on this day one of President Obama's security detail personnel died of swine flu (name not released). VP Biden ordered all information concerning the President and his staff to go through him before being released to the President. 98 confirmed cases of swine flu are reported in New York City.
In 1954, on this day Jerome Allen 'Jerry' Seinfeld is born in Brooklyn, New York.
Seinfeld would rise to fame in preforming stand-up with his unique brand of observational humour, beginning with a successful appearance on the The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson; which lead to further appearances on Late Night With David Letterman and The Merv Griffin Show.
However, he is perhaps best known for playing a semi-fictional version of himself in the situation comedy, Seinfeld, which was broadcast from 1989-99. Seinfeld co-created the show with comedian Larry David, and was credited as an executive producer and co-writer throughout it's run. Following the poorly recieved series finale, he made his next major forray into media beginning in 2007 with a string of film spin-offs based on the popular sitcom: The Seinfeld Movie, The Seinfeld Sequel, The Seinfeld Threequel, and the jokingly-titled, The End Of The Seinfeld Trilogy.
In 1999, Lady Gwen Rivers Pendrake, Queen of all the Britons, visits her husband, King Arthur II, in the war room at Buckingham Palace, where he and his chief aides are discussing the war against the Central European Empire. "My King," she says to him, "you have not slept well these past few days. Let those who have made it their life's work take control of the war for a little, and I will give you some respite from the pressure".Prime Minister Merl Myrddin advises Arthur, "The beginning of a war is no time to take a break - we need you, my King". But, Arthur is tired, and says to Myrddin, "I am not so important that one day could make a difference with our struggle, old friend. I shall take my rest with my queen". Arthur and Gwen spend the rest of the day making merry, and since the war continues to go well for his side, King Arthur considers Myrddin's concern somewhat overwrought, and resolves to take regular breaks with his love from now on.
In 1891, scouts from both sides report that a large number of troops are descending on Kansas City, and the citizens of the hapless town begin to flee in panic. Most of them flee to the east, which causes one of the worst disasters of the war. General Anthony Franklin thought the refugee column was Kansans on the move against him, and ordered his men to fire on them. It was only after women and children were seen among the people fleeing that orders to hold fire were given down. General Franklin came to the front, enraged that his orders were being countermanded, and was stunned to see the bodies of hundreds of dead civilians instead of the hardened rebels he had been expecting. He turned command of his troops over to Lt. Colonel Theodore Monteith and collapsed in his command tent, weeping at the senseless murder he had just ordered. Several telegrams soon reached Washington with details of the massacre, and an outraged Congress was demanding that General Franklin be removed from command and court-martialed.
In 2005, Chelsea Perkins meets Debra Morris at the Council of Wisdom and together they run into Alma May Watson. The three young women had lunch together and went for a walk about London, ending up the day in a small shop called Druid's Grove. The proprietor, Patience Redding, seems a little surprised by Chelsea, almost as if she recognizes the young American.
In 2005, dimensional rips caused an outbreak of the plague at the Alternate History Academy, delaying its regular posting of important events in history that never occurred today. Although steps were taken to seal such rifts, they opened again the next year and caused another break of plague. The Academy is still working on sealing such holes.
In 1997, the Andersonville death camp, an old Civil War prisoner camp that had been reopened by the Constitutionalists, was liberated by British and Egyptian forces. Hardened soldiers wept openly at the plight of the men, women and children who had been forced to live in this camp.
In 1969, Comrade Edward K. Ellington received the Medal of Freedom for his lifetime of work popularizing the communist lifestyle abroad. As a composer and musician, Ellington was allowed to travel to the European monarchies that didn't approve of the Soviet States of America and speak freely to his audiences about life in the S.S.A.
In 1945, German Reich Fuehrer Adolf Hitler marries his niece, Angelika Raubal. Although his neo-Nazi benefactors do not approve of the union, he is quite insistent on it, so they give it as little publicity across the Reich as they can. When he kills her in a jealous fit over her affairs two years later, that is hushed up, as well.
In 1915, a minor mutiny on one of his ships causes Admiral Esteban Rodriquez to rethink his report on the Kainku. Crew that had been in contact for several days with the aliens had refused orders and almost caused the ship to crash into the Kainku world below them. Admiral Rodriquez decided to stay and investigate further.
In 1992, under intense pressure, the jury hearing the case against the officers who had beaten Los Angeles motorist Rodney King found all the officers guilty as charged. Although the officers protested, the rest of L.A. breathed a sigh of relief at the verdict. Even though the sentencing was exceedingly light - 2 years was the maximum time any of the officers spent in jail - the black community felt that they had finally been given justice.
In 1988, one of Hollywood's happiest couples wed. Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson have defied Tinseltown's jinx on marriages and are still in wedded bliss today, almost 20 years later. Their two sons, Burt Jr. and Quinton Reynolds, have even appeared with their parents in shows like Cannonball Run.
In 1429, a young French peasant girl who had convinced the French Dauphin that God had sent her to liberate Orleans led French soldiers against the British besieging the town. When the British cut her army to pieces and captured her, they put her on display as proof of the lunacy of the French cause.
In 1385, demonstrating the indisputable charm that had rightfully
earned him the name "William the Courteous", the Duke of Austria gained the approval of the lords of lesser Poland to marry their eleven year
old monarch, Jadwiga.
Happy Endings 21:
Jadwiga betrothed to William the Courteous, Duke of AustriaTechnically speaking Her Royal Highness' official title was King because Polish law had no provision for a female ruler. Therefore she had been crowned with the masculine title Hedvig Rex Poloniæ
which differentiated her from a Queen Consort. But behind that
seemingly odd choice was an issue of real importance to the Polish
elite - ambition, the pressing need to avoid a diminution of national
status by allowing their monarch to become a Queen Consort of a
foreign power. For this very reason, the personal union had been terminated after the death of her predecessor, Louise I - her
father who had reigned as King of Hungary, Croatia and also Poland. And therefore the overriding reason for the success of the meeting in
Kraków was a collective leadership decision for their monarch to marry into a lower status Ducal power, thus bringing Polish authority to the fore.
But of course there were still those members of the Court that strongly disagreed, in fact they had argued for a bolder move, a marriage to Jagiełło the Grand Duke of Lithuania . There was an obvious attraction to such a Union that would create the largest state in Europe. And moreover, both States shared a common interest being hard pressed
by both the Teutonic Knights and also the Mongols. However there were
important differences too. Although Poland had turned to Rome in 966,
the Lithuanian elite included Pagans, and their population was comprised of largely Slavic easterners of Orthodox persuasion. Even though it might not diminish Poland, surely such a union would dilute the homogeneity of its cultural identity. And so the pro-Austria camp won the day, but the consequences would not be apparent until 1410, when the Teutonic Knights crushed the Polish Army at the battle of Grüwald, the greatest battle of the age. Surely on that day Polish Lords lived to regret the absence of Lithuanian allies who might possibly have saved their Empire from destruction.
In 1758, on this day America's first three-term President James Monroe was born on his parents' house located in a wooded area of Westmoreland County, Virginia.
Birth of Three-Term President MonroeA Founding Father, he was of the planter class and fought in the American Revolutionary War.
Facing little opposition from the fractured Federalist Party, Monroe was easily elected president in 1816, winning over 80 percent of the electoral vote and becoming the last president during the First Party System era of American politics. As president, he bought Florida from Spain and sought to ease partisan tensions, embarking on a tour of the country that was generally well received. As nationalism surged, partisan fury subsided and the "Era of Good Feelings" ensued until the Panic of 1819 struck and dispute over the admission of Missouri embroiled the country in 1820. Nonetheless, Monroe won near-unanimous reelection.
After 1824, and imitating Washington, he had preferred to lay down power like his predecessors. But seeing the splintering/infighting of his successors, Jackson, Adams, Crawford and Clay he ended up throwing himself into the ring again and declared his candidacy so as to keep the party unified.
In 1944, in a gruesome mob execution on this day, New York City criminal Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were discovered hanging upside down in Little Italy.
An alternate ending to Chris Oakley's Et Tu, Brute?: The Assassination of Benito Mussolini thread.
Fall of Il Duce"Il Duce" had over many years established a well deserved reputation for a unique boldness that eventually brought him to the attention of organized crime bosses.
But his non-Sicilian roots were always going to be a problem, and with the criminal underworld profiteering during the war years, he simply over-stepped the mark. Needless to say, they decided to whack the man they had consistently disrespected as "Benny the Moose".
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.