In 1393, King Charles VI of France was killed when several dancers' costumes caught fire during a masquerade ball.
Charles the Mad Killed in Tragedy in the House of ValoisQueen Isabeau de Baviere had organised the party for the marriage of one of her ladies-in-waiting. The King and five other Lords had dressed as wild men. One other lord approached them with a lighted torch and soon some of the men caught fire.
Since he had no living heir, the throne passed to his brother Louis Duke of Orleans.
In 1547, after serving as Holy Roman Emperor for almost thirty years, Henry Tudor died at the Palace of Whitehall. He was fifty-five years old.
Death of Henry Tudor, Holy Roman EmperorAfter the death of Archduke of Austria, King of the Romans, and Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I in January of 1519, many of his titles went directly by inheritance to his Habsburg grandson Charles V. The title emperor, however, would be given by decision of the seven elector-princes of the Germans, Albert of Mainz; Richard von Greiffenklau zu Vollrads of Trier; Hermann of Wied of Cologne; Frederick III of Saxony; Joachim I of Brandenburg; Louis V, Elector Palatine; and Louis II Jagiellon, King of Bohemia. Charles was most obvious choice as brother-in-law to Louis of Bohemia, but others were nervous about too much power being placed in one man's hands. Along with his grandfather's titles, Charles had also recently inherited the title "King of Spain", which he ruled alongside his mother, Joanna the Mad of Castile.
Francis I of France also wished to hold the powerful title, rejoining lands that had all once been Carolingian. Francis and Charles were bitter rivals since a French victory at the Battle of Marignano the year before brought the twenty-one-year-old Francis to the forefront of European politics. The two began a bribing war for votes, which made some electors all the more nervous. Ideally, a German would be emperor, which was suggested to Fredrick of Saxony, but he refused. Another possibility for the election was Henry VIII of England, but he did not have nearly the money or influence to compete with the Bourbons of France and all the holdings of the Habsburgs. The decision seemed to settle toward Charles until Cardinal Thomas Woolsey, the Lord Chancellor who had conducted matters of state for the young Henry, presented in secret a new plan: Francis use his influence to support Henry's election. Francis, though disappointed that he would not win the title, was at least satisfied that Charles would be deprived of it. The electors were amiable toward an English king (since at least they could relate the language to German) and were more comfortable with a less overwhelming force. The election of Henry was announced to the shock of Europe and instant dismay of Habsburg-supporters.
A new article by Jeff ProvineIn 1520, Francis and Henry met in a garish display at the Camp du Drap d'Or ("Field of the Cloth of Gold") in northern France as Henry began a tour of his new lands. Wolsey orchestrated this meeting as well, but it proved ineffectual as, despite Francis' generosity, Henry declined forging an alliance. Wolsey, who was quietly campaigning for himself as pope, also organized a meeting with Charles while in Germany, but this meeting also came to no avail. Instead, Europe was in a tense peace as Henry threatened to attack whoever began a war.
Meanwhile, Henry focused on the problems of the Reformation beginning in his new empire. Reacting to the sale of indulgences as part of the funding for construction on St. Peter's Basilica, Augustinian friar Martin Luther had posted Ninety-Five Theses critiquing the Catholic Church. During the latter part of Henry's tour in 1521, he heard Luther's case at Worms. In the end, and to the frustration of Pope Leo X, Henry determined to appease his subjects and declared the matter religious debate and did not seek any punishment for him. The support for Luther won over the respect of disgruntled knights in the Rhineland who were nervous of new money but reaffirmed by Henry out of his fanaticism for jousting. The knights' loyalty proved key to Henry's defeat of the German Peasants' Uprising a few years later.
Despite his great realms, Henry struggled to produce an heir. His wife, Catherine of Aragon, six years his senior, had not had a pregnancy since the birth of their daughter Mary. Henry had become fascinated with one of Catherine's maidens, Anne Boleyn. Anne refused to become a mistress and replied that she could only meet Henry's advances if she were queen. Henry asked Pope Clement VII for an annulment of his marriage as Catherine had earlier been married to his brother Arthur, but the pope declined. After the debate dragged for years, Henry decided to break with Rome as the Swedes has had done, name himself Supreme Head of the Church of England in 1533, and bring about his marriage to Anne.
This led to the question of what to do with his holdings in the Holy Roman Empire. Catholic regions saw Henry as an adulterer, but the Protestants saw a chance for freedom from Rome. When Henry dissolved the monasteries of England and seized their valuables, Charles took a stand as defender of Catholicism and invaded the Holy Roman Empire to seize the title he long believed to have been stolen. Henry counterattacked with Swedish assistance, and the war spilled across the Alps as Italian states saw a chance to rebel. Germany served as the principal battleground with towns razed and re-razed as Protestant and Catholic armies carried on campaigns. France attempted to remain neutral as internal strife with the Huguenots grew up, and eventually Francis I determined a policy of religious freedom to maintain his allies. The war threatened to expand further with an unprecedented alliance with Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire who had previously besieged Vienna and threatened Hungary, and Charles knew when to capitulate and agreed to a treaty.
Upon the death of Henry in 1547, the electors met again and, thanks to Henry's urgings, named his son Edward VI of England as the new, ten-year-old emperor. Edward proved a great mover in Protestantism, but he was sickly, dying in 1553. His half-sister Mary ascended the throne of England; the electors, however, could not have a female emperor and instead chose Henry II of France, whose consort Catherine de Medici had great influence and policies of religious tolerance were a healthy compromise between electors optioning Protestant King Christian of Denmark or staunchly Catholic Habsburg Ferdinand I. Bourbons continued to be Holy Roman Emperors until 1685 when Louis XIV worked to affirm his autocracy by promoting Catholicism as the single state religion. Many Protestants fled to Germany, but when Louis began to enact strict religious rule in the Empire as well, the electors refused and stripped him of his title. The Franco-German War brought about a liberated Germany at the expense of France. The electors named Frederick, King in Prussia, as emperor; Augustus II of Saxony, King of Poland, also stood had allegiances outside of Germany, and the time had come for German self-rule. United Germany became a powerful central figure in Europe, leading modernization and industrialization through the next two centuries.
In 1965, on this day Maxime Weygand hero of the Battle of France died in Paris aged ninety-eight.
General Weygand passes awayHe was appointed Général d'armée before the outbreak of war. Because in February 1940 , Édouard Daladier resigned as Prime Minister in France and was replaced with Paul Reynaud who immediately substituted Maurice Gamelin with Weygand. It was fortunate for the Western allies because Weygand returned from Syria just in time to launch the crucial counter attacks that saved France.
Weygand refused the Breda variant and kept the French 7th Army in reserve. The 7th Army under Girard screened the breech long enough to get French 1st, BEF and the Belgians out of the bag. Also Weygand for the June campaign found the solution to the panzer blitz - going back to WW1 style wired in battalion standpoints.
The Germans did get field victories like the Michael 1918 campaign but never quite managed to break the line. And they ran out of time. By summer the West was producing more planes and tanks than Hitler and succeeded in winning the battle of attrition for the balance of the year. Hitler's gamble had failed. A full essay France 1940 by Scott Palter on this scenario is available at Changing the Times.
In 1457, Henry Tudor, pretender to the throne of Richard III, was born in Pembroke, Wales.
Henry Tudor Born
by Robbie TaylorRaised in France, young Earl Henry of Richmond pressed his claim to the English throne with a foreign army, cutting off support from the people.
Richard III, a popular king who had dealt justly with noble and commoner alike, took advantage of his support among the people to crush Henry at the battle of Bosworth Field, ending the famed War of the Roses between the Yorkist and Lancastrian branches of the Plantaganet line.
In 1993, the man who had acted as go-between for Oarsman and Goatherd when Oarsman recruited Goatherd to the Wilson assassination plot died in Paris after a seven-year battle with cancer.
Necessary Evil Death of the Go-BetweenWhat distinguished this MI-6 agent, formerly known to his co-conspirators as "Tinkerer", from his fellow plotters was not only that he had died of natural causes but also that he had stayed in Britain for years after the assassination, leaving the country only when a personal business venture collapsed. Settling in France under an alias, Tinkerer's proficiency with disguises enabled him to fool his neighbors-- not to mention Interpol --to the point where one day he even shared lunch with one of the very Scotland Yard detectives sent to France and other parts of continental Europe to investigate his ties to Oarsman and his escape from Britain.
Not until 2001, when an ITV news researcher uncovered previously lost letters between Oarsman and Tinkerer, did anyone even begin to suspect the truth about Tinkerer's departure to France. And even then much of his role in the assassination conspiracy remained hidden from the public eye; only after the Blair government's 2004-05 inquiry into Wilson's murder was the full story of Tinkerer's actions finally brought to light.
In 1902, on this day the Carnegie Institution for Science (in Man) was founded.
Carnegie Institution for Science (in Man) FoundedFamed industrialist Andrew Carnegie founded many institutions to promote education, art, free libraries, and technological development. Most famed would be his Institute for Science in Washington, D.C., to which he would give, along with $10,000,000 in registered bonds yielding five percent interest per year, the instruction, "that the objects in the corporation shall be to encourage in the broadest and most liberal manner investigation, research, and discovery, and the application of knowledge to the improvement of man".
A new story by Jeff ProvineThe twenty-four trustees on the board would determine toward what the investigation and research would be, and, soon after the endowment, an argument broke out over the Scotsman's choice of the word "man". First President Daniel Coit Gilman (later to be founder of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) held that the word should be taken literally to mean the betterment of the human body. Others thought more figuratively, expecting the institutional grants to go toward more widespread sciences such as astronomy and materials science. It was rumored that Gilman demanded those who disagree ask Carnegie for a clarification, which no one did for fear it would insult his accent or make them look foolish. Whatever the reality, Gilman eventually won the argument, and the dedicated sciences toward the improvement of humans began.
In their first years, the Institute worked with research in determining the proper activity and diet of individuals. Healthy consumption of eggs and milk in prisons outlined the need for what would become known as Vitamin D as well as the general knowledge of vegetables and fruits opposing rich foods, leading to problems such as diabetes and gout. They duplicated much of the research of Dutch scientist Christiaan Eijkman performed in the 1880s on animals and began a mutually beneficial discourse with British doctor Frederick Hopkins. Building from the research, the Institute helped to design numerous meal programs for schools and workers across the nation, along with publishing articles to help families live their healthiest. Production of pills and oils containing the necessary vitamins and minerals
National health improved overall with statistical visits to doctors much decreased. In 1907, Carnegie gave the Institute an additional $2,000,000 to keep up the good work, and they launched into further programs. Over the course of the next decades, the Institute would merge with the Eugenics Record Office of New York and employ numerous anthropologists in determining how to cure hereditary disease. The growth of science in the Netherlands and Nazi Germany found another great connection for human improvement, and the Institute worked diligently to assist in the development of testosterone for medical use. In 1944, with the discovery of the source of much of the experimental date in concentration camps, the Institute fell into a public relations nightmare. President Margaret Sanger (who also served as chairperson of the Birth Control Council of America) handled the situation carefully, denouncing Nazi extremes while upholding what might be done for future generations regardless of race.
Since World War II, the Institute has been instrumental in generating the modern cocktail of vitamins, steroids, physical education, and dietary control that has benefitted man. While the average male height in 1900 was approximately 5'8", it is today 6'3", with the typical time of running a mile at around five and a half minutes. The Institute continues many projects in research for the future, working to increase longevity toward a lifespan of 200 years and to cure cancers and genetic weaknesses through viral therapies. Of course, with such a surge of improved humans, population control has become an integral matter, and sterilization toxins are known to be placed in water-systems worldwide with reversal treatments available primarily to those in the First World.
In 2012, on this day shocking new evidence that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, combined with ongoing difficulties in withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan contributed to Stan McChrystal's unexpectedly strong showing in the South Carolina Democratic primary, an unexpected outcome which opened the door to a senior position in the President's second term.
Natural Born CitizenThe General had famously quit the US military after being fired by Obama for sharing his private thoughts with a reporter from Rolling Stone Magazine. Recalled to Washington, McChrystal had refused to apologise for saying what he thought, a candid approach which was central to his Presidential campaign.
The emphasis that he was a natural born American re-opened the controversial claim that Obama was born in Kenya, which if proven would prevent his re-election under the Article II "natural born Citizen" provision and also the Fourteenth Amendment citizenship clause of the US Constitution. The issue was first raised during a telephonic interview on October 12, 2008 when Obama's step-grandmother, Sarah Obama told Bishop McRae that she was present to witness Obama's birth in Kenya
In 814, the European ruler known as Charlemagne, or "Charles the Great", died, leaving his only surviving son, Louis, known as Louis the Pious, Emperor of the reunited Roman Empire.
The Death of Charlemagne by Eric LippsCharlemagne had secured control of the Western Empire through a series of wars with assorted tribal nations and with his brother Carloman, who had been granted the central part of the dominions of their father, Pepin the Short. His claim to the Eastern throne was gained through marriage to the Byzantine Empress Irene. This union was opposed by many Eastern patricians, and in 802 Irene's finance minister Nikephoros had led an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Irene and take the throne of Constantinople for himself. The defeated Nikephoros was beheaded and his severed head prominently displayed on a pike before the imperial palace.
The reunion of the Empire would be maintained by Louis and his heirs, but only at the cost of tremendous turmoil. Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity had diverged significantly in ritual and belief, and each, of course, had its own supreme pontiff. The Orthodox were not willing to abandon their patriarchate and swear allegiance to Pope Leo III and his successors, and their resistance to religious reunification led to a series of religious civil wars which lasted well into the tenth century.
The Christian wars might have been worse had it not been for the continuing threat from the "Saracens," as Muslims were then known. In Charlemagne's day, the Moors had controlled much of the Mediterranean, and although they had been driven from their holdings in Spain, they remained a potent adversary. It was fear of Muslim invaders which would finally lead to the Synod of Aachen in 944 at which the Eastern and Western forms of Christianity were officially reconciled. That reconciliation allowed the Orthodox to maintain their distinctive liturgy and recognized the Eastern patriarchate as legitimate, though subject to Rome: the patriarch was granted the title of "Archbishop-Cardinal of the East".
Thus unified, the Christian world turned its attention to its longtime common foe, launching a series of "crusades"--wars for the Cross--beginning in 1001. The result of the first of those wars was the seizure, in 1006, of Jerusalem, where a Christian kingdom would be established under John Prester. Other successes followed, and in 1116, the Caliphate of Baghdad would fall.
Islam would never recover. By the twenty-first century, it would be a remnant faith held largely in isolated regions such as the desolate Arabian Peninsula. But the fall of Islam would have unfortunate consequences for Christendom as well, and for the scattered Jewish people, who under the Caliphate had been recognized as "people of the Book" and, though relegated to inferior status as "dhimmi," protected from outright slaughter.
The Caliphate had ironically become a refuge for classical learning during Europe's religious wars, and its fall was accompanied by a wave of destruction directed against "pagan" books and scholars. Today, Persia, once the center of Islamic culture, is a Christian backwater to which the railroad has not yet come, let alone such innovations as electric lighting and the steam automobile, which have so transformed Europe and Columbia in the past thirty years.
As for the Jews, they were to endure centuries of persecution which would all but exterminate their faith in Europe. Large Jewish communities would remain only in Asia and Africa, to which some Jews managed to flee in the ninth and tenth centuries. Today, of course, growing numbers are to be found in Christendom, where well-meaning folk have pressed for them to be permitted such liberties as property ownership.
In 1986, President Gary Hart delivers his State of the Union address. He had hoped to be able to refer in his speech to a successful launch of the space shuttle Challenger carrying into orbit Christa McAuliffe, the New Hampshire social studies teacher chosen to be the first civilian to fly aboard the shuttle and already dubbed the "teacher in space" by the media.
Teacher in Space by Eric LippsHowever, engineers at NASA contractor Morton Thiokol warned that earlier fixes to the spacecraft's O-ring seals might not be enough to prevent a catastrophic failure in the unusually cold weather of the scheduled launch date, and as a result, the planned liftoff has been delayed.
The shuttle's continuing unreliability, which has repeatedly led to mission postponements, has become a sore point between the Hart administration and Congress on the one side and NASA on the other. The President is considering ordering NASA to begin work on a new generation of orbiter designed from the beginning to avoid the problems encountered with the existing shuttle fleet. None of this registers with Hart's growing chorus of critics, who will quickly brand the delayed launch of this much-ballyhooed mission "one more bungle on the part of an incompetent administration".
This article is set in the No Chappaquiddick timeline in which explores the consequences of an EMK Presidency 1977-1985.
On this day in 1945, the remaining German troops in Potsdam surrendered to the Allies.
On this day in 1973, the Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys visited the White House as guests of President Richard Nixon, who was then just starting his second term.
In 2005, Steve Axelrod of the Save Earth group is unable to decipher the J. Burton Howell speech that Jeanna Best and Dave Lange recorded. 'My guess is, he was transmitting something during these parts of the speech,' he tells the pair. 'Did either of you feel anything weird during the speech?' They say they didn't but promise to watch themselves over the next few days.
In 1918, a couple of hotheaded men make the mistake of attacking Velma Porter as she walks the deck of the ship taking her and her husband, Mikhail von Heflin, to mainland America. She dispatches them with ease, then goes back to her cabin. Milo Cranston, who has been watching the couple, makes note of her unusual strength.
In 1904, Ambassador Li'Kanto'Mk received a tour of the the capitol city for the Mlosh homeworld. The first thing that he noticed about the city was the utter lack of Mlosh resembling his kind. When he remarked on this to his guides, they replied, 'Our Council will speak to you of that. There is no need to ask any more questions.' His unease increased as he discerned the martial quality of life on the homeworld.
In 1000 Post-Creation, a New Eden flowers, with angels and humans settling down to live in the earthly paradise. The angels lavish attention on the humans, since the angels cannot have descendants without them, and soon Eve is with child again, as are two of the female angels. Lucifer is still filled with a vague sense of unease, but his gloom cannot overshadow the joy of New Eden.
In 12,475 BCE, a bad dream caused Clau of the tribe of Ar'Ya to turn his face away from the west whenever he traveled. This superstition led his people from the Caucasus to the Asian coast and across the northern wastes into the lands of wheat and cattle, where they led a primitive existence until the arrival of Polynesian sailors around 1500 CE.
19-year old salesman Charles Starkweather
eloped with his 14-year old sweetheart, Caril Ann Fugate. Although Miss Fugate was too young to legally wed, they lied about her age at a wedding chapel in Las Vegas, and the Starkweathers started their life together in Sin City. Removed from their Nebraska home, the Starkweathers flourished, especially after they hit a slot payoff of $100,000 and used it to start up a dry-cleaning business that has chains across the country today.
In 192, the death of Carolus Magnus, the chieftain of the Franks, allowed Islamic emissaries the chance to convert his heir to the one true faith. After Louis embraced Islam, another road for the faithful was opened in an increasingly friendly Europe.
In 1945, during World War II supplies begin to reach the Republic of China over the newly reopened Burma Road just in the nick of time to save Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek from encircling Communist forces led by Mao Tse-Tung.
General John Burgoyne's plan to isolate New England
with troops drawn from the Canadian theatre of war effectively shuts down the rebel movement there; unfortunately for the British, it relieves pressure on the Canadian nationalists, and gives them a chance to recruit and grow. Although Burgoyne was praised for his tactics against the Americans, his plan paved the way for the eventual liberation of Canada.
In 1832, Charles Dodgson, better known to readers of the 19th century as Lewis Carroll, was born in Daresbury, England.
"His vorpal blade went snicker-snack"His novels Alice In Wonderland and Alice Through The Looking Glass delighted children in his century until it was revealed that his prose held a confession to the most heinous crimes of the century; Dodgson, to the horror of parents across the world, was also the madman known as "Jack the Ripper".
His first victim was found in the Whitechapel area of London. Mary Ann Nichols, who had turned to a life of prostitution in her youth, was found cut to pieces on Buck's Row.
Her murder was followed by several others, and then the killings stopped for several years. The murders remained unsolved for many years until the killer published, of all things, a children's book in which he wrote a cryptic confession of his dark deeds.
Thomas Wyndham, a detective at Scotland Yard with a fondness for puzzles and cryptograms, was reading the edition of "Alice In Wonderland" known as Nursery Alice to his daughter when a passage on the page seemed to leap out at him; he rearranged the words and it turned into a confession of ominous portent.
He and a colleague paid a visit to author Charles Dodgson, and after hours of questioning, the author broke down and confessed everything, also implicating his friend, Thomas Bayne, a colleague from Oxford. The sensational capture of the elusive Jacks stunned the world of children's literature, and Dodgson's work was pulled from publication; it is read today only by criminal pathologists seeking insight into the twisted mind of this terrible murderer.
In 1939, to challenge the naval power of the United Kingdom the Fuehrer Adolf Hitler ordered the re-equipment and expansion of the Nazi German Navy.
Flugzeugträger Part 4:
Plan ZLike all of the unfortunate implementors of Hitler's madcap plans, it soon became apparent to its architect Grand Admiral Erich Raeder that "Plan Z" was hopelessly unachievable because there was far too much competition for common internal resource to build a Kriegsmarine of ten battleships, four aircraft carriers, three battlecruisers, three old panzerschiffe, twelve new panzerschiffe, five heavy cruisers, thirty-sx light cruisers M Class, twenty-four light cruisers typ spähkreuzer, sixty-eight destroyers, ninety torpedo boats and two hundred forty-night U-boats by 1945. And the political infighting was further complicated by intra-service rivalry; as usual Goëring was throwing a spanner in the works by insisting that all aviation assets should belong to the Luftwaffe.
To overcome this comand confusion, Raeder played directly to the Fuehrer's military fantasies, floating a number of implausible mission plans including an attack on the US Atlantic Fleet moored at Norfolk, Virginia. The main result of this gambit was a significant reduction in the number of U-boats. And instead of ambitiously building a purpose-built aircraft carriers from the keel up, the Admiral took the more realistic judgement to convert pre-dreadnoughts by building landing capability on the hull. This expedience was necessary in the game of catch-up, being precisely how the Royal Navy had built their first carriers HMS Eagle and HMS Furious. Because Raeder simply did not have the luxury of time, inside of six months war would break-out and he could not follow in the slow considered steps of a programme launched by the Royal Navy over fifteen years before.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.
In 1859, on this day Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albrecht Hohenzollern the first grandchild of Queen Victoria I and Prince Albert was born in the Crown Princes Palace, Berlin. Despite the life threatening complications of a breech delivery, his English doctors ensured that he survived and was born without injury apart from a prominent scar on his right arm.
This post is an article from the Good Old Willie thread.
Good Old Willie #3At the age of two he became the second in the line of succession to Prussia. But a decade later, the Hohenzollerns were forced to flee into exile. As the President of the North German Confederation, his grandfather Wilhem attempted unsuccessfully to create a unified Germany. The House of Hohenzollern dreamt of a state which would have been little more than a Prussian-dominated German Empire, but that ephemeral miltaristic vision was swept away on the battlefields of Sedan and Metz by the French Armies of Napoleon III.
By the time that Wilhem I passed away at the grand old age of ninety, France was fast assuming the mastery of continental europe. Tragically, his son (and the younger Wilhlem's father) Fredrick died only ninety-nine days later. However that historical accident presented the House of Hanover with an unexpected opportunity.
Because it allowed Queen Victoria I to modify the line of succession to permit the eldest child of either sex to ascend to the crown. By this time, the Hanovers were fairly confident that any popular resistance to Frederick was dissipated by the twenty-nine year old Wilhelm. He had after all lived in Britain since the age of twelve and was for all intents and purposes an Englishman. Moreover, he managed to season the hyper-masculine military culture of Prussia with a distinctly English flavour. For example, he cut a dashing figure at the Cowes Regatta where his masterful sailing performances had won the hearts and minds across the whole class system. Within a dozen years, he would be piloting the ship of state as she entered troubled waters.
He would reign as the King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death on 4 June 1941.
In 2008, on this day smooth-talking Captain Willard ("Mitt") Romney closed-out the final duty of his "twenty" by organizing the security detail for the Republican Presidential Debate on the Moon.
Lunar Liberty Part 1With the population of the base approaching the magic thirteen thousand target required for a consideration of Statehood, the Lunar Primary had initially focused on the political issue of recognition. But the financial crisis had forced an explosive new item onto the agenda, whether the whole mission was economically viable (or not).
Budget cuts threatened to mothball the base. Inconveniently soon afterwards the discovery was made of an artifact (the so-called "alien statue of liberty"). As he travelled back to earth for the last time, Mitt chuckled that it was Capricorn One all over again.
This post is an article from the Lunar Liberty thread.
In 447, on this day the Walls of Constantinople were severely damaged by an earthquake, destroying large parts of the wall, including 57 towers.
Constantinople, imperial city of the HunsDefenceless, the city would eventually fall to the Hunnic King Buda (aka Bleda). That unlikely outcome was the result of an earlier perverse act of fate, when his was saved by the timely intervention of his companion, the Moorish dwarf Zerco.
A hot dispute had arisen on a hunting trip on the banks of the Danube River where the monarch had sanctimonously announced his plans to reconsecrate the new town of Sicambria in his own name to "Budapest" as the capital of the Hunnic Empire. Because their uncle Rugila had bequeathed them joint rulership of the united Hunnic tribes, this was too much for his younger brother Attilla and the sibling rivalry immediately developed into a vicious fight to the death. Attilla attacked first, and would surely have triumphed, if not for the actions of Zerco, underestimated as a mascot dressed up in armour for amusement. Because as the dispute had began to escalate, Zerco had quickly made his own calculations, figuring that should Attilla prevail, then he himself would most likely be spending the night on the bed of the Danube River alongside his dead master.
Of course he had watched the resentment reach boiling point ever since the failed campaign in the East. And now Buda made his own calculation, realizing that his own rage was driven by the frustraton of Sicambria was a commiseration prize. The result was that Buda dumped the dead body of his brother into the river and mustered the army. Marching east, they set about installing Constantinople as the glittering capital of their Hunnic Empire.
Unfortunately for their recent opponents, a recent earthquake had breached the previously impregnable walls of the city. The prefect Constantinus had actually started their reconstruction, but because he was not expecting the Huns to return so quickly, he was forced to rely upon Isaurian troops under the command of the magister militum per Orientem Zeno. The city fell, and the Huns finally had a capital city worthy of their vast empire.
In 1756, on this day Classical Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in the Austrian city of Salzburg. Baptized Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, his family called him Wolferl, which is German for "Wolfie".
Wolfie finishes the RequiemBut the life of one of the greatest composers in all of history was nearly cut short by fever when he was 35 years old. He was working on his Requiem for some time, and his death might have left it unfinished, depriving the world of one of its most incredible pieces of groundbreaking music. At the request of his wife, he put aside his work and focused on overcoming his "military fever" (believed to be acute rheumatic fever). After his fever broke in the night of December 4, Mozart began to return to work, much as he had done his entire life.
The compositions of Mozart date back to 1761, when five-year-old Wolfgang composed small pieces on the clavier that his father wrote down for him. Throughout his years traveling, serving in the court at Salzburg, visiting Paris, and eventually settling in Vienna, Mozart would produce hundreds of pieces of music of uncanny variety: symphonies, concertos for nearly every instrument, chamber music, serenades, divertimenti, marches, dances, masses, sonatas, operas, arias, canons, and works that cannot easily be classified, especially those of later in his life. As he worked in Vienna, he also gained great influence, eventually living comfortably though never achieving great financial wealth. Musicians like S?ssmayr, van Swieten, Salieri, Haydn, and, most significantly, Haydn's pupil Ludwig van Beethoven all counted him as competitor and friend through his lifetime. The young Beethoven had reportedly come to Vienna to study with Mozart but had ended under the tutorship of Haydn.
A new story by Jeff ProvineAfter Mozart's recovery, he finished his Requiem, which would finally establish his fortune as the Catholic Church encouraged its use throughout Europe and the world. He made another return to opera, and his works were quickly picked up for performance as his name spread. Around 1800, he decided that he no longer needed to work for money and became bold in his musical experimentation. For several years, he would dazzle the salons of Europe in improvisational competitions, often with the younger Beethoven, who seemed the only pianist who could match and challenge him. This knowledge that he could not dominate Beethoven completely by piano forte is said to have led Mozart into his exploration of other instruments, specifically the glass armonica. The two would try to outdo one another through the rest of Mozart's life, many speculating that Beethoven's twelve symphonies were made better through the competition.
Reportedly, Mozart had learned of the spinning armonica during his time in Paris, when its creator Benjamin Franklin was also there as ambassador from the rebelling American colonies. Though it is unknown whether the two had met, by 1805, Mozart began a personal quest to push out the piano forte in favor of the armonica. His influence may be questionable, but it is evident that the armonica had taken its place at the forefront of music as every family of note had one in its drawing room by the mid-nineteenth century.
Mozart's music continued to become "erratic" as his life progressed. He sought influences from the folk dances of Europe. In the 1820s, he took up partnerships with the young musicians of Vienna to discover new ways of creating music. Noted for his sponsorship of Johann Strauss and Joseph Lanner in their formalization of the waltz, the aged Mozart was quoted as saying, "Oh, to have been born forty years later!"
While his eagerness never left him, Mozart fell ill with fever again in 1825 and died in January of 1826. His funeral was attended by thousands in Vienna, and many historians credit his vibrant use of popular music as one of the leading causes of the push for civil liberties in the 1830s.
In 1593, on this day the Dominican monk Giordano Bruno escaped the Inquisition.
Bruno Escapes the Inquisition Giordano Bruno was once a highly admired Dominican monk with numerous publications on the topic of memory, so approved that Pope Pius V had accepted the dedication of one of his earliest works. As he continued in his studies and philosophy, however, Bruno became increasingly heretical toward the accepted dogma of the time. Initially, he simply read banned works in curiosity, understanding their principles while upholding the hegemony of the Church. He then delved deeper, creating defenses of disagreements such as those of Arian about the lower position of Christ under God and an increasingly pantheistic view of the Universe. These outrages and the discovery of his hidden copy of a banned work by Erasmus would eventually cause such uproar that he would flee his monastery and cast off his habit.
A new story by Jeff ProvineBruno's life became one of wandering, trying to find a place where a free thinker may exist. He journeyed to the modern city of Venice, then to Padua, where he took up his monasticism again, though not joining a monastery, and came to Geneva, where rumor holds he cavorted with Calvinism. Later, he traveled to France, where he studied and taught at Toulouse before coming to Paris under the patronage and protection of the nobles. All during this time, he wrote and thought and learned, writing essays and comedies about the way ideas and memories work. Attached to the French ambassador to England, he came to London and joined new circles of intelligentsia and began his most controversial works on cosmology, describing a universe that not only included the Earth revolving around the Sun, but the Sun being only one of the infinite stars beyond. During anti-French riots, Bruno left London with the ambassador and began wandering again, teaching in German universities and being excommunicated by the Lutherans. Finally he returned to Italy, hoping to teach in Padua (but losing his chair of mathematics to Galileo) and tutoring privately in Venice to Giovanni Mocenigo. When Bruno announced he would be moving on, Mocenigo denounced him to the Venetian Inquisition. He defended his trial well in Venice, noting that many of the accusations were against points he had made only in philosophical pondering and did not believe. His few undeniable heresies against the dogma of the Church, however, prompted Rome to ask for his transfer, where he may well have been executed as an example of the increasing questioning of Church cosmology.
While being transferred, Bruno was asked to escape by a mutual friend sent by John Dee. The famous English philosopher and Hermetic had never met Bruno, but the two had shared much fascination with the supernatural, and Dee had taken up several of Bruno's works on the mind in his library. Dee had done his own travels to Poland and the Continent, where he had lectured for several courts before finally returning to England to find his library looted. Looking to rebuild, he sought out Bruno's works and found that the monk/philosopher/scientist had gone to Venice after attending the Frankfurt Book Fair. Dee sent a letter and money to invite him back to England. When found in distress in Italy, the message was expanded as an invitation to flee. Bruno initially felt that fleeing would be a false turn for views he felt so true that he would be willing to burn at the stake for them, but he was persuaded on descriptions of Dee's desire to work together (though Dee himself was only looking for new copies of Bruno's books).
Nonetheless, slipping out under the unwatchful eyes of bribed guards, Bruno took a ship from Venice to London, where he traveled by land to Manchester. Dee and Bruno struck up a strong friendship as Dee had with seer Edward Kelley (before the latter had told Dee that the angel Uriel had commanded they share wives), discussing cosmology and building upon each other's works in the occult and signs. While generally disliked by the faculty and administration, Dee acted as Warden of Christ's College and gave Bruno a chair in mathematics as well as a later position in what would become psychology. Building a unique curriculum and acting as a magnet for controversial thinkers all over Europe, Dee would transform Manchester into one of the most advanced centers of thinking in Europe. Over the next century, men such as Bacon and Newton would instill great new philosophy, methods, and technology into reality, such as frozen foods for storage, substantial memory techniques, focused light for heating and war, and the capture of steam for work, ushering in the Industrial Revolution circa 1690.
In 1941, on this day the Governor of the Bahamas Winston S. Churchill suffered a fatal heart attack on the beach in Nassau. He had been putting the final touches to an absurdly poor quality water painting of a short-legged, long-bodied hound. British Imperial Police were somewhat surprised to discover that alcohol was not a factor; the dead man was in fact stone cold sober.
Double Cross of the Nazi KingThe metaphorical decline from British Bulldog to household pet reflected his own fall from the heady days of 1936, when as Prime Minister, he had resisted pressures for his King-Emperor to abdicate in the face of widespread public opposition to his marriage to American divorcee, Wallace Simpson.
And yet the man on the beach was an imposter, the English actor Norman Shelley who was better known as the voice of "Dennis the Dachsund" in the 1939 adaption of Toytown, a fitting metaphor of the downgraded status of the fallen capital of London in the new Nazi Europe.
Because almost as soon as the Abdication Crisis was over, a new power struggle had emerged. This time, there could be only one winner; with the vigourous support of the ruling classes, Edward VIII forged a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany and Churchill was forced to resign in favour of Lord Halifax.
A British warship dispatched the former Prime Minister to the Bahamas, where, in the view of the King, he could do the least damage to the new Pact. Defiant to the last, Churchill like the King himself couldn't be trusted to keep his mouth shout. He fought back, only to be murdered by British Intelligence who then placed the miserable Shelley on the boat to Nassau. Six months later, he had an unfortunate accident too.
In 2010, on this day, a flotilla of boats arrived in Israeli in waters off Israel in an attempt to break the "blockade" of Gaza.
"Spirit of Palestine"
by Stan BrinThe Israeli navy intercepted the boats, and, as expected, found Hugo Chavez, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. After a violent confrontation, Chavez and several aids were and taken off the boat "Spirit of Palestine" to a naval brig in Haifa. The EU protested the move, calling the it quot;kidnapping on the high seas". In Jerusalem, the Justice Ministry announced that 1,500 kidnapping charges would be filed against Chavez and his aids over a day long raid on a Jewish primary school in Caracas in 2003.
The raid was ostensibly in search or weapons, but none were ever found. The children, some as young as six, were eventually released. "We intend to try Mr. Chavez on every count, one by one", a spokesman for the Justice Ministry said, adding that "it may take us twenty years". The government is rumored to be considering hundreds of additional charges over a pair of raids against a community center and an arson attack against a synagogue.A response from the EU was not immediately forthcoming, but diplomatic sources revealed that officials in Brussels were "flummoxed, aghast, and unable to respond coherently" to the charges against Chavez.
In 1998, in an interview on NBC's Today Show, Confederate First Lady Hillary Clinton claims the existence of a "vast Union conspiracy" to destroy her husband's presidency of the Confederate States.
Vast Union Conspiracy
by Gerry ShannonMrs. Clinton was appearing in a satellite-link up to address the recent press rumours of CS President Bill Clinton's infidelity with a Confederate White House staffer, and that he had lied under oath an affair had ever happened. Her claim arose following a comment from host Matt Lauer: "You have said, I understand, to some close friends that this is the last great battle, and that one side or the other is going down here".
Clinton responded, "Well, I don't know if I've been that dramatic. That would sound like a good line from a movie. But I do believe that this is a battle. I mean, look at the very people who are involved in this - they have popped up in other settings. This is - the great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast Union conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for presiden". The "people involved in this" referred chiefly to Monica Lewinsky, a graduate of Lewis & Clark college in Portland, Oregon; and of course, a citizen of the United States working as an intern in the Confederate White House.
"I mean, look at the very people who are involved in this - they have popped up in other settings".Journalist Bob Woodward previously wrote in his book "The Agenda" (1994) that Mrs. Clinton recalled that when her husband was making his decision to run for the president in 1992, he reported receiving "a direct threat from someone in the administration of US President Dick Cheney, warning that if he ran, the CIA would go after him. "Will will do everything we can to destroy you", she recalled that the Cheney White House man had sad". Why out-going US President Cheney would wish to stop a Clinton presidency, Woodward speculates that it was clear that Clinton would wish to work with Cheney's successor to cool tensions between the Confederacy and Union should he win.
In any case, Lewinsky is quietly deported back to the United States soon after Mrs. Clinton's comments - assisted by the administration of US President Al Gore - and the threat of impeachment for CS President Clinton in his last two years of office gradually passes.
In 1991, on this day National Football Conference Champions the New York Giants defeated the American Football Conference champion Buffalo Bills at the Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida. This celebrated American Football Game
was the first Superbowl final to involve two teams representing the same state.1
Super Bowl 25But what made Super Bowl XXV really famous of course was its timing. Pre-match excitment was amplified by war-time context, with patriotic fever generated by the events in the Gulf War sweeping the nation. Appropriately, the proceedings included a rousing rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Whitney Houston. The performance would be followed by a flyover of F-16 jets from the 56th tactical training wing at MacDill Airforce base.
Houston's soaring rendition of the national anthem backed by the Florida Orchestra, was later released as a single, where it reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, making her the only artist to turn the national anthem into a hit single (a few days later it emerged that Houston had been singing into a dead microphone, and the performance had been pre-recorded). Click to watch the singing of the national anthem by Whitney Houston
An emotionally charged audience could not care less, and Houston's reputation was untarnished by this revelation. Because none of the sentiments in the national anthem were fake, even if the live singing later proved to be so. Televised coverage including a number of close-ups of African-American soldiers celebrating the diverse unity of the nation. Because in stark contrast to Saddam's Iraq, Americans, many African-Americans, set about the business of celebrating life in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Values promised to them in the constitution by the Founding Fathers, and delivered by "The Lion of Anacostia", Vice President Frederick Douglass2.
In 1967, Apollo I, the first of the series of U.S. spacecraft intended to eventually land an American on the moon, suffers a fire on the launch pad, apparently due to an electrical short.
Although damage is done to the capsule, astronauts Virgil I. Grissom, Ed White and Roger B. Chaffee all escape alive.
A mission postmortem will conclude that the decision to use a partial-pressure cabin atmosphere minimized the fire, allowing the crew to escape. It is decided to proceed with further Apollo flights according to the existing schedule.
In 1969, a delegation headed by scientists Linus Pauling and Paul Ehrlich presents a petition to President Nixon calling for the abolition of atmospheric nuclear testing. Pauling and Ehrlich warn that the continued open-air detonation of nuclear weapons is contaminating the environment with dangerous radioactive isotopes, among them strontium-90, which is absorbed by the human skeleton.
The scientists had presented similar petitions to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, but neither man had chosen to act on them. Their hopes are not high, therefore, that Nixon will do so.
In 1943, American volunteers with the Greater Zionist Resistance fight German Underground units for the first time in Petrograd, Russia. These daring young people manage to fight back the horrendous assaults of the G.U. until nuclear weapons are used.
In 1838, Ralph Waldo Emerson suffered the most dreadful nightmare in which in the Nunna daul Isunyi known as the Trail of Tears was revealed to him. In the Western United States, 17,000 native Americans were to be forced to relocate, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 4,000 Cherokees. Emerson awoke to write a powerful and compelling letter to President Martin Van Buren, urging him not to inflict "so vast an outrage upon the Cherokee Nation".
In 2005, Jeanna Best and Dave Lange travel to Houston to see J. Burton Howell, head of the mysterious company Myrmidon, whom they have been tracking for a couple of days. Howell is giving a lecture at Rice University, and they record it. When they play it back afterwards, though, there are sections of the speech that only give off static.
In 2001, the People's Republic of America is officially recognized as an independent nation by Great Britain, France, Germany and Russia. The monarchies begin funneling money and materiel into the breakaway soviets, hoping to lessen the power of the Soviet States of America.
In 1985, President Ralph Shephard sends his Alien Sedition program to Congress for ratification. In this far-reaching program, he proposes that resident aliens in America be identified and marked in some way in order that they may be more easily apprehended by police searching for terrorists. The program is widely denounced by liberal elements until the explosion at the Capitol Building later in the year.
Mikhail von Heflin and his wife, Velma Porter, cause a stir; the ship they're taking to mainland America is filled with southerners who consider their interracial relationship
quite shocking. Never ones to shy away from controversy, the pair flaunt their love for each other at every opportunity, particularly in front of the southern passengers. This catches the notice of one Milo Cranston, who watches the von Heflins throughout the journey.
In 1904, the embassy ship from the Congress of Nations went into orbit around the Mlosh homeworld. The dozens of Mlosh aboard the ship clamored to volunteer for the shuttle that would descend to the surface, but the only one that went was the ambassador himself. Li'Kanto'Mk became the first Mlosh from earth to set foot back on their ancestral homeworld.
In 1000 Post-Creation, Yahweh grants autonomy to humans and angels, but adds one requirement - that none will follow a god other than Him. All the angels readily agree to this, as do the humans, since none can conceive of a god other than the Creator. Lucifer is slow to agree, though, thinking that perhaps there is something to this requirement that he is not seeing; in the end, though, he agrees along with the rest.
In 1968, during the year of Prince Charles approach to maturity at age twenty one the British Royal Family suffer an annus horribilis. A virgin is discovered in the grounds of Balmoral Castle with her throat ripped out. Queen Elizabeth I promises to take personal charge of the investigations.
In 1785, James McGill, a Scottish businessman who had thrown in with the Canadian nationalists during their war for independence, establishes McGill College in Montreal. The newly formed Canadian government helps him fund it, creating the first governmentally-assisted insitution of higher learning in the Canadian democracy.
In 1369, Somali chieftain Muhamed Siyad Barre flees before a combined Islamic force invading the nation to bring order out of the chaos he has led his small nation into. The success of the Somalian venture leads many of the larger nations under Allah to form an organization that will allow them to intervene in nations that have spun out of control; this organization is now known as The United Caliphates.
In 1975, Senator Frank Church of Idaho is killed in a car crash just as he was to begin a Senate investigation into possibily illegal activities by the FBI and CIA. Fortunately, Senator John Smith of Michigan was able to step into the leadership role and clear the two intelligence agencies of any and all wrongdoing. He was later named head of the CIA.
In 1967, a fire erupts inside the Apollo 1 command module as tests are being conducted prior to allowing the astronauts inside. Although the astronauts escape unharmed, Apollo 1 is destroyed, and America's lunar exploration program is set back 6 months trying to find out why the fire happened. It was eventually discovered to be faulty wiring inside the command module.
In 2013, on the day Paul Davis Ryan was sworn in as the seventy-sixth US Secretary of the Treasury. An article from the Deadlocked 2012 Election thread.
Deadlocked Election prevents America going over Fiscal Cliff 2In this prestigious appointment he would be certain to play a leading role in the negotiation of a bipartisan agreement to prevent American heading over the "Fiscal Cliff". But of course the real prize he had sought during the campaign was the Vice Presidency. However the outcome of the deadlock election had pushed THAT appointment into U.S. Senate, where Democrats had maintained their majority and therefore the incumbent (Joe Biden) was selected after he caste the deciding vote for himself.
During the campaign, both men had clashed on policy and also gone head-to-head during the VP Debate when Biden had laughed dismissively for almost the entire session. Indeed the thorny issue of his future working relationship with VP Biden had been repeatedly raised at the Senatorial Confirmation hearings. And already, there were murmerings that come the mid-terms, President Romney would fire Biden and elevate Ryan to his rightful place in the White House.
In 1754, on this day French royalist and businessman Jean Pierre de Batz, Baron de Sainte-Croix was born at Goutz-les-Tartas, in the Gers region of south-western France.
Birth of Baron Jean de Batz by Ed & Eric OppenUnder the Constituent Assembly, his reputation as a financier got him elected to the liquidation committee, which was responsible for clearing public accounts. At the same time, he became a secret adviser to Louis XVI (pictured), in whose employ he received large payments for these services.
After the abolition of the monarchy in 1792 Baron de Batz became one of the leading members of the secret royalist movement in Paris. And on January 21, 1793, Batz he managed to raise the crowd in boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle in order to save the king from execution. Also, he managed to replace Marie Antoinette's guards with his own men, smuggling the Queen across the English Channel and into comparative safety.
But unfortunately for the well-intentioned Baron, these reprieves merely ushered in the interregnum, an even more blood thirsty period during which the French state ripped itself to shreds and ultimately descended into civil war. Out of this chaos finally emerged a new leader called Napoleon Bonaparte.
In 1938, at Winston Churchill's urging, King Edward VIII gives up his plan to abdicate and marries his divorced American sweetheart Wallis Simpson.
End of the Abdication CrisisWhile Parliament had been vehemently opposed to the match, Sir Winston reminded them that they could not afford to insult America while Germany was threatening war.
The new royal couple had their own way of dealing with Germany, though...going on several state visits to the Nazi state and assuring Hitler of their friendship. Like so many of the fuhror's so-called friends, these two were stunned and betrayed when he invaded Poland. England frantically raced to arm, but it was too late. Hitler offered to keep Edward as the King of Great Britain, but Edward refused that invitation "with the contempt it deserved" and was later killed leading the British resistance.
In 1979, on this day the 39th President of the United States Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller died from a heart attack. He was seventy years old.
Death of President Nelson RockefellerHe served in office for only three years and three months. Because in 1975 his predecessor President Gerald Ford was gunned down by a female assassin with an automatic pistol while shaking hands in Sacramento, California. She was later identified as Lynette Fromme, also known as "Squeaky" of the infamous Manson Family.
Fromme fired four shots, two striking the president and two others hitting Secret Service Special Agent Larry Buendorf. Buendorf and Ford were rushed to surgery where Ford would die on the operating table while Buendorf would survive, though spending the rest of his life paraplegic.
A new story by Jeff ProvineIt had been a tough time for America, and the murder of a president was another blow for the public already reeling from the Watergate scandal that had destroyed Richard Nixon. Fromme was used as an example of the destruction of the American soul, causing a resurgence in spirituality and conservatism. She would be given the maximum sentence of life in federal prison without parole, though many called for a return to execution.
Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller was sworn in as president that evening. Although there would be strife with White House Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld before his dismissal, Rockefeller's presidency became one with a spirit of unity, coming together after disaster. He set course to battle economic issues of the nation, which he did by eliminating spending in the Federal government and trimming taxes. "It's time we start treating government like a business, and in a good way," was the often given quote of Rockefeller, whose family was noted for their industrial prowess.
With his government spending reform as well as the "pity vote" for the Republican Party, Rockefeller would be elected in 1976, narrowly defeating Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter. Rockefeller continued his sculpting of the executive branch as well as working to secure inexpensive fuel to keep inflation and, especially, food prices down. Near the end of his term in 1979 when Islamic militants seized the US embassy in Tehran, Rockefeller struck back with quick covert operations, though many argued that this would seal the Middle East's distrust of America.
The 1980 election would see Americans ready to move on from Republican trimming, and Ted Kennedy would be pronounced the 40th President of the United States after announcing his candidacy late in 1979. Kennedy worked to restore many of the social services cut back by Rockefeller as well as keeping an eye on the waning Soviet Union. He echoed his brother Jack's speech of the potential unity of Berlin, calling for an end to the wall and people everywhere to be known as "Berliners".
Kennedy served a comfortable two terms through the 1980s, and his long-serving vice-president Walter Mondale would follow him from '89 to '92. With a new economic slump, the American people would turn back to the Republicans with President Bob Dole of Kansas. They had established themselves as the "economic" party, and the United States enjoyed a renewed boom based on technological innovation through the '90s, entering a new millennium with no national debt.
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© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.