In 1988, on this day Manchester United Manager Alex Ferguson paid Newcastle £2m for the services of Paul Gascoigne.
Gazza, Red Devils LegendHaving won both the PFA Young Player of the Year and listed on the PFA Team of the Year for 1987-8 season, his breathtaking skills tortured Ferguson's midfield during a Newcastle vs Manchester United fixture earlier in March.
His first choice was Liverpool but with no offer forthcoming, he promised Ferguson that he would sign for Manchester United. Ferguson duly went on holiday to Malta, where he received the troublesome news that Spurs Manager Terry Venables had made a last minute swoop, trying to woo him into signing for Tottenham with an offer to buy a house for his impoverished family.
Ferguson rushed back to England to rescue the deal. But of course the real winner was Gascoigne, because when his off-field antics started to get dangerously out of control, Ferguson was the tough disciplinarian who put him back on the straight and narrow. Saving him from his worst enemy - himself. Ironically, Gazza did eventually play for Venables, when he became England Manager in 1994, leading them to triumph in Euro '96 (pictured).
On 27th of Tamuz, 3787, Yuhanna greeted his cousin Yeshua Ben Jesse at the River Jordan, and to his great surprise proclaimed "Behold the Rabbi of Nazareth1, who will lead the people of Yahweh into a new age".
Rabbi of Nazareth
by Ed and Jared MyersThe Messianic reference was somewhat odd. Because it raised a few eyebrows among the crowd, Yeshua corrected him with the words "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill2". Nevertheless, during his long ministry, he developed a lasting reputation as one of the greatest teachers of the age.
In 1938, even as Hitler dreamt of world domination by an all-conquering aryan master race, the research of two Germanic scientists slowly began the process of biological uplift for the sentinient mammals who would eventually fight alongside humans in the decades-long war with the Nazis.
SuperweaponThe English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and computer scientist Alan Turing had been completing his PhD dissertion on mechanized thought at Princeton. But a visit from Austrian-born mathematician and polymath John von Neumann encouraged him to return to Cambridge where he had studied in the early to mid thirties.
Also studying at Cambridge was Ludwig Wittgenstein whose study of higher order cognitive functions had earned him the Chair of Philosophy at the age of just forty.
Von Neumann's true intentions were now revealed. Working together collaboratively they radically changed direction to focus on biological uplift. And with atomic fusion going nowhere fast, the application of their research became the Allies best hope of developing a war-winning superweapon.
In 1983, Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau was given his first detailed debriefing on the nuclear attacks that wiped out Toronto and leveled most of York.
The Last Broadcast Part 2: Fall OutAccording to the information given to Trudeau by his top defense advisors, ground zero for the detonation of the first Soviet nuclear warhead had been approximately two blocks south of the Royal Ontario Museum; the extent of the destruction inflicted on metropolitan Toronto was made all too clear when Trudeau's defense secretary showed him an RCAF reconnaissance photo of the ruins of the CN Tower. The tower, once Canada's tallest building, had been reduced to a scorched heap of twisted metal and shattered glass by the blast wave from the first Soviet ICBM strike (the Royal Ontario Museum was vaporized in the Soviet attack).
An article by Chris OakleyThat evening Prime Minister Trudeau finally re-established communications with the U.S. government and was informed by acting President of the United States Malcolm Baldrige that shortly after the Soviet ICBM strike on Toronto American nuclear missiles had destroyed Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev; Baldrige, previously Ronald Reagan's secretary of commerce, had been sworn in as chief executive upon confirmation the deaths of Reagan and Reagan's vice-president George H.W. Bush. The new president also notified Trudeau that he was negotiating a cease-fire accord with the provisional Soviet government and working to secure the withdrawal of surviving Soviet combat troops from West Germany.
In 64 AD, as recorded by the Roman poet Tacitus, a fire broke out in the merchant district of the city of Rome, consumed a warehouse, and was defeated by brave workers dragging sand and water from the Tiber.
Fire Successfully Contained Nero praised the men's actions even though some of them were of the Christian cult, a band of Jews who had begun accepting Gentiles after worshiping the Son of a God. One of them, Paul of Tarsus, had been brought on an appeal to Caesar after being accused of treason, of which Nero would later find him innocent.
A new story by Jeff ProvineAfter the fire, Nero would continue his campaign to lower taxes on the poor, keep foreign diplomacy afloat (he had already maintained conquest of Britain after the rebellion of Boudicca as well as defeated Parthia in the east), and improve culture throughout the empire. Later, in 66, a revolt in Judaea would arise, and Nero would dispatch his great general Vespasian to put it down. Distrust of the Christians would mix with the fervor of the revolt, and a great divide would split the cult between the Gentiles and those who still held to the Jewish Law, the latter being removed from Rome and facing legal segregation. Gradually, the religion would blend with other Roman beliefs, such as had been done with the Egyptian Isis and the Persian Mithras.
In 65, a conspiracy by the statesman Piso to overthrow Nero and return the Republic was discovered and destroyed. The senators complained that they had lost all power despite Nero's promise in 54 to return their influence to levels under the Republic. Nero liked the power in his own hands and refused to give up any of it, using his sway to launch his massive construction projects. While Italia and the provinces struggled economically, taxes were never levied enough to cause rebellion. The successful end of the Jewish rebellion and looking of Jerusalem and their temple in AD 70 was enough to alleviate many of Nero's empty coffers.
As Nero grew older, he began to slow down his pace and draw more to distraction with his own arts. Meanwhile, Nero's son Antonius grew in military strength under the tutelage of the Governor Agricola of Britain during his conquest of Caledonia. Antonius would spearhead the conquest of Hibernia before returning to Rome after the death of Nero. More concerned with expansion than rule, Antonius would finally begin the return of Roman government back to the Senate, so long as it maintained funds for his expeditions into Germania. After the bloody conquest of the Germans, Rome would grow stagnant and corrupt, eventually falling in the north to the predatory Vikings of the 900s and the south to renewed Arab and Parthian attack.
In 1918, on this day Sir Nelson Mandela was born in the East Cape Province some eleven hundred kilometres from the capital where he would later serve as the first indigenous vice-regal representative to the British Crown Colony.
Sir Nelson Mandela, Part 1Mandela's qualifications for the position of governor were impeccable. A member of the cadet branch of the Royal House of Thembu, his great-grandfather Ngubengcuka was Inkosi Enkhulu (King) of the Transkeian homeland. And his father Gadla Henry Mphakanyiska served as a chief of the town of Mvezo.
The first of his family to go to school, his Methodist teacher called him Nelson in preference to his Xhosa name of Rolihlahla.
Subsequently, he studied at Clarkebury School (completing his junior certificate in two rather than the usual three years) and then progressing to the all-British Healdtown High School, a strict Methodist College where most Thembu royalty attended.
At Fort Beaufort, he took a keen interest in boxing and running. On his matriculation, his father sent him overseas to the University of London to study for a Bachelor of Laws Degree. On his return, he established a successful legal practice in Cape Town.
In 1960 British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan toured the British territories in Africa, travelling to the Cape Colony to deliver his keynote "winds of change" speech. In recognition of the dramatic changes that were sweeping the continent, "Supermac" announced that the incoming governor would be the pin-stripe suited African lawyer, Nelson Mandela. To be continued..
In 1988, in a dreadful speech which lasted for so long that some delegates began booing to get him to finish, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton placed Jesse Jackson's name in nomination at the Democratic Party Convention on this day in Atlanta, Georgia.
Sitting on Someone's ShouldersTexas State Treasurer Ann Richards made a more lasting impression by comparing the origins of Jackson, "a nobody who had no daddy" with his likely adversary in November, Vice President Bush who "was born with a silver foot in his mouth". For surely his "testament to the struggles of those who have gone before" was truly an American story every bit as epic as George Washington's victory at Trenton.
And yet Jackson really seized the moment for the Rainbow Coalition by boldly welcoming "the sons and daughters of slavemasters and the sons and daughters of slaves, sitting together around a common table , to decide the direction of our party and our country". The nomination was dedicated to the mother of the civil rights movement Rosa Parks, and former President Jimmy Carter for his unwavering commitment to peace in the world.
These words would find refresh resonance some two years later, when President Jackson would find a peaceful resolution to the Persian Gulf Crisis through dialogue with Saddam Hussein. That remarkable achievement would open the way to negotiations between Israel and Palestine to discuss the status of Jerusalem, "a small village that became the birthplace for three great religions -- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam". By then, George Bush was in the grandfather business, and Ann Richards the Governor of Texas, having consigned Bush's playboy son to a crushing defeat in the gubernatorial election.
In 1995, the Prime Minister's autobiography 'The Ten Downing Street Years' was published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.Falklands Emergency Part 8 - Long Retreat by Ed.
Chapter VII The Falklands: Defeat (the battle for the Falklands in May and June 1982) reads ~ "The significance of the Falklands Emergency was enormous, both for Britain's self-confidence and for our standing in the world. Since the Suez Fiasco in 1956, British foreign policy had been one long retreat. The tacit assumption made by British and foreign governments alike was that our world role was doomed steadily to diminish. We had come to be seen by both friends and enemies as a nation which lacked the will and the capability to defend its interests in peace, let alone in war. Defeat in the Falklands confirmed that. Everywhere I went after the emergency, Britain's name meant something less than it had. The war also had real importance in relations between East and West: years later, I was told be a Russian general that Soviets had been firmly convinced that we would not fight for the Falklands, and that if we did fight we would lose. We proved them right, and they did not forget the fact". ~ Lady Margaret Thatcher, Conservative Leader and UK Prime Minister 1983-1992.
To be continued..
On this day in 1968, Polish anti-Communist demonstrators in Warsaw held a rally to show support for the striking factory and shipyard workers in Gdansk.
On this day in 1948, newly hired Giants manager Leo Durocher wrote to former New York Knights outfielder Roy Hobbs offering him the job of Giants third base coach.
On this day in 2004 a leading website critical of Michael Moore started posting an online petition calling for Moore to be permanently disqualified for Oscar consideration in any category.
The site's webmaster cited Moore's questionable ethics as the main reason why the disqualification should be imposed.
In 1969, whilst leaving a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy nearly drives his car off a bridge.
Badly shaken, he pulls over to the side of the road for awhile before proceeding to deliver his female companion, Mary Jo Kopechne, to her home and returning to the home of Kennedy cousin Joseph Gargan for the night.
On this day in 1944, Allied troops in northern France linked up with the Allied contingent in southern France at Orleans. That same day on the Eastern Front, Soviet troops began wiping out the last pockets of German army resistance in Lithuania and advancing into Latvia.
In 1988, the Democratic National Convention opens amid controversy at the Omni Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia. Richard Gephardt of Missouri is the leading candidate, but the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson is number two, and has made it clear he expects to be nominated for the vice-presidential slot on the ticket.
Many Gephardt supporters are furious with what they consider to be an attempt at political extortion. Jackson's people, on the other hand, lose no opportunity to insist that if the Reverend were white, his inclusion on the ticket would be a given.
Three days later, Richard Gephardt receives the Democratic presidential nomination. In his acceptance speech, he announces that he has chosen Senator Joseph Biden as his running mate.
Jesse Jackson is furious that he has been rejected for vice-president a second time. The Reverend believes he has a better right to the number-two spot, given that he had won numerous primaries while Biden had not won anywhere. Nevertheless, he delivers a speech in which he pledges 'solidarity' with the party and its presidential ticket.
I'm just trying to be as boring as I can,' Andrea said. 'You know, the type of person the newspeople hate to cover.'
'Yeah, that's you, all right.' She punched him in the arm. 'Hey, now, don't make me spill my food.' He looked over at the reporter and said, 'He's talking to your daughter.'
'Oh, lord, what has she got to say?' She followed Marvin's gaze over to where Monica and one of her cousins were talking animatedly about something to the reporter while the cameraman captured their conversation. 'Think I should go check?'
'Nah. Just ground her for it later.' They both laughed, and Andrea relaxed a little bit. Marvin was always good at calming her down. After they ate a little bit more from their plates, he said, 'So, the signal back'll take, what, 8 years to reach Wolf 359?'
'About that, yeah.'
'Then another 8 years for a signal to get here.'
'Provided there's still anybody to send one.'
'Right, I get that. But what if they've got some automated station, waiting for the signal? They built a probe that'll last a few thousand or million years and still be able to call back home ? why not make a receiver that'll sit in their solar system and wait to respond.'
'I always knew there was a reason I liked you,' Andrea said, putting down her plate and pulling her phone out of her pocket. She flipped the function over to notepad and jotted down what Marvin had just said. 'You want credit for the idea?'
He shrugged, smiling. 'That's OK. Just say Hi, Marv at the press conference, and I'll be happy.'
'You got it.'
In 1964, Ranger 7 sent back the first close-up photographs of the moon, with images 1,000 times clearer than anything ever seen from earth-bound telescopes. Regrettably the images did not reveal the space/time disturbance on the southern Sea of Tranquillity. Five years later the vortex was to send the Apollo 11 mission back through time to the night before the Battle of Tours. Commander Neil Armstrong was less worried that the in-craft time device was reporting 9th October 732; of greater concern was the sight of Frankish and Burgundian troops about to decamp with their heads down in abject defeat. The following day these soldiers must put a final stop to the Arab invasion of Europe, without which, there would be no Western Europe and no America!
In 1948, at Idlewild Field, New York International Airport was dedicated. The Airport was later renamed Ronald Reagan International Airport after John Hinckley, assassinated the Gipper in 1981.
In 1945, Pierre Laval, fugitive former leader of Vichy France, slipped through patrols by Allied soldiers in Austria to escape Europe. He fled to Argentina where he was assisted by Kameradenwerk (German for 'comrade work'), the secret organization of former SS and Nazi officers formed after World War II.
In 1957, Sir Winston Churchill died in his London home at Hyde Park Gate at the age of 82. His wife Lady Clementine Churchill and other members of the family were at his bedside.
His political career began as a Conservative MP for Oldham in 1900 - but he became disaffected and joined the Liberals in 1906. He was First Lord of the Admiralty during World War I - but shortly afterwards switched sides again, to rejoin the Conservatives in 1924. Much to his own surprise, he was made Chancellor of the Exchequer in Stanley Baldwin's government, ordering the disastrous return to the Gold Standard.
He came into his own during World War II. He became prime minister in May 1940. His ceaseless energy, unflinching determination to beat the enemy and an ability to make great speeches, inspired the entire nation and eventually helped win the war.
He retained power in 1945 after a surprise general election result brought the Conservatives Party to government. During the election, Churchill pledged that he would 'not preside over the dissolution of His Majesty's Empire'. Shortly thereafter, Churchill announced that it time was to put a stop to all the nonsense spread by that half-naked fakir and followers, dissolving the Indian Congress and gaoling Gandhi, Nehru, Vinoba and many others. Indians were then expelled from positions in the Civil Service and critical industries.
The expense of these draconian measures caused a run on the pound and an economic crisis that forced the British to quit the Raj. Unable to accept that Gandhi could defeat him where Hitler failed he retreated into alcohol. Failing health forced Churchill to step down as Prime Minister in 1955. He continued as a backbencher until his death, an increasingly isolated figure speaking out against Harold Macmillan's Winds of Change policy.
In 1969, after leaving a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts senator Edward 'Ted' Kennedy nearly drives his car off a bridge.
Badly shaken, he pulls over to the side of the road for awhile before proceeding to deliver his female companion, Mary Jo Kopechne, to her home and returning to the home of Kennedy cousin Joseph Gargan for the night.
In 1814, Britain concludes a treaty with native tribes granting it sovereignty over the large Illinois Territory in exchange for guarantees that it will limit white settlement in the region. Although London will initially make real efforts to abide by these pledges - motivated by a desire to avoid another round of bloody, and expensive, Indian wars at a time when it faces a deadly foe on the Continent - it will prove impossible to keep settlers out, and, faced with the choice of honoring its treaty commitments or protecting white holdings against often lethal raids, the British government will take the latter path.
In March of 1816, the Crown Colony of Ohio will be created from part of the Illinois Territory; in August of the following year, another portion of the same lands will be incorporated as the colony of New Cornwall. These moves, undertaken without consultation with the local tribes, will be harbingers of the British choice to favor white settlerment despite its pledges not to do so.
Thursday July 18th 1940 - the 1940 Democratic National Convention, Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois. As expected, the convention has resulted in the re-nomination of President Franklin Roosevelt as the Democratic Party candidate for a third term. Despite the unprecedented bid for a third term, Roosevelt was nominated on the first ballot. The one unexpected event is the nomination of Joseph Patrick 'Joe' Kennedy, Sr as the Vice Presidential candidate.
It is rumored that Roosevelt's preferred choice for the Vice-Presidency, Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace, was forced off the ballot when a straw poll showed him with only 326 votes, far short of the 551 minimum needed to win.
Wallace, an outspoken liberal, is strenuously opposed by many delegates at the convention, particularly the more conservative Southern Democrats. Kennedy, the current United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom is a leading member of the Democratic Party and of the Irish Catholic community. He will certainly help the ticket in fighting off the criticisms of 'America Firsters' such as Charles Lindbergh.
In 1937, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Hunter S. Thompson is born in Louisville, Kentucky. His clear-headed, no-nonsense style and strict adherence to the rules of journalism became the standard by which all other journalists were judged in the 60's and 70's.
In 1936, the Spanish Civil War begins, with the outnumbered forces of fascist Francisco Franco fighting against Republican forces. Dozens of nations sent in troops surreptitiously to prevent another European nation from falling to right-wing revolutionaries, and it worked. Franco was defeated the following spring, and Spain grew into a free democracy.
In 1905, Carla Lambert appears in A Woman Unchained, a movie about suffragists in New York. This film rockets her to international stardom, and rumors start flying as to who she is seeing romantically.
In 1899, clergyman and author Horatio Alger dies in New York. Famed for his tragic novels of heroes falling from grace, Alger famously wrote that if he had allowed his heroes to climb back up again, he might have sold more books, but that would hardly reflect the real world.
In 817 AUC, enemies of the state ignited a series of fires across Rome. Heroically, Emperor Nero directed the fight against these fires himself, rallying the citizens and saving most of the city. Afterwards, the good will the emperor had built up by his actions was used to find and execute these imperial enemies.
In 1969, Senator Edward M Kennedy from Massachusetts being a gentleman, gallantly agreed to escort 'Boiler Room Girl' Mary Jo Kopechne to the Edgartown Ferry. They had both attended a modest thanksgiving function for party workers and assistants of the 1968 Presidential Election. Known to be a cautious driver, a freak accident caused Senator Kennedy to swerve off a wooden bridge into a tide-swept pond. Having escaped from the vehicle himself, he bravely returned to rescue his passenger, saving her from certain death. The following year his exploits were featured in the blockbuster novel and movie 'Profiles in Courage 2'. The incident may well have affected his decision to run for election to the Presidency in 1972, which he won handsomely.
In 1969, Senator Edward M Kennedy safetly escorted Mary Jo Kopechne to the Edgartown Ferry because the 'Boiler Room Girl' had feared driving through vampire country after sunset. Teddy's return journey was not so easy. Forced to brake at a narrow bridge, the Master landed on the roof of the 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont 88 and ripped the Senator from the vehicle. Using inhuman, undead strength the Master threw the vehicle into the strong currents of Poucha Pond and set about feeding on his prey
In 1969, Senator Edward Kennedy is caught by his wife attempting to leave a party with attractive young Mary Jo Kopechne. The resulting divorce causes havoc with Kennedy's political career, as details of his womanizing and drinking become public. Kennedy pledges his constituents that he will reform, and after a brief period in a rehabilitation clinic, he comes out sober and focused. After winning the presidency in 1976, he entered his second marriage - also the second marriage of a President in the White House - to Victoria Reggie in 1977.
In 1969, after a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts drove an Oldsmobile off a wooden bridge into a tide-swept pond and both he and his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, die. Officially the family claimed that Ted was simply returning one of the 'Boiler Room Girls' (helpers at the 68 election) back to the Edgartown Ferry. The incident itself and the Kennedy family philandering in general became a national scandal, and may well have affected the decision by his brother Robert not to run for re-election to the Presidency in 1972. 'The long national nightmare was over', in the words of the incoming President, Richard M Nixon.
It is 1918, and the Bolsheviks have overthrown the Czar. In the Civil War that follows, they imprison the imperial family in Ekaterinburg.
Lenin Orders the Betrothals at EkaterinburgThe Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin decides to marry the four princesses to his most loyal followers, thus making them even more devoted to himself.
But he has failed to realize that their lust for power is as great as his own. .. and almost as great as their lust for the beautiful girls themselves. Each man declares himself to be the new Czar, and a four-way Civil War ensues. One of the sons-in-law frees Nicolai from his prison, along with his wife and son, in return for being declared the Czar's heir. The country rallies behind him and he is soon crowned as Czar Josef I, more popularly know as the Man of Steel .. Stalin (pictured). The other three couples are sent into exile, to plot for another day.
In 1983, the horror of global nuclear war was unleashed on Canada when a pair of multi-megaton Soviet ICBM warheads were airburst over the city of Toronto, destroying the entire metropolitan Toronto area and most of the neighboring city of York.
The Last Broadcast Part 1This attack followed twelve uninterrupted hours of armed hostilities between NATO and the Warsaw Pact which started with a Soviet invasion of West Germany, continued with three tactical nuclear strikes against East Germany, and ultimately led to retaliatory tactical nuclear attacks by the Soviets on two West German cities as well as on London, England.
A new thread by Chris OakleyCanadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau, who was being evacuated to an emergency command bunker in an undisclosed location when the ICBMs hit Toronto, quickly declared martial law in an effort to prevent further civil unrest from erupting among the citizens of Ontario, where massive protests had been going on since the news came of U.S. cruise missiles being deployed against Soviet military assets in eastern Europe. On reaching his command bunker, Prime Minister Trudeau tried to make contact with U.S. President Ronald Reagan only to be told Reagan and most of his advisors had perished in a Soviet nuclear strike on Washington, D.C.
In 1861, President Benito Juárez's ill-timed decision to suspend interest payments to Mexico's major creditors triggered a military intevention from Spain, France and Great Britain that indirectly caused the escalation of the American Civil War into a six power regional conflict lasting over a decade.
Disaster at VelacruzIronically, the burning issue of race was also connected to the so-called Maximillian Affair, because Juárez was a Zapotec Amerindian who served five terms as president, thus becoming the first full-blooded indigenous national ever to lead a country in the Western Hemisphere.
The leader of the opposition to Juárez was Napoleon III who built an alliance between France, Spanish and British, uniting efforts to receive payments from Mexico at the Treaty of London on 31 October.
In early January 1862, allied fleet and troops began to arrive at Mexico's main Gulf port, Veracruz. After that the situation deteriorated very quickly. Misidentifying her as a Union vessel, the Confederate States Navy accidentally fired on a British warship en route to Velacruz. And the British Government also discovered that Napoleon III's plan was rather bolder than recovering payment, it was nothing less than the French conquest of Mexico.
In 2001, on this day in Committee Room Fourteen at the Palace of Westminister, backbenchers learnt the results of the first round of the Tory Leadership ballot.
Stop the WarThe grassroots of the party favoured Iain Duncan Smith, a retired British Army Captain of the Scots Guard Regiment. Trouble was the party members in the country only got to choose between two candidates in the final round. And due to the casting of a single ballot by just one member of parliament, Smith had been edged into third place by Michael Portillo, 54 votes to 53. Portillo himself would be defeated by Middle England's favourite jazz fan, Ken Clarke; it would be the first time a populist politician had occupied the Tory leadership in three decades.
Clarke officially became the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition on 18th September 2001, exactly one week after the attack on the World Trade Centre. And seeking to justify British participation in the war on terror across the chamber of the House of Commons, Prime Minister Tony Blair would have to face down a cigar-smoking, suede-shoe-wearing pacifist. The rather different figure cut by Smith, a bolt upright former soldier who had seen service from Rhodesia to Northern Ireland would be consigned to the backbenches, where his bipartisan support for the government would be drowned out by Clarke's bold, outspoken leadership. Because Clarke would soon appear in public with another outspoken critic of US-UK belligerency, French President Jacques Chirac as well as joining the "Stop the War" march in February 2003 (still finding time to sneak off with playwright Harold Pinter for a pint and a smoke).
The "Stop the War" party were unaware that Britain was under no obligation to pay a "blood price". Books written by the journalist Bob Woodward would later reveal that Blair was repeatedly told by Bush that he did not have to commit troops. And due to the public outcry fuelled by Clarke, Iraq would follow the model of Vietnam, were Britain supported the United States but took no active part in the hostilities.
Needless to say, Prime Ministerial credibility was utterly destroyed by the whole miserable affair, and "Bliar" would be roundly defeated in the general election on 5th May 2005. But two months later on 7th July, a series of coordinated suicide attack struck London's public transport system. Fifty-six people were killed, including the bombers, and around 700 were injured. And the British people discovered that democratic processes, even idiosyncratic ones, were one thing, but the hand of destiny was quite another. Votes could not stop the war. And as Blair had accurately predicted, the war on terror had come to Britain after all.
In 1918, on this day at 3am Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family were awoken in their bedrooms on the upper floor at Ipatiev house by the British "Ace of Spies" Sidney Reilly (pictured) and told to dress quickly and come downstairs. The Romanovs were then taken away in in a truck and secreted in an abandoned mine shaft that was nearby. Six days later, they were rescued when Ekaterinburg fell to White Forces led by Nicholas Sokolov.
Ace of SpiesBecause after the abdication, the Imperial family were held under house arrest at Tobolsk in western Siberia. Following the Bolshevik takeover, they were moved to a house owned by a merchant named Ipatiev in Ekaterinburg, further south in the Urals.
But by the late summer of 1918, the civil war was raging and White armies were drawing close to Ekaterinburg, raising the prospect of the Romanovs being rescued. The Ural Soviet had sent to Moscow suggesting that Nicholas be executed and on July 12th they received word that the central regime would leave the fate of the prisoners in their hands. But the message was intercepted by Reilly, who impersonating Yaknv Yurovsky, led a platoon of White Officers disguised as a squad of Cheka secret police.
At 4pm on July 16th, the tsar and his daughters took a stroll in the garden. At 10.30pm they retired to bed, but three hours later they were woken by Reilly and his men. And the guards at Ipatiev House were easily duped into believing that the rescue team were the executioners sent by the Ural Soviet, because they were keen to flee Ekaterinburg before the White Army arrived.
In 1975, an attempted docking between a U.S. Apollo spacecraft and a Soviet Soyuz went wrong, resulting in an orbital collision killing everyone aboard both vessels.
Watch the Youtube Clip
The tragedy dealt the U.S. space program a blow from which it would never recover. In the aftermath, those who had been arguing that putting humans into space was a dangerous and pointless stunt would prevail in Washington, leading, among other things, to the abandonment of the ongoing Space Shuttle program, launched by President Nixon soon after the first moon landings. A single shuttle, named the Enterprise thanks to a lobbying campaign by fans of the television series Star Trek, would be built and would fly cross-country on the back of a cargo jetliner, but it would never go into space. The U.S. would continue to send unmanned probes into space, but with decreasing frequency as public interest in the space program waned.
Apollo-Suyuz Tragedy by Eric LippsThe Soviets would continue to send men into space for years, but the increasing fragility of their economy and political system would lead them, too, to abandon manned spaceflight by the early 1980s. Buran, the proposed Soviet version of the Space Shuttle, would never make it off the drawing boards.
In the 1990s, Japan and China would reignite the space race with their own first successful manned orbital launches. By then, however, the Soviet Union would have collapsed and its successor, the Commonwealth of Independent States, would be far too preoccupied with fending off complete economic collapse to think of resuming its own program. As for the United States, while a vocal minority continued to call for a resumption of manned spaceflight, most space scientists favored automated missions as faster, cheaper and better. "Cheaper" was without doubt the most important priority: year after year, NASA would face either stagnant or declining budgets, forcing the elimination of one program after another. Some space advocates insisted that private enterprise would step in - someday - and open a new Space Age far beyond what the government-run space program had achieved, but efforts in that direction have been slow to progress. If anything, advances in cable and fiber-optic transmission threaten to undermine one of the few remaining justifications even for unmanned orbital launches, the lofting of communications satellites. Only the space efforts of the military and intelligence establishments have so far remained vigorous, as there is presently no substitute for the observation satellites they maintain in low Earth orbit.
In 1980, on this day a joint edition of the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press reversed the previous days report that "Ronald Reagan is being pushed by moderates and other Republicans interested in mending the party's left and right factions to select Bush [for Vice President]" now reporting that Reagan had already negotiated a power-sharing deal under which Gerald Ford would be his co-President.
Co-Presidency Part 2: Precedent for a Dream TicketThe problem with a Reagan-Bush ticket was that a rift had developed between the two during the "long and bitter" campaign for the Republican nomination. "Reagan, the lowly Dixon, Illinois kid whose determination brought him success, seems to have a visceral distaste for Bush, the Eastern Establishment blueblood of a different ilk," reported the Detroit News. A moderate candidate was required by Reagan, with the Detroit News reporting that "What support Reagan lacks among affluent, college-educated and union voters, Bush would clearly make up".
Reagan thought that Ford would be more effective vote-winner in this electoral space, and yet there was also a rift there too. Journalist Thomas DeFrank states that Ford "neither liked nor respected" Ronald Reagan. Reagan had challenged Ford, a then-incumbent President, in the 1976 Republican primaries. According to DeFrank, Ford believed that Reagan hurt him further that year by failing to campaign more heavily for him in the fall. DeFrank notes that Ford, a loyal party man, felt that Reagan had done a disservice to a fellow Republican and never really forgave him for it.
Both men negotiated arrangements that might lure a former commander in chief into a secondary position. Contemporary accounts said Ford was represented by former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger and others. But at a 2000 conference of former White House chiefs of staff, Dick Cheney disclosed that he had been deeply involved. He recalled an intense debate about how to shape expanded lines of authority in a job often ridiculed as largely ceremonial. Ford "made a number of requests in terms of his influence over the budget, personnel, foreign policy, et cetera," Cheney said. "I can remember sitting in a session with Bill Casey, who later became CIA director. Bill had a list of items that in fact the Reagan people were prepared to discuss. They went a long way to accommodate President Ford". 1
Bill Brock, chairman of the Republican National Committee, explained Ford's terms to a Detroit News reporter. Brock said that Ford was interested in the vice-presidency if Ford "took on more of a policy-making function". Ford2 would "have to have the National Security Council and the Office of Management and Budget under his control and be the White House chief of staff as well," Brock told the reporter. "It would be a co-presidency. A dream ticket," declared the Detroit News/Free Press.
Reagan, Ford, Bush and Milliken attended a press conference at Grand Rapids in a show of unity to announce the Reagan-Ford ticket (Bush was offered Secretary of State as a sweetener). Reagan praised Ford as a man who "healed America because he so thoroughly understood America". Michigan Governor Milliken stated that Ford "restored honesty to the highest office in our land by his very presence".3
The negotiations were a dead letter, quite literally. On March 30th, 1981 Reagan was assassinated by John Hinckley, Jr and Ford became an unelected President for the second time. This tragic event had been strangely foreshadowed in Ford's defeat in 1976. "Damn it, we shoulda won. We shoulda won". said Joe Garagiola, sobbing. Ford comforted him "Hey, there are more importantant things to worry about than what's going to happen to Jerry Ford"..
And the negotiations themselves were not without future consequences. In 1980, as Ford was being wooed to run for vice president, Dick Cheney played a key role in re-imagining the job. "If there is precedent for Cheney's role [as Vice President in 2001-2009]," according to Dan Quayle, "it is the short-lived second vice presidency of Gerald R. Ford".
In 1947, on this day Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg (pictured) died unexpectedly of a heart attack in Stockholm, Sweden.
A Holocaust angel dies unexpectedly by Eric LippsPosted to Budapest, Hungary, as part of the Swedish legation in July 1944, Wallenberg worked with fellow diplomat Per Anger to rescue as many Jews as possible from the Nazis and their fellow travelers of Hungary's Horthy regime. Ultimately he would be credited with saving over 10,000 people from the Nazi Holocaust, frequently at risk of his own life.
At the close of the war, Wallenberg narrowly avoided being detained by the Soviets, who had invaded Hungary in January 1945. Not yet 33 years old, he was already an international hero, but to the Soviets he was evidently an unwelcome "agitator" who might interfere with their attempts to seize full political control of the conquered country. Although political pressure deterred the Russians from seizing him, they applied steady pressure of their own for his removal, and in June 1947 he was sent home to his native country, ostensibly "on leave".
Wallenberg's death of heart failure at such a young age has been the subject of controversy, with conspiracy theorists claiming he was poisoned by the Soviets and others speculating that his wartime experiences may have aggravated a preexisting congenital heart condition. No clear evidence for either hypothesis has ever been produced. In 1949, he would posthumously receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his wartime efforts. Memorials in his honor have been erected in Israel, the U.S., Britain, Australia, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, and - in 1995 - in Russia.
In 1967, on this day the Times of London newspaper reported Indiscipline Denied by Colonel Mitchell , in reference to the circumstances of the British reoccupation of the Crater district of Aden by Battalion Commander Colin Campbell Mitchell and his Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.Indiscipline Denied
At that time, Aden was a British colony and the Crater district had briefly been taken over by nationalist insurgents. Campbell became widely known as 'Mad Mitch'. His reoccupation of the Crater became known as the Last Battle of the British Empire. Although some observers questioned whether the Last Battle was ever worth fighting, the event marked the end of an era in British history and made Mitchell an iconic figure.
In June 1967 the Argylls were due to take over operational control of the Crater from the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. However, before this could happen, on 20 June some of the local police mutinied and seized the Crater in association with nationalist insurgents. Around 20 British soldiers were killed and their bodies mutilated.
On 5 July 1967 Mitchell led a force that reoccupied the Crater district accompanied by 15 regimental bagpipers of the Argylls playing either 'Scotland the Brave', or the regimental charge, 'Monymusk'. Mitchell subsequently used what were described as 'strong arm methods' to keep control of the Crater in the remaining months before British withdrawal. The reoccupation itself was almost bloodless (one local was killed) and Mitchell then used an integrated system of observation posts, patrols, checkpoints and intelligence gathering to maintain the Crater as a tranquil area while security elsewhere in Aden began to deteriorate. However, allegations of brutality were made against Mitchell and the troops under his command (Mitchell had told his men to expect such allegations regardless of whether or not they were true). The imposition of 'Argyll law' (as Mitchell described it) on the Crater endeared Mitchell to the media and to the British public. But it did not endear him to certain of his superiors in both the Army and the High Commission.
Mitchell's critics stated that he was a publicity seeker and that the troops under his command lacked discipline. One High Commission official described the Argylls as 'a bunch of Glasgow thugs' (a statement for which he later apologised).
The reoccupation and subsequent control of the Crater district were controversial. The GOC Middle East Land Forces, Major-General Philip Tower, had feared that reoccupation of the Crater would ignite more disturbances. Tower (a veteran of the North African campaigns and Arnhem) also considered that undertaking a full reoccupation of the Crater was pointless given that British withdrawal from Aden was imminent. Tower had authorized a probe into the Crater to be led by Mitchell using the Argylls and other units. Mitchell used this authority to carry out the reoccupation. Tower later instructed Mitchell to 'throttle back' on his operations within the Crater.
Mitchell stated that he considered Tower's approach to be 'wet hen tactics'. The situation that developed was described in The Times as follows:
Mitchell frequently appeared on television: a small, handsome man with a direct, pugnacious manner, speaking the robust, unminced words that the British had not heard from their army officers since the acceleration of the Imperial decline had begun nearly two decades before. Newspapers took him up as a popular hero, proudly bestowing upon him the sobriquet of 'Mad Mitch'.
The Crater reoccupation was carried out on Mitchell's own initiative. Some MPs asked questions about this in Parliament. Tam Dalyell (Labour, West Lothian) asked whether it was true that: Mitchell disobeyed operational and administrative orders of his senior officers during the recapture of the Crater .
Mitchell himself later stated that he had been rebuked over the reoccupation by General Tower. The nature of this rebuke was explained by Defence Minister Denis Healey as follows:
The brigade commander thought it necessary to emphasize to Colonel Mitchell that the maintenance of law and order with minimum force leading to an orderly withdrawal from Aden with minimum casualties was the policy that had to be followed. .
The final British withdrawal from Aden took place in November 1967. However, one surprise was in store for 'Mad Mitch' - the real the Last Battle of the British Empire where Colonel Mitchell led 2 Para to a decisive defeat of Argentian troops at the Battle of Goose Green in the Falklands Campaign. In Mad Mitch, Mrs Thatcher found a man who certainly never questioned whether the Last Battle was ever worth fighting.
In 1614, on this day British occupation troops in southern Spain brutally suppressed an anti-occupation uprising in Valencia.
Three-quarters of Valencia's population was put to death and half of the city itself was burned to the ground in retaliation for an attack on the local British garrison by insurgents loyal to the Spanish crown.
In 1961, on this day the celebrated jewelry store Tiffany's, which had been operating out of a Long Island storefront since the Jamaica Bay hurricane, returned to its original Manhattan home amid huge fanfare and a surprise visit by author Truman Capote, who had immortalized the jeweller in his classic short story Breakfast at Tiffany's.
On this day in 2002, the French embassy in Baghdad was temporarily closed after the French ambassador's office was hit by rocket fire.
On this day in 1973, toy company owner Hans Morris was found shot to death near his company's corporate headquarters in Miami.
At first there were rumors it had been the work of the Lawnmower Man, but ballistics analysis subsequently proved that the murder had actually been the work of Jason Renshaw, a contract hit man who'd been on the FBI's Most Wanted list since 1969. Renshaw was himself later killed in a shootout with federal agents at his apartment; the story of that fatal confrontation would later be told in Stephen King's fourth book, Battleground.
In 2005, General Augustus Pinochet refused to handover his friend Margaret Thatcher to face trial for war-crimes in Britain, isolating Chile within the Organisation of American States. Pleading ill-health, the Iron Lady died in exile in Santiago. Her son Mark returned to Britain to organise a counter-coup with Simon Mann and other mercenaries drawn from Old Etonians.
In 1979, the right-wing Nicaraguan government led by Gen. Anastasio Somoza Debayle falls to left-wing rebels, the Sandinista Front. Somoza flees to the United States.
Four days later, the Sandinistas announce the formation of a revolutionary government in Nicaragua. They publish a guarantee of civil rights, which they promise to codify in a new constitution following the election of a new national assembly.
Caught between conservatives like ex-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Prof. Jeane Kirkpatrick, who insist he must act immediately to prevent the establishment of 'another Cuba' in Latin America, and liberals who argue that he should not use force to determine the politics of a Latin country as his predecessors have so often done, U.S. President Edward M. Kennedy rejects demands from the right that he immediately begin to fund and arm a counterrevolutionary army. Kennedy's decision is angrily denounced by Kissinger and by Prof. Kirkpatrick, who will accuse the President of 'dangerous naivete' in an article in the conservative magazine National Review
Marvin looked at her a little non-plussed. 'So, it's probably just an automatic thing, right? I mean, you send something like that out here, naturally you want it to signal back home if it finds something important.'
'Right,' she said, walking with him over to the food table and lowering her voice so the others wouldn't hear. 'My whole team thinks it's just an automatic signal, triggered by the radio waves we've been hitting the probe with. They figure that if the thing can still send a signal forward after this long, then of course it's got the power to send a signal home, to all its long-dead builders, letting them know it found somebody else.' She made sure the reporter and the cameraman were occupied, which they were ? they were interviewing Monica. 'But, what if the builders aren't long-dead, Marv?'
'Three million years is a long time, Andi.'
She dipped a celery stick into some ranch dressing and munched it. 'That could be a wrong figure.'
'I thought you all agreed that was how long it took to get here from that Wolf place.'
She nodded. 'Based on its current speed and trajectory. But, what if it slowed down once it approached our system? I mean, it's barely going mach 3 right now, and that's awful slow. Our probes are all traveling in excess of 15000 miles an hour. In 3 million years they'll have traveled ten times the distance this thing has. The probe's been in our system for years, and we only just noticed it because it suddenly turned on its radio.'
'Look, Andi,' Marvin said, rubbing her shoulder. 'Even if its only been a few thousand years instead of a few million, it's not like this is gonna be Independence Day, right?' He smiled broadly, and she returned the smile. 'You're a hard-nosed scientist. Remember when we had that argument after we saw War of the Worlds? Alien invasion just doesn't make sense.'
'If you're that advanced, you can just repair the planet you're on,' she said, quoting herself. 'You're right. Sorry, Marv. I'll try to let go of all the shop talk.'
'Well, don't let it go too much,' Marvin said, pointing at the reporter. 'Don't want him to get itching for something else to say about you.'
A widespread consensus of Victorian politicians agreed that a resurgent Britain would not have been possible if the Union had been permitted to defeat the South, creating a world hyper-power in North America. The history of this period is masterfully explored by Amanda Foreman in her classic opus The Trent Incident Leads to War which is available at Uchronia.
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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.