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In 1999, on this day an amazing discovery was made by a US expeditionary team operating at the summit of Mount Ararat in Turkey.
An installment from the Miracles thread.
Fourth MiracleThe wreckage of Noah's Ark had been located by a satellite. But amongst the debris, the American scientists discovered the skeletal remains of humans, animals and Nephilim, the giants who inhabited Canaan according to Numbers 13:33.
The mission was immediately upgraded from top secret to ultra secret. Because the US Government intended to reverse engineer the DNA in order to construct the super-soldier of the future. Ironically, the first deployment would be in Iraq, within close proximity of the location of the Garden of Eden.
In 1720, on this day the Jacobite Pretender Charles Edward Stuart was born in the Palazzo Muti, Rome.
This article is a reversal of the Jackie Rose story Hard Man which focuses on Captain Francis O'Neill
Happy Endings Part 17
Hard Woman saves the Forty-Five RebellionAged twenty-five he launched a bold attempt to restore the House of Stuart. Because in 1745 a five thousand man Jacobite army landed at Moidart in the Outer Hebrides. But of course it took a woman to save the forty-five rebellion from abject failure - the incomparable Highland rebel Flora MacDonald.
Hopes had built up rather quickly; at the Battle of Prestonpans they had soundly defeated the only government army in Scotland. But their hapless commander General John Cope would soon be replaced by the murderous Duke of Cumberland and the mood in the camp would drastically change. In despair the Young Pretender had left the still undefeated Jacobite Army in the hands of his trusted companion, Captain Francis O'Neill. Planning to flee Scotland forever, the Prince sought the incomparable Highland rebel Flora MacDonald for her assistance only to discover that the MacDonalds were secretly sympathetic with the Jacobite cause. She convinced the Prince to rejoin the Jacobite Army by promising to organize reinforcements from her own Clan. With fresh resolve, he inspired the "forty-five" rebels with a fiery new leadership that turned the tables on the Hanoverians.
The full novel is available for download at the Extasy Books web site.
In 1548, on this day an extraordinary meeting of the Privy Council ordered the imprisonment of the vice-treasurer of the Bristol Mint, Sir William Sharington.
Baron of Sudeley
By Ed and Jacquelyn FriedlanderBut they had caught the monkey and not the organ-grinder. Because via the word of an informant, the Lord Protector Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset had received a second-hand intelligence report that led him to suspect the possible involvement of his scheming brother, Thomas Seymour the Baron of Sudeley (who was currently serving as the Lord High Admiral). However, he was hesitant to openly accuse his brother at a Council meeting. Because their relationship had soured as Edward had received the more senior position as a result of their sister Anne's marriage to King Henry VIII in 1536. But Edward fatally misjudged the extent of Thomas jealous resentment, not able to believe that he had stumbled across the final stages of a dastardly act of high treason.
Sharington had indeed been debasing the currency and also fiddling the books for some time. When these acts of malfeasance were discovered by Thomas Seymour, he extorted monies from the Bristol mint. Initially these were small sums which he redirected to the eleven-year old King Edward VI who had childishly complained of receiving inadequate pocket money from the Lord Protector Edward Seymour. But events during the latter half of 1548 had forced the Baron to accelerate (and also expand) his plans to replace his brother Edward as Lord Protector. As a result, he was forced to extort much larger sums that he would use to finance an overthrow of the entire government.
In 1543, Thomas had developed a romantic interest in the widow Catherine Parr, but had been sent away from the Court by the jealous Henry VIII who then married her himself. After the King's death, Thomas secretly married Catherine, and this wedding gave him guardianship of the teenage Lady Elizabeth. At their Chelsea home, an inappropriate relationship developed with the forty-year old Thomas assuming the role of master.
The increasing likelihood of Sharington's arrest (and the discovery of his complicity in the corruption at Bristol Mint) forced Thomas Seymour to think bigger. He now decided that his interests were best served by installing Elizabeth as monarch as well as replacing his brother as Lord Protector. On the night of 16 January, Thomas broke into the Royal apartments at Hampton Court Palace and shot the King. The ruthlessness of this act of regicide set the tone for Elizabeth's rule, because Thomas Seymour had set his sights even higher - the mastery of Europe.
In 1499, on this day future Queen of England Mary Boleyn was born in Blickling Hall, the family seat in Norfolk. But she grew up at Hever Castle, Kent alongside her less famous siblings Thomas and Anne (the wife of Percy of Northumberland).
An installment from the Happy Endings thread
Happy Endings Part 15
Henry VIII's Second Wife: Mary BoleynBecause the Tudors was locked in conflict with elements the nobility, her origin amongst the "new men" of self-acquired wealth played well in the Royal court. Accordingly she was sent to the French court in the household of the queen, Henry VIII's younger sister Mary Tudor who was betrothed to King Louis XII.
A blond, blue-eyed, curvy beauty that was the era's belle idéale, she was greatly desired by the Valois monarch's son François I. However in 1515 Louis died, and the Tudor Household was recalled to England. And François's loss was King Henry VIII's gain. They remained happily married until her tragic death age just forty-three, having two children Henry and Catherine. Surely there was some irony in this choice of names, because of course the Pope refused to grant Henry a divorce for Catherine of Aragon, and their relationship caused a schism in the English Church that lasts until today. But then you can't have everything..
In 1942, on this day Subhas Chandra Bose raised the flag of Indian independence at Calcutta.
Quit India, Part #2
Return of the Leaping Tiger, by Ed & Scott PalterAn unstoppable Japanese drive through Burma had made the occupation of the former Imperial Capital possible, if not quite inevitable due to logistical constraints and rivalry in the Imperial Japanese Army. And even though the rebel Indian National Army (INA) never completed their "March to Delhi", the fatal blow to British prestige had been struck. Because the Axis partition of the Raj would forever change the destiny of the Indian subcontinent. One that even Bose himself could never have imagined.
Of course the Fall of Calcutta transformed the fates of all engaged parties. After the fatal heart attack of Winston Churchill on 26th December 1941, British Prime Minister Anthony Eden had wisely re-focused the Government on sustainable war objectives that would not bankcrupt the home nation. A younger, less sentimental man than Churchill, he had no interest in British punching above its weight for a few short years only to become as impoverished as a defeated nation. Whereas Churchill had sought to ensure that the British Empire be "preserved for a few more generations in all its splendour", a phrase that surely excluded the famine in Bengal. And so Eden now downgraded the Far Eastern Campaign to a lower priority (with a restated future-proof objective of the defence of Australia and New Zealand). He called for the Allies to concentrate resources in Western Europe and North Africa, bringing forward an amphibious invasion of Normandy to 1943. And this decision would usher in the Fall of Vichy France, which ironically was one of the two Axis Puppet Governments that promised to send ambassadors to Calcutta.
But of course the largest consequence would be for the India people themselves. The door to this dramatically altered future had been opened by the revocation of a single, faulty command decision: to bypass the heavily defended town of Kohima. This encirclement forced the British commander Field Marshal William Slim to abandon the strategic towns of Dimapur and Imphal. The British withdrawal to positions on the western bank of the river Brahmaputra abandoned a huge area of Eastern Indian that would eventually become the territory of the two Muslim successor states.
This altered reality forced the imprisoned leadership of the Indian National Congress to suspend the non-violence campaign. And because they never actually endorsed an armed rebellion, Nehru and Gandhi unwittingly placed more power in the hands of the iconic figure of Bose, and also strengthened the arm of the Muslim separatists led by Jinnah. In short, sub-contintental belligerence received a welcome shot in the arm, which despite the widespread perception otherwise, had always been present throughout two centuries of British occupation.
Of course the headquartering of the Azad Hind government in Calcutta was fleeting. As the Japanese War Effort started to collapse, Bose was forced to retreat to Burma and face a horrible moment of truth. However his willingness to peacefully disband the INA saved him from being hung from a British noose. By mutual agreement, he withdrew to Port Blair, a tiny island in the Indian Ocean.
But five years later, he was recalled by an Indian Government unable to resist an invasion from its northern Muslim neighbour. Ironically, the man who had done most to integrate the ethnicities in the INA was being asked to rescue the Hindu successor state from destruction. Finally, he would complete his March to Delhi.
In 1947, in the singular event that began the conflict that would become known as World War III, King Michael of Romania gave an international appeal to stop the Soviet takeover of his country.
King Michael Calls for AidThe closing days of World War II saw the Russian occupation of Eastern Europe swallowing up Poland, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania, and East Germany. While the West had agreed to occupy until stability and then withdraw, the Soviets looked to stay and expand their power. Beyond occupation, the Soviets pressed remaining countries to join them by preying on them politically. In 1947, Hungary, having already abolished its monarchy, conducted a plebiscite manipulated by Soviets to bring about the People's Republic of Hungary. The same year, it looked as if Romania would be the next to fall.
A new story by Jeff ProvineKing Michael was unnerved by Soviet clout, but he had seen enough suffering from his people and gradually gave way in March 1945 when he appointed a government dominated by Soviet sympathizers. In 1947, he traveled to London to attend the wedding of his cousins Princess Elizabeth and Philip. There, rumors circulated that he did not wish to return to Romania, though Michael refused any offers of asylum. Seeing his plight, Winston Churchill encouraged Michael with, "above all things, a King must be courageous".
Michael returned to Romania and immediately felt the pressures of Soviet take-over. But, he was the same Michael that, at a mere 26 years old, had rallied with the pro-Allied leaders of Romania and overthrown the Nazi camp's stranglehold. The coup had invited in the Soviets, and now it was time for Michael to rebel again. He found his capitalist supporters, locked down the palace, and, on December 30, sent out by radio and telegram an appeal to the United Nations and individual governments of the United States, Britain, France, and others for support against what he called an invasion from the roots.
The diplomatic gamble would pay off as Stalinists overreacted. Prime Minister Groza had threatened to murder 1,000 students who had been arrested for speaking out against the Soviet Union. The massacre began and rallied the Romanian people against Soviet supporters. Declaring a state of unrest, the Prime Minister called for Soviet military aid, and an invasion began that sparked action from Western nations in early 1948. Dwight Eisenhower, again Supreme Commander in Europe, led his generals in the heaviest fighting in eastern Germany, then joining up with the Polish Resistance and sparking revolutions in the rest of the Eastern Bloc. Romania itself would be filled with guerrilla warfare against a vastly superior force until Allied tanks led the liberation of Bucharest in 1949. Michael, who had been spirited out of the country just after the Soviet invasion, returned from his government-in-exile in London shortly thereafter.
Meanwhile, Italy invaded the Julian March in 1948, which was ceded by Yugoslavia, and Tito sued for a separate peace. Mao Zedong in China was defeated by Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Army, who made certain that Communism was stamped out in the East. Socialist upstarts in India had been put down by Britain's agreement of independence, though French Indochina would see much bloodshed before native Vietnamese were given self-rule.
The Allies pressed into Russia through liberating Ukraine. From experience, they knew Stalin would never give up, despite the use of atomic weapons on his bases. The Cold War portion continued as the stalemated Allies waited until Stalin was finally assassinated and Moscow fell into civil war. Russia was Balkanized, and the exhausted Allies fell into retirement, letting loose their colonies over the '50s and '60s and settling into a new era of capitalistic rule under the American superpower.
In 1808, on this day the sixteenth Vice President of the United States Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina.
16th Vice President of the United States
March 4th, 1865 - March 5, 1868When the Southern states seceded, Johnson was a U.S. Senator from Greeneville in East Tennessee. As a Unionist, he was the only Southern senator not to quit his post upon secession. He became the most prominent War Democrat from the South and supported Lincoln's military policies during the American Civil War of 1861-1865.
In 1862, Lincoln appointed Johnson military governor of occupied Tennessee, where he was energetic and effective in fighting the rebellion and beginning the transition to Reconstruction.
A post from the Two Americas Timline on Alt WikiaJohnson was nominated as the vice presidential candidate in 1864 on the National Union Party ticket. He and Lincoln were elected in November 1864 and inaugurated on March 4, 1865. Johnson succeeded to the presidency upon Lincoln's assassination on April 15, 1865.
In an attempt to bring peace to the region the United Kingdom and France intervened in the civil war during early 1866. On August 8 the Union and the Confederacy agreed to a ceasefire. The states of Missouri and Kentucky retained U.S. troops, and are claimed by both sides. The Confederacy kept troops in parts of Maryland and New Jersey, though not claiming them.
Being from Tennessee, Johnson was a "foreigner" in the white house after the cease fire. Factions from both the CS and the US attempted to remove him from office. After an attempt on his life by a disgruntled Tennessan on November 21, 1867, Johnson remained out of sight for months.
His lack of activity, though, did not keep his enemies in the US Senate from accusing him of being soft on the CS. This was trumped up as treason, and articles of impeachment were drawn up. As Congress debated, but before the House was able to impeach him, Johnson resigned the office, leaving Washington on March 5, 1868 for retirement in Maine.
In 1170, on this day Bishop Thomas Becket was arrested in Canterbury Cathedral.
Bishop Thomas Becket Arrested After a career of working tightly together as Chancellor and King, upon Becket's appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury by Henry II of England, the two discovered a rift that drove them to be bitter enemies. They had once been close; Henry even placed his son in Becket's household for his education. Henry sought control of his lands, both through Church and State. When Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury died, Henry took it as an opportunity to establish a trusted ally in one of the most powerful positions in the English Church.
A new story by Jeff ProvineThomas Becket had grown from a fortunate position and constant guest in lordly houses, learning to ride and joust and receiving an excellent legal and canonical education. Upon his installation as archbishop, however, Becket shed his glamorous secular life and became something of an ascetic, even reportedly wearing the penitent hair shirt under his priestly robes. He immediately worked to strengthen the position of the Church, retaking lost land, disallowing Henry from collecting offerings, and excommunicating a royal tenant-in-chief after he refused to acknowledge Becket's appointment of a clerk. The political rift split wide when Henry called a meeting with the Church heads to discuss canonical customs, and Becket led the bishops in refusing to attend.
Henry pulled his son from Becket's house and lifted Becket's many honors, and the diplomatic war erupted with Henry attempting to win favor of the bishops while Becket called on international support from Louis VII. Henry won as the bishops, even Becket, agreed to the customs of the Constitutions of Claredon, and then Becket broke favor by attempting to leave for France without permission. Becket fled into exile for six years. The Pope finally intervened, and Becket returned while many of his excommunications were absolved.
Only a few months later, Becket began a new round of excommunications as Henry's son had been crowned junior-king by the Bishop of York, which was the right of the Bishop of Canterbury. Upon hearing the news, Henry said from his sickbed, "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" Four knights took his words as an order and hurried to Canterbury. Placing their weapons under a tree, they entered the cathedral and demanded Becket return with them to see the king. He refused, turned to run, and tripped over his vestments. The knights apprehended Becket and brought him back to Winchester.
Henry had Becket imprisoned and was found guilty of disobeying customs in trial in 1171. Becket was placed into a monastic cell, and, in 1173, Henry's sons Henry the Younger and Richard rebelled against him in hopes of achieving their inheritances early (as well as at the mentoring of Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine). Becket escaped and worked his way into Henry the Younger's court. While the young brothers were strong in France with their mother's lands, they did not have the guile to manage England, and Becket gave them the advice and subterfuge they needed to undercut their father's support. The initial rebellion in 1173 had been met with failure, but 1174 won the rebellion for the brothers. They treated Becket literally as a godsend, and he was restored to Canterbury with great new powers.
Henry II went into forced retirement, and Henry the Younger (now III) went about repairing his father's strained relations with the other Catholic kingdoms, especially France. Richard (called "The Lionhearted") went on crusade to the Holy Land, liberating Cyprus and staying with his armies while Henry III ruled politically. Much of England's social power, however, went into the hands of Becket, who set up his nation as a new stronghold and even persuaded Prince John to become Bishop of Canterbury upon Becket's death in 1189.
The Church continued its firm ecclesiastical position in England as kings and bishops continued to vie for legal power, as did the many barons of the kingdom, though the former two kept the latter in place. One hundred years later, the two would grow even closer as Edward I would be sainted, much like the French St. Louis (King Louis IX). The Church would be instrumental sources of power for Richard III in the Rebellion of 1484. England remained a strong Catholic nation, acting against the Protestant armies of other northern Europe kings. In the 1700s, bids for religious freedom would deprive England of its colonies in North America as well as the Protestant lands of Scotland.
In 1937, on this day Eamon de Valera, the leader of the Fianna Fail Party of Ireland, sat in his empty offices awaiting a telephone call from Sir Oswald Mosley. That day, de Valera had publically announced the upcoming new Constitution of Ireland. That document had stated that all Irish counties (including those in the Ulster enclave of Northern Ireland) were part of the country run from Dublin.
The Fascist Flight to Falklands Part 3At 6 PM exactly, Dublin time, de Valera's telephone rang and he picked it up. "This is Oswald Mosley," the authoritative voice on the telephone said. "Notify the Prime Minister of Ireland that the Leader of Great Britain is on the telephone to speak with him".
"Thank you for your punctuality, Prime Minister Mosley," said Eamon da Valera. "I am here".
"Good, _Taoiseach_," Mosley said, saying the Celtic version of Prime Minister crisply. "I have heard that Ireland claims to be able to unilaterally alter its Governing Documents at will".
"We never wanted London to mistakingly assume that the British king and Parliament was in any way needed to shape Irish decisions," de Valera said. "That is why we have insisted from the beginning that we rule ourselves completely".
De Valera studied a photograph on the front page of the TIMES of London. Mosley, dressed in black from head to toe, wearing a tunic and pants, black boots and a wide black belt, the caption was tagged: "The Leader addresses an assembly in London". In de Valera's opinion, Mosley was dressed up as a student would in playing a role in ROMEO AND JULIET.
It was all so absurd, yet that man was in control of Great Britain. "_Taoseach_, you speak as if you have not heard of the popular revolution which has transpired as of November 1936. The _ancien regime_ of England is now as dead as the system of Louis Sixteenth and Marie Antoinette".
"I have heard that Stanley Baldwin is dead," de Valera said bluntly. "He has not been seen or photographed since the 11th of November when your stormtroopers invaded Ten Downing Street".
"Mr. Baldwin remains in protective custody," said Mosley smoothly. "Is your Government still allowing Neville Chamberlain a hundred thousand pounds yearly for the Dublin CLARION? That really is quite a waste for a rag such as that ".
"Here in Eire, we really do value free thought and association," de Valera said.
Mosley laughed. "You do everything the Pope suggest, outlawing divorce and conceding that Roman Catholicism will be the only view point that can be tolerated in Ireland.
"Your assertion that Rome Rule will be imposed on his Majesty's subjects in Ulster is a mistake that I did not expect you to repeat. Your pathetic gangs of druggists and ploughboys will be wiped out in a month by Fascist Britain, because we will do whatever police work is needed. Whatever is needed".
"If you make further threats against the Irish, there shall be complaints as far away as the Vatican, and I understand that neither Herr Hitler or Signor Mussolini will want to confront the Holy Father on your behalf, Mister Mosley".
Mosley said: "You are a silly fellow, Eamon da Valera. The fact that the old regime respected you shows only how weak they were".
Later that evening, de Valera was wakened for news that an assailant had walked behind Neville Chamberlain and had shot Chamberlain dead through the heart. The killer had put his gun away in a holster and ran off to a waiting car. De Valera took the lesson seriously and disbanded any political organizations from Ireland working for the ouster of Edward VIII and Wallis.
In cinema palaces such as the Odeans, Regals, Roxys, Queen Ws, and Granadas that are popping out all over Britain in 1938, typical features depict large studies of the King and Queen's face on cinema walls, and three reel long newreels always praising Wallis and her husband.
In 1825, on this day Kentuckian Hero
General James Wilkinson died in Frankfort, the capital of the Independent Commonwealth that he had fought so hard to establish. He was sixty-eight years old.
General Wilkinson passes awayAnd yet the catalist of that nationhood was not the implausible Yankee myth of a shadowy Spanish Conspiracy, but rather the failure to achieve statehood under the old Articles of Confederation.
Wilkinson's contribution was to persuade Spanish Governor Esteban Rodríguez Miró to grant the exclusive rights to trade on the Mississippi River (previously, the Union had those rights but paid a hefty tariff) . Free navigation opened the door to outright independence, as it allowed Wilkinson and his supporters to argue forcefully against admittance to the Union under the new constitution.
As a result, the dream of westward expansion was checked even before General Washington took office as Union President. Ironically, under different circumstances, Washington might even have appointed Wilkinson as Commanding General of the United States Army but fate had decided that they would be peers and perhaps rivals.
In 1922, on this day the Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō ("phoenix in flight") became the first purpose built aircraft carrier to be commissioned in the world. Her aircraft group participated in the Shanghai Incident in 1932 and in the opening stages of the Sino-Japanese War in late 1937.
Flugzeugträger Part 13:
Commissioning of HōshōThe small size of the ship and her assigned airgroups (usually around 15 aircraft) limited the effectiveness of her contributions to combat operations. As a result, the carrier was placed in reserve after her return to Japan from China and she became a training carrier in 1939.
During World War II, Hōshō participated in the Battle of Midway in June 1942 in a secondary role. The narrow Japanese victory was assured by the support of the German double aircraft carrier group that had been stranded in the Far East at the outbreak of war.
This article is a post from the Flugzeugträger thread in which Adolf Hitler had committed more resources to Plan Z.
In 1530, on this day the Lost Expedition of Francisco Pizarro y Gonzalez left Panama.
Pizarro's Lost Expedition Leaves PanamaFor hundreds of years, no one was quite certain what happened to the hundreds of men under the command of Francisco Pizarro y Gonzalez. Pizarro (pictured) seemed an apt commander and loyal Spaniard, but many theories have arisen about failures in battle, overwhelming armies of Punians, or the Spanish going native and joining the Inca's court to deliver them with firearms and horses. After much contention, the truth has gradually been assembled by historians piecing together Spanish chronicles with legend recorded by the Incan Nation.
A new story by Jeff ProvineThe initial biographical information about Pizarro is clear beyond his questioned birth date. A somewhat distant relative of Cortes, conqueror of the Aztecs, Pizarro sailed to the New World along with Governor Nicolas de Ovando and some 2,500 colonists. He traveled with Balboa on the explorer's trek across Panama and was one of the first Europeans to see the Pacific Ocean. His loyalty to Spain was displayed as Pizarro later arrested Balboa for his trial and execution. In good position with the government and spurred by stories of Cort?s' success conquering the Aztecs, Pizarro made company with the priest Hernando de Luque and the soldier Diego de Almagro to explore south and conquer the great wealth of an empire rumored to be there.
Their first expedition went out in 1524, but it quickly returned due to harsh weather, failing supplies, and battles with natives. 1526 saw another attempt, this one twice the size of the first and sailing much farther south. While Pizarro explored jungles, a ship sailed on past the equator and captured a native raft loaded with trade goods of pots, textiles, and, most importantly, gold and jewels. They explored further, but they found new hostilities in a land recently conquered by the Inca and decided to turn back. Pizarro stayed with thirteen men and awaited more provisions. A ship arrived to evacuate them, but Pizarro and his comrades pushed on in exploration, eventually coming across friendly natives at Tumbes and continued south. Finding irrefutable proof of the wealth of the empire to the south (as well as discovering llamas), the explorers returned to Panama to prepare for a third expedition.
The governor refused to allow it, so Pizarro sailed for Spain and returned with the Queen's signature on the Capitulaci?n de Toledo approving conquest. Pizarro left that December of 1530 and sent back further treasure to Almagro, who was gathering more recruits. Almagro would leave to join him, as would conquistador Hernando de Soto, the only man to return from the expedition. De Soto came back to Panama three years later, sunburned and sporting numerous battle scars, and told vague stories of the Inca attacking and overwhelming the conquistadors without provocation. Others assumed he escaped from a military defeat before reaching the Inca or leaving the expedition once it had changed allegiance to Atahualpa. While his word was debated, de Soto encouraged Spain not to waste human life by sending explorers south again.
From Incan records, it is told that the emperor Atahualpa, newly secured to the throne by defeating his brother Huascar, feared what white-skinned interlopers might do. He gathered survivors of the Battle of Puna and anyone with knowledge about the Spanish while Pizarro was away. Studying their tactics and the tales of conquest in the north, he determined that they were hardly demigods, clearly mortal though greatly powerful. When they appeared at his city of Cajamarca, Atahualpa invited them to feast and then killed the Spaniards in a great ambush, calling out, "My lands shall be no man's tributary!" It is suspected that de Soto was sent back to Panama as a warning to the Spanish.
With conquest out of the question, the Spanish largely turned east and north, securing the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico as well as moving around Portuguese land in Brazil to Argentina. Trade with Europe would build with the Inca, first in secret as the smallpox plague swept through the empire and then marginally promoted by Atahualpa's descendant Tupac. It is with Tupac that Francis Drake would make a treaty during his circumnavigation of the Earth in 1578. Trade blossomed, exchanging gold and exotic flora for weapons and manufactured goods, eventually turning the west coast of South America into an economic dependency under English influence as had been seen in parts of India and East Asia.
In 1776, on this day General Washington's Continental Army suffered a disaster at Trenton in New Jersey.
Washington's Disaster at Trenton After successes in 1775 in Lexington, Massachusetts Colony, and the taking of Fort Ticonderoga in New York, 1776 was a bleary year for the American Revolutionists. Their Continental Congress struggled to find money and support while the Continental Army faced a string of defeats across New York and New Jersey. Knowing that the cause was nearly lost, Commander-in-Chief General George Washington made a last-ditch effort at attacking Hessian soldiers already in winter quarters across the Delaware River at Trenton.
A new story by Jeff ProvineColonel Johann Rall, a 56-year-old veteran with ample experience in battle as a mercenary, was to be placed in command at Trenton reluctantly by his superior Carl von Donop. Rall was loud, did not understand English, and, though he was known to fight well, did not thrive in the between-battle times of war. He avoided work and was lax on the discipline of his troops, inspiring little confidence. Donop, however, came down with a bitter cold and decided not to march with his soldiers rooting out New Jersey militia. He sent Rall instead, who fiercely pursued the rebels, scarcely stopping in Mount Holly as they pursued Samuel Griffin and his men.
In Trenton, despite his illness, Donop was vigorous in his orders for the men. He followed suggestions by his engineers at fortifying the town and ensured round-the-clock posts for guards despite the horrible weather. On the night of the 25th, rain turned to sleet, and guards were shocked to see initial American skirmishers on the morning of the 26th. Donop called out his men, and Washington was forced to attack the defended high ground. The Americans broke, and Donop took up pursuit, capturing Washington and many of his cannon. Few soldiers returned to ranks, the rest disappearing into the New Jersey wilderness.
With the harsh blow at Trenton, much of the fervor for independence died over the winter and into the spring. Horatio Gates succeeded Washington as Commander-in-Chief and led strong defenses against British General Burgoyne's campaign to separate New England from the rest of the colonies. On October 7, 1777, defeat at Saratoga sounded the death knell for the Revolutionary War. Gates claimed he could easily have won with more men, but the support for actual war was waning. It stood as the last major battle in the north, though backwoods rebels would string out the war for years with harrying attacks and withdraws laden with ambushes. The Southern Colonies would also cause continual frustration for the British Army, but the taking of Charleston on May 12, 1780, would end major battles there as well, but hardly the fighting. Nathanael Greene, Commander-in-Chief after Gates, carried his famous motto, "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again".
While the rebels continued to drag on the war, the question fell to Parliament of what to do with those they had captured. Washington had been shipped to London soon after Trenton and stripped of his land, though the government could not see fit to execute him and create a martyr like General Benedict Arnold, who had died leading his men in a charge at Saratoga. Offers were made to return him to status quo ante bellum, but the general refused. He, like his countrymen, simply refused to give up. Washington remained a prisoner for the duration of the war, though many others such as John Hancock, Thomas Paine, and Samuel Adams would be publicly hanged as treasonous instigators.
Gradually, the American leadership would destroy itself through infighting and abandonment. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin would attempt to create a government-in-exile in Paris, but they simply became novelties at the French Court. Their writings and arguments would contribute to the French Revolution that would happen some years later. The Americans, meanwhile, slipped farther and farther west, and, in 1785, the Colonies came back under firm control.
Worn out politically, diplomatically, and economically by what seemed to become a war of attrition, Britain came under its own revolutions in the 1790s. King George III was blamed for the long-lasting and, being deemed unfit for the throne by act of Parliament, was removed. Britain again became a parliamentary republic, and Washington was sent back to Virginia to live out the rest of his life as a poor, though admired, man.
On 12th of Tevet, 3761, Zechariah's cousin Yeshua was born in Galilee. He had Elijah's spirit, and turned many to the Lord.
An installment from the Miracles thread.
Third MiracleBut the truth of their birth stories was withheld from them by their foster parents. Only years later while serving as a Rabbi did Zechariah finally discover that his mother Elizabeth had pleaded with his dumb-struck father to name him John - but to no avail, even though he had lost his voice because he questioned the will of Jehovah. The angel had said "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time" (Luke 1:19-20).
But as a result, when he did proclaim the arrival of the Messiah he did so from within the very heart of the Orthodox Jewish community. And took his rightful place amongst the Great Prophets of the Tanakh.
In 1915, on this day the Kaiser demanded an armistice after a second Christmas Truce took hold in the trenches. The words of Chief of Staff Hulmuth von Moltke from 1914 rang in the Kaiser's ears, "Your Majesty, this war cannot be won".
Second Christmas Truce Takes Hold Wilhelm II had initially rejected the view of Moltke and fired him, but as 1915 dragged on, it became possible that the German fate was sealed. There were new developments such as air warfare and poison gas, leading to whole new aspects of battle. A further innovation was mass-propaganda, and the Kaiser decided this may be the method to come out ahead in an unwinnable war.
In 1914, the soldiers in the field began what was to be known as the Christmas Truce. On Christmas Eve, the German troops decorated their trenches and sang carols. The English troops, who recognized many of the tunes from their own carols, joined in singing. The artillery bombardments on both sides ended for the night, allowing soldiers to collect their dead, and joint services were held honoring the fallen on both sides. Once-enemies approached each other across the "No Man's Land", exchanging gifts, sharing food, and engaging in games of football. Commanders on both ends reacted with disgust at the fraternization, but the unofficial truce lasted until after New Years' Eve in many places along the lines.
A new story by Jeff ProvineThe cases of fraternization had continued despite the horrors of war by attrition. A German unit attempted a truce over Easter, but were warned away by their British opponents. Later that November, units from Saxony and Liverpool successfully fraternized. The soldiers in the trenches obviously did not care for the war; the Kaiser merely had to convince them to take a stand against it. While the Allied command issued orders against fraternization that upcoming Christmas, German orders encouraged the possibility and handed out gifts to exchange (including reasons for the war to be ended). Despite the orders, the soldiers in the trenches met and joined again in their small feasts and games of football. The Allied commanders erupted at the news and began court martial proceedings for hundreds, possibly thousands. Rebellion broke out among the ranks. Wilhelm was urged to attack while the Allies were weak, but he intended to win the war rather than a few battles before the Allies had propaganda material to regroup.
Seizing the diplomatic initiative and ensuring that word of the Christmas Truce spread past censorship, Wilhelm capitalized on the friendly spirits among the common soldiers. He demanded an armistice in the West, which the Allies agreed only along with an armistice in the East. Talks began, and the politicians finally conceded under pressure from the soldiers and their families. Lists of demands were drawn up, and, for each point, games of football and other athletic events would decide the victor. While troops remained in station during an armistice, Germany hosted the 1916 Olympics in Berlin that summer as it had planned to do before the war. Fighting for honor as well as diplomatic success, athletes built value with gold, silver, and bronze medals to be used in agreements during what would be a precursor to the League of Nations.
The notion was considered ludicrous by many, but war weariness kept naysayers from the majority opinion. Germany did not fair as well as the Allied nations, and most of the world expected the Kaiser to turn against his own idea and restart the war. To their surprise, he did not and ordered the removal of troops from France and Belgium as part of the agreement, though he kept Alsace-Lorraine. Reparations were traded, and war was formally outlawed in 1918.
Europe celebrated the War to End All Wars, though the name was hardly apt. Wars went underground, constantly fed by international espionage, support for uprisings (such as the Russian Civil War that would eventually stomp out notions of communism), and sabotage of other nations' teams. Tempers flared over each scandal, but war did not come back to the world stage until Ireland's fight for independence in 1928 was found to be supported overtly by the Germans. The Irish Revolt exploded outside of British borders with a Royal Navy blockade of Germany to cease supplies. The Germans countered with an invasion of Belgium to secure new ports, and Europe was swallowed up in the Second World War.
In 1943, Chief of Staff George C. Marshall (pictured) became the Supreme Allied Commander (SAC) three weeks after the tragic death of General Dwight David Eisenhower. Because "Ike" had been killed in a jeep accident while being transported from headquarters just one day after being unceremoniously appointed Supreme Commander in the coming Operation Overlord in a handwritten note from FDR to Stalin.
one day after being unceremoniously appointed Supreme Commander in the coming Operation Overlord in a handwritten note from FDR to Stalin, General Dwight David Eisenhower died in a jeep accident while being transported from headquarters.
Eisenhower Dies in Jeep Accident IIWhile some speculate that the accident was in fact Nazi assassination or perhaps political intrigue, the majority of historians agree that it was simply the fault of a dog crossing the road. Funeral services were conducted in Europe and again in the United States with the war hero's body being interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Having lost a great leader, FDR woefully appointed Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, whom he had earlier told, "I didn't feel I could sleep at ease if you were out of Washington" when explaining his choice.
A new story by Jeff ProvineMany considered the appointment a demotion for Marshall, as he was in key position in Washington to organize and manage the resources of the Allies. Churchill himself would call Marshall the "organizer of victory", and now it was Marshall's duty to exact that victory in Europe. With the landing at Normandy in June 1944, victory in Europe gradually became a reality. When the war ended, Marshall continued to his duties to America by his appointment to China by President Truman to broker peace between the Chinese Nationalists and Communists. No peace could be made (and Marshall argued against the Pentagon that the United States simply shouldn't become involved), and Marshall returned to the US, soon appointed Secretary of State. Here he would win a Nobel Peace Prize for his "Marshall Plan" for the organization and rebuilding of post-war Europe, also being named Time Magazine's Man of the Year for the second time.
After retiring on grounds of ill health, Marshall was again brought to duty on the call of President Truman to be Secretary of Defense. The Korean War had shown how poorly the post-war American armed forces had been organized, and no one organized better than Marshall. Marshall effectively prepared the military for demobilization in less than a year and retired again. Meanwhile, fellow Five Star General Omar Bradley would be instrumental in Truman's decision to relieve MacArthur of command before he sparked a war with China.
In 1952, Marshall would be called up again, this time by the Democratic Party. General Bradley was running on the Republican ticket for president, and the Democrats sought a president that could surpass his military clout. Marshall declined, saying, "I'll stick with retirement. When men like Joe McCarthy are running around, Washington is no place for me.
While the Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson would lose out against President Bradley, Marshall's famous statement would cause a surge of unpopularity for McCarthy, costing him his reelection to the Senate. Bradley's two terms would be famed for their time of prosperity, forward development with projects such as the Bradley Continental Highway, and his liberal leanings, continuing New Deal programs and combating segregation, as well as his openness in international policy with Communism. The Bradley Doctrine would prevent America from becoming something of a policeman, instead working to ensure that proper popular elections were held, preventing another Korea and MacArthur.
Through the course of the latter half of the twentieth century, Communism would grow throughout the world, taking over many nations in Southeast Asia, North Africa, and Central and South America. By the 1980s, however, the Stalinist nations would begin to fall apart after defeat in Iran and Afghanistan, leading to Germany reunifying and the Soviet bloc disappearing. The other "communist" nations of the world turned either into militaristic dictators or revolutionized themselves as seen in Red China, conflict with which Bradley had said would be "The wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy".
In 1979, on this day USSR Premier Leonid Brezhnev ordered a stand down of Soviet Forces operating in Afghanistan.
Brezhnev Orders Stand Down in Afghanistan After enjoying a dominant position in international diplomacy over the United States, the latter 1970s carried a decline for the Soviet Union. Nixon had opened US relations with Communist China and ended American involvement in the Vietnam War that had nearly torn the country apart. In 1979, Egypt and Israel had reached a peace agreement hosted by the US. Iraq, too, had fallen away from Soviet dependence when it began purchasing Italian and French weapons. Farther east, however, things were looking up for the Soviet Union: Iran had overthrown its US-backed Shah and American-Afghani relations had all but ended after their ambassador was killed during an assault against the militants who had kidnapped him.
A new story by Jeff ProvineWith waning influence in the western Middle East, the Soviets looked to a goal dating back over a century in the Great Game, political one-uppings with the British Empire in an attempt to hold all of Central Asia under a sphere of influence. Always looking for warm-water ports, the Russians had long desired to add Iran to their empire. Even if possible, it would be a long-term goal, and more immediate were the goings-on in Afghanistan.
In 1973, former Prime Minister Mohammad Daoud Khan overthrew the king in the coup known as the Saur Revolution and would be overthrown himself five years later by the army and the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan. Forced modernization and violent purges of factionalism caused a great deal of turmoil, but the government was Soviet-supported, even signing a treaty that outlined rights for calling upon the Soviet Union for military support. As the unrest broke into full-fledged civil war and half of Afghanistan's army deserted or joined the opposing Mujahideen, President Amin and the PDPA asked for Soviet help, first with helicopter support in June, then rifle divisions in July, and increasingly through December when Brezhnev gave orders prepping for deployment of Russian troops.
His plans changed immediately, however, after a leaked, and possibly false, note from US President Carter's national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski read, "We now have the opportunity of giving to the Soviet Union its Vietnam War". Brezhnev did not make the note public, but it did alter his opinion on Afghanistan's significance. President Amin had already been straying from Soviet loyalty, and his purges had killed numerous supporters of Russia. Brezhnev decided that the Afghanis would lie in the graves they dug for themselves rather than support them.
The diplomatic shift was handled carefully. The PDPA cried out as abandoned, but Brezhnev remained firm and offered advisers and the use of training facilities. Amin and his government attempted to appeal to China and Pakistan, that latter of which did send troops to defend Pakistani nationals, but it was too little and too late. His government collapsed in 1980, the same year as the successful Olympics in Moscow. Sending food and medical supplies to the new nation, Brezhnev managed to gain a foothold in diplomacy there, opening up relations that would later lead to heavy Russian economic influence.
With the 1980s, international significance returned to the USSR. Using Afghanistan as leverage, the Russians were able to convince Carter and the US Senate to ratify the SALT II nuclear weapons manufacture treaty. The Iran-Iraq War saw another leap forward as the American-supported Saddam Hussein began a long stalemate as the two nations brutalized one another beginning in 1980. The USSR secretly afforded the Iranians weapons, keeping the war going and ultimately drawing in beleaguered American action to contain the altercation.
By the time the war ended, the Americans were war-weary in the Middle East. Saddam's invasion of Kuwait prompted action from the UN Security Council, and the USSR led action by securing northern Iraq. Citing defense of the Kurdish people, the Soviets refused to pull out much as they had done in Eastern Europe after World War II, and the US saw a new wave of the Cold War begin in the Middle East. Using Afghanistan as a model, the USSR would also later see Iran become an economic satellite, cutting the Middle East in half.
CIA actions in Pakistan and beyond the Sandy Curtain encouraged insurgence, finding a new balance between the world's two superpowers. USSR influence continues to push eastward with increased Socialist activity in India, where many political commentators speculate we may see another Korea in coming decades of the Cold War.
In 1933, the six-month power struggle that had grid-locked the executive branch of the federal government ended with the widely anticipated dismissal of the Attorney General, Huey Pierce Long on Christmas Eve. Less than three years later, "the Kingfish"would die a tragic and mysterious death at the age of just forty-two.Payback for the Straight-shooters
In July the Justice Department issued federal warrants ordering the arrest of the former governor of New York Al Smith and also Irenee du Pont, a chemical industrialist.
Charged with un-American Activities, zealous departmental officials alleged that Smith and du Pont were the financial and organizational backbone of the so-called business plot. The central piece of evidence for such a conspiracy was a sworn deposition presented to Long by the retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler. "Old Gimlet Eye" claimied to have been offered the all-powerful Cabinet position of Secretary of General Affairs. Such an appointment of super-secretary would of course have reduced the role of President to a figure head, placing the control of the administration firmly in the hands of the military-industrial complex.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt had little cause to doubt either Smedley or Long. Both men were principled lone-wolf individuals of long standing profession who had built untarnished reputations for honesty.
A decade before, it was the case of Cumberland Tel & Tel Co. v. Louisiana Public Service Commission, 260 U.S. 212 that had delivered Long to the national stage. Chief Justice William Howard Taft described Long as one of the best legal minds he had ever encountered after he successfully argued the case on appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1922.
Yet Long's desire for justice had a strong social dimension, declaring proudly that he never took a case against a poor man. Following in the foot-steps of his Revolutionary ancestor Richard Vince, Long was expelled aged just fifteen for petitioning to fire the school principal. Despite winning a debating scholarship, he was too poor to finance textbooks and forced to turn down his place at Louisiana State University. Finally after taking the bar after just one year at the University of Oklahoma School of Law, Long spent a decade in private practice representing small plaintiffs against large businesses, including workers' compensation cases.
Intimately involved with workers' compensation cases himself, Smedley Darlington Butler shared two common traits with Long. A high achiever, Butler was the most decorated Marine in U.S. History by the time of his death (in his book My First Days in the White House, Long stated that, if elected to the presidency, he would name Butler as his Secretary of War). Also a man of the people, Butler addressed the Bonus Army in 1932, backing their demands for the immediate payment of bonuses due them according to the Adjusted Service Certificate Law of 1924. Days later, their tent camps would be destroyed by US Army cavalry troops under the command of General Douglas MacArthur.
In the 1932 election both Butler and Long had supported Roosevelt, yet FDR was right to sense that both men had moved away from him. President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not want to pay the bonus, instead issuing an executive order allowing the enrollment of 25,000 veterans in the Civilian Conservation Corps for work in forests. Realising that both Long and Butler were disimpressed with this watered-down compromise measure, the President feared that the pair would mount their own business counter-coup, going much further than FDR's own plans for a New Deal. An an ardent critic of the Federal Reserve System, Long was privately advocating a new wealth redistribution measures 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.
Yet Long would not live to implement these plans. Running on the "Every Man a King" platform in the 1936 election with Butler as his running mate, Long was shot dead at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge; he died two days later.
His last words were reportedly, "God, don't let me die. I have so much left to do". Until his own death in 1940, Butler would allege that fellow serviceman Douglas MacArthur organised the assassination, a central charge in his explosive post-election book, War Is a Racket.
In 1864, the Confederate House followed the CS Senate and two-thirds the Confederate States in passage of the Emancipation Amendment, which repealed every endorsement of slavery in the Confederate Constitution and established a prohibition against slavery or any sort of involuntary bondage.
Gettysburg Prayer Part Two by Raymond SpeerThe celebration of the Greatest Christmas Present continued in every Confederate State well into the new year of 1865, (Winston S. Churchill's Commentary, 1933.)
When the Confederate Congress returned to session, there were eight different bills of impeachment on file at the House Judiciary Committee to the effect that President Davis ought to be removed from office. It was pointed out that the president had disparaged the guarantees of slavery written into the CSA Constitution, and one complaint went to the core of the issue and declared Davis had gone insane for love of the Negro.
News of the Gettysburg Prayer were passed off as inconsequential by radical Republicans like Thaddeus Stevens, who grumbled that Southerners could admit that they were defeated and be rid of slavery without arguing the issue among themselves. The Lincolns held a reception for
General Grant, who was cheered on the assumption that he would soon take the battle to Lee. But every federal general was either dead (like Hancock) or in a Richmond jail like George Meade (whose nerves were shattered), so it was no easy matter to get a new federal Army ready to try to defeat Lee.
Around Washington DC went higher walls, deeper trenches, new artillery batteries and even telegraph lines to the new entrenchments. Though Lee have famously replenished his artillery by seizure of the heavy guns of the Army of the Potomac, Lee was hardly disposed to strike the fortress that was Washington and so quiet returned to the East theatre of the War.
At the next big battle between the Union and the Confederacy, Chickamauga on September 20, 1863, the South had reinforced its Western Army with Longstreet's Corps which featured Hood's Texas division and Pickett's Virginians. The men of Hood and Pickett co-operated and broke the position of Union General Thomas, putting out of commission the Army that Grant had great plans for.
The British Cabinet voted to offer the two sides in America the services of the British Foreign Officer as mediators to end the ongoing War. Made in the first week of October 1863, the British offer to act as a mediator was rejected by Abraham Lincoln two weeks later even as Davis accepted the proposal. The "People's Militia of New York, the ruffians and hooligans who had dominated the streets in most parts of the metropolis since the Gettysburg-caused shortage of Union regular troops, took up arms again when Lincoln spurned a peace conference and were reduced in urban combat by Yankee arms which encircled the city.
Adroit maneuvers by General Jackson's infantry and General Stuart's horse soldiers permitted the Confederacy to exploit eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey from their base in central Pennsylvania. While Grant used his talents and men to suppress rioters block by bloody block, Lee waited on the strategic periphery of New York, certain that his foe could not take any substantive maneuver against the Army of Northern Virginia.
The great successes of the winter of '63 and '64 were Stuart's rescue of 4,000 prisoners of war from a camp in the far north, and Jackson's candy raid, when Jackson's men had brought to the South so much in the way of supplies that many of the wagons were hauling candy!
Given time illuminated by victories, support grew for implementation of emancipation. Foes of Davis forced votes in Congress on the issue. The Senate gave an emancipation amendment majority support and the House was ten votes shy of a majority, but no one could argue that there was no reasonable support for the deal.
Negroes in gray uniforms were usually in garrisons in Confederate territory and public opinion was galvanized around Christmas when black Confederates near Trenton, New Jersey, atacked and ran off an equal number of federal white troops, who began reciting the Gettysburg Prayer on the field of battle.
In spite of everything, given the size of the Union's edge over the Confederacy in population and in productive capabity, the South still stared defeat in the face at the beginning of 1864.
In 1989, as part of the growing War on Drugs that had been declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971 and redoubled by President George Bush, Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega (pictured) was indicted on drug-trafficking charges and endangering American nationals in addition to his more obvious crime of suppressing democracy.
Canal Sabotage as Panama Invasion CommencesSparked by the shooting death of a US Marine at a roadblock on December 16, nine thousand US troops entered Panama in Operation Just Cause, joining the some 12,000 others that were already there as part of the defense of the jointly owned Panama Canal (set to revert to Panamanian control in the year 2000 under the Torrijos?Carter Treaties). Noriega's pet army of the Panamanian Defense Forces was easily defeated with minimal resistance, except for a devious counterattack with an unassuming small freighter that rested in the Canal near the Gatun Locks.
Rigged with explosives on a timer, the freighter exploded while unoccupied, killing several sailors on nearby boats and one canal worker. While the damage to the Canal was not catastrophic, it would take months to repair back to full capacity, frustrating international shipping and making a noticeable dent on the world economy with the Dow Jones dropping briefly below 1,000 points. News of the strike shocked military commanders and President Bush, who had been largely in control of the situation. Although only twenty-three US soldiers and three American civilians were killed (opposed to 150 PDF and some 500 Panamanian civilians), the invasion would have a black smear in the public view.
A new story by Jeff ProvineWhile the fighting ended shortly after it had begun, Noriega found asylum in the Vatican anuncio and did not surrender until arrested by US Drug Enforcement agents on January 3. During this time, the US scrambled to polish its image. Polls sponsored by CBS and articles by the New York Times showed that Panamanians were pleased that the dictator had been overthrown and the properly elected Guillermo Endara sworn into office; even those who had suffered property damage or the loss of loved ones supported the US invasion by as much as 80 percent. Other news sources were not as friendly, giving accounts such as those from Paul Eisner of Newsday describing blacklists and ".sapo". informers upon neighbors as well as the Miami Herald's report of ".Neighbors saw six U.S. truck loads bringing dozens of bodies to a mass grave" and a mother's "voice rose over the crowd's silence: 'Damn the Americans'".
International disapproval arose, made all the louder by the economic fallout of the damaged Canal. The Organization of American States and the European Parliament made formal protests, calling the move a violation of international law. As public criticism grew, more stories began to come out about Noriega's past. Most recognized him as a money-launderer and drug-trafficker, but the story of his origins by CIA support became widespread. Noriega had been picked by the CIA as a potential block to fears of Central American communism in 1970, but was dropped from the payroll in 1977 after he had become mixed in drugs. Two years later, the Sandinista National Liberation Front came to power in Nicaragua, and Noriega was tapped again to keep communism from spreading and became dictator in 1983. Throughout the Reagan Administration, which came into its own problems with illegal activity in the Iran-Contra Affair, Noriega enjoyed American support as he rigged elections and was condemned by US Senate committee reviews of drug traffic. Upon word that Noriega may have been connected with Cuba and the Sandanistas, he was cut off by the US government. After his arrest in 1989, he would be sentenced in 1992 to federal prison for forty years.
President Bush raced to salvage his administration, citing his own experience with the CIA and admitting that certain intelligence activities were necessary to stop the spread of communism. With the Berlin Wall falling in August and the Soviet departure from Afghanistan earlier in February, he noted that American fears of international instability had been satiated and now was the time to ".clean up the mess".. With new policies on cutting international aid from dictators and new CIA transparency, a wave of revolution watched over by UN and largely American forces came in several countries such as Nigeria with free elections. Most famous would be the removal of Saddam Hussein at the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991 after his invasion of Kuwait. The actions would give Bush a narrow election victory for a second term after successfully winning support in Maine and Colorado from Ross Perot's dropping out of his campaign in July of 1992. The fall of the Soviet Union that December would be a further feather in Bush's hat.
In 2001, it was pre-dawn on the morning of 20 December 2001 when the Indian Tank Army moved towards the border.
A contemporary Alternate History of the 2001 India-Pakistan War by David Atwell
The Indians had done extremely well. Within a week they had assembled the most powerful field army in all of Asia. Combined with the Indian Air Force, there would be little to stop them save for a nuclear weapon. This consideration had been taken into account and thus the "Charge to Lahore", as it was known, was seen as the tactic to use against any possible nuclear attack. Time, however, was the essence here. The Indian Tank Army had to race to Lahore before Pakistan could react. It was believed that once at Lahore, the Pakistanis would not use a nuclear weapon on them. The trouble was they had to get there first.
The 2 Pakistani brigades never had a chance. Not only did the Indian Air Force dominate the skies, they were outnumbered 250 000 to a mere 7 000. The Indians simply drove over them. Many prisoners were taken, which were treated with much respect. It is interesting to note that, although the soldiers of both countries were trained to kill the other, they showed much chivalry and honour in battle. Furthermore, the Indian officers mostly referred to the Pakistanis as "those people" rather than "the enemy".
Unbeknownst to the Indian Tank Army, though, was the readiness of the Pakistani nuclear forces. Musharraf had already put them on full alert and ensured that both the missiles and the bombs had been dispersed around the country. This, the Indians had missed during their preparations for the attack. If the reverse had been true then maybe the Indian attack would have been delayed. Yet as it was, 250 000 Indian troops were on their way to Lahore. None of them would make it.
A Chapter from Hell's Doors OpenMusharraf gave the order that any sane person would dread and regret all their life. As a result of this order, 4 Ghauri missiles, each with a single 10 kiloton nuclear warhead, were launched from their mobile launchers. Three minutes later, four nuclear explosions, all on Pakistani territory, destroyed India's finest army. Although there were survivors, none were battle capable. Ironically, 4 500 Pakistani prisoners, who had been moved from the battlefield to POW camps in India, witnessed the mushroom clouds from a safe distance, then volunteered to help any Indian survivors. There would be about 50 000 of these horrified and tormented human souls. It was just on 8am local time.
Word got through to New Delhi about fifteen minutes later. Vajpayee could not believe what he was hearing. Then it hit him. He broke down and cried for about five minutes according to some witnesses. Soon afterwards, however, he was back in business as the Prime Minister. Knowing that Pakistan could not get away with the nuclear attack, and yet dreading where all this may end, he demanded nonetheless a nuclear attack on Pakistan. His generals were not confident that this was the right move, yet Vajpayee and other government Ministers were committed to it. Eventually it came down to an attack in Kashmir on military targets. The generals reasoned that by keeping it limited to the military, the general public will suffer little and that the 17 million casualty figure quoted by the United States only a few days before would be remarkably less.
The orders went out. The planners decided to use strike aircraft instead of missiles. The aircraft would be more accurate plus they could be recalled at the last moment if the Pakistanis surrendered. Furthermore, nuclear armed missiles were in limited numbers and India had control of the skies. Thus, unlike the Pakistanis, the Indians had the luxury of using aircraft on several missions.
About an hour after the decision had been made, 8 Mirage 2 000 jet aircraft dropped their bombs on the Pakistani Army in Kashmir. Although 8 bombs were delivered on target, the Pakistani casualty rate was not as high as the Indian Tank Army. Having said that, the Pakistanis lost 50 percent of their forces. Those that survived did so thanks to the numerous trenches and bunkers which crossed the Kashmir countryside. Nonetheless it was far from pleasant being on the Pakistani side of the border. Of those that survived, one can hardly imagine the horror that these humans went through.
Up until know, all the nuclear detonations had taken place in Pakistan. This was soon to change rapidly. Within a few minutes of the Indian attack, Musharraf was informed. Like Vajpayee 90 minutes earlier, he was put into an impossible position. Should he respond with another nuclear attack? Most of his fellow generals were all for it and wanted to target the major cities of India. But Musharraf was against it. Although he was determined to show the Indians that Pakistan could not be intimidated, he decided to play it by India's example and hit the Indian troops along the border in Kashmir. This the others agreed upon. Soon afterwards, 10 nuclear armed Ghauri missiles were heading for the 600 000 Indian troops. Musharraf said a prayer to Allah for the Indians to come to their senses and not fire back.
The Indian troops were ready, as much as one can be when facing a nuclear explosion, and hid in their trenches and bunkers. All had seen what had happened across the border to their counterparts and everyone knew what weapon had made those mushroom clouds. The troops realised that their turn for nuclear hell would be next. As a result, several thousand had taken off in an easterly direction to get away from the potential nuclear battlefield. All, however, prayed to their respective deity. Then the missiles hit. Even though the Pakistanis used more weapons than the Indians, their missiles were not as accurate as the Indian aircraft. The result meant that Indian casualties mirrored those just across the Kashmir border.
If these exchanges seem horrifying enough, it was only the beginning. It was about 10.30am and already 600 000 lives had been lost. More would follow as the horror would soon get worse, although at this point things appeared to quiet down. By this stage the world had caught up with the madness. Pleas for peace, humanity and above all sorrow came from all parts. World leaders began calling India and Pakistan demanding an audience. None were listened to. All calls were rejected. But it seemed that Musharraf's prayer had been answered as by 1pm India had not counterattacked, even though no word had come through from the Indian government.
This, unfortunately, would change by 1.30pm. The reason for the lull was never understood by the Pakistan government, but for the India it was time well spent. Since the last attack Vajpayee had ordered a list of military targets in Pakistan. He wanted the top 25 on the list targeted with India's Prithvi nuclear armed missiles and end for good Pakistan's ability to wage war. As a secondary phase to this attack, the whole Mirage 2000 strike force would be back in the air armed with free fall nuclear bombs. Their job was to hunt down and annihilate the mobile launchers that Pakistan had been using to attack India. Just like what America did to Iraq in chasing their Scud missile launchers, so too India would do to Pakistan: except India was going to use nuclear weapons.
An hour later, as the Indian Air Force began hunting for the Pakistani mobile launchers, nuclear death rained down on Pakistan. All of the 25 Pakistani military bases were obliterated in the attack. Unfortunately, many of these bases were often located next to large urban centres. Although it was not the intension of the Indians to go from the tactical to the strategic in terms of nuclear warfare, to Musharraf and the others in Islamabad, this certainly appeared to be the case. The war had spun out of control and now even generals, prime minsters and presidents had become mere pawns in it. With little alternative Musharraf ordered every nuclear missile fired at Indian cities within range, and every plane capable of carrying a free fall nuclear bomb into the air.
At first the Pakistani response could not get under way until 4pm, mostly due to the fact that suitable aircraft had to be found, fuelled, crewed and armed. But by 2.50pm reports started coming in stating that Indian aircraft were roaming over Pakistan dropping nuclear weapons. Although this was somewhat expected by now, this alarmed Musharraf into thinking that the Indians were after the remaining Ghauri missiles. He was right, of course, and immediately ordered their launch. The remaining 38 missiles thus headed for India's largest cities. It would be Pakistan's final attack.
By 3.10pm Vajpayee did not need to read any more of the reports flooding into his bomb-proof bunker in New Delhi. The fact that he just survived an horrendous earthquake told him that the capital of India had just been destroyed by a nuclear explosion. How much longer he had to live he did not know, but Pakistan would pay a heavy price for what they had done. He thus issued his final order of the war, hit the Pakistani cities. A few minutes later 30 Prithvi nuclear missiles were launched into the sky. Some five minutes later 29 Pakistani cities suffered the fate of New Delhi. Two missiles were deliberately aimed at Islamabad. The commander of India's Missile Force came from New Delhi. Furthermore his wife and four children lived there until a few minutes ago. Added to this horrific attack were the remaining Indian Mirage 2000s which still had their nuclear payload aboard. Ordered now to seek out and destroy all the remaining Pakistani Air Force bases, this had been achieved by 3.50pm. Pakistan never got in its nuclear air strike on India.
Read the whole story on the Changing the Times web site
In 1740, on this day American diplomat and spy Dr Arthur Lee was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia.
Birth of Dr Arthur LeeAt the age of thirty he was named Massachusetts correspondent to Britain and France. But his innocent belief in the revolutionary cause was challenged to the core by the extravagant lifestyle of Benjamin Franklin.
Later, in Paris, after helping to negotiate the Treaty of Alliance (1778) with France, he fell out with Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane. He also identified Edward Bancroft, the secretary to the American legation in Paris, as a British spy. However Bancroft managed to persuade Lee to turn, although he soon recanted, and turned both himself and Bancroft in .
After the peace settlement, there was a proposal to establish a secret service because of events such as the Lee-Bancroft scandal. However by this stage, the US Government was near to implosion - no revenue
source, no curency and the unanimity rule. And then events came full circle when it was discovered that spies at the highest level of the USG were supporting the Commonwealth of Kentucky to negotiate a separate treaty with Spanish Louisiana for free navigation on the Mississippi River.
In 1637, on this day the Shimabara Rebellion sparked the opening of Nippon.
Shimabara Rebellion Sparks Opening of Nippon In the 1630s, a climate of heavy taxation and famine would ignite a rebellion that would change the island nation of Nippon forever. In the Shimabara Domain under Matsukura Katsuie (as well as the Karatsu Domain under Terasawa Katataka), peasants were driven into bitter poverty by construction projects by the Matsukura clan attempting to climb the hierarchy of the lords by building up his defenses and preparing for an invasion. Many peasants were Christian, as the previous lord family Arima had been. When the Arima had left, the peasants had stayed, and now the Matsukura enacted persecution to keep the believers of foreign things under its thumb.A new story by Jeff ProvineRebellion broke out in 1637 with the assassination of a local tax collector, Hayashi Hyozaemon. Amakusa Shiro, a charismatic teenager, led them, claiming to be the "Fourth Son of Heaven" prophesied to be the one to begin the Christianization of Nippon. Masterless samurai, many of whom had been involved in the plotting that autumn, joined the peasants, and their ranks swelled by impressing the conquered neighbors into joining their cause. While besieging neighboring castles, armies from nearby Kyushu arrived, and the rebels made a series of advances and retreats, eventually taking refuge in Hara Castle.
Though outnumbering the defenders four-to-one, the shogunate forces were only able to take up a siege of the castle. After several potential strategies, the commanders called for aid from the Dutch, white-faced demons that arrived from far in the west on wooden ships not long after the Portuguese. The Dutch gave the army gunpowder and cannon as well as advisers on how to use them most effectively. Having gone through generations of warfare with Spain during what would become known as the Eighty Years' War, the Dutch had learned many of the subtleties of artillery. The tradeship de Ryp took up a position along with the battery-mounted cannons on land, and the barrage of the castle began.
After some fifteen days, the rebels broke and called for truce. Incendiaries and heavy shot had devastated the castle and ruined much of their supplies. With the dead piling up, the peasants began to surrender en masse. The castle ruins were burned, and more than 30,000 sympathizers were executed. Amakusa Shiro had died in the barrage, and his battered severed head was returned to Nagasaki.
The shogunate learned valuable lessons from the rebellion. Foremost, the Shimabara peninsula had to be repopulated (even its lords, as Matsukura Katsuie had committed suicide and Terasawa Katataka died childless), and the reshuffling established a new and prosperous hierarchy rewarding those who had worked for the good of Nippon. Another lesson was the dangers of foreign religion, and Christianity was driven underground as the Kakure Kirishitan. The third, and perhaps most important, lesson was the effectiveness of Western technology and technique. Industrial spies were shipped back to Europe, learning all they could of Western weaponry, architecture, metallurgy, textiles, and, key to the future of Nippon, manufacture.
Initially relying on the Dutch, the Nipponese would later turn to the English and even cleverly pit Western countries against one another to gain greater advantages in trade. In the eighteenth century, the Nipponese would emulate the steam engine of James Watt to great success. When Europe became embroiled in the affairs of the French Revolution (ideals refused in Nippon as they found interest only in technology, not social philosophy) and Napoleonic Wars, Nippon seized the opportunity to colonize and create its own empire. Invading Korea and using it as a launching ground for the conquest of Manchuria, Nippon secured the coal and iron mines it needed to lead the world in industrial power.
Over the course of the nineteenth century, Nippon would become the major figure in the Pacific, conquering many of the unclaimed Polynesian islands and using the Hawaiian Royals as a buffer to keep the expansive Americans at bay. The Nipponese purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire after beating out the United States in a bidding war served as the West's wakeup call to the political clout of Nippon. Later defeating the Russians in war, the West would realize Nippon's clout was more than mere wealth and trade.
Europeans would clamor to bring Nippon into lasting treaties and even their short-lived League of Nations, but the policy of avoiding Western culture stood. Minor trades could be made for technology (they gained many scientists from Fascism in exchange for resources), but there would be no military pacts. Each time as the West has torn itself apart several times over the centuries, the Nipponese have sat out, gaining a little more wealth, industrial productivity, and power.
In 1861, after a terrible year involving a carriage crash, scandal with the Prince of Wales cavorting with the Irish actress Nellie Clifden, shouldering many of the Queen's duties during her mourning of the death of her mother, the Duchess of Kent, and intervening in harsh diplomatic response to the United States of America blocking Confederate envoys in a raid upon a British ship, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Prince Consort of the United Kingdom, finally had some luck. His chronic illness with what his physician William Jenner had diagnosed as typhoid fever finally began to clear up. It would remain a cold, solemn Christmas, but, by spring, Albert would be well among the living.
Prince Albert Recovers Despite his brush with death, Albert continued with his lifelong dedication and energy to his many causes. Up to that time, he had transcended the typically quiet position as consort, where he revolutionized and expanded his and the Queen's many estates with advanced technology and practices. Albert additionally took up causes such as the abolition of slavery and reforms of nearly every policy. He served as Chancellor at the University of Oxford, modernizing the curriculum, as well as president for the society for Advancement of Science. During the turbulent times of the 1840s, Albert supported the government in enacting progressive policies without need for violence. His work to open the international scope of London ultimately succeeded in the Great Exhibition of 1851, made greater by its lowering of entrance prices to a single shilling, making the exhibition accessible to the lower classes and opening the eyes of thousands to the greater world. While Albert attempted to obtain a peaceful diplomatic agreement between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean War would break out, causing his popularity to plummet.
A new story by Jeff ProvineRenewed with life in 1862, Albert shifted his attentions to a diplomatic solution in the ongoing American Civil War. A weaker United States would be politically advantageous to the world-leader Britain, though it did not want it as an enemy. Albert told the political envoys that Her Majesty's Government admired the CSA's sense of independence and were willing to contribute, but they simply could not back the institution of slavery on moral grounds. In 1863, the South began a policy of voluntarily freeing slaves with government compensation, and the abolitionist support in the North began to wane. The war would come to an end with separate but equal nations in 1865 after the loss of Abraham Lincoln in the election of 1864.
In 1870, Albert would again try his hand at steadying international conflicts by trying to cool the head of Emperor Louis Napoleon of France, but the Franco-Prussian War would go on, nonetheless. As it ended with the Treaty of Frankfurt, Albert admired his native Germany in its unification and used his rights as Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to address Kaiser Wilhelm on the goods of liberal, paternal governance. He often visited his daughter Victoria and son-in-law Frederick, encouraging them to discipline their son Friedrich Wilhelm and once caning the boy himself for not minding his elders. Biographers record incidents between Albert and the lad who would become Kaiser Wilhelm II as greatly instrumental into shaping him into the mindful, studious man he was.
Building diplomacy with Germany and developing industrial policy would dominate the latter years of Albert's life. Suffering from what modern historians believe to be cancer, but about which his medical documents were politely vague, Albert died in 1879, two days short of matching his father's lifespan. His legacy stands throughout Europe to this day, creating monarchy that is an example of morality to its people, aimed at mutually advantageous diplomatic agreements, and tied tightly to education, industry, and technological development. While many Marxist and radicals call Albert "paternalist" and "deceptively authoritarian", most credit him with enabling a twentieth century where the majority of wars have been colonial or internal affairs dealing with anti-imperial, anarchical threats.
In 2001, December 13th was a brilliant morning in New Delhi. The noise of the city was at its usual suggesting that all was right in India, apart from the usual simmering of discontent. Nonetheless, the capital of India was also the capital of the largest democracy in the world.
A contemporary Alternate History of the 2001 India-Pakistan War by David Atwell
Although far from perfect, it had taken on the Westminster system of government and had done reasonably well with it, considering the difficulties that India faced. India's neighbours, however, were far from democratic. Pakistan, which had occasionally flirted with democracy, was once more a military dictatorship. Burma was another military dictatorship. China was a People's Republic, which meant to say it was a Communist dictatorship. Thus under the circumstances, India was akin to the Garden of Democratic Eden in comparison to the desert of dictatorships that surrounded it.
A Chapter from Hell's Doors OpenSo in the afternoon of 13 December 2001, when terrorists attacked the Indian Parliament, the Indian government went into action. As bullets and explosions shook the building Prime Minister Vajpayee immediately put India's Armed Forces on alert. This also included India's nuclear arsenal. By the time the terrorists had been killed India was ready for war.
Naturally the Indian's blamed the Pakistani's for the attack on their Parliament. And they had much good reason to do so. The weapons that the terrorists used where discovered to be of Pakistani origin, not to mention that Indian Intelligence identified two of the terrorists as Pakistani citizens, and known to be members of a terrorist organisation partly funded by the Pakistani Government. All this was far too much for the Indian public who demanded action, and with several state elections coming up, it would be electoral suicide for Vajpayee's BJP ruling party to do nothing.
Thus it came as no surprise when Vajpayee ordered 600 000 troops to the Pakistan border in Kashmir. The Indian generals where then given a second order: an invasion of Pakistan itself. Although Musharraf was unaware of the second order, the first one was made very public. At first Musharraf hesitated to response to this Indian action, as the Pakistan Army was committed to the Afghanistan border in an effort to stop the September 11 terrorists escaping the wroth that the United States had decided upon. But soon Musharraf changed his mind and ordered 400 000 of Pakistan's troops to face the Indians.
This response was exactly what the Indian generals had hoped for. By sending 400 000 troops to the one region, Pakistan had only 200 000 troops left to guard the rest of the country. India, on the other hand, had a further 700 000 troops to employ as the general's saw fit. As such an Indian Tank Army was quietly and secretly formed in the Punjab State of India. 4 tank, 4 mechanised, and 4 infantry motor divisions, along with support and logistic units, numbering 250 000 of India's finest troops were soon ready. Within a week of the bombing of the Indian Parliament, this army would cross the border near the Pakistani city of Lahore, capture it the same day, then advance onto Islamabad the capital of Pakistan. In doing so it would encircle the 400 000 Pakistani troops in Kashmir and reduce Pakistan to its southern territory. As a result Pakistan would be halved in size.
Pakistan's generals were not stupid. They could read the same maps as their Indian counterparts and immediately feared the worst. At best they could deploy 2 brigades to cover the Lahore Front, as they called it, and were well aware that they were extremely vulnerable there. Although the Thar Desert offered another invasion route into Pakistan from India, this was considered unlikely because there was little of value on the Pakistani side. All agreed that Lahore was a very tempting target, should the Indian's invade, yet they had little to defend it with. It was at this point that Musharraf, an army general himself, made the most unenviable decision in history. Should the 2 brigades be overrun, then Pakistan would use the Bomb.
Read the whole story on the Changing the Times web site
In 1745, on this day American President John Jay was born to a wealthy Hugenot-descended family of merchants and government officials in New York City.
Birth of President John JayHe graduated at King's College (now Columbia University) in 1764, he was admitted to the bar in 1768, and formed a partnership with Robert R. Livingston. In 1774 he was a delegate in the first Continental Congress, and the same year he married a daughter of William Livingston, of New Jersey. In that Congress, though the youngest member but one, he took a conspicuous part, being the author of the Address to the People of Great Britain. His facile pen was often employed in framing documents in the Congress of 1775.
However the following June, destiny took the oddest of turns after he received the Rutledge Letter. Because Rutledge urged Jay to find a way to turn his Continental Congress colleagues from independence, hoping that there was still a way to "effectively oppose" the headlong rush toward nationhood that the colonials were in.
When Jay took control of the Continental Congress and began negotiating for a rapprochement with the Crown, he sent Rutledge to Great Britain to argue on behalf of increased autonomy for the colonies if they would yield to continued British rule. Rutledge found many in Britain's Parliament eager to accede to American demands in order to free up forces for the disastrous war in Canada, and his own affinity for the British won him enough allies to push his measures through and end the war between the American colonies and Great Britain.
In 1945, while on his way to a hunting trip in the German countryside, the Cadillac belonging to General George S. Patton collided with a left-turning 2.5 ton truck. Patton's driver, Private First Class Horace Woodring, rather than braking and hitting the truck at lower speed, briskly turned to dodge, and the two vehicles slammed into one another's sides.
Patton Escapes Car Crash Unharmed Woodring and Patton's chief of staff Major General "Hap" Gay both suffered bruises, but Patton seemed totally unhurt after tumbling sideways.
The accident seemed to follow the course of luck that could be traced through the old soldier's life. Patton had attended the Virginia Military Institute and United States Military Academy, competed in the modern pentathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics, finishing fifth overall and the only non-Swede in the top seven. He studied swordsmanship in Europe the next year, going on to become the youngest Master of the Sword in Army history. From there, Patton became an instructor, wrote pamphlets, and helped design the Army's final saber in 1913, later nicknamed the "Patton saber".
A new story by Jeff ProvinePeace soon gave way to war, and Patton's real career began. He served as Pershing's aide in the Mexican expedition in 1916 and then became a captain among the US Tank Corps in WWI. Campaigning for years to acquire funding for armored divisions for the US Army, but with little success, Patton spent the between-war years stationed in Hawaii (where, in 1931, he wrote a defensive plan for a potential air raid) and in Washington, D.C., (where he led tanks against the Bonus Army on the orders of General Douglas MacArthur). When WWII began, Patton's arguments for armored divisions gained clout, and he was promoted to major general to head the 2nd Armored Division.
Patton's leadership would give the Allies massive advantage in the African and European Theaters of the war. The "Desert Fox" Irwin Rommel was notoriously concerned of Patton, and the German military would routinely place their best troops against him, often to no great avail. Patton pressed his troops through North Africa, Sicily, and France.
While a master on the battlefield, Patton met with great controversy when bullets did not fly. Hoping to motivate his men, he maintained a powerful visage and carried nickel-plated revolvers with ivory handles. He swore constantly, even in public addresses. Patton's belief in the honor of the military contradicted Eisenhower's easy-going nature and cartoonist Bill Mauldin's ridicule, both of whom chafed Patton's temper. Most shocking was the "slapping incident" in Sicily where Patton had hit a soldier suffering from shellshock and ordered him back to the front. Patton would be stripped of command for a time, but he would use his time to confound German intelligence on where the European landing would begin. After Normandy, Patton would be back in command with the Third Army and helped in the liberation of Europe.
As the war came to an end, Patton began to give warnings about not being able to trust the Soviets. Some 25,000 American POWs had been liberated but not returned in Eastern Europe, where the communists were seemingly settling in. Patton suggested that the American Army be ready for war again to keep Russia in its place while they were low on supplies. Instead, the Army began dismantling itself for peacetime, and Patton was reassigned to the Fifteenth Army, which was mainly handling occupation and historical collection.
After the accident, the Fifteenth Army headquarters was inactivated on January 31, 1946, and Patton sent his request for retirement to the War Department, which was approved. According to Hap Gay, Patton would have resigned if retirement had been refused. The weight of peace seemed too much for the old soldier to bear. When Patton returned to his native California, he began a lecture circuit, which provided a great deal of scandal, and primarily wrote, commenting on his past as well as the present and future of America. He consistently warned of Soviet expansion, which gained the attention of political movements.
Patton was invited to the 1948 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. He was surprised to be seen in politics and even more to hear that he had been placed on the ballot. While he campaigned rigorously after the invite, it was apparent that he had no real hope of taking the presidency as Dewey had cinched the vote and Patton's infamy preceded him, not to mention that his military clout was blocked by votes going toward MacArthur. Instead, Patton returned to retirement, writing to several friends with the exclamation, "God, give me a war to fight!"
As if an answer to prayer, Patton was called up by Vice President Richard Nixon to be an adviser in the situation in French Indochina, which was quickly becoming known as Vietnam. Having watched the turmoil that was the Korean War from the sidelines in agony, Patton was eager to sort out the situation himself. Though he agreed with MacArthur's suggestion to use atomic weapons, Patton was disgusted by his former commander's disrespect of President Truman. Patton arrived in Saigon and met with CIA advisers, many of whom had connections back to the old Army OS. Upon his assessment, Patton shook his head over the situation and said of Ngo Dinh Diem, "I wouldn't fight for him, even if it were against Stalin himself". It was clear the people preferred Ho Chi Minh, who was a cunning warrior working to limit trouble upon the peasants.
Patton wrote an extensive description of the corruption in South Vietnam and suggested winning over the resistance-fighters of the Viet Minh rather than trying to fight the Viet Cong and their pro-populace support. The CIA worked to follow his plan, infiltrating North Vietnam and gaining leverage as the Sino-Soviet split began to appear in the late '50s and became clear by the '60s. With the American-backed regime change in South Vietnam in 1958, the short-lived Vietnam War of 1959-60 established firmly the division between the Communist North and the increasingly western South, as had been seen in Korea. Containment continued to be the policy of the United States as it subtly transformed itself over the twentieth century while Communism would self-destruct by the 1990s.
However, Patton would not live to see his influence on modern events. He died at age 72 in December of 1957 while touring Vietnam and suggesting military placements for defense along the northern border despite rainy weather. His body was returned to the US, where it was buried in Arlington Cemetery.
In 1796, Federalists crash to defeat in the Electoral College because three electors from North Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania switch their votes to Thomas Jefferson.
An article from the American Heroes thread
Revolution of 1796: Jefferson succeeds WashingtonAny other outcome would have been a travesty of justice for the simple reason that in the popular vote Jefferson had won 55 electoral votes compared to 33 for his opponent John Adams.
Cynics suspected that Jefferson had hoped to lose the election because General Washington's successor was bound to lose re-election. While this was certainly a calculation in his mind, there was a much more tangible reason for his reluctance. Because Jefferson, as a dogmatic supporter of the French Revolution, would be forced to take office at a time when both nations were locked in a state of quasi-war that would probably escalate into a major conflict. Ironically, the result of this tricky situation was that Jefferson was indeed proven right, he did fail to get re-elected, and instead was succeeded by John Marshall.
In 1941, on this day at 7:48 AM, Hawaiian time, the air raid on the American fleet stationed in Pearl Harbor began as the Japanese Operation Z came to completion.
Pearl Harbor Raid Destroys Two Carriers For several hours, cacophony and pandemonium reigned over the base, with more than three thousand killed, thousands more wounded, and nine ships sunk with another dozen damaged. It was truly a date that would live in infamy, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt would report to the American public the next day as Congress began its proceedings to vote a declaration of war that would bring the United States into World War II.
What was a haven of misfortune for the American Pacific Fleet became even worse as fateful flukes brought two of America's three aircraft carriers to the harbor. Bad luck had haunted the USS Lexington as it had prepared to venture with Task Force 12 to carry marine aircraft in reinforcement of Midway Island, long expected to be the battleground for a Japanese attack, if any. Engine troubles had kept the Lexington at Pearl Harbor with engineers baffled and working to improve repairs that had been overly hasty some time before. The Enterprise, meanwhile, had seemed to carry good luck, arriving into port a day ahead of schedule on December 6 thanks to catching favorable current from a distant storm. The two carriers were well placed near Battleship Row for the Japanese torpedo-bombers to destroy both.
A new story by Jeff ProvineBy afternoon of December 7, the USS Saratoga was the only American carrier in the Pacific. It raced into action to reinforce Wake Island, stopping at the devastated Pearl Harbor along the way only long enough to refuel, but was forced to turn back when the Japanese conquered Wake with the remainder of its attacking fleet on its return from Hawaii. Running patrols and hoping to recoup, the States soon launched the USS Hornet, which had been laid down in 1939 and commissioned only two months before. In a strike that would be tactically negligible but key to American propaganda, the Hornet would serve and the launching platform for the Doolittle Raid against Tokyo on April 18, 1942,, showing the American and Japanese public alike that the US could strike wherever it wished.
In retaliation for Tokyo, Yamamoto realized the need for a strong buffer from US ships and determined to strike at Midway. The US Navy had always anticipated the attack, and the battle would be the second large-scale altercation of the Pacific War after the devastating loss at Coral Sea. Despite having broken Japanese code and inflicting heavy losses, the Americans would be forced to surrender with the sinking of the Hornet as they simply did not have the manpower to throw back the Japanese attack, much as had happened at Coral Sea the month before, where the Lexington had been sunk.
With these two major losses, the Japanese Empire stood almost unopposed in the Pacific. The Aleutian Campaign saw brutal US Marine defense against a Japanese island-hopping campaign that inflicted frustration among commanders. Meanwhile in the South Pacific, the Japanese fleet transported its army into swift invasions of New Zealand and Australia. While principle population centers such as Sydney and Auckland and important resources such as Australian copper mines were firmly controlled, the Aussies and Kiwis launched guerrilla campaigns from the mountains and Outback. Japanese soldiers would struggle through the war simply to maintain a semblance of control amid ambushes, sabotage, and assassination, which were traded by death-marches through the Australian desert and bitter treatment in prisoner-of-war camps.
It would not be until 1944 that Allied fortunes in the Pacific began to change for the better. The successful taking of the Gilbert Islands led to a new campaign that brought the liberation of New Zealand that June, followed by Australia that August. Challenging the Japanese oil supplies from the Dutch East Indies, General Douglas MacArthur finally made good on his promise to return to the Philippines in the counter-attacks of the fall of 1945. That December 7, four years after the war had begun, at President Truman's authorization, the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima. A second would be dropped shortly after, and the Japanese emperor, citing specifically the pressure of Soviet invasion from occupied Korea, surrendered.
While many speculate what might have happened had the US Pacific Fleet been at full strength with its carriers after Pearl Harbor, it is a somber memory of what did in fact occur. From the agony of occupied Oceana to the jungle warfare of Southeast Asia to the genocide in China and the vicious bloodlettings in the Aleutians, the Pacific theater of WWII serves as a grave reminder of the terrible actions of war-hungry men. Since then, we have seen the marginal peace of the Cold War and Pax Americana interrupted at times by greed and wrath such as communist Korea's periodic baiting missile-launches toward capitalist Japan.
In 1745, on this day Prince Charlie crossed the Swarkestone Bridge. In England's Revolution of 1688, often termed the "Glorious Revolution", the Stuart dynasty was removed from the English and Scottish thrones once more, this time deposed by William of Orange at the invitation of Parliament.
Prince Charlie Crosses Swarkestone Bridge The Catholic kings of a Protestant nation had been a struggle through the seventeenth century, but many in Britain felt that the Stuarts would be best upon the throne, especially as non-English-speaking Germans from Hanover began to rule. The Stuart Cause would continue, even after "The Fifteen", a bungled invasion by James III & VII after which the Old Pretender was no longer welcome in France as an embarrassment.
A new story by Jeff ProvinePrince Charles Edward Stuart (fondly known as "Bonnie Prince Charlie") had been trained for war since his birth. He witnessed sieges, studied with commanders, and took up pursuit of the generalship that would win him back his throne. While his father was the exiled king, James III & VII still had enough influence to persuade France into sending an invasion fleet in 1744. In preparation, Prince Regent Charles went to Scotland and began to raise his army of supporters. While the French invasion never materialized, Charlie decided to carry out the reconquest of Britain himself in 1745.
With two ships and an army of eight men, Charlie landed at Eriskay on July 23. Finding great support among the Highlanders, Charlie raised his father's standard and formed up an army large enough to subdue Edinburgh. At Prestonpans on September 21, Charlie met with the only government army to stand against him in Scotland, which he soundly defeated, inflicting ten times the causalities his force took. From there, he pressed south, moving practically unopposed with 6,000 men through Cumbria and Derbyshire to Swarkestone Bridge. There, word said that few supported him in the south and, worse, the government was building a mass of force to counterattack. Charlie's commanders advised him to turn back and raise more of his own support.
Charlie decided to ignore them and pressed southward while momentum was with him. It was found that few did support him in the south, but few supported the Hannovers as well. As winter settled, Charlie made for London, hoping to besiege the city during its hungriest time. His only obstacle was a force comparable in size to his own, though hastily assembled, led by King George II's son, the Duke of Cumberland. They met at Hatfield on December 18, where Charlie's Highlanders made use of the ancient woods to minimize the effect of the government cannon. When the battle was won, Charlie seized the cannon and turned it on London for the winter siege.
By spring, the city was in an uproar against Parliament. Without hope of fresh food coming that spring, the winter starvation would grow even worse. Charlie welcomed anyone who would desert the city and join his cause, strengthening his ranks with generous Christmas and New Years' feasts. Finally, on April 16, Parliament conceded and voted to reinstate the House of Stuart and oust George II. Charlie's father James would be crowned later that year and rule until his death in 1766. The aged James was feared as being a Catholic tyrant, but he proved largely ineffectual, his most vivacious act being to keep Britain out of the Prussian War, where Frederick the Great established himself as a power on the Continent.
Charlie, meanwhile, traveled the British Colonies in hopes of expansion. He toured the Americas, also helping to establish the legitimacy of the Stuarts, and joined Robert Clive on his second journey in India. During his time in England, he converted to Anglicanism, which enraged his father but set many British minds at ease. Upon being crowned in 1766, Charles III began ambitious projects to expand British trade and endorsed exploration for new routes and potential settlements, especially in North America and in the Pacific with Admiral Cook's five voyages. His rigorous expansion inevitably led to further wars with the Dutch and French, expensive naval campaigns that drained the treasury of all.
When Parliament attempted to levy heavier taxes, uproar rose among the American colonists in the early 1780s with calls for representation, perhaps even independence. It is said that Charlie was fearful of losing his crown after fighting to win it, and he went quickly to work adding American seats to Parliament to guarantee his support. His "weakness" would be severely criticized by many Tories, but the heavy hand of the French king Louis XVI would lead to the brutal revolution in 1791.
Charlie stayed quiet through the remainder of his reign, depending more upon prime ministers such as William Pitt. His son Charles IV succeeded the throne upon his death in 1798, the same year the Egyptian War sparked as Republican France attempted to strike at India through the Suez. Upon the sound defeat of France and the seizure of many of its colonial claims, the nineteenth century would stand as the next golden age of Britain, continuing Charlie's legacy of progressive economics and social liberality.
In 1839, in another critical moment of failure of famed States Rights advocate Abraham Lincoln, his application to practice law at the federal level was dismissed, possibly due to finagling from Democratic opponents.
Abraham Lincoln Fails his Admission to the US Circuit Court The grounds for refusal were based in his fiery rhetoric and several challenges of his character, giving examples from his history of scatological humor and rough story telling. Lincoln could not deny these remarks and attempted a defense on First Amendment Free Speech, but he would soon give up as he fell into one of his "melancholies" (believed to be what modern psychologists would call clinical depression).
Lincoln's life had been fraught with hardships. Born in a one-room log cabin in Kentucky in 1809, young Lincoln was the son of Thomas Lincoln, who had become a wealthy and respectable man in the real estate business until he was wiped out in 1816 due to court cases over a faulty title. They moved to Indiana, a state where slavery was banned, and tragedy struck again as milk sickness (tremetol poisoning) took Lincoln's mother. Frontier life was hard, and the Lincolns moved westward again to Illinois to a new homestead. Lincoln left home and worked on a river barge before returning and starting a store that would ultimately fail. After losing a political campaign in 1832 and serving as a captain in the Black Hawk War, Lincoln finally found his path as an orator and lawyer.
A new story by Jeff ProvineHe was famously self-educated, stating, "I studied with nobody". Instead, Lincoln read Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, the Revised Statutes of Indiana, the Declaration of Independence, and the United States Constitution while working as a secretary and surveyor in New Salem, Illinois. In 1834, along with his legal firm, he successfully began his career with the Illinois General Assembly as a Whig, following his hero Henry Clay, whose American System ideals he had begun to follow passionately. As a Whig, he would be firmly for investment in infrastructure to improve the nation, voting for projects such as the Illinois and Michigan Canal to connect Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River, roads, and railroads. With the Panic of 1837, however, the projects became bankrupt and Illinois was "littered with unfinished roads and partially dug canals" while its bonds tumbled in value. Lincoln suggested making up the money by Illinois purchasing federal land and selling it for a profit to private citizens, which the federal government refused. These disappointments by federalism would later impact his philosophy of state self-dependence.
Just as his career seemed to be on the proper path, Lincoln's subtly failing strength as a Whig became a stumbling block blamed for costing him the ability to argue cases in the US Circuit Court. His world collapsed as he settled into depression, even skipping offers by John Todd Stuart, a war buddy and benefactor who had inspired Lincoln to take up law, to meet his cousin Mary Todd. Eventually the two would meet and even marry, though they once broke their engagement due to second thoughts. During this time, Lincoln determined his ideas on independence and voluntary mass-agreements, like marriage, and he focused on local items for his legal practice and political career supporting federalism as less important.
In 1847, Lincoln advanced to the federal level as a representative in the US House. He argued bitterly against the Mexican-American War (disgusted with calls for the glories of war, which he called an "attractive rainbow, that rises in showers of blood") and reaffirmed his "free soil" stance on slavery saying, "the Congress of the United States has the power, under the constitution, to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia; but that power ought not to be exercised unless at the request of the people of said District" while still denouncing the evils of slave-holding. He was rewarded with his support during the election of Zachary Taylor with an offering to be governor of the new Oregon Territory, but Lincoln declined, wanting to stay close to his home of Illinois.
Lincoln spent the next decade working to support his home state, running unsuccessfully in the 1858 Senate campaign but becoming famous after his publication of speeches in the Douglas-Lincoln Debates, including "I believe this government can endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will be divided". He was proven wrong with the secession of the South after the narrow 1860 election of William H. Seward. During the Civil War, Lincoln argued for the rights of Southerners but agreed that a violation of the agreement of Union had taken place. He begrudgingly supported military action and rose significantly to the Illinois Senate, where his aid bills laid groundwork for military planning in decades to come.
After the war and the assassination of Seward, Lincoln became a powerful voice on Reconstruction and the necessity to return the South to normalcy, including the return of many rights. Gathering support from other wings of the Republicans and even former supporters of Douglas as well as revealing much of the corruption of victory-profiteers, Lincoln challenged and would eventually overthrow the Radical Republicans even though he had agreed with them on many anti-slavery issues before. Eventually, Lincoln's fair-mindedness and disgust of corruption would get him elected President of the United States in 1868. Due to his deteriorating health and the increasing mental illness of his wife, Lincoln would retire from politics at the end of his term, though he had already set a new precedent for the United States with regional interest and a successful plurality of political parties. Many scholars would say this disjointedness did much to limit federal power that could have alleviated social woes in the next century's Great Depression.
In 1874, on this day the incomparable Zionist Leader Chaim Azriel Weizmann was born in the village of Motal near Pinsk in Belarus (at that time part of the Russian Empire).
Birth of Chaim WeizmannUntil the age of 11, he attended a traditional heder. At the age of 11, he entered high school in Pinsk. Weizmann then studied chemistry at the Polytechnic Institute of Darmstadt, Germany, and University of Fribourg, Switzerland. In 1899, he was awarded a doctorate with honors. In 1901, he was appointed assistant lecturer at the University of Geneva and, in 1904, senior lecturer at the University of Manchester. He soon became a leader among British Zionists.
From the turn of the century, he lobbied for the founding of a Jewish institution of higher learning in Palestine. But as a result of his attendance at Zionist Congresses, he became increasingly militant with the higher order understanding that Jewish history was a cycle of holocausts that could only terminated by their own paramilitary activism. He actively supported the creation of the Greater Zionist Resistance (GZR) unaware that their leaders were being manipulated by neo-Nazi from 1968 who had traveled back through time to create a shadowy world-wide Zionist organization, the enemy they had always imagined. Their dastardly plan was to exploit the paranoia of Western anti-semitism in order to guarantee the success of their New Reich.
All of Robbie Taylor's novels are available for download at Amazon.
In 1925, on this day the 41st President of the United States Howard Henry Baker, Jr. was born in Huntsville, Tennessee. Article from the Reagan wins in 1976 thread.
Birth of President BakerHe had previously served as a United States Senator from Tennessee (1967-1988), holding the position of Senate Minority Leader (1977-1988).
Born in Huntsville, Tennessee, Baker was the son of a member of the House of Representatives. During World War II he trained in the U.S Navy before discharge in 1946. After a defeat in his first run for Senate in 1964, Baker returned to politics, winning a seat in 1966.
Baker gained prominence during the 1970s where he co-chaired a committee investigating the Watergate hearings. After winning reelection continuously in 1972, 1978 and 1984 Baker once again took to the national stage, running for President in 1988 and winning the Republican Nomination, followed by the general election over Vice President Dale Bumpers.
Baker served at a time of change, taking office shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. As President he oversaw the passage of education reform, as well the Environmental Continuity Act. A bi-partisan negotiator, Baker gained a reputation as a man of compromise in the White House. Despite his popularity he was defeated for re-election by Texas Governor Anne Richards.
Today, Baker ranks surprisingly highly amongst rankings of former presidents, and has acted as a spokesperson for a variety of personal causes.
In 1908, on this day Senator Lenore Romney née LaFount was born in Logan, Utah.
Birth of Senator Lenore Romney (R-MI)The wife of American businessman and politician George W. Romney she was First Lady of Michigan from 1963 to 1969. After her husband stood down as Governor, he made an unsuccessful run for the Presidency and later was appointed Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary by Richard Nixon.
Too used to be listened to and making his own decisions, this dis-empowered position in the Cabinet quickly became untenable. Both men were frustrated. Nixon, who could not bring himself to fire Romney, made a pointed remark about the upcoming 1970 senate race, but Romney completely missed the coded signal and instead advised his wife to run.
It was a tall order to beat popular, two-term Democratic incumbent Senator Philip Hart and in fact Lenore even struggled to overcome State Senator Robert J. Huber in the Republican party primary. However Hart's electoral support soon evaporated because of his controversial stand on gun control and busing . And the result was the narrowest of victories for Lenore Romney.
In 1863, on this day Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Union President Abraham Lincoln met at Mount Vernon, south of Alexandria, Virginia. The former home of George Washington, although dilapidated and still years away from a full restoration, was one of the few places between Richmond and Washington that could be considered neutral ground.
The Trent AffairThe two men exchanged formalities and then signed a truce agreed to five days earlier by representatives of both governments. Orders were immediately sent to the military forces of both sides specifying how and where they were to be disposed for border defense. Although a state of war still existed, the killing was over.
After the signing, Lincoln walked out to the great lawn in front of the house with his Secretary of State, William Seward. "Seward, I have failed the nation. I do not believe we can long survive as a people now". Seward said nothing, for there was no consoling the President when he was in one of his dark moods. But he knew, as did Lincoln, that continuing the war would have certainly destroyed the nation. It was bitter consolation.
A new story by Matt DattiloIn December, 1861, when Abraham Lincoln announced that the Union would not release James Mason and John Slidell, public response in the north was resoundingly positive. Seven months after the beginning of the War Between the States, it was obvious that the conflict would be a long and bloody one. Armchair strategists on both sides had predicted a short, heroic conflagration, but it was not to be. By the end of 1861, thousands lay dead on both sides and although Union forces had experienced some success in the West, the Confederate army seemed to be unstoppable in the East despite having all the material disadvantages on its side. The northern public needed a solid victory and the continued imprisonment of the two Confederate diplomats filled the bill for a time.
As one can imagine, the response to the imprisonment was somewhat sharper in Richmond and London. Jefferson Davis was outraged that two of his hand-picked diplomats had been taken off a neutral ship in international waters with the thin legal argument that the two men were "contraband". Demands for their immediate release were met with stony silence from Washington.
When word of the capture reached London at the end of November, the outcry from both the British public and government was deafening. Prime Minister Lord Palmerston had steered a course of neutrality with the regard to the American Civil War and even though Confederate ships had been granted access to British ports for refit and replenishment, the war was officially considered an internal matter in which the British Empire would not interfere. In private, though, those knowledgeable of the situation on the other side of the Atlantic considered Confederate victory simply a matter of time. In addition, Britain had strong economic ties to the southern states because of the empire's unquenchable thirst for cotton. In 1860, almost 80% of the southern US cotton crop had been bought by dealers from England. While other sources of raw cotton were available, America was the closest source and the widespread use of slavery on cotton plantations kept prices competitive. With those advantages in mind, many cotton purchasers in England could look the other way when the morality of slavery was discussed.
It was Christmas Eve, 1861 when word of Lincoln's statement concerning Mason and Slidell reached London. In an emergency cabinet meeting the next day, Palmerston called for the reinforcement of Canada with British regulars and the bolstering of the North America and West Indies stations of the Royal Navy with ships culled from the Home Fleet and Mediterranean Squadron. The meeting ended with discussion of a final question: should Britain formally recognize the Confederate States of America and, if so, should military and financial aid be considered? It was a bold proposition and one sure to put the United States on a war footing with England, but as Palmerston put it, "Are we going to let what has been considered an internal issue change how the world recognizes the rights of sovereign nations?"
In the end, it was Washington's lack of response which brought the matter to a head. In February, 1862, the same month in which Lincoln's son Willie died at the age of 11, the British minister to the US, Lord Lyons, asked for a meeting with the President. Lincoln was in mourning, and while Lyons was aware of this he thought the issue of enough importance that he should be granted a meeting without delay. However, Lyons had the unfortunate luck of meeting face-to-face with Secretary of State William Seward, who promptly dismissed Lyons' request as inappropriate. Feeling that he had been treated in a manner not conducive to good diplomacy, he returned to London for consultation, leaving his subordinate in Washington.
For Lord Palmerston and, subsequently, Queen Victoria, this was the last straw. On April 11th, 1862, Britain formally recognized the Confederate States of America and extended the new nation an essentially limitless line of credit. London also declared the blockade of southern ports illegal and stated that any interference with British merchant vessels or warships by ships of the U.S. Navy would be considered an act of war. By the time this declaration reached Washington, the first ships full of rifles and cannons were already crossing the Atlantic.
Although 19th century strategists would not have used the term, Lincoln faced a no-win situation. In 1861, the U.S. Navy consisted of fewer than 80 warships, almost none of them of modern design. A year into the war, most of the ships on blockade duty were lightly-armed converted merchant ships. The British Royal Navy, however, had the largest battle fleet in the world and while it was not the incredible force which had fought Napoleon 50 years earlier, it was more than a match for anything that could be sent to challenge it. If Lincoln ordered the blockade to be enforced against British shipping, a shooting war would quickly develop between the US and British navies, a war that would soon spread to the North American continent.
However, failure to block the British merchant ships and their escorts approaching the ports of the Confederacy would essentially end the blockade and ensure that the South's army was well provided for. The Union had an advantage in manpower, but the rebels had shown, at least so far, that they had the advantage in military leadership. And so Lincoln's option were thin: start a war with the British that his nation could not hope to win under the present circumstances, or allow the Confederacy to be supplied from Europe, a situation that would change the nature of the war.
The truce signed at Mount Vernon in March, 1863 and the treaty signed later that year in London divided the United States into two separate nations. The border states (Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland) were allowed to decide by popular vote which nation they wished to join. All three joined the Confederacy. One important concession won by the Union was the creation of West Virginia, an area of Virginia that was strongly pro-Union. As of January 1st, 1864, the new nation consisted of 14 states. Texas, by far the largest, stretched from the southwest corner of Missouri to the eastern border of southern California. The agricultural heart of the nation remained in Union hands.
The intervention of the British into the Civil War was a mixed blessing for the Confederacy. British arms and financial support helped bring about the truce that ended the war in the South's favor, but that support came with a heavy toll. In helping to ensure the creation of the CSA, the British Empire gained what it had lost 80 years before: a largely agrarian society dependent on British imports of finished goods, some of them made with the raw materials purchased from Southern farmers. While the Union continued to grow what would become the world's largest industrial base by 1900, the Confederacy remained mired in rural stagnation.
Slavery continued in the CSA until 1880. The trans-Atlantic slave trade ended in 1807 and never resumed. Since the United States was under no obligation to return escaped slaves who made it across the Ohio River and other border crossings, a lively escape business developed in which abolitionist groups paid Confederate residents to help slaves escape to the US. While the British officially complained to the US government about this, in practice they paid the controversy nothing but lip service. Most Southerners did not own slaves and many disliked the institution. 16 years after the Treaty of London, the last slaves were freed by a vote of the Confederate Congress.
In 2004, on this day Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts defeated incumbent President George W. Bush. Foreign policy was the dominant theme throughout the election campaign, particularly Bush's conduct of the War on Terrorism and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
44th President of the United States
January 20, 2005 - 2013The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Democratic nominee, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts defeated incumbent President George W. Bush.
Foreign policy was the dominant theme throughout the election campaign, particularly Bush's conduct of the War on Terrorism and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. As in the 2000 presidential election, voting controversies and concerns of irregularities emerged during and after the vote. Though the winner was decided on election night, recounts persisted until Bush accepted Kerry's victory in Ohio. The state held enough electoral votes to determine the winner of the presidency.
George W. Bush won the presidency in 2000 after the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore remanded the case to the Florida Supreme Court, which declared there was not sufficient time to hold a recount without violating the U.S. Constitution.
Just eight months into his presidency, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 suddenly transformed Bush into a wartime president. Bush's approval ratings surged to near 90%. Within a month, the forces of a coalition led by the United States invaded Afghanistan, which had been sheltering Osama bin Laden, suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks. By December, the Taliban had been removed as rulers of Kabul, although a long and ongoing occupation would follow.
A new article from Althistory WikiaThe Bush administration then turned its attention to Iraq, and argued the need to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq had become urgent. Among the stated reasons were that Saddam's regime had tried to acquire nuclear material and had not properly accounted for biological and chemical material it was known to have previously possessed. Both the possession of these weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and the failure to account for them, violated the U.N. sanctions. The assertions about WMD were hotly debated from the beginning, and their basis in U.S.military intelligence undermined by the subsequent failure to find any WMD in Iraq. This situation escalated to the point that a coalition of about forty nations, including the United States, invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003. Within about three weeks, the invasion caused the collapse of both the Iraqi government and its armed forces. On May 1, George W. Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, in a Lockheed S-3 Viking, where he gave a speech announcing the end of major combat operations in the Iraq war. Bush's approval rating in May was at 66%, according to a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll. However, Bush's high approval ratings did not last. First, while the war itself was popular in the U.S., the occupation lost support as months passed and casualty figures increased, with no decrease in violence nor progress toward stability or reconstruction in Iraq. Second, as investigators combed through the country, they failed to find the predicted WMD stockpiles, which led to debate over the rationale for the war.
Nomination of President George W. Bush
Bush's popularity as a wartime president helped consolidate his base, and ward off any serious challenge to the nomination. Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island considered challenging Bush on an anti-war platform in New Hampshire, but decided not to run after the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003.
On March 10, 2004, Bush officially clinched the number of delegates needed to be nominated at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City. Bush accepted the nomination on September 2, 2004, and selected Vice President Dick Cheney as his running mate. (In New York, the ticket was also on the ballot as candidates of the Conservative Party of New York State). During the convention and throughout the campaign, Bush focused on two themes: defending America against terrorism and building an ownership society. The ownership society included allowing people to invest some of their Social Security in the stock market, increasing home and stock ownership, and encouraging more people to buy their own health insurance.
Before The Primaries
By summer of 2003, Howard Dean had become the apparent front runner for the Democratic nomination, performing strongly in most polls and leading the pack with the largest campaign war chest. Dean's strength as a fund raiser was attributed mainly to his embrace of the Internet for campaigning. The majority of his donations came from individual supporters, who became known as Deanites, or, more commonly, Deaniacs. Generally regarded as a pragmatic centrist during his time as governor, Dean emerged during his presidential campaign as a left-wing populist, denouncing the policies of the Bush administration (especially the 2003 invasion of Iraq) as well as fellow Democrats, who, in his view, failed to strongly oppose them. Senator Lieberman, a liberal on domestic issues but a hawk on the War on Terror, failed to gain traction with liberal Democratic primary voters.
In September 2003, retired four-star general Wesley Clark announced his intention to run in the presidential primary election for the Democratic Party nomination. His campaign focused on themes of leadership and patriotism; early campaign ads relied heavily on biography. His late start left him with relatively few detailed policy proposals. This weakness was apparent in his first few debates, although he soon presented a range of position papers, including a major tax-relief plan. Nevertheless, many Democrats did not flock to his campaign.
In sheer numbers, Kerry had fewer endorsements than Howard Dean, who was far ahead in the superdelegate race going into the Iowa caucuses in January 2004, although Kerry led the endorsement race in Iowa, New Hampshire, Arizona, South Carolina, New Mexico and Nevada. Kerry's main perceived weakness was in his neighboring state of New Hampshire and nearly all national polls. Most other states did not have updated polling numbers to give an accurate placing for the Kerry campaign before Iowa. Heading into the primaries, Kerry's campaign was largely seen as in trouble, particularly after he fired campaign manager Jim Jordan. The key factors enabling it to survive was when fellow Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy assigned Mary Beth Cahill to be the campaign manager, as well as Kerry's mortgaging his own home to lend the money to his campaign (while his wife was a billionaire, campaign finance rules prohibited using one's personal fortune). He also brought on the "magical" Michael Whouley who would be credited with helping bring home the Iowa victory the same as he did in New Hampshire for Al Gore in 2000 against Bill Bradley.
By the January 2004 Iowa caucuses, the field had dwindled down to nine candidates, as Bob Graham dropped out of the race and Howard Dean was a strong front-runner. However, the Iowa caucuses yielded unexpectedly strong results for Democratic candidates John Kerry, who earned 38% of the state's delegates and John Edwards, who took 32%. Former front-runner Howard Dean slipped to 18% and third place, and Richard Gephardt finished fourth (11%). In the days leading up to the Iowa vote, there was much negative campaigning between the Dean and Gephardt camps.
The dismal results caused Gephardt to drop out and later endorse Kerry. What further hurt Dean was a speech he gave at a post-caucus rally. Dean was shouting over the cheers of his enthusiastic audience, but the crowd noise was being filtered out by his unidirectional microphone, leaving only his full-throated exhortations audible to the television viewers. To those at home, he seemed to raise his voice out of sheer emotion. The incessant replaying of the "Dean Scream" by the press became a debate on the topic of whether Dean was the victim of media bias. The scream scene was shown approximately 633 times by cable and broadcast news networks in just four days following the incident, a number that does not include talk shows and local news broadcasts. However, those who were in the actual audience that day insist that they were not aware of the infamous "scream" until they returned to their hotel rooms and saw it on TV.
Kerry, on the other hand, had revived his campaign and began using the slogan "Comeback Kerry".
New Hampshire Primary
On January 27, Kerry triumphed again, winning the New Hampshire primary. Dean finished second, Clark was third, and Edwards placed fourth. The largest of the debates was held at Saint Anselm College where both Kerry and Dean had strong performances.
The following week, John Edwards won the South Carolina primary and finished a strong second in Oklahoma. After Howard Dean's withdrawal from the contest, Edwards became the only major challenger to Kerry for the Democratic nomination. However, Kerry continued to dominate and his support quickly snowballed as he won caucuses and primaries, taking in a string of wins in Michigan, Washington, Maine, Tennessee, Washington, D.C., Nevada, Wisconsin, Utah, Hawaii, and Idaho. Clark and Lieberman dropped out during this time, leaving only Sharpton, Kucinich, and Edwards in the running against Kerry.
Super TuesdayIn March's Super Tuesday, Kerry won decisive victories in the California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island primaries and the Minnesota caucuses. Dean, despite having withdrawn from the race two weeks earlier, won his home state of Vermont. Edwards finished only slightly behind Kerry in Georgia, but, failing to win a single state other than South Carolina, chose to withdraw from the presidential race.
Democratic National Convention
On July 6, John Kerry selected John Edwards as his running mate, shortly before the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, held later that month. Days before Kerry announced Edwards as his running mate, Kerry gave a short list of three candidates: Sen John Edwards, Rep Dick Gephardt, and Gov Tom Vilsack. Heading into the convention, the Kerry/Edwards ticket unveiled their new slogan-a promise to make America "stronger at home and more respected in the world". Kerry made his Vietnam War experience the prominent theme of the convention. In accepting the nomination, he began his speech with, "I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty". He later delivered what may have been the speech's most memorable line when he said, "the future doesn't belong to fear, it belongs to freedom," a quote that later appeared in a Kerry/Edwards television advertisement.
General Election Campaign
Bush focused his campaign on national security, presenting himself as a decisive leader and contrasted Kerry as a "flip-flopper". Bush's point was that Americans could trust him to be tough on terrorism while Kerry would be "uncertain in the face of danger". Bush also sought to portray Kerry as a "Massachusetts liberal" who was out of touch with mainstream Americans. One of Kerry's slogans was "Stronger at home, respected in the world". This advanced the suggestion that Kerry would pay more attention to domestic concerns; it also encapsulated Kerry's contention that Bush had alienated American allies by his foreign policy.
According to one exit poll, people who voted for Bush cited the issues of terrorism and moral values as the most important factors in their decision. Kerry supporters cited the war in Iraq, the economy and jobs, and health care.
Over the course of Bush's first term in office, his extremely high approval ratings immediately following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks steadily dwindled, peaking only during combat operations in Iraq in the spring of 2003, and again following the capture of Saddam Hussein in December the same year. Kerry supporters attempted to capitalize on the dwindling popularity to rally anti-war sentiment.
In March 2004, the Bush/Cheney campaign was criticized by 2004 Racism Watch. The organization took offense to a campaign ad, which showed a man who was possibly Middle Eastern in a negative light. 2004 Racism Watch issued a press release calling on the campaign to pull the ad, calling it disturbing and offensive.
During August and September 2004, there was an intense focus on events that occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Bush was accused of failing to fulfill his required service in the Texas Air National Guard. However, the focus quickly shifted to the conduct of CBS News after they aired a segment on 60 Minutes Wednesday introducing what became known as the Killian documents. Serious doubts about the documents' authenticity quickly emerged, leading CBS to appoint a review panel that eventually resulted in the firing of the news producer and other significant staffing changes.
Meanwhile, Kerry was accused by the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, who averred that "phony war crimes charges, his exaggerated claims about his own service in Vietnam, and his deliberate misrepresentation of the nature and effectiveness of Swift boat operations compels us to step forward". The group challenged the legitimacy of each of the combat medals awarded to Kerry by the U.S. Navy, and the disposition of his discharge.
In the beginning of September, the successful Republican National Convention along with the allegations by Kerry's former mates gave Bush his first comfortable margin since Kerry had won the nomination. A post-convention Gallup poll showed the President leading the Senator by 14 points.
Three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate were organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, and held in the autumn of 2004. As expected, these debates set the agenda for the final leg of the political contest. Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik and Green Party candidate David Cobb were arrested while trying to access the debates. Badnarik was attempting to serve papers to the Commission on Presidential Debates.
The first debate was held on September 30 at the University of Miami, moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS. During the debate, slated to focus on foreign policy, Kerry accused Bush of having failed to gain international support for the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, saying the only countries assisting the USA during the invasion were the United Kingdom and Australia. Bush replied to this by saying, "Well, actually, he forgot Poland" (in an ironic turn of events, Poland announced plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq shortly after the debate). Later, a consensus formed among mainstream pollsters and pundits that Kerry won the debate decisively, strengthening what had come to be seen as a weak and troubled campaign. In the days after, coverage focused on Bush's apparent annoyance with Kerry and numerous scowls and negative facial expressions. On October 5, the Vice Presidential debate was held between Dick Cheney and John Edwards at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and was moderated by Gwen Ifill of PBS. An initial poll by ABC indicated a victory for Cheney, while polls by CNN and MSNBC gave it to Edwards
The second presidential debate was held at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 8, moderated by Charles Gibson of ABC. Conducted in a "town meeting" format, less formal than the first Presidential debate, this debate saw Bush and Kerry taking questions on a variety of subjects from a local audience. Bush attempted to deflect criticism of what was described as his scowling demeanor during the first debate, joking at one point about one of Kerry's remarks, "That answer made me want to scowl". Bush and Kerry met for the third and final debate at Arizona State University on October 13. 51 million viewers watched the debate which was moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News. However, at the time of the ASU debate
there were 15.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the Major League Baseball playoffs broadcast simultaneously.
Election Results EditWith the exceptions of Florida and North Carolina, Bush carried the Southern states by comfortable margins and also secured wins in Indiana, most of the rural Midwestern farming states, most of the Rocky Mountain states, and Alaska. Kerry balanced Bush by sweeping the Northeastern United States, most of the Upper Midwest, and all of the Pacific Coast states of Washington, Oregon, and California, and carried Hawaii, as well.
As the night wore on, the returns in a handful of small-to-medium sized states, including Wisconsin and Iowa, were extremely close; however it was the state of Ohio that would make clear the winner of the election. As the final national results were tallied Bush had clearly won a total of 266 electoral votes, while Kerry had won 252 votes. 270 votes were needed to win. It was Ohio (20 electoral votes), however, that the news media focused their attention on. Mathematically, Ohio's 20 electoral votes became the key to an election win for either candidate.
At 1:37 PM EST all major networks except Fox called the state of Ohio and the election for Kerry.
Following projected defeat in Ohio the Bush/Cheney campaign refused to concede, instead requesting a recount throughout Ohio and much of the close states.
Over the course of the following week hand recounts were put into effect across Ohio,Iowa and New Hampshire on order to validate the final result. On November 10 the recount had been completed, thus confirming Kerry's victory in the election. Bush's concession speech soon followed.
In 1929, the wild financial speculation of the Roaring Twenties came to a sudden halt in October when the stock market began to slide.
Banker's Committee Stops Panic of '29 Worries spread through the economic community about the passing of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. Tariffs had always been a point of contention among Americans, even spurring South Carolina to threaten secession over the Tariff Act of 1828. Producers such as farmers and manufacturers called for protective tariffs while merchants and consumers demanded low prices. The American economy soared while post-war Europe rebuilt in the '20s, and the Tariff Act of 1922 skimmed valuable revenue from the nation's income that would otherwise have been needed as taxes. The country barely noticed, and the economy surged forward as new technological luxuries became available as well as new disposable income.
Meanwhile, however, the nation faced an increasingly difficult drought while food prices continued to drop during Europe's recovery. Farmers were stretched thinner and thinner, prompting calls for protective agricultural tariffs and cheaper manufactured goods. In his 1928 presidential campaign, Herbert Hoover promised just that, and as the legislature met in 1929, talks on a new tariff began. Led by Senator Reed Smoot (R-Utah) and Representative Willis C. Hawley (R-Oregon), the bill quickly became more than Hoover and the farmers had bargained for as rates would increase to a level exceeding 1828 for industrial products as well as agricultural. A new story by Jeff ProvineThe revenue would be a great boon, but it unnerved economists, who wondered if it could kill the economic growth already slowing by a dipping real estate market.
The weakened nerves shifted from economists to investors, who took the heated debate in the Senate as a clue that times may become rough and decided to get out of the stock market while they could. Prices had skyrocketed over the course of the '20s as the middle class blossomed and minor investors came into being. Another hallmark of the '20s, credit, enabled people to buy stock on margin, borrowing money they could invest at what they hoped would be a higher percentage. The idea of a "money-making machine" spread, and August of 1929 showed more than $8.5 billion in loans, more than all of the money in circulation in the United States. The market peaked on September 3 at 381.17 and then began a downward correction. At the rebound in late October, panicked selling began. On October 24, what became known as "Black Thursday", the market fell more than ten percent. On Friday, it did the same, and the initial outlook for the next week was dire.
Amid the early selling in October, financiers noted that a crash was coming and met on October 24 while the market plummeted. The heads of firms and banks such as Chase, Morgan, and the National City Bank of New York collaborated and finally placed vice-president of the New York Stock Exchange Richard Whitney in charge of stopping the disaster. Forty-one-year-old Whitney was a successful financier with an American family dating back to 1630 and numerous connections in the banking world who had purchased a seat on the NYSE Board of Governors only two years after starting his own firm. Whitney's initial strategy was to replicate the cure for the Panic of 1907: purchasing large amounts of valuable stock above market price, starting with the "blue chip" favorite U.S. Steel, the world's first billion-dollar corporation.
On his way to make the purchase, however, Whitney bumped into a junior who was analyzing the banking futures based on the increase of failing mortgages from failing farms and a weakening real estate market. He suggested that the problems of the new market were caused from the bottom-up, and a top-down solution would only put off the inevitable. Instead of his ostentatious show of purchasing to show the public money was still to be had, Whitney decided to use the massive banking resources behind him to support the falling. He made key purchases late on the 24th, and then his staff worked through the night determining what stocks were needlessly inflated, what were solid, and what could be salvaged (perhaps even at a profit). Stocks continued to tumble that Friday, but by Monday thanks to word-of-mouth and glowing press from newspapers and the new radio broadcasts, Tuesday ended with a slight upturn in the market of .02 percent. Numerically unimportant, the recovery of public support was the key success.
With the initial battle won, Whitney spearheaded a plan to salvage the rest of the crisis as real estate continued to fall and banks (which were quickly running out of funds as they seized more and more of the market) would soon have piles of worthless mortgaged homes and farms. Banks organized themselves around the Federal Reserve, founded in 1913 after a series of smaller panics and determined rules that would keep banks afloat. Further money came from lucrative deals with the wealthiest men in the country such as John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, and the Mellons of Pittsburgh. Businesses managed to continue work despite down-turning sales through loans, though the unemployment rate did increase from 3 to 5 percent over the winter.
The final matter was the question of international trade. As the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act continued in the Senate, economists predicted retaliatory tariffs from other countries to kill American exports, but Washington turned a deaf ear. Whitney decided to protect his investments in propping up the economy by investing with campaign contributions. Democrats took the majority as the Republicans fell to Whitney's use of the press to blame the woes of the economy on Congressional "airheads". Representative Hawley himself lost his seat in the House, which he had held since 1907, to Democrat William Delzell. President Hoover, a millionaire businessman before entering politics, noted the shift, but remained quiet and dutifully vetoed the new tariff.
By 1931, it became steadily obvious that America had shifted to an oligarchy. The banks propped up the market and were propped up themselves by a handful of millionaires. If Rockefeller wanted, he could single-handedly pull his money and collapse the whole of the American nation. Whitney took greater power as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, whose new role controlled indirectly everything of economic and political worth. As the Thirties dragged on, the havoc of the Dust Bowl made food prices increase while simultaneously weakening the farming class, and Whitney gained further power by ousting Secretary of Agriculture Arthur Hyde and installing his own man as a condition for Hoover's reelection in '32.
Chairman Whitney would "rule" the United States, wielding public relations power and charisma to give Americans a strong sense of national emergency and patriotism during times like the Japanese War in '35 (which secured new markets in East Asia) and the European Expedition in '39. He employed the Red Scare to keep down ideas of insurrection and used the FBI as a secret police, but his ultimate power would be that, at any point, he could tamper with interest rates or stock and property value, and the country would spiral into rampant unemployment and depression, dragging the rest of the world with it.
In 1962, on this day global extinction by nuclear armaggedon was averted by a matter of minutes in the deadly Cuban missile Crisis.
World War Three Starts in CubaThe USSR had made it blunt that if the USA doesn't pledge to never invade Cuba and also remove its Jupiter nuclear missiles in Turkey that posed a threat to Russia,the USSR would not remove its Cuban missiles and would fight a nuclear war to protect her interests. The USA had made it clear that if they did not receive communication from the USSR of her intent to withdraw the nuclear weapons on that Sunday morning,the US would run air-bombing missions to destroy the missiles and follow up with an invasion of Cuba.
If this has happened,the Soviet Union would had definitely launched its Cuban nuclear missiles at the USA,destroyed any American invasion force with its smaller tactical nuclear weapons and Soviet TU-95 and IL-28 nuclear bombers,land based ICBMs and submarine launched ballistic missiles would have nuked American and Western European cities. In response,the United States would have nuked Cuba,its B-52 bombers,ICBMs and Polaris nuclear subs would have hit the USSR and the whole Communist world.The out of control nuclear exchange would have definitely brought the extinction of the earth with no winner as all would be lost.
The Americans agreed to the Soviet terms on the evening of October 27th and on Sunday October 28th Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev desperately sent an aide to Radio Moscow to broadcast a message to the United States and the world that the Soviet Union was dismantling its 3 megaton SS-4 and SS-5 nuclear missiles from Cuba and shipping them back to the Soviet Union. The Cuban Missile crisis remains the most dangerous standoff in human history as the perilous poker and chess game of nuclear brinkmanship between Soviet Premier Khrushchev and American President John F. Kennedy would have been catastrophic for earth if not peacefully resolved.The 13 day standoff from October 16th to 28th, held the whole world in the balance.Kudos for Kennedy and Khrushchev (K and K) for untying what Khrushchev termed as the "knot of war". It was a highly tense time with nerves stretched to breaking point whereby a mistake on either side e.g a Soviet submarine captain in the Cuba naval blockade launching a nuclear tipped torpedo to destroy American naval vessels blocking Soviet access to Cuba or an American destroyer shooting at a Soviet vessel for resisting the blockade would have meant World War 3.This is true history.Now on alternate history.
The Soviet message doesn't reach the USA on time. American bombers are on their way to destroy the Cuban missiles. The Soviets detect the approaching planes and shoot them down but they bombers get a few of the missiles.An American invasion of Cuba is underway. The local Soviet commanders launch their battlefield nukes to destroy the invasion force.The undamaged Cuban missiles are launched at American cities and TU-95 and IL-28 bombers,SLBMs and ICBMs follow up their asssault on the USA and Western Europe. Simultaneously,the USA launches nukes to destroy Cuba and their ICBMs,Polaris subs and B-52 bombers launch a devastating nuclear assault on the USSR,China and Eastern Europe.
Now its all out war.The US and USSR launch all they have on one another incinerating the whole Northern hemisphere and spreading toxic radiation to the Southern hemisphere.The death toll is appalling as billions are instantly wiped out in the first few minutes of the exchange.Nuclear winter sets in as the mushroom clouds and the earth they have lifted up block the suns rays.The Southern hemisphere dies out to to radio-active fallout and the freezing temperatures due to nuclear winter. Humanity goes the way of the dinosaurs caused by man's own greed.A frightening scenario that we are lucky it never happened.
In 1922, the rising political violence in post-war Italy reached a frightening new level of intensity with the shocking death of the thirty-nine year old leader of the National Fascist Party Benito Mussolini during his ill-fated March on Rome.
Earlier Death of MussoliniBorn in a run-down house in the shadow of a medieval castle, his twisted dreams of grandeur began with his christening. He was named after Benito Juarez the republican leader of a Mexican uprising against the domination of the Church and aristocacy. Despite numerous childhood expulsions and suspensions he entered the teaching profession before the outbreak of the Great War. After the peace settlement, he used his war-time experiences to set about forming a paramilitary organization the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento ("Italian Fasci of Combat").
Elected to the Chamber of Deputies on the second attempt, he took matters into his own hands by launching a naked grab for power in 1922. In a violent confrontation, his twenty-five thousand blackshirts were stopped by the authorities and anti-fascist forces, and due to his hot headedness, he lost his life in the street-fighting. And in Germany, his erstwhile protégé Adolf Hitler was shocked to the core to read that Mussolini had conducted various affairs with a Jewish author and academic by the name of Margherita Sarfatti. But the failure of the Italian fascist movement would have longer term effects upon his own project. To combat the Biennio Rosso the military would push the monarchy aside and takeover the country, an outcome paralleled in Spain. That would ensure Hitler's Germany was surrounded by like-minded authoritarian militaristic states who ironically were utterly unwilling to go to war.
The year 1957, is not chosen at random. That is the year contemplated by "Dropshot", the U.S. plan for a third world war, which governed strategic thinking for the 1950s. Originally created in 1949, the plan was eventually released under the Freedom of Information Act. It was published, with commentary, in 1978 by Anthony Cave Brown in a book entitled "Dropshot".
Part One of "Dropshot", World War III in 1957The war described by that book is the starting point for this article, though my discussion departs from it in many particulars. I would like to consider three topics:
(1) How could such a war could have started?
(2) What would the course of the war have been?
(3) What would postwar history have been like?
A new story by John ReillyA preliminary matter that must be dealt with is the role of nuclear weapons. The writers of Dropshot in 1949 did not think that nuclear weapons would be decisive. Their use would have been optional except in retaliation. Though atomic bombs are devastating if you can transport them someplace where they can do damage, the only means then available was the bomber. This made delivery highly problematical, especially between continents. The writers did note that their assessment would be obsolete if these weapons could be married to rockets capable of flying between North America and Eurasia. As it happened, the era of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) did not really begin until the early 1960s. As late as the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the Soviets were estimated to have only about 50 ICBMs, none in hardened silos. (The Pentagon expressed confidence to President Kennedy that the U.S. could destroy them before they could be launched. Kennedy was not enthusiastic about putting this confidence to the test).
Thus, while Dropshot did anticipate that the U.S. would be able to make successful nuclear strikes at a few Soviet industrial facilities, it judged that these would not be enough to determine the course of the war. Dropshot forecast that the Soviets would be able to drop no more than two atomic bombs on the United States, and that only if they were lucky. It now appears that those "duck and cover" instructional films that were shown in schools starting in the 1950s were less irrational than later opinion has assumed. If you were affected by one of these strikes at all, you were likely to be some distance from ground zero, where precautions against blast and fallout would make perfect sense. We should also note that the relative immunity to atomic attack enjoyed by the United States would not have applied to the European members of NATO. Even in Europe, however, Dropshot did not believe that atomic weapons would be decisive, or even necessarily used at all.
With these points settled, we may begin the discussion proper:
(1) How could such a war could have started? It could not have started by accident. The hair-trigger nuclear response procedures which characterized the later stages of the Cold War simply did not exist during the period in question. There was no need for them, since it would have taken hours for a nuclear-armed bomber to reach its target. Indeed, the leaders of the U.S. and the Soviet Union would have been less constrained than were the leaders of the major European powers in August 1914. The intricate mass mobilization plans devised by France and Germany in preparation for the First World War could not really be controlled once they were started. They were intimately tied to strategic plans of offense and defense which required major battles to occur within days of the start of mobilization. A war in 1957 between the United States and the Soviet Union would have started very differently. The mobilization of whole continents is necessarily a leisurely affair. The plans the newly mobilized armies would have been called on to execute would have been calculated in terms of months or years. Therefore, though accidental skirmishes between East and West might have occurred in Europe or the Mediterranean in the 1950s, an actual war would probably have to have been deliberate.
Since the Dropshot war is defensive, at least in its opening stages, we must imagine a situation in which the Soviets launch a general offensive to occupy Western Europe (and various other places, as we will see below.) This would have required a Soviet leadership that believed a decisive victory for communism was achievable by military means, and a U.S. leadership that was either threatening or indecisive or both. The first requirement would have been met by the survival of Stalin into a vigorous old age. Though Stalin died in 1953, he would have only 78 years old in 1957, hardly old enough to get a driver's license in Georgia. The Stalin whom Solzhenitsyn described in his novel, "The First Circle," planned to fight and win a decisive third world war. Let us then imagine the old tyrant succumbing to delusions of omnipotence because of his overwhelming victory in the Second World War, yet frightened by events he sees happening on the other side of the world.
There is a good argument to made that the United States took as little hurt from the Cold War as it did because the president during the 1950s was that logistics expert, Dwight David Eisenhower. Throughout his presidency, experts from the Pentagon would come to him with estimates of the terrifying strength of the Soviet Union and proposals for huge increases in conventional forces which would be necessary to counter it. Eisenhower, who had been a five star general, knew just how seriously to take assessments of this type. Using his own good judgment to gauge just what the Soviets could or would do, he starved the U.S. military during the 1950s to let give the consumer economy room to breath. It was a risk, but history shows that he was right to take it. (His successor, John Kennedy, lacking this self-assurance, tended to act on the assumption that the most pessimistic assessment was the correct one, which was part of the reason for the Vietnam War.) Eisenhower knew that the Soviets were a real threat, one that had to be contained. In this he was right: the attempts by revisionist historians to ascribe the Cold War to American paranoia are tendentious. He was also right in believing that containment, as distinguished from rollback, could be achieved by feint and threat. He could make threats effectively because he was a known quantity to the Soviet leadership. They knew he was a cautious commander, that he would not start a fight if he did not have to, that he was not easily deceived. Even when they lied to him, they lied within limits understood by both sides.
Let us picture an alternative president. Suppose that Eisenhower is out on the golf links in September of 1956, taking a short break from his not-very-grueling campaign for almost certain reelection, when he has a fatal heart attack. His running mate, Vice President Richard Nixon, was even then a man of ambiguous reputation. Nixon assumes the top spot on the Republican ticket, and he has few if any differences with his boss's sober military and foreign policies. However, people quickly form the impression that he is too young and too opportunistic to be president yet. They therefore turn, with a sigh of resignation, to the Democratic presidential contender, Adlai Stevenson. Stevenson, of course, had many gifts. He was intelligent, well-informed, and articulate to a degree rare among American politicians. Stevenson was a genuine intellectual. Unfortunately, he was also a windbag in the great tradition of William Jennings Bryan and a sentimental internationalist in the tradition of Woodrow Wilson. Sentiment and kindness are not the same thing, so foreign affairs conducted by sentimental statesmen are often envenomed to an unusual degree.
Stevenson's foreign policy is itself a good illustration. John Kenneth Galbraith, who helped write Stevenson's speeches in the early 1950s, has remarked that part of his job consisted of toning down the virtual declarations of war against the Soviet Union that Stevenson usually inserted in his first drafts. Doubtless some of this rhetoric was intended merely to counter the impression that the Democratic Party was soft on Communism. However, it cannot be denied that Stevenson felt the policy of Cold War containment was immoral because it did not go far enough. He did not favor an attack on the Soviet Union, but he did want it pressured from all directions with physical and moral force. This was what Ronald Reagan actually did in the 1980s, with considerable success. However, Reagan and his advisers knew that the Soviet Union had exhausted the growth capacity of a command economy, that the system was strong but brittle. In the 1950s, by contrast, the Soviet Union was growing and confident. Stevenson would not have been deterred by this well-known fact; he had the sort of mind that regarded mere practicality as rather tawdry. His idealism would have been costly. Even a symbolic threat to the Soviet Empire, as it then was, would have brought results quite different from those of thirty years later.
If the parties to the Cold War had wanted a military showdown, they would have had several perfectly suitable occasions in 1956, notably the Suez Crisis and the Hungarian Uprising. Had Stalin still been alive at that time, it is conceivable that he would have started to deal with the peoples of Eastern Europe as he had begun to deal with the peoples of the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Certainly some Eastern Europeans believed that Stalin was planning massive movements of populations and the vigorous purging of pre-World War II society. If this happened, an outraged Stevenson Administration might then have announced its intention to send a standby expeditionary force to Western Europe to support any future popular uprisings in Eastern Europe. Less suspicious rulers than Stalin would have been moved to preemptive action in such an event. He would not have been reassured by the interminable flow of moralistic rhetoric that President Stevenson could have been relived upon to produce. There would have been too much of it to read, much less analyze. Stalin could easily have decided that he could no longer wait for his creatures in Western Europe to take power through force or fraud. Hoping for a decisive victory before the U.S. expeditionary force could arrive, he sends his armies across the north German plain to take the ports on the English Channel.
(2) What would the course of the war have been? The Dropshot study is not a belligerent document. It seems to be one of those common bureaucratic plans which deliberately present a scenario so hair-raising that its intended readers will be dissuaded from ever trying it in real life. It does, of course, wildly overestimate anything the Soviet could or would do. In addition to the main thrust across northwestern Europe, it contemplates simultaneous Soviet offensives into the Middle East and Japan. (For reasons wholly obscure, it directs that Hokkaido, the northernmost and least populous of the main Japanese islands, be abandoned.) Its assessment of the early course of the war in Europe, however, was certainly realistic in 1949, and might still have held true in 1957. The gist of the forecast was two months of unrelieved disaster. While the planners hoped to stop the offensive somewhere in Germany, their sober assessment was that it would have been difficult even to hold Britain. Readers of Norman Schwartzkopf's memoir, "It Doesn't Take A Hero," will recall his description of the state of the U.S. Army in the 1950s. At least that part of it stationed in the United States was a hollow force of badly trained conscripts. Its equipment was ill-maintained and its senior officer corps consisted disproportionately of World War II veterans who would not otherwise have had jobs. This was the Army that was sent to fight in Vietnam, with what results we know. While doubtless the emergency of a world war would have quickly brought improvements, the opening phases of the war would have had to be fought with what the U.S. had on hand. What it had was not all that good.
In some ways, an actual world war fought in 1957 would have been fought under even worse conditions than those envisioned in 1949. When Dropshot was being developed, the fate of China was still in doubt. The maps that come with the plan show China with a Communist north and a Nationalist south. The study discusses the country mostly in terms of natural resources and as a bridge to French Indochina. In reality, by 1957 China was a united ally of the Soviet Union. It had a significant military, as proven by the Korean War. As we know now, Chairman Mao tended to needle the Soviet leadership for being too accommodating to the West. By some accounts, he even proposed an offensive war against the West to Nikita Khruschev, offering tens of millions of soldiers and even the union of China with the USSR. Of course, China had (and has) little striking power beyond its own borders, and the Soviet Union could not have come near to supplying the Chinese Red Army with the equipment for offensive capabilities. Still, the Sino-Soviet alliance in a World War would have been a formidable opponent. It is perfectly plausible that some Chinese armies would have fought not just around China's perimeter, but in France and Germany.
The worst case scenario for such a war is available, not in Dropshot, but in a 1955 novel by C.M. Kornbluth, entitled "Not This August". We hear about the war mostly in retrospect, since in the first few pages the president of the United States surrenders to the Communist alliance in a radio address. The bulk of the book is a description of the Soviet occupation, as it affects a single small town. The war lasted for three years, and it was not so different from the Dropshot war. Nuclear weapons were not a decisive factor. The Soviets take all of Europe and, using its resources and Chinese manpower, contrive to defeat the American fleet, make a landing in Central America and work their way north. The U.S. surrenders when the American front in Texas collapses.
It might seem a bit premature to surrender with the enemy only on the southern border, but the author paints a good picture of a society that has already been bled white. All available manpower and industrial capacity have been diverted to the war, and still it is not enough. Dropshot contemplates a comparable degree of mobilization. Thirty million people of both sexes would have been needed to win the war the plan laid out. It would not have been an economically invigorating war, as the Second World War was for the United States. Wars are only invigorating if the economy has a lot of unused potential which would go to waste if not used for military production. This was the case with the American economy in 1940, but not in 1957. Rather, it would have been like the Second World War was for Great Britain, with every warm body either in the service or doing something to support the war effort, and with civilian production at destitution levels. During and after the Second World War, a number of laws were passed giving the president standby authority to nationalize or otherwise commandeer most of the industrial plant of the U.S. in the event of a national emergency. Universal conscription was, in principle, already in place. In the course of the war against the Communist alliance, the U.S. would itself have become a command-economy state.
In 1918, on this day Germany won World War I. As a preliminary matter, we should note that the actual outcome of the First World War was a near thing, a far nearer thing than was the outcome of World War II after 1941.
If Germany Had Won World War IWhile it is true that the United States entered the war on the allied side in 1917, thus providing vast new potential sources of men and material, it is also true that Germany had knocked Russia out of the war at about the same time. This gave the Germans access to the resources of Eastern Europe and freed their troops for deployment to the West. The German Spring Offensive of 1918 actually succeeded in rupturing the Allied line at a point where the Allies had no significant reserves. (At about this time, British Prime Minister Lloyd George was heard to remark, "We are going to lose this war". He began to create a record which would shift the blame to others.) The British Summer Offensive of the same year similarly breached the German lines, but did a much better job of exploiting the breakthrough than the Germans had done a few months earlier. General Ludendorff panicked and demanded that the government seek an armistice. The German army did succeed in containing the Allied breakthrough, but meanwhile the German diplomats had opened tentative armistice discussions with the United States. Given U.S. President Wilson's penchant for diplomacy by press-release, the discussions could not be broken off even though the German military situation was no longer critical. While the Germans were not militarily defeated, or even economically desperate, the government and general public saw no prospect of winning. Presented with the possibility of negotiating a settlement, their willingness to continue the conflict simply dissolved.
A story by John ReillyThe Germans were defeated by exhaustion. This could as easily have happened to the Allies. When you read the diaries and reports of the French and British on the Western Front from early 1918, the writers seem to be perfectly lucid and in full command of their faculties. What the Americans noted when they started to arrive at about that time was that everyone at the front was not only dirty and malnourished, but half asleep. In addition to their other deleterious effects, the terrible trench warfare battles of that conflict were remarkably exhausting, and the capacity of the Allies to rotate out survivors diminished with the passage of time. Even with American assistance, France and Britain were societies that were slowly falling apart from lack of ordinary maintenance. Both faced food shortages from the diversion of farmers into the army and from attacks on oceanborne supplies. Had the Germans been able to exploit their breakthrough in the spring, or if the German Empire had held together long enough for Ludendorff's planned autumn offensive to take place, its quite likely that either the French or British would have sued for peace. Had one or the other even raised the question of an armistice, the same process of internal political collapse which destroyed Germany would have overtaken both of them.
Although today it is reasonably clear that Germany fought the war with the general aim of transforming itself from a merely continental power to a true world power, the fact is that at no point did the German government know just what its peace terms would be if it won. It might have annexed Belgium and part of the industrial regions of northern France, though bringing hostile, non-German populations into the Empire might not have seemed such a good idea if the occasion actually arose. More likely, or more rationally, the Germans would have contented themselves with demilitarizing these areas. From the British, they would probably have demanded nothing but more African colonies and the unrestricted right to expand the German High Seas Fleet. In Eastern Europe, they would be more likely to have established friendly satellite countries in areas formerly belonging to the defunct empires than to have directly annexed much territory. It seems to me that the Austrian and Ottoman Empires were just as likely to have fallen apart even if the Central Powers had won. The Hungarians were practically independent before the war, after all, and the chaos caused by the eclipse of Russia would have created opportunities for them which they could exploit only without the restraint of Vienna. As for the Ottoman Empire, most of it had already fallen to British invasion or native revolt. No one would have seen much benefit in putting it back together again, not even the Turks.
Communist agitation was an important factor in the dissolution of Imperial Germany, and it would probably have been important to the collapse of France and Britain, too. One can imagine Soviets being established in Glasglow and the north of England, a new Commune in Paris. This could even have happened in New York, dominated as it was by immigrant groups who were either highly radicalized or anti-British. It is unlikely that any of these rebellions would have succeeded in establishing durable Communist regimes in the West, however. The Soviets established in Germany and Eastern Europe after the war did not last, even though the central government had dissolved. In putting down such uprisings, France might have experienced a bout of military dictatorship, not unlike the Franco era in Spain, and Britain might have become a republic. Still, although the public life of these countries would have been polarized and degraded, they would probably have remained capitalist democracies. The U.S., one suspects, would have reacted to the surrender or forced withdrawal of its European expeditionary force by beginning to adopt the attitude toward German-dominated Europe which it did later in the century toward the victorious Soviet Union. Britain, possibly with its empire in premature dissolution, would have been forced to seek a strong Atlantic alliance. As for the Soviet Union in this scenario, it is hard to imagine the Germans putting up with its existence after it had served its purpose. Doubtless some surviving Romanov could have been put on the throne of a much- diminished Russia. If no Romanov was available, Germany has never lacked for princelings willing to be sent abroad to govern improvised countries.
This leaves us with the most interesting question: what would have happened to Germany itself? Before the war, the German constitution was working less and less well. Reich chancellors were not responsible to parliament but to the Kaiser. The system could work only when the Kaiser was himself a competent executive, or when he had the sense to appoint and support a chancellor who was. The reign of Wilhelm II showed that neither of these conditions need be the case. In the twenty years preceding the war, national policy was made more and more by the army and the bureaucracy. It is unlikely that this degree of drift could have continued after a victorious war. Two things would have happened which in fact happened in the real world: the monarchy would have lost prestige to the military, and electoral politics would have fallen more and more under the influence of populist veterans groups.
We should remember that to win a great war can be almost as disruptive for a combatant country as to lose it. There was a prolonged political crisis, indeed the whiff of revolution, in victorious Britain in the 1920s. Something similar seems to be happening in the United States today after the Cold War. While it is, of course, unlikely that the Kaiser would have been overthrown, it is highly probable that there would have been some constitutional crisis which would have drastically altered the relationship between the branches of government. It would have been in the military's interest to push for more democracy in the Reich government, since the people would have been conspicuously pro-military. The social and political roles of the old aristocracy would have declined, since the war would have brought forward so many men of humble origin. Again, this is very much what happened in real history. If Germany had won and the Allies lost, the emphasis in these developments would certainly have been different, but not the fundamental trends.
All the bad and strange things which happened in Germany in the 1920s are conventionally blamed on the harsh terms of the Versailles treaty. We forget, however, that the practical effect of these terms was really very limited. The diplomatic disabilities on Germany were eliminated by the Locarno Pact of 1925. The great Weimar inflation, which was engineered by the government to defeat French attempts to extract reparations, was ended in 1923. The reparations themselves, of course, were a humiliating drain on the German budget, but a system of financing with international loans was arranged which worked satisfactorily until the world financial system broke down in the early 1930s. Even arms development was continued through clandestine projects with the Soviet Union. It is also false to assert that German culture was driven to insanity by a pervasive sense of defeat. The 1920s were the age of the Lost Generation in America and the Bright Young Things in Britain. A reader ignorant of the history of the 20th century who was given samples from this literature that did not contain actual references to the war could reasonably conclude that he was reading the literature of defeated peoples. There was indeed insanity in culture in the 1920s, but the insanity pervaded the whole West.
Weimar culture would have happened even if there had been no Weimar Republic. We know this, since all the major themes of the Weimar period, the new art and revolutionary politics and sexual liberation, all began before the war. This was a major argument of the remarkable book, RITES OF SPRING, by the Canadian scholar, Modris Ekstein. There would still have been Bauhaus architecture and surrealist cinema and depressing war novels if the Kaiser had issued a victory proclamation in late 1918 rather than an instrument of abdication. There would even have been a DECLINE OF THE WEST by Oswald Spengler in 1918. He began working on it years before the war. The book was, in fact, written in part to explain the significance of a German victory. These things were simply extensions of the trends that had dominated German culture for a generation. They grew logically out of Nietzsche and Wagner and Freud. A different outcome in the First World War would probably have made the political right less suspicious of modernity, for the simple reason that left wing politics would not have been anywhere nearly as fashionable among artists as such politics were in defeat.
I would go so far as to say this: something very like the Nazi Party would still have come to power in Germany, even if that country had won the First World War. I realize that this assertion runs counter to the historiography of most of this century, but the conclusion is inescapable. Politics is a part of culture, and the Nazis represented a kind of politics which was integral with Weimar culture. Salvador Dali once said, perhaps ironically, that he approved of the Nazi Party because they represented the surrealists come to power. The connection is deep, as with the Nazi affinity for the modernist post-rationalism of the philosopher Heidigger, and also superficial, in the styles the party promoted. The Nuremberg Rallies, for instance, were masterpieces of Art Deco stagecraft, particularly Albert Speer's "cathedral of ice" effect, created with the use of searchlights. As a young hopeful in Vienna, Hitler once passed up the chance to work as a theatrical set designer because he was too shy to go to the interview. But whether he knew it or not, that is what he became. People with no fascist inclinations at all love to watch film footage produced by the Nazis, for the simple reason that it is very good cinema: it comes from the same artistic culture which gave us METROPOLIS and THE BLUE ANGEL. The Weimar Republic and the Third Reich formed a historical unit, one whose advent was not dependent on the accident of who won the First World War.
The Nazi Party was other things besides a right wing populist group with a penchant for snazzy uniforms. It was a millenarian movement. The term "Third Reich," "Drittes Reich," is an old term for the Millennium. The Party's core began as a sort of occult lodge, like the Thule Society of Munich to which so many of its important early members belonged. It promoted a racist theory of history not unlike that of the Theosophist, H.P. Blavatsky, whose movement also used the swastika as an emblem. The little-read ideological guidebook of the party, Alfred Rosenberg's MYTH OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, begins its study of history in Atlantis. Like the Theosophists, they looked for a new "root race" of men to appear in the future, perhaps with some artificial help. When Hitler spoke of the Master Race, it is not entirely clear that he was thinking of contemporary Germans.
This is not to say that the Nazi Party was a conspiracy of evil magicians. A good, non- conspiratorial account of this disconcerting matter may be found in James Webb's THE OCCULT ESTABLISHMENT. I have two simple points to make here. The first is that the leadership had some very odd notions that, at least to some degree, explain the unique things they said and did. The other is that these ideas were not unique to them, that they were spreading among the German elites. General Von Moltke, the chief of the General Staff at the beginning of the war, was an Anthroposophist. (This group drew the peculiar ire of the SS, since Himmler believed that its leader, Rudolf Steiner, hypnotized the general so as to make him mismanage the invasion of France.) The Nazi Party was immensely popular on university campuses. The intellectual climate of early 20th century Germany was extraordinarily friendly to mysticism of all types, including in politics. The Nazi leadership were just particularly nasty people whose worldview bore a family resemblance to that of Herman Hesse and C.G. Jung. The same would probably have been true of anyone who ruled Germany in the 1930s.
Am I saying then that German defeat in the First World War made no difference? Hardly. If the war had not been lost, the establishment would have been much less discredited, and there would have been less room for the ignorant eccentrics who led the Nazi Party. Certainly people with no qualifications for higher command, such as Goering, would not have been put in charge of the Luftwaffe, nor would the Foreign Ministry have been given over to so empty-headed a man as Von Ribbentrop. As for the fate of Hitler himself, who can say?
The big difference would have been that Germany would been immensely stronger and more competent by the late 1930s than it was in the history we know. That another war would have been brewed by then we may be sure. Hitler was only secondarily interested in revenge for the First World War; his primary goal had always been geopolitical expansion into Eastern Europe and western Asia. This would have given Germany the Lebensraum to become a world power. His ideas on the subject were perfectly coherent, and not original with him: they were almost truisms. There is no reason to think that the heirs of a German victory in 1918 (or 1919, or 1920) would have been less likely to pursue these objectives.
These alternative German leaders would doubtless have been reacting in part to some new coalition aligned against them. Its obvious constituents would have been Britain, the United States and Russia, assuming Britain and Russia had a sufficient degree of independence to pursue such a policy. One suspects that if the Germans pursued a policy of aggressive colonial expansion in the 1920s and 30s, they might have succeeded in alienating the Japanese, who could have provided a fourth to the coalition. Germany for its part would begun the war with complete control of continental Europe and probably effective control of north Africa and the Near East. It would also have started with a real navy, so that Britain's position could have quickly become untenable. The coalition's chances in such a war would not have been hopeless, but they would been desperate.
It is commonly said of the First World War that it was pure waste, that it was an accident, that it accomplished nothing. The analysis I have just presented, on the contrary, suggests that the "war to end all war" may have been the most important war of the modern era after all.
The year 1957, is not chosen at random. That is the year contemplated by "Dropshot", the U.S. plan for a third world war, which governed strategic thinking for the 1950s. [continues from Part 1] In actuality, or course, even if the Soviets got to Antwerp, they would be most unlikely to have arrived in Amarillo three years later. Rather than the immediate loss of Western Europe, we must imagine Central Europe becoming a debatable region.
Continues from Part 1
Part Two of "Dropshot", World War III in 1957After absorbing the initial offensive, Dropshot calls for NATO to hold the line while the resources of the United States were mobilized. Realistically, this could have taken at least a year. During that time, it would have been extremely difficult to keep NATO together. One of the points which "Not This August" emphasizes as a factor in the defeat of the United States is the role of the Communist underground. The state of the evidence suggests that such a concern may be more than simple McCarthyite paranoia. The part played by Communists and communist sympathizers in the politics and culture of the U.S. in the 1930s and 1940s is still insufficiently appreciated. If I had to name a single book to support this point, I would suggest the last of Upton Sinclair's "Lanny Budd" novels, entitled "A World to Win". Published in 1946, it describes sympathetically the adventures of a wealthy American Communist as he moves about the world during and just before the war, helping to organize the fight against Fascism. The author, who made no secret of his own leftist sympathies, describes the pro-Soviet cells which exist everywhere in the U.S., in Hollywood and Washington and the arts. This, of course, was all edifying progressive fiction, but it seems to have been fictionalized rather than fantastic.
A new article by John Reilly
The pro-Soviet streak in America politics did real harm during the Molotov-Ribbentrop pack, when it actively impeded U.S. attempts to prepare for World War II. It continued to do harm throughout the Cold War era, up to and including the "Nuclear Freeze" movement of the 1980s, which nearly succeeded in depriving American negotiators of the bargaining power they needed to get the Soviets to reduce the number of nuclear weapons. While this force in American politics would have been as active as possible during a U.S.-Soviet war, they might not have counted for that much, considering the high degree of national unity there would have been. In any event, they would have worked through front groups as much as possible. This would not have been the case in Europe. The powerful Communist Parties in France and Italy were openly and proudly pro-Soviet, indeed pro-Stalin. They could and would have organized work stoppages and mutinies. The peace movements they would have supported would have been particularly persuasive with hostile and at least temporarily triumphant armies only a few hundred miles away. Even if they could not have forced their countries to surrender, they could have made all but the most perfunctory participation in the war impossible.
Still, these political difficulties would have been no more insurmountable than those that had to be overcome to win the Second World War. Assuming, therefore, that NATO holds together while it rearms and regroups, the second phase of the war could begin. Dropshot contemplated an offense that would ultimately result in the occupation of the Soviet Union. Again, however, it did nothing to suggest that anyone would enjoy trying this in real life. The plan considered the various ways that the Soviet Union might have been invaded, and finds all but one of them either impractical, like a drive north from the Middle East, or useless, like an invasion of the Soviet Far East. The only way to do it is the hard way, back eastward across the north German plain and into Poland. Securing the Balkans would be necessary simply to secure this endeavor.
Having defeated the Soviet armies in Eastern Europe, the rest of the war would have resembled the German campaign of 1941, but without Hitler's mental problems. I can summarize the final stage of the war no better than by quoting Dropshot itself:
"22. In the event of war with the USSR, we should endeavor by successful military and other operations to create conditions which would permit satisfactory accomplishment of U.S. objectives without a predetermined requirement for unconditional surrender. War aims supplemental to our peacetime aims should include:
"a. Eliminating Soviet Russian domination in areas outside the borders of any Russian state allowed to exist after the war.
"b. Destroying the structure of relationships by which the leaders of the All-Union Communist Party have been able to exert moral and disciplinary authority over individual citizens, or groups of citizens, in countries not under Communist control.
"c. Assuring that any regime or regimes which may exist on traditional Russian territory in the aftermath of a war:
(1) Do not have sufficient military power to wage a war.
(2) Impose nothing resembling the present Iron Curtain over contacts with the outside world.
"d. In addition, if any Bolshevik Regime is left in any part of the Soviet Union, ensuring that it does not control enough of the military-industrial potential of the Soviet Union to enable it to wage war on comparable terms with any other regime or regimes which may exist on traditional Russian territory.
"e. Seeking to create postwar conditions which will:
(1) Prevent the development of power relationships dangerous to the security of the United States and international peace.
(2) Be conducive to the development of an effective world organization based on the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
(3) Permit the earliest practicable discontinuance within the United States of wartime controls".
This passage is not without relevance to the state of the world in 1995. Let us imagine, however, that all this has been achieved, but the year is only 1960.
(3) What would postwar history have been like?
The burden of Arnold Toynbee's great multivolumed work, "A Study of History," is that our civilization has broken down and that it is now (during the 20th century) in a "time of troubles," like the Hellenistic period in the ancient West and the Era of Contending States in China. Such periods are characterized by "world wars". In the course of them, one great power delivers a "knockout blow" to its main rival, and sooner or later goes on to establish a universal state, like the Roman Empire. The war Dropshot envisioned would have been such a blow. Actually, Toynbee thought that a third world war would probably be started by the United States and won by the Russians, "because they have a more serious attitude toward life". Be that as it may, since we are working with the U.S. war plan, let us consider what the result of a Western victory would have been.
The world of 1960 after Dropshot would have been poorer than the real world of that time. Africa and the great arc of Eurasia around Russia would have collapsed into ethnic squabbling as the reach and attention of the great powers were withdrawn. On the whole, the non-communist countries of East Asia might have been invigorated, as they were by the Korean and Vietnam Wars. However, there would have been no comparable world demand for consumer goods for these countries to exploit. They could well have experienced a war boom, followed by prolonged depressions, as their home markets slowly recovered.
China, we assume, would have been part of the losing alliance. Dropshot did not devote a great deal of attention to it. If the plan had actually been implemented, it is unlikely that country would have been the scene of major U.S. operations. However, with China's attention diverted toward supporting the Soviet war effort, it is conceivable that the U.S. might have backed a Nationalist reinvasion of southern China. It is debatable whether this would have found wide support. The Communist regime did not begin to mismanage the country significantly until the Great Leap Forward of the late 1950s, a program which presumably would have been postponed in the event of a war. However, what with the stresses of a lost war and such resentment against the regime as had already been generated, it is possible that China would have fallen apart, much as it had during the warlord era of the 1920s, and as it may again in the later 1990s when Deng Xiao Peng dies.
The biggest differences between a post-Dropshot world and the actual world of 1960 would have been in Russia, Europe and the United States. Russia and Eastern Europe in the late 1950s were still recovering from the effects of World War II, and the last thing they needed was another war. In some ways, perhaps, the Dropshot war would been less damaging than the Second World War, since it was supposed to be faster and would not have been directed against civilians. The plan called for a war of tanks, fought for the most part on the plains of northern Europe. It would still have been a catastrophe, but one that would not have returned the region to 1945 levels.
Russia in 1960 might have been better able to make the transition to a market economy than it was in the 1990s, for the simple reason there was a substantial portion of the population who were already adults during the last period when free enterprise had been allowed to operate, during Lenin's "New Economic Policy" of the 1920s. It might, for instance, have been fairly simple to recreate peasant agriculture. On the other hand, Russian industry in the 1950s was even more strictly military than it was in the final stages of the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Since the military occupation of Russia in 1960 would have been largely concerned with closing down the country's military potential, this would have meant closing down all but a small fraction of the country's industry. The country would have become, at least for a while, a country of peasants and priests. This prospect might warm the heart of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, but the reality might not have been sustainable.
In Western Europe, the 1950s boom would gave been cancelled. Even assuming the Dropshot war did less damage than the Second World War, still it would have been the third major war in the region in fifty years. Maybe that would have been too much. People can only be expected to rebuild so many times before they begin to despair about the future. It is hard to imagine the normal market mechanisms of savings and investment operating at all in such environment. What fool would invest money in a society that seemed to explode every 20 years? Who would even want to keep money? People would try to turn their savings into tangible assets as quickly as possible. The cloud of despondency would ultimately lift, of course, but would be greatly impeded by the factor we will consider below.
Even in America, collectivism would have triumphed. As several historians have pointed out, what we call socialism is simply the institutionalization in peacetime of the command economy measures devised by Britain and Germany to fight the First World War. These institutions would have been greatly strengthened throughout the West, but especially in the United States, by the experience of two world wars so close in occurrence. We should remember that enlightened opinion in the U.S. of the 1950s was that command economies really were superior in most was to market economies. It was universally assumed that pro-market policies could never cure underdevelopment in the Third World. Certainly the literature of the era is filled with ominous observations that the Soviet Economy was growing much faster than the U.S. economy during the same period. If the highly regimented American economy envisioned by Dropshot had actually succeeded in winning the Third World War, this attitude might have become a fixed assumption of American culture, as it did in so many other countries during the same period. Private enterprise would doubtless have continued to constitute a major share of economic activity, but it would have been so tightly regimented as to be virtually a creature of the state. And there would have been no example, anywhere on Earth, of an important country that did things differently.
The '60s, as we knew them, would also have been cancelled. Partly, of course, this would have been because the country would have been broke. Everyone would have had a job with a fixed salary, of course, but there would have been little money for cars or highways or private houses. America would have remained a country of immense, densely populated cities, most of which would have consisted of public housing. The biggest difference would have been the psychology of the younger generation. The young adults of the 1950s, who had been children during the Second World War, could not have conceived of allowing themselves the indiscipline and disrespect shown by the young adults of the actual 1960s. The "Silent Generation" of the 1950s knew from their earliest experiences that the world was a dangerous place and the only way to get through it was by cooperation and conformity. If Dropshot had occurred, their children, the babyboom children, would have been even more constrained in childhood and correspondingly more well-behaved in young adulthood. Doubtless there would still have been something of an increase in the percentage of the young in higher education in the 1960s, but the campuses would have been a sea of crewcuts and neat bobs, white shirts and sensible shoes. The popular music would not have been memorable.
The world after Dropshot would have had certain advantages, of course. Total world expenditures on the military would probably have been much smaller than was actually the case. The nuclear arms race would never have occurred. Indeed, the more alarming types of nuclear missile, those with multiple warheads, would never have been invented. It would have been a world much less cynical than the one which actually occurred. The three world wars would have provided a sense of closure which modern history has not yet achieved. This time, finally, all the great evils of the century would have been defeated. It would be unlikely to have resulted in Toynbee's universal state, at least not during the 20th century. The American people would probably have been as sick of the Adlai Stevenson Democrats after the Third World War as they were of the Roosevelt Democrats after the Second World War. The country would have kicked the victors out of office and sought to turn inward. America would not have been enthusiastic about further adventures for a long time to come.
The exhausted world I have described would doubtless have revived in a few decades. Nations would have broken out of the cultural constraints that the experience of universal conscription tend to impose on a generation. People would slowly realize that their highly regulated economies were not really keeping them safe but were really keeping them poor. There would be an episode of restructuring as technologies developed for the military were finally converted to consumer use, and old subsidized industries were allowed to die. All in all, the world of 1995 after Dropshot might have been similar to the one we see today. Still, it would have been reached at immensely greater cost, both economic and spiritual. We are not living in the best of all possible worlds, but it could easily have been worse.
In 1946, secret research into the harnessing of nuclear fission was authorized for military purposes [continued from Part 1]. Manhattan Project Part 2 - A Fateful Decision by Eric Lipps
Many have speculated on what might have happened had America undertaken its atomic bomb program few years earlier, in time to make a weapon available during World War II rather than years after its end. In that case, the first cities to have been incinerated by nuclear fire might have been German and Japanese, rather than Russian, and the world would remember their names rather than those of Moscow and Leningrad.
But it was not to be. Einstein's fateful decision to return to Germany following his trip to the United States in December 1932 would foreclose that option. With the Nazis in power following Hindenburg's decision, on January 30, 1933, to name Hitler as chancellor of the German republic, the famous scientist found himself absorbed in efforts to defend his fellow scientists, and increasingly his fellow Jews, from persecution by the new regime. He had several opportunities in 1933 and '34 to leave the third Reich, but chose not to do so.
And then it was too late: by order of Hitler himself, he was arrested on the morning of January 3, 1935, and sent to the concentration camp at Dachau. While this camp was not yet the place of horror it would later become, it was nevertheless a brutal prison, and the incarceration of the world-renowned physicist within its walls ignited a storm of protest both outside Germany and within the Reich itself, where Einstein's defenders included physicists Werner Heisenberg and Abraham Esau (who, despite his name, had impeccable credentials as an 'Aryan'). Einstein was released in early February, but would spend the next ten years under various forms of house arrest. Following the fall of the Nazi regime in May 1945, Einstein would be freed and would leave Germany at last, first for England and then, in February 1946, for the United States.
It was after Einstein's arrival in the U.S. that he would be contacted by several other refugee scientists, among them Edward Teller and Leo Szilard, who had drafted a letter to President Truman warning of the potential for nuclear fission to be employed in an 'unimaginably powerful explosive of an entirely new type'--in other words, an atomic bomb. The letter warned that efforts toward developing such a bomb had been undertaken in Germany during the war and were believed to be ongoing in the USSR under the leadership of Igor Kurchatov. It read in part: 'While the Nazi effort ultimately failed, we believe this to be due not to the inherent impracticability of such weapons (this issue remains undecided) but primarily due to a combination of technical errors, organizational problems and shortages of key resources. It would be unwise to assume that the same factors will ultimately keep the Soviet Union from producing this new type of explosive, should it be physically possible to do so.'
The Einstein-Szilard letter arrived on President Truman's desk as he was grappling with the issue of the postwar division of Japan.
At Yalta, Soviet Union had promised to enter the war against the land of the Rising Sun within three months following the final surrender of Germany. On August 8, 1945, three months to the day after the German surrender, it did so, just as the U.S. was preparing for its planned invasion of the Japanese home islands, codenamed Operation Downfall. But American plans for Japan had no place for the Soviets: the last thing President Truman wanted was to have to share the occupation of that country with Communist Russia as he had been forced to do in the case of Germany. Nevertheless, that was what he had ended up with: as U.S. forces fought their way northward from their initial landing sites on Kyushu, the Soviets had struck from the north, seizing the island of Hokkaido by mid-September 1945 and pushing on, jumping to northern Honshu by the end of that month in hopes of reaching Tokyo before the Americans did. By early '46 it was clear that one way or another, the Soviets would hold take of Japan, and would be extremely difficult to dislodge by force, a situation mirroring that which was developing on the Asian mainland in the case of Korea.
So the news that the Soviets might be in a position to develop a devastating new weapon at some point in the near future was not greeted with enthusiasm at the White House. The Einstein-Szilard letter was, as Truman would put it in his memoirs, an 'alarm bell in the night,' and pushed the President into ordering a crash U.S. program, which would be codenamed the 'Manhattan Engineering District' (later colloquialized as the 'Manhattan Project').
Einstein's position regarding the project was an awkward one. It was, after all, his theory of relativity which had provided the fundamental basis for understanding atomic energy--yet Einstein, whose politics were considerably left of center, was deeply distrusted by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who insisted that he could not be trusted with knowledge of such a vital national defense effort. It proved impossible to keep him out of the loop entirely, however, and Hoover was forced to swallow his concerns, settling for surveillance of the scientist.
However, Einstein's letter to the Atlantic Monthly in 1948 insisting that the U.S. must not seek an 'atomic monopoly' nearly provoked Hoover to order his arrest for violating security. It was one of several such 'security breaches' to excite Hoover during the Project years; two others involved a short story for Astounding Science Fiction magazine and a Superman story written for Action Comics in 1949, both of which the government suppressed until after the atomic bomb had become public knowledge. Eventually it was pointed out to Hoover that his aggressive reaction to what seemed to be harmless fiction was merely feeding rumors of an actual bomb project, creating its own security breach.
In August 1946 the need for a U.S. nuclear program was dramatically emphasized when Soviet armed forces invaded Iran after failing to receive the concessions they had been promised in exchange for their withdrawal in May. According to Truman's memoirs, had the U.S. then possessed nuclear weapons, their use might have been threatened in order to force the Soviets to back off. Without them, a large conventional response was the only alternative.
But with U.S. forces already occupying Japan, western Germany and Italy, and more on their way to Korea and to bolster the French in Indochina, this meant that the brief glimmering of hope for a peaceful post-World War II era had to be sacrificed. At the urging of Emperor Hirohito and with the reluctant concurrence of War Minister Hideki Tojo, Japan had surrendered to the U.S. in October of '45, allowing Tokyo to be occupied by American forces rather than risking that it would fall to the Soviets--but occupation under General Douglas MacArthur tied down enormous numbers of troops, just as was the case in Europe. There would be no end to the military draft, no demobilization--and once battle was joined in Iran, fighting erupted everywhere U.S. forces faced their Soviet counterparts. Historians remain divided as to whether the new hostilities qualify as a third world war or as a continuation, with realigned sides, of the second.
The U.S.-Soviet conflict had far-reaching political consequences. In both Europe and Japan, it undermined support for vigorous war-crimes prosecutions, leading to what many would later feel was inadequate justice at Nuremberg and in Tokyo. And within America itself, first Parnell Thomas and then Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin would lead a crusade to root out 'subversives' and other undesirables everywhere. Their efforts would lead to the Internal Security Acts of 1947, '48 and '50, under which over twenty thousand Americans would ultimately be incarcerated in political prisons converted from the camps in which Japanese-Americans had been held after Pearl Harbor, including the notorious Manzanar. Many more would be driven from their jobs; some, including the famed silent-movie actor Charlie Chaplin, would flee the country. Chaplin would die in exile in Switzerland on Christmas Day, 1977.
And the defeat of the Soviets in 1950 would lead to no relaxation. By then, China had gone Communist under Mao Tse-tung, ushering in a renewed fear of the Yellow Peril fueled by a combination of anti-Communism and racism. Although at the time of Einstein's death the U.S. was still formally at peace with the Communist colossus, mostly because its resources were strained to the limit occupying its World War II adversaries and its former ally Russia, there seemed little doubt that another war would come sooner or later.
Einstein had been embittered at the use of his work in warfare. He had supported a bomb project primarily in hopes of developing a deterrent in case the Soviets got a bomb, and had privately hoped that the bomb research would prove a weapon was impossible after all. Although he had never been a Communist, when Moscow and Leningrad disappeared beneath mushroom clouds, he was inconsolable. The fact that even after the fall of the Soviets the U.S. refused to surrender its nuclear monopoly, going so far as to strong-arm Britain and France into ending their own independent nuclear programs, deepened his depression. In his final years, the father of relativity withdrew from public life, devoting his efforts entirely to abstract research in pursuit of the unified field theory of physics he believed was possible. He never found it.
Albert Einstein died April 18, 1955. Shortly before his death, when asked what he thought of his life's work, he replied sadly: 'If I had known, I should have been a plumber.'
Continues in Part 3
In 1943, this day could have marked the end of General George Patton's career. He was having a fit at a "cowardly" enlisted man in a military hospital in Sicily when his chief of staff, Brigadeer General Gay grabbed his arm before he could strike the man. Gay then shouted down his commander until a military doctor could explain that the man actually had malaria rather than "battle fatigue". Gay then proceeded to risk his military career by physically restraining Patton and getting him out of the tent. Gay had other officers find a senior physican to brief the enraged Patton on shell shock as an actual disease with physical symptoms distinct from cowardice. By this time Patton had demoted all his attending officers to privates and threatened them with court martials.
Written by Scott PalterHowever the physican proved to have a louder shouting voice than Patton and was even more stubborn. When the tantrum worse off, Patton insisted the physican start again from the beginning. When the docotor was done and had answered all of Patton's questions Patton appologized to the physician, saluted, did an about face, marched himself back into the tent and appologized to the soldier. [His appology to Gay and his staff officers took some further hours but did happen].
Gay was allowed to use good staff work for Patton's following hospital visits [Patton was a rarity among WW2 US senior officers in regarded hospital visits as part of his job]. The tents Patton visited contained only wounded, not sick or shocked. So when the story of the original incident broke in Drew Pearson's radio news show there was no followup to ruin Patton's career. The original soldier was interviewed at length by newspeople but his story never changed. The general made a mistake, appologized for it and never touched him. The soldier and hospital staff were actually quite moved by a general who actually seemed to care about enlisted personnel or the wounded. The more prevailing army ethos was to treat personnel as interchangeable and replaceable parts.
Patton was still used as a decoy against the Germans, first of mythic other Meditteranean landings and then of the even more mythic First Army Group that was supposed to land at Calais. However Patton was able to secure a place on a warship to observe the Normandy landings. The rest is history, or fate if you believe in such. With the Omaha Beach landings a seeming failure General Bradley sat on his command ship and surveyed the wreckage. Patton acted. He browbeat the commander of his ship to make a ship's boat available and then landed on Omaha with himself, Gay and a handful of aides. He sorted out the confusion under continual enemy fire and personally led the attack that cleared the main beach exit. Patton would claim afterwards that he had been the highest paid major in the US Army for that day. In a sense this was correct. He was doing work many levels below his pay grade. However while Bradley respected the chain of command and sat on a ship, Patton had seemingly won the day on his own [historians afterwards would claim this was lucky timing - the weight of US troops would eventually have found exits up the cliffs and cleared the beach exits from behind].
Needless to say Bradley had a total fit. Eisenhower was not impressed. Yes Patton had violated all the rules. He had also won while Bradley seemed about to fail. A quick substitution was made and the US landing force was now Patton's Third Army instead of Bradley's. First [to maintain the deception operation against the Germans General Walker, was announced as army commander to the press].
So nominally it was Walker not Patton who by constantly going forwards to see what the holdup in the bocage operations was was able to greenlight the special plow tanks that solved the problem. This in turn led to Patton being given 12th Army Group command when the US contingent on the continent was upped from one army to two. Walker now had Third Army in fact and Bradley was informed he would not be bumped up from First Army command.
Under Patton's command the Falaise Pocket was closed by a sweeping maneuver that carried Walker's Third Army totally across the path of the British 21st Army Group to the mouth of the Seine. What followed was classic Patton. Leaving Bradley to manage digesting the pocket with Montgomery, Patton pushed spearheads of the Third Army straight north. Ike's logistics people kept trying to slow him down and get him back in his proper zone. Patton and Walker were moving so fast they kept overruning the orders [they would be ordered to hold at place X to reorganize after they were 50-75 miles north of X]. At heart Patton was an old time cavalryman and a pursuit such as this is what a cavalryman dreams of. Third Army blew through Brussels to Antwerp taking the port intact. Patton was personally up with the lead division. He recognized that with an inland port such as Antwerp the key was the islands in the Scheldt Estuary that were Antwerp's route to open sea. By throwing all of the army's shrinking fuel reserves at the two lead divisions he blizted through the Scheldt with one division while the other moved due north to take Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
This advance prompted a complete reorganization of the European campaign. Patton was given the newly arriving US Ninth Army and became the Allied left wing. Montgomery took the center. Bradley whose slow advance to link up with the Allied forces moving up from Provence had not managed to bag the retreating German troops from southwest France was left at the army level and put under General Devers Sixth Army Group.
With Patton on the left and supplies pouring in through Antwerp and Rotterdam, Eisenhower was able to keep hammering the Germans all through the autumn and winter. Indeed analysts credit these offensives with shortening the war in Europe by months. But for Patton the Americans and Russians would not have met at Torgau in late February of 1945 and the German surrender would not have come on the ides of March.
In 1877, on this day the Confederate Battle Flag used by the Army of Northern Virginia was raised at the Annual Gettysburg Conference, and from that time onwards was the official symbol of the Confederate States of America. That flag, later referred as the "Southern Cross", was fashioned along an oblong pattern rather than the square style of most of the combat originals
Gettysburg Prayer Part Six by Raymond SpeerThe long serving Virginia state government was run by the Citizens Party and ran the Bank of Virginia, an institution which made deals with the other State Governments to provide them with a stable currency, some notes backed by silver and others by gold. The notes bore the inscription: "Confederate Legal Tender authorized by the Confederate Gov't per its Constitution, and issued and distributed by the Bank of Virginia". The gold bills featured pictures from Robert E. Lee from his youth to successful general, and the silver bills showed the images of John C. Calhoun, TJ Jackson and Johnston the Martyr at Shiloh.
Over time, the exchange stabilized at six Confederate gold dollars for one United States dollar, or 24 Confederate silver dollar notes for a single dollar.
Shortly after the currency was reformed , Florida and Texas both declared that they were not going to allow Negroes to vote in their precincts by the decision of their legislatures. That was in defiance of a law that had passed the central government back towards the close of Davis' Administration, a law which had long been cited as anti-thetical to the values of the CSA.
In October 1878, the Supreme Court of the Confederate States, presided over by Chief Justice Judah Benjamin (appointed by President Davis) ruled 7-0 that the central government did not have the authority to authorize voting registries anywhere in the South. "The Emancipation Amendment did many things for the Negro," wrote the Court per curiam, "but it did not transfer suffrage determination from the States to the central government".
President Longstreet's election had been made possible by the exercise of Negro suffrage, and the outcome of the BADGER ex rel. Florida decision appeared to have ruined the prospects for Readjuster re-election.
Lead by its very popular Governor, John Reagan, who had established the CS Post Office while in Jefferson Davis' Cabinet, Texas had passed a law disfranchising Negro voters. Florida and South Carolina had also passed that law and the only place such a proposal was likely to fail was in Arizona which had a Negro / Hispanic majority.
President James Longstreet worked hard to maintain Negro suffrage in the Confederacy. "The Gettysburg Prayer was the divine guidance we needed in our darkest hour," said Longstreet, "and I ask how can we forget it now?" To the contrary, asserted Governor John Reagan: the Citizen Party wanted the vote limited to the mentally sound and politically independent. "Possibly in another generation, the lawmakers of some State may rule that the Negroes are ready to vote. Possibly in another two or three generations, they may let ladies vote! [much laughter]. But till then, let us use good sense as Citizens, and not Readjuster zeal".
In Missouri, a State that had remained in the USA, the great controversy of 1878 were allegations that the rural families of James and Younger had careers as bank and train robbers in addition to farming. Four of the gang had been apprehended in Missouri but Jesse and Frank James had fled to Arkansas, and US President Rutherford Hayes had requested their return to Missouri.
Confederate Senator Louis Wigfall of Texas praised the James Brothers as Southern patriots heartlessly forced from their homes by the Yankee rape of Missouri. Though he had frequently criticized Davis and Ruffin when they had been presidents, Wigfall as he had grown older sharpened his loud opposition to Readjustment, and even voiced the opinion that "the Gettysburg Prayer has been immensely over rated".
On a public street, after leaving a tavern, Senator Wigfall spotted United States Minister Phillip Sheridan walking home from a quiet meal and fired a curious gun that was inside of his walking stick. Sheridan had been missed by the blast, but had heard Wigfall;s threats, and hopped on the back of the streetcar and blackened both of the Senator's eyes within seconds.
President Longstreet was grateful that Wigfall had finally shown the limits to which Citizens would go in extremes. Minister Sheridan did go back to the USA, but so did the James brothers and their mother, who werre also iplicated in their crimes.
Fortune smiled on the Readjusters when North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky all voted down Citizen efforts to disenfranchise Negroes. The Readjusters swiftly rallied around another Confederate General, Pierre GT Beauregard, who had served well as the Secretary of War. Beauregard chose as his Vice President John Hunt Morgan, a cavalry man he had favored since their days in the war.
There was a sprited contest for the Citizens presidential nomination, contested from the start between Jubal Early of Virginia and John H. Reagan of Texas, which was not concluded till the very eve of the convention. Reagan bypassed his rival for the Vice Presidency and chose Robert Toombs of Georgia instead.
Negroes throughout the South backed the Readjuster ticket, resisting the casual contempt by which the Citizens Party assumed they were not capable of voting intelligently. From far off New York, Frederick Douglass moved all the way to Arizona and took a oath of citizenship in that place. "From correspondence with Abraham Lincoln, I made myself the campaign director for the ReUnion Party in that area, which was nearing entry into the Confederacy. As a ReUnion man, I could freely and in good faith participate in the elections of either part of the country, knowing that our goal of consolidation would sooner or later bring us all together again".
Texas, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina all went for John H. Reagan- Robert Toombs but Louisiana's reliability for Catholic Beauregard and unsuspected popularity of Morgan in the Border States enabled the Readjusters to win the presidential race. Counting only the top three votegetters, Beauregard had 48.5 per cent of the popular vote, Reagan took 46.4 per cent of the popular vote and Abraham Lincoln and John Singleton Mosby took 5.1 per cent for the ReUnion Party.
Lincoln-Mosby gathered not a single Confederate electoral vote in the 1879 contest, but confidently wrote to his separated nation that he thought he had planted a seed whereby a new framework would grow for a Combined America.
Also noticeable was the United States' revelation of its "batwing" project in November 1879's last days. The Yankees had waited until both President Longstreet and Beauregard had voiced disbelief in the rumors and sightings that Yankees had invented flying machines === for that matter,Governor John H.Reagan had likewise expressed doubts that the USA had such amazing machines in the air.
President Rutherford Hayes had shown the triumph of Yankee ingenuity and industry with the dozen bald-winged mechanical bats that were flown in patrol from Washington to Richmond and then back to Washington DC. More than a few people assumed that an earlier disclosure of the existance of Yankee flight machines would have scared people and elected John Reagan president.
In 1649, the Earl of Ormonde marched a combined force of English Royalists and Irish Confederates on Dublin, the last major foothold of parliamentary forces in Ireland. Ironically Ormonde himself had held Dublin two years prior when it was besieged by Irish Confederates, before abandoning it to English parliamentary forces.
The Fall of IrelandThe Confederate/Royalist coalition had been forged in blood, the years since the Irish Rebellion in 1641 had been years of bloody and ruthless wars. Even as a peace agreement had been reached in 1648, after a series of defeats for the confederates at the hands of parliamentarian forces, fighting continued against those Catholics who could not stomach submitting to the protestants who had inflicted massacres on Catholics only a few years prior.
In 1649 things were going well for the coalition, the parliamentary forces received almost no support from England, where Cromwell had his hands full with the second English Civil War.
At the end of July Ormonde had camped his troops at Rathmines near Dublin, with the intent to besiege the city. On the second of August his troops started fortifying the half-demolished castle of Baggotrath on the outskirts of Dublin. Michael Jones, the defender of Dublin, decided to move against this danger with an army of 5.000.
Although Ormond's army had stood to arms for just such an eventuality Jones quickly captured Baggotrath, and turned towards the main Royalist camp. Although the royalist forces were thrown in disarray, they were able to fall back on a line formed by Lord Inchiquin's infantry. Despite suffering heavy losses Ormonde was able to hold the line long enough for Lord Dillon to march against the parliamentarian rear.
Chaotic fighting raged on throughout the day, until at the start of the evening the remaining Parliamentarians forced themselves past Dillon's battered forces and retired to Dublin.
The parliamentarians had inflicted heavy losses on the Royalists, but at the cost of most of their own force. Lord Inchiquin who had been stationed in Munster with three regiments of horse had marched North upon hearing the news, and linked up with Ormonde the next day. With Ormonde's troops occupying the countryside and his artillery dominating the harbour, the siege of Dublin continued for another 6 weeks.
Cut off from England and with no remaining allies in Ireland Jones surrendered Dublin and was allowed to return to England with his troops, leaving behind most of their weaponry.
With no port open to him Cromwell called of his planned invasion of Ireland until spring. But the intended invasion of Ireland was overtaken by events, as the Scots proclaimed Charles II their king. The bulk of the New Model Army marched north against the Scots, leaving only a small army to invade Ireland and attempt to gain a foothold there.
Because the English navy still commanded the Irish sea parliamentarian forces could land unopposed near Drogheda. Needing to to take Drogheda before the Royalists could send reinforcements the walls were quickly broken by artillery and the city taken by assault.
The royalist garrison was massacred to a man, along with hundreds of civilians.
The victory of parliament was short-lived as Ormonde marched the main royalist army against Drogheda, while Dillon marched troops from Dublin past Drogheda to block the parliamentarians from the north. With most defensible positions destroyed in the Parliamentarian attack the city was soon assaulted and it's defenders given no quarter.
The massacre of Drogheda did much to strengthen Irish resolve. The defense of Ireland was strengthened by new fortifications in coastal towns and a reorganization of the Royalist army into three armies tasked with guarding Ireland against any invasion. Although English Royalists remained in command of these armies, with Ormonde in overall command, the Irish nobility was incorporated into the army as well.
Parliamentary propaganda tried to make the best of it's failure to recapture Ireland by casting Charles II as "the Irish King", hoping to fuel anti-Irish and anti-Catholic resentment in England, even though the monarch did not so much as set foot on Irish soil during these years.
Upon the restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 the Irish Confederacy was dissolved and the Irish Parliament instituted. The confederacy had achieved most of it's goals, with self-government of Ireland assured and religious equality for Catholics (in Ireland) granted by Charles II.
In 1098, on this day the eight month Crusader's Siege of Antioch was finally relieved by a Muslim army from Mosul under the command of Kerbogha.
Allah Wills IT!Although a huge force of over one hundred thousand men had departed from Catholic Europe, the Crusader Army had been greatly weakened by attacks from two Muslim armies. And Antioch was so large that the crusaders did not have enough troops to fully surround it, and as a result it was able to stay partially supplied.
The crusaders knew they would have to take the city before Kerbogha arrived if they had any chance of survival. Bohemund secretly established contact with Firouz, an Armenian guard who controlled the Tower of the Two Sisters but had a grudge with Yaghi-Siyan, and bribed him to open the gates. He then approached the other crusaders and offered to let them in, through Firouz, if they would agree to let him have the city. Raymond was furious and argued that the city should be handed over to Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, as they had agreed when they left Constantinople in 1097. They were still arguing when Kerbogha arrived.
Although the defeat at Antioch was a military setback for the Crusaders, their retreating troops were reinforced by a Byzantine Army. And their subsequent success upheld the overarching principle of the First Crusade, to save the Byzantine Empire which could have been easily undermined by the establishment of Frankish States as secretly desired by Godfrey, Tancred, Robert, and the other leaders.
In 1940, Italy declared war on the Western powers and entered WW2. On paper it was an act of idiocy. Their military was unready. Their colonies were not properly provisioned. The bulk of their merchant marine was at sea and thus immediately lost to the British. The sole intelligent reason for this act was a cool calculation that France was about to fall. Reasoning that the British Empire would not fight on without its continental sword (the French Army), Italy expected there to be a peace conference. Their few weeks of combat would buy them a seat at the conference, which in turn would probably result in Italy picking up some new colonial territory, and, perhaps, some border adjustments with France or Yugoslavia.
From Tiny Acorns Grow an Oak by Scott PalterNeedless to say, the calculation was completely in error. The war would cost Italy all of her colonies and the destruction of the body of the country when it became a war zone for the final two years of the European struggle. All of this would occur because of a miscalculation in British intentions. Let us presume that Churchill took time out from the chaos of France's collapse to make VERY clear to the Italians that this was the end of a phase of the war, rather than an end of the war. Let us presume that the French made some minor territorial concessions to Italy (the Azzou strip in northern Chad and some Saharan sand on the Libyan - Algerian border). Italy stays neutral.
The early changes in the war are subtle. The later are far grander.
There are no changes in the Battle of Britain or Battle of the Atlantic. Italy made little contribution to either. Britain would have needed large naval forces to watch a neutral Italy whose government was capable of intervention at any moment. However, there are no campaigns in North Africa, Greece, Syria, Iraq or East Africa. The British Army does not suffer these losses or gain this combat experience. Except for commando raids, Britain is not engaged in a ground war between the Fall of France and Pearl Harbor. The RAF does not have to build a Desert Air Force. The troops and planes not so used are available to garrison Burma and Malaya. We will return to the results of this shortly.Rommel's three divisions are a minor addition to the invasion of Russia. The addition of the air elements sent to the Mediterranean is more noticeable. The biggest difference is the absence of a Balkan campaign. In OTL, Italy invades Greece in 1940. They fail miserably at it. This forces Germany to take a Balkan detour that winds up including Yugoslavia and Crete. In this TL none of this occurs. Yugoslavia and Bulgaria are forced into the Tripartite Pact over the winter of 1940-41 on very mild terms. No German garrisons are needed in either. Greece is allowed its neutrality as long as trade with Germany is continued (same as Turkey and Sweden in OTL).
In OTL the Balkan adventure postponed Barbarossa by two weeks and added much wear and tear on the trucks and men making the long roundtrip. It bled off a German army (12th) left behind in garrisons from Belgrade to Athens. It also destroyed the German airborne forces on Crete.
A two week earlier start does not take Moscow or win the war in 1941. Neither the ten extra divisions (DAK plus 12th Army) nor the fewer vehicle breakdowns make Moscow any nearer to Warsaw and Konigsburg. A German win in 1941 requires a very different set of changes than Italian neutrality. However, the extra two weeks do see a German Army less burned out when it is repulsed before (or perhaps in the streets of) Moscow in early December of 1941. At each of the three German advances, the rear has been better swept (fewer Red Army remnants to form partisans), the supply forces have had a little more time to do their work, and the giant number of abandoned weapons have been better collected.
To do we will add an Italian Expeditionary Force ( say six divisions of Blackshirts and Young Fascists, which is what was sent to Spain in the 1930's). Italy does not declare war on Russia. These are ?volunteers' like the Spanish Blue Division (party to party as opposed to state to state to use the usual Communist terminology). To this will be added a Corps of White Russian volunteers from Yugoslavia, also under Italian command. These men are neither trained nor armed for frontline service. However, they are quite capable of policing up the vast hordes of Russian prisoners captured in the great encirclement battles of 1941. The Italians will drive this herd to the railheads, where they are shipped to Italy as war booty (slaves). A good bit of Russian equipment will follow, bringing the Italian military to a less unready state. The Italians also lack the German racial hatred of the Easterners. They will extensively recruit among the prisoners and locals. The net effect is that the eight Italo-Yugoslav divisions will be almost to corps strength each by the end of 1941.
So the retreat from Moscow never develops into the semicollapse of OTL. This results in fewer German losses, higher Russian ones and an earlier burnout of the Russian offensive. Part of this is the large Italian force garrisoning the towns to the rear of Army Group Center. Part of this is the better state of the German lines of communication and depots. The largest single change is that Kesselring's Second Air Fleet does not have to be pulled out of Belarus to bail out the Desert War.
So the spring - summer of 1942 finds a marginally stronger German Army in the East and a marginally weaker Russian one. We will return to the effects of this after our Asiatic detour promised above.
In OTL an overstretched British Empire made the decision to give priority to absolutely everything over the defense of Burma, Malaya, the East Indies and the South Seas (Australia, New Zealand, etc.). Without a North African war, the best of the Indian Army and the bulk of the Anzac forces are not in the Mediterranean. As is, Malaya and Burma were near run things. In this TL, the initial assaults on Malaya and Burma are repulsed.
The East Indies will still fall, but more slowly. It will take until the end of 1942 to finish them and Malaya off. Burma will stay in Allied hands. Now the results of this will seem perverse. A better British general in Singapore, a larger British Fleet, and a much larger RAF contingent will mean that in the end the British Empire will lose many more ships, men and planes. Essentially, the British simply couldn't stand up to the Japanese Navy or Air Force in this period. A Cunningham or Auchinlek in Singapore in place of Wavell and Percival could blunt the Japanese Army and bleed them badly. He could not change the air-naval equation. That equation determined the ultimate logistical result of the campaign.
However, with the Japanese carrier fleet tied up taking the East Indies and Malaya, Japan never gets "victory disease". In OTL they were wildly successful at first. This caused them to get overconfident and change their strategy. Instead of fortifying their conquests and waiting to attrit the American counterattack, they attacked in all directions. The result was a series of campaigns (Coral Sea, Midway, Solomons, Papua - New Guinea) that basically destroyed the elite prewar naval and air units.
Instead here the much slower initial advance keeps them in their proper hedgehog. This will make the Pacific War much longer and bloodier. It will also means that Bataan lasts somewhat longer as the Japanese concentrate on finishing off the East Indies first. This gets more US ground and air units sent to Australia. However, it also means that after securing Australia, Port Mosby, Guadalcanal and the South Sea string of bases, the Pacific War essentially grinds to a halt in early 1943. Until America's new carrier fleet becomes available in 1944, the Allies lack the power to go further. So 1943 is a sea - air sparring contest in which neither side takes major risks.
Back to Russia: the primary problem with the German summer offensive is again geography plus the higher command's insanity in conducting a street fight in Stalingrad. This will not change. However, the equipment seized in 1941 will make the Italian 8th and Hungarian 2nd Armies marginally stronger. It will also provide marginally more reserves behind the Rumanians. Stalingrad will still be encircled. The retreat from the Caucasus will still be necessary.
What will be different then is that there will not be a companion disaster in North Africa. The Allied occupation of French Northwest Africa will open the Mediterranean more easily to Allied shipping. It will not require a Panzer Army to be sent to Tunis or 60% of Germany's long-range aircraft. Instead those units will be available to the Don Front. There will be no breakout from Stalingrad (Hitler wouldn't have permitted it). There will be less of a Russian advance and a bigger backhand blow by Manstein. On the margin the Germans will be stronger, the Russians weaker.
Without a Mediterranean front in 1942-43, the Allies will not be able to withstand Russian pressure to do something besides air raids. In OTL the Allies fought major 1943 campaigns in Burma, New Guinea, the Solomons, Tunis, Sicily and southern Italy. None of those happen here. Instead there is a May 1943 invasion of France.
There is no Atlantic Wall. The defenses of the beaches between the major ports was Rommel's doing in late 1943-44. So the invasion force gets ashore more easily. There is a smaller German garrison in France so the lodgment goes more easily and Cherbourg falls faster. The good luck ends there. Germany has more reserves and is less heavily attrited is this TL. The American and British armies are much greener. There is no Normandy breakout.
Instead there is a slow attritional grind forward, with the Combined Bomber Force being repeatedly used in a ground support role to blow holes in the German lines (of the type from the Cobra attack in OTL). This in turn destroys the German Air Force faster as the attritional fighter battles take place nearer to England. Instead of the Lw fighter arm collapsing in the first months of 1944, it is bled to death here in the summer and fall of 1943 over France.
Normandy does appear to help the Russians. The Kursk offensive is never made. This actually hurts. Without Kursk and without an Italian front soaking up two German armies (and the defection of Italian forces in Yugoslavia soaking up two more), the Germans have sufficient reserves to make the reconquest of Ukraine slower and more expensive. The disparity of forces and the ongoing drain of Normandy means they lose, but in takes all of 1944 to clear Ukraine and retake Smolensk (one year behind OTL).
In the meantime, by the end of 1943 the Western Allies have cut off Brittany and enlarged their bridgehead to the Lower Seine but are nowhere near Paris. The bomber attacks on the western German cities are much less than OTL but still enough to cause pain. Speer hits on the idea of relocating some plants to Italy to take advantage of its neutral status. Italy has no air raids, a friendly government and those millions of Russian POW's as force laborers. It has also taken in millions of other refugees from the Nazis so it has the potential for major industrial production given German help with machine tools, technicians, etc. Italy begins force draft industrialization. The Allies are angry but do not need another front.
The Allies spend 1944 clearing France to the Somme and Meuse, aided by secondary invasions in Calais and Provence. In the Pacific, the Japanese get their predicted climatic naval battles in the Marianas. Essentially both fleets destroy each other while the American ground forces take the islands at extremely high cost. This is what happened in OTL in the Solomons. Then, as here, the US can build more ships and Japan cannot. So we have no major offensive in the southwest Pacific or Burma, but rather bloodbaths at Wake, the Marianas and Iwo, followed by a submarine blockade of Japan. Japan will still make its 1944-45 offensive in China that drives Chiang effectively out of the war. The difference here is that with the Burma Road open, a substantial part of the Chinese Army retreats in northern Burma, where the Allies rebuild and retrain it (Chiang will have many times as many top notch divisions in the Chinese Civil War).
1945 sees the Allies slog forward to and across the Rhine. Stalin's forces take Rumania, Belarus and the Baltic States but come up short at the Vistula and East Prussian border. The Combined Bomber force keeps hammering the German transport net and synthetic petrol facilities. Starting in August they have nukes to add - 3 the first month and two a month thereafter. By the end of 1945, Germany still has two coherent fronts, but is bleeding to death internally. Jets, V-2's and other wonder weapons cannot make up for a collapsed industrial and transport base, no food and no fuel for the weapons. The German resistance starts to fragment in early 1946. Stalin still wins the race to Berlin (May 1946) but the West beats him to Prague and Vienna. The war in Europe ends in June of 1946 without a formal surrender. Millions of Germans and Hungarians seek sanctuary in Italy. WW2 in Europe ends with an extra ten million dead, far more damage and a much stronger Italy with a correspondingly weaker Britain, France and Russia.
In the Pacific, 1945 has seen the Americans take Okinowa and Pusan to tighten the blockade of Japan. American fire bombers have leveled the cities. Millions of Japanese have starved. However, the major ground offensives we had in the Pacific have been diverted to meet the needs of a longer and far more expensive European campaign. By early 1946 the Japanese Court and most of the Army Higher command have relocated to the Asian mainland to escape the famine in the Home Islands. The social structure of the abandoned Japanese homeland disintegrates. The Emperor dies in an air raid on Munkden. The Army fights on. We and the Russians redeploy from Europe. When the Russian invasion of Manchuria destroys the main Japanese armies (August 1946), the Home Islands surrender to us. Japan does not end the war so much as disintegrate. By now the death toll from starvation and disease is over ten million. Russia overruns North China and most of Korea. They set up friendly regimes (Mao and Kim) keeping the lands they have taken. Chiang essentially gets the Yangtse Valley and the South. He spends the balance of the decade suppressing Maoists in his zone. China is effectively partitioned.
In 1864, to counter Little Mac and secure more of the soldier vote, Abraham Lincoln might have turned to a War Democrat from the Midwest, one of several of the Fighting McCooks.
Vice Presidential Candidate Selected, 1864
Written by Timothy AbbottA McCook presidency has too many variables to project with any confidence what the course of Reconstruction might have been. Assuming any of the "Tribe of Dan" or "Tribe of John" agreed to run on the national Union Party ticket, they would have faced tremendous challenges from the Radical Republicans. Even if this split ticket won the election, Lincoln?s assassination might have lead to a very weak McCook presidency with a hostile congress and pressure from northern Democrats to go easy on Reconstruction and light on the rights of freedmen.
Perhaps a President McCook would become even more of a hardliner (in for a penny, in for a pound). Or perhaps he would have reshuffled the cabinet, pushing some of the radicals out. There might have been no Seward's Folly: no Alaska. Although several of the McCooks when to to political careers after the war, as a successor to Lincoln they would certainly be no better than Johnson.
In 1801, less than eighteen months after the death of General Washington, his successor Frederick Muhlenberg passed away at the age of fifty-one.
President Muhlenberg passes awayDespite the war-time inefficiencies of Congressional Government, Washington never once wavered from his Republican convictions. He voluntarily surrendered his post as C-in-C, only reluctantly agreeing to serve as President and of course he outright refused to be crowned King.
During his two terms of office circumstances forced him to adopt an authoritarian leadership style bordering on monarchism. Whilst he could be trusted, his Vice President John Adams patently could not (some even feared he would crown himself King and name his son John Quincy as successor). He ludicrously suggested to Senate that Washington be addressed "His Majesty" inviting nicknames such as the "Duke of Braintree" and "His Rotundity". More significantly, he was prevented from addressing the Senate. It was Speaker of the House Frederick Muhlenberg that suggested that the title of the President of the United States should be "Mr. President" instead of "His High Mightiness" or "His Elected Majesty", as John Adams had suggested .
In his Farewell Address, Washington shocked the nation by announcing not only his retirement, but the dissolution of his office in favour of a unified position of Speaker-President. Of course Muhlenberg was an interesting character, being a Pennsylvanian Lutheran pastor and a German speaker. But as matters transpired, he only served in office for two years and could not have taken steps on either language or religion as his detractors feared.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.