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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

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 'Beacon of Liberty' by Todayinah Ed.
Todayinah Editor Todayinah Ed. says, in which US President John Nance Garner implements the Atlantic Charter in the post-war world. If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit Todayinah site.


September 2

In 1945, wisely disregarding the howling protests of the French Union, US President John Nance Garner recognised the Sovereign Nation of Vietnam just one hour after the new Head of State Nguyen Ai Qoc (pictured) issued a declaration of independence in Saigon. Assisting imperialists to put down revolts in former colonies was not only un-American, said Garner, it was surely the quickest route to fast-tracking nations into the Communist World.

A show case for democracyDetermined to honour the "Atlantic Charter" commitments to indigenous peoples in the defeated British and French Empires, Garner recognised the sign of respect that President Qoc was signalling to the United States. Because the Declaration of Independence was broadly similiar to the infant American nation's own announcement to the Imperialists in 1776.

More than that, President Qoc, and his talened military commander Vo Nguyen Giap had been formidable foes in the recent struggle against the Japanese. So much so, that when Operation Deer Team parachuted into a jungle headquarters at Tan Trao north of Hanoi in July they found copies of the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution on the walls and a framed picture of George Washington on the desk. Because the seven OSS men led by Major Allison Kent Thomas were on a mission to help a band of two hundred eilte guerrillas fight the Japanese yet they soon discovered that their leader was seriously ill from malaria, dysentary and other tropical diseases. After administering quinine and sulfa drugs, the team medic and an officer of the Chase Manhattan Bank Paul Hoagland soon exclaimed that "this man doesn't have long for this world".

By the time Qoc had made a full recovery, the Japanese had surrendered and - thanks to the American solidiers - he was fit and well enough to led a hundred thousand man demonstration of nationalism through the streets of Saigon.

In Washington, a new Cold War logic had set in. The philosophy was that any country that didn't join the United States and the Western World was a gain for the Soviets and communism. And Garner was wise enough to see the value of keeping onboard the determined Vietnamese who had a endured a two thousand year struggle for independence. Consequently his strategy of exporting democracy would win the day, the inherently negative policy of containment favoured by the State Department would be wisely disregarded.



July 16

In 1945, on this day Operation Deer Team parachuted into a jungle headquarters at Tan Trao north of Hanoi where they found copies of the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution on the walls and a framed picture of George Washington on the desk.

All men are created equalThe seven OSS men led by Major Allison Kent Thomas were on a mission to help a band of two hundred eilte guerrillas fight the Japanese yet they soon discovered that their leader Nguyen Ai Qoc (pictured) was seriously ill from malaria, dysentary and other tropical diseases. After administering quinine and sulfa drugs, the team medic and an officer of the Chase Manhattan Bank Paul Hoagland soon exclaimed that "this man doesn't have long for this world".

Buried in the field with full military honours, Quoc's deputy eulogised by explaining that their former leader was also known by another name "He who enlightens", in Vietnamese Ho Chi Minh. That man was Vo Nguyen Giap, the ingenius military commander who would mastermind military efforts against the invading Chinese Communists during the nineteen sixties.

In August 1945, one day after Japanese Emperor Hirohito announced surrender, Giap sent a message to President John Nance Garner. He asked the United States to make Vietnam an American protectorate, like the Philippines. The next day, GIap and the Viet Minh took control of Hanoi from the Japanese. Ho marched into Hanoi with Operation Deer Team personnel where Ho broadcast a message to OSS headquarters, speaking English: "National Liberation Committee on VML begs U.S. authorities to inform United Nations the following. We were fighting Japs on the side of the Allies. Now Japs surrendered. We beg the Allies to realize their solemn promise that all nationalities will be given democracy and independence. If the Allies forget their solemn promise and don't give Indochina full independence, we will keep fighting until we get it".

On September 2, 1945 a band marched through Hanoi playing the Star Spangled Banner while OSS officer Colonel Archimedes Patti and Vo Nguyen Giap stood side by side, arms held in salute. The two men are shown in this stance in a photograph in Smith's book on the OSS. Giap declared that day Vietnam Independence Day, and he began his liberation speech with the words, "All men are created equal".

The US President could not agree more and signed up to the idea of a protectorate. It was a done deal, because Garner's vision of America was a beacon of liberty to whom the post-war nations would rally.



November 9

In 1963, on this day US President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order No. 11110 in the Oval Office. Accordingly the force of law was given to the planned withdrawal of all American personnel absolutely no later than the end of 1965. Because just four months after a Vietnamese Buddhist by the name of Thich Quang Duc set himself on fire in a Saigon street (pictured), the security situation in the country was rapidly deteriorating.

Bear any burden, pay any priceIn so doing, the Kennedy brothers were backtracking big-time on a key inauguration pledge to "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge - and more".

Yet two other Catholic brothers had even more reason to regret listening to those warm words, the Vietnamese Dictator Ngo Dinh Diem and his younger brother Ngo Dinh Nhu. Because on the celebration of Buddha's 2,527 birthday on May 8th, the Diem Regime had ordered the Catholic deputy in Hue to prevent the Buddhists from flying their own flag. A wave of religious fervour swept the county. And just about the last thing South Vietnam needed right now was a religious feud, and so a group of generals led by Doung Van Minh and Tran Van Don acting unilaterally without US approval overthrew the Diem regime and executed the brothers and their sister-in-law, the anti-Buddhist "dragon lady" Madame Nhu. The US-financed Nationalist Chinese Armies who had sustained Diem in power since 1962 also evacuated the country. Those departing soldiers had been resettled by the French in 1950 in what was then Chochin China and expanded over time by local recruitment.

Commander R. Sargent Shriver was the last American out of Saigon. He told Embassy staff that it was a matter of deep regret that the Peace Corps had been unable to complete their mission in Vietnam.



May 5

In 1945, on this day low flying American and British bombers released thousands of white doves over the City of Tokyo.
Peace breaks outAfter several days of behind-the-scenes negotiations the Gozenkaigi (Japanese leadership) decided, in principle, to accept generous proposals for conditional surrender. John Nance Garner had only recently entered the White House following the sudden demise of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The new President was the son of a former Confederate cavalry trooper, famously described by the British journalist Alistair Cooke as "the last public man linking America of the Civil War and America of the Nuclear Age". Garner had the gift of perspective resulting from a genuine insight into long-term history. Japan was ready to surrender, and there was absolutely no need to be a damn-fool and usher in apocalyptic weapons to bring the war to a speedy conclusion; best to set up a beacon of liberty to whom the post-war nations would rally.



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