In 1975, Josephine Baker, an entertainer and spy for the African-Semitic Resistance, dies in Paris. Baker had been such an excellent entertainer that she had been allowed into the racist German Reich to sing and dance for the Nazis; while there, she used her position to pass along valuable information to the Greater Zionist Resistance and its successor, the African-Semitic Resistance.
In 1998, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom issues a call for all good subjects of the realm to attend their local Church of England on Easter morning. Arthur Pendrake's appeal is growing throughout Great Britain, and the queen is feeling the pressure of his popularity. Prime Minister Pembroke is also feeling threatened - Pendrake has begun speaking of a return to an absolute monarchy and abolition of Parliament. He deploys a couple of the agents that the Central European Empire has put at his disposal to destabilize Arthur's organization.
In 2005, billionaire H. Ross Perot, a secret member of the Save Earth movement, provides four teams with jets to let them reach the four sectors that handle Claw transformation into human appearance. Dave and Jeanne Lange are assigned to the nearest one, in the jungles of Venezuela, and begin their trek through the jungle to reach it shortly after nightfall.
In 1915, Ch'Kel'Mlar, Chief Doctor of the hospital being evacuated by the Harlequin, is taken along with Captain Smith up to the ship, with the last of the Q'Barian patients. Although Captain Smith would like to stay behind to restore some sense of order to the Q'Barian world, Ch'Kel'Mlar tells him it is useless, and continues his tale of the cause of all this chaos.
In 2004, the Sheridans present their tamed Titanian Projection Virii to Australian Prime Minister Howard and his cabinet, giving them a small show of the two doctors singing and dancing. Howard, delighted at something good coming from the space program for once, grants the Sheridans a large sum of money to keep developing their P.V. project.
In 1994, South African troops begin marching Tanzanian prisoners to their country for imprisonment. The Tanzanian Death March, during which prisoners were given little rest and less water and food, killed off thousands of prisoners in a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions; but South African President Terreblanche had little regard for the concerns of other nations.
In 1919, Emiliano Zapata seizes power in Mexico through the support of his Communist patrons in the United States of America. With Comrade Zapata in place, U.S. policy to replace capitalist regimes throughout the regime with more friendly communist ones hits its full stride.
In 1868, the overconfident British are defeated by Abyssinians at the Battle of Magdala. The defeat forced the British to rethink their strategy in Africa; from this point on, they concentrated on the western half of the continent and left the east to its own devices.
In 1834, the discovery of a woman's personal torture chamber in a wealthy New Orleans home led to the downfall of slavery in America. Delphine Lalaurie had kept slaves merely for the purpose of causing them pain, it seemed; when news of this depravity came to light, anti-slavery advocates declared, 'if a member of the fairer sex can be so corrupted by this institution, what can it be doing to our nation?' By the end of the decade, slavery had been eradicated in the United States.
In 1090, Yusuf Nabi, Turkik poet, died in his homeland. His fame was limited to his own people, the Turks, as he was very nationalistic in his writing. But, his writing inspired many of them to rise up and seek their own land, equal among the nations of Islam, in 1123.
In 1388, at the Battle of Näfels, the Habsburgs crushed a heavily out-numbered force of the Glarus and their allies, the Old Swiss Confederation.
Habsburg Victory at the Battle of NafelsThe victory, which established Habsburg Control over the Central Alpine region, was won by a force of about five thousand men under the command of the Graf Donat von Toggenburg and the Knight Peter von Thorberg. A second column, with about fifteen hundred men under the command of Graf Hans von Werdenberg-Sargans, had also marched over the Kerenzerberg Pass.
Whereas the opposition was a force of only four hundred Glarner troops and a few dozen men from both Schwyz and Uri. But following up the easy victory was much more difficult and the Empire struggled to create an Austrian Puppet State. Within a century, they were forced to place a Habsburg Swiss monarch on the throne, creating a Kingdom of Switzerland.
In 1241, the seemingly unstoppable progress of the Mongol invasion of European gathered further momentum as the combined defending forces of Poles, Czechs and Germans under the command of the Polish duke Henry II the Pious of Silesia (supported by feudal nobility and a few knights from military orders sent by the Pope) were slaughtered at the Battle of the Field of Legnica also called Walstadt.
Mongol march to the Great Sea begins with a famous victory at LiegnitzHeavily armed in both plate and chain, and utilizing weapons such as broadswords, shields, and lances, the Europeans confronted a mobile force carrying daggers, maces, and swords, although their primary weapon was the bow. And the Mongols made maximum advantage of their primary assets of speed and maneuverability by tricking the Duke who was easily lured by a false retreat into an enemy ambush. The Duke himself was struck down and beheaded while attempting to flee the battlefield with three bodyguards, and the Mongols paraded his head on a spear before the town of Legnica. The Mongols cut the right ear off of each fallen European in order to count the dead; they filled nine sackfuls.
The remainder of European nobility faced the same fate. Two Mongol Armies led by Batu and Subutai had invaded Hungary, and a third led by Kadanhad won an unbroken series of victories at Sandomierz, Tursk, Chmielnik and then Krakow. Warned that King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia was two days away with an army of fifty thousand, they had quickly turned from Wroclaw to intercept Henry's forces before the European armies could meet.
The famous victory was another strategic triumph for Subutai and his master plan to destroy the European armies one at a time rather than allowing them to mass in force. Once again, the traditional European warfare method of hand-to-hand combat between knights ended in catastrophe when it was deployed against the Mongol forces, as the Mongols were able to keep a distance and advance with superior number. Subutai and Batu Khan began to plan for the winter invasion of Central Europe, marching all the way to the "Great Sea" (the Atlantic Ocean).
This historical depiction is unaltered other than that the Mongol invasion continues into Central Europe (it has been widely suggested that the invasion would have failed even without the fortuitous death of Ögedei Khan).
In 1965, on this day the thirty-eighth Vice President of the United States Hubert Humphrey, Jr. was shot at the Jack Tar Capitol House Hotel in Baton Rouge.
Tragedy in Baton RougeThe Secret Service had received warnings that right-wing organizations would make an attempt on Humphrey's life because of his integrationist beliefs. But the Vice President had refused to cancel the trip because of a commitment he had made to the Governor of Louisiana, John J. McKeithen. In the event both men were critically injured by shots fired by three gunman in the ballroom of the hotel.
Humphrey made a partial recovery and although a shadow of his former self, had intended to serve out his term of office. However by early 1968 it was becoming increasingly clear that the President's own position was becoming untenable. The administration now required an alternative "Beat Kennedy" Candidate in order to prevent the hated New York Senator from seizing the nomination. To be continued..
In 1625, days after a spontaneous beginning to the experiment, Bacon announced by letter to the King his findings on the ability to preserve raw meat through freezing.
Bacon Announces Preservation of Meat by FreezingAccording to biographer John Aubrey, the idea had come to him suddenly while riding with the King's physician through the snow in Highgate. They attempted the experiment immediately, purchasing a fowl from a peasant woman at the bottom of the hill. Bacon prepared to stuff it with snow, but the physician warned him of the medical dangers of chill, and Bacon duly protected himself with gloves borrowed from the coachman.
A new story by Jeff ProvineHis frozen bird proved preserved and ready for cooking when it was thawed upon Bacon's return to his home. Following his philosophy, Bacon attempted the experiment repeatedly and duly observed results, measuring rates of decay after various times with what grew into an enormous stock of frozen food. He wrote a letter to King James noting its practicality in preserving food for warfare or famine, and the king rewarded him with a small sum. The money was a pittance in comparison to Bacon's massive debts, but the fame would prove more than enough to keep the scientist's name in the popular memory until his publication of New Atlantis, which served as a model for an idealized scientific community.
Despite his incredible mastery of experimental science (what would become known as the "Baconian Method"), Bacon was not mindful of his expenses and spent most of his life buried in debt. He received puritanical tutelage at home and higher education at Trinity College, Cambridge, with his older brother Anthony, where he studied under future Archbishop of Canterbury Dr John Whitgift and met Queen Elizabeth, who affectionately referred to him as "the young Lord Keeper". Bacon extensively traveled abroad, learning much about political science during his time in France, Italy, and Spain. When his father died in 1579, young Bacon returned to England finding that he had only one-fifth of his expected inheritance, and the money he had borrowed became officially debt. He took up practice of law to support himself and entered Parliament after a few years of struggles. Bacon rose through politics quickly to become Attorney General and then Lord Chancellor, but was found guilty of repeatedly taking gifts as a judge (a common practice at the time). Also accused of sodomy and pedantry, he bowed out of political life, as well as much of his family life when he discovered his wife Alice Barnham carrying on an affair with John Underhill.
Instead, Bacon dedicated himself to science. Upon the publication of his thoughts on Utopia, Bacon found himself a chance to return to the social scene not as a politician, but with a seat as an official scientific researcher for the king. Charles I had been intrigued with his freezing techniques for food as useful in the war effort against Spain. Bacon had campaigned for a Minister for Science and Technology during the reign of Elizabeth, and now his ideas had come to fruition. While his research primarily was dedicated to preservation through freezing, alchemy, and boiling (building the groundwork for Germ Theory to be understood over the next century by microscopist Henry Powers), Bacon also used his political contacts in the increasingly Protestant Parliament to ensure the continuation of his office.
Minister Bacon died in 1634, reportedly writing at his desk with quill in hand, and the Ministry of Science did indeed continue. Many thought that the seat would be given to Thomas Hobbes, but the philosopher's proposed research into political theory did not match Bacon's posthumous requirements for direct application. Instead, the seat went to a young physician, Thomas Browne, who would be instrumental in developing battlefield medicine. Later, the ministry would be held by great thinkers such as Henry Powers, Robert Boyle, and, especially known, Isaac Newton, whose works in optics, metallurgy, mathematics, and many other fields would set London apart as a great center of development. As per Bacon's sentiments, all of the new science has since been handed down through the engineers of the Ministry of Science, who determine practical applications such as Powers' use of pressure (particularly steam) to drive an engine, Newton's interchangeable parts for mass production, and Charles Babbage's later use of automation.
In 1865, driven from office by the West Point Conspirators, Jeff Davis flees across the Mississippi River to establish a short-lived Western Confederacy. The less fortunate Abraham Lincoln is shot by British Redcoats on the border with liberal Canada and dies in the arms of Harriet Tubman.
West Point ConspiracyThe eventual prospect of a decisive Union military victory had been dashed by the arrival of fresh Anglo-French divisions after the third consecutive defeat for the Federals at Antietam1. The Union Commander-in-Chief George McClellan was relieved of duty, choosing to run on an anti-war platform as a Democrat Candidate in order to force a contest with Lincoln in the 1864 Presidential Election. Both Lincoln and Davis were determined to fight on and their continuing, intransigent leadership into 1865 made political compromise close to impossible.
Ever since General Sherman was repulsed in the West, the military high commands had decided it was time to seek a military rather than a political solution that would stop the slaughter. Indeed, McClellan was the most popular of the Federal army's commanders with its soldiers, who felt that he had their morale and well-being as paramount concerns.
Negotiations were underway as soon as it became clear that Lincoln would win in 1864. Problem was not so much agreeing a ceasefire, but looking beyond that to a general settlement. The possibility of a compromise emerged in the meeting at Appotomax (pictured) with General Lee's insightful suggestion that a new compact between the States must be forged. His logic was that whilst the continuation of slavery might be morally repugnant, it was equally true that the original compact was predicated upon the continuation of the institution, and ultimately, it was the Federals use of authority to force the issue that had led to the break-up of the Union.
In 1782, the decisive French naval victory at the Battle of the Saintes marked the beginning of the end of British rule over the Sugar Islands.
Sugar StateBecause the crushing of Royal Naval Forces under the command of Admiral Sir George Rodney by the Comte de Grasse's French Fleet enabled the French and Spanish to proceed with the planned invasion of Jamaica. Within eighteen months, the seven thousand islands, islets, reefs, and cays of the Caribbean region would be admitted into the Union as a single maritime polity known as "The Sugar State". And the infant American Republic would confront a whole set of fresh challenges that threatened to wreck the ship of state.
The Founding Fathers made a pragmatic choice in proposing the appointment of Alexander Hamilton (pictured) as First Governor. In theory he was uniquely qualified for the position. Born out of wedlock on the Leeward Island of Nevis, he emigrated to the Eastern Seaboard as a young man. Initially loyalist in outlook, he was radicalized as a student at King's College in New York City (now Columbia University) and would later serve as George Washington's Chief of Staff.
In the medium term, white sugar farmers would have to confront the rise of enslaved African labourers long before the cotton plantation owners in the southern states of the interior. But a more pressing problem was the almost immediate outbreak of a quasi-war with Great Britain. With States coffers drained by the War of Independence, the new nation would need to raise big money fast in order to build a navy capable of defending their maritime forward position. By the time of the 1800 election, the situation was critical. And so immediately after the inauguration, Governor Hamilton travelled to Washington for a fateful confrontation with the third US President, Colonel Aaron Burr.
In 1865, on this day Confederate General Robert E. Lee issued the fateful order for the Army of Northern Virginia to disband and to take to the wilderness to act as guerilla fighters. His aide Walter Taylor apparently suggested the idea to him, and Lee, grief-stricken by the recent death of his wife Mary, and of the death of his son William as a Union prisoner, approved it.
American GuerillasFor the next 5 years, a reign of terror ruled the South as shootings, lynchings, and bombings became the norm. Anyone suspected of Union sympathies or those who collaborated with the occupation forces were frequently killed as an example to others, and the Union Army gradually laid a heavier and heavier hand on the South, taking civilians as hostages and conducting frequent reprisals.
After the assassination of President Andrew Johnson in 1868, Democrat Horatio Seymour defeated former general Ulysses S. Grant for the Presidency. Seymour immediately opened talks with the rebel leaders, most notably Nathan B. Forrest and John Mosby. A deal was struck with the rebels that the South would recieve limited autonomy, with the ability to opt out of trade deals and tariffs, but in return, slavery would be phased out over 20 years, with slaveowners receiving compensation. On January 1st, 1870, the agreement (now referred to as the Washington Agreement) officially took effect, and is now regarded in the South as a quasi-Independence Day.
In 2010, it was announced on this day that Supreme Court Justice George H.W. Bush, age 85, will retire from the bench after twenty-three years on the court.
"Skin" Comes off the Bench by Brian VisaggioFollowing the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Bush decided to join the US Navy, becoming the youngest naval aviator at just eighteen. His lanky physique earned him the nickname "Skin". Attending Yale after the war, he played as the star pitcher on their baseball team (a sport his eldest son would eventually run as MLB commissioner), and eventually graduated in 1948 with a Bachelor's in Economics.
After a career in the oil industry, in 1966 was elected to the House of Representatives, beginning a long life of public service inspired by his father, Senator Prescott Bush eventually taking on the jobs of Ambassador to the United Nations and Director of the CIA, culminating in an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination in 1980. Selected as Reagan's running mate, he impressed his former rival as an intelligent and capable thinker, well-versed in constitutional principles, eventually culminating in the President nominating the sitting VP to the bench itself after the retirement of Justice Lewis Powell. Proving a thoughtful and serious jurist, he served through four presidents, including his own successor as vice president, Orrin Hatch.
In 1861, on this day Major Anderson at Fort Sumter had withdrawn his men completely from contact with Charleston, knowing that keeping them in proximity with those civilians would trigger some fight that would probably escalate into further trouble.
Showdown at Fort Sumter Part 2 by Raymond SpeerPresident Jefferson Davis came to the correct conclusion about Lincoln's motives, but having done that, ceased to do anything else and sat by impassively. Davis' rival wanted the first shot fired by the secessionists. Unfortunately, Lincoln had a very good chance of making those wishes come true because the local Confederate state government (South Carolina) preferred forcing out the garrison from the fort. As Davis appraised the situation, it was possible that South Carolina would shrug aside the costraint of the confederal gov't and fire cannon on the feds on their own volition.
The Secretary of State of the Confederate States of America made the strongest presentation against a Southern action against the fort at a last Confederate Cabinet meeting on the evening of April 10, 1861. He had the inestimable value of access to Major Anderson's signals to Abraham Lincoln in which the major wrote that he planned to offer no resistance. Before that meeting, most meetings with Davis had assumed hat the South would fire at the fort. From that evening on, the order was that the reprovision of the fort would be allowed to take place.
Abraham Lincoln had skated to the verge of war, and like the frontier rustic he was, the new Union President jubilated in Northern praise of his "victory". That success made no practical difference in Lincoln's chances to reduce the South. Lincoln still spurned all commissions and emissaries sent to him by Davis or any other Southerner. As soon as April 12, Lincoln was planning the use of Northern resources to quell the South.
In the big picture, the Fort Sumter imbroglio proved utterly unimportant. The April 17, 1861, seizure by the Virginia Militia of the US Naval Base at Norfolk was argued by the North to be a Southern theft of Northern property without compensation, and that was all it took to justify Northern aggression against the South.
Few noticed when Fort Sumter was taken by the South on June 1, 1861, when the War was already underway. The Northern garrison did not make a serious show of commitment.
In 1865, on this day Confederate General Robert E. Lee mounted his horse Traveler and with a deep sigh ordered the dissolution of the Army of North Virginia.
Trump CardThis informal cessation of hostilities between regular forces marked a new phase in the American Civil War. By ordering his troops to continue the fight as guerrillas in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the General had played the trump card that President Abraham Lincoln most dreaded.
But in a sense, he was only following the orders of the fleeing Confederate President Jefferson Davis who had issued his own call for guerrilla struggle. In anticipation of that order, hundreds of Lee's men had already vanished into the hills on their own initiative. And yet Lee had not taken the decision lightly, he had convened a council of war in which he had been advised that "a little more blood more or less makes no difference now". Nevertheless events in Virginia would soon mirror those in Missouri, where a full-scale guerrilla war of terrifying ferocity had dragged the state into a whirlpool of vengeance.
In his diary, Union General Ulysses S. Grant had noted "I was afraid every morning that I would wake up from my sleep to hear the Lee had gone .. and the war was prolonged". He was absolutely right, Even a cursory review of Lee's record indicates that he would never surrender to the abolitionists, despite his own fear that "we would bring on a state of affairs that would take the country years to recover from".
- As a Brevet Colonel of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, shooting John Brown dead at the climax of the Harper's Ferry Raid
- Refusing to honour the terms of his father-in-law's will which would have freed the slaves under his control
- After entering Pennsylvania, permitting his men to round up many former slaves and free blacks and send them south into slavery
- Refusing President Lincoln's offer of the Command of Union Forces at the outbreak of war
Having boasted that he could continue the war for another twenty years, his heart condition suggested otherwise (he suffered several mild heart attacks on the battlefields). Just five and a half years later "Marse Robert" died in the vastness of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a remote and harsh location which mirrored his own stubborness.
In 1981, on this day Robert Sands was elected as Member of Parliament in a by-election for the Fermanagh and South Tyrone district of Northern Ireland, on a ticket for "The Worker's Party of Ireland".
"Our revenge will be the laughter of our children" by Gerry ShannonSands' election is historical for several reasons. At age 29, he is the youngest MP ever elected in the United Kingdom, but he is yet another electoral success for the Marxist-Leninist Worker's Party - a further vindication of the far left strategy persued by party leaders Cathal Goulding and Sean Garland following the split in the republican Sinn Féin party in 1970. The party most notably has a parliamilitary wing, the Official Irish Republican Army, of which Sands was a member until it's permanent ceasefire in 1972.
In his victory speech, Sands claims: "Our revenge will be the laughter of our children". In this oft-repeated phrase by his admirers in the decades after, Sands made clear his intention to destroy the inequality amongst the working class of the Unionist-dominated state forever when he took his seat in the power-sharing government in Stormont. (The power-sharing executive had been in place since the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973).
He would keep his seat through subsequent elections until resigning to become a candiate in the 1990 presidential election for the twenty-six counties of the Republic of Ireland. Sands was the shared nominee for the Worker's Party and Labour. Sands would win, and would serve the fourteen years of two terms as President until leaving office in 2004 - quite possibly the most popular holder of the title of President thus far in the history of the Irish Republic. Outside of political life, Sands would also become a semi-regular author of several collections of short stories and poetry, mostly written in Irish.
In 1859, the first edition of Charles Darwin's satirical novel Planet of the Apes is published.The Darwin Laws by Eric LippsDarwin, an amateur naturalist, had sailed on the second voyage of the HMS Beagle in 1831-'32. At one point, the Beagle, having sustained damage in a storm off the Horn of Africa, had put in at Cape Town, South Africa, where Darwin had observed captured specimens of orangutans and chimpanzees and heard travelers' rumors of another, larger ape native Africans called a gorilla, which white Europeans then believed to be mythical. Darwin conceived the idea for a satire imagining a future in which intelligent, civilized apes of several types, corresponding to the three recognized human races, ruled over speechless primitive humans. Although a rough draft was completed in 1835, Darwin, fearing it might anger the Church of England, delayed for many years seeking its publication. In the meantime, he refined the novel, drawing on ideas obtained from correspondence with fellow naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace.
Darwin's book instantly became a controversial success. Nineteenth-century racists such as England's Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Frenchman Charles de Gobineau praised it as a vivid warning of what might happen if 'the lesser races' prevailed, and especially if there were interbreeding between whites and non-whites. In the United States, the book played a substantial role in the emergence of the Reconstruction-era Ku Klux Klan. Later, however, several U.S. states would pass laws aimed at banning any text suggesting that the supremacy of the white race should, will or can be overthrown in favor of rule by a nonwhite race .
In 1925, high school English teacher John Thomas Scopes would be prosecuted in Dayton, Tennessee for assigning Darwin?s book to his students. Billed as a major First Amendment case, the Scopes trial would end in conviction; Scopes would be fined 100 USD. The fine would be paid by the Chicago Tribune, whose acerbic reporter H. L. Mencken would be among the journalists covering the proceedings. The conviction would be overturned later on a technicality, but Scopes would be forced to leave Tennessee following a barrage of death threats. 'Darwin laws' such as the one under which Scopes was tried would finally be ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Epperson v. Arkansas.
In 1483, King Edward IV of England recovered from a debilitating illness that had threatened to kill him.
King Edward IV SurvivesAn extremely capable and daring military commander, he had destroyed the House of Lancaster in a series of spectacular military victories; he was never defeated on the field of battle. Despite his occasional (if serious) political setbacks - usually at the hands of his great Machiavellian rival, Louis XI of France - he was a popular and very able king. While he lacked foresight and was at times cursed by bad judgement, he possessed an uncanny understanding of his most useful subjects, and the vast majority of those who served him remained unwaveringly loyal until his death.
With his daughter's marriage to Henry Tudor of the Lancastrian branch of the Plantaganets, King Edward brought an end to the War of the Roses between the Yorkists and Lancastrians. He continued to rule Britain until his death in 1511.
On this day in 2001, President Colin Powell was confronted with the first major diplomatic crisis of his administration when the crew of a US Navy P-3C surveillance plane was incarcerated by the Chinese government shortly after their plane collided with and destroyed a Chinese J-8 fighter jet.
On this day in 1959, the Boston Celtics completed a sweep of the Minneapolis Lakers to clinch their second straight NBA league championship.
Sandy Koufax, who scored 41 points in this game and had averaged 36.2 points overall during the Celtics sweep, was named Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals, the first of four such honors he would receive during his playing career.
On this day in 1504, Leonardo da Vinci demonstrates the first practical steam engine to his patron.
The inventor envisions the new engine as a power source for a number of other, previously unworkable inventions in his notebooks. His original engine, however, proves too inefficient to make these devices (which include versions of the tank, the submarine and the airplane) practical.
|Leonard Da Vinci|
DaVinci wills his notebooks to the Vatican. However, by the tie he dies in 1519, copies of most of them have been secretly prepared by an assistant in exchange for large bribes. Their contents, which include a full description of da Vinci's engine, will inspire a wave of experimentation. Improved versions of the engine are put to work in such applications as pumping water from flooded mines.
On this day in 1958, Sandy Koufax racked up 28 points and 17 rebounds as the Boston Celtics defeated the St. Louis Hawks 99-92 to clinch the first of their nine consecutive NBA league championships.
A few weeks later, Koufax's contract with the Celtics would be renewed through the 1961-62 NBA season.
On this day in 1974, Stephen King started his second draft draft of Jerusalem's Lot.
In 1985, thirteen years into his life prison sentence for espionage and attempted hijacking, Dmitri Kaprinsky, alias D.B. Cooper, died of a heart attack in his cell.
On this day in 1912, the Royal Mail Steamer Titanic was gutted by fire just 24 hours before she was scheduled to depart on her maiden voyage from Ireland to New York City. Initially the arson was blamed on Irish terrorists, but British authorities learned otherwise when an anonymous letter mailed by a staffer at the German embassy in London linked the fire to agents of the Imperial German intelligence service and suggested the fire had been set as a warning to the British government not to intervene in the ongoing diplomatic standoff between Serbia and Germany's main foreign ally, Austria-Hungary.
In 1992 the United States invades Greenland and sets up a puppet Consitutionalist government. Greenlanders sympathetic to the American cause had aided the invasion by betraying the location of Greenland's meager military resources to the invaders; they were repaid when President Ralph Shephard of the U.S. put them into positions of power.
In 1957, following a court order, nine black students attempt to register at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. They are turned away at gunpoint by the National Guard, which has been called out by Arkansas governor Orval Faubus to prevent 'violence' by 'extremists' whom he claims are converging on Little Rock in 'caravans.' Asked his opinion on the matter, Senator Joseph McCarthy piously asserts that Governor Faubus 'has acted responsibly to maintain order.'
In 1915 while the Harlequin's shuttles evacuate the Q'Barian hospital, Captain Smith attempts to find out the cause of the chaos on the Q'Barian planet. Ch'Kel'Mlar, the Chief Doctor of the hospital, tells him, 'It began with a signal we received from a planet we have not had contact with in over half a century; a planet that nearly destroyed us when last we met.'
In 2000 the Gamers from Beyond settle down in the New Mexico desert to finish up their gamemaster Bill Burke's campaign The Busride Of Doom at the very location he has been describing. Their fellow dead gamers from the southwest crowd around and cheer their heroic story as it reaches its climax.
In 1959 the first American astronauts are introduced to the nation by the People's Aeronautics and Space Administration (PASA). These 7 comrades paved the way for the Soviet States of America to become the world's leading space power.
In 1972, as she is midway through her Oscar acceptance speech, Jane Fonda is shot by a Vietnam vet who was angered by her anti-war activism. Ron Kovic, who had been shot in the head during his tour, was immediately arrested for the crime. During the trial, he used an insanity defense and was acquitted of the murder charge, but spent the next 10 years in a VA mental hospital.
In 1881, a thrown-together court sentenced William Bonney (Billy the Kid) to death for the murder of Sheriff William Brady. The arresting sheriff, Pat Garrett, had wanted to construct a gallows to be used in future hangings, but was persuaded simply to throw a rope over a tree branch and have done with it that day.
In 1859, Sam Clemens one of the most celebrated of the old steamboat pilots, received his license. Clemens was such a larger than life individual that he inspired dozens of writers who used him as a character in their work; sadly, Clemens own literary ambitions never reached fruition because of his work.
In 1821, French author Charles-Pierre Baudelaire is born in Paris, France. He spent most of his life in the French colony on Titan, penning such works as Stars of Evil, Painter of Modern Life and Stellar Art. For a brief period, he wrote for the Mlosh-owned French vid company Les Etoilles, but artistic differences forced him to resign.
In 1826, on this day Secretary of State Henry Clay was killed dueling with Senator John Randolph of Roanoke at Pimmit Run in Northern Virginia.
Corrupt BargainRandolph had been infuriated by a backroom deal that saw Clay become secretary of state in exchange for ordering his supporters to back Adams for the Presidency. Making comparison to Henry Fielding's novel Tom Jones he called the political partnership a combination of "the Puritan and the blackleg" the latter being a cheat at cards a clear reference to Clay's fondness for late-night card games.
Called upon to apologize or fight, Randolph accepted pistols even though he had every intention of firing into the air unless he saw "the devil" in Clay's eyes. But as they gathered on a field near Arlington, Virginia, Randolph saw ominous devilment in the infuriated secretary's eyes and shot to kill.
In 1777, the first contingent of French regular army troops arrived in America to support the Continental Army in its war for American indepedence from Great Britain; these soldiers were dispatched to the fledging United States under the terms of an alliance treaty that had been signed in Paris a few months earlier.
Double Jeopardy Part 10
French Reinforcements ArriveThe chief architect of that treaty, Benjamin Franklin, had already been famous for more than a decade thanks to his book Poor Richard's Almanac and his scientific experiments on electricity -- but the treaty itself would make him an immortal figure in American history. After the Revolutionary War ended in 1779, Franklin would return to Paris to establish the permanent American embassy for France.
With the brief and highly conspicuous exception of an estrangement during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, the Franco-American alliance would continue to endure for generations after the Revolution. In the Great European War of 1914-17, thousands of American troops fought in France's defense against the aggression of Kaiser Wilhelm II's Germany; during the Pacific War of the early 1940s French naval power helped ensure America's final victory over Japan.
In 1904, the Entente-Cordiale Talks End without Agreement: England and France had long stood as rivals and outright enemies for many centuries. Massive campaigns had been fought between the two in the Hundred Years' War, Seven Years' War, Napoleon's Wars, just to list a few.
Entente-Cordiale Talks End without AgreementIn the seventeenth and eighteenth century, England had grown to dominance and merged with Scotland and Ireland into Great Britain, only to have its American colonies lost by French intervention. Britain struck back by ending Napoleon's empire, and then, over the course of the nineteenth century, the two political juggernauts came to something of a truce. First used in 1844, Entente-Cordiale ("cordial understanding") became the term for the common interest and mutual advantages between France and Britain. The two had even worked as allies in the Crimean War to halt the expansion of the Russian Empire, but old colonial rivals kept them apart.
A new story by Jeff ProvineEven by 1900, the happy agreements toward peace between the two were still informal. Britain had long enjoyed its policy of Splendid Isolation, focusing on its empire and leaving alone the matters of the Continent. However, with the taxing and often humbling Boer Wars and the growth of German power both in Europe and in Africa, Britain looked back toward Europe to reevaluate its position. Talks were held about Britain potentially becoming a member of Germany's Triple Alliance, but Edward VII nixed the idea in preference to isolation. The position of neutrality became more and more difficult to maintain as Britain's new ally Japan and France's longtime ally Russia turned toward war in 1904. Diplomats led by British Foreign Secretary Lord Lansdowne and French foreign minister Theophile Delcasse scrambled in an attempt to sort out the colonial matters that still plagued France and England to draw up a fashionable alliance. For a time, an agreement looked promising, but arguments over Newfoundland fishing rights broke down talks. Finally, two months after Russia and Japan had gone to war, the talks ended with simple neutrality as the best the France and Britain could muster.
While the old empires watched, young empires came fully onto the scene. Japan won the war effectively against Russia, whose people erupted in revolt. US President Theodore Roosevelt ended the war with the Treaty of Portsmouth through back channel diplomacy that won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906. Britain returned to its policies of isolation and protecting her vast empire. France, meanwhile, made brisk attempts to aid Russia and to coax Italy away from Germany's Triple Alliance, which it did by supporting the Italo-Turkish War in 1911.
The web of international treaties and alliances broke with the single shot that killed the Archduke Ferdinand. Austria-Hungary invaded Serbia, Russia invaded Austria-Hungary, Germany invaded Russia, and France declared war on Germany. With Britain and its neutral ally Belgium diplomatically out of the war without antagonism, German command saw fit to alter the Schlieffen Plan and assault the French forces more directly rather than invade through innocent Belgium. Initially, the French stood in a mighty defense against the German onslaught, but the German wehrmacht enabled the resources to roll the trench warfare backward toward Paris. With the collapse of Russia and Italy quickly changing sides, the war ended in 1917 with the Treaty of Berlin inside a suddenly powerful Germany. Britain and the United States felt grateful for being spared the massive bloodshed of the war and in fact prospering as Europe hurried to rebuild.
Renewed nationalism in the decaying Austro-Hungarian Empire spurred its collapse in 1931 as the Great Depression ground on. Socialism, which had been long nurtured in France and triumphant in Russia, took the losing countries of the war by storm. A grand socialist alliance grew powerful as the nearly fascist monarchies of Germany and Japan struggled. In 1942, the World War broke out as Stalin invaded Poland and much of Eastern Europe in an attempt to "liberate and unify the workers of the world". His expansionism continued into the Middle East while France fought to take German colonies in Africa, and Italy fell to civil war. Britain was finally drawn into the war it had always feared when the French Mediterranean fleet struck Egypt and blockaded the Suez Canal while other troops occupied disputed territories in West Africa. Socialist riots broke out in India, and the widespread war caused Britain simply to evacuate one of its greatest jewels. The United States, too, lost its neutrality as Russia pressed through Japanese forces in China and made a surprise attack on Midway Island.
Bitter warfare continued to 1952 when Russia finally capitulated under the onslaught of American atomic bombs and it became known that Josef Stalin had died due to heart failure.
In 1919, on this day Sir Ian Douglas Smith was born in Selukwe, a mining town two hundred miles south west of the city of Salisbury where, as the first Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Rhodesia, he would later direct a successful "Bush War" against African Marxists.
Sir Ian Douglas SmithHe was educated at Chaplin School nearby with moderate academic achievement, captaining the first XV and running the 100 yards in 10 seconds. He began a bachelor of commerce degree at Rhodes University in South Africa in 1938, establishing an impressive academic record and rowing for the university.
War broke out in 1939 and in 1941 he joined the RAF Empire Air Training Scheme at Guinea Fowl in central Rhodesia. He was posted to 237 (Rhodesia) Squadron in the Middle East, flying Hawker Hurricanes.
Taking off from Alexandria on a dawn patrol in 1943, his throttle malfunctioned, he lost height and clipped the barrel of a Bofors gun. He crashed and rammed his face against the Hurricane's gunsight. He suffered severe facial injuries, broke his jaw, a leg and a shoulder, and buckled his back. Surgeons at the 15th Scottish Hospital in Cairo reconstructed his face and, after only five months, he rejoined his squadron in Corsica. He realised his dream to fly Spitfire Mark IXs, carrying out strafing raids and escorting American bombers.
In mid-1944 Smith was leading a raid on a train of fuel tankers in the Po Valley when he made the mistake of going back for a second run.The Spitfire was hit by an anti-aircraft shell, caught fire and he baled out. He was soon picked up by the partisans. The five months he spent with them near Sasello, learning Italian, reading Shakespeare and working as a peasant, he regarded as one of the best times of his life. Near the end of the war, he and three other Allied fugitives made their way through occupied Italy to the Maritime Alps. At one point the conspicuously tall, fair-haired Rhodesian strode unhindered through a German checkpoint. He led his tiny group over the mountains, walking barefoot on ice, until they reached an American patrol on the other side.
Smith became active in politics when he successfully ran as a candidate for the right-wing Southern Rhodesia Liberal Party in the 1948 general election for a seat representing the Selukwe district in the Legislative Assembly. He was initially reluctant to stand due to his youth and the fact that he was establishing a farm. Indeed, he was the youngest MP in the history of the Southern Rhodesian Parliament. In 1953, he supported federation of Southern Rhodesia with Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland and joined the United Federal Party set up by Prime Minister Godfrey Huggins.
In the federal general election he was elected as Federal Party member for Midlands, and therefore stood down from his seat in the Southern Rhodesian legislature. From 1958, Smith served as Chief Whip for the United Federal Party in the Federal Assembly, but grew increasingly disillusioned with the party and the new Prime Minister Sir Roy Welensky.
"Our policy [is] a government, in Rhodesia, based on merit and that people wouldn't worry whether you were Black or whether you were White" - Ian Smith, 1961At a UFP congress in 1961, Smith publicly denounced the party's platform on Southern Rhodesia constitutional proposals. He opposed the proposals on the basis that they would usher in racial discrimination to the Constitution. He explained: "Our policy in the past has always been that we would have a government, in Rhodesia, based on merit and that people wouldn't worry whether you were Black or whether you were White".
Smith was re-elected to Parliament as an RF member for Umzingwane in the 1962 general election, in which the RF won a slim majority and formed a government. He became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Treasury under Prime Minister Winston Field. Smith accompanied Field to the Victoria Falls Conference in December 1963, where an agreement was reached to dissolve the Federation with Rab Butler, the British Foreign Secretary. Butler grandly declared that Britain was "very happy to agree" to independence for Southern Rhodesia, at least at the same time as Zambia and Malawi. A distrustful Smith asked Butler for the undertaking in writing. Butler demurred with: "There is trust between members of the British Commonwealth". Smith wagged his finger at Butler, and said: "If you break that, you will live to regret it". In fact there was no cause for concern in London or Salisbury, and Smith (who was soon to succeed Field as Prime Minister) was being characteristically belligerent.
When Smith came to office the general expectation was that he would immediately assume independence, but he first turned his attention to gaining support in Rhodesia, and toured the country, addressing scores of gatherings. His theme was independence, and the need to explore peaceful avenues open to Rhodesia.
Negotiations between Rhodesia and the British Government were resumed. Smith visited London in September 1964 for talks with Home and Sandys, but the matter of testing African opinion proved to be the stumbling block to a concensus between the two governments. Smith returned to Rhodesia, optimistic that agreement could be reached with Britain. In October 1964 the Conservative Party led by Alec Douglas-Home narrowly retained power after a close fought general election, defeating the Labour Party led by Hugh Gaitskell.
The British Government's fateful decision to grant independence without black majority rule was described as the "Great Betrayal" by the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU). With the vigourous support of the Soviet Union, the party rapidly drifted towards Marxism, launching a twelve-year long insurgency under the leadership of the terrorists Joshua Nkome and Robert Mugabe. The Western Cold War allies provided indirect support via the Portugese Colonies in Mozambique and Angola, whilst South African Prime Minister John Vorster dispatched additional police units to secure the northern border from terrorism.
On 3 April 1977, General Peter Walls announced the government would launch a campaign to win the "hearts and minds" of Rhodesia's black citizens. In May Walls received reports of ZANLA forces massing in the city of Mapai in Gaza Province, Mozambique. Prime Minister Smith gave Walls permission to destroy the base. Walls told the media the Rhodesian forces were changing tactics from contain and hold to search and destroy, "adopting hot pursuit when necessary". On 30 May 1977, 500 troops passed the border and travelled 60 miles to Mapai, engaging the ZANLA forces with air cover from the Rhodesian Air Force and paratroopers in C-47 Dakotas. The Rhodesian government said the military killed 32 ZANLA fighters and lost one Rhodesian pilot. The so-called Bush War, was over, and in recognition of his role in fighting Communism in Southern Africa, Ian Smith would receive a knighthood from the British Government and also become the Times Magazine Man of the Year for 1977.
In 1861, on this day the commander at Charleston Harbor, General P.G.T. Beauregard (pictured) was instructed "under no circumstances are you to prevent provisions to be sent to Fort Sumter" in a telegraph from the Confederate Secretary of War, Leroy Pope Walker.
Showdown at Fort SumterSince his inauguration on March 4th, President Abraham Lincoln been under intense pressure to order the evacuation of Major Robert Anderson and his garrison from Fort Sumter. Believing that giving up the Fort meant giving up the Union, the decision to evacuate had been postponed so long that the only option now appeared to be unconditional surrender. But during the last week of March, Northern opinion against evacuation had hardened.
The confrontation appeared to have reached a point of no turn when the Fort ran out of provisions. But in a stroke of genius, acting upon a suggestion from Gustavus V. Fox, Lincoln chose to resupply by sending unarmed tugs carrying provisions instead of using warships to force Charleston Harbour.
The trouble was that Lincoln had only been a Commander-in-Chief for four weeks. His only military service consisted of just thirty days as a captain of volunteers and fifty days as a private entering the fight against Chief Black Hawk's Sac and Fox Indian tribe under General Zachary Taylor. Records show he was an ineffective leader of men, having been reprimanded twice, once for failing to stop his men from stealing Army booze and getting drunk and again for shooting off their weapons in camp. When his thirty-day hitch as an officer was up, he signed over as a private in an Independent Ranger company, and when that was over, in twenty days, he reupped for thirty more in an Independent Spy Corps.
Whereas his adversary, the Confederate President Jefferson Davis had served with great distinction as the 23rd US Secretary of War. As a result of this superior experience, Davis immediately sensed that it was a trap to fire the first shop by attacking a "mission of humanity" bringing "food for hungry men".
Realising that Lincoln had been outplayed by a master, fears for the preservation of the Union began to grow. Perhaps there were something worst than a Civil War. Cessation without an armed struggle, or perhaps a belligerent response from the Union might provoke intervention from the other Great Powers.
In 1974, Major League Baseball witnessed an unspeakable evil act at the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on this day when a bigoted fan shot Henry Loius "Hank" Aaron. Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn was quite safe; he hadn't even show up to the event where Aaron was widely expected to break Babe Ruth's thirty-nine year baseball record of 714 home runs.
"The Sultan of Swat" is ShotIt appeared that quote a lot of other people didn't want the Braves' outfielder to be the new "Sultan of Swat" either. As he closed in on Babe Ruth's record, Aaron had received hate mail and also death threats. His daughter at Fisk University and two boys in private schools had also received race-hate too.
Fortunately, Aaron's injury was superficial, and he recovered to score his 715th home run later in the season. Twenty-five years later, Major League Baseball celebrated Aaron's record-breaking home run by having a series of events throughout the season. And the first annual Hank Aaron Award acknowledge the top National League player and American League player with a combination of five offensive abilities -- home runs, RBIs, stolen bases, runs scored and batting average.
In the year 2564 of the Cyrus era,
on this day in Rome the alphabetic ordering of leaders during the funeral of Pope John Paul II resulted in the Grand Vizier, Moshe Katsav sitting near his fellow Persian, Mohammad Khatami (pictured). The Chairman of the Central Council of the Assembly of Combatant Clerics, Khatami was the head of a reformist political party which sought to overthrow the Shahanshah (the "King of Kings"), replacing the ruling House of Pahlavi with a Revolutionary Islamic Committee.
Khatami denies Katsav handshake at Pope's funeralKatsav told the press that his conversation with Khatami centered around Yazd, the central region of Persia where they both men grew up (there is a two year age difference between them). They spoke in Farsi. "The Chairman extended his hand to me, I shook it and told him in Farsi, 'May peace be upon you,'" said Katsav.
"Persian social manners are well known, and there is no other society that can compete with them". ~ KatsavAfter the funeral, the Shahanshah petulantly signalled that the gesture was unauthorised, acknowledging that his chief arbitrator did shake hands with Khatami, although he claimed it had no political or religious meaning. Infuritated, Khatami responded with a categorical denial that he had shaken Katsav's hand, even though there were many witnesses to the handshake. "These allegations are false like other allegations made by the Shahanshan's Government and I have not had any meeting with any one from the Zoroastrian regime," the privately-run Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Khatami as saying.
The Vatican then issued a press release to indicate that Khatami's invitation had been in his capacity of Head Cleric rather than his political leadership of the Assembly. The late holy pontiff was of course a progressive religious leader who sought good relations with Islam and had left written instructions to ensure that his funeral included multi-faith representation. The unfortunate consequences of an ill-thought out seating plan were regretted by the Vatican. In a further embarrassment to the hosts, Prince Charles had "accidentally" shaken hands with the Communist President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela1.
In 2008, at 9:10 this morning, a powerful explosion rocked lower Manhattan. Witnesses aboard the Staten Island ferry John F. Kennedy described a blinding flash followed by a rising column of smoke, then a roar of sound. Several minutes later, they were horrified to witness the collapse of the New York landmark, which toppled forward from its base and shattered on impact with the ground below. It is unknown at this time how many people were inside the monument when it collapsed, or how many tourists outside may have been injured or killed. Experts contacted for comment stated that the nature of the statue's collapse suggests one or more bombs planted to sever the statue from its pedestal, in order to topple it essentially intact.
Statue of Liberty Terror Bombed - Famed Monument Destroyed by Guest Historian Eric Lipps
By 9:30, President Bush had directed New York City's terror threat level raised to red, the first time the maximum threat level had been used since the color-coded warning system was devised in the wake of 9-11.
This move effectively placed the city under martial law. Citizens are forbidden to leave their homes except as authorized by Homeland Security and the military. All schools are closed, as are all businesses and government agencies except those deemed essential. Anyone found outside in violation of the lockdown may be arrested or shot on sight at the discretion of local command authorities.
By noon, acting on what federal authorities said were credible warnings of additional attacks, the Code Red alert had been extended nationwide. In Washington itself, Congress was taken into protective custody. Protests by some members were reported; however, the administration argued that the emergency required that the nation's legislative leaders be sequestered for their own safety. The current whereabouts of Congress are being withheld by the White House for security reasons.
Appearing on television from an undisclosed location 'outside Washington, D.C.,' President Bush urged the nation to remain calm. 'We have triumphed over the terrorists and their allies in every battle so far,' he said. 'Our brave troops liberation of France from the despotic pro-terrorist regime which had ruled it in recent years apparently panicked the leaders of the international conspiracy of evil into committing this vile act against a symbol of freedom which, as you know, came to us originally from a free France.'
The President assured his audience that America would once again prevail. 'However,' he stated, 'during this troubled time it will be necessary to set aside some of the liberties granted under the Constitution.'
Statue of Liberty Bombed - cont'd - Mr. Bush explained that, as President Lincoln had done during the Civil War, he was suspending the writ of habeas corpus to facilitate the trial of terror and subversion suspects. Moreover, he anticipated ordering further tightening of the security censorship rules imposed on the media under prior post-9-11 legislation. However, due to the need to keep the members of Congress safe from assassination, he would be enacting the new laws himself. Other new presidential legislation will ensure tighter monitoring of individuals tied by ethnicity, nationality, or religious affiliation to known terrorists. A system of internal passports based on the National Identity Card will be set up; the passports are to be carried at all times, and will include tracking chips to monitor their owners' movements continuously. All electronic transactions and communication will be recorded in a national database; the required technology has already been successfully tested, and contracts for installation of the necessary monitoring infrastructure have been awarded.
Perhaps the most controversial measure mentioned in Mr. Bush's address is one intended to require all Americans to swear allegiance to 'the absolute truth of the Bible, as written.' Justified by the President as 'affirming our common faith in God and in the teachings of Jesus as we battle the forces of darkness of this world,' this was widely seen as a strong nod to Christian fundamentalists, who have been among Mr. Bush's strongest allies since his elevation to the White House in 2000.
Besides the predictable complaints from secularist doom-criers who have opposed the Administration at every turn, there were concerns raised by diplomatic experts who point out that our World Freedom Coalition includes non-Christian nations. Their arguments were brusquely dismissed by a White House spokesman who said, 'We don't need to explain ourselves to anyone. If these nations want to remain our allies, they will accept our decisions as final. If they don't, they know the price.'
With the Pentagon damaged (although it has since been rebuilt) and both the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty destroyed, the natural question is: what's the next target? The President named no candidates, but Administration spokesmen have repeatedly warned of dangers to other monuments such as Mount Rushmore and the presidential memorials in Washington, D.C., and to private targets such as nuclear power plants. Such so-called 'high-value targets,' he said today, will immediately be placed under permanent military protection.
Beyond that, Mr. Bush affirmed that this new attack showed that 'we are in a struggle for the ages,' so that we should not expect a return to normal conditions anytime soon. 'The world has changed,' he stated, repeating a phrase which has become almost a cliche since Sept. 11, 2001, 'and we must change with it. Let the word go forth: We are America! We shall prevail, whatever it takes, because we are the last, best hope of man on earth. We cannot yield, we must not falter, until this evil which has struck at us is banished from the world forever. And to those who refuse to join us in this great twilight struggle, let me say this: Change your minds, or we'll change them for you. Those who are not with us will reap the consequences of being against us, as others have already.'
Amen, Mr. President, sir. Amen.
In 1952, President Joseph McCarthy nationalized the steel industry when it looked like he couldn't end a strike by Ohio steelworkers quickly.
The Steel Seizure Case
by Robbie TaylorIn the case of Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (also commonly referred to as "The Steel Seizure Case") U.S. Steel and nine other steelmakers sued to regain control of their facilities. When the Supreme Court ruled that McCarthy was stepping outside of constitutional boundaries by doing so, he sent in the U.S. military to arrest the Court. After he suspended the elections that year, millions of Americans, including large numbers of the military, rose up against him and plunged the nation into a five-year civil war.
On this day in 2008, the jury in the Spitzer vs. Spitzer divorce case ruled in favor of Silda Spitzer.
In 1946, the League of Nations convened for the first time under the revised charter worked out in several international conferences beginning in late 1944, when it had become clear that The Second world War had turned in the Allies' favor.
The new charter benefited greatly from its endorsement by the United States, whose rejection of the original had played a key role in weakening the League's ability to respond to Axis aggression in the 1930s. With the Third Reich and its allies on the ropes, many Americans were by 1944 already contemplating a postwar future in which the Soviet Union would be their country's chief antagonist, and were willing to revisit the notion of a permanent international alliance.
Under the new charter, the League would possess a so-called "Security Council" on which the major World War II victors - the "Big Five" of America, Britain, France, Russia and China - would have permanent seats, with other nations occupying the remaining ten seats on a rotating basis, and a "Grand Assembly" in which each nation would have a single vote. The Security Council would have the authority to order military action to "deter aggression," subject to approval by a majority of the Grand Assembly, and would have the right to recruit volunteers for a permanent armed force from member states, though not to institute a draft.
The inclusion of the Soviet Union on the Council would be controversial, and would be one of the matters held against charter negotiator Alger Hiss of the U.S. State Department at his 1947 trial for subversion. However, Hiss's defenders would note that under the revised League system, Soviet influence would be limited by the need for Security Council resolutions to be supported by a Grand Assembly majority. A proposed veto system, which would have allowed individual members of the Council to blackball a resolution, had been rejected specifically because of its potential for political abuse.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.