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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

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November 30

In 2000, on this day Archduke Karl von Habsburg's father Otto transferred over to him the position of Head and Sovereign of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

Recovery of Florentine DiamondBorn in 1912, Otto was the last Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary from 1916 until the dissolution of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in 1918. In 1922 his father died and he became Sovereign of the Golden Fleece and head of the Imperial House.

For the next seven decades he sought to recover the fortunes of the Habsburgs. And while he never managed to effect a restoration of the throne, he had in the final year of the century recovered the Florentine Diamond (pictured) [1]. This precious stone had gone missing during their forced exile in 1918 when the Crown Jewels were moved to Switzerland, and determined efforts were required to recover it from South America.

In 1939, on this day Soviet forces crossed the Finnish border in several places and bombed Helsinki and several other Finnish cities, starting the war.

Western Allies intervene in Winter WarWithin the week, Anglo-French troops landed in Helsinki determined to support their Finish allies in the Winter War.

Because the Russian attack was judged as illegal, the Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations on December 14. The Allies had absolutely no problem with a de fact declaration of war on the Soviet Union. In their calculations, prospects for Anglo-French survival were improved, having permitted Germany to invade Poland. This way, they hoped to drive a wedge between the signatories of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, bringing Mr Hitler back into the fold.

In 2012, on this day Mitt Romney graciously accepted the post of US Ambassador to Venezuela.

Gone SouthBoth men knew that the creation of a bipartisan spirit of friendship was a pre-requisite for making divided government work. And so agreement on a suitable appointment had been quickly reached at a convivial lunch time meeting at the White House.

But because foreign policy and the economy were the differentiators in their respective election bids, many cabinet posts had to be ruled out. Cynics argued that Romney could do little harm to the US relationship with President Hugo Chavez, but that was just mean talk.

In 1874, on this day Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was born in Brooklyn, Kings County in the New York City State, that oddest of British imperial possessions which (like Singapore and Hong Kong) was created largely by an accident of history. A crown colony, artificially sustained by the projection of military power by the Royal Navy, yet surrounded by foreign territory only viable as a statelet because of its strategic location on the prosperous transatlantic trade route. An article from the New York City State thread.

The Last Anglo-American LionBeing a member of the cadet branch of the aristocratic family of the Dukes of Marlborough, Churchill was suitably well positioned to serve in the prestigious but largely ceremonial (some might even say stuffy and pretentious) role of Governor-General. In other words a foreground yet still peripheral figure in the ruling elite that was not quite eligible for the juicier roles in the British Empire such as the Viceroy of India. Another distinct career advantage was that his father Lord Randolph Churchill (being the third son of John Winston Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough and Lady Frances Anne Emily Vane) was a charismatic politician who had even served as Chancellor of the Exchequer. But despite the lingering vestiges of British power dating back centuries to John Churchill's famous victory at the Battle of Blenheim, sweeping change was just around the corner. Because there was more - much more - exotic genes running through Churchill's veins than his blue blooded ancestry. And the discretely concealed circumstances of his birth revealed the increasingly cosmopolitan nature of the British character. In short, developing events in the modern world were about to crack this very fragile egg shell of corrupt, decadent imperialism.

His mother was an American socialite with Iroquois (first nation) ancestry through her maternal grandmother. His parents became engaged within three days of meeting (although their wedding at the British Embassy in Paris was delayed by family negotiations). During this delay Winston (and his brother Jack) were conceived before the marriage. The twin brothers were also born two months prematurely after Lady Randolph "had a fall". Following the wedding she took numerous lov*rs including Karl Kinsky, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII of the United Kingdom) and Herbert von Bismarck. Meanwhile, her husband contracted the syph*l*s that ultimately killed him at the age of just forty-five.

Although discretely hidden in the background, these unsettling events propelled young Winston out into the wider world (or rather, those countries dominated by the British and their racist Empire) and he saw military service in Sudan, South Africa and of course Flanders. On his return to the New York City State, Lieutenant Colonel Churchill was treated as a war hero and appointed Governor-General. But tragically, he had escaped the trenches only to perish in an auto-mobile accident on Fifth Avenue in 1931. Having survived many life traumas and developed a complete absence of fear of death, he carelessly walked straight into the path of a taxi travelling at only thirty-five miles hour. In years to come, the accident was often used in cartoon form as an iconic political metaphor, lampooning the proud but patently ridiculous British lion walking stupidly and leisurely to its doom.

In 1916, the mood in the cabinet room was heated. Secretary of War Theodore Roosevelt was giving forth in the grand manner.
Continues from Mr Hughes Goes To War: Part 1.

Mr Hughes Goes to War: Part 1 by Mike Stone"Mr President,(was there a hint of chagrin in his voice at having to call another man that?) Is there really anything to discuss? The Germans have been murdering our citizens on the high seas for over a year. Now they have sunk an American ship going about its lawful business [unspoken - and if they hadn't done, a week before election, you probably wouldn't be sitting here now] They are, to all intents and purposes, waging war against us now. What remains except to recognise that simple fact?"

Secretary of State Charles Fairbanks responded. "The sinking of the Algonquin may well have been a mistake, as they claim. And anyone who goes through the middle of a war zone on a belligerant ship has got to accept a certain amount of risk. If I chose to take my morning constitutional across the Verdun battlefield, I might not emerge unscathed".

President Hughes let them wrangle for a while, then observed, calmly. "Mr Roosevelt, as you spent the campaign season pointing out [he did not add "and nearly cost me the election with your sabre-rattling"] the previous administration's neglect of national defence has left this country with a negligible army. If I were to declare a war (which Congress isn't yet ready to do anyway) without any means of fighting it, I should make this country a laughing-stock. My own son is at a Citizen's Training Camp as we speak, but he isn't going anywhere near Flanders until both he and those beside him are properly trained and armed. Which isn't the case right now. If you seriously want me to fight, concentrate on giving me the wherewithal to do so".

And so it was. The Presdent's request for a massive expansion of the US Army went to Congress. It ran into opposition, extending in the Senate to an attempted filibuster, but anger at the Algonquin sinking helped to see it through. By next March, the US would have at least the beginnings of a serious military force.
Thread continues in Mr Hughes Goes To War: Part 2.

In 1876, during an early game of American Football, a pivotal moment took place when Yale athletic legend Walter Camp tossed the ball forward while in mid-tackle to his teammate Oliver Thompson, who then went on to score a touchdown.

Forward Pass Declared Illegal in American Football The opposing team, Princeton, protested as only backward passes to teammates. As it was an action performed in a tackle, the beguiled referee determined to settle the decision with a flipped coin. In the end, Princeton was supported, and the touchdown was nullified, along with the notion of a "forward pass" in American-style football.

Americans had been playing various non-codified games for decades already by the time modern football began to take form. Early in the nineteenth century, boys and men alike often played forms of "mob football" that date back to English games of time immemorial. Rules varied from town to town, with the "Boston Game" taking the lead as a hybrid of the diverging "kicking" and "carrying" games that would later evolve into Association Football (soccer) and rugby, respectively. The Oneida Football Club of boys on the Boston Common established rules in 1862 for the first organized take on what would become the modern game. It was an uphill battle, however, as football was routinely being banned from universities as too dangerous or unbecoming of gentlemen, and it would be years until these organized fellows went to college themselves with a proven formula for gameplay.

The bans on football ended, and colleges began to play one another in a loose intercollegiate league including Rutgers, Princeton, Yale, and Columbia. These big four schools met in 1873 to determine a standardized set of rules that would resemble soccer more than rugby. Meanwhile, Harvard, McGill, and Tufts continued the fascination with the Boston Game, more rugby than soccer and incorporating the "try", which would evolve into the "touchdown" of carrying the ball into the end zone. In 1875, Harvard and Yale met for the first "The Game", which became an annual event, and a new league was born as they decided to make the hybrid football the new standard for competition. On November 23, 1876, a new conference determined official rules for college football, among them making note of, but not clarifying, the forward pass.

In the Yale-Princeton game the next week, the forward pass would officially be laid to rest. Camp was disappointed with the choice, but he worked to determine a better, faster game where speed became as important as brawn. He created the line of scrimmage and a system of downs to move the game in increments, creating an ordered form of strategy and cleverness where there had once been only mobs. Camp also determined game length, field size, and scoring methods, creating the skeleton of what would be American football today.

Key to the game was the idea of movement, which would prove its most influential piece as the twentieth century dawned. Players typically followed mass formations, moving violently as one unit and often crushing opponents during a charge. In 1905 alone, nineteen young men were killed, and cries arose for safety on the field, even to the point President Theodore Roosevelt threatened to end football nationwide. An attempt to limit scrimmages was made, but the resulting punting game did not work well. With the forward pass having been declared illegal, the solution came to be ending mass formations, making each individual a significant piece to the eleven-member team.

Under Coach "Pop" Warner, one of the most influential football players of all time, Native American Jim Thorpe, would revolutionize the game with his expert moves. Pop did not want the fragile track star to play in football on fears he would be injured, but Thorpe convinced him to try a play against the defensive line and "ran around past and through them not once, but twice". Later that year, Thorpe would single-handedly score all of the points for Carlisle Indian Industrial School in an upset victory over the famed Harvard team, 18-15. Coaches across the nation hurried to emulate the apparent need for speed, finally matching Camp's dream of a fast game working from a series of plays.

Since that time, American football has grown to enormous popularity and a multi-billion dollar industry. While America's pastime of baseball became notoriously corrupt and slow, football has grown to be its rival, making key advances in its skillfulness and complex, eager maneuvers in high scoring games. Another rival, basketball, has taken its own season with some players in college crossing over due to the similarities in passing and running, but still with the unique feature of a pausing scrimmage and of course the famed tackles of blinding gymnastic agility.

In 1960, on this day Richard Nixon's bid to expose vote rigging in Texas, Illinois, Missouri and Delaware (and thereby reverse the stolen election) received an unexpected boost when Luis Salas, the election judge in Alice, admitted that he and southern Texas political boss George Parr rigged the 1948 senatorial election of President-elect Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Landside LyndonVice President Nixon had been inclined to accept the outcome of the election for the good of the country, despite the encouragement of President Eisenhower who was convinced that a recount would expose suffficient irregularities to reverse the outcome. However reports of Johnson's record of corruption convinced Nixon that an LBJ Presidency would be a setback for the nation.

Early indications were that Congressman Johnson had lost. Six days later, however, Precinct 13 in the border town of Alice, Texas, showed a very interesting result. Exactly 203 people had voted at the last minute - in the order they were listed on the tax rolls - and 202 of them had voted for Johnson.

While Stevenson protested, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black upheld the result, and Johnson squeaked by with an 87-vote victory. For this feat, columnist Drew Pearson gave Johnson the sobriquet "Landslide Lyndon".

In 1914, in the two months since they had been kicked from Heaven, Satan and his minions had pushed the world over the edge. A minor assassination of a prince among the human empire of Austro-Hungary had led to war, which was an understandable course among vengeful men.

God Calls it Quits Through divine inspiration, the war would go into stalemate, proving to men the futility of war. With modern technology of print followed by the vocal word from radio, it would be a new chance to inspire love and brotherhood that had been given by Jesus as he had walked the earth. Through the past 19 centuries, he had waited as Immanuel at the right hand of God in Heaven for His Kingdom on Earth, and now was his time to return.

Mankind, however, seemed once again too evil to embrace the government of Heaven. Instead, they wrapped themselves in an unending war, guided by Satan. In the west, soldiers would slay one another with new technologies: machine guns and poison gasses. In the east, near Lodz in the Polish lands, the humans added up hundreds of thousands of casualties in an indecisive battle that, out of arrogance, both considered victories.

God considered waking humanity and ending the war with a new plague, an influenza, but He at last decided the New Earth would not be worth the trouble. Hope had gone out of it. The Earth to come would be filled with decadence, heart-rending poverty, greater wars splitting the atoms themselves, and artificial, digital worlds where men would give up his body as well as his soul to mere entertainment. Having only recently annexed Earth, it already seemed too much to bother.

He had destroyed the world before, of course, with a Flood and planned to destroy it again with fire on the day of Judgment, but it all seemed too much now. There was hope, but it was distant and the rewards too small to carry the pain. God looked upon the whole of Creation and found it... depressing. He decided to end it.

Doing so, however, would mean the loss of His creations, the humans He genuinely loved. The love seemed only one-sided now, nothing but pain. Even so, he would have to eliminate Immanuel as well, His being on Earth. Without an Earth, there would be no need. It was pain, but it would be over quickly enough.

And God said, "Let there be naught," and the Earth was gone.

Now darkness was again upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved alone upon the face of the waters.

In 1874, on this day the first prime minister of the United Dominions of America Winston S. Churchill is born, son of Lord Randolph Churchill and an American mother.

An American Lion is Born
Alternative Churchill Career
He will grow up in England, but will emigrate to the American colonies in 1909, following a bitter quarrel with his father. There he will enter politics, becoming active in the movement for North American sovereignty.

Churchill will disagree powerfully with more radical leaders of the movement, who argue for full independence, and in the end his position will carry the day. "If my father had been American and my mother British, instead of the other way round, I might have got here on my own" ~ Churchill's speech to the Joint session of Congress on 26 December 1941With him as its spokesman, the movement will amass increasing support in Britain for granting the North American colonies substantial self-rule.

The "Dominionists," as Churchill's faction is known, will ultimately prevail, but on Sept. 1, 1939, on the eve of what should have been their triumph, the Second World War breaks out, leading Parliament to table the so-called "Dominion Act" until 1946, following the end of hostilities. Churchill will become a world-famous figure for his role in rallying North America against the Axis powers, and the inevitable choice for the first prime minister of the United Dominions of America following the Dominion Acts passage.

In 1957, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat the Edmonton Eskimos 32-14 in the 45 annual Grey Cup championship game. For Hamiltion fans the win was sweet redemption after their heartbreaking 1953 Cup loss against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers; their remaining ghosts would be exorcised in 1984 when the Ti-Cats beat the Bombers in Winnipeg's first Cup finals appearance since 1956.

 - Tiger Cats
Tiger Cats

On this day in 1941, the US carrier task force which had been dispatched from Pearl Harbor four days earlier was recalled on orders from CINCPAC.                                      

 - Pearl Harbour
Pearl Harbour

In 1970, Fidel Castro is reported to have been killed in fighting between his guerrilla forces and U.S. Army Rangers.

The former Cuban president, deposed by right-wing counterrevolutionaries with the aid of massive U.S. support in April 1961, has become something of a hero to many antiwar protesters for his ability to elude U.S. occupation forces, who have put a 'dead or alive' bounty of 100,000 USD on him. When no one steps forward to claim the reward, suspicion grows that he has gotten away again.

 -

In 1954, in a television interview, engineer and science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke refers to his 1945 article in Britain's Wireless World magazine suggesting that orbital satellites might be used as radio communications relays and points out that with the Nov. 24 launch by the United States of Mickey, the first artificial satellite, such communications satellites are now technologically within reach.

 - Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke
Winston Churchill was born on the 30th of November 1874 to Randolph Churchill and Jennie Jerome. He was born in Blenheim Palace, in Woodstock Oxfordshire and would later profess a profound attachment to the house.

Tragedy struck the Churchill family just three months later. Lord Randolph fell ill and died of tertiary syphilis at the age of just 25, leaving his wife and newborn son to fend for themselves.

Six months after the death of Randolph Churchill, Jennie Jerome left the UK and returned to the USA where she took up residence in Brooklyn. Jerome became notorious for a series of affairs, including a reported fling with Presidential hopeful Samuel J. Tilden (though the truth behind these rumours is disputed). While Jerome was extremely distant with the young Churchill, Winston would later recall an affectionate (if distant) relationship with his mother as the two of them acted as a comfort after his fathers death.

Leonard Jerome acted as the father figure in Winston's early life, driving the young Churchill to succeed. But despite this 'support' (Churchill did not recall his grandfather very positively) Churchill did not excel in academic life and proved to be a somewhat unruly and stubborn student.

As he entered his late teenage years, Churchill made it extremely clear that he wished to pursue a career in the military and attempted to gain entry to West Point Military Academy. He failed in this enterprise to begin with; however his mother used her considerable influence to 'convince' Roswell P. Flower, the Governor of New York to protest on his behalf. Thanks to some gentle nudging, Churchill went off the West Point in 1893.
In 1954, the course of human evolution was altered when Mrs. Elizabeth Hodges of Sylacauga, Alabama, was struck by a meteorite. The powerful energies contained in the rock from outer space transformed her into the being known today as Astro-Woman. Seemingly immortal, this crime-fighting Alabaman has been foiling evil ever since, and along with her children, Astro-boy and Comet-girl, and their dog Shooting Star, she has kept the American south safe for two generations.
In 1947, playwright David Mamet was born in Chicago, Illinois. Mamet was famous for his family-friendly plays and movie scripts. He was known to remark, 'if you have to swear to say something, it really wasn't worth saying, was it?'
In 1667, future Bishop Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin, Ireland. Bishop Swift arose to his position by his harsh treatment of his native countrymen; during a particularly terrible famine in Ireland, he even suggested to Pope William that the Irish could use their young as a source of food. Of all the Archbishops the Holy British Empire appointed to oversee Dublin and Ireland, none was hated more than Bishop Swift.
In 723 AUC, the alliance of Rome and Egypt ended the rebellion of Marcus Antonius, who had ruled in a triumvirate with Octavian and Marcus Lepidus, but had attempted to seize power for himself in 721. Cleopatra VII, ruler of Egypt, had flirted briefly with the idea of allying with Antonius before a personal plea from Octavian brought her back into Rome's camp.
In 1874, the imperialist Winston Spencer Churchill was born. A promising political career was destroyed by mistakes at Gallipoli, rejoining the Gold Standard as Chancellor and then as Home Seceretary authorising the shooting of strikers during the General Strike. In his truncated retirement, Churchill died during 1931 in a tragic car accident in New York City - - as a result of his very last bad decision. Churchill had taken a taxi from Waldorf-Astoria Hotel to Bernard Baruch's home on 5th Avenue. Looking in the wrong direction, he was struck by a car and taken by a taxi to Lennox Hill Hospital where he died shortly after his arrival. During his post politics career, and in addition to his famous paintings, Churchill was remembered as a man of letters, including his imaginative work, What if Robert E. Lee had not won the Battle of Gettysburg?


November 29

In 2012, to commemorate the anniversary of the Zong Massacre, the British Royal Family and other members of the British establishment led an all day prayer vigil in the city of Liverpool.

Remember the ZongBecause on this day in 1781, a slave ship owned by a Liverpool slave-trading syndicate murdered one hundred and thirty-three Africans by dumping them into the sea to claim insurance.

The resulting court cases, brought by the ship-owners seeking compensation from the insurers for the slave-traders' lost "cargo", established that the deliberate killing of slaves could in some circumstances be legal. It was a landmark in the battle against the African slave trade of the eighteenth century, and inspired abolitionists such as Granville Sharp and Thomas Clarkson, leading to the foundation of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1787.

In 2012, President Barack Obama hosted President-elect Mitt Romney for a private lunch at the White House, their first meeting since the Republican challenger defeated his Democratic incumbent in a bitterly fought election. And of course final recounts had delayed the activation of the transition team and their "readiness project" even though Romney had prematurely activated their web site on November 8th.

No such thing as a free lunchFrustratingly, much time had therefore been lost. Because way back in June, Michael Leavitt, the former governor of Utah, has been tasked with helping Romney set up a presidential administration, should he be elected.

The lunch meeting came amid bipartisan efforts to work out with congressional leaders a way to avoid a looming "fiscal cliff" that could push the U.S. economy back into recession. The pressing need to strike a deal during the transition period was already creating huge tensions. Although both men had been in regular dialogue, the purpose of the meeting was an attempt to demonstrate a unity of purpose.

In 1972, on this day the video game pong was released by Atari Inc.

USG bans PongIt was a two-dimensional sports game that simulated table tennis. The player controlled an in-game paddle by moving it vertically across the left side of the screen, competing against either a computer controlled opponent or another player controlling a second paddle on the opposing side.

But within months, the Surgeon General would call for a strategic study of the impact upon the developing minds of young people. This research concluded that video games had a deleterious effect upon both concentration and attention. In short, gamers tended to narrow their focus on the rich detail of the immediate sensory input, but subsequently struggled with broader perceptions such as parallel plot storylines in childrens novels. The disturbing outcome was that these test children quickly lost interest in traditional teaching tools And of course the results put pressure on the USG to ban video games before academic consequences could take root.

In 1314, Philip the Fair King of France died in Fontainebleau aged forty-six. Unexpected difficulties in the succession would soon end the rule of the House of Capet caused by a usurpation by Edward II King of England who was married to his only daughter Isabella.

Tour de Nesle AffairAn adulterous scandal discredited Joan II of Navarre. She was the heir to his successor (and first son) Louis X who died just eighteen months later. And because Joan was underage she required a regent and was thus an easier target for a violent overthrow by the English King.

Despite her youth, Joan's misstep was her passive involvement in Tour de Nesle Affair. This scandal revealed that two of Philip the Fair's daughters-in-law were engaged in affairs with two Norman knights, Gautier and Philippe d'Aunay. At the urging of her husband Edward II, the affairs were exposed by Isabella who came to realize that she had been used as an instrument in an English plot. It is suspected that she became aware of the indiscretions during Philip's rule but due to the King's statue-like dispassion had decided that the consequences would be too brutal to contemplate.

In 2007, NEW YORK (AP) Arnold Zenker, anchor of CBS Evening News and America's longest-standing news personality announced today he was leaving his position for "personal reasons".
An article from the Arnold Zenker Reports thread.


Uncle Arnold RetiresZenker, often termed "the most trusted man in America", had held anchorship of the highest-rated news program in the country for over forty years. As director of CBS's news programming division, Zenker was tapped to temporarily replace Walter Cronkite during an AFTRA strike in April 1967. Viewers immediately warmed to the charming if novice newscaster and ratings shot through the roof during the three weeks of Zenker's planned anchorship. CBS, bowing to public demand, retained Zenker as chief anchor following the end of the strike, which prompted Cronkite to sign with rival NBC upon the termination of his contract.

Through the turbulent waning years of the 60s, Zenker was often a calm and reassuring voice of reason on the nation's airways. During the Apollo moon landing in 1969, his emotional observation "We have finally begun to explore the frontiers of our potential" became almost as famous a quote as Armstrong's "One small step for man", and his quiet, solemn announcement "The war is over" at the conclusion of Vietnamese hostilities is remembered as one of the defining moments of news broadcasting.

Zenker proved his survival skills in the sometimes cut-throat business of television by retaining his original viewers and proving himself popular to several following generations. John Lennon and Ronald Reagan's assassination brought the nation tuning in invariably to hear what "Uncle Arnold" had to say, and the ending of the Cold War and Zenker's tireless efforts to fully assist the public in making sense of turbulent and confusing events only brought his star higher.

It was, however, on September 11, 2001 that America most needed Arnold Zenker, and despite health problems near the beginning of the year, Zenker set a record for endurance by remaining on the air for a full 36 hours following the attacks. This feat, however, is said to have damaged his health further, and at the conclusion of the invasion of Afganistan, Zenker began requesting longer and longer sabbaticals from CBS News. He was, however, on hand during the Iraq War and much of its aftermath, proving himself a tireless proponent of the press. CBS has not yet announced a replacement for Zenker.

In 1818, on this day the leading advocate of responsible government in British North America George Brown was born in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Scotland.

Birth of George Brown, father of responsible governmentAfter managing a printing operation in New York with his father, he moved to Southern Ontario in 1843. He founded the Banner in 1843, and "The Globe" in 1844 which quickly became a leading Reform newspaper.

In a time when royal governors still ruled with personal authority, Colonial thought had finally caught up with the idea of local representation; for example Lord Metcalfe argued that his Council of Ministers, and their Legislature, must win every election in order to remain in power. But Brown rejected this development, demanding instead that the Council of Ministers should only be held accountable by the Legislature which of course was the foundation of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy.

The idea fired the popular imagination of separatists across the eastern seaboard, reigniting the extinguished "Spirit of 1776". Within twenty years, the Colonial office would not only accept the principle of governors as figureheads, but began to entertain the broader issue of self-rule across North America.

Brown himself would not live to see such an exhilariating future.

On March 25, 1880, a former Globe employee, George Bennett, dismissed by a foreman, tried to shoot Brown at the Globe office. Luckily, Brown caught his hand and pushed the gun down. Unfortunately, Bennett managed to shoot Brown in the leg.

What seemed to be a minor injury turned gangrenous, and seven weeks later Brown died from the wound. Buried at Necropolis, he rests but a short distance from the largest hub in the North American Confederation, the George Brown International Airport in the capital city of York.

In 1944, on a stormy day, German submarine U-1230 came up from an eight-day rest on the ocean floor off the coast of Maine and delivered its package of two spies to Hancock Point in Frenchman Bay.

Operation Elster Makes American Landfall A freak wave caught the landing craft, however, tossing one of the spies, William Colepaugh, into the cold sea, where he drowned. The surviving spy, Erich Gimpel, determined to go on with Operation Elster (English, "Magpie") in gathering intelligence on rocketry laboratories, sabotaging the Manhattan Project, and, perhaps most significantly, setting up the radio beacons that would enable the Germans to launch their V-1 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

Gimpel would later say during his interrogation after being caught by coordinated FBI agents and Army MPs outside of Los Alamos, NM, that losing Colepaugh was the best thing to happen to his mission. Colepaugh was an American defector who had been expelled from the US Naval Reserve for, as the official report stated, the good of the service. He was a discontented and seemed unable to apply himself enough to complete tasks, yet when he defected to the German consulate in Portugal after leaving a Merchant Marine ship, Colepaugh was chosen for an espionage mission to the United States. He was paired with Gimpel, a radio-operator at mines in Peru before the war, and the two were trained to be spies at The Hague, still controlled by German forces. They were given orders, transported across the Atlantic via U-boat, and told that a pack of submarines bearing V-1 flying bombs would come behind them.

After managing to get to Boston by foot and hitchhiking, Gimpel took the train to New York City, where he acquired rooms and began construction of his radio transmitter. He was stunted in his chances for espionage without American Colepaugh, so instead he focused on establishing communications with Berlin. By Christmas, he was able to radio messages to Germany, and Hitler became ecstatic at the thought of a vicious strike to America, perhaps one enough to bloody her nose into retreat from Europe. The Fuhrer pressed resources into the Vulkan Docks in Stettin to assemble launch-canisters developed after the experiments with on-board launches in 1943 had been unsuccessful. Many in the German High Command thought the focus was waste and only annoy the American tiger as the end of the war was coming within view, but Hitler personally ensured that the project would go forward.

The United States Government had become aware of the threat the September before, when captured German spy Oscar Mantel had given up information during an FBI interrogation that the Nazis were planning a long-ranged missile attack. In the Department of War, which was largely under the weight of the Army, the recommendation to FDR was that no real threat existed. The Navy disagreed and, on its own, wrote up plans for an "Operation Bumblebee" that would become Operation Teardrop in which a sub-hunting fleet would track down and destroy submarines bearing rockets. Vice Admiral Jonas H. Ingram, commander of the Atlantic Fleet, prepared task forces within the bounds of allowed resource allocation.

Germany went forward with its attack plans. As 1945 began, Albert Speer, German Minister of Armaments and War Production, gave a broadcast stating that flying bombs "would fall on New York by February 1". The propaganda was largely dismissed, and February 1 passed without incident. German spy Gimpel finally established his radio beacons later that month and began his journey west toward Tennessee and New Mexico. In late March, a seven U-boat fleet set out with its hastily prepared launch canisters, and the US took notice of increased radio traffic as April began. Ingram's ships began a patrol, but it would be too late as the V-1 attacks struck in the early morning of April 3.

Many of the launches would malfunction and at least one rocket would fall far off-target into New Jersey, but several flying-bombs struck home, spreading incendiaries over Manhattan and one landing in the National Mall between the US Capitol and the White House, damaging the Smithsonian Museums. American sentiment flew into angry panic, especially upon news of FDR's death by stroke only days later. Ingram's Operation Teardrop was pressed forward, managing to sink five submarines at the cost of one destroyer, the USS Frederick C. Davis. Hitler's attempt at scaring the Americans into peace only exacerbated a public opinion of revenge akin to after Pearl Harbor, and newly promoted four-star general Patton was directed by now President Harry Truman to take Berlin rather than turning south to liberate Bohemia.

In a combined Soviet-American assault, Berlin fell, and Hitler would be found dead in his bunker from suicide. The war continued in the Pacific and in the minds of many Germans, such as Gimpel in New Mexico where he would be apprehended in late July, supposedly having witnessed the Trinity tests. After the war finally closed, Truman launched his doctrine of American invulnerability, never to allow another such attack on home soil to happen again. Typical post-war conservatism was scarce, and instead massive resources (including captured German scientists) were allocated to defense projects that would be able to take out any missile attack with strategies such as homing counter-measure rockets, supersonic jets, tracking satellites, and focused microwave-rays that could destroy incoming enemy (most likely Soviet) weapons with no fear of a "cold war" becoming hot with a surprise attack.

In 1945, on this first day of the Nuremberg Trial Hitler's top administrators pleaded not guilty presenting Chief Justice Robert Jackson with massive documentary evidence to support their tu quoque ("everybody else did it too") defence.

Everybody Else Did It TooThe civilians were dressed in cheap fitting suits and the military wearing their former uniforms with the insignia patches torn off. Ushered into an oblong box filled with two rows of straight-back chairs, the prisoners were only issued with neckties and shoelaces outside their cells due to the expectation that they would suicide. But these monsters refused to be demonized by victor's justice and they had a massive surprise in store for the Soviet, British and American judges:

  • A memo dated 5 March 1940 in which the head of the NKVD Lavrentiy Beria authorised the execution of all members of the Polish Officer Corps leading to the Soviet massacre of 21,768 soldiers in the Katyn Forest massacre
  • Witnessed dispositions of a British officer from 28 May 1945 assuring Cossacks that "I assure you on my word of honour as a British officer that you are just going to a conference" before releasing 2,700 soldiers to their certain death in Soviet hands at Lienz, a decision expressly authorised by the British Minister Resident Harold Macmillan
  • Evidence of US Soldiers drugging POWs before handing them over to Stalin in contravention of "Leaflet Operation", the dropping of six billion leaflets over German lines, urging the Soviet Russians in German uniforms to surrender to the West, solemnly promising them good treatment, and denouncing "as lies the Nazi propaganda that Soviet nationals fighting or not fighting with the Germans would ultimately be forcibly repatriated to the Soviets if they ever surrendered or deserted to the Americans"
But perhaps most unexpected of all was the opening line of defence from Hermann Göring (pictured) who boldly declared that "I am determined to go down in German history as a great man".

In 1872, on this day in Pleasantville, New York the President-elect Horace Greeley died just three weeks after voters endorsed his crusade against the corruption of Ulysses S. Grant's Republican administration and too soon for the electoral college to have met to count their votes.

Death of President-elect Horace GreeleyAfter supporting the General in the 1868 election, Greeley broke from Grant and the Radicals. Opposing Grant's re-election bid, he joined the Liberal Republican Party in 1872. To everyone's astonishment, that new party nominated Greeley as their presidential candidate. Even more surprisingly, he was officially endorsed by the Democrats, whose party he had denounced for decades.

His success in exposing the depth of corruption of Grant's administration was the triumphant conclusion to a long career in journalism. Expert investigative and communication skills when combined with a sound reputation for unbiased reporting enabled him to maximise bipartisan support. This was enough for Greeley to score a narrow victory on November 5th, but not long after, his wife died and he descended into madness.

At the meeting of the electoral college, the Democratic electors had nobody to vote for, although three Georgia electors tried to vote for Greeley but Congress refused to count their ballots.

In 1809, after Washington City fell to the army of the breakaway Republic of Gloriana and their allies, the Jeffersonian Rebels, bitter arch rivals US President Alexander Hamilton and his old nemesis, Colonel Aaron Burr were issued with dueling pistols on the White House Lawn.

A Pair of PistolsThe last time that they had squared off, Hamilton's finger had slipped on the hair trigger of his pistol, making him an easy target for Burr's much steadier hand. But, refusing to be condemned by history as a mere murderer, Burr pointed his firearm upwards before harmlessly discharging his bullet.

Within eighteen months of the interview at Weehawken, Hamilton would occupy the White House, and Burr would have stood down as Vice President. Out of office, Burr fled the young country along with a few hundred followers. He established his own republic in the former French protectorate of Louisiana. He names himself president, but acts much more like a king. Many Americans who had been on the Tory side of the revolution, on hearing of Burr's new Gloriana, immigrated.

Although never large, Gloriana proved to be a thorn in the underside of the American nation as it tried to spread west, constantly harassing the Americans who attempted to settle in the Louisiana Purchase or move through it to Mexico and parts west. Alternate ending to a story by Robbie TaylorAfter his re-election was assured, Hamilton decided that he could not leave office without handling "this minuscule king, this traitor, Aaron Burr", and asked for a declaration of war against Gloriana from Congress. The declaration passed swiftly, and Americans across the east coast signed up for the attack on Gloriana. Burr, seeing what was coming, tried to ask Mexico and the native nations around him for aid, but they all refused. Instead, hope arrived from a wholly unexpected quarter.

Of course the so-called "Founding Conflict" was rapidly expanding from a Hamilton-Burr dispute. Former President Thomas Jefferson had been bested by Hamilton during Washington's first term, forcing him to quit the administration and pursue a "Revolution of 1800". Problem was, Hamilton had set about rolling that revolution back. Seizing the final chance to restore the Jeffersonian Model of small government and states rights, Jefferson came out of his self-imposed retirement at Monticello, declared his support for Burr by leading a libertarian revolt.

In 2014, the former President of Kenya, Barack Hussein Obama II was confirmed as the ninth Secretary General of the United Nations.The Barack Obama Story, Part 5 - Common Ground

A gleeful Mama Sarah (pictured) proudly accompanied her grandson on his flight from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. At an official ceremony in New York City, Mr Obama was sworn in as the organization's chief administrative officer under Article 97 of the UN Charter.

The first Secretary General of dual heritage, his upbringing across three continents made Mr Obama uniquely qualified for the challenges that he would shortly face in the role. In Dreams of My Father, he joked that family meal-times in Hawaii were actually like a meeting of the United Nations, with his Indonesian step-father at the head of table.

Twelve months later, and not so far from that family home, Mr Obama would be drawn into a bitter confrontation at the United States deep-water naval base at Pearl Harbour. His adversaries would be the belligerent forty-fourth US President, Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Prime Minister of Japan, General Toshio Tamogami.

Absolutely nobody would describe Tamogami as the product of diversity. Shortly before Clinton's election in 2008, the General lost his job as chief of staff for Japan's Air Self-Defense Force after saying in an essay entitled True Perspective of Modern and Contemporary History that "it is certainly a false accusation to say that our country was an aggressor nation [in World War Two]. "

Tamogami experienced a dramatic reversal of fortune in the second decade of the twenty-first century. His re-armament of Japan placed him on a collision course with Mrs Clinton. And it would be for Mr Obama to find common ground between the two.

Shigematsu

On this day in 1941, the US embassy in Tokyo informed the Japanese foreign ministry that the White House was accepting the Shigemetsu government's peace proposal; in turn, the Japanese embassy in Washington told the State Department that Japan would begin withdrawing its troops from China within 72 hours.

Shigematsu - Sakaibara
Sakaibara

On this day in 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald told his court-appointed psychiatrist that the same voice he'd heard on the day he surrendered himself to Dallas police had spoken to him again on the night of November 28th and told him he had been ordained by God to spread the Gospel to the downtrodden masses of the world. This was an ironic turn of events, considering that Oswald had for years been a dedicated Communuist.

 - Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald

In 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson appoints a special commission to investigate the murder of President Kennedy. His controversial choice to head this body is Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren.

Conservatives, who still resent the U.S. Senate's March 12 acquittal of Warren at his impeachment trial, immediately cry foul. Liberals are not altogether happy either, as they fear the post-impeachment Warren will be unwilling to push the investigation vigorously if it begins to appear that it is headed in a politically contentious direction.

 -
In 1963, President Lyndon Johnson establishes a commission, headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren, to lay the blame of former President Kennedy's assassination squarely at the feet of Lee Harvey Oswald. When the commission's initial report finds otherwise, Warren squashes the official report and releases a pack of lies about a 'magic bullet' and a lone gunman.
In 1952, President-elect Dwight Eisenhower visits Korea in an effort to find an end to the bitter civil war raging in the small Asian nation. His itinerary was apparently not guarded very well, because his convoy was attacked on a countryside drive, killing him and several soldiers and diplomats. His Vice-President-elect, Richard Nixon, pledged total American commitment to South Korea, and plunged America deeper into the civil war when he assumed the office of President in January.
In 1919, a faction of the Presence works its will on a young Austrian soldier, convincing him that the loss of the Central Powers in the Great War was the fault of cowards and non-Aryans within the German and Austrian command. Ludicrous as this was, the idea infected him and he soon infected others.
In 1962, Comrade President Gus Hall appoints Coleman Young as head of a committee to investigate the assassination of Comrade President Joel Rosenberg the week before. Comrade Young establishes conclusively that the lone counter-revolutionary, Lee Oswald, was responsible for the murder, but lunatic conspiracy theorists have questioned this conclusion for decades.
In 1986, Archie Leach, a musical comedy favorite from the 1930's through the 1960's, died at his home in Davenport, Iowa. Leach had entered the U.S. as a teen when he was part of a group of acrobatic performers. He stayed and soon his dashing good looks and singing ability landed him parts on Broadway, where he became noticed by movie studios. He made his first film in 1932 in This is the Night, and before long he was starring opposite such leading ladies as Marie von Losch, Mary West and Katharine Hepburn. He had retired from filmmaking twenty years earlier, adhering to the old theater adage, 'always leave em wanting more.'
In 1948, Australia auto manufacturer Holden Automotive met the challenge issued it by the government to produce a car entirely in Australia. The Holden FX was a tremendous success, not only in Australia, but around the world. The models that followed, the Torana and Commodore, proved that the FX was no fluke. By the 1960's, Australia's cars were outperforming American cars in the lucrative American market. This led many Michiganders to urge boycotts and stiff trade barriers against Australian cars, but the nation continued to buy them. When the Japanese entered the auto ring in the 1970's, America's automotive industry fell into its final collapse.
In 12-12-9-14-2, Oueztecan troops commit another atrocity in their war in the north of the continent as they slaughter helpless Cheyenne and Arapaho people who were attempting to surrender. As news of the slaughter spreads among the northern people, resistance against Ouezteca stiffens; the people of the north feel that they have nothing to gain by giving up to the southern empire, and everything to lose.
On November 29th 1952, U.S. President-elect Douglas McArthur fulfilled a campaign promise by going to Korea to find out what could be done to end the conflict, famously saying 'There is no substitute for victory'. Back in '51 as UN Commander in Chief (Korean Peninsula) McArthur had had his request denied to end the conflict by launching thirty to fifty nuclear weapons at Manchuria, was angered at what he perceived to be Harry Truman's 'limited war' and subsequently relieved of his command by the President. General Omar Bradley later speculated that MacArthur's disappointment over his inability to wage war on China had 'snapped his brilliant but brittle mind.' With the United States detonating the world's first hydrogen bomb on November 1st 1952, and 'Brass Hat' back in the saddle again just twenty-eight days later, the world wonders just how the conflict will end.
On 29th November 1963, FBI Director J Edgar Hoover, President Lyndon Baines Johnson and Chief Justice Earl Warren meet in the Oval Office. Agenda: to agree the action plan for the Presidential Commission into the assassination of John F Kennedy which occurred just a week before. Hoover gives the heads up: 'Upwards of fifty witnesses place the shooter on the Grassy Knoll, we've got too many gunshots, bullets that don't originate from Oswald's rifle, Jack Ruby talking crazy, Zapruder's contradictory video footage, lines of hard evidence to the Soviets, Castro, the Mob and murdered Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem plus George Bush and Richard Nixon in town on the same day'. Turning to Warren, LBJ takes a sip from his ever-present Fresca and starts 'the treatment' - 'OK Earl, here's the brief - 'Oswald acted alone and neither he nor Ruby were part of a larger conspiracy'. Executive orders same as the Japanese internment order you wrote up for FDR in '42'. Warren shuffles out in misery trying hard not to think about the body count for this news management exercise. Hoover leaves a few short minutes later, instructed to crush the corruption charges which were threatening to destroy Johnson's Vice Presidency only a week before. Stubbing out his cigarette, LBJ presses a button in the bookcase, releasing a door to a concealed side room. Addressing a robed grey humanoid sitting in lotus position, Texas' favourite son says 'Ambassador, we're all set', flashing his winning smile.
In 1947, the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine or United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 was announced. Palestine followed India in suffering the agony of partition following a British withdrawal.


November 28

In 1936, on this day the fortieth president of the United States Gary Hart was born Gary Warren Hartpence in Ottawa, Kansas. With events driven by controversies largely of his own making, the pendulum of fate would swing from triumph to tragedy during the four action-packed years of his term of office and ultimately he ended up pointing the finger right back at himself.
An article from the No Chappaquiddick by Eric Lipps in which EMK's car only almost went off that bridge on July 18, 1969.

The Rise and Fall of President Gary HartHis bid to succeed Ted Kennedy was itself a long-shot, insofar as it was asking the electorate to vote for twelve continuous years of Democratic Party rule last seen under FDR/Truman. But not being the sitting Vice President he was fortunately able to distanced himself from the Kennedy administration, and (almost running as an Independent) adopted the unorthodox position that recent federal deficits and high inflation were largely the products of the ongoing Gulf war. Fortunately for Hart his hawkish Republican opponent Senator Bob Dole took the opposite view and in so doing aligned himself with failure (he also adopted a hostile tone in the debates that alienated the voters).

In office, he succumbed to a number of embarrassingly high profile gaffs, bungling the Achille Lauro affair so badly that even former President Kennedy got his own back by publicly criticizing him. He humiliated West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl by cancelling his attendance wreath-laying ceremony at a German military cemetery at Bitburg on the fortieth anniversary of the end of World War II (he had been informed that the chosen cemetery contained the graves of 49 members of the Nazi SS). And of course he scrapped the Challenger Mission on the eve of the State of the Union address when he had planned to showcase the Teacher in Space, Christa McAuliffe (something of an acute embarrassment to former astronaut John Glenn chosen as VP to his surprise ahead of Jesse Jackson).

Right or wrong, these unfortunate events were largely mis-executions, as Lincoln famously said he had suffered "a stumble, not a fall". They could be excused if not perhaps justified. However the same could not be said of his indiscretions with 29-year old model Donna Rice on his yacht. Despite losing the Iowa Caucus to Dick Gephardt, he had clawed back popular support, eventually winning the nomination but he was then forced to pull out of the race altogether as his Presidency was ripped apart by the Donna Rice scandal. This gifted the 1988 election to the former football star, western New York Congressman Jack Kemp, who ironically enough, launched a hugely expensive new war in the Middle East.

In 2012, in a worldwide scandal that has made l'affaire Petraeus look like an episode of The Donna Reed Show, Benjamin Netanyahu and Hillary Clinton have run off together.

The Hillary and Bibi AffairThis has brought Israel and Gaza together in mass outrage .. starting with a joint resolution denouncing the notorious couple. This scandal could have been the first time that Israelis and Palestinians have gotten together since the Pope recently offered to administer Jerusalem, and both sides answered. "Thanks but no thanks".

"But how could I help it?" Netanyahu demanded, from their hiding place at The Sandals honeymoon resort, where reporters tracked them down holding hands and walking along the beach. "We spent so many hours alone together, everyone should have known this might happen".

Hillary's comment was, "This will pay Bill back for Monica Lewinsky. Anyway, since Bill cannot run again, Bibi is the now the cutest national leader around, except perhaps for Obama, and we all know what a good family man HE is".

In 1887, on this day Sturmabteilung Commander Ernst Julius Günther Röhm was born in Munich.

Birth of Ernst RöhmHis 1934 conviction for treason and subsequent hanging provided those senior Nazi Party Officials who had survived the Night of the Long Knives with bitter satisfaction because the Government of Adolf Hitler had been fatally weakened by the SA Commander's pre-emptive counterstrike.

After Hitler's takeover had failed to deliver radical change the Sturmabteilung began to regard themselves as the vanguard of the National Socialist revolution. But in fact, Hitler's use of the SA as storm troopers was a political weapon he no longer needed and he had planned his own move against them for July 2nd. And so the time for a violent confrontation had finally arrived.

But an execution list drawn up by Schutzstaffel leaders Himmler and Heydrich had somehow found its way into Röhm's possession1. And when Hitler telephoned him on June 28th inviting him to gather the SA leaders at Bad Wiessee he decided to pre-emptively counterstrike rather than fall into a trap.

Cloaked in popularism, Röhm had gained the support of disorganized Socialist, and Communists. Problem was that the ultimate goal of the SA was to become the future army of Germany, replacing the Reichswehr and its professional officers who needed little encouragement to crush the rebellion. And so the Government survived, but at a terrible cost, because the Regular Army would never cow to Hitler and his expansionist plans for Germany.

In 1943, as the Second World War raged, the leaders of the "Big Four" Allied nations sought to meet, even though they would risk life and limb to do so.

Roosevelts Arrive at Tehran ConferenceThe Japanese Empire separated America from China, while Nazi Germany divided the USSR from America and Britain. They found a neutral point in Tehran, Persia, where Russian Premier Stalin could come from the north, Chinese Chairman Chang Kai-shek could approach from the east, and American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill could arrive from the west after a meeting shortly before in Cairo. They would discuss strategy for defeating the Axis powers as well as outlining post-war plans.

After a good deal of argument that the meetings would be strictly business between the immediate leaders and that women would not be allowed, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt convinced her husband that she and their daughter Anna would be necessary as future leaders in their own rights (and supposedly asking whether he had anything to hide, which would become more obvious after FDR's stroke in 1945 where mistress Lucy Rutherfurd was by his side). Roosevelt's arguments proved hollow as they arrived in Cairo and were surprised to be met by Mrs. Churchill. When they continued on to Tehran, they would be joined by Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Soong May-ling. Joseph Stalin also attended the meeting, though his wife Nadezhda Alliluyeva had died in 1932 from apparent suicide (that was rumored to be actual murder at Stalin's hand) after the two had a public argument. Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt formed a "Big Three" of the conference, edging out the war with the Japanese on the important matter of finishing off Germany with a European campaign.

While the men conferred, Eleanor gathered Mrs. Churchill and Chiang to tea on a number of occasions, which quickly turned into their own summit. Eleanor had long been a supporter of the Red Cross, while Mrs. Clementine Churchill was currently the Chairman of the Red Cross Aid to Russia Fund as well as a number of home front charitable efforts and Madame Kai-shek had worked to build and fund orphanages and schools for Nationalist "warphans," whose parents had been killed in the dark times of the past decade in China. They agreed on a number of matters that would eventually become important parts of shared efforts worldwide in 1945 when Mrs. Roosevelt became a representative and charter member of the United Nations Organization.

At one point in the conference, Mrs. Churchill noted Mr. Churchill's worries about how eager FDR seemed to please the stony Stalin. Eleanor related the importance of the Soviet declaration of war against Japan once the Europe question was over, but Soong May-ling voiced concern they all shared that Stalin was working to ensure a powerful Soviet Bloc of buffer territory in Eastern Europe and would most likely soon be funding the communists in China to overthrow the republican government that would serve as the Japanese were driven out. The ladies' concerns grew, and Eleanor and Clementine voiced their opinions to their husbands. FDR began to rethink his position, and Churchill redoubled his conviction that the world would not be safe from "the scourge and terror of war" as long as oppression in the Soviet Union remained.

Even with the distrust of Stalin growing uniformly, Churchill and FDR put into effect Operation Overlord headed by General Eisenhower that would begin a new front in France. Stalin, in return, promised to declare war on Japan, though the action would not follow until Germany was fully defeated. Meanwhile, the western Allies grew closer to Chiang Kai-shek, whose anti-communist sentiment spread. By the time of the conference in Yalta in February of 1945, feelings had shifted away from giving the Soviets direct control over much of anything outside of their prewar borders. The Morgenthau Plan to de-industrialize Germany was written off to keep down potential resistance, which infuriated Stalin, who began to demand why he bothered to fight a war if the rest of the Allies were simply going to let Germany rest to fight again. Unsatisfactory plans were agreed upon, though it was understood that, after the war, they would quickly be shelved.

After the taking of Berlin, threats of use of the A-bomb caused Stalin to retreat across Europe and acknowledge the International Zones. In China, support from America bolstered the Nationalist armies, which snuffed out the communist forces in China in 1947 after taking their capital at Yan'an. Stalin found himself surrounded with few allies, and he turned inward to develop his own atomic weapons. The "Cold War" standoff would continue for nearly a decade until 1956 brought attempted incursions into Hungary, threats over the Suez Canal, and the internal disputes over leadership after the death of Stalin. The weakness urged NATO to push for the dissolution of the Soviet government, resulting in a swift war that brought on a new Russian constitutional convention. UN aid bolstered the Russian people and eased tensions to ensure the new government would not fall to another predatory dictator.

In 1943, on this day President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died shortly after suffering an "acute digestive attack" while meeting with Stalin and Churchill at the Tehran Conference.

President Henry Wallace
33rd President of the United States 1943-45
The Event: I'm choosing from a whole bunch of possibilities here, as our only four-term president spent the last couple of years of his presidency slowly wasting away under the tremendous pressure of his office, not to mention his own longstanding medical problems. On this particular occasion, he suffered an "acute digestive attack" while meeting with Stalin and Churchill at the Tehran Conference. Needless to say, he didn't die (yet). But .. what if he did - somewhat earlier?

The Successor: Vice President Henry Wallace (pictured).

Why the alternate history novel should be written now:

There's a reason why it was Harry S Truman and not Henry Wallace who succeeded FDR when he finally did pass away. Wallace had been dropped from the 1944 presidential ticket because he was, to put it mildly, nutty as a fruitcake. A New Age spiritualist, he dabbled in most major religions and a few of the minor ones. His spiritual counselor, Nicholas Roerich, was the most eccentric Russian political advisor this side of Rasputin (in his defense, he was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize multiple times).

Wallace sent Roerich on a fact-finding mission to Asia that may or may not have involved searching for Jesus's lost paintings that were hidden in Tibet (no, it doesn't really make any more sense when fully explained). This expedition proved so embarrassing to the U.S. government that Wallace was forced to fire Roerich, and when he wrote his memoir he tried to hide any connection between Roerich and himself.

Wallace faced criticisms of being a communist sympathizer for most of his political career, and, whatever the exact truth may have been, it's hard to dispute that he defended Stalin far too staunchly for his own good. He might also have been a bit of a pacifist, which could have made being the wartime commander-in-chief a little tricky. So now? imagine Wallace and Roerich running World War II. I can practically smell the Sidewise Award.
To be continued

In 1975, on this day an independent State of East Timor was declared in the capital city of Dili. Senior officers of the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) moved quickly to establish an interim government, having seized power after their recent victory in the brief civil war that had proceeded the end of Portugese colonial rule.

East Timor becomes a sovereign nation by Chris Oakley & Ed.Due to complex self-serving expediencies in the International Community, this outcome was generally considered to be "unfortunate". In particular President Gerald Ford and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger feared that the Indonesian archipelago would become an ungovernable Muslim country, destabilizing regional security.

A 1962 United Nations document notes: "the government of Indonesia has declared that it maintains friendly relations with Portugal and has no claim to Portuguese Timor.."..Actually the territory of East Timor was recognised as a province of Indonesia, not just by the Republic of Indonesia itself, but by regional superpowers in particular Australia. Because in 1972, Australia had signed a framework agreement to secure access to the rich seabed resources in the "Timor Gap".

Falsely claiming that assistance had been requested by East Timorese leaders, and "given the green light" by Ford and Kissinger, Indonesian military forces prepared an invasion plan for execution on 7th December. However, on the night of the 6th, with the Republic of Indonesia set to regain its sovereignty over East Timor the very next day, renegade officers in the military ordered a coup d'etat.

Due to the mobilization, there was a reduced security presence in Jakharta and the victim of this set of circumstances would be Suharto, assassinated at a critical moment in the nation's history.

Fearing the loss of the considerable resources in the "Timor Gap", the Governments of Australia supported by regional allies Phillipines immediately contacted Vice President Hamengkubuwono IX offering military assistance to re-establish security througout the country. Outnumbered, yet undaunted, the brave people of East Timor prepared to fight a bitter war of independence that would not official end until official recognition followed in 2002.

In 1937, on this day the 33rd President of the United States Huey Pierce Long (pictured) abolished the Federal Reserve, announcing that henceforth the Dollar would be backed by gold and not future income tax payments. Every Man a King

Critics had labelled the System an unnecessary and counterproductive interference in the economy.

And also unconstitutional - a majority of states had not endorsed the sixteenth amendment as was falsely claimed by the corporatists who had rushed the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 through Congress two days before Christmas.

In effect, the legislation had commissioned a system of privately held, for profit corporations, not a government agency to print fiat money on behalf of the federal government at a fee ultimately paid for by personal income tax.

An ardent critic of the System himself, Long had created the Share Our Wealth program in 1934, with the motto "Every Man a King". New wealth redistribution measures would be implemented in the form of a net asset tax on large corporations and individuals of great wealth to curb the poverty and crime resulting from the Great Depression.

Of course contemporary economists were in broad agreement that the System had caused the Great Depression, in Free to Choose, Milton Friedman would write ~

"The recession only became a crisis when these failures spread to New York and in particular to this building, then the headquarters of the Bank of United States. The failure of this bank had far reaching effects and need never have happened...Only a few blocks away is the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It was here that the Bank of United States could have been saved. Indeed, the Federal Reserve System had been set up 17 years earlier precisely to prevent the worst consequences of bank failures...It was all a question of reassuring the public that they could get their money. The Federal Reserve System was there to ensure that this happened by supplying cash to the banks...Why didn't this system prevent The Great Depression after 1929? Because from 1929 to 1930 after the stock market crashed, the Federal Reserve system allowed the quantity of money to decline slowly thereby throttling the monetary structure...If the Federal Reserve had stepped in, bought government securities on a large scale, provided the cash, the depositors would have found that they could've got their money and they would have stopped asking for it...

Despite excellent advice from New York, the system refused to buy government bonds, something which would have provided cash to the commercial banks with which they could have met more easily the insisted demands of their depositors. Instead, believe it or not, the system stood idly by while banks crashed on all sides. As the head of one of the banks put it, the reserve system had to keep its powder dry for a real emergency. "

Long's predecessor, President woodrow Wilson had himself regretted his authorisation of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 saying ~ "I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is now controlled by its system of credit. We are no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men".

Eight thousand miles away, the German Government had identified a more expediant solution for boosting national reserves - by looting $71m worth of assets in recently-occupied Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Nazi-governed Danzig. During the war, a further $550m was looted, with $223m coming from Belgium and $193m from the Netherlands. To mask these acquisitions, the Reichsbank understated its official reserves.

The Swiss National Bank also received $440m of gold, of which $316m is estimated to have been looted from private citizens, confiscated from victims in the campaign of ethnic cleansing.

In London, the British Government was teetering on bankcruptcy, without a strategic ally and unable to pay for the war effort. But President Charles Lindburgh's Government had neither the inclination, nor the financial resources, to fund the lend-lease program that America's former ally would have needed to survive.



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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.