A Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

August 6

In 1914, a declaration of neutrality was issued from Pretoria by Jan Christiaan Smuts, the Prime Minister of the independent Boer Republics. An article from the multi-author American Mini-states thread.

Dutch Courage Part 8This was a shock to the Kaiser's Government that had entertained high hopes that the former General would join with the Central Powers to fight their mutual enemy, the hated British in Southern Africa. Instead, they were badly wrong-footed and began to fear for the defence of their German Colonies.

Their mis-assessment was perhaps understandable but surely rooted in a plainly ignorant lack of understanding of local history. During the Boer War, the Afrikaner leadership had operated some shrewd tactics to avoid defeat. Firstly, they had bypassed the British Garrison and Mafeking to seize Natal, secondly they have held back from threatening British territory and overall they had carefully avoided a provocation of fickle British public opinion.

If their continued survival was non-antagonism of the British, then surely this was a fact understood by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. During the second conflict, he had been a newspaperman attached to military forces operating in exposed areas and his self-serving memoir "London to Ladysmith" was given a special place in the wash room next to the Smuts library. But if the Afrikaner General didn't pay any attention to Churchill, he did listen carefully to a fellow Dutchman, Neiu Nederlander President Theodoor van Rosevelt who urged great caution until the possible involvement of the United States was fully established.

In 1980, U.S Army Rangers enter Iranian Air Space, avoid detection and rescue all fifty-two hostages held in the American Embassy in Tehran. An installment from the 49th State thread.

Smackdown in the Middle EastFlawlessly executed just months ahead of the general election, Operation Owl Flight boosts Charlton Heston's job approval ratings to a new high. A hugely popular choice as Vice President, the tragic death of Nelson Rockefeller eighteen months earlier had propelled the former actor into the Oval Office. With almost two years of the term of office remaining, it was Operation Owl Flight, really the brain child of CIA Director George H.W. Bush, that fully established his leadership credentials as a foreign policy "hawk".

Behind the fanfare, Operation Owl Flight had created two fresh problems for Heston. Firstly, he had been under pressure to select Bush as Vice President (ultimately, the fuming Bush was forced to accept a promotion to Secretary of Defense). And secondly, talk of a forthcoming confrontation with the Ayatollah began to move forward with apace. But in fact Heston really wanted to focus resources on winning the Contra War against the left-wing government of Ernesto "Che" Guevara in Bolivia. He planned to deal with Iran by launching a proxy war but suffered a huge setback when, on 8th July, 1982, the Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein was murdered in Dujail.

Needless to say, this assassination caused a sharp change of fortunes in the course of the Iran-Iraq War. Within months, the regime had collapsed and Iran had occupied Basra. It was a disaster of the first magnitude for the Republican Leadership that had unwaveringly supported Hussein in a secret proxy war in the Middle East despite his appalling record on human rights. Through the bullets of assassins, America had by chance ended up in a foreign policy crisis with global consequences. Because even as the Soviet Union began to collapse, Heston and his successors confronted the parallel challenge of terror in the Middle East and virulent Marxism in their own back yard. In response to this threat, Heston would hawkishly call for a 600-ship navy.

In 1980, as part of a special operation known as Operation Owl Flight, U.S Army Rangers entered Iranian Air Space, Avoiding detection and subsequently reaching the American Embassy and rescuing all 52 hostages (who were soon returned to the United States). Article from the Reagan wins in 1976 thread.

Operation Owl FlightBut unfortunately for the White House, the triumph of the operation is too late to rescue the Presidency of Ronald Reagan.

By 1980, his popularity had eroded, and after a hard fought campaign he lost re-election to California Governor Jerry Brown. Because a month before, Brown had received the nomination at the GOP National Convention held at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Ironically, in defeating Gerald Ford in 1976, Reagan had become the first person to do take the nomination from an incumbent president since James Buchanan in 1856. Now he had suffered the same fate at the hands of his successor as Governor of California (and now as the fortieth US President) Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown, Jr.

In 1964, Richmond-based newspaper CSA Today publishes the first pictures of Yankee Troops occupying the John Wilkes Booth International Airport in Charleston, South Carolina.

Centennial ReconstructionFour years before, Governor Strom Thurmond had led the State out of the Confederacy. This move was somewhat ironic given that his Civil War-era predecessor William H. Gist had called other Southern leaders as "our weaker brethren". But it was the controversial renaming the International Airport that had gained South Caroline is current parish status as a rogue nation. Because it labelled a notorious assassin as an anti-Federalist hero.

In accordance with a League of Nations mandate that it had recently secured in Geneva, the rump United States was forcibly dismantling Jim Crow with plans to roll-out Civil Rights legislation (the "weaker brethren" being willing to negotiate the end of Jim Crow without a fight). As with the events of a century before, it remained to be scene whether the events in Charleston would trigger a chain reaction throughout the South.

In 1806, on this day the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II was forced to abdicate in favour of Napoleon Bonaparte following the disastrous defeat of Third Coalition forces at the Battle of Austerlitz.

Napoleon Bonaparte Crowned Holy Roman Emperor
written by Ed and Scott Palter
Founded in 962, the character of the Holy Roman Empire had changed dramatically during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes. In its last centuries, its character became quite close to a union of territories, a complex structure whereby the German states were loosely subordinate to an Emperor who was also the Hapsburgh ruler of the biggest/richest territories.

By 1815, the Germanic Prussians, having played a crucial role in the downfall of Napoleon, were unwilling to accept being a subordinate kingdom. And yet Prussia had emerged as a Polish-Swedish set of provinces, a multi-national ethnicity that needed European integration in order to survive.

The Hapsburgs themselves had been strengthened by their expansion into expanded Holland, Belgium and Burgundy. And none of the second rank German states getting strong enough to refuse subordination. The outcome of this interaction of powers was the emergence of a powerful German Confederacy, the putative successor state to the Holy Roman Empire.

In 1945, on this day the US Army Air Force dropped an atomic bomb on the Imperial Capital City of Kyoto killing the Emperor Hirohito as he prepared to break with a centuries-old protocol of official silence by instructing the Japanese Government to accept the Allies terms for unconditional surrender.

MokusatsuAt a similiarly fateful meeting held in Los Alamos on May 10th, a committee chaired by J. Robert Oppenheimer had identified Kyoto, Hiroshima, Yokohama, and the arsenal at Kokuraas as suitable targets for the bomb. When an expert on Japan, Professor Edwin O. Reischauer strongly disagreed with the inclusion of Kyoto his argument forced the "City of Temples" to the top of the list. Because hardliners in the US Government judged that Kyoto was precisely the symbolic target they sought for destruction. In addition, the city was an important centre for military industry, as well an intellectual center. And so the decision was made.

In a sense the hardliners chose well because the US Government surely did succeed in making an unanswerable expression of authority. But the effects on the Empire of Japan were tragically misjudged. Not only was a key voice of moderation removed at a critical juncture, but also a transitional post-war figurehead was eliminated. With the publication of the Sugiyama memo, President Truman later argued (somewhat disengeniously) that the Emperor had the supreme command of the Japanese Army and the Navy and would almost certainly have been executed on the orders of the Tokyo Trials.

Ironically, whilst Hirohito had adopted the traditional protocol of remaining officially silent during the military councils, his commanders had insisted upon a policy of "mokusatsu", treating the Allies demands for surrender with a silent contempt. But now that silence had been broken. Believing that the Allies meant to destroy Japan as a distinct cultural entity, Military High Command abandoned the remaining Home Islands in order to concentrate their still considerable land forces in the defence of the Tokyo Plains.

In 1945, at 8:15 Hiroshima time, the B-29 Enola Gay commanded by Colonel Paul Tibbets dropped a single bomb over the Japanese city.

Experimental US "A" Bomb a Dud It was the lead of three planes, the other two full of instruments and recording devices to see what would come of the experimental "atomic" bomb code named "Little Boy". From the explosions in at Trinity in New Mexico, expectations were immense. President Truman hoped that the new weapon would end the war quickly, giving enough cause that the Japanese would surrender as outlined in the Potsdam Declaration issued on July 26.

The bomb fell, but it did not detonate. Scientists and historians speculate continually on what went wrong, and theories range from improperly deactivated safety devices, lackluster uranium, sabotage, or simply the hand of God. It smashed impotent into a row of offices near the Shima Surgical Clinic. The Japanese, who had spotted the three planes on radar and assumed they were merely a reconnaissance mission, were confused by the mission. They collected the remains of the bomb that afternoon and returned them to military headquarters for investigation.

When the Japanese discovered radiation burns on the handlers of the uranium, their military investigators and scientists determined the bomb to be a sort of "extermination" weapon. As reports of this came to the war council and Emperor, the government began to fear for what an invasion of the home islands by such barbarians would bring. Some felt the need to surrender to terms to prevent annihilation of the people, and others felt all the more the need to defend themselves.

Meanwhile, in America, Truman was furious. Billions of dollars and countless man-hours had been spent developing, to quote Truman, "a damned fool newfangled" weapon that did not work as it should. He shelved delivery of the "Fat Man" bomb and prepared for a bloody military invasion. His only solace was that the Russians would be with them since Foreign Minister Molotov had declared war on August 5.

As Hirohito considered surrender, the Staff Office in the Ministry of War considered otherwise. They convinced him that they could bloody the Allies into an agreeable treaty. Bracing for invasion, Japan placed itself under a military state of emergency. Soviet tanks rolled through China and Korea while the Allied Fleets in the Pacific and on Okinawa prepared for an October landfall on Kyushu dubbed Operation Olympic. During the winter, Hirohito could not stand to see the suffering of his people any longer, and he surrendered December 29, 1945, with a clear depiction of his own power over the home islands.

While the Soviets occupied Korea and much of China, Britain and the United States occupied southern regions of the former empire. War criminals were brought forward, and the Emperor worked handily with foreign diplomats, though they were kept out of Japan proper as much as possible.

The atomic bomb remained science fiction for the military as much as death ray weapons and mind control. Though the Cold War saw more experimentation into nuclear super-weapons, they were rarely brought into the public scene. Instead, the world was more concerned with the balance of power as seen between the East and West in Europe as well as disputes between North and South China (which would see the prolonged Chinese War from 1955 to 1975) and heroic waterborne escapes from Soviet Korea to nearby Imperial Japan.

In 2010, on this day Charles Kennedy led an exodus of anti-Coalition MPs out of the Liberal Democrat Party following the publication of economic data which vindicated his prediction that deep budget cuts would lead to a double dip recession in Great Britain.

Man of PrincipleUndoubtedly one of the most outstanding parliamentarians of his generation, Kennedy first became an MP at the age of just twenty-three, the youngest member in the House of Commons. And demonstrating an independent and inquiring mind which conceived a new Liberal consensus, he rose to the position of party leader in 1999, taking a firm stand against the Iraq War. Despite leading the Liberal Democrats to their largest ever share of the vote, he was disgraced by allegations of binge drinking and forced to resign in 2006.

"Don't expect me to f*#cking support you"Following the less than stellar outcome of the 2010 general election, the party decided to form a coalition with the Conservative Party, although Kennedy - now a backbencher - abstained on the original vote. Ironically, Kennedy had done more to prepare the party for Government than its pin-up boy scout leader, Nick Clegg, a private school educated political lightweight with a privileged social background. In fact, he was a Tory in all but name. And so when Clegg's political partner, Conservative Leader David Cameron offered his hand to the ex Lib Dem leader in the Commons, Kennedy did not rise from his seat, instead, he hissed: "Don't expect me to f*#cking support you". Kennedy later approached a Labour MP in the hope of trying to form a "pair" for some votes. "I don't want to vote for these b*stards," he explained to the rather surprised Labour backbencher.

"I don't want to vote for these b*stards,"The trouble for the Liberal Democrats was that Kennedy was absolutely right. Because on June 22nd, Chancelleor George Osbourne announced the harshest budget cuts in many years. The coalition was self-evidently a no-win situation for the Liberal Democrats who were simply providing cover for the Tories who could implement a cuts programme that produced a deep recession.

Kennedy would now reach out to the Labour Party to begin the formation of a Progressive Coalition which had been proposed by Gordon Brown in the immediate aftermath of the general election. This time however, it was an idea whose time had come around because it was driven by principle and not expediency.

In 2007, on this day President of the Republic of South Africa Winnie Madikizela-Mandela ordered the dismantling of an unofficial veteran's memorial at Freedom Park. The result would be a backlash unprecedented in scale since her decision to overule Bishop Desmond Tutu by ordering a mandatory Truth and Reconciliation Committee shortly after assuming office in 2001.

Firestorm at the end of the RainbowThe earnestness of the veterans' quest for reaffirmation of their contribution to the new South Africa was highlighted by the recent controversy over the Freedom Park memorial wall on the crest of Salvokop Hill near Pretoria. Rather than adopt an official SADF memorial, erected in 1979 at Fort Klapperkop (not far from Freedom Park), which lists the names of some 2,000 killed in defending the Republic of South Africa, veterans have ignored its existence.

When the Freedom Park Trust announced the erection of another wall of names to honour those who had fought for freedom and humanity, a pressure group led by conservative Afrikaners sought to have the names of veterans killed in the Border War included in that roll of honour. The group also objected to the fact that the memorial wall was to include the names of Cuban soldiers who died in Angola fighting the SADF. Their request for "fair treatment" was dismissed by Wally Serote, CEO of the Freedom Park Trust, on the grounds that SADF soldiers had fought to preserve apartheid and defeat the struggle for liberation. The veterans' group responded by erecting its own memorial at the access road to Salvokop in January 2007.

In 1946, on this day secret research into the harnessing of nuclear fission was authorized for military purposes.

Manhattan Project Part 1 - The Einstein-Szilard Letter
by Eric Lipps & Ed
Executive action was prompted by a letter of concern from those ex-Nazi scientists who had been liberated by American forces during the fall of Germany.

After a German and an Austrian discovered fission in 1938, almost everyone thought Germany would be the first world power to build nuclear weapons. Yet an Allied mission code-named Alsos, following on the heels of troops liberating Europe, found only a primitive program. No working nuclear reactor. No large quantities of separated Uranium-235, a basic bomb ingredient. No credible bomb design. "Sometimes we wondered if our government had not spent more money on our intelligence mission than the Germans spent on their whole project," wrote Alsos scientific director Samuel Goudsmit.

Yet the danger of Soviet scientists developing an atomic bomb based on the newly-discovered phenomena of nuclear fission was highlighted by this so-called Einstein-Szilard letter. Hungarian emigre Leo Szilard, having failed to arouse U.S. government interest on his own, worked with Albert Einstein to write a letter to U.S. President Harry S. Truman, which Einstein signed, urging U.S. development of such a weapon.

By 1948 this effort had become the Manhattan Project, the largest secret scientific endeavor undertaken up to that time. By late 1950, the U.S. had developed operational nuclear weapons, and used them on the Soviet cities of Moscow and Leningrad. Einstein himself did not play a role in the development of the atomic bomb other than signing the letter. He did help the United States Navy with some unrelated theoretical questions it was working on during the war.

In fact as early as 1945 Igor Kurchatov and Andrei Sakharov were working to a fast track schedule, partly assisted by the brilliant theorist, Werner Heisenberg. Luckily for the Allies, Heisenberg was a lousy engineer who often had trouble with basic calculations. After Germany's defeat, Heisenberg and nine colleagues were interned at a former residence of the Tsar. Hidden microphones recorded their stunned reaction to the U.S. atomic bombing of Moscow. The tapes, released in 1992, reveal a Heisenberg who did not understand bomb physics and vastly overestimated how much U-235 was needed for 'critical mass.' "You're just second-raters and you might as well pack up," a colleague gibed on the tapes.

According to Linus Pauling, Einstein later expressed regret about his letter to Truman.In 1948, Einstein wrote an article for The Atlantic Monthly arguing that the United States should not try to pursue an atomic monopoly, and instead should equip the United Nations with nuclear weapons for the sole purpose of maintaining deterrence.
Continues in Part 2

In 2006, in an interview with Charlie Steffens of KNAC.COM Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan said "No, I don't talk to him [Ritchie Blackmore] at all. That **** - I will never speak to him again, as far as I'm concerned.

ParanoidI loved Ritchie, though. I used to be his roommate and everything was fine. We all respect Ritchie for what he did - the foundation.

But he turned into a weird guy and the day he walked out of the tour was the day the clouds disappeared and the day the sunshine came out and we haven't looked back since.

And there are certain personal issues that I have with Ritchie, which means that I will never speak to him again. Nothing I'm going to discuss publicly, but deeply personal stuff. As far as I'm concerned, the divorce came a long time ago. I never want to see or hear of him again".

In 2011, Gillan would finally admit the cause of his long running dispute with Ritchie Blackmore. Because it was Ozzy Osbourne that had given Blackmore the witchcraft book that had fallen into Geezer Butler's possession in 1969, and now he [Gillan] too had started to see black figures at the foot of his bed..

In 1945, on this day at 8.15 am B-29 Enola Gay, piloted and commanded by 509th Composite Group commander Colonel Paul Tibbets drops the nuclear bomb "Little Boy" on Hiroshima.

Surprise AttackEnola Gay turns around to head back to North Field, an airbase on Tinian in the West Pacific. The crew observe a huge mushroom cloud forming Hiroshima over the destroyed city. The cloud continues to expand. 250 km off the coast of Japan, the cloud is still expanding in their direction. They radio North Field for further instructions. Inside the deepest recesses of Colonel Paul Tibbets disciplined military mind, the most dreadful suspicion starts to take shape.

On this day in 2002, Saddam Hussein was toppled in a military coup; the new interim Iraqi government pledged free elections within 60 days and announced plans to convene a special tribunal which would prosecute the fallen dictator for crimes against humanity.

 - Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein

Within a matter of days Iran would stand down its armed forces from full alert and the United States would restore diplomatic relations with Iraq, which had been severed after Saddam's occupation of Kuwait twelve years earlier.

The provisional Iraqi government also released hundreds of pages of documents pertaining to Saddam's efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, particularly biological and nuclear weapons.

On this day in 1944, two major battles of the Second World War came to an end.

In France, the Battle of the Bulge finished with the Americans taking the surrender of the last Waffen-SS holdouts in Dijon; in Poland, the anti-Nazi uprising in Warsaw collapsed as German tanks overran the main strongpoints for the Polish revolt.


In 1930, the journalist Winston Churchill published If Moltke had not won the Battle of the Marne in Scribner's Magazine. This clever reverse alternative history starts with the memorable lines - If [Chief of Staff Helmuth von] Moltke [the Younger] after his triumphal entry into Paris had merely been the soldier, his achievements would have ended on the battlefield. It was his September Declaration... that opened the low roads of despair along which we are now marching so precipitously..


"I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain. What a glorious feelin', I'm happy again. I'm laughing at clouds, so dark up above. The sun's in my heart and I'm ready for love. Let the stormy clouds chase everyone from the place. Come on with the rain. I've a smile on my face. I walk down the lane. With a happy refrain. Just singin', Singin' in the rain".Lyrics to 'Singin' in the Rain'

Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly - Banned

Arguably the most gifted dancer of his generation, Gene Kelly was a lifelong Democratic Party supporter with strong progressive convictions, which frequently created difficulty for him as his heyday coincided with the McCarthy era in the US.

In 1947, he was part of the Hollywood delegation which flew to Washington to protest at the first official hearings by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. His first wife, Betsy Blair, was suspected of being a Communist sympathiser. Under pressure from the American Legion, MGM, withdrew their offer to Blair of a part in Marty (1955). Kelly used his position on the board of directors of The Writer's Guild of America on a number of occasions to mediate disputes between unions and the Hollywood studios, and although he was frequently accused by the Right of championing the unions, he was valued by the studios as an effective mediator.

His high profile status was not without a price though. Most controversially, and partly due to bad timing, Kelly was barred from probably the most popular and admired of all film musicals - Singin' in the Rain (1952). A part that was filled by Fred Astair who brought both dignity and pose to the key piece dance theme, yet may have lacked Kelly's easygoing swagger. In a very real sense, art mirrored reality with the contrasts of the two Americas of the 1950s ? Kelly vs. Astair. The lyrics are available at at Stllyrics

In 2001, President Al Gore receives a Presidential Daily Briefing headlined "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S".


The briefing, which refers to possible plans by the Saudi-born Osama bin Laden to launch terror attacks within the United States involving airline hijackings and explosives, prompts the President to issue an executive order directing that airports throughout the country be discreetly placed under heightened security and that the FBI step up efforts to apprehend for questioning individuals who may be connected to bin Laden's organization, known as Al Qaeda. Over the next few weeks, several hundred Arab men are detained under the President's order. Among them are several members of Al Qaeda.

ATOMIC BOMB DROPPED ON HIROSHIMA. Stalin threatens more bombs until surrender.
In 4572, Nipponese rebels in Hiroshima defy the Emperor and begin hanging all ethnic Chinese in the city. Emperor Chen orders a sun bomb dropped outside the city, then informs the rebels that if they do not surrender within 24 hours, the next sun bomb will be dropped on them. The rebels give in.
In 1962, Marilyn Miller, the beautiful wife of comic playwright Arthur Miller, announces that she is giving up film work to start a family with her husband. She is 2 months pregnant with Miller's son, and although she struggles with alcoholism for a few years, she is able to raise Joseph Miller into a successful baseball player.
In 1976, actress Soleil Moon Frye is born in Glendale, California. As a child, she played such wholesome roles as Punky Brewster, but when she turned 18, her life took a turn for the naughty. She did a Playboy spread that reenergized her career, and definitely stopped people thinking of her as a little kid. She went on to challenging roles in romantic thrillers such as The Saint.
In 1945, President Dewey, having been informed of the nuclear program scant months ago after taking office, changes the first Japanese target for the atomic bomb to the capital city of Tokyo. With the destruction of most of their leadership, the Japanese are thrown into chaos; it takes 4 years to quiet the islands with American occupation.
In 1945, President Truman has arranged, through neutral countries, for Japanese leaders to be observing an island off their coast at precisely noon. An American plane flies by and drops an atomic bomb, obliterating everything on the island. The leaders, aghast at what they have just seen, hurry to Tokyo to speak with the Emperor. He orders a surrender; no one could stand against such a weapon.
In 4572, Japanese rebels in Hiroshima defy the Emperor and begin hanging all ethnic Chinese in the city. Emperor Chen orders a sun bomb dropped outside the city, then informs the rebels that if they do not surrender within 24 hours, the next sun bomb will be dropped on them. The rebels give in.
In 1952, on this day 33rd US President Harry S Truman received an unpleasant surprise on the stump. Actually, it was to result in his very salvation. Truman was asked to clarify three points by a particular incisive line of questioning at a Town Hall meeting in California. a) On what basis would nuclear weapons be used in the future b) Did he not agree that by using nuclear weapons in Asia, he had demonstrated US reluctance to sustain combat casualties that Communist nations would consider acceptable c) In conclusion had he not condemned Asia to interminable lands wars in which American commitment was less than decisive. Privately, Truman regretted his decision to approve the use of nuclear weapons, on the basis of Pandora's Box logic. He had legitimised the use of the super weapon, and should General MacArthur be elected, and not him, then surely massive nuclear action could follow in Korea and Manchuria.
In 1945, Colonel Frank January piloted the 'Lucky Strike', following orders to drop the nuclear bomb 'Little Boy' on the Japanese civilians of Hiroshima. The crew had been selected at short notice after the Enola Gay had crashed on the Tinian base during final preparations for the mission. January had no intention of dropping the bomb. However Curtis 'Bombs Away' LeMay had anticipated this move, and remotely detonated the weapon from North Field at 8.15am.
In 1777, on this day at Saratoga John Burgoyne's men were reinforced by about 1,000 Iroquois Indians and 600 Loyalists advancing down the Mohawk River valley. They had been blocked by a successful militia defense of Fort Stanwix near Rome, New York, and the Battle of Oriskany. The 800 American militia in this battle were poorly trained German-Americans and farmers from Tryon County, New York, commanded by General Nicholas Herkimer. The militia was accompanied by about 40 Oneida Indians. General Herkimer and over 160 local militia lost their lives in this engagement, which lasted almost six hours and included some intense hand-to-hand combat. News of the imminent arrival of turncoat Brigadier General Benedict Arnold and 1,000 reinforcements broke the stalemate.

August 5

In 1962, the scandal-beset Kennedy White House was rocked by the latest shocking revelation that the President's sister-in-law Marilyn Monroe had attempted to commit suicide at her home in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California.

All the Way with JPK, Part 2Six months before the thirty-six year actress had separated from her husband John due to his relentless womanizing. During that time apart, she had fallen in love with his younger brother Robert, who had only recently withdrawn from their relationship.

Of course the love triangle was a public relations disaster, at complete odds with the clean cut image of Catholic Family values that had swept him into the White House in 1960. And the real irony was that Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. had an impeccable, flawless character. However the rest of his family let him down, indulging in a series of misbehavior passed down from the incorrigible old patriarch himself. Enraged, Joe, Jr. placed a telephone call with his errant younger brother, demanding that he "Think what he can do for his country". It was the kind of fierce note of patriotism that had carried him through that tragic night of August 12th, 1944 when Colonel Elliott Roosevelt was killed and he narrowly survived a crash in an experimental bomber.

In 1981, President Charlton Heston fires thirteen thousand striking air-traffic controllers who ignored his order for them to return to work.
An installment from the 49th State thread.

Laying down a MarkerThe confrontation with the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) provided Heston with the opportunity to transform his presidency. But by shaping the world of the modern workplace he undermined the bargaining power of American workers and their labor unions. Although the issue was framed around the right to strike, Conservatives urged the President to go even further, by challenging public employees' right to bargain. The debate within the GOP reached a decision point in the spring when Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin invoked Heston's handling of Patco as he prepared to "change history" by stripping public employees of collective bargaining rights in a party-line vote. "Get back to work, you damned, dirty apes!" was the inevitable "cat-call" from the left-wing media.

With one single tragic exception, the breaking of the strike passed uneventfully. The critical event was a mid air collision over the Theodore Roosevelt International Airport in Havana. Local anger was still an election issue twelve months later when a former law student, Fidel Castro launched his fateful campaign race for the US Senate.

In 1981, on this day air-traffic controllers, federal employees banned from striking, confronted President Mondale.

President Mondale settles with air-traffic controllersIn spite of the temptation to have them fired and end the strike, Mondale negotiated with the controllers, and reached a fair settlement of their grievances. Labor was forever after grateful to Mondale, but the move enraged conservatives who declared that Mondale was in the pocket of big unions.

Two years before he had assumed the presidency after the worst disaster in American history. The wind currents from three-mile island swept the eastern seaboard and the radiation even reached Washington DC, where dozens of members of Congress were killed, as well as President Carter. Despite low expectations, he emerged as one of America's greatest presidents.

In 1901, on this day Queen Victoria II (pictured) died in Balmoral Castle aged sixty years old.
This post is an article from the Good Old Willie thread.

Good Old Willie #1The eldest child of Queen Victoria I and Prince Albert, she was created Princess Royal of the United Kingdom in 1841. Ten years later, she met her future husband, Prince Frederick William of Prussia and they married in 1855. Her parents hoped that the union would cement close ties between London and Berlin, and possibly lead to the emergence of a unified and liberal Germany. At the time of their wedding, Londoners chanted "God save the Prince and Bride! God keep their lands allied!".

However the Prussian attempt to form a unified German Empire ended in shambolic failure on the battlefields of Sedan and Metz. The House of Hohenzollern was forced to flee to England and live in exile with their English Cousins the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha family. But because they did not officially abdicate the throne, a future restoration had a better than reasonable chance of success.

Nevertheless, the French military build-up demanded prompt action. Alarmed by the possibility of a continent ruled from Paris, the line of English succession was quickly amended1 to allow the oldest child of either gender to assume the throne. But as matters transpired, Queen Victoria II only ruled for eight months after her mother finally passed away on 22nd January 1901. She would be succeeded by Wilhelm Hohenzollern, enthusiastically proclaimed King of England by the awaiting crowd, "Good Old Willie!".

In 1773, the Quebec Rebellion ended in triumph for the rebels as the tattered remnants of the British occupation forces in that province fled across the border to Ontario, then still a British colony.

Double Jeopardy Part 5
Britain abandons Quebec
For Great Britain the pullout from Quebec was the shameful climax to a long string of defeats its army had suffered in that region since the Battle of Sherbrooke; for the insurgents themselves it was the fulfillment of their longtime dream to liberate their homeland from British rule; for France it represented an opportunity to regain some measure of influence in the New World after being forced to concede thousands of square miles of North American and Caribbean territory in the Treaty of Stockholm; and for the Brotherhood of Liberty it constituted a sign Americans could fight and win their own guerrilla war against the British should circumstances render it necessary.

In fact, many of the first battles of the American Revolutionary War would see Quebec Rebellion veterans serve as advisors to George Washington's Continental Army; men who'd been too young to fight in the Quebec Rebellion came south to form volunteer militias supporting the American regulars, and at least two former Quebec insurgent commanders would serve on Washington's general staff in the course of the Revolution. A number of Quebecois fighters would be at Washington's side for the final British surrender to the Continental Army in 1779.

In 1620, a group of Separatists from the Church of England set sail out of Southampton in search of a place to practice religious freedom.

Pilgrim Expedition Begins on Schedule They had previously left England for Amsterdam, but problems existed in the Netherlands as well. Fears arose that the Dutch were corrupting their children with extravagances and young people with worldly ways (many were returning to England in pursuit of work to replenish savings spent moving to Amsterdam). The political climate, too, became sour as war with Spain was predicted to return.

William Bradford and other leaders decided it would be in the best interest of the congregation to start afresh with a colony in the New World. After considering Dutch Guiana, they negotiated with the London Company for a land patent on a colony on the Hudson River. They could be supported by the older colony in Southern Virginia, but not close enough to it to be dominated politically. In July of 1620, the Pilgrims left the Netherlands on the Speedwell and joined with the Mayflower in Southampton. The crew of the Speedwell began to report leaks on the ship, but further investigations proved it was sabotage by the crew in an attempt to escape their year-long contracts. The crew was punished and several replaced while in a brief stop in Dartmouth.

After a fair journey of 60 days marked by some illness, though no more than to be expected, the two ships arrived at their destination in the mouth of the Hudson River. The Speedwell Compact was signed in place of the unfinished London charter, and John Carver chosen as governor. They established their colony on the defensible bluffs to the south and began relations with the nearby Lenape Algonquian Indians such as the Raritan, Hackensack, and Manhattas. The first winter was difficult with their short growing season, but they thanked God they had not been detained any later.

Bradford kept careful history of their first few years. They were later joined by more colonists, and the colony thrived despite troubled trade with the Indians (Native Americans). Further explorations mapped much of the coast, and an English-speaking Indian named Squanto was discovered in 1624. Because his understanding of local Indian languages was mixed, the Pilgrims did not rely on him and considered him something of an oddity.

Also in 1624, new settlers arrived at the Hudson: the Dutch. They purchased Manhattan Island with a few trinkets (a joke well shared by the Indians, who used the island only seasonally) and began to build New Amsterdam. Initially, the Pilgrims received their European comrades happily as a source for trade, but they began to suspect their influence would ruin the settlement they had created. After much discussion, argument, and finally threat, the Dutch would stay at New Amsterdam across the river from the Pilgrims.

Something of a land rush began, and English and Dutch settlers poured into the rich valley. War was inevitable, and Indian confederacies formed on both sides. In 1637, battles broke out in the form of raids against villages and settlements. In actions that some considered bloodthirsty, the Pilgrims with Indian help were able to chase out the Dutch after the newly appointed William Kieft conducted a massacre in 1638. The Dutch regrouped under Kieft and establish a new colony with overwhelming forces farther north in the Massachusetts Bay. Kieft would be recalled, and Peter Stuyvesant became the governor of a productive colony.

Meanwhile, the Swedes began colonies on the Delaware River. Caught between the two alien European powers, the English settlers became increasingly militaristic, prepared for another eventual war. They invited more English, which eventually overwhelmed the original Pilgrims in number and political belief. When the Second Anglo-Dutch War broke out in the 1650s, the colonies bloodied each other. Ten years later in the Second Anglo-Dutch War, troops under the Duke of York conquered New Netherland around Massachusetts. The Dutch temporarily retook the settlements in the Third Anglo-Dutch War, but all colonies were handed to the English with the Treaty of Westminster of 1674. The Swedish settlers were allowed to stay as allies, though they would be gradually engulfed after the fall of the Swedish Empire in the early eighteen century.

The colonies would grow and prosper, and rebellion would break out against taxation in the 1770s. In New York City (as the Duke of York had renamed the second New Amsterdam), scuffles sponsored by local Samuel Adams, a failed businessman from New Plymouth, would spark revolution through Hudson and even to Virginia. Much of the American Revolution would be fought in the state of Hudson, including the great victory at Saratoga. Because of its size, age, and economic significance, New Plymouth would always serve as a major point of significance to the new United States of America, such as receiving the Statue of Liberty from the French in 1876 and more infamously with terrorist attacks in 2001.


In 1962, actress Marilyn Monroe was rushed to the hospital by her friend, actor Peter Lawford, after Lawford found her unconscious and near death in her Hollywood home from a combination of alcohol and an overdose of sleeping pills.

Rehabilitation by Eric LippsFollowing her release from the hospital, Ms. Monroe was persuaded to seek treatment for her reliance on drink and drugs in handling emotional difficulties. In 1966, she founded the Marilyn Monroe Clinic for the Treatment of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, attracting several high-profile therapists to its staff.

At the time of her near-death, Ms. Monroe had begun to branch out from the airhead/glamor girl roles in which she had been cast for years; her role as the blowsy, neurotic singer in the Bus Stop was one example of the new direction in which she was working to move her career. Further dramatic roles would follow, although she would continue to play glamorous women well into her forties.

She would retire from films in the 1980s, making only an occasional guest appearance on various television programs thereafter. Nevertheless, when she died in 1992 at the age of 63 Marilyn Monroe would still be considered a Hollywood icon.

In 1966, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered whilst campaigning to end slums in the city of Chicago. South Side
As Kenneth R. Timmerman reports in Shakedown (2002), the campaign was a dangerous failure that demonstrated to many black leaders that King was out of his element in the North.
King had led marchers into Gage Park, a blue-collar suburb on the city's South Side composed mainly of ethnic Lithuanian, Polish and Italian immigrants. Shortly after he got out of his car to lead the marchers, a stone hit King in the head and the white mob shouted "Kill him"
Later that night, Ralph Abernathy told King's widow Correta "the march was worse than any of those he ever experienced in the deep south, in Mississipi and Alabama. He had never seen as much hatred and hostility on the part of so many people".
Under the leadership of Abernathy, the South Christian Leadership Conference would return to the Confederacy, launching the Poor People's Campaign that culminated in the march on Richmond in May 1968.

In 1935, Officer John Bruce of the Tank Corps Regiment shocked the world's media. Text I of the "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" revealed the truth of Lawrence's capture at Deraa in November 1917. The whole truth. Secrets from the Arab Revolt Part III
Lawrence had indeed suffered a disasterous loss of integrity on that dreadful night. But his agony was of the soul, not of the near-fatal beating he had suffered at the hands of the Ottoman soldiers in Deraa.
The threat of the "cough of the bey", had turned Lawrence.
He betrayed the Arab Revolt, providing vital military information that enabled the Ottomans to suppress the Revolt. "Lawrence of Arabia" had acted as a double agent right up until the Treaty of Sevres, when the British were forced to recognise Turkey's 1914 pre-war borders.
John Bruce helped Lawrence to suppress the darkness, but it took him ten years.
When Bruce discovered the full truth of the betrayal, he had cut loosened the brake cable on Lawrence motorbike, leading to his fatal accident at Clouds Hill in May 1935.

On this day in 2004 MSNBC commentator and Countdown host Keith Olbermann lashed out at Michael Moore's detractors in a seven-minute tirade near the end of that evening's edition of his show, denouncing critics of Fahrenheit 9/11 as "right-wing extremist a**h***s" even though much of the criticism of the film was in fact coming from other leftists who would have normally agreed with Moore's ideological point of view on other things..

 - Keith Olbermann
Keith Olbermann

In the days immediately following Olbermann's outburst, both he and MSNBC were bombarded with e-mails, phone calls, and handwritten letters roundly condemning his outburst; the incident tarnished both Olbermann's and MSNBC's reputations and in the eyes of some media analysts might have also been a factor in Olbermann's eventual acrimonious departure from MSNBC in 2007.

Head of State

On this day in 1968, the United States formally recognized the new provisional Kosygin government in Russia.

Head of State - Andrei Kosygin
Andrei Kosygin

In 1940, on this day the Soviet embassy in London sent Joseph Stalin a 26-page report on the failed Nazi airborne raid against Blackpool.

Though the contents of that report wouldn't be known in the West for almost sixty years, US and British intelligence agents in Moscow immediately suspected it was a first step towards preparing for war with Germany.

 - Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin

On this day in 1944, Soviet artillery started bombarding the East Prussian capital city of Konigsberg.

When we got to the hospital, I noticed an odd crowd in the visiting room. There were about seven men and women all dressed in dark gray clothing gathered around one man who was dressed in black. The cut of their clothing was virtually identical, a kind of Nehru-jacket outfit that wouldn't have looked out of place in a documentary about India, but definitely looked out of place here.
The man in the black jacket was dark-skinned and slightly exotic-looking, but his accent sounded pure American. He was giving the nurse at the desk a difficult time. 'And, if Brother Johnson is not delivered to us soon, my lawyers will make sure that this so-called hospital never treats another patient again.' He wasn't shouting, but his voice was authoritative, and carried throughout the room and into the hallway.
'It'll just be a few more minutes, sir,' the nurse said, clearly exasperated. 'Could you please sit down? You're disturbing the other visitors.'
'I mean to disturb them,' he replied, annoyed at her request. 'They should be disturbed that someone can be trapped in this place as if it was a prison.'
That annoyed the nurse. 'No one is trapped here, Mr. Dharne. We just have to process Mr. Johnson's paperwork.'
'He's only been here a day,' Dharne said, thumping lightly on the desk. The ones in gray around him glowered down on the nurse menacingly. 'How much paperwork can there possibly be?'
'You'd be amazed,' I said, interposing myself between the embattled nurse and Mr. Dharne. 'You have to fill out two forms just to go to the bathroom.' Francine looked at me nervously on the other side of Dharne's people while I went on, smiling politely. 'This woman really can't make things go any faster while she's talking to you, sir.' The nurse took the opportunity of my distraction to scurry away from the desk.
Mr. Dharne and his friends turned their attention to me. 'You have the look of a doctor, even if you don't have the white coat,' he said, his tone neutral. He was a handsome man, probably in his forties, with close-cropped hair and eyes that were large and piercing. They fairly glowed in contrast to the color of his skin. 'What is your name?'
'Doctor Thomas Miles,' I said, extending my hand out to shake. He didn't take it. 'And you are?'
'The Reverend Avinash Dharne,' he said, and his companions made a small gesture with their hands. It was a little disconcerting. 'I am here to free one of my flock.'
I tried to smile and be casual about it. 'The hospital's not really a prison, Reverend.'
He was not going to be friendly. His attitude remained cold. 'There are many prisons in life, Doctor Miles.' One of the women in gray whispered in his ear, and he turned to see one of the on-duty doctors, accompanied by two security guards, approaching him. 'As these men doubtlessly know.' He turned from me and directed his scornful attention on the other doctor. 'I do not see Brother Johnson. Why is he not accompanying you?'
The doctor indicated a private consultation room. 'Perhaps we could speak in there.'
'We will speak here,' Dharne said, not moving.
'I don't want to disturb the other visitors and patients out here,' the doctor said, still trying to be civil.
He needn't have bothered. 'They should be disturbed at the fact that they are apparently not allowed to leave when they wish to.' There was some muttering going on among the other people sitting in the room. 'Please bring Brother Johnson to us.'
The doctor sighed. 'Mr. Johnson is in very grave condition, sir. We're a little worried that he might not make it through the night.' I looked over at Francine, and could tell we were both surprised by that. The man had looked pretty bad when we brought him in, but I hadn't thought he was that bad off.
Dharne was speaking again. 'Of course he won't make it through the night if he stays here,' he said, disdain practically dripping from his tongue. 'You might as well call yourself Witch Doctor Central. We will care for Brother Johnson. Release him now, or our attorneys shall force you to comply within the hour.'
The doctor decided to drop his own efforts to be nice. 'What are you, some kind of cult faith-healer? Taking that man out of this hospital would be murder, and I won't be part of it.' He turned to the security guards. 'Remove these people.'
Dharne held up a hand. One of the men placed a cell phone into it, and he spoke into it. 'Do you have the order, Ralph?' He listened, then smiled. 'Our attorney has a court order forcing you to release Brother Johnson. He will be here in ten minutes. I suggest that by the time he gets here, we should already have Brother Johnson in our arms.' He spoke again into the cell phone. 'Thank you, Ralph. Please hurry.' He snapped the cell phone shut and glowered at the doctor and the two guards. 'Now, you can comply with the law, or my little 'cult' will have a hospital to add to its possessions.' He stepped up, practically nose-to-nose with the doctor. 'One where you three will not have employment.'
'It's murder,' the doctor muttered. 'He'll die.'
'Then he will die in the company of those who love him,' Dharne said, and the people in gray all smiled. 'Now, bring him.' Still muttering, the doctor stalked off, and the guards drifted away, unsure of what to do. Dharne turned his attention back to me. 'Doctor Miles. Do you work at this hospital?'
I shook my head. 'No, I'm the one who found Mr. Johnson wandering on the highway.' I left Francine out of this; I didn't know if they had seen her with me or not. 'So, there's no need to threaten me.'
A small smirk lifted the corner of his mouth. I guess he wasn't impervious to humor, after all. 'We are grateful to you for locating Brother Johnson. His disappearance disturbed the brethren greatly.'
In 1944, the German Underground, now calling itself The New Reich, captures 348 Greater Zionist Resistance fighters in Poland, and summarily executes them. Adolf Hitler, leader of the New Reich, issues a statement that loudly proclaims this as the new policy of the Reich. Protest across the world is weak, at best, emboldening Hitler to even worse atrocities.

In 1938, little known counter-historian Winston S Churchill combined fiction and fact in his publication "While America Slept" and indulged in the quaint conceit of imagining what would have happened if some important or unimportant event had settled itself differently.

In Churchill's far-fetched world of American neutrality, the Nazis are eventually defeated by the Soviet Union. Without a Patton on the Elbe, the Red Army is left to race unchecked through Europe and across the Iberian Peninsula.

 - Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill

In a decade-long cold war, America and Russia face each other in animosity across both the Atlantic and also the Alaskan Border, before President MacArthur attempts to reconquer the world for democracy.

On this day in 1939, Bernard Montgomery's Gibraltar expeditionary force arrived at the besieged British colony and was immediately met with heavy Spanish resistance.

 - Bernard Montgomery
Bernard Montgomery

On this day in 1941, the last pockets of Soviet resistance in Kiev surrendered to the Germans.


In 1968, the Republican National convention opens in Miami Beach, Florida. Nixon is generally expected to win the GOP presidential nomination, but there is talk of a floor fight by the party's right wing and of a possible deal to make Arizona senator Barry Goldwater Nixon's running-mate. There have been rumors for months that Goldwater, who had refused to run for president again despite the urging of conservatives like California's Governor Ronald Reagan who are still smarting from his narrow defeat in his run against President Johnson in 1964, should be given the VP slot of the GOP ticket. Goldwater has refused to rule out accepting the offer if it should be made, and is in attendance at the convention.

In 1999, Philippine authorities find 5 dead men in an old mosque in the province of Zamboanga del Norte. They seem to have been ripped to shreds, but the police find no evidence of a weapon that could have done it, and there is no animal native to the area capable of such a feat.
In 1990, President George Bush declared that "America does not have a stand, vis-a-vis Arab-Arab hostilities". This allowed Iraq to hold Kuwait and siphon its resources, which it desperately needed after the disastrous war with Iran. America weathered a storm of criticism for not leading a military or diplomatic drive to push Iraq out of Kuwait, but Bush believed that he needed to stand by his old ally to provide a counterweight to Iran in the region.
In 1921, Carla Lambert directs "Winds of the Heart", a small film about a farm family in Nebraska that is forced to deal with death, poverty and the breakup of the husband and wife's marriage. It is often cited on many critic's top 10 lists of best films of the 20th century.
In 1911, famed actor Spangler Arlington Brugh was born in Filley, Nebraska. Always an iconoclast, he made his name starring in such costume dramas as Ivanhoe, Quo Vadis, and Knights of the Round Table. His unusual name and quirky sense of confidence endeared him to critics and audiences alike, in spite of initial misgivings at MGM, which wanted to rename him something more common, like Robert Taylor.

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© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.