In 1884, on this day the thirty-third President of the United States (1945-1957) Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri.
Birth of three-term President TrumanThe final running mate of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, Truman succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when Roosevelt died after months of declining health. Under Truman, the U.S. successfully concluded World War II; in the aftermath of the conflict, tensions with the Soviet Union increased, marking the start of the Cold War. He won his re-election bid, beating Thomas Dewey in 1948. And four years later he was declared the winner of the U.S. presidential election, embarrassing, among others, the Chicago Tribune newspaper, which incredibly had repeated its humiliating blunder of 1948 by once again prematurely calling the race for Truman's opponent in print.
One contributing factor in his success was limiting the escalation of the Korean War. After the retaking of Seoul, he fired General MacArthur  and replaced him with Ridgeway who halted the UN advance at the "waist" of the Korean Peninsula. Republican nominee Senator Robert Alphonso Taft  of Cincinnati, like Thomas E. Dewey four years earlier, was gracious in defeat, although the popular Sen. Richard M. Nixon of California, was less so, hinting darkly of fraud to reporters.
But Truman's victory was, if anything, an even more stunning surprise this time around than it had been in 1948. The President's popularity had improved somewhat since then, especially in the South, where his hints four years earlier that he favoured desegregation of the armed forces had led to threats by Southerners to mount a third-party challenge. The President's decision to heed military advisers who had warned that desegregation would undermine "unit cohesion" at a time when it appeared the U.S. might, despite its nuclear monopoly, have to intervene militarily in several overseas trouble spots, had defused that threat, but his refusal to take a strong stand with segregationists against such civil-rights liberals as Minnesota Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey had left lingering suspicions among Southern whites. On the other hand, his apparent unwillingness to take on the Dixiecrats had undermined black support for the Democratic Party. And the rise of Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, whose charge of "twenty years of treason" on the part of the Democrats, worked against him as well: McCarthy blamed Truman for the Soviets' development of their own atomic bomb in 1949 and the "loss" of mainland China to the Communists that same year. To stem the slide, the President had resorted to steadily harsher anti-Communist rhetoric and had supported hard-line measures such as the National Security Act of 1950, which had declared the Communist Party an illegal foreign conspiracy and authorized the reactivation of six of the internment camps used to hold Japanese-Americans during World War II, this time to hold "Communists and Communist sympathizers" should the order for a roundup be given during a national emergency.
Arguably, it was the Republicans themselves who rescued Truman. Backbiting within the GOP weakened partisan unity. But in the end, it had come down to turnout, with Southern whites going narrowly for Truman, a Missouri native, over Taft despite their reservations about the Democrat, while many Republicans dissatisfied with Taft or both simply stayed home.
Ironically, Truman had almost decided not to run in '52, considering that his partial term as FDR's replacement after the latter's death in April 1945 meant that his re-election in 1952 would violate the two-term tradition. After FDR's three and a fraction terms, Truman had believed the country needed to resume the two-term rule to avoid a slide toward a banana-republic-style lifetime presidency. He had been persuaded to seek re-election only when advisers warned that if he did not, the nomination would likely go to a liberal such as Illinois' Adlai Stevenson, which would guarantee a Republican win.
A further irony was that although under the Twenty-second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, pushed through Congress and the state legislatures by Republicans in 1951, no one could seek more than two terms as president, the amendment was not retroactive, so that Truman was free to seek additional terms in the White House while Taft, had he won, would have been limited to no more eight years in office. Once conservatives realized this, furious accusations would fly within the GOP and an "Amend the Amendment" drive would be organized by the Republican National Committee.
In 1916, on this day Romania declared war on Austria Hungary, joining the side of Russia in the Third Balkan War, and opening up another important front.
Article continues from Part #1.
The Last Chance for Peace #2 By Steven FisherThe war had been raging for two years, and both Austria-Hungary and Russia continued to battle, with neither having a decisive victory. The Austrians had pursued a bleeding defense strategy against Russia, standing on the defensive in the East while they attempted to secure their flank by conquering Serbia. The battle had mainly been fought in the Hungarian province of Galicia, where the Dual Monarchy hinged its defenses on the San River. The Russians forced this river line, but were unable to make headway against the Austrian defenses in the Caprathian Mountains. With the failure to force the Austrian defenses, the Russians turned towards influencing Romania to join their side in the war, while the Austrians focused on Bulgaria.
The Russians knew that if they could have Romania join their side in the war, then they could outflank the Austrian defenses on the Carpathian Mountains and flood inner Hungary with troops. They could also use an overland route to reinforce their faltering Serbian ally, who was coming under increasing pressure fromn the Dual Monarchy. They promised the Romanians that they will recieve Translyvania from a defeated Austria-Hungary, and will recieve generous financial support from the Russians. Eventually, the Romanians agree to join the war on the side of Russia.
However, the war had marched on. Bulgaria had joined the war on the side of the Dual Monarcy, in an attempt to exact revenge on Serbia for their defeat in the Second Balkan War. With pressure from the Bulgarians and Austria-Hungary, Serbia had fallen. The Serbian Army had evacuated to Korfu, and had then joined the Russian troops in Galicia. When Romania joined the war, massed russian armies slammed into the unprepared Austrian defense lines. From this point onwards, the war would continually turn in Russia's favor, as the Austrians were stretched further and further. They also fell on economic hard times as they attempted to support thew war effort.
The war would last for one more year, as the Austrians desperately tried to stabilize the situation on the Romanian front. However, the death of Franz Joseph I and the continued defeats, destroyed the morale of the army, and under the pressure of a Russian offensive, it began dissolving around itself. Commanders were unable to stop it, and Austria-Hungary is forced to sue for peace in 1917. During this time, Turkey also declares war on Bulgaria in what is seen as an opportunistic move to gain territory.
The peace treaty will hurt Austria-Hungary hard. They will lose segments of territory to Russia, Romania, and will give up the northern territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They will also be forced to pay Serbia for the damages that they dealt to her. It will be a cost that Austria-Hungary cannot bear. By the end of the year, the Dual Monarchy will have collapsed under civil unrest, military defeat in the war, and economic hardship.
The whole thread is available at the Alt History Wikia.
In AD 33, on this day the rudderless, oarless death trap of a boat provided by the fisherman Simon Peter finally sunk, casting the black African woman known as Mary Magdalene and her unborn child into the Mediterranean Sea to perish along with her young maid Sarah.
Tower of the FlockUndisturbed by the screams of her younger companion, emboldened by towering faith, she remained calm as the Risen Jesus appeared. As she always knew that he would from the very moment that she first saw the treacherous condition of the boat.
Walking across the sea water to rescue the drowning Ethiopians, he carried them safely to the Port of Alexandria where they stayed for awhile, at home at last in North Africa.
Much later, in a dream, Our Lord would speak to his "Apostle of Apostles". And the companions would undertake another epic journey to Southern France where they would set down the Gospel according to Mary Magadelene containing the unique secrets entrusted to her alone. A testament to the humanistic, individualized philosophy that they had nurtured together as husband and wife during the Ministry.
Meanwhile, another account was being set down in the Holy Land, it began "You are Peter and upon this rock I will found my church."..
In 1884, on this day the sixteenth President of the Confederate States Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri.
Harry S. Truman
16th Confederate President
March 4, 1945 - 1951He became president on March 4, 1945, but only after a close vote in both houses of Congress on the request of outgoing President James F. Byrnes to remain in office until the end of the war. The secret work on the atomic bomb, based on the research of German physicist Albert Einstein (living in Atlanta and professor at Georgia Institute of Technology), had been finished, and the code words from the US and CS presidents were the only thing keeping it from being deployed against Japan. Byrnes had worked closely with Roosevelt throughout the war and wanted to authorize the use of the bomb that had largely been developed in the CS. US President Franklin D. Roosevelt had just begun an unprecedented fourth term. The Congress of the C.S., though, would not violate their constitution even in the case of war.
A new article from the "Two Americas" thread on Althistory WikiaDuring World War I, Truman served as an artillery officer, making him the only president to have seen combat in World War I (his successor Eisenhower spent the war training tank crews in Pennsylvania). After the war he became part of the political machine of Tom Pendergast and was elected a county commissioner in Missouri and eventually a Democratic Confederate States senator. After he gained national prominence as head of the wartime Truman Committee, Truman was chosen as the Democratic candidate for president in 1944.
Truman faced challenge after challenge in domestic affairs. The disorderly postwar reconversion of the economy of the Confederate States was marked by severe shortages, numerous strikes, and the passage of a strong labor management act over his veto. Before leaving office in 1951, he was able to pass only one of the proposals in his Fair Deal program. He used executive orders to begin desegregation of the military and to create loyalty checks which dismissed thousands of communist supporters from office, even though he strongly opposed mandatory loyalty oaths for governmental employees, a stance that led to charges that his administration was soft on communism. Truman's presidency was also eventful in foreign affairs, with the end of World War II and his decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan, the founding of the United Nations, the Johnson Plan to rebuild Europe, the Truman Doctrine to contain communism, the beginning of the Cold War, the Berlin Airlift, the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Chinese Civil War, and the Korean War.
Truman, whose demeanor was very different from that of the patrician Roosevelt, was a folksy, unassuming president. He popularized such phrases as "The buck stops here" and "If you can't stand the heat, you better get out of the kitchen". He overcame the low expectations of many political observers, who compared him unfavorably with his highly-regarded predecessor. At different times in his presidency, Truman earned both the lowest public approval ratings that had ever been recorded, and the highest to be recorded for a Confederate president. Despite negative public opinion during his term in office, popular and scholarly assessments of his presidency became more positive after his retirement from politics and the publication of his memoirs.
In 1945, on behalf of the Flensburg government, Reichsprësident Karl Doënitz signed the Treaty of Rheims at U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower's headquarters in France and over 100,000 surrendered German soldiers were transferred to the Allied forces preparing for Operation Unthinkable, the surprise attack on the Soviet Union.
The Treaty of Rheims is signedThe death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on the eve of the Yalta Conference had brought to office a new President that shared Winston's Churchill plan to "impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire". Not only had Stalin refused to honour the guarantees for Polish independence that had forced Britain into the war, it also became evident that his ambition extended to the whole of Eastern Europe.
The main obstacle to Operation Unthinkable was removed on April 30th when Adolf Hitler suicided with General Patton's Third Army only two blocks from the the Reich Chancellery. Because of treachery in the Nazi High Command, Hitler had been forced to nominate the German Commander-in-Chief and Grand Admiral as his successor.
Karl Doenitz was a German naval Commander who served in the Imperial German Navy during World War I, commanded the German submarine fleet during World War II, and eventually was given control of the entire Kriegsmarine. These impeccable credentials enabled Doenitz to emerge as the new Hindenburg, a rallying point for central authority who could nevertheless distance himself from the defeated regime. And the Allies needed a unified nation in order to strike the Soviet Union.
And quickly, too. Any quick success from Operation Unthinkable would be due to surprise alone. If a quick success could not be obtained before the onset of winter the assessment was that the Allies would be committed to a total war which would be protracted (in a report of 22 May 1945 an offensive operation was deemed "hazardous").
In 1940, on this day in the British House of Commons the "Narvik Debate" closed with a vote of "no confidence" that the Government of Neville Chamberlain narrowly survived. The Prime Minister was forced to make a number of concessions. His keynote proposal to create a new position of "Chairman of the Military Co-ordinating Committee of the Cabinet" was scrapped. And the preferred candidate was dismissed from his post of First Lord of the Admiralty, although he would later accept the consolation prize of becoming the "Duke of London".
Parliament demands "Off with Catherine's Head!"The Western Allies had taken the offensive after the appointment of incoming French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud, on a limited scale, at least. Because neutral nations had been appalled that Poland had been left to its fate. Deciding against sending an Expeditionary Force to Finland, and risk a declaration of war from the Soviet Union, the Western Allies had settled on Norway as the place to make a stand. Because vital supplies of Nazi iron passed through the port of Narvik, a decision was made to use their superior naval forces to launch a pre-emptive strike that would hurt the German War Effort and also score a miliary victory for the West.
"Churchill has allowed himself to be converted into an air-raid shelter to keep the splinters from hitting his colleagues" ~ David Lloyd GeorgeThe attack in February was a resounding success, achieving both an irreversible occupation of Norway, and also a damaging blow to German supplies. In contrast, the Baltic Sea offensive by the Royal Navy was a catastrophe of the highest magnitude. A substantial naval squadron had been lost, comprising three Revenge class battleships, an aircraft carrier, five cruisers, two destroyer flotillas, submarines and supporting auxiliaries. Worse, the battleships had required significant modification to resist air and submarine attack. Two 15-inch gun turrets had to be removed, and an additional two thousand tons of armour added that had to be stolen from other pressing military applications.
"Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!" ~ Leo AmoryThe architect of "Project Catherine" was of course the hot-headed warmonger, Winston S. Churchill who foolishly anticipated that a show of force would encourage the Scandinavian nations to join the war against Germany. The impact of air power had been under-estimated in the plan, and in fact this flaw had been identified by the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Dudley Pound during the planning phase. And yet Churchill had ignored those concerns. Acting over-boldly as a result of the successful capture of Narvik, Churchill had even failed to realised that Project Catherine had become largely redundant because the iron ore shipments had already been stopped.
That Churchill could be capable of such a blunder was of little surprise to many. Throughout his long-career, he had held many of the high offices of state, leaving all of those positions in a frightful mess. As Home Secretary, he had personally taken charge of the Siege of Sidney Street, a notorious gunfight in London's East End in 1911. During his first spell as First Lord of the Admiralty, he had orchestrated the disasterous Gallipoli Campaign which had forced his exit from the Government (he spent the next few months seeing action on the Western Front). And later, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he had placed Britain back on the Gold Standard in a misguided attempt to set the clock back to 1914.
Terminal illness would soon end the Premiership of Chamberlain. His successor Lord Halifax would be roundly criticised by Churchill from the backbenchers for concluding an armistice with Germany in 1941. In retrospect, it was an insightful decision, because not only did Britain stand undefeated with many of its war aims achieved, but such a settlement allowed the Nazis to focus on the extermination of Communism, an outcome which Churchill himself had advocated during the Russian Civil War.
In 2009, on this day Paramount Pictures released J.J. Abrams' long-awaited movie adaptation of the hit radio and TV series Star Trek.
Star Trek #11 released, by Chris OakleyThe movie's premiere was the high point of a year-long celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the pop cultural icon's creation by famed radio scriptwriter Arch Oboler, who had also produced the ghost story anthology series Lights Out! and the nuclear holocaust movie Five.
Following its 1949 debut, Trek made the jump to television in 1957, where it became a mainstay on NBC's prime-time scheduled for over fifteen years and led to three spinoffs plus a highly acclaimed animated TV series.
In 1794, French scientist Antoine Lavoisier, "the Father of Modern Chemistry", was tried by a revolutionary court for treason and sentenced to death by guillotine.
Father of Modern ChemistryAn appeal to the judge for mercy brought only the mocking reply, "The Republic has no need for genius", and the execution was ordered to be carried out forthwith. Lavoisier marched to his fate with a visage of resolve and confidence, which many in the not-entirely bloodthirsty audience remarked upon.
A merry toast was shared by the side of the device by the executioner, the judge and several revolutionary leaders. The condemned was magnanimously offered some of the vintage but dismissed the gift with a brusque nod and flared nostrils. Lavoisier was placed into the guillotine and the execution was bare moments away when the executioner released the kill cable and sank to his knees, gripping his throat. Several others in attendance displayed the same behavior, and the assemblage was thrown into chaos.
Lavoisier was quickly freed by several compatriots who had drawn scarves about their heads to protect their identities, bustled through the crowd into a waiting carriage and conveyed to safety. It was later found out that the chemical genius had developed a certain compound of ferrocyanic salts which had been used to lace the wine for the ill-fated toast shared by his would-be murderes. Ensconced safely in America the next year, Lavoisier spent the next two decades developing the foundations of the modern table of elements, advancing the till-then overlooked field of chemistry in immeasurable ways.
In 1945, on VE Day, as Europe celebrated peace at the end of six years of war, Winston Churchill was brooding on the certainty that the celebrations would soon be brutally interrupted.
Operation Unthinkable had been authorised, and would soon shatter the empheral peace on the continent.
UnthinkableOperation Unthinkable was a plan ordered by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and developed by the British Armed Forces at the end of World War II.
The primary goal of the operation was declared as follows: "to impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire". (The word "Russia" is used heavily throughout the document, although at the time the name Russia had been replaced by the "Soviet Union".)
The Chiefs of Staff were rightly concerned that given the enormous size of Soviet forces deployed in Europe at the end of the war, and the fact that the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was unreliable, there existed a Soviet threat to Western Europe.
"to impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire".Churchill stated within the briefing documents for Unthinkable that it was a "precautionary study" of what he hoped was a "purely hypothetical contingency ".
The majority of the operation would have consisted of American and British forces, but it also contemplated the use of Polish forces and up to 100,000 surrendered German soldiers. The plan was approved by the British Chiefs of Staff Committee as militarily feasible in late April 1945.
In 1984, U.S. ground forces in Cuba began advancing on Havana.
In 1997, V-A (Victory in America) Day is celebrated in Great Britain, Egypt and China as the war in America is over. All prisoners of war were released and sent home, and the allied powers began reconstructing the American government; along the old lines in the east, where British and Egyptian forces held control, and along communist lines in the west, where the Chinese troops held the reins.
In 1985, the Council of Wisdom asks to see Chelsea Perkins, and she goes before them. The Council is composed of different members than in her own time, and she only recognizes a couple of them. They ask her about her own future activities, which she is careful to tell in a highly flattering light. She leaves the meeting feeling good about her chances of being sent back to her own time.
In 1970, Pete Best's album So It Goes is released. It marks the turning point for his career as he abandons the old Liverpool sound for a new, more bluesy American musical style. Many of his British fans feel it is a betrayal, but critics across the pond embrace the album as Best's finest work to date. He also buys a mansion in America this year, which further alienates those still listening for the naive young man from Liverpool.
In 1915, Admiral Esteban Rodriquez arrives back in the P'Karsai nebula to find that Dr. Argus McCloud and his small shuttle crew have the situation well in hand. With the water on the Kainku world and the materials Admiral Rodriquez brings with him, Dr. McCloud is able to produce a neural neutralizer for everyone in Rodriquez's fleet, and contact between the Congress of Nations and the Kainku resumes.
In 1999, Detective Reginald Clive-Owens of Scotland Yard discovers Prime Minister Merl Myrddin - or at least his body. The detective had followed a series of mysterious leads that put him in North Wales, at a small abbey outside of Conwy. Here, a brother friar took him into a secret room where a small bed was occupied by the prime minister, in a coma. The friar had been tending him since his appearance there two nights before, on orders of his superiors. Detective Clive-Owens sent for an ambulance to carry Myrddin back to London, and reporters descended on the abbey to find out why the prime minister had ended up there, and who had brought him. Answers were not very forthcoming - the friar knew nothing, and his superiors had disappeared.
In 1891, Major Mark Wainwright and a hand-picked team of 10 men cross the Nebraska border in the dark of night and slip into Kansas. Dressed in civilian clothes, they present themselves as volunteers to the Kansas militia-men in the morning; 'I was in the Army fighting the Indians,' Wainwright tells the militia commander, 'I should be able to fight these union boys.' The commander, impressed with Wainwright and his men, assigns them to guard the militia's ammunition dump, just as Wainwright and Colonel Monteith had hoped.
In 1991, William Webster, the CIA director under George Bush, resigns prior to giving testimony against Bush in the Iran-Contra hearings. This is the final nail in the coffin of Bush's presidency, and he himself resigns a month later. The Republican Party, held together mainly by nostalgia since the fall of communism, splinters after the loss of a second president to scandal in recent memory, and its members drift into the Libertarian Party and the newly-formed Independent Party.
In 1984, in a twist ending, Joanie left Chachi at the altar on Happy Days. The plans for a spinoff series starring the two characters had fallen through, and the actors had not renewed their contracts for Happy Days, so they were written out with this episode. There was a brief surge of fan support to get them back together, but the series was not renewed after that point.
In 1937, gadfly writer Thomas Pynchon was born in Glen Cove, New York. This publicity-hungry writer entered the New York City literary scene with his short story The Small Rain and became a permanent fixture wherever a party or camera was to be found. Among his many stunts were the planting of the little symbols from The Crying of Lot 49 all over New York City, and the organization of the alternate postal system from that book.
In 1886, Dr. John Pemberton's Coca Elixir began being sold from Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia. The powerful medicine brightened the outlook and put pep in the steps of Georgians for years until cocaine was outlawed. This quelled Pemberton's desire to find the 'perfect' health drink, and he was able to put more attention into his own shop, where he and his wife made a comfortable living.
In 199,265 BCE the mother of all humanity gave birth to the first of her many children in southern Africa. She never got a card from a single one of them.
In 1884, future President Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri. Having dropped the bomb on five Japanese cities to close out World War 2, Truman was in no position to refuse UN Commander in Chief Douglas MacArthur who told him that the Chinese incursion meant that Korea was 'an entirely new war'. 'Brass Hat' requested the detonation of thirty to fifty nuclear weapons in Manchuria to end the Korean War. Actually, it was closer to fifty, and by the time Curtis 'Bombs Away' LeMay raised a similiar request to win the Vietnam War, President Barry Goldwater was forced to agree that they 'might as well finish the job by lobbing a couple in the men's room at the Kremlin' as well.
In 1866, on this day Ministerpräsident Otto von Bismarck was assassinated by a German student called Ferdinand Cohen-Blind as he walked across the Unter den Linden boulevard in Berlin near the Russian Embassy. Bismarck's death occurred later in the evening in the presence of King Wilhelm I and the King's physician Gustav von Lauer. Ferdinand Cohen-Blind committed suicide after being taken to police headquarters by members of the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Guard.
Otto von Bismarck dies earlierAt the high point of his political career, the "Iron Chancellor" had been killed by a radical democrat who desperately wanted to stop the possible outbreak of a war between Prussia and Austria.
Even if it was the end for Bismarck the assassination was certainly not the end of his expansionist policies. However his more cautious successors favoured the peaceful absorption of most of the South German States into the North German Confederation. And instead, their focus turned to faster colonial expansion, ensuring that the new Germany would have its "place in the sun". This is a companion article to the Kaiser Wilhelm I of Prussia dies earlier blog post.
In 2009, the eleventh Star Trek movie bombed at the box office principally due to a serious miscommunication that had occured during production.
"Kirk Prime" controversy causes Trekkies to boycott Movie #11A fresh cast led by Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto had sought to remodel the characters in the swashblucking tradition of Horatio Hornblower, a concept conceived during the original pilot in 1966. For example, Pine sought to act Kirk's characteristics of "humor, arrogance and decisiveness", but not William Shatner's speech pattern, which he felt would have bordered on imitation.
However Quinto went a step further and befriended Leonard Nimoy, seeking to explore the Vulcan "notion of how to evolve in a responsible way and how to evolve in a respectful way. I think those are all things that we as a society, and certainly the world, could implement". So much so, that Nimoy would agree to reprises his role as an elder Spock, referred to in the ending credits as "Spock Prime".
Director JJ Abrams and the writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman met Nimoy at his house; writer Roberto Orci recalled the actor gave a "Who are you guys and what are you up to? vibe" before being told how important he was to them. He was silent, and Nimoy's wife Susan Bay told the creative team he had remained in his chair after their conversation, emotionally overwhelmed by his decision after turning down many opportunities to revisit the role. Had Nimoy disliked the script, production would have been delayed for it to be rewritten. He was "genuinely excited" by the script's scope and its detailing of the characters' backstories, saying, "We have dealt with [Spock being half-human, half-Vulcan], but never with quite the overview that this script has of the entire history of the character, the growth of the character, the beginnings of the character and the arrival of the character into the Enterprise crew". Abrams said "it was surreal to direct him as Spock, because what the hell am I doing there? This guy has been doing it for forty years".
But Shatner wanted to share Nimoy's major role, and did not want a cameo,Yet the real surrealism would follow. Because Orci and Kurtzman wrote a scene for William Shatner, where old Spock gives his younger self a recorded message by Kirk from the previous timeline. "It was basically a Happy Birthday wish knowing that Spock was going to go off to Romulus, and Kirk would probably be dead by the time," and it would have transistioned into Shatner reciting "Where no man has gone before". But Shatner wanted to share Nimoy's major role, and did not want a cameo, despite his character's death in Star Trek Generations.
Orci and Kurtzman gave an assurance that the character of Kirk Prime would be written into the plot, which Shatner misunderstood to be an offer of a serious role in the movie. When it became clear that a voice over was planned to run with the credits, Shatner released a furious tirade in a Youtube movie, Watch William Shatner Responds to Star Trek Director JJ Abrams forcing Trekkies to boycott the movie out of respect for William Shatner.
In 1954, the 56-day battle of Dien Bien Phu ended with the destruction of Ho Chi Minh's Viet Minh guerrilla forces by tactical nuclear weapons supplied to the French defenders by the U.S. military at the order of President Dwight D. Eisenhower (pictured).
Siege Lifted at Dien Bien PhuPresident Eisenhower, who in 1953 had successfully pressed the recalcitrant North Korean government to accept an armistice in the Korean conflict by threatening to use nuclear weapons if Pyongyang did not agree, had concluded that providing the French with a nuclear option was the only way to prevent their defeat, which he believed would inevitably lead to a Communist takeover of all of "Indochina".
The use of nuclear weapons at Dien Bien Phu was a military success, allowing France to reassert control over its rebellious Asian colonies. It was, however, a political burden for the United States, whose role in the matter was an open secret. Throughout the Third World, America was increasingly seen as all too willing to use nuclear weapons against non-white adversaries, even as it found excuses to avoid a nuclear strike against the white-ruled Soviet Union. The fact that the Soviets had their own nuclear arsenal was not seen as convincing disproof of this charge, since the U.S. had enjoyed a nuclear monopoly from 1945 to 1949 but had not, even during the Berlin crisis of 1948, used atomic bombs against the USSR.
In 2009, twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Japanese citizens celebrated re-unification. And yet the anniversary reopened an old debate. Should President Harry S. Truman have prevented the Soviet invasion of the north island by ordering unrestricted civilian - or even atomic - bombing in the summer of 1945?
This Awful ThingTruman had been vice president for just eighty-two days when President Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945. And so Truman was unexpectedly propelled into the Presidency less than three months into Roosevelt's fourth term, telling reporters "Boys, if you ever pray, pray for me now. I don't know if you fellas ever had a load of hay fall on you, but when they told me what happened yesterday, I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me".
"Operated on this morning. Diagnosis not yet complete but results seem satisfactory and already exceed expectations. Local press release necessary as interest extends great distance. Dr. Groves pleased. He returns tomorrow. I will keep you posted". ~ Secretary of War's Fateful telegramAnd at the Potsdam Conference which ran from July 16 to August 2, 1945 events began to move fast, too fast for a President who had not even been taken into his predecessor's confidence. Because even as Truman and Churchill argued with Stalin over the joint occupation of Germany, it occured to Truman that a similiar argument over Japan was over the horizon. Perhaps it no longer made sense to encourage the Soviet Union to declare war on Japan, surely, there would be a heavy price to pay. And then a historic opportunity arrived in the form of a telegram from Secretary of War Henry Stimson ~ "Operated on this morning. Diagnosis not yet complete but results seem satisfactory and already exceed expectations. Local press release necessary as interest extends great distance. Dr. Groves pleased. He returns tomorrow. I will keep you posted". The Trinity Test had been successful, and suddenly America had the capability to detonate an atomic bomb and potentially bring the war in the Far East to an early conclusion, perhaps on exclusively American terms. The capability, but not the desire. Because resistance would arrive from an unexpected quarter, the American military.
Probably the person closest to Truman, from the military standpoint, was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral William Leahy, who deplored the use of the bomb and strongly advised Truman not to use it, "Mr President, we will regret this day. The United States will suffer, for war is not to be waged on women and children". Due to Leahy's intervention, the advice of service chiefs was sought in utmost secrecy, and their judgement was universally against dropping the bomb. Chief of the U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations, Ernest J. King, stated that the naval blockade and prior bombing of Japan in March of 1945, had rendered the Japanese helpless and that the use of the atomic bomb would have been both unnecessary and immoral. Also, the opinion of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was that "The Admiral took the opportunity of adding his voice to those insisting that Japan had been defeated before the Trinity Test". General Eisenhower urged Truman, in a personal visit, not to use the atomic bomb. Eisenhower's assessment was "Its not necessary to hit them with this awful thing . . . to use the atomic bomb, to kill and terrorize civilians, without even attempting [negotiations], would be a double crime".
And so the Manhattan project, staffed by 200,000 scientists and engineers, and secretly financed to the tune of $2bn without congressional oversight, was a white elephant. Operation Downfall proceeded with the invasion of the southernmost main Japanese island, Kyushu, with the recently captured island of Okinawa used as a staging area. And the direst warnings of the "pro-bomb" faction led by Churchill and Truman proved untrue. Far from the 1,200,000 casualties predicted by Churchill, in fact less than 50,000 Americans died in the invasion of Japan. And yet there was a price to pay. The Allied invasion could not begin before October / November, and by then the Soviets were ready too. As Truman had predicted, the Soviet Union required a quid-pro-quo, the "temporary" occupation of the northern island.
In 1941, on this day Radio Moscow announced the surrender of the last remaining German troops in Warsaw.
In 2009, the science magazine Current Biology dropped a bombshell on the world biological sciences community: while studying the habits of the basking shark, a group of biologists from the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries had found tangible evidence of the existence of a sea serpent -- a creature thought for centuries to be strictly the figment of sailors' imaginations.
On, this day in 2008, the Federal German Defense Ministry sent additional hazmat teams to Egypt to expedite the disposal of the chemical weapons found at Cleopatra's tomb six days earlier.
In 1987, a team of reporters discovers President Hart in a compromising situation with a good-looking blonde aboard his private yacht. The blonde will turn out to be Donna Rice, whom the President had met at a New Year's Eve Party the previous December. In a twist seemingly too good to be true from the newsmen's standpoint, the boat bears the name Monkey Business. The story appears in the evening editions of both the Miami Herald and the Washington Post, as well as on the nightly network news programs, and will be picked up the following day by papers throughout America and in foreign countries.
Hart's recklessness in allowing himself to be caught after publicly daring the press to do so proves shocking even to many of his strongest supporters. Previously, he had seemed all but assured of renomination; within days, however, pundits and top Democratic Party officials are openly speculating that he may be forced to drop out of the presidential race. In addition, several Democrats who had previously decided not to challenge the incumbent now begin reconsidering their options; among them are Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, Jesse Jackson, and Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis.
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac sends word to King Arthur II in Wales that more assistance is needed to penetrate the Swiss defenses. His planes, although effective at bombing, are unable to transport enough troops across Switzerland's mountains to maintain more than a toehold in the Central European Empire's capital. He needs Arthur to obtain more transport aircraft from the Commonwealth allies, who have been reluctant to provide them to du Lac without assurance from Great Britain's monarch that they will be paid for the use. Unfortunately, the message to King Arthur is intercepted by Queen Gwen, who destroys it. When a servant sees her burning the paper, she says, 'The King is here to rest, not to tend to the whims of those who serve him.'
In 1891, Major Mark Wainwright returns to the Nebraska headquarters of the troubled Kansas siege with the bad news that the new governor of Missouri intends to provide no support to them. Lt. Colonel Theodore Monteith tells him that there are similar rumblings from Nebraska's leadership. 'It's not looking good, Mark,' Monteith says. 'We need some kind of concrete victory against Simpson, something that will wipe out the stain of the Missouri massacre. I've got something in mind - but it means you're going back into Kansas. I won't order you to do it, but I'd like you to volunteer.' Wainwright, weary as he was of this war, nodded.
In 1997, America's surviving Constitutionalist government officially surrenders to the British, Egyptian and Chinese allies in Yorktown, Virginia. It is a symbolic surrender, since fighting had already stopped and the Constitutionalists had lost power in most of the country long before President Ralph Shephard killed himself.
In 1985, one day before a scheduled appearance at a wreath-laying ceremony at a German military cemetery at Bitburg on the fortieth anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe intended to demonstrate the strength of the friendship between modern West Germany and the United States, President Gary Hart is informed that the chosen cemetery contains the graves of 49 members of the Nazi SS.
It is a major embarrassment. The President cancels the visit, opting instead to visit a former concentration camp. West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is humiliated and furious, and the German media play up the President's decision not to come to the cemetery as 'an insult to the German people,' in the words of one editorial.
'When,' the same opinion piece asks, 'will the Germans of today cease to be punished for the sins of their ancestors?' Meanwhile, at home and in Israel, the fact that Hart had even considered visiting what Elie Wiesel describes as 'a ceremony to honor mass murderers' ignites waves of protest.
In 1763, Ottawa chief Pontiac, having been lobbied by Mlosh for 5 years, joins the Iroquois Confederation. He sees the coming unification of North America and wants to make sure that his people aren?t left behind. The joining of the Ottawa to the Confederation prompts many smaller native nations to seek entrance to the Confederation, swelling its importance.
In 1985, with the teenage Patience Redding in tow, Chelsea Perkins and Debra Morris find a witch that Miss Morris knows in the future and attempt to sort everything out. All the talk of witchcraft fascinates Redding, who makes a vow to become one herself. Chelsea attempts to persuade her otherwise, saying, 'You have no idea how unglamorous it all is.'
In 2003, in the middle of performing the Broadway comedy The Play Wot I Wrote, Roger Moore collapses and dies of a heart attack. The former James Bond actor's funeral was attended by all the remaining Bondsmen: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.
In 1969, child actress Nora Kuzma was born in Steubenville, Ohio. Her mother moved the family to Los Angeles after divorcing her husband in the 70's, and concentrated on getting her children into the movies. Young Nora caught the eye of a couple of commercial directors, and her career took off from there. She became a B-grade sci-fi staple until her breakout role in Blade as a vampire security chief.
In 1968, piano-playing British rocker Reginald Dwight thought about changing his rather staid name to something more glamorous, and came up with Reggie Dee, under which he recorded his songs Crocodile Rock, Rocket Man and Honky Cat. His flamboyant style and rather scandalous personal life as an out-of-the-closet homosexual made him a top-flight rock-star in the '70s and '80s.
In 1960, Tsar Nicholas III appoints Leonid Brezhnev his Ambassador to the Soviet States of America. Brezhnev had flirted with American-supported communists in his youth, and the Tsar wanted him out of the country because of his popularity with these groups. Brezhnev, once he saw the reality of communism, was put off by it and became an ardent Russian capitalist.
In 1954, in spite of stiff political opposition, NATO allows the Soviet Union to join. Although their presence in the alliance creates tension for a few years, the tie to western Europe does open them up when reformers gain control of the Kremlin and Politburo in the late 50's. This gesture, hard-fought at first, is often given credit for avoiding a Cold War between the east and the west that might have lasted many years.
In 1812, poet Robert Browning was born in London, England, to a wealthy banker of the same name. Browning was the very picture of the tragic poet pining for his love, since he lost his heart to Elizabeth Barrett, who married American author Edgar Allan Poe.
In 2011, the fourth movie in the popular Spider-Man series was released, with actor Toby McGuire repeating his dual role as Peter Parker and Spider-Man, Kirsten Dunst returning as Mary Jane Watson. Dylan Baker costarred as Dr. Curtis Connors (whose CGI-aided transformation into the monstrous Lizard and then back to human form would win an Oscar in the special effects category), John Malkovich as the Vulture and Anne Hathaway as Mary Jane's romantic rival Gwen Stacy.
Release of fourth Spider-Man movieCreative differences between producer Sam Raimi and Sony Pictures nearly threatened to derail the film, as producer Sam Raimi feared he could not meet the release deadline without compromising the film. Ultimately, however, the disputes were resolved, with Raimi scaling back the script by eliminating, among other things, a planned appearance of the villain Venom. That character, along with another longtime Spider-Man foe, the Sandman, was instead slated to appear in a fifth, as yet unproduced film, although actors McGuire and Dunst have hinted that they are not interested in appearing in another Spider-Man movie, suggesting that their roles may need to be recast.
In 1864, on this day the commander of First Corps  of the Army of Northern Virginia Lt Gen James Longstreet was killed by friendly fire on the second day of the Battle of the Wilderness.
An installement of the Federal's Lost Cause thread.
Federal Lost Cause Part 2: Death of Old War HorseBy incredible coincidence he was accidentally shot by his own men only four miles away from the place where General Jackson was injured under identical circumstances a year earlier . And if the demise of the South Carolinian was a setback, then the timing appeared a disaster for the South. Because panic was fairly underway in Hancock's II Corps and Longstreet might well have been able to force Grant to retreat back across the Rapidan. Instead, the Yankees disengaged and headed south.
But as events developed, it didn't matter. Because three weeks later General Jackson won an improbable field victory at the Battle of North Anna and the electorate moved firmly into the Peace Camp. Months later, General McClellan edged Lincoln at the Polls, and the Civil War was at an end. Dedicating the victory to Longstreet, Jackson praised his colleague as "the best corps commander in the conflict on either side" . Perhaps unfairly, by comparison Jackson drew a lot of harsh criticism in the post-war era, particularly for his poor performance at Antietam. But Longstreet was held up high as the standard bearer of the Confederate forces, basking in the glory of what was after all a stalemate brought to a climax by the Yankee electoral cycle.
In 1865, on this day Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, Judah Benjamin and the Cabinet Ministers of the Confederate Government-in-Exile arrived in Granada where they received a warm, sympathetic welcome from General William Walker on behalf of the slaver's republic he had established in Nicaragua nine years before.
Due SouthKeen to avoid a trial which would re-open the dispute about the legal right of secession, Abraham Lincoln had decided to permit the rebel leadership to make their escape. And to ease reconstruction, he ordered Union forces to allow over one hundred thousand die hard supporters to head due south and join Jeff Davis et al in Nicaragua.
History would judge that the avoidance of a potentially messy end to the Civil War was achieved by cynically moving the institution of slavery offshore. But at the time, Lincolns supporters would argue that the President was merely following his regular policies by shaping his decision-making around the need to preserve the Union at all costs.
As Lincoln had shrewdly predicted, the pathetic remant government of Davis came to naught. But the flimsy state created by Walker, and sustained by Napoleon III, received a boost that would spur the next generation to seek out Anglo-British imperial support and carve up Central America.
The problem of dealing with the Confederate successor state would be inherited by President Theodore Roosevelt during the construction of the Panama Canal. And the angry Anglo-French investors who had just funded the construction of the Nicaraguan Canal.
In 1983, the PLM captured the Soviet government naval base at the Black Sea port of Odessa, seizing tons of ammunition and equipment and thwarting the Kremlin's hopes of reinforcing besieged Red Army troops in the Ukraine via amphibious landing.
Fall of OdessaPost-Cold War historians would later cite the rebel victory at Odessa as the point where the tide of the Russian civil war began to turn against the Communists once and for all; the events at Odessa seriously damaged morale in all sectors of the Soviet regular armed forces, and in the late stages of the war Red Army commanders found themselves increasingly plagued by desertions. By 1986 some 200 Red Air Force pilots had gone over to the PLM side and fifty Soviet naval personnel had been executed on suspicion of mutiny.
By the time the war ended in 1987 only a handful of combat troops were still fighting on the Communist side-- the rest, with the conspicuous exception of a shrinking cadre of hard-line generals, had all chosen to throw in their lot with the insurgents. In fact, the very week of the final Communist surrender to the PLM one of the few remaining Russian naval warships still under Kremlin control was torpedoed by a rebel submarine in the Baltic; the submarine's captain would later be appointed chief of staff for the post-civil war Russian navy.
In 1941, on this day the British Government lost a vote of confidence by just three votes triggering the immediate resignation of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Anthony Eden.
Churchill's Government falls after Greek MisadventureEden had embarked on a long tour of the Middle East in a futile attempt to save the Balkans from Axis Occupation. In fact the decision to overrule military advice and intervene in the Balkans was Churchill's alone. Nevertheless both Field Marshall Sir John Dill and Commander-in-Chief (Middle East) Sir Archibald Wavell were both forced from position after the failure of the mission, a savage outcome that soured relations between the political and military leadership. First Eden, and shortly afterwards Churchill were on their way too.
"The decision to go to Greece was a political one and from the point of view of a professional it was a military nonsense" ~ Lt-Col BelchamOn returning to London, Eden was required to provide the House of Commons with a "full and as clear an account as I could of the events of the last two or three months", but instead gave a disasterous performance that required Churchill's intervention. "Nothing can excuse a disaster. It was due to very woolly thinking before it was launched" ~ Gen FreybergAnd his claim that the coup in Belgrade was orchestrated by British intelligence was exposed as a desperate lie to extract some value from the whole dismal episode. Worse, a golden opportunity to end the North Africa Campaign had been thrown away by the transfer of Allies forces to Greece.
"[The Balkan nations] are such a poor lot that they would only add to our military commitments and we should gain nothing". ~ Maj-Gen KennedyChurchill claimed that "everything in human power was done by us and that our honour as a nation is clear". Shortly afterwards the House voted on the motion "That this House approves the policy of His Majesty's Government in sending help to Greece and declares its confidence that our operations in the Middle East and in all other theatres of war will be pursued by the Government with the utmost vigour".
Having warned that Balkan states faced the isolated defeat of Scandinavian nations a year before, it now appeared that another fall of Government might in the offing after the defeat in the House of Commons. Because the German propaganda image of the Luftwaffe bombing the unprotected Acropolis (pictured) struck at the heart of the confidence issue, that the future of civilization was imperilled by the accident-prone leadership of Winston Churchill. His successor, Lord Halifax would sign an armistice with Hitler that would permit the Germans to concentrate on a common enemy, the Soviet Union.
In 2002, on this day the former head of South Africa's Chemical and Bacterioligical Warfare (CBW) unit, Daan Goosen offered the FBI the entire collection of pathogens developed by his research group during the Apartheid era.
Bioweapons for SaleThe pricetag was a mere five million dollars in cash and nineteen U.S. passports for his associated and their dependents. As a gesture of goodwill, Goosen provided a vial of genetically altered bacteria that he had freeze-dried and hidden inside a toothpaste tube for secret passage to the United States. A retired CIA officer couriered the microbes eight thousand miles for the drop-off with the FBI.
The FBI refused the offer and skeptical agents turned the matter over to South African authorities, who twice investigated Goosen but never charged him. Yet during this critical period, Goosen was tricked by agents of Saddam Hussein's regime masquerading as FBI Officers.
The program known as "Project Coast" has been commissioned in 1981 by P.W. Botha as an offensive weapon for operations in Angola against Soviet-backed SWAPO, Cuban and Angolan troops. "The weapons programs were ostensibly terminated, yet clearly they weren't able to destroy everything," said Jeffrey M. Bale of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, who carried out a study of South Africa's weapons programs. "The fact that Goosen and others are providing samples and being approached by foreign parties suggests that these things never really went away".
These CBW now entered the arsenal of Saddam Hussein on the eve of the Second Gulf War. And US President Bush's "State of the Union" assertion that Saddam had obtained weapons of mass destruction from Africa was suddenly transformed from a ridiculous falsehood to a cold hard fact.
In 1915, B-Movie director George O. Welles was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
B-Movie director Orson Welles born by Jake DominguezThrough a nearly 40-year career, Welles produced over 450 motion pictures, the vast majority of which were obscure, low-budget science fiction yarns or monster thrillers. After his October 30, 1938 broadcast adaptation of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds for the CBS radio network, Welles quickly realized the potential of fantastic fictional concepts and creatures to thrill and overwhelm the populace. He quickly moved to Hollywood where he convinced RKO to fund his first and most-acclaimed cinematic 'achievement', Venusian Kane. Despite the rather pithy story of a man from another world's struggle to adapt to Earth society, the film featured a number of directorial innovations that quickly placed it among the most well-critiqued films of 1941.
However, the success of the film seems to have wilted Welles' ambitions to transform Hollywood's creative process, and he soon became comfortable churning out an average of a dozen low-grade films per year for a multitude of lesser-known film studios, chief among them American-International Pictures, for whom he directed the cult classic I Was A Teenaged Biker Werewolf in 1962. Toward the end of his life, as the B-movie market dried up with the growing popularity of the expensive genre movie, Welles moved on to performing voiceover work for popular cartoons and television programs, as well as hosting the Saturday Night horror film showcase program Creature Features for a nearly 10-year stint.
Welles died of a heart attack in 1985, and at his own request was memorialized only by having his image and voice inserted in the role of a doomed citizen in the then in-production Japanese film Godzilla vs. Biollante.
In 1613, a group of British colonists in the Massachusetts Bay region of New England established what is today the city of Boston.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.