In 1513, at Guinegate in the Pas-de-Calais department of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, a body of French cavalry under Jacques de La Palice managed to survive a surprise attack by English and Imperial troops under Henry VIII and Maximilian I.
Battle of the SpursFending off a ferious attack by English and Burgundian cavalry, the French horse held the field in a famous rearguard action that became known to history as the "Battle of the Spurs". Subsequently, La Palice was able to relieve the besieged town of Therouanne, preventing it falling into the hands of Henry VIII of England. One of the most notable fatalities was the captain of the Kings bodyguard, Sir Henry Bourchier, 2nd Earl of Essex. A veteran of the Italian Wars, he was being groomed for the position of Chief Captain of the King's forces. Another loss was the reputation of Mother Shipton, the English soothsayer who had confidently predicted a famous victory for Henry.
In 1979, on this day the ultra-nationalist Canadian Tory prime minister John George Diefenbaker died in Ottawa, Ontario. He was eighty-three years old.
Death of architect of Diefenbaker PlanHis term of office was shaped by the dramatic events of October 1962; the often unilateral judgements he took, and the heavy-handed way he communicated those decisions to his colleagues and allies. In his diaries, he rejected these charges, claiming that President Kennedy told him bluntly that, "When I tell Canada to do something, I expect her to do it!". What is indisputed is that on the 22nd, his Defense Minister Douglas Harkness advised him that Kennedy had approved an escalation of the NORAD measurement from two (peace) to three (enhanced awareness) on the way to five (war) without consulting Ottawa even though Canada was supposedly an equal partner to America in NORAD.
Two days later, World War Three broke out and the boot was on the other foot. American Cities were devastated by Soviet nuclear missiles. Under the Dieffenbaker Plan, the Canadian Government laid claim to territory possessed by the United States in order to rehabilitate that land "back to a standard of civilization".
This is an installemend from the Cuba 62 - Canada thread.
In 1841, the Bank of the United States had a troubled past. The First Bank had begun in 1791 to aid in the central government of the young nation. Its charter had run out in 1811, and Congress chose not to grant a new one.
Tyler Signs New Charter for Third Bank of the United StatesOverall, the bank had done much good in loans to the growing country and its citizens, but it had also served as a haven for speculators. In 1816, the Second Bank gained a twenty-year charter, and it served much like the first, keeping down inflation caused by the War of 1812.
A new story by Jeff ProvineNational banks, however, were terribly unpopular with the Democrats and, especially, Andrew Jackson. He and many others held that the bank was built for the rich and offered no real aid to the poor, only taking its money in taxation. While in office, Jackson worked to hobble the bank by giving an executive order not to deposit government funds there. John Tyler (pictured), a Whig, agreed with Jackson about banking policies despite the rest of his party being staunch supporters of improving the business environment.
In 1836, the Second Bank's charter expired, and it was not renewed. Despite efforts of Whigs and anti-Jacksonians, they could not override Jackson's veto during his presidency. The Bank became private, surviving only five years. After the Panic of 1837, Henry Clay and his Whig allies attempted a new charter, but it became obvious that Tyler would be against it as he had already vetoed much of the Whigs' agenda.
Swallowing his pride, Clay sat down with the president and the two talked for more than seven hours, finally working out a plan for a new kind of bank. Rather than a single national bank against the many state banks that stood around the country, this bank would serve as a link between the state and federal level, operating to moderate speculation but also supply good loans to growing areas. There was not precedent for it in the Constitution, but it could be enacted as a bill from Congress. At last, Tyler agreed.
The Third Bank of the United States was given a twenty-year charter like the former two and served with success. Scholars noted investment money from the South flow northward and then back again, creating a tie between wealthy Southerners and the growing industrial class in the North. With loans available in the South during bad growing seasons, farmers were able to float their harvests and maintain a booming agricultural environment. As the crisis over slavery loomed, it was decided that the economy was strong enough to put forth an effort to "buy out" the slaves from Southern owners, a bill put forth by Democrat Senator Jefferson Davis of Mississippi and signed by Republican Abraham Lincoln.
With a large available workforce and a system of loans, the South became heavily industrialized through the later half of the nineteenth century. It was estimated that the government made more than its money back through taxation for purchasing freedom for the former slaves. With its titan economy, the United States entered the world scene in the early days of the twentieth century, which it would dominate despite dark days of a southern communist rebellion in the 1930s.
In 1773, on this day the Brotherhood of Liberty carried out its most dramatic pre-Revolutionary War act of defianace against British rule: the Boston Tea Party.
Double Jeopardy Part 6
Boston Tea PartyJust after 7:00 PM that evening Brotherhood members stormed three British merchant ships docked in Boston Harbor and threw hundreds of tea chests overboard in protest of the increasingly heavy taxes American colonists were being forced to pay to the British crown. Most of the participants in the Tea Party would go on to fight in the Revolutionary War, with some of them playing a significant role in the liberation of Boston by the Continental Army in 1775.
Despite British colonial authorities' most diligent efforts to locate and arrest the Tea Party's organizers, no one was ever caught; in fact one Brotherhood partisan actually suceeded in infiltrating the very British Army regiment deployed to apprehend him. In the post-Revolution era the tavern where the Tea Party plan had first been conceived would become a shrine to the struggle for American independence; around 1900 the U.S. Department of the Interior would declare it a national historic landmark.
In the early 21st century the phrase "Tea Party" would come into vogue as a metaphor for the emergence of a political movement sparked by what some Americans considered excessive spending and taxation by their government.
In 2009, on this day President Shimon Peres asked Avigdor Lieberman (pictured) to form a new government following the assassination of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Cometh the hour, cometh the manDuring Netanyahu's first administration Mr Lieberman (born Evet Lvovich Liberman) served as Chief of Staff, gaining the full trust of the now demised Prime Minister. After the 1999 election, Lieberman formed the ultra-right wing Yisrael Beiteinu Party, issuing a number of extreme policy proposals.
"The exchange of territories and populations will help us form a Jewish, homogeneous state. We promised to establish a Palestinian state free of Jews, but in the meanwhile, we ourselves are turning into a bi-national state with a minority of more than 20% Arabs"
- "Who is a Jew?" legislation advocated by the hard-core Orthodox to delegitimatise Reform and Conservative Judaism
- Trade Israeli-Arab populated areas for Jewish areas of Judea and Samaria creating a unified Zionist state. Specifically, Lieberman would hand over the Um El-Fahm area of the southern Galilee, known as the Triangle, to foreign sovereignty. By thus redrawing Israel's borders, he wishes to retain Israel's overwhelming Jewish majority.
- A new security model based upon the "Cyprus" solution. "Before 1974, the Greeks and Turks lived together and there were frictions and bloodshed and terror. After 1974, they constituted all Turks on one part of the island, all Greeks on the other part of the island and there is stability and security".
- More robust Iran policy. Israel is on the "front line of a clash of civilizations between the free world and extremist Islam, [Iran] is the base of an axis of evil which is a problem for all the world. Every week, the president of Iran declares his intention to destroy us".
After the fall of the Labour Government in 2001, Lieberman since served in numerous roles in the government, including as Minister of National Infrastructure, Minister of Transportation, Minister of Strategic Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister, and Foreign Affairs Minister.
As the leader of the incoming Israel Government, it remains only for us to see which of his plans he will actualize to deal with these perceived threat. Moderates fear many of these policy fears will be recast as opportunities with America fighting the H1N1 epidemic following President Obama's death from swine flu after a visit to Mexico in April
In 1604, the British navy began anti-piracy patrols off the coast of Florida, a former Spanish colony in the New World which had been annexed by Britain in the mid-1590s.
In 1951, on this day a young attorney and University of Havana law school graduate named Fidel Castro Ruz was executed for treason after attempting to incite an uprising against then-Cuban president Carlos Prio; Castro, a dedicated Marxist, had been arrested four days earlier after government agents were tipped off to his insurrection plans.
Castro hatched the revolt scheme in response to popular anger over the Cuban government's mishandling of disaster relief efforts in Cienfuegos and Guantanamo following the Bellus-Zyra collision.
On this day in 1920, former White Sox infielder Arnold "Chick" Gandil, by then a utility player with the Cleveland Indians, was fatally injured during a game against the New York Yankees when a fastball by Yankees pitcher Carl Mays slammed into his temple and fractured his skull; Gandil died that evening at Columbia University Hospital.
At the time of the deadly accident Gandil had been pinch-hitting for Cleveland's regular shortstop Ray Chapman; less than a month after Gandil's death, a severely traumatized Chapman committed suicide.
On this day in 1919, the White Sox fell two games behind Detroit in the American League standings after a 9-0 loss to the Red Sox during which Chicago infielders Eddie Collins and Charles 'Swede' Risberg collided with each other while diving for the same ground ball.
|Charles Risberg |
On this day in 1982, Minnesota native Rick Rude and former Stampede Wrestling brawler Allen Coage (a.k.a. Bad News Allen) were introduced on NWA World Championship Wrestling by Jim Cornette as the newest members of the Enforcers; Cornette said he was grooming Rude and Allen to take the NWA United States tag team titles from Barry Windham and Terry Funk.
On this day in 1947, the Roswell city council unanimously approved a resolution declaring July 6th an annual civic holiday to remember those killed in the asteroid strike.
In 1976, the Republican national convention opens in the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri.
The GOP nomination is hotly contested between President Nelson Rockefeller and insurgent candidate Ronald Reagan, who has mounted a powerful challenge to the incumbent. A former governor of California, Reagan is the favorite of the party's right wing, and especially of conservative Southerners and Westerners, who loathe the 'Eastern establishment' represented by the President.
Rockefeller's strong pro-defense and anti-crime stances have done nothing to win them over; they had even tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade Vice President Paul Laxalt to run against him. On Aug. 19, President Nelson Rockefeller secures the Republican nomination. He will be running against former Georgia governor James Earl Carter, nominated at a bitterly divided Democratic convention in mid-July.
On this day in 1969, Jay Sebring committed his fourth murder, using a homemade bomb to kill immigrant grocer's wife Rosemary LaBianca.
At a press conference outside his office, then-Los Angeles County prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi announced that the LAPD was offering a USD 1,000,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator of the murders of Mrs. LaBianca, Sharon Tate, Roman Polanski, and Charles Manson.
In 1948, the United States of America, after a national referendum on the subject, was renamed the Soviet States of America, to reflect the deep connection of the nation with its workers and people. The move was denounced by Socialists and other right-wingers as part of the Communist agenda to turn America into a one-party state, but those reactionaries were ignored in the general celebrations.
In 1913, Menachem Begin was born in BrestLitovsk, Russia. When the Greater Zionist Resistance took BrestLitovsk in 1925, Begin joined the movement and proved an able leader. In 1935, when Astrid Pflaume was assassinated, he assumed leadership of the GZR.
In 1914, a protest of Flemish civilians against Wallon officers in the Belgium army results in violence between civilians and the military police in Flemish cities and Brussels.
In 2003, the former British Viceroy of Uganda, Idi Amin, has died in exile in London. He had been in a coma at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital since 18 July. A hospital spokesman said he died of multiple organ failure. There is some dispute over his actual age, but most sources say he was 80 years old. Idi Amin presided over one of the most difficult periods in African history. An illustrious career in the King's African Rifles during the Mau-Mau crisis enabled Amin to advanced to the rank of Major General and then Commander of the Ugandan Army. Upon his appointment as the first indigenous Viceroy in any British Colony, Amin ruled Uganda from 1971 until 1979, when he was forced from power by Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exiles. Up to 400,000 people are believed to have been killed under his rule. Many more were imprisoned and tortured. Amin was initially welcomed both within Uganda and by the international community. In an internal memo, the British Foreign Office described him as 'a splendid type and a good football player'.
In 1977, Elvis Presley faked his death at his Graceland mansion in Tennessee. Disappearing for a few months, he got himself back in shape, had a little plastic surgery, and reappeared in public as Reverend Jesse Garon. He spread the word of the gospel all across the south, drawing money from a secret account he had set up years before for this eventuality.
In 1948, Herman Ruth, greatest player in the history of Town Ball, died in New York. Ruth left behind a legacy of home runs that wouldn't be broken for decades. In his own lifetime, was such an impact on the game that other Town Ballers in his own time couldn't even approach the half-way mark of his home runs.
In 1892, as the Bandai group is about to rebuild the mantle around it, the Hawaiian island chain erupts in a series of volcanic explosions and earthquakes. Ships quickly evacuate most of the residents, but thousands die before the Bandai group can finish its work.
In 718 AD, after a combined land and sea effort, Arabs of the Umayyad Caliphate led by Maslamah ibn Abd al-Malik finally seized Constantinople, the capital city of the Byzantine Empire after a year-long siege. The successful campaign marked the culmination of twenty years of attacks and gradual Arab encroachment on the Byzantine borderlands.
Umayyads capture ConstantinopleAs a result, the relentless Arab advance would continue northwards imperilling the security of Christian Western Europe from two separate fronts, Spain and now also Asia Minor. This second regional threat was fully recognized by the Bulgars who willingly sent forces to the aid of the Byzantines in the knowledge that defeat would invite conquest of their own lands. But unfortunately Emperor Anastasius II had not taken seriously the signs of a major impending Arab invasion in 715. With only five months to prepare, the imperial collapse was exacerbated by internal division caused by the ongoing civil strife between Byzantine general Leo the Isaurian and Emperor Theodosius "the Unwilling".
In 1769, on this day Napoleon was born in his family's ancestral home Casa Buonaparte on the island of Corsica which had been ceded to France by the Republic of Genoa only twelve months before. This article is part of the Glorious 45 thread.
Glorious Forty-Five #3
By Ed, Scott Palter & Jared MyersHe was admitted to the elite École Militaire in Paris becoming the first Corsican ever to graduate from that prestigous College. But as a barely noble Corsican, his prodigous talents were severly restricted by a firm ceiling on his French promotion prospects and in despair of ever seeing General he signed on with John Company.
That "brave authority" in India was more willing (or desperate) to recruit non-indigenous officers. He scored another first, eventually becoming the first ever non-British General.
Back in France, the Bourbons had made even worse mistakes than losing the talents of Napoelon, they had lived to desperately regret their support of the House of Stuart and their equally unwise encouragement of Prussia. Because King Charles III of England and Frederick of Prussia now towered over the other rulers of Europe like colossi, and war (and defeat) was almost inevitable.
With the unashamed expediency that only the desperate can muster, French representatives were secretly dispatched to India, with the hope that Napoleon would could be tempted to return to lead a Grand Armée that would stamp French authority and re-establish Bourbon hegemony over the continent. Whether the Bourbons were foolishly naive to think that Napoleon's ambitions would stop at General was another matter.
He returned to France by fast frigate just in time to save Paris from a Hapsburgh army under the Archduke Charles. Having deservedly earned the sobriquet of "Bourbon Saviour" he was offered the hand in marriage of an unknown daughter (an illegitimate grand daughter of Louis XV)if he would save the realm. To be continued in Part 4, suggestions very welcome!
In 1973, the USAF was authorised by Presidential authority to continue the bombing of Vietnam after the expiration of the deadline laid down by the US Congress because the Case-Church Amendment had been vetoed by Richard Nixon.
By Ed, Scott Palter and Amnah KhanSoon enough a fresh NVA Offensive demonstrated that Nixon was correct in sustaining the pressure of the bombing campaign because the policy of Vietnamisation was insufficient in itself for the South to survive. Instead he sent supplies under his authority as Commander-in-Chief and ordered new B-52 strikes.
Of course this truth had been self-evident from the moment that Le Duc Tho the North Vietnam Negotiator of the Paris Peace Accords had declined the award of a Nobel Peace Prize, saying that a true peace did not yet exist. Ironically, within months Nixon himself would himself be struggling to survive.
Whether Nixon had planned it or not the Watergate Crisis was profoundly affected by the resumption of hostilies in Vietnam. An issue from legalistic squabbles about abuse of power had been transformed into full blown constitutional crisis about the war powers of the Presidency. As a result, it was harder to get Republican votes for impeachment, leaving Nixon in office as the House kept impeaching him over and over 1975-6 while the Senate acquitted him by a few votes.
In 1968, on this day the Great Powers were brought to the brink of nuclear warfare by their careless meddling in the Nazi succession crisis which was precipitated by the final decline and long-expected demise of Führer Hermann Göring.
By Ed, Scott Palter and Jeff ProvineA veteran ace fighter pilot who served with distinction in the wing once led by "The Red Baron" Manfred von Richthofen" he was regarded as the Nazi the traditional elites could best work with after Hitler was accidentally given a "hot" dose in late 1938. But ironically, in those difficult days after Munich, he was the decorated war hero who led Germany away from the path of conflict.
Demobilization was followed by a "Cold peace" but then the USSR got the bomb and everything changed. Fortunately Stalin's premature death in 1953 prevented the Soviet leader from wielding the nuclear club.
"I am determined to go down in German history as a great man" ~ GöringThe infiltration of the Soviet bomb project forced the United States, Britain and France into a collaborative effort so that by 1960 a fragile global peace was only maintained by their shared acceptance of the doctrine of mutual assured destruction.
By the late sixties, the successors to the ageing Führer were jockeying for position. Premier Nikita Khruschev was acutely concerned that a pro-Western Führer would create a capitalist encirclement. Refusing to wait for the inevitable, he decided to push his own preferred candidate, warning Western leaders "We will bury you".
In 2010, on this day Matt Dattilo wrote ~ August 6th and 9th, 2010 marked the 65th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. These two dates remain the only times nuclear weapons have been used for their original intended purpose: to destroy population centers along with an enemy's ability and desire to wage war.
What Price Victory?For seven decades, the world has debated the wisdom and morality of the use of these weapons. To better understand the reasoning at work in the minds of Allied leaders and war planners, it is important to look at the events leading up to these August, 1945, dates and consider one of the greatest "what if" scenarios of not just the Second World War, but of all modern military history.
By the summer of 1945, the Empire of Japan had ceased being a threat in most areas of the Pacific theater of war. Okinawa, only 340 miles from mainland Japan, was secured by U.S. Army and Marine Corps divisions by the end of June. While significant Japanese ground forces remained active in China and Korea, the Allies had destroyed the Imperial Navy over the course of the previous three-and-a-half years, leaving her coastal cities open to shelling from the battleships and heavy cruisers of the U.S. and British Pacific fleets. The Japanese air force, while numerically still a presence, was all but grounded due to a lack of fuel. Every major city in the Japanese home islands had been at least partially leveled by daily U.S. Army Air Corps bombing raids. The Japanese merchant fleet, once one of the world's largest, had ceased to exist. The island nation was cut off.
An essay by Matt DattiloYet, the remains of the once-vast empire fought on. There was a strong belief among the military leaders of Japan that a successful invasion of the four main Japanese home islands would mean the end of the nation as a distinct cultural entity. The hardliners believed that surrender was not an option and that an Allied invasion required the entire population to fight to the point of extinction. There were voices of moderation in Tokyo, one of them being the Emperor of Japan. However, tradition demanded that he remain officially silent. He had made his desire for a negotiated peace clear, however, in private discussions with his ministers. The Emperor wanted the Soviet Union (who was not yet at war with Japan) to act as a mediator between the warring powers in the Pacific. However, he also wanted some sort of concrete victory in order to gain leverage during the negotiations. By the end of June, 1945, it was clear there would be no great Japanese victory on Okinawa or anywhere else. Furthermore, the Soviets were not interested in brokering a deal of any sort: Josef Stalin had his own plans.
Meanwhile, the war in Europe ended in early May, 1945. While the occupation of Germany and Eastern Europe and post-war actions of the Allies had been discussed on multiple occasions since early in the conflict, there were still many details which needed to be sorted out. Beginning on July 17th, leaders of the United States, United Kingdom and the Soviet Union met in Potsdam, Germany to discuss both the issues of occupation and the war in the Pacific. President Harry Truman, who had come to the office after the death of President Roosevelt in April, arrived at the conference with monumental but secret knowledge: an atomic bomb had been successfully tested in the New Mexico desert just one day before the beginning of the conference. Three years of super-secret work and billions of dollars had resulted in the construction of the most deadly weapon in human history. Yet only a handful of people not working directly on the device knew that it even existed. Truman himself was not made aware of the bomb's pending completion until after Roosevelt's death in April, 1945, despite the fact he had been the Vice-President.
Truman met with Prime Minister Winston Churchill on July 21st, at which time the two agreed on the use of the weapon. Soviet Premier Stalin was not told until July 25th, a delay which made him privately angry but only because his advice on the weapon's use was not sought as Churchill's had been. In truth, Stalin knew about the new weapon from information provided by Soviet spies working inside the Manhattan Project.
On July 26th, Truman, Churchill and President of the Republic of China Chiang Kai-Shek issued the Potsdam Declaration, a statement which called for the surrender of Japan. It was an ultimatum; as the Declaration stated, the alternative for Japan was "prompt and utter destruction". The Declaration was transmitted via radio, leaflets were dropped over the home islands, and it was conveyed diplomatically by Swiss intermediaries. Newspapers in Japan were the first to announce that the government rejected the Declaration, although it is doubtful they had any official word on which to rely. On July 28th, Japanese Premier Kantaro Suzuki announced that since the Declaration was just a rehash of earlier Allied demands, it would be met with mokusatsu, a Japanese word that roughly translates to the phrase "to treat with silent contempt". Thus, the Declaration was not so much rejected as it was ignored.
Much has been made of the Premier's words by historians, with some suggesting that his failure to issue an outright rejection indicated a willingness to negotiate. However, there is no strong evidence to support this. The faction in Tokyo that was willing to negotiate an end to the war wanted to deal from a position of strength. Even the Emperor, portrayed for more than seven decades as a man who wanted nothing more than peace, believed that strong resistance to an Allied invasion of the Japanese home islands would open the door for more balanced negotiations.
Even the Emperor, subject to deification by the Japanese population, could not see the events unfolding across the Pacific. When news reached Washington that Tokyo was unwilling to surrender, President Truman took the decision to use one or more nuclear weapons against Japanese cities. On August 6th, 1945, the weapon known as Little Boy was detonated over the city of Hiroshima. On August 9th, the weapon called Fat Man was detonated over Nagasaki. The immediate effects of the blast and short-term intense radiation exposure killed more than a quarter-million people over the next four months. The plan called for the continued use of nuclear weapons against one city after another until the Japanese surrendered. However, on August 15th, the Japanese government announced its surrender. Three weeks later, on board the battleship USS Missouri, the instrument of surrender was signed by representatives of the Japanese government and the Allied powers. The most destructive war in the history of mankind was over.
But what if the two atomic bombs had not been used? What if technical difficulties had delayed the production of a working nuclear weapon for several more years? Or, what if President Truman had come to consider nuclear weapons morally reprehensible and forbade their use against any target? While the latter scenario is unlikely (Truman said repeatedly that he did not hesitate in his decision to use the bombs against Japanese targets nor did he regret it later), the former could very well have taken place.
For the millions of Americans and their allies in uniform in 1945, an invasion of Japan seemed the next logical step in a bid to bring the Second World War to an end. What few of them knew, and what many people still do not know today, is that planning for the invasion of Japan was well underway. In fact, the primary plan for the invasion had been circulated in early May, 1945. It took into account the fanatical resistance the Japanese military had put up in the face of invasion of even the smallest bit of land in the Pacific. It was this plan which President Truman and Prime Minister Winston Churchill had in their minds as they discussed the use of nuclear weapons. As you will see, there were no easy alternatives.
The planned invasion of Japan was known as Operation Downfall. It was broken down into two major operations: Operation Olympic, the invasion of Kyushu, the southernmost of the main Japanese islands. The operation would begin on X-Day, Thursday, November 1st, 1945. Operation Coronet was the planned invasion of the Kanto Plain south of Tokyo. Y-Day was set at March 1st, 1946. The southern third of Kyushu would be used as the staging area for this invasion.
The resources being set aside for these two operations were unlike anything seen up to that point in the war. The landing force for Olympic would consist of 331,000 American soldiers and 99,000 Marines. Coronet could consist of roughly the same number of Americans, many of them belonging to divisions that had fought in Europe. Three divisions of U.S. Marines would participate in each landing; that was the entire Marine Corps as it existed in 1945. These numbers do not include the tens of thousands of British, Australian and New Zealand troops which would have taken part in Operation Coronet.
In the air would have been the Fifth, Seventh and Thirteenth Air Forces of the U.S. Army Air Corps, along with the Eighth Air Force just transferred from Europe. With them would have been the Tiger Force of the RAF Bomber Command and the Australian First Tactical Air Force. The waters surrounding the invasion beaches would have contained the largest naval armada ever assembled. The U.S. Third, Fifth and Seventh fleets, comprised of 56 aircraft carriers, 20 battleships, over 50 cruisers and hundreds of smaller warships would have been joined by the entire British Pacific Fleet made up of 6 fleet carriers and their escorts. This represented 90% of the world's naval ships as of 1945, all concentrated in one area. And this tally only includes the warships. Thousands of cargo ships and troop transports would have been on the scene as well, making the Allied of invasion of Normandy in June, 1944 look small in comparison. The invasion beaches had already been given names such as Cadillac, Zephyr, Mercury, and Packard, all automobile manufacturers.
The Japanese Army had large numbers of troops in Korea and China in 1945, all of them essentially trapped in position with no hope of resupply or rescue. There were, however, hundreds of thousands of soldiers stationed in the Japanese home islands. Japanese defense planners, like the Allied war planners, understood the importance of using Kyushu as a base of operations. Thus, they had stationed 600,000 regular army troops there. There were also 5,000 aircraft assigned for use as kamikaze aircraft, the suicide planes that had caused so much trouble for the U.S. Navy during the last year of the war. And although post-war estimates vary, there were as many as 12,000 aircraft set aside in reserve status, although the airworthiness of these planes is questionable.
The Tokyo Plain, the landing area for Operation Coronet, was defended by 560,000 troops. This did not include the vast number of civilians that were being armed with everything from modern rifles to wooden spears. The Japanese Navy, such as it was, still had 350 midget submarines ready for use, 1000 manned torpedoes and over 800 suicide boats. Like the aircraft designated for kamikaze work, the seaworthiness of some of these naval vessels is in doubt. However, the intent was to use them while the Allied invasion fleet was still far out at sea. While the powers in Tokyo knew that they could not ultimately repel an invasion, it was hoped that the operation could be made so costly that Allied leaders would be willing to negotiate a ceasefire, giving the Japanese the ability to negotiate from a position of strength.
For two generations, historians have debated the number of casualties (both dead and wounded) that would have resulted from an Allied invasion of the Japanese home islands. Even military leaders of the day could not agree on a casualty projection. The last study done during the war, created by Secretary of War Henry Stimson's staff, estimated that conquering Japan would cost 1.7 to 4 million American casualties, including 400,000 to 800,000 fatalities, and five to ten million Japanese fatalities. The total number of American deaths, on the low end, would have been more than the total number of American war dead experienced to that point in the war, both in the Pacific and Europe. Keep in mind that while American and Allied forces fought on Kyushu and the Tokyo Plain, the Army Air Corps would have continued to fire bomb Japanese cities, thus increasing the total civilian death toll.
Nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals were manufactured in anticipation of the casualties resulting from the invasion of Japan. To the present date, all the American military casualties of the sixty years following the end of the Second World War-including the Korean and Vietnam war-have not exceeded that number. There are still so many in surplus that combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan are able to keep Purple Hearts on-hand for immediate award to wounded soldiers on the field.
There would also have been political consequences to consider. In early August, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan and invaded parts of Manchuria and the Kuril Islands, the northern part of the Japanese island chain. It is very likely that Josef Stalin would have ordered his forces to continue moving down the island chain as the rest of the Allied forces moved up the chain from the south. It is very possible that Japan would today be two nations, much like North and South Korea. The effect that would have had on the world, both economically and culturally, can not be measured.
The debate over the use of nuclear weapons against Japan in August, 1945, will continue as long as those events are remembered by human beings. One can only hope that future events will never be so horrendous as to cause Hiroshima and Nagasaki to fade from out collective memory.
In 1935, Will Rogers was invited along on a trip to determine an air route through the Alaskan Territory in an experimental plane by his friend, one-eyed pilot Wiley Post. Will, always up for a new opportunity, agreed and decided to cover the trip in his weekly New York Times column.
Will Rogers Narrowly Survives Crash Outside of the town of Barrow, while taking off from a lagoon, the engine failed, and the plane crashed in shallow water. Wiley Post was killed instantly, but Rogers survived with internal bleeding and head wounds. Locals managed to rescue him and nurse him back to health.
A new story by Jeff ProvineThe crash would prove a life-changing moment for Will. His had been a life full of changing moments already: his beloved mother had died when he was 11, he had escaped from military school, worked as a cowboy in Oklahoma and a gaucho in Argentina, joined Texas Jack's Wild West Circus in South Africa, performed rope tricks and, later, comedy in Vaudeville, made dozens of films in Hollywood as one of the highest paid actors through the 1920s, and wrote for numerous newspapers and magazines as well as performing on radio and lecture tours. Movie camera technology, travel, and aviation also fascinated him, and he was delighted to go with Post on the journey.
When he was well enough to travel, he returned to his California ranch amid great applause for his recovery. Will had given much thought to his life and decided that he needed to give more back to his fellow man. Recovery through the Great Depression was slow, and Will worked as hard as he could to bolster morale, stimulate industry, and serve as guest speaker for innumerable fundraisers. When World War II broke out, Will was a staunch supporter of neutrality until the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when he joined the war effort, leading many entertainers to do the same. When asked about his change, Will said, "Back in the schoolyard there was a valuable code: when a bully hits you, you hit him back until you knock him down so hard he'll never hit you again. Then you offer a hand to help him up. I see no reason this can't apply to international relations as well".
Will worked the Home Front with his columns of support and several films, including 1942's Real Men, for which he beat out Walter Huston for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. As the war progressed, Will's wife became ill with cancer, and he retreated from the public life to care for her. She passed away in 1944, three years after writing her book Will Rogers: His Wife's Story. For days after her death, Will was nearly inconsolable with grief, but gradually he returned to the public, where he seemed to find new life.
In July, Will attended the Democratic National Convention in Chicago as a special guest. While there, he became aware that many were hoping he would be voted in as Vice-President since Henry Wallace had irked too many with his overly leftist ideals. Will had only minor political experience, being a goodwill ambassador to Mexico and mayor of Beverly Hills, but he had learned much from his efforts with the Great Depression and the war. At FDR's request, he put his hat in and was easily confirmed. The election in November was a runaway.
Will settled into Washington and continued much of the same work he had already done, and he joked, "At least I'm getting a paycheck. Not much of one, but it covers the taxes on it".
Tragedy struck in 1945 when Roosevelt died in Warm Springs, Georgia, but the nation was proud to have Rogers sworn in as president. Relying on many of the same wartime aides, Rogers kept the policies of FDR running smoothly and hoped the end of war was in sight. One month later, Germany surrendered, and America under Will turned their attention to the Pacific. In July, the successful testing of the atomic bomb at Trinity gave Will a weapon to end the war, but he was hesitant to use it. Later, it was said that he commented, "Every time somebody gets a bigger gun, somebody's got to get a bigger one. Bigger and bigger, where will it all end?"
In August, after hearing reports of the estimated one million American casualties upon an invasion of Japan, Will gave the order to drop the bomb. While the war came to an end, Will was never the same person. Aides complained that he refused to listen to reports about radioactive fallout. When told of the cancer rates among survivors, it was said that Will turned ghastly pale and did not speak for over three minutes. Most famously, while the rest of America applauded the bomb, when asked to comment on it, Will said coldly, "There's nothing funny about that".
In 1948, Will refused to run for reelection, despite Democratic Party officials literally begging him. Senator Harry S Truman was narrowly defeated by Republican Thomas Dewey, which began a twelve-year post-war Republican period that lasted until the Kennedy administration. Will, meanwhile, retired to California, writing and receiving visitors, but rarely leaving his ranch. He died in July of 1958 and given a national day of mourning as America's Native Son.
In 1973, the continued bombing of North Vietnam after the cut-off deadline set by the Case-Church Amendment created an escalation in the crisis between the legislative and executive functions in the US Government that would finally be resolved by the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.
Impeached even without WatergateThe critical issue was the divergent assessments of the conflict that had emerged from the Eastertide Offensive. Because prior to March 30th, 1972 Nixon had been publically committed to American withdrawal from Vietnam. Of course the American public had long since detected a disparity between Nixons words and actions, particularly after the Laos "incursion", an escalation which enraged the anti-war movement and provoked the Kent State University demonstration. And the authority of the Presidency had been challenged by the Congressional repeal of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolutions which had served as the basis for the intervention in 1965.
Nixon continued to emphasise the success of Vietnamisation throughout the LAM SON 719 and Eastertide Campaigns. And whilst the ARVN Forces had demonstrated their ability to defend South Vietnam, it was self-evident that US naval and air power was required to prevent the Soviets and Chinese resupplying the NVA during such an invasion.
The Eastertide Campaign had been a disaster for the NVA, and Nixon had pressed the advantage with agreement on the Paris Peace Accords ahead of his re-election. By signing that document, the US was committed to dismantling all of its bases in South Vietnam. The US Congress banked that committment by reintroducing the Case-Church Amendment (which had previously been defeated), demanding an end to American military involvement in Southeast Asia with no funds available after August 15th, 1973. Planning a slower withdrawal of forces, Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger lobbied frantically to have the deadline extended. A decision point was now reached, whether to confront the US Congress, or abandon South Vietnam to its fate.
In 1947, under the auspices of a long-awaited Act of Parliament, His Excellency Sir Mohandas K. Gandhi was appointed Viceregal representative by King George VI, serving as the first indigenous Governor General of the newly constituted Dominion of India until his assassination just six months later.
No Amritsar MassacreBorn in 1869 at Porbandar, a coastal town on the Kathiawar peninsula in the western part of the Indian subcontinent, Gandhi was a lawyer by profession.
Educated at University College London, he was admitted to the British bar before returning to India in 1891 to establish a law practice in Mumbai.
During the Great War he served as an ambulance driver in the British Army. "It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi in a Saville Row suit striding up the steps of the Viceregal palace to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor" ~ Winston ChurchillOne year after the armistice, he was brought to the attention of the British authorities when he represented the Jallianwala Bagh prisoners after a tense, but peaceful pro-Indian Independence Movement protest in Amritsar.
Gandhi's eloquent adovacy of non-violence at the trial positioned him as a trusted partner for peace. Thrust onto the stage of Anglo-Indian politics, he left the legal profession to lead multi-party talks that eventually lead to Dominion Status after the Second World War.
The imperialist Winston Churchill was not the only person less than pleased at the appointment of a Saville Row suit wearing Anglo-Indian lawyer. On 30 January 1948, Gandhi was shot dead while he was walking to a platform to deliver a political speech. The assassin, Nathuram Godse, was a Hindu nationalist with links to the extremist Hindu Mahasabha, who held Gandhi responsible for accepting a settlement with the British Government that was less than outright independence.
In 1988, the Republican national convention opens in New Orleans, at the Louisiana Superdome. New York's Rep. Jack Kemp (pictured) has emerged as the clear front-runner for the presidential nomination, but supporters of several other candidates, especially the Rev. Pat Robertson, are demanding concessions regarding the party's platform.
Family Values by Eric LippsThree days later, as expected, Jack Kemp receives his party's presidential nomination. In his acceptance speech, he announces he has asked Senator Phil Gramm to be his running mate. The choice of Gramm is widely seen as a compromise with the forces of insurgent candidate Rev. Pat Robertson, whose large evangelical following is considered crucial to Republican victory in the fall; Gramm is considered "acceptable" to both mainstream conservative Republicans and the so-called Christian Right, whose members tend to distrust Kemp.
The GOP platform this year shows the influence of the Reverend Robertson and his followers: it pledges renewed fealty to "family values", opposition to abortion, and support for a constitutional amendment to "legalize prayer in the schools of this nation". In addition, outspoken Georgia Rep. Newt Gingrich, influenced by Dr. Edward Teller, has pushed through a plank demanding of a massive increase in funding for the Office of Strategic Defense to develop technologies which will "render nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete".
In 1714, after one particularly violent episode when some leading Moostroopers called in the guard to arrest some of their opponents, many leading Whigs called upon the British hero John Churchill to return and impose order. He did.
The First Churchill by PJYChurchill was made Lord Protector on August 15th 1714 and he proceeded to have many leading Mosstroopers and Roundheads arrested, resulting in a Whig dominance of Parliament.
Churchill imposed a new Constitution on the Commonwealth, stating that "Without a head, a man will die. The Government of a nation is not dissimilar. By their very nature, men need leadership. Autocratic Kingship has proven itself to be the father of corruption, brutality and other such criminal acts. No single man should hold such power as that granted to a King. Men are restless when led by those who are not of noble birth. It is the duty of the aristocracy to lead the nation for the benefit of all men. Religion is a matter of personal conscience and insofar that it does not create dissent in the nation, a man should be free to pray as he chooses".
"Without a head, a man will die".As such, Churchill set the course of the British political system. Two men would rule with equal powers; the Lord President and the Chancellor. Ideally, they would keep a check on one another, thus preventing missuse of power. A Lord Protector could be elected in times of great emergency, but he had to step down once the crisis was over. Churchill forced through the Act of Union in 1718, uniting England, Scotland and Ireland all under the central authority of the Parliament in London.
Churchill died in 1722.
In 1945, the nuclear bomb "Big Boy" was dropped on the City of Tokyo killing 200,000 human beings and carrying out the threats of two of the principal Allied War Leaders.Rain of Ruin
"What kind of a people do they think we are?
Is it possible they do not realize that we shall never cease to persevere against them until they have been taught a lesson which they and the world will never forget?" ~ Winston Churchill speaking after Pearl Harbour
"If they do not not accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the likes of which has never been seen on this earth". ~ President Truman after the Hiroshima bombing.
And of course the real threat to the third principal Allied War Leader. A shot across Stalin's bows at the beginning of the Cold War.
In 1769, on this day Napoleon Buonaparte was born in Ajaccio on the island of Corsica territory at that time possessed by the Republic of Genoa.
Italian EmperorHis father Carlo was Corsica's representative to the court of Louis XVI of France. He rose from somewhat humble beginnings to unite Italy under him as Napoleon I, conquerng virtually all of continental Europe.
In 1812 he made his worst military decision, invading Russia. Although his campaign in the summer went well, by the time he reached Moscow it was the dead of winter, and his troops froze in the Russian snow. He was forced to withdraw back to Rome and lost many good men along the way. Two years later, allied European forces marched into Rome and ended his thirteen-year reign.
His old home had many sympathizers, and he was soon able to escape and attempt to regain his throne, but the allied northern Europeans forces soon captured him again and sent him back to his exile in Corsica. Broken and bitter, he died alone on the Mediterranean island.
On this day in 1983, Rick Steamboat's first reign as NWA world heavyweight champion came to a stunning and highly controversial end when his ex-Four Horsemen teammate Barry Windham (picture), with an assist from Windham's new manager Jim Cornette, beat Steamboat in the main event of that week's WCW to capture the title.
For Cornette, who had recruited Windham a few months earlier as part of a broader plan to build a new stable to take the place of the defunct Enforcers, Windham's victory and the surrounding controversy were a sign that his star was on the rise again in the NWA after being in decline for months.
Joining Windham in Cornette's new ensemble were the tag team of Dennis Condrey and Bobby Eaton, collectively known as the Midnight Express; in their first incarnation the Express would win the NWA U.S. tag team titles but repeatedly fall short in their quest for the world tag team belts. When Cornette replaced Condrey with Florida native and Ric Flair protege Stan Lane, the Express would become one of the NWA's most dominant tag combos.
On this day in 1968, the former Zossen headquarters of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany (GSFG) was taken over by the German government for use as the campus of a new Bundeswehr officers' training school.
On this day in 1944, the citizens of Paris celebrated the French capital's liberation by Allied troops after four years of Nazi occupation; General Dietrich von Choltitz, commandant for all German forces in Paris, surrendered to American and British advance units at 12 noon in disregard of prior instructions by Berlin to demolish the French city. An enraged Heinrich Himmler accused Cholitz of "desecrating our Fuhrer's memory just as surely as if vandals had taken hammers and smashed his tombstone to pieces".
In 1864, Arthur MacArthur enters the Howe Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Howe, founded in 1816 and named after Admiral Richard Howe, who had commanded the successful invasion of New York in mid-1776 during the abortive American bid for independence, has become the number-one naval training facility in North America.
MacArthur's decision to join the navy has been a point of contention between him and his father, also named Arthur MacArthur. The elder MacArthur, serving as attache to the royal governor of the Crown Colony of Cheyenne, had wanted his son to enter the army instead, believing that to be a better career move for a son he hopes will follow him into civil service.
On this day in 1971, Robert Neville left his California laboratory on an urgent top secret mission to deliver samples of his successful experimental vaccine against the China virus to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
Halfway to his destination, the plane he was flying in crashed after its pilot and co-pilot simultaneously manifested symptoms of the virus; remarkably, Neville survived the crash with barely a scratch, and thanks to self-injection of a sample of the vaccine he was immunized against the virus.
On this day in 1981, Tommy Rich defeated Terry Funk in the main event of the inaugural Great American Bash to retain the NWA world heavyweight title; Rich, displaying a degree of ferocity that astonished even the most jaded observers of the ring scene, mauled Funk so severely in the 45-minute-long bout that the Texan had to be carried out of the ring on a stretcher when the match ended.
On this day in 1953, Georgi Malenkov officially notified the Chinese embassy in Moscow that he was granting Chou En-Lai's request for assistance in restoring order in mainland China. Since the assassination of Mao Zedong two weeks earlier the People's Republic had been teetering on the brink of civil war, a situation that threatened the USSR's Siberian border.
In 1769, Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio, Corsica. He rose from somewhat humble beginnings to unite Italy under him as Napoleon I. He conquered virtually all of continental Europe during his 13-year reign of the Italian Empire.
In 1947, India finally throws off British rule. Their joy at independence is marred, though, as fractions develop between the Hindu and Muslim alliance, and soon there is a religious civil war raging across the huge nation. The new Prime Minister, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a Muslim who had been placed at the head of the government in the hope that this would stave off religious division, was overthrown by Hindu nationalists and murdered in the streets of New Delhi.
In 1935, humorist Will Rogers wraps up filming on Okie Corral, a comedy he had been cast in just a couple of months before. He was disappointed at the film's mediocre reception, because he had given up a trip to Alaska to star in it.
In 1969, the Woodstock Music & Art Fair began in Bethel, New York. The festival had planned for thousands to show up and had 24 big-name rock acts lined up to perform, including The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Creedence Clearwater Revival. When traffic problems caused thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands, to turn away, the planned 3 days of the festival became 2, and it closed to a nearly empty field.
In 1961, West German workers began construction of the Berlin Wall, shutting off the fascist west from the enlightened socialism of the east. The Soviet States of America immediately denounced the construction, calling for the West to 'remain open to trade, to ideas, to the world outside their narrow ideology.'
In 1958, Buddy Holly and Maria Elena Santiago were married in Lubbock, Texas. The new Mr. and Mrs. Holly apparently had true love ways, because they were together until Buddy's death in 2001, and had 4 children and 7 grandchildren.
In 1944, Linda Ellerbee, first woman to anchor the CBS Nightly News, was born in Bryan, Texas. When Walter Cronkite decided to retire, he wanted to pick a successor from Texas, and both Dan Rather and Linda Ellerbee fit the bill. Cronkite took the bolder course, and CBS backed his decision. Ellerbee still anchors CBS' news program, and is now the most trusted woman in America.
In 1892, with hundreds of thousands of tons of rock in tow, the Bandai vulcanologists returned to an earth that was being wracked by eruptions and quakes. With all speed, the Mlosh and human scientists began rebuilding the earth's mantle with the rock they had carried from the asteroid belt. The world watched in tense anticipation.
In 1057, Macbeth, King of the Scots, proves that you can't use semantics against prophesy; he defeats Malcolm Canmore in battle, proving no man born of woman could defeat him, securing his throne for the next 20 years.
In 1945, on this day the unconditional surrender of Japan was prevented by the actions of the officers of the 2nd Brigade Imperial Guard and the Staff Office of the Ministry of War who occupied the Tokyo Imperial Palace and placed the Emperor under house arrest.
The Kyūjū IncidentA meeting of the Supreme Council for the Direction of War had agreed to accept the Potsdam Declaration. The act of unconditionally surrender was imminent; all that was required was the instrument: the writing of an official communiqué to be sent by the Japanese envoy of Switzerland and Sweden.
But after the proceedings, some Army officers for protection of the sovereign decided that a coup d'état was needed instead. They managed to persuade the Eastern District Army and the high command of the Imperial Japanese Army to move forward with the action and in the event, the communiqué was written but never sent.
With the Emperor in protective custody, a rather different set of words were drafted which would form the basis of an alternate speech declaring Japan's intention to fight down to the last man, woman and child. That is, unless a counter-coup could be pulled off to prevent the broadcast from ever happening..
In 1385, this day marked the de facto Castilian conquest of Portugal because the army of King John I and his Aragonese, Italian and French allies emerged victorious from the decisive Battle of Aljubarrota fought at São Jorge place, between the towns of Leiria and Alcobaça.
Battle of AljubarrotaHoping to crush Castilian ambitions to the throne, Portuguese forces under the command of General Nuno Álvares Pereira had, with the support of English allies, forced a decision in the 1383-5 Crisis. But a French allied heavy cavalry charge in full strength disrupted order in enemy lines which were then devasted by the advance of the enormous main line of Castilian forces.
The strategy had backfired spectacularly for King John I of Portugal (pictured) who had failed to build upon his status as the Master of the Order of Aziz. Instead of a Royal House of Aziz ruling an independent Portugal, the interregnum ended with the Castilian House of Trastámara seizing the Portuguese throne. And King John I of Castile ruled for five glorious years before his death in 1390.
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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.