In 1936, on this day at Fort Belvedere, Edward VIII's written abdication notice was witnessed by British Prime Minister Arnold Hiller. Less than a month before, he had expressed his desire to marry Wallis Simpson when she became free to re-marry.
The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller, M.P
A teaser by Ed, Jeff Provine & Chris OakleyBut within days, everything in Edward's life changed again  as he was horseback riding near Buckingham Palace. On Constitution Hill, Jerome Brannigan, an Irishman, produced an envelope for the King. Inside were letters, photographs, and various papers showing that Mrs. Simpson had been seeing, and doing more, with other men. The King became furious, and police escorted Brannigan away. While some modern historians suspect the documents were fabricated by MI5, they were treated as genuine at the time. Edward immediately broke relations with Mrs. Simpson through a letter and refused to receive her despite the many times she asked. In an action that had shown shocking discipline for the man who had left Oxford without a degree, the King searched through little-used law until he found grounds to banish Mrs. Simpson from Britain and the whole of the Empire. She would move to France and later be married to writer and painter Henry Miller for her third marriage.
However Hiller made sure that the revelation did for Edward as well, enabling him to join the posts of Head of State and Head of Government become Great Britain's National Leader. You can read read the latest part of Chris Oakley's timeline at The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller MP at Changing the Times Magazine.
In 1896, on this day Swedish-born Alfred Nobel left a legacy for six prizes. Nobel worried over his legacy as his life came to an end. In 1867, he patented dynamite, a stable form of nitroglycerine soaked into an absorbent.
Nobel Leaves Legacy for Six Prizes It was to be a great boon to mankind: a tool for excavation for construction, for demolition of dangerous structures, and for swift, safe digging to mine Earth's bounty as well as build roads for travel and commerce. Afterward, he had invented further explosives, such as gelignite (blasting gel) and the smokeless propellant ballistite. All of these great leaps forward for the human race were quickly adapted to military use, however. Ballistite would even cause newspapers to accuse Nobel of treason against France as the Italians changed their rifles to use his compound.
A new story by Jeff ProvineHis real concern came as he learned of an obituary that had been written about him, mistaking his death for that of his brother Ludvig. A French newspaper wrote "the merchant of death is dead" and said that he had become "rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before". His patents for artificial silk, artificial leather, and other improvements were never mentioned. A lifetime of devotion to invention had made him out to be a monster. To rectify this, he wrote his last will and testament in 1895, one year before his death by stroke, dedicating 94% of his vast fortune to a foundation to give out prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine & physiology, literature, and peace (supposedly brought on by his long relationship with the pacifist countess Bertha Kinsky, who had married another man). While writing at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris, someone remarked that he had great notions of working toward the betterment of man, but nothing to study what the betterment was. His formulation of the literary prize was for works "in an ideal direction", though it now seemed that the direction needed definition. To fill the gap, Nobel decided to add a sixth prize for the "sciences of society".
In 1901, the prizes began (Austrian Sigmund Freud winning the first Social Science prize for his Interpretation of Dreams) and have continued yearly since. By 1906, however, it became obvious that the Prize for Social Science had unleashed a hailstorm of new ideas when Max Weber received the prize for discussions in his essay, "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism". The secularization and depth of scientific study of people in society had suddenly become very real to the largely Edwardian Western culture. In 1913, ?mile Durkheim won in recognition of his comparisons of aboriginal societies to modern ones, giving further clout to the in-depth study of humanity as one would study the laws of gravity.
There would be many winners of the Social Science prize over the years in fields as diverse as economics, psychology, education theory, legal and political science, and behavioral science. Along with the progression encouraged by the growth of material and social benefits, there has been a good deal of questioning the morality of treating humans as Petri dish. B. F. Skinner's win in 1953 would cause many to suspect that it would only be a matter of time before humans were reduced to robots under an artificial paternalism. Encouragement from the Peace Prize and discoveries lauded in physics, chemistry, and medicine along with social commentary from Literature kept the prestige of the Nobel prizes strong.
Even with the fears of 1984 and A Clockwork Orange, it is evident that the Prize for Social Science has made positive impact on humanity. Following the act-reward programming for international diplomacy and the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the world has been studied and organized into all but eliminating starvation and death from preventable disease. On the other hand, opponents argue that the majority of the human race has been turned to salary-slave consumer-addicts, continually chasing upward mobility while enjoying momentary vicarious pleasures from politico-industrial sponsored sporting events and taking in well clad palatable pop-science as hope (or fear) for the future. Some naysayers of the naysayers ask simply, "What's wrong with that?"
In 2010, on this day Andrew Beane wrote ~ the gloves are off .. and the rubber gloves are on at the nation's airports and bus stops. Starting today, the Transportation Security Administration of America began implementing full body cavity searches for all passengers on both domestic and international flights. Random body cavity searches are also being conducted at various bus stations around the country. The reaction of the traveling population has not been pretty.
Gloves are offIn Tampa, Florida, the father of a thirteen-year-old child was arrested for assaulting a TSA agent who insisted on performing a cavity search on the child. In Augusta, Maine, every bus at the Greyhound station sat empty as passengers protested the searches. In Los Angeles, a Delta Airlines flight took off with only one passenger. Upon landing, the passenger said that after twenty years in prison, the search did not bother him in the least.
The heightened security measures came after the November 23rd attempted bombing of Lufthansa flight 912 by Yemeni terror suspect Hakim al-Assad. Assad, known as the "butt bomber" in the blogosphere, attempted to detonate an egg-sized capsule filled with plastic explosives that was inserted in his rectum. He was restrained by fellow passengers when he failed to detonate the device by cell phone while flight attendance repeatedly instructed him to put the phone away.
President Obama told the nation that though the new security measure seem extreme, they are necessary in making sure America?s skies are safe and secure. Conservative radio personality Glenn Beck was quoted as saying "President Obama should not make such positive comments about this new procedure until he, too, goes through such a search".
Anger over the new security measures has caused an immediate drop in ticket sales, as the Christmas traveling season looms just over the horizon. Some analysts fear that commercial transportation could grind to a halt, with courts doing the same as lawsuits against TSA and other security agencies tie up the legal system.
In 2009, on this day movie director Ken Loach started filming on his movie adaptation of the 1973 Alistair MacLean Vietnam-themed novel Searching For Albert. The much-anticipated and highly controversial epic, whose cast was headlined by former soccer star-turned-action hero Vinnie Jones, focused on an SAS squad probing the Mekong Delta for their missing comrade.
Searching For AlbertGiven that almost three thousand British servicemen had died during the Vietnam War, it was perhaps inevitable that Albert would arouse strong passions both for and against it. Two Facebook pages, one calling for a boycott of the movie and the other urging people to see it, each registered over 100,000 hits within three days after they went online. (The movie's official website recorded 85,000 hits in its first week.)
A new thread by Chris OakleyPaddy Ashdown, head of Britain's largest Vietnam veterans' association, denounced the makers of the movie as "vultures" and promised to lead nationwide protests against it when it was released. However, one of his fellow vets, Boothberry MP David Davis, defended Albert as "a valuable reminder of the horrors of war". The ongoing debate between Ashdown and Davis recalled the controversy stirred up by the original novel, which was first published in 1973 just as popular outrage over the British presence in that country was hitting its peak. British troops had first been deployed to Vietnam in 1967 at the behest of then-prime minister Harold Wilson, who made the decision to enter the war as a sign of support for the United States after the U.S. helped shore up the British pound; Wilson's successor, Ted Heath, continued Britain's troop commitment in return for U.S. backing of British intervention in the Rhodesian Bush War. Indeed, British combat forces would stay in Vietnam long after the last U.S. servicemen had gone home-- during the final NVA/Viet Cong assault on Saigon in 1975, a detachment of Royal Marines fought side by side with South Vietnamese units in a last-ditch defense of South Vietnam's capital.
In 2009, on this day the movie "Avatar" premiered in cinema theatres across North America. Loosely based on the narrative of Joseph Conrad's novella "Heart of Darkness", the action/adventure of this blockbuster movie is relocated on the Earth-like planet of Pandora, set one hundred and fifty years in the future.
Click to watch the trailer.
Movie Premiere of "Avatar"Instead of genocidal Belgians murdering Africans for elephant tusks in the Congo, James Cameron's movie places "the haters" in conflict with the Na'vi, but these n-words are a blue-skinned species of sapient humanoids with feline characteristics. "Killing the indigenous population looks bad, but if there's one thing the shareholders hate more than bad press, it's a bad quarterly statement"And much like Conrad's novel, the underlying drivers are unchanged, predicated upon the pursuit of "unobtanium", a precious metal worth $20 million per kilogram. In a dramatic scene, the "Home Tree" of the Na'vi is destroyed to the music of Wagner - because it is located directly on top of a huge location of unobtanium. "Imagine all that chowder!" justifies Parker Selfridge, the insane corporate administrator for the RDA mining operation and a character clearly based on Conrad's rogue trader, Kurtz.
Selfridge is not the only character suspected of "getting lost in the woods". Reprising the tragic role of Conrad's hero Marlow, Jake Sulley is a US marine sent to Pandora to locate his renegade brother, Tommy. Suspected of "going native", the climax reveals that Tommy (pictured) has actually mutated into a Na'vi by transmigrating his human soul into an Avatar.
In 2009, on this day US President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize less than one month after Taliban insurgents finally overthrew the stooge Afghan Government installed by his predecessor, George W. Bush.
Toast to PeaceOn October 9th the Norwegian Nobel Committee had announced that Obama had won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples". By that time, the President had refocused the Afghan mission on reconciliation projects, aimed at ending the war through diplomatic and political means. In so doing, Obama had abandoned the failed attempt to bring the leaders of the 9/11 attacks to justice. And by that stage, the objective of bringing "sustainable security to the people of Afghanistan" was almost universally considered unachievable.
In his acceptance speech, Obama openly acknowledged that he did not feel that he deserved to be in the company of so many transformative figures that have been honoured by this prize.
In 2009, former U.S. President Al Gore accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his actions in support of measures to combat global climate change, which
include persuading a bitterly divided U.S. Senate to ratify the Kyoto Protocols in 2003 and directing tens of billions of dollars in federal money toward
the development of so-called "green" energy technologies.
Gore Wins Nobel Peace PrizeConservatives in the United States are outraged, asserting that Gore is being rewarded for promoting "harmful solutions to a nonexistent problem".
A story by Eric LippsAmong the loudest critics is former Texas governor George W. Bush, whom Gore had defeated in the contested 2000 presidential election after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy cast the deciding vote in Bush v. Gore which allowed manual recounting of disputed ballots in Florida to proceed. Mr. Bush had been a frequent critic of Gore Administration policies and had emerged as an outspoken skeptic on the subject of human-caused global warming.
In 2010, on this day a U.S. passenger airliner lands in Vietnam, at Hanoi's International Airport. It is the first such landing since the fall of Saigon in 1975 ended in the Vietnam War.Hanoi Horror by Eric Lipps
Before any passengers can disembark, however, a powerful bomb explodes, igniting the aircraft's engines and incinerating the plane in an explosion whose resultant fireball is visible for miles. It will latter be determined by forensic examiners that the bomb had employed military-grade explosive, giving rise to a variety of conspiracy theories spanning the political spectrum. Those theories are not quashed by the immediate attempt by Al Qaeda to take responsibility for the attack, because several other terrorist groups, including Islamic Jihad and Indonesia's Tamil Tigers, will also boast of being behind it.
Only in 2018 will it be learned that a previously unknown radical South Vietnamese group had planned and carried out the bombing with the intent of derailing normalization of U.S.-Vietnamese relations. The group, it will be learned, had the aid of revanchist U.S. military personnel, who provided the explosives and some technical assistance but who were told the target would be a Chinese plane rather than an American one and that the objective was to destabilize the Hanoi regime by provoking a military confrontation with Beijing.
The duplicitous scheme works, prompting President John McCain to sever all ties with Hanoi, setting relations between the U.S. and Vietnam back essentially to where they had been at war's end. Even after the true identity of the bombers is revealed, it will be years before another American passenger plane lands in Vietnam.
In 1960, on this day two New York Department of Corrections officers were suspended without pay after evidence surfaced that they had used excessive force in disciplining an inmate who was serving time at Rikers Island for stealing fuel supplies shortly after the Jamaica Bay hurricane.
On this day in 1944, American troops accepted the surrender of the last surviving German forces in Munich.
In 2001, following a third hostile column by conservative pundit Wiliam Safire regarding his alleged lack of action against Al Qaeda, President Gore learns that the columnist was apparently tipped off about the CIA's Afghan operation by someone within his administration shortly after his November 27 column appeared.
The President is livid, not only at the security breach but at the implication that columnist Safire, who had been outspokenly in favor of his Republican opponent George W. Bush during the 2000 election, has deliberately chosen to rake him for inaction while knowing that his accusation was false.
Gore immediately orders a hunt for the columnist's source. In addition, he asks the White House counsel to determine whether legal action can be taken against Safire himself.
On this day in 1958, Sandy Koufax scored his 750th NBA career point in a 107-93 Celtics win over the Philadelphia Warriors at Boston Garden.
"Sitting in the morning sun I'll be sitting when the evening comes. Watching the ships roll in then I watch 'em roll away a-gain, yeah. I'm Sitting on the dock of the bay watching the tide roll a-way
I'm just sitting on the dock of the bay wasting time" ~ Otis Redding.
Madison, Wisconsin on December 10, 1967 ~
|Sitting on the|
|Dock of the Bay|
Five of the six members of Redding's backup band, The Bar-Kays, were killed when Redding's twin engine Beechcraft plane crashed into the icy waters of the Squaw Bay area of Lake Monona.
Redding, who had swapped seats with Ben Cauley and was sitting directly behind the co-pilot's seat, had fallen asleep on the flight clutching his seat cushion. He awoke when he realized he could not breathe. He said that he then saw band mate Phalon Jones look out of a window and say 'Oh, no.' Redding then unbuckled his safety belt which ultimately allowed him to separate himself from the wreckage. As the impact tore a wing off the small Beechcraft, the fuselage was torn open and Redding was able to bob to the surface as he clutched his seat cushion. Bassist James Alexander survived because he had taken a different flight as there was not enough room left on the plane.
Big O had been warning fellow artists that he was 'planning to leave this world', which seemed on first listening to be the meaning of 'Sitting on the Dock of the Bay' recorded only three days prior to the crash.
However, the song was Big O's first number #1, Redding's greatest commercial success, representing a significant stylistic departure from the bulk of his other work. The inner meaning of the song was Redding talking about leaving the world of gospel and rhythm & blues at Lyrics Vault.
an old and bitter miser encountered Ignorance and Want. And something else too. Redemption
In 1977, during Internation Human Rights Day, Comrade President John Anderson orders the arrest of counter-revolutionary dissidents who had staged a sit-in protest in the Washington Mall. The move is a black eye for the Soviet States in world opinion.
In 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr., in an attempt to make the majority of Americans realize the plight being faced by African and Semitic people across the globe, leads the march of hundreds of thousands of people on Washington, D.C. Although entirely peaceful, President Strom Thurmond has the National Guard keep its guns trained on the march throughout the long, cold day.
In 1963, a tragic scenario played out as the worlds of crime and entertainment mixed. Frank Sinatra, Jr., son of the celebrated singer, was kidnapped at gunpoint as he was staying at Harrah's Casino, and driven to California. The elder Sinatra received the call from the kidnappers, and offered to pay them the $250,000 they were asking. Unfortunately, once the money changed hands, the kidnappers shot father and son, ending the life of the legend and reducing the younger Sinatra to a paraplegic.
In 1869, Wyoming becomes the first state to grant men the right to vote. President Victoria Woodhull calls it a mistake, noting that 'the savage nature of our beloved men little lends itself to the careful consideration that politics requires.'
In 1817, the Chippewa people joined the North American Confederation, extending the great nation halfway across the continent. With the addition of the Mississippi River to their lands, the N.A.C. had millions of acres of good farm land, and this marked the beginning of their rise as a great power in the world.
In 1941, the Royal Navy capital ships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse are sunk by torpedo bombers in the South China Sea. Their loss to land-based bombers is one of the events that led to the end of the battleship being considered the predominant class in naval warfare. The engagement illustrated the effectiveness of aerial attacks against naval forces that were not protected by air cover and the resulting importance of including an aircraft carrier in any major fleet action. The Admiralty responded with a massive aircraft carrier rebuilding program that ensured victory against the Chinese and the continue dominance of the Royal Navy around the world. Historians now agree this was a brief blip in Britannia Ruling the Waves.
In 1949, the Chinese Civil War reaches a decision as the People's Liberation Army begins its siege of Chengdu, the last Kuomintang-held city in mainland China. President of the Republic of China Chiang Kai-shek and his government subsequently retreat to Formosa where they join forces with fellow exiles Japanese Emperor Hirohito and Prince Asaka. The combined gold and foreign currency reserves of China and Japan lay the foundations for the dramatic economic development of the island of Taiwan in the 1950s.
In 1963, the United States Air Force's X-20 Dyna-Soar spaceplane program was confirmed by Robert McNamara. Dyna-Soar was far more advanced in concept than the other human spaceflight missions of the period. It had military missions other than simply placing one or two men into space, involved in space defense missions against the Soviet designed Buran.
In 2046, Shortly after midnight the world's first child of dual planetary heritage was born at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The human and newcomer couple who had conceived the child were to face an emotional roller-coast. Vital indicators see-sawed all day as surgeons fought to save the one-day old life of Y'Skakir-R. The surgeons had no text book to prepare for the procedure, and had to rely upon combined best practice in human and newcomer birthing methodologies. They were writing the book on ObstETrics.
In 1941, on this day Prime minister Winston Churchill gave a radio broadcast to the nation following the disaster at Pearl Harbour. 'The Battle for the Pacific was over', said Churchill', and the Battle for Australia and New Zealand was just about to begin'.
In 2009, on this day US President John F. Kerry received a stark warning from the intelligence community: unless preemptive action was taken, US military bases in the Middle East could be destroyed by weapons of mass destruction before the end of his second term.
LegacyThe legacy of history was an unspoken consideration because his three predecessors - Reagan, Bush and Gore - had all served two full terms.
And now Kerry, a Vietnam Veteran committed to peace, was being encouraged not just to prosecuted another overseas military adventure, BUT to launch a preemptive one. Because the odds at this point was a surgical strike to eliminate Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapon(s).
In 1918, on this day Wilhelm Hohenzollern II the last Emperor (Kaiser) of Germany and King of Prussia abdicated the throne and fled to the Netherlands where he remained in exile for the rest of his life. In an angry, hate-filled letter to Field Marshal August von Mackensen dated 2 December 1919, he denounced his abdication as the "deepest, most disgusting shame ever perpetrated by a person in history, the Germans have done to themselves [..] egged on and misled by the tribe of Judah [the Jews] .. Let no German ever forget this, nor rest until these parasites have been destroyed and exterminated from German soil!".
The Kaiser's meeting with Anne FrankAt first, the probability of a restoration of the monarchy was absolutely zero partly because the elite of the Weimar Republic considered him to be an anacronistic throwback to a militaristic past. But their future went awry and his enemy's enemy became his friend; the rise of the Nazi Party was an interesting development to him, and he became one of their initial supporters despite the jarring contradiction that Adolf Hitler blamed him (along with the Jews) for Germany's loss of the Great War.
And of course the Weimar Republic collapsed under circumstances that were not dissimiliar from its creation, with society gripped by mindless gang violence. But to the surprise of many, he condemned Kristallnacht, declaring that "For the first time, I am ashamed to be a German".
Wilhelm made no overt move against the leadership, and after the occupation of the Netherlands, German Stormtroopers provided an honour guard for his residence the Huis Doorn. But then fate intervened, and he was presented with a final opportunity to demonstrate his greatness, a moral authority that he could restore to Germany even if he could never hope to rule his country once again. Because he was visited by a fellow German, who was also a refugee in Holland ... a thirteen-year-old girl who was called Annelies Marie ("Anne") Frank.
She slipped onto his estate while he was following his favorite pastime of chopping down trees. Before he could summon his guards, she quickly told him that her older sister Margot had received a call-up notice from the Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung (Central Office for Jewish Emigration) ordering her to report for relocation to a work camp. Father Otto Frank told his family that they would go into hiding in rooms above and behind Opekta's premises on the Prinsengracht, a street along one of Amsterdam's canals, where some of his most trusted employees would help them. As the Kaiser listened to the young girl, he was impressed by her cleverness, courage and lively spirit. It made him recall the shame of Kristallnach and realize that he had been presented with what was surely a last chance to be lifted up on the wings of imperial eagles.
To protect her, he made her and his family servants in his imperial household, where they were safe from arrest. As time went on, they encouraged him to seek out other Germans who shared his feelings. This eventually led to his supporting Col. Claus Von Stauffenberg's plot to kill Hitler. Of course, Wilhelm had the added incentive of being restored to the throne once Hitler was dead. The Bomb Plot failed, and he was allowed to commit suicide rather than going on trial, thus sharing the fate of another revered figure ... Field Marshall Erwin Rommel. But the Frank family fled the castle and survived to tell the tale .. which was, of course, filled with praise for their imperial protector.
In 730 CE, on this day an outnumbered force of the Umayyad Caliphate managed to defeat an invading army of Khazars in an epic battle fought on the plains surrounding the city of Ardabil in northwestern Iran.
Battle of ArdabilIn retaliation for Caliphate attacks on Khazaria during the course of the decades-long Khazar-Arab War of the early 700s, a Khazar army led by Barjik, the son of the Khazar khagan had invaded the Umayyad provinces of Jibal and Adharybaydjian.
This expedition into northern Iran may have been an attempt to establish Khazar rule south of the Caucasus Mountains. However the long-term consequences of defeat was a Khazar conversion to Islam and deeper Arab excursions into the Caucasus.
In 1963, only seventeen days after the assassination of Governor John Connally in Dallas the FBI published a report in which Director J. Edgar Hoover concluded that the motive was a grudge dating back to 1962 when the former Secretary of the Navy turned down a reconsideration of Lee Harvey Oswald's dishonourable discharge from the US Marine Corps.
Cover-upThe decision prevented him from applying for the service entitlement benefits he was seeking to raise his young family. In a remorseful letter to the Navy dated 30th January 1962 he regretted his lie about the real reason for leaving the service, a false declaration which had resulted in the discharge being changed from honourable to dishourable, standard procedure in the US Marine Corps.
The FBI report dispelled the speculation that President Kennedy had been the real target in Dallas, although conspiracy theories would surface for many years afterwards.
In 1945, while on his way to a hunting trip in the German countryside, the Cadillac belonging to General George S. Patton collided with a left-turning 2.5 ton truck. Patton's driver, Private First Class Horace Woodring, rather than braking and hitting the truck at lower speed, briskly turned to dodge, and the two vehicles slammed into one another's sides.
Patton Escapes Car Crash Unharmed Woodring and Patton's chief of staff Major General "Hap" Gay both suffered bruises, but Patton seemed totally unhurt after tumbling sideways.
The accident seemed to follow the course of luck that could be traced through the old soldier's life. Patton had attended the Virginia Military Institute and United States Military Academy, competed in the modern pentathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics, finishing fifth overall and the only non-Swede in the top seven. He studied swordsmanship in Europe the next year, going on to become the youngest Master of the Sword in Army history. From there, Patton became an instructor, wrote pamphlets, and helped design the Army's final saber in 1913, later nicknamed the "Patton saber".
A new story by Jeff ProvinePeace soon gave way to war, and Patton's real career began. He served as Pershing's aide in the Mexican expedition in 1916 and then became a captain among the US Tank Corps in WWI. Campaigning for years to acquire funding for armored divisions for the US Army, but with little success, Patton spent the between-war years stationed in Hawaii (where, in 1931, he wrote a defensive plan for a potential air raid) and in Washington, D.C., (where he led tanks against the Bonus Army on the orders of General Douglas MacArthur). When WWII began, Patton's arguments for armored divisions gained clout, and he was promoted to major general to head the 2nd Armored Division.
Patton's leadership would give the Allies massive advantage in the African and European Theaters of the war. The "Desert Fox" Irwin Rommel was notoriously concerned of Patton, and the German military would routinely place their best troops against him, often to no great avail. Patton pressed his troops through North Africa, Sicily, and France.
While a master on the battlefield, Patton met with great controversy when bullets did not fly. Hoping to motivate his men, he maintained a powerful visage and carried nickel-plated revolvers with ivory handles. He swore constantly, even in public addresses. Patton's belief in the honor of the military contradicted Eisenhower's easy-going nature and cartoonist Bill Mauldin's ridicule, both of whom chafed Patton's temper. Most shocking was the "slapping incident" in Sicily where Patton had hit a soldier suffering from shellshock and ordered him back to the front. Patton would be stripped of command for a time, but he would use his time to confound German intelligence on where the European landing would begin. After Normandy, Patton would be back in command with the Third Army and helped in the liberation of Europe.
As the war came to an end, Patton began to give warnings about not being able to trust the Soviets. Some 25,000 American POWs had been liberated but not returned in Eastern Europe, where the communists were seemingly settling in. Patton suggested that the American Army be ready for war again to keep Russia in its place while they were low on supplies. Instead, the Army began dismantling itself for peacetime, and Patton was reassigned to the Fifteenth Army, which was mainly handling occupation and historical collection.
After the accident, the Fifteenth Army headquarters was inactivated on January 31, 1946, and Patton sent his request for retirement to the War Department, which was approved. According to Hap Gay, Patton would have resigned if retirement had been refused. The weight of peace seemed too much for the old soldier to bear. When Patton returned to his native California, he began a lecture circuit, which provided a great deal of scandal, and primarily wrote, commenting on his past as well as the present and future of America. He consistently warned of Soviet expansion, which gained the attention of political movements.
Patton was invited to the 1948 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. He was surprised to be seen in politics and even more to hear that he had been placed on the ballot. While he campaigned rigorously after the invite, it was apparent that he had no real hope of taking the presidency as Dewey had cinched the vote and Patton's infamy preceded him, not to mention that his military clout was blocked by votes going toward MacArthur. Instead, Patton returned to retirement, writing to several friends with the exclamation, "God, give me a war to fight!"
As if an answer to prayer, Patton was called up by Vice President Richard Nixon to be an adviser in the situation in French Indochina, which was quickly becoming known as Vietnam. Having watched the turmoil that was the Korean War from the sidelines in agony, Patton was eager to sort out the situation himself. Though he agreed with MacArthur's suggestion to use atomic weapons, Patton was disgusted by his former commander's disrespect of President Truman. Patton arrived in Saigon and met with CIA advisers, many of whom had connections back to the old Army OS. Upon his assessment, Patton shook his head over the situation and said of Ngo Dinh Diem, "I wouldn't fight for him, even if it were against Stalin himself". It was clear the people preferred Ho Chi Minh, who was a cunning warrior working to limit trouble upon the peasants.
Patton wrote an extensive description of the corruption in South Vietnam and suggested winning over the resistance-fighters of the Viet Minh rather than trying to fight the Viet Cong and their pro-populace support. The CIA worked to follow his plan, infiltrating North Vietnam and gaining leverage as the Sino-Soviet split began to appear in the late '50s and became clear by the '60s. With the American-backed regime change in South Vietnam in 1958, the short-lived Vietnam War of 1959-60 established firmly the division between the Communist North and the increasingly western South, as had been seen in Korea. Containment continued to be the policy of the United States as it subtly transformed itself over the twentieth century while Communism would self-destruct by the 1990s.
However, Patton would not live to see his influence on modern events. He died at age 72 in December of 1957 while touring Vietnam and suggesting military placements for defense along the northern border despite rainy weather. His body was returned to the US, where it was buried in Arlington Cemetery.
In 1990, on this day Lech Walesa (pictured) became the first President of Poland to be elected in a direct presidential election after the collapse of communism across Eastern Europe. Bolek Elected
Lech Walesa, the Polish shipyard worker with the trademark droopy moustache, was regarded at the time as one of the heroes of modern Europe: the leader of the revolution that brought communist rule crashing down. However evidence would later emerge in the form of registration cards, memos, notes from the secret police that Walesa was a communist spy in the 1970's, code-named Bolek.
It is known that Bolek informed on about 20 people who were later harassed or oppressed. He came to the notice of the police during riots against food price rises in December 1970. As workers prepared to storm the police headquarters in Gdansk, Mr Walesa pushed his way inside and offered the commander a deal: the workers would not attack if jailed colleagues were freed. He was given a megaphone to address the crowd. Unbeknown to him, the police were ready to shoot. The tragedy unfolded - but the police had spotted a useful ally.
On this day in 1944, Soviet advance columns reached the heart of Prague amid heavy German resistance.
On this day in 1972, the Dallas Cowboys earned their ninth win of the 1972 NFL season, beating the Washington Redskins 13-3.
In 1973, Tripartite talks on Southern England ended in an historic agreement to set up a Council of England. Head of the Southern Department Edward Heath, Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, and representatives of the English Unionist Party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party and the Alliance Party of Nothern England, signed the agreement at Sunningdale, Berkshire. Under the accord, a 'Council of England' will be made up of a board of ministers, and a Consultative Assembly. The 'Council of Ministers', which will have executive, harmonising and consultative roles, will consist of seven members from the Southern England Executive and seven from the Irish government.
And the Consultative Assembly will be made up of 30 members from the Southern England Assembly and an equal number from the Dail. The assembly will have advisory and review functions. The Council of England is aimed at giving the Republic jurisdiction over issues of joint concern with the south. This will curb criticism the power-sharing executive body, founded last month, gave the Northern Assembly no powers south of the border.
Today's announcement at the Civil Service Staff College at Sunningdale, where the conference has been held, ends four days of tense deliberation. But the road to today's agreement started in March when Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave sought an end to ERA violence. Dublin proposed an 80-member assembly - with unionist and nationalist representation - to take over the affairs of state. Elections held shortly afterwards resulted in the power-sharing executive established and this announcement is an extension of this. The Council of England is expected to be set up and active from the beginning of next year. The agreement is expected to enrage anti-power sharing parties who were excluded from the talks. A Border Poll in March established popular support for remaining in Ireland rather than joining the Republic.
In 1993, a mission to repair the faulty Hubble telescope in outer space has been declared an unqualified success after astronauts completed the latest of a record five space walks earlier today. Musgrave and Hofman made the longest space walk of the 11-day mission, spending seven hours and 21 minutes on their final task to unravel the 40 ft (12 metre) solar panels which power Hubble. The mission is the result of a tiny mistake in the manufacture of the $1.55 billion telescope, which made the mirror flatter than it should be by just one-fiftieth of the width of a human hair.
The telescope, designed to see further into deep space than ever before, was only able to send back out-of-focus images no better than could be seen from Earth. And something else was discovered which the Hubble was not simply designed to warn Musgrave and Hofman. The telescope is now defunct in a heliocentric orbit, where it is bristles with a virulent space plague, reporting quality information to an empty world.
In 1958, the counter-revolutionary John Birch Society is founded in Indianapolis by capitalist Robert Welch. Its dedicated goal of bringing about the fall of Communism in the world brings it to the attention of the Justice Department, which launches a four-year struggle to eradicate its criminal membership. Some conspiracy theorists say that Lee Oswald, assassin of Comrade President Joel Rosenberg, was a member of the Dallas chapter of the Society.
In 1912, Massachusetts Congressman and Speaker of the House Thomas 'Tip' O'Neill was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. O'Neill served as Speaker when Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976, but was so uncooperative that President Carter persuaded Democrats in Congress to dump him in the mid-term elections of 1978, replacing him with Texas Congressman Jim Wright.
In 1835, Texican forces suffered a terrible loss in their war for independence when Benjamin Milam was defeated and captured in a battle for the city of San Antonio de Bexar. Santa Ana, ruler of Mexico, had Milam taken under guard to Mexico City. In a daring raid, Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie attacked the convoy carrying Milam and freed him.
In 12-10-9-4-2, Incan forces drive off the Yanomami of the eastern jungles. The Yanomami had been raiding them for years, armed and aided by Oueztecan nobles unhappy at the imperial direction Inca had taken in recent years. Since there was no official action from the Oueztecan emperor, the Incans could not declare war against their larger neighbor.
In 795, Pedro the Cruel, last of the Christian rulers of Portugal, was born in Lisbon. His harsh actions against those who committed the slightest infraction against his law, coupled with his disregard of the Christian Pope, led to a popular uprising against him, with the support of the Espanish Caliphs.
In 1994, the UN Weapons Inspectors in south-eastern Iraq plot make a sensational discovery. A large arsenal of Scud missiles containing monsterous arachnid eggs are found at the nuclear reactor site at Osirak.
In 1965, this day is famous for the UFO incident of Kecksburg, Pennsylvania, USA. A large, brilliant fireball was seen by thousands in at least six states and Ontario, Canada. In fact Kecksburg was the second and final attempt to land an exploratory mission in North America by the non-proliferation committee for the Congress of Worlds. Both Kecksburg and the earlier mission to Roswell, New Mexico had of course been betrayed by the very member of the committee who had leaked nuclear technology to the US Government in the first place.
In 1946, on this day the 'Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals' began with the 'Doctors' Trial'. Prosecuting doctors were charged with a conspiracy to kill the Fuhrer. Aware of his lycanthropy, they had been increasing a supplement of silver since 1941 causing his arm to shake uncontrollably behind his back. The Fuhrer had been deceived over his physical decline, mistakenly believing he had entered the period of languishing.
In 2046, on this day a complex medical procedure was initiated at the world-renowned Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Founded in 1902, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center had an enviable reputation for providing the finest healthcare available among California hospitals. More than 1,800 physicians in virtually all medical specialities were affiliated with the hospital, Cedars-joining more than 8,000 employees, 2,000 volunteers and 15,000 fund-raising support group members to form a unique partnership in delivering world-class medicine. But would those resources be enough? Shortly before midnight, surgeons prepared to deliver the world's first child of dual planetary heritage. The surgeons had no text book to prepare for the procedure, and had to rely upon combined best practice in human and newcomer birthing methodologies. The event was sure to be a first for ObstETrics.
In 1917, British General Edmund Allenby moved upwards from Egypt and captured Jerusalem. As the first Christian conqueror of the Holy City since the Crusades, 'Bloody Bull' as he was known ordered his troops to enter the city on horse. By refusing to dismount, Allenby caused the local population to be outraged by this lack of respect. This was no oversight on his part, he was imposing British authority and ripping up the Balfour Declaration as a 'dead letter'. With Lawrence translating Allenby informed Jewish leaders that Zionist government would not be recognized and the city was to be handed over to Prince Feisal and the Arabs. Lawrence had previously described the 'eternal miracle of Jewry', and after this fateful meeting Lawrence asked his commander for leave and returned to England a broken man. Allenby was promoted to Field Marshal and later served as Britain's High Commissioner in Egypt from 1919 to 1925.
In 1826, on this day Queen Victoria's lover and second husband John Brown was born in Crathie, Aberdeenshire.
This article is part of the Happy Endings thread.
Happy Endings Part 18
Mrs Brown's Ghillie Lover by Ed & Jackie RoseHe went to work as an outdoor servant (in Scots ghillie or gillie) at Balmoral Castle, which Queen Victoria and Prince Albert leased in February 1848 and purchased outright in November 1851.
Because of the growing size of their young family, Prince Albert increasingly took-on monarchical responsibilities as the Queen lost her powers due to her pregnancies. A once passionate relationship was fundamentally wrecked by this domination, and Victoria frequently withdrew herself in fury whilst Albert was reduced to posting notes of apology under her locked door.
John Brown saw all of this, and what is more the Queen welcomed the distraction of his company. They began a passionate love affair that had to be conducted in utter secrecy. But almost inevitably, a discovery was made, beginning with a mysterious written note in John's hand-writing, containing an odd remark that something had been missing in this harsh world, but finally, it had been fulfilled .
Needless to say, the "Mrs Brown Scandal" rocked the country, forcing Queen Victoria to choose between asking Albert to divorce her (and remaining monarch), or eloping and living in obscurity as Mr & Mrs Brown. Either way, she would keep her Ghillie Lover so it was a happy ending for the lovers after all, if not for her cousin Albert who would return to his former status as a minor German Princeling. After her abdication, the crown went to her eldest son, Edward the Seventh..who soon rocked the country with so many scandals that his mother's were soon forgotten.
In 1542, on this day Mary, Queen of Scotland, England and France, was born in Linlithgow Palace.
Queen Mary BornA canny and opportunistic politician, Queen Mary used her marriage to the French King to claim the throne of that country when he died in 1560, and assumed the Scottish throne by right of blood.
When her cousin Queen Elizabeth of England faltered slightly, Mary used a combination of military and political pressure to force her from power and added the English Crown to her possessions.
By 216 B.C., the Second Puno-Roman War had raged for two years, and Rome became desperate after a string of catastrophic defeats at the hand of Hannibal, son of Hamilcar Barca.
Hannibal Captures Rome Hamilcar had served as the great Carthaginian commander in the First Punic War and went into exile in Iberia after angrily killing Hanno II, leader of the peace-mongers of Carthage, who had demobilized the Carthaginian navy and allowed the Romans to rebuild their own fleet. Hamilcar had passed on his distrust and hatred of the Romans to Hannibal, who set off across Gaul in a surprise attack across the Alps that caught the Romans with their sandals untied. The Gauls of northern Italy rose up around him, and Hannibal began a years-long campaign around the Italian peninsula that would end with the defeat of Rome.
Most of the Romans were sent to Iberia or Sicily to fight an imperial war, and the consul Publius Cornelius Scipio scrounged what 42,000 men he could to meet Hannibal in battle at Trebia. Hannibal's cavalry and expert flanking defeated the Romans, sweeping them from northern Italy. They vowed to drive Hannibal from Italy and formed up an army of more than 50,000, which Hannibal ambushed them on the cliff-ringed shores of Lake Trasimene in one of the most famous flanking battles in history. By 216 BC, many of the Roman "allies" erupted in revolt, and Hannibal captured the key supply depot at Cannae, where he and his army rested on the eastern end of Italy.
The Romans were determined to have another, final battle with the largest army anyone had attempted on the peninsula. Working under both consuls, they formed up a force of nearly 90,000 men, which included quaestors, tribunes, and even senators from the 300. The enormous army attacked Hannibal, who feinted a retreat, catching the much larger army in an enveloping maneuver that allowed the Carthaginians to surrounded and again slaughter Romans by the tens of thousands. After the battle, some 50,000 Romans lay dead, including much of the governors of Rome itself. According to legend, every single Roman was related directly to someone killed in battle. Hannibal's army, meanwhile, had only lost some 8,000.
A new story by Jeff ProvineAt the victory, Hannibal's Nubian commander of cavalry, Mahrabal, approached him, saying that he would ride ahead of the main army and begin the attack on Rome. Hannibal, however, was slow to agree. His was a field army, and they did not have the siege weapons necessary to take Rome. Moreover, the Romans still had many allies as well as a seemingly unbreakable resolve, and moving on the city would potentially cut off his supply lines. Finally, Hannibal's men had fought long and hard, and he sought to reward them with three days of looting the corpses from the field. Mahrabal responded, "Truly the Gods have not bestowed all things upon the same person. Thou knowest indeed, Hannibal, how to conquer, but thou knowest not how to make use of your victory".
Hannibal,suffering a migraine from his strained vision after having lost an eye before the Battle of Lake Trasimene, responded that Mahrabal could do as he saw fit, and the Nubian took an army of volunteers to begin the siege of Rome with Hannibal's forces to follow after their days of rest. He sent a case of some 200 rings cut from the fingers of dead Roman nobles to the Carthaginian senate, asking for reinforcements and equipment necessary to finish the war. After much debate, Carthage agreed, and they gained new allies as Grecian Sicily revolted against Rome and Macedon joined Hannibal's cause.
Even with an upgraded army that summer, the siege of Rome was not easy. Rather than a uniform siege line, Hannibal stretched his resources and emulated Mahrabal's tactics of constant patrols on horseback with skirmishers defeating any supply trains attempting to sneak into Rome. The Romans attempted several times to piece together a larger force to drive away the Carthaginian raiders, but Hannibal's superior tactics defeated them over and over. Finally, as winter approached, the Romans gave in. They had done everything they could to resist even moderate peace talks, mobilizing the entire male population including slaves, outlawing the word "peace", and banning public crying while limited mourning periods to 30 days. Hannibal is noted by historians such as the Roman Livy as saying that want broke the Romans' back, but never military defeat.
The war ended very favorably to the Carthaginians, who raised up opposing cities such as Tarentum and Pisa to cow Roman influence on the peninsula. Carthage's empire would spread as the centuries progressed, south into Africa and eastward through the Mediterranean and Black Seas, using their famous navy to establish colonies and dominance in places such as Greece, Egypt, and Palestine. As a merchant people, their influence was largely cultural with an increase of child-sacrifice seen in archeology, and their empire did not go much beyond the navigable shores. After hundreds of years of dominance, the Carthaginians would eventually fall to invading Vandals, whose King Genseric would establish his capital and center of his state religion of Arian Christianity there in 439.
In 1938, on this day the German Kriegsmarine aircraft carrier codename Flugzeugträger A was christened the Graf Zeppelin and launched from the Deutsche Werke in the port of Kiel.
Flugzeugträger Part 1: Launching of the Graf ZeppelinGrand Admiral Erich Raeder congratulated the German naval architects1 for overcoming immense difficulties despite their inexperience in building such vessels. The design challenges included a complement of cruiser-type guns for commerce raiding and defense against British cruisers, American and Japanese carriers, designed along the lines of task-force defense, used supporting cruisers for surface firepower, which allowed flight operations to continue without disruption and kept carriers out of undue risk of damage or sinking from surface action.
But the truth was that Raeder himself had saved Plan Z by providing the caste iron guarantees needed for the Fuehrer (who exercised his supreme authority through the Oberkommando der Marine) to sustain his interest in the programme. Because in May 1941, the Graf Zeppelin, along with the Tirpitz, Bismark and Prinz Eugene successfully mounted a German invasion of Iceland.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.
In 2011, on this day Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the UK was forced to leave the Single Currency after an acrimonious summit in Brussels concluded that Britain was simply too big for the European Union to bailout.
Bye, bye BritainDuring their seemingly endless debates over the membership of the single currency, British politicians had never once considered the possibility that UK membership might actually destroy the Euro. Nevertheless the election of Tony Blair in 1997 had brought to power a national leader absolutely committed to taking Britain into the single currency. And the landslide victory of his Labour Party in 1997 provided the House of Commons majority to force such a historic decision through.
To defuse opposition, Blair decided to wait until after the 2001 election. His decision to join the Euro over the strenuous objections of his Chancellor enabled him to finally break with the troublesome Gordon Brown who was replaced by Alastair Darling. And his legacy seemed assured until the unfolding of the dramatic events during the financial crisis of late 2008.
Ironically, William Hague, who as Conservative Leader had fought the 2001 election on a "Save the Pound" campaign platform was now back in power as Deputy Prime Minister. And so Cameron and Hague finally had the justification to follow their euro-skeptic inclinations to take Britain out of Europe, satisfying the dearly-held wishes of their predecessor Margaret Thatcher whose own government had been destroyed by membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism.
In 1978, on this day the former Democrat Senator from Wisconsin Golda Meyerson died of lymphatic cancer in Milwaukee at the age of eighty.
Senator Golda Meyerson (D-WI)Born Golda Mabovitch on May 3, 1898 in Kiev she would later note in her autobiography that her earliest memories were of her father Moshe Mabovitch, a carpenter boarding up the front door in response to rumors of an imminent pogrom. He left to find work in New York City in 1903, the rest of the family moved to Pinsk to join her mother's family. She had two sisters, Sheyna and Tzipke, as well as five other siblings who died in childhood. She was especially close to Sheyna. In 1905, Moshe moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in search of higher-paying work and found employment in the workshops of the local railroad yard. The following year, he had saved up enough money to bring his family to the United States.
At fourteen, she studied at North Division High School and worked part-time. Her mother wanted her to leave school and marry, but she rebelled. She bought a train ticket to Denver, Colorado, and went to live with her married sister, Sheyna Korngold. The Korngolds held intellectual evenings at their home, where Meir was exposed to debates on Zionism, literature, women's suffrage, trade unionism, and more. In her autobiography, she wrote: "To the extent that my own future convictions were shaped and given form... those talk-filled nights in Denver played a considerable role". In Denver, she also met Morris Meyerson, a sign painter, whom she later married on December 24, 1917. Despute many marital difficulties, the couple remained in Milwaukee where Golda eventually went into politics. In 1946 she saw off challenges from Robert LaFolette Jr. and Joseph McCarthy to win a seat in the U.S. Senate. Two years later her husband would be tragically killed during the brief attempt to establish a Jewish Homeland in Palestine.
During her tenure in the House, Golda would emerge as a key national advocate of the Jewish refugees who had settled in four locations in Alaska (Baranof Island and the Mat-Su Valley. Skagway, Petersburg and Seward) as a result of the 1940 Slattery Report. Just two weeks after Kristallnacht, the United States Department of the Interior under Secretary Harold L. Ickes had proposed the use of Alaska as a "haven for Jewish refugees from Germany and other areas in Europe where the Jews are subjected to oppressive restrictions". In recognition of the powerful support of this lonely voice in American politics, Meyerson had been chosen to represent the United States at the opening of the "Safety Pin", a tall building erected for the 1977 World Fair held in Sitka and a source of pride for its inhabitants. This event was marred by protests from the native Tlingit Alaska Natives partly as a result of the controversy when Meyerson had commented that "There is no such thing as a Tlingit Alaskan people"1, a bold statement intended to emphasise their integration rather than independence.
At the time of her death, representatives had been unable to persuade the US Government to extend statehood beyond the fifty year lifespan set down by Ickes with reversion of territory due to occur in 1992. Anti-semitic cynics in the House had labelled the failure of her campaign as "The Fall of the Third Temple".
This article is a part of the Sitka thread.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.