In 1975, David Frost interviews President Richard Nixon the day after the last state's vote to ratify the 27th Amendment, repealing the 2-term limit on the presidency.
XXVI Amendment RatifiedWhen Frost asks him how he felt about this Amendment, which had been pushed through in order to allow him to run for a 3rd term, Nixon replied, "It was the first time I cried since Eisenhower died".
In 1914, Hindenburg had retired and was brought out of retirement to head the Operations in the East, with Ludendorff transferred from the General Staff. An installment from the Central Powers Victorious thread.
Central Powers Victorious Part 3 Recalled Hindenburg heads EastHindenburg heads East, when the general in East Prussia wanted to retreat to the Vistula.
The victory of Tannenburg followed, but it was Col. Max Hoffman's, his chief of staff's, plan. Ludendorff on his arrival in Berlin in 1916 after Falkenhayn is sacked, gets the job of organising the German war economy for Total War, Hindenburg continues as the figurehead while Max Hoffman, who has come with them is made responsible for military planning.
Hoffman quickly closes down the battle of Verdun, thus avoiding the capture of a large number of German prisoner in the counter-offensive. He arranges a bombardment of the areas the Germans withdraw from when the French advance into them. Meanwhile it appears they are now massing on each side of the neck of the Verdun salient and are preparing to cut it off. Joffre and Mangin react by withdrawing men from Verdun. Hoffman orders, in as far as it can be done in time, the "Combined Arms" storm-trooper infiltration tactics to be used in counter-offensives on the Somme.
This disconcerts Haig and the French. Predicting the attack at Messines Ridge and Passchendaele, Hoffman uses the same tactics of bombardment of an area evacuated and Combined Arms tactics are used, with even more disasterous results for Haig.
Ludendorff is quite good at organising war production, which he did in the occupied areas in the East, as he was a bureaucrat and had always worked in military organisation and transport. The rise in German production is noted by Lloyd-George in intelligence reports, as he is the former Minister of Munitions, whilst worrying even more about casualties in view of the worse military situation to OTL. Hoffman insists on tanks, including lighter fast ones for the pursuit and not just to break through the front line. He devises Cavalry Brigades, similar to those used by the Reds in the Russian Wars of Intervention, and infantry divisions coming along behind. These combine whatever tanks are available with cavalry, mounted infantry and mobile artillery, with supply transport in one unit. He devised new tactics similar to our own - deception and great attention to concealing where the attack will actually come with diversions and noise and use of aircraft to make attacks on troop formations and supplies behind the lines.
This was the origin of the Panzer Division in OTL. Haig is convinced the attack will come in Flanders, the French believe it will come in Lorraine and Champagne or there will be another attempt to take Verdun. The result is Hoffman's offensive in 1918 goes straight through the centre, with 100,000 cavalry creating disruption behind the lines. The French fall back on Paris, as the always said they would do, and have difficulty coping with the Cavalry Brigade tactics, as do the British cavalry Haig hastily sends south. Our mounted infantry are in the Middle East. The French government prepare yet again to flee to Bordeaux, Paris is put under martial law as a siege is feared. French troops race back to defend Paris.
Joffre and Mangin are unable to deal with the panic of the French politicians and reluctantly recommend a cease-fire. Lloyd-George receives an equally panic-stricken dispatch from Haig at British GHQ. This means the new German cavalry brigades can threaten the Channel Ports. Also the Germans have tanks, which is a total surprise.They appear to be using our own tactics devised as new by the British General Staff.
This triggers the greatest fears of the British cabinet, as the Conservative members have discussed and feared, the dangers of us having 1 -3 million hostages in France.
What happened to the German offensive in Flanders? Unfortunately the intelligence reports appear to have been mistaken. It is at this point the Kaiser's Peace Offer arrives, clearly devised by Wilhelm's uncle and co-ordinated with Hoffman. Landsdowne, the veteran foreign secretary and himself arguing for a negotiated peace, is sent by Le Havre and Paris to Basel to receive it from the German Minister Plenipotentary, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, aka Alfred Duke of Clarence and Edward VII's brother. Lloyd-George telegrams Landsdowne to sign an armistice.
He sees advantages in positioning himself as a leading member of the peace conference and appears before the press at the front door of No. 10 to announce "Peace with Honour".
He particularly fears further casualties and does not want the intended offensive of 1919, particularly as they will have to rely on the Americans for it. Haig and the General Staff have already advised they believe the war will go on till 1920, at the best May, but probably October, and that was before the German break-through. Lloyd-George believed we were going to lose and had been assembling a collection of documents which exonerated him.
Poincaire spends some time pounding his desk in Paris and shouting "Albion La Perfide!", but he had his generals sign the original cease-fire. On his return, Landsdowne is greeted at Victoria Station by a huge crowd, wild cheering, and off-duty soldiers on leave carry him on their shoulders to his waiting official car.
In 1934, on this day Admiral Erich Raeder was killed in an auto accident in Berlin; within six years his less conventional successor as professional head of the Kriegsmarine Großdmiral Karl Döenitz would advocate the aerial mine drop strategy that would close the UK's deep water ports forcing Great Britain to the brink of collapse.
By Ed and Scott PalterThe rivalry between Raeder and Goëring threatened to create a resource allocation conflict between their respective service arms. But with Döenitz's arrival, the direction radically changed; it soon became clear that German would not build a big battle fleet.
Instead, the small submarine and coast defence force that was assembled was mostly lost during the Norway campaign. In fact the extreme logistical difficulties experienced by both sides discouraged any serious consideration of an invasion attempt on the British Isles.
Consequently the Nazi High Command was of one mind that Great Britain could only be subdued by indirect action. And so was conceived a dastardly plan to starve Great Britain into submission by closing her deep water ports. Operation Sea Lion was born.
In 1940, predictably the surprise Panzer attack conceived by von Manstein ended in chaos and confusion after mechanical foul-ups proved the Ardennes Forest to be a locality wholly unsuited to a rapid incursion of concentrated armour.
By Stan Brin (lead), Ed & Scott PalterThe biggest traffic snarl-up in the then history of Europe ended in the dismissal of the imaginative and daring General who had isolated himself from the senior officer corps by daring to reject the principle of Bewegungskrieg ("manoeuvre warfare") which was the basis of German operations since the 19th century. Ironically, had the Operational Plan succeeded, it is probable that he would have been the victim of jealous intrigue from those same colleagues in the Wehrmacht.
Instead Charles de Gaulle would be credited with the winning organization of lines of anti-tank trenches and tank formations. But due to political disagreement, the attack was not pressed, and de Gaulle was stopped at Aachen. In the autumn, Hitler made another attempt, this time pulling back to the Rhine. This second reversal caused Mussolini to change sides, again, and then finally attack the German border. Prompted into earlier action by this betrayal, Stalin attacked German-occupied Poland and Nazi generals stage a a coup d'etat.
The new Imperial German government obtained a negotiated peace with the Western Allies. And the war in Poland then became a defense of the West.
In 1914, on this day Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill sent a telegram congratulating Rear Admiral Ernest Troubridge for sparing "untold misery and suffering for the peoples of the East" by sinking the German Battle Cruisers Goeben and Breslau within sight of the harbor at the Golden Horn in Constantinople.
Golden HornAs usual the high drama was a problem of Churchill's own botched decision-making. At the outbreak of war, two Dreadnoughts were being built for Turkish order in British Shipyards, but he hot-headedly decided to seize them for the Royal Navy without even offering compensation. In the event, the two ships made little impact on the course of the war. But Turkish Minister of War Ismail Enver was appalled and outraged. No stranger to bad calls himself, Enver had led the Young Turks into no less than three disastrous wars since the abdication Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1908.
Even through the British Empire had supported Turkey for the previous century, this catastrophic set of misjudgements threatened to bring Turkey into the Great War on the side of the Central Powers when the Imperial German Government offered two replacements, the Goeben and Breslau.
In the event, Turkish anger was subdued by the demonstration of British mastery in the Mediterranean and diplomats rushed to Constantinople to offer compensation that would ensure Turkish neutrality for the duration of the war.
Churchill entertained hopes of saving Imperial Russia by supplying her from the south, but within months she had lost millions dead on the Eastern Front and her collapse was inevitable. Nevertheless, in his self-congratulatory biopic "The World Crisis, 1911-1918" he claimed the credit for preventing a belligerent Ottoman Turkey from bringing the same kind of nationalist pressures to the Middle East that war had brought to the Balkans.
In 2010, the Quintessential wrote ~ these days, we often forget that the atomic bombs were nearly used on Japan during the Second World War. With the anniversary of the Soviet declaration of war on Imperial Japan (or as they call it in Orwellian jargon of Socialist Democratic Republic of Japan, "Fraternal Help for Pacification") looming, it is hard to remember another more obscure non-event that would have also happened sixty-five years ago today, had it not been for President Truman's decision two weeks prior.
What if .. Atom Bombs Weren't UsedThe bible-quoting haberdasher from Missouri wrote in his diary on July 25th 1945 that with an atomic bomb, military objectives and soldiers and sailors will be targets indiscrimately along with women and children. He overruled the Department of War which was advocating its use, by writing: "It is certainly a good thing for the world that Hitler's crowd or Stalin's did not discover this atomic bomb. It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, and it should not be made useful".
A new story by the QuintessentialThe Battle of Okinawa and its devastating aftermath prompted the United States to look for alternatives to subdue mainland Japan. But with Truman vehemently against the atomic bomb and the Soviet invasion of Japan imminent, the United States had no choice but to go forward with the plans for Operation Olympic. In the ensuing decades, much had been made of heroism on the beaches of Miyazake, from Carl Mydans' photos of X-Day landings to Clint Eastwood's box-office hit Our Boys of Kyushu, but it was tragic and demoralizing that Japan's strategic geography, its awaiting guerillas and kamikaze troops meant the Allies casulties were high. Despite these setbacks, the war in the Pacific was over in eighteen months. With the Soviets invading from the north, and the Americans blockading the ports, the Japanese morale was soon cracking. That winter, Emperor Hirohito sat in pallor as his youngest brother denounced him in the privy council. But the martial law imposed to quell riots in Tokyo and Yokohama was the signal to the wider world that Japan would fight to the bitter end. That end arrived on 24th January 1947, with Emperor Hirohito signing the instrument of surrender inside the war-ravished Imperial Palace in front of General MacArthur and Marshal Vasilevsky.
The next day, the flag used by Commodore Perry when he entered Tokyo Bay in 1853, was flown atop the Imperial Palace. Hidden behind that iconic W. Eugene Smith photo of flag rising - which now graces the National Pacific War Memorial in Chesapeake, Virginia - were deeper discomforts that there might be an "influence gap" between the U.S. and the Soviets. With the war for mainland Japan consuming most of American manpower, Truman failed to prevent Turkey, Iran, Greece, Italy and Korea from falling into the communist camp. Churchill bemoaned this failure in his "Iron Curtain" speech at Westminster College, London. Encroaching Soviet sphere withered away America's last remaining shreds of isolationism, but like Wilson before him, Truman was too occupied by a single issue to fully grasp America's place on the world's stage. In his magisterial book "Colossus: the Price of America's Empire", Niall Ferguson wrote, "Truman's moral decision not to use the Atom Bomb - which rehabilitated his posthumous reputation - was revealed only after his presidency, the end of which was prematurely facilitated by hesitance and spinelessness he displayed towards the blockaded citizens of West Berlin". That November, Gov. Thomas E. Dewey of New York - an isolationist who reverted his stance to vehemently urge America to join Britain in her courageous but eventually doomed Berlin Airlift - had all the good reasons to be smiling manaically from ear to ear when he held up a newspaper predicting his victory four hours before the polled closed.
In 1950, Japan was divided into North and South Japans with Tokyo itself jointly administered between the Soviet Union, China and the United States. In 1955, the Chiyoda Wall dissecting the Imperial Palace went up; in the years that followed, its importance was underlined in two famous presidential speeches made in front of it: Adlai Stevenson's "Today we are all Japanese," and Ronald Reagen's "Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall", but back in 1955, so palpable were the fears that the Soviet Union would drive 20 miles down the 36th parallel delimitation line to invade Tokyo that the wall came as a relief.
The idea of using the atomic weapons seems ridiculous now, knowing as we do the atom's perverse effects. But back in the 1950s, everyone entertained those ideas; Generals MacArthur and Le May nearly prevailed upon President Dewey to use them when the Soviets invaded Korea and Hungary and squashed revolts there. There were proposals to use nuclear weapons to shot down Russian satellites, to quell insurgants against American-supported dictators in South America, and to control weather. Senator Joseph MacCarthy of Wisconsin denounced Dewey as a red agent for his refusal to use them against the Russian fleet. Only with President Steveson's gentle explanation after the Cuban Missile Crisis, did we finally come to terms with the dangers of what Oppenheimer called, "Destoryer of Worlds". Even then, we didn't fully understand the true horror of nuclear weapons until Richard Nixon annihilated North Vietnam.
To yearn nostalgically for the destruction of multiple Japanese cities is definitely a taboo, but it is always tempting to indulge in some alternative history. Atom bombs would undoubtably have ended the war before the Soviets joined it, and would have led to the American occupation of entire Japan, not just its southern parts. And without the constant anxieties about the Soviet presence in the Far East, America would not have gone into Vietnam. Without the costly war for Japan, American would have prevented the communist encroachments in China and East Europe. On the other hand, a Japan devastated by nuclear bombs and its population alienated by such inhumanity would not have warmed up to Americans occupiers who dropped the bombs. It is equally hard to imagine a modern futuristic Japan without the industrial centers in the south. But all these counterfactuals aside, this much is certain: despite its high human costs and less-than-satisfactory outcome, Operation Olympic was America's finest hour.
In 955, for days, the Magyar (Hungarians) had besieged and assaulted Augsburg, held desperately under the command of Bishop Ulrich. On the 8th, they had led a massive attack against the city, beaten back only after the leader of had been slain by the defenders. German reinforcements under Otto I arrived on the 9th, and the Magyar suspended the siege in preparation for the coming battle.
Magyars win Battle of Augsburg With heavy cavalry pitted against their light archer cavalry, the Magyar harka (leader) Bulcsú knew that they may be outmatched. His fears were ablated upon the arrival of Otto I's estranged son-in-law, Conrad the Red. Two years before, Conrad had joined his brother-in-law in rebellion against Otto, but they were repressed and lost many of their holdings despite reconciliation. It seemed that Conrad was now ready for a new chance at overthrowing the king. Bulcsú promised to return Lorraine to him and as well as anything else he managed to conquer in the west.
A new story by Jeff ProvineConrad, having fought alongside Saxons the year before against the Ukrani, was well familiar with the nomads of the east and their incursions into central Europe. He noted that, despite superior numbers, the shoot-and-run tactics of the Magyar would not be suited to the close quarters of the field and surrounding woods. German armor was too strong for the light bows of the Magyar, but they had an Achilles heel in their horses. The next morning, the Magyar crossed the river to the German camps and attacked the Bohemians and Schwabish allies, then retreated to provoke them. Otto led pursuit, trying to keep close to the Magyar to prevent them from breaking off and using their arrows.
Under Conrad's advice, the Magyar began to drop behind them ropes, branches, baskets, anything that would trip up a horse. Whenever a suitable number of the German forces were caught dismounted, the Magyar would reverse their retreat into a sudden attack. Despite the German discipline and organization, their lines eventually wavered and broke. Once in pursuit of the Germans burdened in armor, the Magyar mopped up the army, slaying thousands. Conrad and his soldiers went into deeper pursuit, capturing and finally successfully overthrowing Otto. He would return to the west to claim his lands and those of his father-in-law, building a small empire that had much of Italy added to it with the conquests of his brother-in-law over the next few years.
Meanwhile, the Magyar would continue to push northward over the next few decades until they ran into the perhaps equally vicious Vikings. Not as adept for defense as the Germans, the Magyar would fall back, and the Vikings would conquer huge swaths of central Europe, managing to seize the vast wealth of the remains of the Byzantine Empire. From Constantinople, the Viking conquerors met their own match in the Turks, and an uneasy balance was made between the two powerful foes.
In Western Europe, Christendom held as a sideline to the world powers. Popes attempted to organize expeditions eastward to the Holy Land, but they could never seem to summon the proper manpower to gain a foothold in Palestine as the Germanies were held under Nordic sway. The Viking kingdoms, now dominating key trade routes but unable to conquer the Turks, attempted to find alternate passages by sailing south, finally circumnavigating Africa in 1174.
Seeing the wealth of such travel, the Franks (soon to be known as the French), emulated the travels of their Viking neighbors. Unencumbered by the need for constant defense against the Turks, the French under Capetian rule were able to pour resources into exploration, not only mimicking travel southward but also discovering a vast New World to the west in 1252 under Louis IX. Louis the Saint, as he was dubbed, freely encouraged the establishment of missions and contact with the locals. In the coming century, the substantial wealth of the "Indigène" would be made obvious. A crusade for the liberation of wealth would be declared and joined by the English. Huge conquests were made and boatloads of gold returned to Europe, allowing for great power to be held by the French (much given to the aid of the Spanish in their Reconquista). With the outbreak of the Black Death in 1348, however, the crusade would be called to an end.
After much suffering in Europe, a rebirth began with the Renaissance in Italy. Spurred by rumors of wealth in the west, competing Italian city-states would begin to establish dozens of new colonies throughout the Indigene continent. Warfare with Indigenes would be continuous, but the advent of black powder weapons aided colonists. City-states battled each other until finally Italy came to unification under the powerful House of the Medici. Fed by the wealth of conquests in the West and trade routes in the East, the Medici would come to control nearly all of Western Europe, using military might, political intrigue, and social prowess to carve a new empire from the south of Scotland to the shores of Africa and from the pyramids of Egypt to the pyramids of the Maya.
Technology and art would blossom through the Medici Empire. Gradually much of the Nordic nations of central and eastern Europe would come under their power as well as new colonies throughout the world. After centuries of elegance and decadence, the empire would crumble, and a new dark age would settle upon Europe as city-states fought each other for dominance.
With a scattered and mostly mapped world ready for the plucking, the Ottoman Empire, having sat defensive against Medici incursions for centuries, began its own conquest in AH 1131 (AD 1710). The Golden Age of Islam would begin and grow as the single world power for centuries to come.
In 1974, the Watergate Crisis entered its final dramatic phase with the transmission of a top secret, "eyes only", limited distribution order to move the 82nd Airborne Division from its base at Fort Bragg, North Caroline to surround the White House.
The order came in as topmost priority, Flash Override, signed by General Robert Cushman, commandant of the US Marine Corps. The provisions of the National Security Act required that the President transmit all military orders through the defense secretary, James Schlesinger. In fact the Secretary was deeply concerned about the President's mental condition - during the last six months alone Schlesinger had been forced to countermand orders to bomb Damascus and Jordan and nuke Vietnam and Korea (orders that were ignored until Nixon sobered up in the morning). Secretary of the Treasury George Schultz also believed that Nixon was stoned out of his mind on Seconal, single-malt Scotch, Dilantin, speed, and clinical paranoia, beating his wife, Pat on a regular basis. Jail to the Chief
By this time the pressure to resign was incredible, and Nixon was clearly losing his mind. Both Schlesinger and Schultz feared a military coup, having agreed with the Joint Chiefs of Staff that all military orders must be signed by two Senior Cabinet Officers (them).
Yet Nixon had his own ace in the hole enabling the President to abrogate the chain of command despite these failsafes being put in place.
Early in the Presidency, 82nd Airborne had been brought in to protect the Presidency against anti-war demonstrations. The division was commanded by General Cushman, unusually a political appointee who had served Nixon as National Security Advisor during his Vice Presidency, and later Deputy CIA Director.
"The last thing I wanted was to have the marines ordered to the White House and then have to bring in the army to confront the marines. It would be a bloody mess". Schlesinger identified the US Marine Corps Commandant as a risk to democracy, commenting that "General Cushman was a pleasant but weak man. He might have acquiesed to a request from the White House for action. The last thing I wanted was to have the marines ordered to the White House and then have to bring in the army to confront the marines. It would be a bloody mess".
With demonstrators chanting "Jail to the Chief " outside the White House, Cushman saw in his disciplined military mind a precedent for abrogating the chain of command. The General determed that the same disorder existed as with the anti-war protests in 1969. Marine Units from the outskirts of Washington at Eighth and I streets SE and Quantico, Virginia were duly dispatched, to be joined five hours later by 82nd Airborne. In order to avoid the bloody disaster he had feared, Schlesinger tried to organize a contingency plan. In fact Rorschach (pictured, © Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, The Watchmen, 1987) had given fair warning to the other Watchmen with his prediction "All the politicians and whores will look up and shout save us...and I'll look down and whisper-'no'".
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In 1939, John Bagot Glubb (pictured) succeeded Frederick G. Peake as the commander of the Arab Legion. During this period, he transformed the legion into the best trained force in the Arab world.Glubb served his home country all through his years in the Middle East, making him immensely popular in the end.
Any Means NecessaryArab nationalists believed that he had been the force behind pressure that made King Hussein I of Jordan join the Baghdad Pact. Glubb served different high positions in the Arab Legion, the army of Transjordan. During the World War II he led attacks on Arab leaders in Iraq, as well as the Vichy regime which was present in Lebanon and Syria.
In 1948, the British Government was humiliated by the actions of British officers employed in the Arab Legion during the Zionist Insurgency that followed the declaration of the State of Palestine two days before. "[British Commander of the Arab Legion, General John Bagot] Glubb ('Glubb Pasha') should be imprisoned for serving in a foreign army without the King's permission" ~ British MP.
Regular British officers, including a brigade commander, were instructed to leave the Arab Legion and return to Transjordan. This led to the bizarre spectacle of British officers leaving their units to return to Transjordan before sneaking back across the border to rejoin the Arab Legion. A British MP demanded that the British Command of the Arab Legion, General John Bagot Glubb ("Glubb Pasha") be imprisoned for serving in a foreign army without the King's permission.
"The internecine struggles of the Arabs," reported Glubb, "are more in the minds of Arab politicians than the struggle against the Jews. Azzam Pasha, the mufti and the Syrian government would sooner see the Jews get the whole of Palestine than that King Abdullah should benefit".
Neither was the British government humiliated, nor was he a traitor - his job was to stop the internecine struggles of the Arabs. By suppressing the Zionist Insurgency Glubb Pasha began a new phase of covert operations in the Middle East. Henceforth, British Foreign Policy goals would be achieved by stealth, famously described as neo-colonialism - exerting control over other nations through indirect means. Any means necessary.
On this day in 1983, former NWA and WWF world champion "Psycho" Tommy Rich signed on with the AWA; within weeks of the signing Rich would form an alliance with Bad News Allen and "Living Legend" Larry Zbyszko to destroy then-AWA world heavyweight champion Nick Bockwinkel.
On this day in 2002, U.S. diplomats and representatives of the provisional Iraqi government met in Cairo to work out a timetable for the resumption of full diplomatic relations between Washington and Baghdad.
|Head of State|
On this day in 1968, Russian premier Alexei Kosygin and Czech head of state Alexander Dubcek signed a cease-fire accord formally ending the Russo-Czech war.
On this day in 1971, rioters in Washington, DC sacked and burned the Pentagon as President Nixon and his surviving cabinet evacuated to Mount Weather.
In 1951, on this day RCAF reconnaissance flights confirmed the destruction of many of Canada's most vital seaports, including Halifax and Vancouver due to flooding triggered by the cosmic debris impacts which happened after the collision of the planets Bellus and Zyra.
On this day in 1944, a team of OSS agents disguised as Wehrmacht field medics smuggled Erwin Rommel to the Allied lines in an ambulance; a second team, posing as Gestapo officers, helped Rommel's family escape to Switzerland.
That same day in Poland, Soviet artillery began shelling German positions inside Warsaw.
On this day in 1968, Apollo 2 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after completing its six-day translunar orbital flight.
On this day in 1944, Allied troops crossed the Franco-Belgian border.
On this day in 1947, the National Geographic Society announced that preliminary tests of the asteroid sample sent from Roswell indicated the rock contained traces of metals like iron and copper, suggesting that Earth might not be the only spot in the solar system where these metals existed. This in turned fueled theories that the asteroid belt might actually be the remains of an Earth-like planet that had exploded in the distant past; the resulting debate would rage on for decades to come.
"A well I bless my soul what's wrong with me? I'm itching like a man on a fuzzy tree. My friends say I'm actin' wild as a bug.
I'm in love - I'm all shook up. Mm mm oh, oh, yeah, yeah!" ~ Lyrics to "All Shook Up".
In February 1972 an hysterical Priscilla Presley brought rape charges against her husband Elvis Presley at a Las Vegas Police Station. During the investigation, Priscilla admitted that she had two affairs of her own and their up and down marriage was irreparably broken down by 1972. She alleged that the last straw came when Elvis, possibly having learned of the second affair with her karate instructor, forced himself on her in his Las Vegas hotel room, telling her, 'This is how a real man makes love to a woman.'
Whilst the charges have never been proven, the existence of the allegations have been reported in a number of places including Wikipedia to the great dismay of Elvis fans everywhere. The lyrics are available at at Lyricsdir.
In 1974, following the tragic death of Bruce Lee, the TV networks presented a surprise proposal to the actor David Carradine. For the forthcoming series of Kung Fu, Carradine could take the lead part which the late Bruce Lee had vacated. Having been turned down before, Carradine seized the opportunity but the series was axed after just four episodes due to appalling viewing figures. American audiences might be more comfortable with the anglophile Carradine, but the show lacked dramatic irony.
On this day in 1953, Chou En-Lai petitioned Soviet ruler Georgi Malenkov for assistance in quelling the civil unrest that was threatening to topple China's Communist regime.
|Chou En-Lai|In 1990,
Magellan started mapping Venus until all contact with the probe is lost. The Nasa space probe had arrived after a 15-month journey from Earth, starting its mission to map the global warming 'hell-hole'.The last signal sent seemed to be images of a long tunnel with a speck of light at the end; then something long and tendril-shaped seemed to reach out and smash the camera, in a repeat of a 1981 incident involving Voyager 2
BBC News reported - Guns fall silent in Cyprus
. The United Nations has brokered another ceasefire in Cyprus, defusing the growing crisis between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and heading off the threat of invasion by Turkey. Greek Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios issued a robust ultimatum to Turkey which brought the crisis to a peaceful conclusion. Thanks to Makarios, Cyprus is today a booming nation within the European Union.
In 2002, Sylvie Gerard spirits her newborn daughter out of Jesu, France moments before Templars begin slaughtering all the newborns. For forty days and nights, she wanders the French countryside, seeking refuge from the edict.
In 1960, Spanish actor Antonio Banderas is born in Malaga, Spain. An international superstar famed for his smoldering sexuality, Banderas attempted to bring this success to American film, but didn't translate well, and never took off in Hollywood.
In 1911, the Parliament Act reduces the power of the British House of Commons to ceremonial duties. They are essentially a rubber stamp for the House of Lords, where virtually all parliamentary power is now concentrated. The Prime Minister, Lord Harold Fitzhugh, declares, 'This is not America, where the Communists lead the rabble down to chaos. In Britain, the lower classes know their place.'
In 1831, African slave Nat Turner leads a rebellion against the slaveholders of Virginia. After killing his own masters, Turner began freeing every slave in the county; soon, he had followers numbering in the thousands. He led them west, slaughtering any who stood in the way, and they founded the nation of Uhuru, which was Swahili for freedom.
In 1680, a popular rebellion rises among the Pueblo against the Spanish occupiers. Through years of harsh guerilla warfare, they are able to drive the Europeans from their land; but at the cost of their traditionally more peaceful culture. The Pueblo remained in an almost perpetual state of war against European invaders for the next century.
In 1995, Richard M. Langworth
combined fiction and fact in his publication 'If Chamberlain had lost the Battle of Norway
'. In this somewhat far fetched scenario, when Germany invaded Norway in April 1940, an expeditionary force was sent to counter them, but the campaign proved difficult, and the force had to be withdrawn. The naval aspect of the campaign in particular proved controversial and was to have repercussions in Westminster leading to Chamberlain's replacement by Lord Halifax, who immediately sued for a Carthaginian peace.
In 955, on this day the forces of Otto the Great, King of the Germans were defeated at the Battle of Lechfeld. Perhaps the best opportunity for holding off the incursions of the Magyars into Central Europe was lost. This defining event in European history was a decisive victory for the Magyar leaders, namely the harka (military leader) Bulcs? and the chieftains Lel (Lehel) and S?r who continued to rage unchecked across the continent.
In 1809, the ninth President of the Republic of Texas William Barret Travis was born on this day in Saluda County, South Carolina.
William B. Travis
9th President of Texas
December 9th, 1859 to 1862Following the pursuit of failed careers in teaching and then law, he joined the state militia in 1829. But another failure, his marriage to Rosanna Cato soon forced him to flee Alabama.
Travis arrived in Texas during a time of growing friction between American settlers and the Mexican government. And so at the age of only twenty-six he received the commission of lieutenant colonel in the Texan Army.
In his service as the chief recruiting officer for the Texan army, his command was to consist of three hundred and eight-forty men and officers, divided into six companies. Despite his rank, Travis had to recruit the men who were to serve under his command, but he had difficulty in finding willing colonists to enlist. "Volunteers can no longer be had or relied upon ", he wrote to acting governor Henry Smith.
Instructed to raise a company to reinforce the Texans at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, Travis considered disobeying his orders, writing to Smith: "I am willing, nay anxious, to go to the defense of Bexar, but sir, I am unwilling to risk my reputation ... by going off into the enemy's country with such little means, so few men, and with them so badly equipped".
But by the time those reinforcements had been mustered*, the siege had ended, and engagement with the Mexicans had to be delayed until the decisive battle of San Jacinto on April 21.
After the revolution, he entered public service and at the relatively young age of fifty was elected President. His term of his office was chiefly marked by a keynote speech delivered in Austin on April 24th 1861 in which the Republic of Texas formally recognised the Confederate States of America. Travis did offer critical diplomatic support to his fellow South Carolinians, but to the relief of Union politicians, he refused to draw a direct comparison between the sieges of Fort Sumter and the Alamo. He knew a trap when he saw one.
In 1945, the last human being on Earth died of radiation poisoning, effectively marking the extinction of the human race as a result of the global catastrophe Enola Gay's crew had unwittingly unleashed on the world with their atomic bomb raid on Hiroshima three days earlier.
Last Man DownNot only was all human life destroyed, but 99 percent of the planet's plant and animal species also perished; even cockroaches weren't spared from the apocalyptic horror. The few life forms left on Earth in the aftermath of the catastrophe were little more advanced than bacteria, and these too would perish as radioactive fallout rendered the once-virile planet a barren desert.
In 2010, Ted Stevens, longtime Alaska Senator and former Vice-President, dies at 86. Serving in the Senate for twenty years before being chosen as President George H. W. Bush's vice-president,and for an additional decade thereafter following his reelection to his old seat in 1998, he was known as a fierce and often hot-tempered advocate for his state and for the ideological causes he supported.
Ted Stevens, Longtime Alaska Senator and Former Vice-President, Dies at 86But that long and productive career ended ignominiously. In October 2008, a federal jury in the District of Columbia found that Mr. Stevens had concealed more than $250,000 in gifts and convicted him on seven felony counts. Eight days later, he lost a bid for a sixth term to Mayor Mark Begich of Anchorage, a Democrat.
The following April, however, the conviction was thrown out by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan at the request of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Mr. Holder said prosecutors, who had been chided by the judge for withholding information from the defense, had concealed interview notes in which the chief witness against Mr. Stevens told a story different from the one he told on the stand.
Mr. Stevens said the case against him had initially shaken his faith in the judicial system. But after Mr. Holder's and Judge Sullivan's actions, he said, "My faith has been restored".
Mr. Stevens was one of five people killed in the crash in a mountainous area of southwest Alaska as their plane was heading to a fishing lodge, Gov. Sean Parnell of Alaska said Tuesday. Four others on the plane survived. Mr. Stevens had survived a plane crash in Alaska in 1978, suffering injuries while his first wife, the former Ann Cherrington, and four others were killed.
Mr. Stevens liked to remind Alaskans of what he had done for them. "From frozen tundra," he said in his 2008 campaign, "we built airports, roads, ports, water and sewer systems, hospitals, clinics, communications networks, research labs and much, much more". He drew large amounts of military spending to the state as well as money for small businesses.
Mr. Stevens's legislative work in the 1970s included passing major bills settling native land claims that had been left in limbo when statehood was established in 1959; creating the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which made the state rich; and protecting the state's fisheries from exploitation.
In 2000, the State Legislature named Mr. Stevens the Alaskan of the Century, saying he "represents Alaska's finest contribution to our national leadership". In his farewell speech on Nov. 20, 2008, he told the Senate, "Working to help Alaska achieve its potential has been and will continue to be my life's work".
But he was roundly and repeatedly criticized for the billions he funneled to his state. The watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste said Mr. Stevens regularly got Alaska more dollars per capita than any other state, often through earmarks, the pet projects that lawmakers attach to legislation.
Mr. Stevens fiercely defended earmarks, saying Alaska had special needs because the federal government owned much of its land; because the state's rugged terrain and severe weather required particular help; because, as the 49th state, Alaska needed to catch up with its elders; because its proximity to Russia made it strategically important; and because its oil and gas were national resources. Stevens's pursuit of federal money for projects in Alaska while in the Senate and his aggressive assistance to fellow Alaskan Frank Murkowski while vice-president earned him the not entirely flattering title of "emperor of earmarks".
Even fellow conservative Republicans were not immune to Stevens's arm-twisting tactics. For example, when Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma tried to shift $452 million that had been allocated for two bridges in Alaska, the so-called Bridges to Nowhere, to rebuild a Louisiana highway wrecked by Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Stevens warned that he would wreak havoc.
"If you want a wounded bull on the floor of the Senate, pass this amendment," he said. The measure was defeated, 82 to 15, but Alaska later dropped the project.
Mr. Stevens's conviction, for seven violations of the Ethics in Government Act, did not allege that he had traded any of this spending for personal favors. The bulk of the gifts, which he failed to report on a Senate form, consisted of renovations to his home in Girdwood, Alaska. They were paid for by Bill Allen, a longtime friend and the owner of an oil services construction company.
Testifying in court, Mr. Stevens said that his wife, Catherine, had been in charge of the renovation and that he did not know what Mr. Allen had provided.
After the government moved to throw out his conviction, within months of his election defeat, Mr. Stevens expressed dismay at the political cost, both to him and to his party, saying, "It is unfortunate that an election was affected by proceedings now recognized as unfair".
Theodore Fulton Stevens was born on Nov. 18, 1923, in Indianapolis, the third of four children of George A. Stevens and the former Gertrude S. Chancellor. The family later moved to Chicago, where his father lost his job as an accountant after the 1929 stock market crash. His parents divorced, and after his father died, young Ted moved to Manhattan Beach, Calif., to live with an aunt.
Joining the Army Air Corps in World War II, Mr. Stevens flew transport planes over the perilous "Hump" route in the eastern Himalayas to take supplies into China from India. He was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and two Air Medals.
After the war, he graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, and Harvard Law School. He joined a law firm in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1953 and soon afterward became the federal prosecutor there. In 1956, he went to Washington, D.C., to work in the Department of the Interior on Alaska statehood.
Moving back to Alaska, he opened a law firm in Anchorage, served in the Legislature and made two unsuccessful runs for the Senate before he was appointed to fill a vacancy in December 1968. He was elected to fill the last two years of the term in 1970 and easily won re-election until his defeat in 2008. Republicans made him their Senate whip in 1977, though he was defeated in a bid for majority leader by Bob Dole in 1984.
In December 1978 Mr. Stevens was aboard a twin-engine Lear jet when it crashed at Anchorage International Airport while returning from the capital, Juneau. Five people on the plane, including Mr. Stevens's first wife, Ann, 49, and the pilot and co-pilot, were killed. Mr. Stevens, one of two passengers to survive, was hospitalized with head, neck and arm injuries.
In 1980, he married Catherine Chandler.
In 1988, then-Vice President George H. W. Bush chose the then 64-year-old Sen. Stevens to run with him for the White House against Democrat Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts and Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas. Bush won 40 states, easily overcoming Democrats' mockery of the GOP ticket as "the Oil Twins". Bush had reprtedly been considering Indiana Sen. J. Danforth Quayle, but had been persuaded to choose Stevens instead by party insiders who considered Quayle too young and callow. In office, Vice-President Stevens proved a forceful advocate for President Bush's policies. Unfortunately for both men, that proved to be insufficient to overcome voter dissatisfaction in 1992 after a deep recession and a series of perceived missteps by President Bush in handling the aftermath of the Reagan-era "Iran-contra" affair. Bush and Stevens were defeated for reelection by Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton and running-mate Sen. Albert Gore Jr. of Tennessee.
Stevens's departure from the Senate in January 1989 allowed Alaska's Democratic governor, Steve Cowper, to appoint a reeplacement, Lieut. Gov. Stephen McAlpine. Although a competent senator, McAlpine proved no match for Stevens's political skills when then latter decided to bid for restoration to his old seat in 1998.
When the first President Bush's son, Geortge W. Bush, defeated Vice-President Gore in the controversial election of 2000, Stevens was offered the post of Interior Secretary in the new administration, but declined, stating that he believed he could do more good for the country and for his state as a senator than as a Cabinet officer. Political observers suggested that an unstated reason for his refusal was discomfort with the younger Bush, whom he had encountered during his vice-presidential years and helped to get out of trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission when it charged him with insider trading in 1991 in reegard to oil-industry investments. Nevertheless, after 9-11, Sen. Stevens would fiercely defend the second Bush administration's antiterrorism policies, including the invasion forst of Afghanistan and then of Iraq.
Besides his second wife, survivors include five children from his first marriage, Susan B. Covich of Kenai, Alaska, Elizabeth H. Stevens of Washington, Walter, of Scottsdale, Ariz., Theodore Jr., of Menlo Park, Calif., and Ben, of Anchorage; a daughter from his second marriage, Lily I. Becker of San Francisco; and 11 grandchildren.
Mr. Stevens often expressed contempt for those he called "extreme environmentalists" for their opposition to development in Alaska.
"Most of them are hired people who are just hucksters selling slick-backed magazines and national memberships," he said in 1990. But in 2006, he opposed construction of the Pebble Mine, a vast open pit to extract gold, copper and molybdenum, saying it would threaten the Bristol Bay salmon fishery.
He was critical of environmental objections to drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. In 2003, after another effort to open up the area for drilling had failed, he said: "People who vote against this today are voting against me. I will not forget it".
Though generally conservative in his votes, Mr. Stevens questioned President Ronald Reagan's level of military spending, supported the Title IX legislation to give women equal access in institutions receiving federal aid, backed spending for public radio, supported a ban on smoking in federal buildings and endorsed tougher fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks.
When he faced a tough Senate debate, Mr. Stevens wore a tie featuring the image of the Incredible Hulk, the comic book superhero.
"I'm a mean, miserable S.O.B.," he once proclaimed as appropriations chairman.
Indeed, in the halls of Congress, he was known for his temper; it was voted the "hottest" on Capitol Hill in 2006 in a poll of Congressional staff members by Washingtonian magazine.
Mr. Stevens did not argue with the characterization. "I didn't lose my temper," he once said. "I know right where it is".
In 1994, on this day the Victory Park memorial wall was official unveiled. Speaking on the crest of Salvokop Hill near Pretoria, President Eugene Terreblanche dedicated the triangular memorial to the two thousand white, male South Africans who had perished in the nutria brown uniform of the South African Defence Force (SADF). Between 1967 and 1994, approximately 600,000 young men were conscripted to perform national service, or diensplig. And yet the key to apartheid victory in the so-called "Border War" was the advanced weaponry which had precipitously fallen into Government's hands after the arrival of the poleepkwa in 1980.
Watch Alive in Joburg
Celebration at Victory ParkBy that time, apartheid was in long retreat. The term "Border War", or Grensoorlog, was usually assigned to the war waged in Angola and Namibia but this conflict was actually part of a civil war within South Africa and the wider region. For All Those Who Fell heeding the Call of Their Country ... including those whose names are not on the Freedom Park wall. So We May never Forget the Dearly Fought Freedom of all Ideologies, Credos, and Cultures and their Respective Contributions to our rich South African Heritage.The term was ubiquitous in white South African public discourse during the 1970s and 1980s. It encoded the views of most whites who believed the apartheid regime's rhetoric that the SADF was shielding its citizens from the "rooi/swart gevaar" (literally "red/black danger"): the dual threat of Communism and African nationalism.
Increasingly, conscripts defied the system and joined oppositional organisations such as the End Conscription Campaign (ECC) and in rare instances national servicemen went into exile to join the ranks of the armed wings of the African National Congress (ANC) or Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC).
In 1985, on this day UK Justice Minister Alan Moore announced a ground-breaking statement of government policy. Reflecting upon the actions of superheroes or "costumed adventurers" which had led to a New York police strike during 1977, Moore quoted the Latin phrase Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? from Juvenal's Satire VI, "Against women" translated as "Who watches the watchmen?".
Indicating clearly that the answer to that question was of course the authority of Her Majesty's Government, the Minister indicated his intention to enact legislation that would outlaw non-government affiliated vigilantes. This British variant of the Keene Act would be presented to the British Parliament before the end of the year.
Who Watches the Watchmen?"To some degree if you are talking about superheroes, its very likely to become a meditation upon power. You find that yes superheroes in the real world are kind of funny, they are also kind of scarey. Because actually a person dressing in a mask and going around beating up criminals is a vigilante pscyhopath - thats what a superhero is, in essence. A vengeance fueled vigilante in the real world - in short, a nutcase with a kingsize death wish". ~ UK Justice Minister Alan Moore, click to watch the video.
In 48 BC, Gaius Julius Caesar, with a force of 22,000 legionaries loyal to the Populares, took position on the banks of the river Enipeus and awaited the inevitable attack by the famous and feared general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, who outnumbered him nearly 3 to 1.
Pompey wins the Battle of PharsalusThis was a battle only Caesar's own fearsome tactical brilliance could hope to tip in his favor, and he quickly set plans in motion to avoid mass suicide by defying standard doctrine, which entailed ordering his infantry to close with Pompey's. He instead kept his legionaries back from the center of the battlefield, confusing the enemy and creating a stalemate in the main thrust.
As the cavalry of Titus Labienus charged Caesar's lines and met with initial gains, Caesar saw an advantage and quickly formed a strategy utilizing the local terrain.A new article by Jake Dominguez Unfortunately, that strategy died with Caesar as a great, vast light shone in the skies, and what could only be described later by survivors as something akin to the fist of Jupiter struck the ground amidst the warring armies on the plains of Pharsalus, reducing every soldier, horse and blade of grass to firy ash. The clear display of the gods' disfavor shook the Republic to its core, and the plebians and the patricians quickly laid their bloody political disputes to rest for fear of further reprisals.
It can be said, though, that despite the tremendously horrific nature of the event, the Republic weathered it and emerged stronger than ever, with the popular will of the citizens well-balanced with the seasoned administration of the Senate.
On this day in 1971, President Nixon signed an executive order quarantining New York City from the rest of the United States.
Within hours after the order was issued, US Air Force jets bombed the Brooklyn and George Washington bridges, destroying both structures and leaving thousands of people stranded in a city tearing itself apart.
On this date in 1986, BBC-TV began airing the fourth series of "The X-Files".
On this day in 1969, Los Angeles police undercover detective Charles Milles Maddox, then posing as a biker named Charles Manson to investigate southern California's most vicious motorcycle gang, was brutally murdered by hairstylist-turned-serial killer Jay Sebring.
Maddox would be just the first of Sebring's victims in a two-month-long killing spree that would terrorize the Los Angeles area.
In 1968, actress Gillian Anderson was born in Chicago, Illinois. An accomplished performer on stage and television, she is best known for her work in the documentary series, The X-Files, which addressed the social problems of alien abduction and paranormal activity.
In 480 BCE, Spartan soldiers hold out against seemingly impossible odds at Thermopylae, defeating a much larger Persian force by holding a narrow pass against them. This makes them the preeminent city of Greece, and their method of rule - military dictatorship - becomes the norm across all of Hellas.
In 1945, the device codenamed 'Fat Man' was released from the B-29 Bockscar, of the 393rd Bomb Squadron, over Nagasaki, Japan. Unlike its predecessor three days earlier, this device completely failed to achieve critical implosion, with no discernable detonation whatsoever. The device should have fallen to ground somewhere in the Urakami Valley district of the city, but on the successful if bloody outcome of Operation Downfall, the US invasion of the Japanese home islands in July 1946, no trace of the device was ever found either in physical evidence, documentation of the Imperial Government, or in testimony by locals. Indeed, as a classified US Army report later indicated, it was as if the weapon vanished into thin air.
In 1945, the Potsdam Agreement was agreed a week later than expected because Ukrainian nationalists murdered General Secretary Stalin en-route to the Conference.
Stalin killed on eve of the Potsdam Conference
by Ed & Scott PalterOf course this act of terrorism dramatically changed the calculations of the four principle Allied powers. And although post-war security arrangements had been tentatively discussed, a more favourable climate was now in place to devise the conditions for a more stable, robust quadrapartite agreement. A re-assessment was to be expected since the three primary heads of state had changed since the Yalta Agreement. But also, on the eve of the conference, President Truman learnt that the Trinity tests were running late due to technical problems.
The delay in developing a nuclear bomb meant that by early August, the Soviets were already advancing deep into Japanese territory. But not only did these "facts on the ground" provide General Secretary Beria with a stronger case for participating in Japanese occupation, another significant development had also occurred. It now appeared quite possible that a de-militirized but unified German State could be formed on the lines of Finland. This heightened level of confidence led to the US Leadership being far more willing to let the Soviets in. Also, it built upon the German model of finding global security solutions through the Grand Alliance, and therefore establishing a de facto American protectorate in Japan would have been a unilateral step backwards. One final factor was that Truman much preferred to put in place civilian leadership than military governors, it was the deliberate step towards peace that he wanted the US to take. The peaceful partition of China was to prove him right.
In 1956, proof that the Arab Victory in 1948 was backed by a vast injection of Nazi funds provided to the Mufti of Jerusalem accompanied a letter posted from a remote part of Argentina to the West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.
Protocols of the Elders of Zion
"Tucaman" sets the record straightBehind this shocking truth was another - that the author of the letter had been located by the West German intelligence service as early as 1952. Because Adolf Eichmann was one of over ten thousand former SS Officers who had fled to South America at the end of World War Two.
Their organization ODESSA had made a startling discovery of their own, that their political masters had been smuggling plundered wealth, much of it of Jewish origin, out of the Third Reich from the early 1940s. That wealth was not intended to establish a Fourth Reich but rather to continue the struggle against international Jewry through a new, global espionage network.
And so Chancellor Adenauer had received a forty-page life story entitled "Tucaman" named after the remote region of Argentina where Eichmann had fled to. The author claimed that he wanted to set the record straight and inform young Germans about what really happened under Hitler Which was that the Second World War was a but means to a broader end.
That end was concealed from men like Eichmann who were totally unaware of the pioneering work in time travel being conducted at Isgarden by Wilhelm Schoemann. Neo-Nazis in 1968 saw the potential of his work, though - and planned to use it to create the enemy they had always imagined.
In 1974, George Herbert Walker Bush became the thirty-eighth president of the United States of America following the resignation of Richard Milhous Nixon.
Bush38 by Eric LippsDuring the 1968 campaign, Bush had been one of several possible running mates considered by Nixon, another being Maryland's Gov. Spiro Agnew. Nixon had liked Agnew for the latter's willingness to employ fiery, if sometimes mangled, rhetoric against the domestic political left. However, shortly before the Republican convention, word had come to Nixon of a possible corruption scandal involving kickbacks from state contractors. Fearing the Democrats would use it against the Republican ticket in what seemed certain to be a close contest in the fall, Nixon had turned away from Agnew.
A new story by Eric LippsBush, by contrast, had no known scandals in his past. There were, to be sure, rumors of his having been involved with the Central Intelligence Agency in the past and even of having had some murky connection with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, but rumors were all there were; on the plus side, he was connected both to the GOP's old-line Eastern establishment and to powerful figures in the Texas oil industry who could potentially be tapped for contributions and other aid. Therefore, at the Republican National Convention in August, Nixon had announced his choice of Bush for vice president.
As vice-president, Bush had been kept largely in the background, being sent out occasionally to vent the administration's anger at the student left then demonstrating against the ongoing Vietnam War, against Democrats in Congress and against the media. However, Nixon's decision to shut his VP out of any important role in policymaking ironically worked in the latter's favor after Nixon's reelection in 1972, as the events collectively known as "Watergate" mushroomed into a full-blown political crisis. As a result, the sidelined Bush found himself in place to take the presidency itself when Nixon, facing the imminent prospect of an impeachment, surrendered the office. His inauguration, conducted as his predecessor departed by helicopter bound for the San Clemente, California retreat nicknamed the "Western White House" while he was in power, brought to power a president largely unknown to the American people, who within a month would nominate an equally obscure figure, Rep. Gerald R. Ford of Michigan, as his own vice-president.
In 2008, on this day President Dick Cheney ordered a surgical strike on a tunnel connecting Russia with the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia which at the time was full of Russian soldiers and military hardware.
A Blast in the OblastUntil 1989, South Ossetia was a disputed region and partly recognized state in the South Caucasus, an Autonomous Oblast within the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, South Ossetians declared independence from Georgia, proclaiming the creation of a "Republic of South Ossetia". The Georgian government responded by abolishing South Ossetia's autonomy and retaking the region by force. Georgian fighting against those controlling South Ossetia would occur on two other occasions, in 2004 and 2008.
After the second attempt at independence in 2004, peacekeepers from both Russia and George were present in the region, a dangerous deployment which sowed the seeds for a wider conflict. And so inevitably for their third (and final) attempt at independence, the South Ossetians decided to go for broke, by throwing in their lot with the resurgent Russian Federation. Problem was that whilst Russia slept, Georgia had joined NATO.
The conduct of the war would no longer be decided by South Ossetians and Georgians, nor by George W. Bush who had been assassinated in 2006. Instead the South Ossetia Conflict would become a periphery war, a flash point in the wider struggle to enlarge NATO eastwards. Because an oil revenue windfall had enabled the Russian Federation the luxury of rediscovering its chauvinism, and by 2008, NATO expansion was a threat to global security. A clash of authority was approaching and the Kremlin was already threatening to close US Bases that had been established in the Caucus region during the Gulf War. In short, the situation could be compared to a matchbox waiting for a spark.
And the spark came soon enough. Following a summer of escalating tension, on the 6th August, Georgian forces re-invaded the territory and Russian troops mobilized in support of the South Ossetian separatist forces. A pre-emptive, retaliatory strike was widely expected. In fact, a direct military response from Washington had been all but inevitable since the US suspended the NATO-Russia Council, the primary forums for bilateral interaction on security issues.
In 1709, in his third attempt to prove the ability of flight for a lighter-than-air craft, a young Brazilian Jesuit displayed his invention before King John V of Portugal, his queen Maria, a papal messenger, and a host of nobles from the court at Lisbon.
Gusmão's Balloon Falls He had come up with the idea months before watching a bubble of soap float in the air and successfully petitioned the king for an audience. His first attempt had been a failure as the paper balloon had burst into flame before rising, and his second attempt allowed the balloon to rise, but it, too, caught fire and was beaten down by servants before it reached the ceiling.
A new story by Jeff ProvineThe young priest, named Bartolomeu de Gusmão, was a Brazilian born 1685 in Sao Paulo and moved to Bahia to pursue the priesthood, though he soon left it in pursuit of knowledge. He had showed vast intelligence as an inquisitive youngster. When only twenty years old, Gusmão petitioned the Bahia to recognize an invention to raise water one hundred feet out of a running stream, thus saving countless man-hours in hauling buckets. With an already impressive résumé, he left for Portugal in 1708 to follow further intellectual pursuits.
Armed with this new idea of a flying ship, he approached the king, who was very curious to see the device. In this last attempt, Gusmão's balloon began to rise, did not catch fire, but then collapsed suddenly. The nobility made mumbles of disappointment, and Gusmão was dismissed, disheartened, but not defeated. His sharp mind ran over the questions of the balloon's failure continuously, to the point some said it consumed him.
Finally he decided that the problem was simply a structural fluke, paper perhaps wet from moisture or weakened from smoke, and he began to build more and more complex models. Gusmão did not dare trust the devices to work alone outside of his grasp, so he decided that he would have to be inside the craft at all times. Using whatever money he could scrape together from curious patrons and exhibiting tricks of floating paper balloons, he earned enough to build his "Passarola", a bird-shaped craft made of lightweight wicker and a copper tinderbox that would fill a sheet of skins above him with hot air for lift. In 1720, still very suspicious of his device even to the point of meticulously training the rope-handlers to keep the Passarola in line with the open square in which he would give his demonstration, he would light the tender and become the first person to successfully fly in a hot air balloon.
Lisbon became entranced. The Inquisition was suspicious of Gusmão's human hubris, but the king protected him, encouraging construction of more devices. Over the rest of his life, Gusmão would build seven Passarolas, the largest capable of carrying five passengers, and ballooning would spread throughout Europe. In the Seven Years' War, for example, balloon-held platforms and baskets were used to survey battlefields much to the pleasure of their commanders. After Gusmão's death in 1756, ballooning would plateau for a time until the 1780s experiments of the Montgolfier brothers in Paris. Familiar with the concept of ballooning and puzzling over the assault of the fortress at Gibraltar (accepted to be impenetrable from land and sea), Joseph Montgolfier proposed balloons that did not need ground ropes but could navigate the wind effectively. For this, they needed propulsion.
After many attempts with feathered oars and mockups of wings, the Montgolfier brothers determined a method of spinning blades, carefully weighted and balanced, to form wide propellers. Meanwhile, other balloonists would develop hydrogen for lift rather than the hot air that required so much extra weight for fireboxes. In 1785, the English Channel would be crossed by balloonists Jean-Pierre Blanchard and the American John Jeffries. Combining the more technologically advanced lift, the propeller, and the safety of the parachute (invented by Louis-Sébastien Lenormand, in 1783), balloons became popular transport for the wealthy rather than the bumpiness of carriages.
In the Napoleonic Wars, balloons became effective as troop transports. Always adept of new technology, Napoleon would use balloons in attacks against fortresses, first to lay down bombs where artillery could not reach and then as ships to drop in parachute-bearing crack troops. The air-borne invasion of England across the Channel in 1812 would send panic throughout Britain, but the logistics of the troops would prove ineffective as reinforcements could rarely duplicate the crossing under English fire.
Through the course of the next century, the airship would become an effective mode of transport for freight and passengers. While never totally effective in battle (the balloons were too easy to pop, even with more rigid designs), most cities had aerodromes by the 1870s. The American Wright Brothers would produce another aircraft design, one heavier than air, in 1903, which would change the course of air travel forever. While small, fast, heavier-than-air craft are common, the combined form of a winged, rigid balloon invented by the German Zeppelin would come to dominate the sky for more leisurely passengers and, especially, long-distance freight. It is said today that one can never look at a sunset without seeing at least two of these craft as shadows against the crimson air.
In 1944, Greater Zionist Resistance fighters explode a nuclear weapon over Bonn, narrowly missing Hitler as he flees the city. From this point on, no quarter is given in the struggle across Eurasia.
On this day in 1919, the Chicago White Sox, who had been leading the American League standings for most of the baseball season, saw their lead begin to dwindle as they were swept in a doubleheader at Comiskey Park by the Philadelphia Athletics. By the end of the 1919 season the White Sox would be tied for first with the Detroit Tigers and American League president Benjamin Bancroft 'Ban' Johnson would order a one-game playoff to resolve the deadlock; the aftermath of the game would lead to one of the worst urban fires in US history.
|Ban Johnson |
In 1939, France declared war on Germany and Spain and sent its Mediterranean fleet to support Field Marshal Montgomery's amphibious offensive at Gibraltar.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.