A column of bluish light, nearly as bright as the Sun, was seen moving across the sky
at the international observatory in the Aryan Capital City of Arkaim. Built in a series of circumferences with a common centre, the Swastika City had been established in the Southern Urals steppe in order to track eighteen types of astronomical events such as sun-sets and sun-rises on the days of equinox and solstice. But this terrifying incident was quite different, it was an anomaly caused with malicious intent by sentient beings.
Aryans track their last astronomical eventIt was the unexpected arrival of an artificial celestial body that caused a gigantic explosion above the earth some two thousand kilometres to the north-west on the Podkamennaya Tunguska River. Although nobody was killed outright by the blast approximately eighty million trees were knocked down in a Swastika-shaped area of land covering two thousand one hundred and fifty square kilometres.
Progress was also tracked by humans from the other international observatory on the same latitude - the Briton's Stonehenge - where the midsummer night sky was even lighter than usual. And across the globe, humanity braced itself for the return of the cruel alien ancestors that had originally put mankind on the road to technological evolution all those long millennia before. Or perhaps something worse, their masters having called time upon them.
In 1997, on this day the British author J. K. Rowling released the screenplay for the upcoming film adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin's 1968 fantasy novel "A Wizard of Earthsea".
A Wizard of EarthseaIn the narrative, a boy with unusual aptitude for magic is recognised, and sent to a special school for wizards. Through a quest of self-discovery he eventually becomes the young mage named Ged (pictured), a character portrayed in the movie by Daniel Radcliffe.
But although Le Guin expressed some muted satisfaction with the depiction of the Sparrowhawk , there was no appetite for filming the remaining books in the series, The Tombs of Atuan (1971), The Farthest Shore (1972), Tehanu (1990) and The Other Wind (2001).
In 1521, to the amazement of his crew Juan Ponce de León survives the return journey to Havana, Cuba.
The Secret of Juan Ponce de LeónInexplicably, several of his fellows had also survived the seemingly mortal wounds that they had suffered at the hands of the Calusa braves in the vicinity of Caloosahatchee River on the southwest coast of L'Florida.
They soon depart for Puerto Rico, but not before news of the miracle begins to make its way to the Vatican. A Cardinal is sent to San Juan, but he only finds a young man of no more than thirty years old claiming to be the Governor, Ponce de León.
Further investigations finally reveal the truth, that the Governor and his fellows have been rejuvenated by spring water from the Fountain of Youth. They flee to Cuba and the Cardinal returns to Rome where the Pope issues an Edict, placing a quarantine around the island.
In 2012, against the odds the incomparable GZR commander Icchak Jaziernicky died peacefully in his bed at the ripe old age of ninety-six.
A Thorn that Stabs
An installment from "Elders of the Protocols of Zion"Born in Ruzhany in the Russian Empire, he was the son of Perla and Shlomo the co-owners of a leather factory. Tragically, both of his parents died during the Holocaust. His father was stoned to death just outside his birthplace by Poles who had been his childhood friends, after he had escaped from a German train transporting Jews to the death camps. His mother and a sister died in the camps and another sister was shot dead.
After studying at a Hebrew high school network in Bialystok, and while he was still as a youth, he joined the Greater Zionist Resistance (GZR) movement. He later adopted as his surname the name he used on a forged underground identity card, Shamir meaning a thorn that stabs.
The GZR had recently lost their inspirational leader Astrid Pflaume and the conventional war with the New Reich was going very badly indeed. Shamir could see that to win, the GZR needed to fundamentally change the nature of the struggle, and he forced the organization to accept a primary strategy of terrorism instead of all-out battlefield confrontation which the Zionists could never win. To prove his point, he used high explosives to devasting effect, blowing up the Polish foreign minister, a lousy anti-semite called Beck. And then six months later, the greatest prize of all, detonating a bomb that blew up a trestle underneath a train carrying Adolf Hitler.
Unbeknown to the GZR, the neo-Nazis from 1968 had actually steered the crazed Führer away from the levers of power. But the elevation of Herr Garbitch, Reichsmarshal Goering caused endless problems that set the New Reich back years.
Against the odds he died peacefully in his bed at the ripe old age of ninety-six.
All of Robbie Taylor's novels are available for download at Amazon.
In 1908, in an event unable to be understood at the time, a pinpoint black hole struck the Earth near the Stony Tunguska River in Siberia, Russia.
Tunguska Impact Alters the World The impact itself was significant with a shockwave estimated at 5.0 on the Richter scale that knocked trees flat in an 800 square mile spread, blew people off their feet, and destroyed windows for hundreds of miles. The aftershock, however, was far more important. As the black hole bore through the Earth, it shed the event-horizon shell of cosmic matter and evaporated with the energy from friction and pressure of the Earth's core. The shockwaves continued through the molten core and mantle like an isolated earthquake, meeting on the opposite side of the world near the Strait of Magellan. There, the edge of the Antarctic Plate buckled with the South American Plate, causing a massive upheaval that would turn the Drake Passage into an enormous mountain range connecting the Andes and the Antarctic Peninsula.
Newspapers and scientists would consider the event purely tectonic until the Leonid Kulik expedition in 1921 determined the mysterious explosion happened only hours before the upheaval. His mineralogy team excavated radioactive material not uncommon to Siberia that would later be tested again in 2007 and found to coincide with isotopes from space such as cesium as well as heavy polonium and magnetic nickel.
At the time, however, the world's attention was turned to the new landmass that had suddenly cut off the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (what would later be termed as the "exit wound" of the black hole, though it was really only backlash from the collision). As ocean currents adjusted, climatological alterations began such as the increase of rainforest to the south of the Amazon and the widening of the Kalahari Desert. Sea life suffered greatly as migration routes were cut off, causing the extinction of several whale species, already over-hunted. Most notable to the time was that the most-used passage to the Pacific had been cut off. Since its discovery by Balboa, the Pacific had struck Europe as a new, calmer ocean for exploration and colonization. The Pacific had been especially instrumental to the Americans, who used it as the main route connecting them to the quickly populated West Coast even after the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. A faster route was currently under construction through a canal in Panama, but at the time of the Upheaval, it was still years from completion. The long-sought Northwest Passage had only recently been completed by Roald Amundsen from 1903 to 1906 and could be crossed only at the warmest points of summer by reinforced icebreaker ships.
Effectively, the Pacific had become cut off from the East. Shipping could still flow through the Indian Ocean, but the journey from New York to San Francisco by steamer had increased from weeks to months. Calling the times "desperate," US President Theodore Roosevelt began his campaign for his unprecedented third term and vowed not to leave office until his canal was completed (which occurred years before schedule in 1911). The rest of the world looked with shock and envy at America controlling the only access to the eastern Pacific, and soon multiple European-backed companies began plans to dig canals through Honduras, Costa Rica, and, especially, Nicaragua. Only the Nicaraguan Canal would see completion in 1923, after changing hands twice.
Other plans, however, determined that overland routes would be suitable. On February 12, 1908, the New York to Paris Race began, traveling by motor car and partially by steamer west from Times Square to the French capital. A month after the Upheaval, the American team arrived victorious in their Thomas Flyer. Savvy newspapermen used the event as an example of the efficiency of overland travel. The Germans (whose team arrived second), took notice of the feat and began work with the ABC Powers (Argentina, Brazil, and Chile) to complete a rail and motorway that would bring goods from Buenos Aires to Santiago. German imperial attention turned to South America, bringing commerce and tourism, so much so that commentators doubted the Kaiser had even noticed the short-lived Austrian occupation of Serbia.
Gradually, the world would become accustomed to its new scar of what came to be known as the Drake Mountains, but the idea that an object from space could bring such devastation to a planet continues to unnerve the human spirit.
In 1776, on this day the Continental Navy achieved what up to that time was its most significant victory of the American Revolution, sinking the British man-of-war HMS Romulus off the coast of Maine just as Romulus was about to make an attempt to land a detachment of Royal Marines near the city of Bangor.
Double Jeopardy Part 9
Sinking of the RomulusWord of the sinking reached the Continental Congress in Philadephia on July 3rd, prompting its members to pass a resolution declaring July 4th a day of celebration in honor of the event. In the post-Revolutionary War era July 4th would be established by law and custom as America's official Independence Day.
The sinking of HMS Romulus also acted as a catalyst for the intervention of France and Spain on the American colonists' side in the later stages of the Revolution.
In 1862, about the only good news for the Union, during the whole Seven Days Battles saga, was a victory at Malvern Hill on 30 June. But before that battle took place, the Confederacy would have one more victory. Confederate cavalry general, Jeb Stuart, was also active, during these events, albeit somewhat detached from the main army.
Malvern Hill by David AtwellHaving been given orders to operate to the left hand flank of Jackson's command, he soon found his cavalry force on the prowl against any unprepared Union forces. These usually were not any fighting units, but supply and logistic ones. Nevertheless, that mattered little to Stuart as his cavalry wreaked havoc on the Union supply trains retreating towards Harrison's Landing, on the James, along with everyone else.
Still, even with the success of the cavalry, Lee was a frustrated man. Having to deal with the practicalities of cleaning up a battlefield, especially in dealing with thousands of prisoners, not to mention caring for the wounded, regardless of side, meant to say he lost a day in getting at those people as Lee would say. Yet, his orders went out to continue the pursuit of the retreating Army of the Potomac. Soon, Magruder, with 13 000 troops, the only Confederate force not yet involved in any combat, was hammered with orders to engage the next US Corps before it could escape. Meanwhile, Lee gathered the rest of the army together, including A. P. Hill's and D. H. Hill's divisions, then in reserve, and set off in pursuit once more.
A Chapter from Action Jackson 1862
Magruder, however, took his time, which did not win him any favours after the campaign was over. Lee was far from impressed, but that did not mean that Magruder's efforts were not ignored. McClellan, now that he was well aware that VI Corps had been annihilated, only knew too well what fate awaited for him, and the rest of the army, if the Confederate pursuit was not stopped. Albeit he was reluctant to order it, the US III Corps of General Heintzelman soon found itself having to conduct a last ditched rearguard action akin to VI Corps only two days before. One major thing, though, worked in III Corps favour: and that was the ground they had decided to fight upon.Malvern Hill proved to be the best location that any defender could have imagined. It could not be outflanked. Instead only a frontal assault could take place. And even though Lee was able to combine his entire army together for once, more or less, at the Battle of Malvern Hill, the meagre 17 500 Union troops were up to the task of defeating them. There were, however, several mistakes made by the Confederates which ensured Union victory.
The first mistake to take place was that Magruder arrived on the scene on 1 July, several hours before the others, and got immediately into action. With urgent orders coming from Lee to rapidly take the fight to those people, he finally followed these orders instead of waiting for the Army of Northern Virginia to concentrate together its numbers. His 13 000 troops, hence, were completely outnumbered and Magruder's force had no chance whatsoever in breaching the Union defences. Error then compounded upon error, when the rest of the Army of Northern Virginia finally arrived. Lee, thinking victory could come at any moment, decided to support Magruder in his futile efforts, by sending reinforcements into the attack as they arrived on the battlefield. In doing so, though, the attack continued piecemeal, instead of building up the formidable army Lee had finally concentrated for a major concerted effort. These errors would continue, until mid afternoon, when Lee finally realised the situation and decided to have one major all-out assault. The problem by now, however, was that Magruder's troops were thoroughly exhausted along with half of the rest of Lee's army. Consequentially Lee's first and only major assault at Malvern Hill, in the afternoon, was also repulsed.
Heintzelman knew, nonetheless, that his III Corps was in no better condition than Lee's army, even though his casualties were light, his ammunition stocks were low, not to mention his men were exhausted. Thus, under the cover of darkness, having done its job superbly, III Corps withdrew from their positions and was, more or less, safely in Harrison's Landing by dawn the next day. Lee knew this would probably happen, so he dispatched Stuart and his cavalry after III Corps at dawn on 1 July. Stuart discovered, to his horror, when reaching Harrison's Landing, that the place was a natural fortress after a brief engagement with the Union defenders. He reported this to Lee who regretted not completely destroying the Army of the Potomac, but was nevertheless satisfied with the results thus far. It seemed a siege would now commence, but other factors would soon came into play to change this.
Read the whole story of Action Jackson 1862 - Stonewall's Foot Cavalry Wins The Day on the Changing the Times web site
In 2011, on this day the Allied High Representative Dr Marjorie "Mo" Mowlam flew out of Kabul Airport having completed a hugely successful twelve-month political development program in Afganistan.
Job DoneDuring the previous summer, the US military had successfully faced down its civilian masters during the so-called "Wimps in the White House" crisis. Fortunately, senior figures in the chain of command had had the intelligence to perceive that by sharing his sharing his private thoughts with a reporter from Rolling Stone Magazine Stan McChrystal's had made a cry for help. Having been locked in a negative spiral of events incomprehensible to the military mind, McChrystal had followed a well-worn route by expressing his rage and frustration without fear of consequence. Because in the final analysis, with his brother and sister officers dying on a failing mission, his own future seemed a matter of little concern. The truth was he had sacrified his own career to get the mission back on track by creating a political storm back home.
"Nobody does it like Mo" ~ Tony BlairPresident Obama recalled McChrystal to Washington to explain himself, but when he refused to apologise for stating the truth, newly appointed Secretary of General Affairs David Petraeus sent the General back to Afghanistan to continue his leadership of the International Security Assistance Force.
Petraeus then sought the right person to lead the broader political development mission, soon finding that Mo Mowlam was the obvious candidate. As Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mowland broke a logjam in the Northern Ireland Peace Talks by confronting former terrorists in the Maze Prison, an act of outstanding leadership that had forced Tony Blair to admit "nobody does it like Mo".
In 1908, a celestial object of unknown type strikes the Russian capital of St. Petersburg with what will later be estimated as a force equal to 10-20 megatons of TNT, wiping out Tsar Nicholas II, his wife and children, and most of the Russian imperial government.
It had been only three years since the near-revolution of 1905 following Russia's defeat in its war with Japan. The cataclysmic destruction of the Russian capital and government is seized upon by ultranationalist fanatics as a sign from God, and a bloody uprising follows in which the weak-willed Grand Duke Mikhail Alexanderovich is installed on the throne as the zealots' puppet. Watch the Youtube Clip
Russian Cataclysm by Eric LippsThe new government embarks on a program of massive industrialization and military expansion and exploits anti-Semitism and a fundamentalist Russian Orthodox theology to build support, touching off savage pogroms against Russia's Jews and Roman Catholics, the latter considered "heretics" by the zealots now in charge of Russia.
Ironically, had the mystery object arrived at Earth just a few hours earlier, it would have struck in the sparsely populated Tunguska region of Siberia, and might well have taken no human life. In that case, the bloody history of the twentieth century might have been entirely different.
In 1934, the German Nazi Party, in power for a mere two years, falls into a civil war with itself as competing factions attack each other throughout the country.
Night of Long Knives
by Robbie TaylorThe leader of the Sturm Abteilung, Ernst Roehm, was nearly killed by men under the command of Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler, both of whom wished to seize the mighty SA for their own. A small clique of industrialists attempted to oust a few of the other upper party leaders, and bands of the SA roamed the country, attacking people indiscriminately.
After this night of long knives, it was readily apparent that the Nazis had lost control of themselves, and all of the elements of society that they had been repressing - labor movements, democrats, even some of the aristocrats - seized the moment and banded together in Berlin. An ambitious team was able to capture Hitler and assassinate him, which plunged the already-splintered Nazis into further infighting as all of their leaders tried to take control of the party.
The revolutionary movement appointed former chancellor Kurt von Schleicher as Prime Minister of Germany and outlawed the Nazi Party. Prime Minister von Schleicher immediately asked for international assistance to quell the unrest in his country, and troops from around central and western Europe were soon putting the Nazis down. Prime Minister von Schleicher steered Germany away from the authoritarian nightmare the Nazis had been instituting and towards a more workable, French-style democracy, although he had to deal with Nazi remnants for many years after the coup.
In 1859, daredevil Charles Blondin, AKA Jean Francois Gravelet, attempted unsuccessfully to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Amazingly, Blondin survived despite the injuries sustained in his fall and despite being nearly drowned before he could be rescued. However, he would be obliged to walk with the aid of crutches for the rest of his life.
In 1986, the Supreme Court struck down Georgia's anti-sodomy law, ruling that the Constitution inherently provided a right to privacy. In his concurring opinion with the majority, Justice Powell said, 'In my view, a prison sentence for such conduct -- certainly a sentence of long duration (20 years) -- would create a serious Eighth Amendment issue. For this reason the constitutional argument of the Appellate Court should be upheld.' Gay activists across the nation took heart, and sodomy laws were taken off the books across America.
In 1941, Lillian Hellman was murdered by her lover Dashiell Hammett after fighting about her other affairs. In the trial of the century, Hammett is convicted after the jury deliberates for 4 days. In 1942, the play and movie based on their affair, Dash & Lilly, shoots movie couple Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan to the upper reaches of Hollywood stardom, and almost wins Reagan the Oscar for Best Actor.
In 4604, observational satellites detect a meteor about to crash into Siberia in time for missiles to shoot it down. It would have landed in a largely unpopulated area of the savage vassal state, but Imperial scientists felt it best not to take chances with a meteor strike.
In 4561, Prince Nguyen Vo of Hanoi is killed leading citizens against the Chinese invaders. He is one of 40,000 deaths that day in Hanoi.
In 1862, Brent Carpenter was brought before the bar at London's Royal Court. Accused of 68 counts of murder, Carpenter says, against the advice of his counsel, 'I can only be tried for 13 murders; one cannot murder a Mlosh. One can only exterminate such vermin.' The prosecution could practically rest its case at that point; Carpenter was found guilty in a 2-day trial, and sentenced to 68 consecutive life sentences.
In 1999, unknown and unseen to each other, two teams of assassins moved into the royal chambers at Buckingham Palace in London; the one led by Sir Lance du Lac went to the queen"s bed chamber, and the one led by Prime Minister Sir Kay Ector advanced on King Arthur. The stealthy, quiet men did their work professionally and cleanly, and the monarchs were soon bleeding profusely. Arthur maintained consciousness, and crawled to Queen Gwen"s bed, where he found her life ebbing away. "Arthur," she said, trying to hold her life in with one hand and reaching out to him with the other. "Arthur, I love you. I'm sorry I mucked it all up".
He smiled through the blood that was welling up in his mouth, and reached over to press the button that would summon the staff. This was almost too much effort for him, and he swooned. She steadied him, but that let loose more blood than she could spare. "You were the greatest queen that England has ever known," he whispered into her ear as he rested himself beside her on the blood-soaked bed. "I only regret that I will never know your child". He paused, then added, "Our child". He lowered his face to hers for a kiss, but she was already growing cold, and he sank back with a sob. With his last bit of strength, he pulled her body to him and held her tenderly.
The young serving girl who answered the bell screamed and ran over to them, finding Queen Gwen dead and King Arthur barely holding onto life. "Quickly," he said to her, feeling everything slipping away, "quickly, bring Sir Lance; bring help". She ran crying from the room, shouting, "Their majesties are murdered! Help, help, their majesties are murdered!" As the sound of her panic roused the entire castle, Arthur felt an old, familiar presence at his side, and a great calm swept over him. "I was wondering if you'd show up," he said to the old man. "What good is having a great wizard advisor if he only ever appears when it's too late?" The old man chuckled and laid a hand on Arthur's forehead, stroking his hair tenderly.
"I should have never come out of the coma; Gwen had everything under control, even if she was doing it for the wrong reasons". Merl's voice soothed him as it said, "But then, you would never have reconciled; she wouldn't have your forgiveness". Arthur tried to shrug, but didn't have the strength. "I don't think that's terribly important". Merl sat down on the bed, but Arthur didn't feel the bed shift at all.
"But, it is, Arthur, it is. Everything that we do in our brief time upon this world casts shadows on those around us; that is the true afterlife, Arthur. That is our immortality". Arthur felt very cold, and Merl's hand gripped his. "I came back from death once," he told Merl. The old wizard smiled at him and said, "Twice". Arthur smiled and meant to nod, but his head was so heavy that all he could do was let it lean back until it touched Gwen's. He heard the thundering footsteps of people coming in to help, and saw Lance's face hover over his own. "Goodbye, my brother," he said to Lance, whose face was covered in tears. The knight attempted to pull Arthur away from Gwen, but with his last breath, King Arthur told him, "Let me stay with her, Lance; let me stay with her, always". Sir Lance felt the king's life slip away from him at that moment, and couldn't bring himself to move the two of them apart. He turned to the servants and guards who now crowded the chamber and told them, "The king - and queen - are dead". His voice choked as he struggled to continue. "Let there never be another; for we have been blessed once with this great pair. It would be selfish of our people to expect such leaders to come along again".
In 2001, most of Miller, Wisconsin goes up in flames as desperate National Guardsmen blow up building after building in an attempt to halt zombie Hitler on his rampage through the small town. During the chaos, Colby Ross and Samantha Robinson locate the hidden basement where their grandfathers had hidden the means to dispel Hitler and complete the ritual, banishing the Nazi forever.
In 1934, Adolf Hitler quells a brewing civil strife among his lieutenants, resisting their advice that he have Ernst Roehm killed. Instead, he turns against the generals of the German Army, and allows the SA commanded by Roehm to take control of the army. Roehm is recognized as Hitler's right hand, but always carefully obeys his Fuehrer, for fear of what his old friend is capable of.
In 1914, noted terrorist Mohandas Gandhi is arrested in South Africa. In a move many in the colonial government will not live to regret, he is released in a gesture of reconciliation towards the Indian revolutionaries he leads. He is never captured again.
In 4604, observational satellites detect a meteor about to crash into Siberia in time for missiles to shoot it down. It would have landed in a largely unpopulated area of the savage vassal state, but Imperial scientists felt it best not to take chances with a meteor strike.
In 1908, an experiment by Nikolai Tesla went horribly wrong in Central Siberia. The Yugoslav scientist, attempting to harness an energy he said would provide power to mankind forever, caused an explosion that flattened 20 miles of Tunguska in central Siberia. Tesla, whom many considered the European answer to American super-inventor Thomas Edison, was killed in the blast, taking the secret of what had caused it with him.
In 1862, East Tennessee became the second state to secede from the Confederacy two days after Georgia governor Joseph E. Brown (pictured) had made a similar announcement.
An article from the Jefferson Unbound thread.
Jefferson Unbound - the Conscription Act backfires
By Ed & Eric OppenThe Confederacy had come into being under circumstances that were hardly ideal. Expedience was the order of the day. And as the war entered its second year, the noises beginning to come out of Richmond had begun to have a worryingly similar ring to those out Washington, at least in the ears of Southern Governors.
Matters came to a head with the passage of the Conscription Age which forced the enlistment of white men ages 18 to 45 . "No act of the Government of the United States prior to the secession of Georgia," wrote the irate Brown, "struck a blow at constitutional liberty so fell as has been stricken by the conscription act". There was noted resistance to it in North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. In the Shenandoah Valley, pacifist religious orders and Unionists banded together in opposition. A lower court in Georgia found it unconstitutional (though several other states' Supreme Courts disagreed). Even the Vice-President, Alexander Stephens, thought the Conscription Act "very bad policy".
Confederate President Jefferson Davis explained it all away, addressing Governor Brown. The central government usurping the rights of individual states was a "familiar and well-settled principle". Brown responded by recalling all Georgian soldiers to border defense. All things were now possible, a retrocession into the Union or an invasion by the Confederacy. And then East Tennessee followed suite, Stephens resigned and the game was up.
In 1974, on this day Evita Perón was sworn in as the first female President of Argentina . Her husband, President Juan Perón, had delegated responsibility due to weak health and died two days later.
The Rise of the Iron LadyGiven the title of "Spiritual Leader of the Nation" by the Argentine Congress, she was hardened by her long battle with cancer becoming a fiery "example of passion and combativeness" .
Of course the Argentine people would be the beneficiaries of her charismatic decade-long Presidency. And the big losers would be the British Government who spectacularly failed to recover their imperial possessions in the South Atlantic when the Iron Lady  launched a surprise invasion of the Malvinas Islands in 1982. Unfortunately for the imperialists, President Charlton Heston was unwilling to get involved in a conflict involving two Coldwar allies. This wasn't a sentimental decision because it later transpired, that the Argentine Government was directing arms to the Contras  and Perón had threatened to disrupt supply if Heston backed the British.
In 626, on this day Avars Storm Constantinople. Following the fall of Rome to the Visigoths, Constantinople took up the mantle of Roman Empire and again established rule through the Mediterranean under the emperor Justinian (527-565). Such a massive empire again proved unwieldy, and Justinian had to install massive bureaucracy to achieve the continuation of his empire.
Avars Storm ConstantinopleWhile maintaining order, the bureaucracy was also incredibly expensive, which ironically created unrest as the populace grew weary of heavy taxes despite the wealth of empire. Emperor Maurice (582-602) created cost-saving measures whenever possible, such as refusing in 598 to pay ransom to the Avar Khaganate for thousands of Byzantine prisoners-of-war. The result was the soldiers being slaughtered, but the coffers of the Empire remaining full. In 602 as another measure, he ordered the army to make winter quarters on the frontier north of the Danube rather than march home. This action caused the army to rebel and march on Constantinople, dragging Maurice out of sanctuary in a monastery to execute him. Their leader Phocas was installed the new emperor.
Although popular, Phocas proved unable to defend the empire. In the north, the Avars and their Slavic allies overwhelmed the Balkan territories. In the east, Governor Narses of Mesopotamia incited a rebellion against Phocas' rule. When Phocas sent an army to put him down, Narses sought aid from Khosrau II, emperor of the Sassanid Persians, who was pleased to attack the weakened Byzantines. The Persians defeated the Byzantine army sent against them and began conquering through Armenia and Asia Minor. In 610, Heraclius, the Exarch ("regional governor") of Africa, overthrew the now very unpopular Phocas and tried to make peace. The Persians denied him and continued conquering the Levant and Egypt. Heraclius assembled expeditionary forces to counterattack in northern Asia Minor and then left Constantinople in 624 to campaign in the Caucasus.
The Avars continued their sweep across the Balkans to the capital itself with some eighty thousand men and siege equipment with the goal of wiping out the Byzantines altogether. An army twelve thousand strong and featuring cavalry defended the city, but it was the bureaucracy who managed life there. A bureaucrat named John determined that food the coming siege was of crucial value and began work to maintain the bread supply. He moved to cancel the free bread ration for the imperial guard (who had ample money of their own to spend) and enacted that overall bread prices be increased from three to eight folles to ensure none was wasted. On May 14 and 15, people gathered at the Great Church and chanted in protest. The local governing body under Bonos discussed what to do and ultimately decided that austerity must be retained in the face of the oncoming barbarians. After days of protest, the government sent loyal soldiers to chase away the chanters. Rioting began, and soon the city was set aflame. Order was restored at times, but the populace proved unresponsive even to zealous religious appeals. In the end, most of the citizenry abandoned the city and fled by sea in convoys to avoid attack Persians. City bureaucrats attempted to stop the retreat with control of the sea walls, but defenses were sabotaged by the people hoping to escape.
When the Avars arrived on June 29, few soldiers were left loyal to Byzantium. A short battle followed, and, despite superior defensive technology with its walls, the Avars broke into Constantinople. Barbarians looted what remained of the city and burned the rest, ending what had been a key position of trade in the known world. Heraclius found himself without a capital, and his allies lost all confidence. He began an overall evacuation to Africa and established himself there, though the empire continued to crumble with Visigoths seizing lands to the west in Spain. The Persians and the Avars reached agreement on a border along the Hellespont, giving both access to trade there while making it a dangerous haven for pirates on the newly unprotected strait.
Although victorious over their Byzantine rival, the Sassanids soon found themselves overwhelmed by the Arab Empire that grew up following the spread of Islam in the 630s and 640s. It eclipsed Zoroastrianism and spread through Africa to Spain, India, and northward to become the principal religion of the Huns and Rus. Charlemagne maintained Christendom in central Europe, and the Scandinavian nations joined as well. Western Europe continued as a marginal corner of the world with trade centering on the vast holdings of the Caliphates. Eventually European explorers seeking a westward route around the Muslim monopoly discovered the New World, which brought a new age of empire upon the out-of-the-way continent.
In 1815, a week after his fruitless return to Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte left Malmaison for Rochefort where he evaded English coast guards to board a vessel that carried him to the United States.
Napoleon's Escape to North America, Reboot
by Ed, Eric Oppen and Jackie RoseTravelling to Bolton, Massachusetts, he resided at the home of the merchant Sampson Vryling Stoddard (S.V.S.) Wilder, a noted member of the small American community in Paris. He was an acquaintance of both Talleyrand and Lafayette, and in addition to the influence of their political thought, had been deeply impressed by the changes brought about in society and politics under Napoleonic Rule. Compelled to act after the tragic defeat at Waterloo, he provided the fallen Emperor with his valet's passport.
Wilder dreamt of a meeting of minds with President Madison, a potential co-belligerent who had declared war on England in 1812. But Napoleon had set his mind on a new vision shortly after after he visited Malmaison where Josephine had died only thirteen months before. And so over the next six months he collected all his relatives around him, forming the nucleus of a national union, a second France. They headed West to found a Bonapartist dynasty that would dominate Mexican politics for the next two millenia.
This blog is a reboot of an article with the same name in which Napoleon didn't make it.
In 1876, the problem of choosing a candidate to fill the boots of outgoing President Ulysses S. Grant appeared to be miraculously solved by the fortuitous arrival of George Armstrong Custer on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in St. Louis.
American Heroes 3:
Triumph of "The Morning Star"Positively beaming with the euphoria of his spectacular victory at the Little Big Horn, the "Morning Star" was very much a chip off the old block. A shameless self-promoter with a track record of show-boating, he was a genocidal, centennial poster boy for foolish men to rally around. Dripping with Indian blood, he too was an inhuman butcher devoid of respect for human life. Incredibly, his administration would make Grant's look good by comparison.
Only later during his impeachment trial would the grisly truth emerge amongst other evidence of malfeasance, corruption and deception.
One insight that the more cynical convention delegates had long suspected. Amongst a political generation that had fought the Civil War, those fomer servicemen had queried the logic of a three pronged attack which made no military sense. Because surely a concentration of forces was the best tactic for defeating a large hostile army ferociously defending its native homeland? At least until it was revealed that Custer and Major Marcus Reno had ordered their loyalist troopers to indiscriminately slaughter the helpless women and children in the village of White Deer, none of whom were committed Democrats voters anyway.
In 1935, on this day in Baton Rouge, the charismatic Louisiana senator Huey Pierce Long formally announced his entrance into the race for the White House even though he had no intention of running for the presidency the following year1.
The greatest President we never had
Huey Long was without a doubt the greatest politician who ever livedLong instead planned to challenge Roosevelt for the Democratic nomination in 1936, knowing he would lose the nomination but gain valuable publicity in the process. Then he would break from the Democrats and form a third party using the Share Our Wealth plan as a basis for its program.
He also planned to use Father Charles Coughlin, a Catholic priest and populist talk radio personality from Royal Oak, Michigan; Iowa agrarian radical Milo Reno; and other dissidents. The new party would run someone else as its 1936 candidate, but Long would be the primary campaigner. This candidate would split the progressive vote with Roosevelt, thereby resulting in the election of a Republican as president but proving the electoral appeal of Share Our Wealth. Long would then run for president as a Democrat in 1940. In the spring of 1935, Long undertook a national speaking tour and regular radio appearances, attracting large crowds and increasing his stature.
Long was well on his way to being president in 1940. If Long would have been elected president, there would be no WWII, no profits from the banking interests in Europe and America in financing this war, nor any war profits from American corporations like IG Farben. All of the best laid plans Roosevelt had would have gone to hell in a handbasket.
In 1916, on this day the liberal journalist Henry W. Nevinson shouted out "God save Ireland!" from the back of the Old Bailey when the Irish patriot, poet, revolutionary, and nationalist Roger Casement was acquitted of treason.
God Save Ireland!Nevertheless, he was stripped of his British Honours; in 1911, Casement had been knighted by George V as Knight Bachelor for his efforts on behalf of the Amazonian Indians, having been reluctantly appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1905 for his Congo work.
Unsuprisingly, no honours would be forthcoming for his work on behalf of the Irish. Because his involvement in the "Irish Plan" was unquestioned; during his time in Germany (pictured) he recruited an "Irish Brigade" consisting of Irish prisoners-of-war in the prison camp of Limburg an der Lahn, who would be trained to fight against Britain.
Unfortunately for the prosecution team, it seemed that the medieval Treason Act applied only to activities carried out on English soil. And they failed to convince the court that the inclusion of a comma in the text widened the scope to include "in the realm or elsewhere" meaning where acts were done and not just where the "King's enemies" may be. And so the court decided that Casement was not to be "hanged by a comma".
Among the many people who pleaded for his clemency were Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who became acquainted with Casement through the work of the Congo Reform Association, W. B. Yeats and George Bernard Shaw. Edmund Dene Morel could not visit him in jail, being under attack for his pacifist position. Although the outcome of the case upheld the honour of the judicial system, the consequences for the British War Effort would be huge. Encouraged by Casement his supporters would take their arguments to the United States where they would cause immense difficulties for the American politicians seeking to enter the war on the Allied side.
In 1767, on this day the so-called "Townshend Acts" were voted down in the British Parliament.
Originated by Charles Townshend and designed to collect revenue from Britain's American colonists by imposing customs duties on imported glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea, the acts were rejected as likely to cause even more resistance than had the recently-repealed Stamp Act.
Townshend Acts by Eric LippsFrustrated partisans of the Acts demanded to know, as one of them put it in a letter to a friend shortly after the vote, "How, if it be barred that we collect monies from the Colonies in duties for Trade, or by direct Taxation, we can be expected to provide for the Defence, of those selfsame Colonies? Yet if we do not, their Agitators will cry that we have Abandoned them, to the French and to the Savages which do infest that Continent.
One might almost think they consider themselves, an independent Country, yet demand Tribute from England in the form of Protection from Attack".
In 2004, on this day British Prime Minister Robin Cook confirmed to the House of Commons that Iraq had sought "significant quantities of uranium from Africa" warning that "his [Saddam Hussein's]" military planning allows for some of the Weapons of Mass Destruction to be ready within forty-five minutes of an order to use them".
Britain's biggest selling popular daily newspaper, The Sun, carried the headline "Brits 45 Mins from Doom", while the Star reported "Mad Saddam Ready to Attack: 45 Minutes from a Chemical War".
Forty-five Minutes from DoomTo the fury of many figures in the British establishment, Cook urged a cautious, measured approach to the crisis. The Foreign Secretary Bryan Gould was working closely with Britain's key allies around the world, confirmed the Prime Minister. A powerful coalition was being built which would seek a resolution from the UN Security Council, sanctioning multi-lateral military action in order to disarm Iraq.
Cook urged the House to consider the key lessons from his adept handling of the Kosovo Crisis. "There was no doubt about the multilateral support that we had for the action that we took [in Kosovo]. It was supported by NATO; it was supported by the European Union; it was supported by every single one of the seven neighbours in the region. France and Germany were our active allies. It is precisely because we need that same level of support in this case that it is all the more important to get agreement in the Security Council as the best hope of demonstrating international agreement".
Yet forces outside the mother of parliaments were driving events now. And a far more belligerent approach to Iraq was adopted by his successor, after Cook's mysterious death in the Highlands of Scotland on August 6th, 2005.
Because at around 2.20pm, whilst walking down Ben Stack in Sutherland, Scotland, Cook suddenly suffered a severe heart attack, collapsed and lost consciousness. A helicopter arrived 40 minutes after a 999 call was taken, containing paramedics. Cook then was flown to Raigmore Hospital, Inverness. Despite strenuous efforts made by the medical team to revive Cook in the helicopter, he was already beyond recovery, and at 4:05pm, minutes after arrival at the hospital, Robin Cook was pronounced dead. "I may not have succeeded in halting the war, but I did secure the right of parliament to decide on war".Two days later, a post mortem revealed that Cook died of hypertensive heart disease. Rumours of foul play continued throughout the Second Gulf War.
In January 2007, a headstone was erected in Grange Cemetery in Edinburgh, where Cook is buried, bearing the epitaph: "I may not have succeeded in halting the war, but I did secure the right of parliament to decide on war". Cynics would claim another victory for the national interest, that unstoppable force that had driven British Foreign Policy since the Middle Ages.
In 1776, South Carolinian Edward Rutledge writes what will become the most influential letter of the brief war for American independence to John Jay of New York.
The Rutledge LetterRutledge urged Jay to find a way to turn his Continental Congress colleagues from independence, hoping that there was still a way to "effectively oppose" the headlong rush toward nationhood that the colonials were in.
When Jay took control of the Continental Congress and began negotiating for a rapprochement with the Crown, he sent Rutledge to Great Britain to argue on behalf of increased autonomy for the colonies if they would yield to continued British rule. Rutledge found many in Britain's Parliament eager to accede to American demands in order to free up forces for the disastrous war in Canada, and his own affinity for the British won him enough allies to push his measures through and end the war between the American colonies and Great Britain.
This post is an article from the Canadian Revolution thread.
In 1984, Muammar Khadafy was indicted in the Hague before a UN war crimes tribunal; it marked the first time in thirty-eight years a senior official from a dictatorship had been so charged.
It wouldn't be the last, however, as Khadafy would be joined in the dock before the end of the year by fellow Middle East tyrant Saddam Hussein.
In 2003, the Australian military sent couriers to the US, Russian, British and Chinese militaries with samples of nanobots and the process for making more. Multiple couriers went to each target nation, in case of capture.
In 1941, Kwame Toure, future leader of the American underground organization, the Semitic-African Resistance, is born. One of the galvanizing moments of his life happens in his first few hours: the neo-Nazi supported German People's Underground fires several nuclear missiles at Greater Zionist-controlled cities across Europe.
In 4561, casualties on either side of the siege of Hanoi stand at 200,000 fatalities as the final week of battle begins. The Chinese forces move slowly into the city, fighting every inch of the way against truly horrifying opposition from the citizens and military inside the city. In his memoirs of the Battle of Hanoi, Imperial General Zuo Zongtang said that he would prefer being dropped into the deepest of the hells to fighting the Viet again.
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac meets with a small team of his Round Table Corps in London. 'Much like myself,' he tells them, 'the king has become bewitched by Queen Gwen's charms. He freed me; I aim to do the same for him.' The three knights he has brought together to aid him murmur about treason - Sir Lance cuts through this sharply. 'It is not treason to rescue our beloved King Arthur from the clutches of the woman who sent him into a coma. Indeed, it is the highest form of patriotism. The king needs our help. Which of you will stand ready for him?' Slowly, all three of the other knights raise their hands. Satisfied, Sir Lance tells them, 'We shall move tomorrow night.'
In 1644, Charles I of England defeated a Parliamentarian detachment at the Battle of Cropredy Bridge. The rebellion was starting to quell, and the House of Stuart was about to enjoy the golden era of their quad centennial rule that ended with the velvet revolution of 1989.
In 2001, a memorial in honour of Charles Windsor, Prince of Wales, is to be built in London's Hyde Park, the government announced. The GBP 3m fountain will be built on the site of a derelict pump house and chlorination plant on the banks of the Serpentine - the 40-acre artificial lake in the royal park. The prince, who would have been 53 this year, was killed in a high-speed car crash in Paris with his lover Camilla Parker-Bowles almost four years ago. Teams of architects will now be invited to tender designs for the memorial, which will be paid for by public funds.
In 1974, on this day Eva Peron was sworn in as interim leader of the Argentine Republic. Her husband President Juan Peron delegated responsibility after doctors said he required 24-hour medical attention and rest. Mrs Peron was now Argentina's first female president and at 55 the youngest Latin American head of state. Her 78-year-old husband has not been seen in public for two weeks and is reported to be seriously ill with bronchitis and influenza. In a state broadcast, Mrs Peron said her husband was 'conscious that his state of health prevents him from directly attending to government affairs until his recovery'. Peron would become Argentina's greatest President. As the 'Iron Lady', she defeated the British in the 1982 Malvinas Conflict and recovered the sovereignty (and prestige) of the lost islands.
In 1970, NBC aired The Judy & Liza Show, which paired the mother-daughter team of Judy Garland and Liza Minelli. The emotional show, featuring music and skits between them, won several Emmys, including Ms. Garland's first after 3 other nominations. Accepting the award, she thanked God, Reverend Martin King, and her daughter, 'who's been on this road with me for so long. I love you, honey.' It was all the more poignant because they had each been nominated in the same category, and rumor had it that Ms. Minelli wanted the award just as much for herself as for her mother. Still, when her mother won, they embraced and the two seemed to bear no ill will towards each other afterwards.
In 1964, producer Bob Wesley's show Star Trek airs its pilot, The Cage. Although the pilot is disappointing, the show's concept excites the test audience, and Wesley reworks the cast and script. With a new cast starring Canadian William Shatner, the series was a phenomenal hit, running through 1973 and inspiring a wave of science fiction on television.
In 1956, blonde bombshell Norma Jeane Mortenson married famed humorist Arthur Miller. When asked why she had chosen a man who was not exactly known for his physique, Mrs. Miller answered, 'He makes me laugh.' Indeed, the sex goddess seemed much happier after the marriage, and the two laughed away their years together until Mrs. Miller's death in 2001.
In 1613, London's Globe Theatre burns down. Suspicion immediately falls on William Shakespeare, who had been presenting himself as the author of several plays penned by Francis Bacon until Bacon revealed himself as the author. Shakespeare's life had taken a sharp downturn since that time, and the entire theatrical community knew that he harbored a dep grudge against Bacon for stealing that prestige from him.
In 1974, Emperor Napoleon V Airport was belatedly opened by the Mayor of Paris, Andre Joseph Marie de Gaulle. The event was almost marred by an assassination attempt on the Major. The assassin known as the Jackal, disguised as a war veteran, made his way to a building which faced the runway where de Gaulle presented veterans with medals. However, the Jackal failed to take into account the Gallic custom of kissing on both cheeks, expecting instead that de Gaulle would shake hands with the medal recipient. As the Jackal fired, de Gaulle simultaneously moved forward to kiss the recipient on the cheeks, causing the bullet to miss.
In 2007, conspiracy theories that dispute the official version of US President John F. Kennedy's assassination have been given a major boost by tests in Italy. Army-supervised tests on a rifle identical to the Italian-made weapon Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly used to murder the president suggest he could not have been working alone.
According to the official Warren Commission report on the assassination, Oswald loaded and fired three shots at Kennedy in seven seconds in Dallas on November 22, 1963. He used a Carcano M91/38 bolt-action rifle. The first shot missed the president, the second went through his back and neck and the third hit Kennedy in the head, killing him. But the Italian tests showed that it would take a minimum of 19 seconds to load and fire three shots using a Carcano M91/38. So there must have been at least one more sniper for so many shots to have been fired in such a short space of time, the experts believe.
The tests were carried out at the former Carcano factory in the town of Terni, around 100km north of Rome, where the alleged murder weapon was produced in 1940. The research also raised questions about whether the Commission's conclusion that the third bullet disintegrated when it hit Kennedy's head is compatible with the supposition that Oswald was about 80 meters away in a book depository when he fired the shot.Tests on the Carcano M91/38 suggested the bullet would have remained intact and come out of Kennedy's forehead, if fired from that distance. The tests also focused on the so-called 'magic bullet' of the second shot. The Warren Report concluded the bullet passed through Kennedy's body and hit then-Texas Governor John Connally in the back, chest and wrist, remaining almost perfectly intact at the end. Bullets fired through two blocks of meat in the Italian tests were so deformed that experts concluded it would have been impossible for the bullet to remain intact.
Over the years sceptics have picked at suspected inconsistencies in the official version of the Warren Commission - named after Chief Justice Earl Warren - to support a wide range of conspiracy theories.
In 614, Allah is merciful as Christian rebel Ferdinand of Castille is driven from Cordoba by the faithful Moors. The infidels are pushed north, where they last for another century before the faithful can destroy them.
In 3828 by the Hebrew Calendar, Saul of Tarsus died in Rome of the thorn in his flesh (Old Testament - thorns means enemies). And the murderer was none other than the amanuensis Paul had often employed for authoring his Epistles, only occasionally writing himself.
In 1914, due to a worsening onset of influenza symptoms, doctors advised Archduke Franz Ferdinand to remain in Ilidža Spa and postpone his visit to open the new State Museum in Sarajevo. The heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne had been sent to observe the military manoeuvers in Bosnia but had been infected by a mysterious contagion spread by the Army.
Bosnian TragedySeveral days later, the tragic news of his demise was transmitted to Berlin and Vienna, but the reaction was muted because both Emperor Franz-Josef and Kaiser Wilhelm II were gravely ill themselves.
A pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza virus was sweeping across the continent, and by the time that it had abated, Europe was changed forever. The late British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey would famously note in his diary "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time".
In 1844, the father of Nova Hibernia John Boyle O'Reilly was born at Dowth Castle, County Meath, near Drogheda in Ireland at the onset of the Great Irish Famine.
Birth of the father of Nova HiberniaA member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood he was convicted as a traitor to the British Empire. Transported to Western Australia, he managed to escape and headed for the Canadian Maritimes.
On arrival, he learnt that his fellow Fenians were planning to seize Canada and hold her hostage in exchange for an Independent Ireland. Initial covert support had even been obtained from President Sherman.
But he devised an audacious plan, to blockage the St Lawrence River and force the Imperialists to the table. With American support, he was able to open negotiations. Although the British refused to grant Irish Independence, they could be persuaded to release Nova Scotia. It was not what the Fenians really wanted, but the sight of the Irish Tricolor floating gently in the breeze over Halifax was a grand start.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.