In 1836, on this day forty-year old James ("Jim") Bowie of Logan County, Kentucky was duly elected as the first president of the Republic of Texas.
Jim Bowie elected President of TexasA legend even before the Texas Revolution, his unconventional personal history had been used by his political opponents as a weapon against his eligibility for high office. In particular, the controversy over the 1827 killing of the sheriff of Rapides Parish with sharp knife in the Sandbar Fight. However, investigations by the State of Louisiana revealed that Bowie was uninvolved.
He was also ininvolved in the relief of the Alamo, being confined to a cot while William Travis, Davy Crockett and Sam Houston died during the fierce fighting. Fortunately, he made a recovery to enter a new phase of his career in which he emerged as a thoughtful political figure. He surpassed expectations, proving to his doubters that he was a better living leader than dead hero.
In 2011, the remake of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was released at the Venice Film Festival. Gary Oldman starred as George Smiley the fictionalized "Circus" (British Intelligence) Agent who in 1963 flushed out Prime Minister John Profumo the "mole" planted by the Russians at the heart of the British Government.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy premieres By Ed, Stan Brin & Chris OakleyDescribed as a spy with "the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin" Smiley was charged with investigating leaks of high grade intelligence material to the Soviet Union. During those investigations, he accidentally discovered a grave personal weakness in the private life of the Prime Minister.
A senior naval attache at the Soviet embassy in London Yevgeny "Eugene" Ivanov had recently been turned by the Circus. Incredibly, he was engaged in a two-year long affair with a London call girl called Christine Keeler who recently met Profumo at a house party at Cliveden, the Buckinghamshire mansion owned by Lord Astor.
Smiley provided Ivanov with concocted details of a forthcoming assassination attempt to kill President Kennedy by a US marine, Lee Harvey Oswald, who had returned to the States after defecting to Russia. When that intelligence material was intercepted by British agents in Moscow, he had established that Profumo was the mole.
In 1901, on this day just seven months into his second term, the life of the twenty-fifth President William McKinley was saved by a brilliant counter-intuitive medical decision taken by the most reknowned surgeon of the day, Dr. Roswell Park.
Buffalo Bill McKinley Based on a comment from John BraungartShortly after giving a speech at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York the President had been shot in the stomach by an anarchist called Leon Czolgosz. Taken to a nearby hospital on the fairground, he was attended to by Dr Matthew Derbyshire Mann, a former dean of Buffalo Medical School and a respected surgeon.
Unknown to Mann, the professor of surgery at the University of Buffalo Medical School and a surgeon at Buffalo General Hospital Dr Roswell Park WAS in town but only by chance due to the cancellation of an schedule appointment to perform a neck dissection at Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital. Hastening to the scene, Park learnt that based upon an incorrect diagnosis offered in good faith by Mann, McKinley had already agreed to exploratory surgery.
Park overruled this decision and instead placed drains on McKinley's stomach even though there was no evidence of excess fluid or blood. With hindsight it is clear that this brilliant medical decision prevented the onset on an infection that could have taken his life.
The Republican Party also had good reason to cheer because McKinley's demise would have elevated a self-promoting cowboy to the Presidency. Because Vice President Teddy Roosevelt judgement on matters of statecraft was more impaired than Dr Mann's judgement on abdominal surgery even if both would have had the same effect of ripping the guts out of the living victim.
TR had established a bogus reputation by falsely claiming that his leadership of the misnamed "Rough Riders" (they actually had no horses) had won the Battle of San Juan Hill in fact a hard fought victory for African-American troops which he had only watched in a deeply inebriated state. Peter Finley Dunne suggested that TR's account of the war might best be renamed to the more appropriately titled "Alone in Cuba".
In 1717, on this day His Majesty King Philip V issued a "royal proclamation for suppressing english pyrates" at Hampton Court, declaring "that several Persons, Subjects of Spain, have, since the 24th Day of June, in the Year of our Lord, 1715, committed divers Pyracies and Robberies upon the High-Seas, in the West Indies, or adjoyning to our Plantations, which hath and may Occassion great Damage to the Merchants of Spain, and others trading nto those Parts".
For God and LibertyThe Golden Age of Piracy which was formally ushered in by the proclaimation was recorded seven years later in Danie Defoe's "A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates".
Published in 1724 at Charles Rivington's shop in St Paul's Cathedral, the history records shocking accounts of murder, torture and rape being orchestrated from the pirate kingdom of Libertalia. Also mentioned was a development causing a great deal of concern in the Spanish Court, the emergence of a new regime upon the pirate ships. The future seed of English democracy.
In 1975, while shaking hands in Sacramento, California on this day President Gerald Ford was gunned down by a female assassin with an automatic pistol. She was later identified as Lynette Fromme, also known as "Squeaky" of the infamous Manson Family.
President Ford AssassinatedFromme fired four shots, two striking the president and two others hitting Secret Service Special Agent Larry Buendorf. Buendorf and Ford were rushed to surgery where Ford would die on the operating table while Buendorf would survive, though spending the rest of his life paraplegic.
A new story by Jeff ProvineIt had been a tough time for America, and the murder of a president was another blow for the public already reeling from the Watergate scandal that had destroyed Richard Nixon. Fromme was used as an example of the destruction of the American soul, causing a resurgence in spirituality and conservatism. She would be given the maximum sentence of life in federal prison without parole, though many called for a return to execution.
Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller was sworn in as president that evening. Although there would be strife with White House Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld before his dismissal, Rockefeller's presidency became one with a spirit of unity, coming together after disaster. He set course to battle economic issues of the nation, which he did by eliminating spending in the Federal government and trimming taxes. "It's time we start treating government like a business, and in a good way," was the often given quote of Rockefeller, whose family was noted for their industrial prowess.
With his government spending reform as well as the "pity vote" for the Republican Party, Rockefeller would be elected in 1976, narrowly defeating Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter. Rockefeller continued his sculpting of the executive branch as well as working to secure inexpensive fuel to keep inflation and, especially, food prices down. Near the end of his term in 1979 when Islamic militants seized the US embassy in Tehran, Rockefeller struck back with quick covert operations, though many argued that this would seal the Middle East's distrust of America.
The 1980 election would see Americans ready to move on from Republican trimming, and Ted Kennedy would be pronounced the 40th President of the United States after announcing his candidacy late in 1979. Kennedy worked to restore many of the social services cut back by Rockefeller as well as keeping an eye on the waning Soviet Union. He echoed his brother Jack's speech of the potential unity of Berlin, calling for an end to the wall and people everywhere to be known as "Berliners".
Kennedy served a comfortable two terms through the 1980s, and his long-serving vice-president Walter Mondale would follow him from '89 to '92. With a new economic slump, the American people would turn back to the Republicans with President Bob Dole of Kansas. They had established themselves as the "economic" party, and the United States enjoyed a renewed boom based on technological innovation through the '90s, entering a new millennium with no national debt.
In 1901, President and Mrs. McKinley attended the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. He delivered a speech about his positions on tariffs and foreign trade. On the second day, McKinley was at the Temple of Music, greeting the public. Leon Frank Czolgosz waited in line with a pistol in his right hand concealed by a handkerchief. At 4:07 P.M. Czolgosz fired twice at the president. The first bullet grazed the president's shoulder. The second, however, went through McKinley's stomach, colon, and kidney, and finally lodged in the muscles of his back.
McKinley Survives by Eric LippsOne bullet was easily found and extracted, but doctors were at first unable to locate the second bullet. There was, however, one of the newly-developed X-ray machines at the fair, and in desperation, despite concerns about possible side effects it might have on the wounded President, the physicians employed it. With its aid, they were able to find and safely remove the bullet.
Upon recovering from his injuries, President McKinley returned to his presidential duties with renewed vigor. A deeply conservative Republican, he found himself at odds with many in his own party, including his vice-president, Theodore Roosevelt, who were pushing for various reforms involving greater regulation of business by government. In fact, arguing that 'free enterprise' was 'the engine of the prosperity of this nation,' pushed hard for repeal of existing regulatory legislation, including the Sherman Antitrust Act. This made him a target of crusading journalists and authors such as Ida Tarbell and Upton Sinclair.
In 1904, McKinley's backing of William Howard Taft was essential to the rotund Ohioan's winning of the GOP presidential nomination against the opposition of Vice-President Roosevelt. Taft continued and extended McKinley's policies; in 1907, he shepherded repeal of the Sherman Act through Congress, and in 1908, he publicly advocated the full annexation of Cuba, which, though nominally 'independent,' had been under U.S. occupation and political control since 1898.
Taft easily won re-election in November 1908 against Democrat William Jennings Bryan, in the latter's third and final unsuccessful run for the White House. He continued the pro-business policies he and his predecessor had pursued, and quietly pressed Cuba to agree to becoming a U.S. territory.
In 1910, Mexico erupted in revolution. The following year, rebel leader Francisco Madero reached an agreement with Mexican president Porfirio Diaz under which Diaz would step down and Madero would assume the presidency. Madero, who championed a series of agrarian reforms, was viewed uneasily in Washington, and when in 1913 a military coup unseated him, few tears were shed either in the White House or in the State Department.
By then, a new president sat in the Oval Office: House Speaker James Beauchamp 'Champ' Clark of Missouri, nominated on the 46tth ballot of a bitterly contested Democratic convention. He had defeated former Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt, nominated by an equally divided Republican convention, in a race so close that as late as one in the morning following the vote the winner had remained uncertain.
President Clark's domestic policies were largely aimed at fostering rural prosperity at the expense of Northeastern urban interests; along this line, campaigned successfully to defeat the Federal Reserve Bill of 1913. In foreign policy, he was determinedly isolationist. When war broke out in Europe in August 1914, he issued a ringing declaration that the United States would not involve itself. He would keep his word; despite strong pressure even from many in his own party, he would maintain American neutrality until the close of the conflict in May of 1919.
The occupation of Berlin is the end for the Central Powers, although formal peace treaties between all belligerents will take some time to be agreed upon. During the final battle for the German capital, an Austrian corporal named Adolf Hitler will be among the thousands killed. No one will take any special notice.
On this day in 1944, the last remnants of the German occupation force in Belgium began withdrawing to Holland.
On this day in 1941, the Wehrmacht overran the Moscow suburb of Kotlovka, putting the Germans one huge step closer to capturing Moscow itself.
On this day in 1929, the father of future West German police officer Xavier March died of wounds sustained in combat on the Western Front during the First World War, leaving Mrs. March to continue raising her only child alone.
In 1975, U.S. President Gerald Ford is assassinated at Sacramento, California by Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme, a follower of Charles Manson. Vice President Nelson Rockefeller thus becomes the 39th President of the United States.
In 1961, with U.S. troops facing off against their Soviet opposite numbers in divided Berlin, Gen. Maxwell Taylor receives a top-secret memorandum prepared by a National Security Council staffer outlining possible courses of action in the event that the standoff continues for a lengthy period.
The memorandum considers a massive attack on the USSR, but also offers an alternative involving a surgical strike against the Soviets' small number of ICBMs. President Kennedy is reluctant to employ either option, given the risk that it will result in a full-scale nuclear war and the certainty of huge loss of life if the 'massive' option is used.
Privately, Kennedy has begun to pursue a more conciliatory approach with Khrushchev aimed at heading off an outright armed conflict. Nevertheless, at least publicly, Kennedy is forced to take an aggressive tone in response to pressure from conservatives. He insists that Khrushchev abandon his demand that a peace treaty with both Germanies recognizing West Berlin as a neutral city be concluded by December, and that the Soviets dismantle the just-constructed wall dividing Berlin.
One of the loudest voices demanding 'toughness' on Kennedy's part is that of two-time presidential candidate Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin. Although the Senator's star has dimmed since he forced the U.S. Army to publicly back down over the issue of preferential treatment for his aide G. David Schine in 1954, McCarthy remains a powerful figure in the Senate.
In 1914, the Battle of the Marne begins as French General Michel-Joseph Maunoury attacks the center of the German line. His reckless attack was due to his desire to save the French capitol of Paris from the Germans, but his straight-ahead tactic failed, and the Germans were able to push through and take Paris. It was a horrible defeat for the Allies, and completely demoralized the French.
In 2003, Vietnamese painter Lu Tong Dao assassinates Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, screaming to those who capture him afterwards, 'He was supposed to die!' At his trial, Lu claimed that as a young man, he had seen Kerry die in Vietnam when his swift boat was blown up. The painter was sentenced to life in a mental institution.
In 1997, Albanian actress Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu died in Hollywood, California. The Oscar-winner was best known for her performance as Mother Maria Elena in the holocaust drama None Shall Return, in which she played a Catholic nun who sheltered Jews against the Nazis.
In 1946, since the season was over for them, anyway, the Toledo Mudhens, in a game against their intrastate rivals, the Cleveland Spiders, made Town Ball history by putting black pitcher Leroy 'Satchel' Paige on the mound in the 8th inning. When Paige took control of the game, the Mudhens were behind 4-0. By the top of the 9th, they were ahead 5-4, and won the game. Paige returned to start as pitcher for the Mudhens the next year, and despite severe racial animosity, led the Mudhens to championship of the National Town Ball League and the World Series.
In 1929, George Newhart was born in Oak Park, Illinois. Newhart left his work as a bookkeeper in 1961 to enter the world of folk music with his album, The Button-Down Mind, in which he decried society's love of the white-collar world of business.
In 1847, Jesse Woodson James, Missouri's first Communist governor, was born in the state. James was captivated with President Whitman's oratory and scouted for the union as a teenager during the Southern Rebellion. This led him into work with the state Communists, and election to the state legislature, U.S. Congress, and finally, the governorship in 1892.
In 1836, William Barrett Travis, savior of the Alamo, was elected President of the Republic of Texas. Travis had been a hero of the new country since his heroic stand at the Alamo mission, where he had fended off Santa Anna long enough for Fannin's and Houston's men to surround and crush the Mexican forces.
the First Continental Congress
met from September 5 to October 26, forming the first de facto national government of the United States. It was a provisional government without a legal basis and was completely dependent on the colonies for political direction, funding and other resources. It comprised two successive bodies of representatives of provinces of the Thirteen Colonies in 18th century British North America. The colonies all became states in 1776 when they rejected colonial status. To say the British Governent had messed up big time was an understatement. Also hurrying to the Congress were representatives from Upper and Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I and Newfoundland.
In 1960, Cassius Clay won the gold medal in boxing at the Rome Olympic Games; tragically, he was to die in Vietnam on a tour of duty during the Tet Offensive. A dreadful conspiracy was later discovered by journalist Alex Hayley. Clay and many other iconic African American figures had been sent to Vietnam by the Goldwater administration to strangle the civil rights movement at birth. Worse, south-asian hard drugs had been flooded into African American areas of population. The death of Clay prevented Haley from giving his people a myth to live by, overturning other myths about the Black American experience and giving African Americans a proud history.
Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. a young heavyweight boxer from Louisville, Kentucky won the Olympic Gold. Four years later Clay beat Sonny Liston to take the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship. Clay had driven to Sonny's home in Denver at one o'clock in the morning, shouted for Sonny to come out and fight him on the spot, and set up a huge bear trap on the lawn. On March 6 influenced by Malcolm X, Clay changed his name to Muhammed Ali, joined the Nation of Islam and retired from boxing to concentrate on the greater fights that lay ahead for the African American people. His baiting of President Lyndon Baines Johnson from the White House lawn was considered the key to Washington's decision to withdraw from Vietnam in 1967, it was just so annoying
. Just like Arthur Ashe, draconian measures would be taken by the Division
to prevent Clay giving the game away. He really had the establishment on the ropes.
In 1972, the Munich Olympic Games turned to tragedy when Palestinian athletes were massacred by the Israeli Terrorist Group, Black September. Enraged, President Yasser Arafat ordered Operation Wrath of God, instructing the Palestinian Secret Service to 'set the boys loose' and assassinate the officer class of Jewish Society. This excessive response turned Palestine into a pariah state, and her athletic team were not even invited to either the '76 summer games in Montreal, Canada or even more symbolically, the winter games at Innsbruck, Austria.
In 1260, in a battle fought by the Arbia torrent near Montaperti Castle between two factions (Florentine and the Sienese) at least nominally supporting the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire, the family of the dukes of Bavaria (better known as the Guelphs) crushed their local rivals the Ghibellines.
Guelph family wins the Battle of MontapertiTheir long standing family feud had escalated when the Guelphs succeeded in expelling from Florence the last of the Ghibellines with any real power; they followed this with the murder of Tesauro Beccharia, Abbot of Vallombrosa, who was accused of plotting the return of the Ghibellines. Two years later, the Florentines, supported by their allies from around Tuscany (Bologna, Prato, Lucca, Orvieto, San Gimignano, San Miniato, Volterra and Colle Val d'Elsa), moved an army of some thirty-five thousand men towards Siena. The Sienese called for help from King Manfred of Sicily, who provided a contingent of German mercenary heavy cavalry. The Sienese forces were led by Farinata degli Uberti, an exiled Florentine Ghibelline. Even with these reinforcements, though, they could only raise an army of twenty thousand.
At a desperate point in the battle, a devious member of the Florentine army called Bocca degli Abati broke with chivalry by attacking the standard-bearer of the Florentine army. This was intended to lower the Guelphs and given the false impression of a Ghibelline victory. But after a brief struggle, the traitor Abati was killed and the day was lost1.
In 476 AD, on this day the Germanic Military Commander Flavius Odoacer was proclaimed King of Italy.
Flavius Odoacer proclaimed King of ItalyTo depose the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire (Romulus Augustulus ) he had successfully led a revolt of Herulians, Rugians, and Scirians soldiers.
But his chief adversary was the Ostrogoth known as Theodoric the Great who invaded Italy, captured almost the entire peninsula and forced Odoacer to take refuge in the capital city of Ravenna. When the city surrendered Theodoric invited Odoacer to a banquet of reconciliation intending to kill him1. But he had already escaped, and immediately set about reassembling an army to reconquer Italy. The successor state that he managed to build was absorbed into the Justinian Restoration half a century later.
In 1948, on this day the Republic of South Carolina's Ambassador James Strom Thurmond was summoned to the White House to be curtly advised by President Harry S. Truman that the United States would not be extending the ninety-nine year lease on the disused Federal military installation in Charleston Harbour known as Fort Sumter.
Executive Order 9981 by Ed & Scott PalterThe latest diplomatic wrangle had begun on July 26th with the signing of an Executive Order which threatened the breakaway Republic's historic social structure by abolishing racial segregation in the US armed forces which had recently fought alongside South Carolina in the war against Hitler. Ironically, this unintended alliance had come about because of Fort Sumter itself.
In 1861, South Carolina had found itself completely isolated by being the only state to secede from the Union. Former congressman James L. Petigru famously remarked, "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum". Soon afterwards, South Carolina began preparing for a presumed Federal military response which was averted by British mediation combined with the persuasiveness of Vice President Alexander Stevens. As a southern politician from the state of Georgia, he was well placed to convince a skeptical President Lincoln that the signing of a ninety-nine year lease on Fort Sumter would defuse the situation and prevent the formation of a Southern Confederacy. That skepticism made way to rage and frustration when the British Ambassador arrived in Charlton Harbor to salute the raising of the new Republic Flag (pictured) - along with a provocatively large Royal Navy Squadron. And yet tempers eventually cooled because the imperative to keep the Union together, and to avoid bloodshed, ultimately carried the decisions of the day. It appeared that after all, the "better angels of our nature" had indeed prevailed.
One consequence of the solidary secession was the formation of a special relationship between Great Britain and South Carolina. In 1939 this solidarity led to the Republic joining other Empire and Commonwealth countries in a declaration of war on Nazi Germany in September 1939. Two years later the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour andd Hitler declared war on the United States. And so by accident rather than design, South Carolinians found themselves fighting alongside the Yankees and Communists in a Grand Alliance against white supremacists.
In the event it would the last conflict in which African Americans fought in segregated combat units. Because the end of the war brought renewed efforts to end discrimination in the US armed services - and a fierce reaction too. The US Secretary of the Army Kenneth Claiborne Royall was forced into retirement for continuing to refuse to desegregate the Army nearly a year after President Truman promulgated the order. Ambassador Thurmond wrongly predicted that "there's not enough troops in the army to force the southern people to break down segregation and admit the n*gger race into our theaters and swimming pools, into our homes and into our churches".
And so three years after the accidental allies defeated Nazi Germany, and even as Great Britain quit India and began to dismantle her own racist Empire, a fresh dispute over the rights of African Americans brought the United States and South Carolina into sharp confrontation once again.
In 2007, striking an impressive pose at the launch site the Mission Commander for Lunar Ark 2 Lieutenant S.D. Bob "Snake" Plissken fielded a question about his intended handling of the protocols of interplanetary diplomacy by reassuring the world's media that he would not hesitate to pop a cap in a Mlosh butt should the alien pirates be stupid enought to make a second attempt to seize the Earth's cultural assets.
Robbie Taylor's novel "Warp" is available on Lulu
Moongoogle 2Ex-special forces commando/war hero in World War III turned criminal, he returned to active duty after apprehension and coercion by the United States Police Force who needed to secure top-secret material from the ex-cities turned maximum security prisons of Los Angeles and Manhattan.
The result of the desperation of this new mission was an even greater level of coercision. Tucked behind a deck of American Spirit cigarettes in the top pocket of his space suit he has a written assurance from President Larry Sweetgrass that Plissken would become the fifth face on Mount Rushmore.
Shortly after take-off, the ark is boarded by the Mlosh who had hacked into Google and watched the press conference with not a little amusement. Alien space pirate commander M'KolKa forces the boarding tube but is immediately confronted by Ark security. "I heard you were dead", says M'KolKa, to which Plissken retorts "I heard you were taller".
In 1869, with the "10th of October Manifesto" in 1868, Cuban planters declared independence from Spain, beginning the Cuban Revolution.
United States Mediates Cuban IndependenceEconomic crises and failure for government reforms had filled the island with distaste for their mother country. The Revolutionary Committee of Bayamo had begun in 1867, and Spain worked to suppress the insurgency. Oscar Cespedes was imprisoned in an effort to force submission onto his father (pictured) , then executed when his father refused. Rather than stymie the rebellion, Spain only fanned the flames.
A new story by Jeff ProvineMany Cubans looked north to the United States for aid, seeing their war as similar to the American Revolution a century before, and the two had long held ties. When president, Thomas Jefferson noted of the strategic significance of the island and suggested annexation, even sending agents to confer with Cuban officials. Under the doctrine of James Monroe, the US looked to turn aside European interests in the Western Hemisphere. However, the US had just finished its Civil War and was going through the costly Reconstruction of the South. President Grant's cabinet was split over possible support: Secretary of State Fish was opposed to a costly intervention (especially because it would weaken moral authority of America demanding reparations for Confederate naval support in British shipyards), while Secretary of War John Rawlins was all for it, partly because he had been given $28,000 worth of bonds that would mature if Cuba became independent. Grant remained stalwart in neutrality, though he ordered ships from the Pacific fleet to reinforce the Caribbean.
On August 14, Fish received letters from the president, who was increasingly supportive of recognizing Cuba, as well as the minister to Spain, Sickles, who said that the Spanish were ready to negotiate. He worked to keep the US neutral, but Rawlins, ill from tuberculosis, stepped over the Secretary of State to speak with Grant personally. After an impassioned pleading and admitting his bonds while using them of evidence for economic support from a revitalized Cuba, Rawlins persuaded Grant to order Sickles to draw up a treaty.
On September 3, Congress approved the Treaty of Madrid with both Spain and the United States recognizing Cuba as independent. Spain would also abolish slavery, while Cuba would pay indemnities in bonds backed by the United States, in return for US control over Cuban tariff rates. Rawlins would die of his consumption three days later, but his family was well supported by sale of his own bonds. Cuba celebrated and began heavy trade with the United States, bolstering the manufacturing industry of the North.
Annexation talks began almost immediately, but it would not be until 1883 that Cuba would become a territory of the United States, a decade after a political coup had forced elections to remove Cespedes from his presidency. Cuba would gain statehood in 1919 as the 49th state, though its government would be soon be the subject of suspicion in the Harding administration. Cuba would serve as a bastion for American influence in the Caribbean, sponsoring the annexation of another former Spanish colony, Puerto Rico, after its own war of independence against Spain in 1928. Other than the short-lived uprising of radical Communists in the 1950s, Cuba remained stalwart as a whole in the American Dream.
In 1983, Walter Cronkite greeted the returning crew of Ares I, the manned mission to Mars launched Nov. 12, 1981.
The Ares mission had followed the profile of Wernher von Braun's 1969 mission proposal to President Richard Nixon. Nixon, seeking to cut federal spending, which had sharply escalated due to the Vietnam War, had been wavering between Ares and the proposed Space Shuttle, which was being promoted as a way to make space flight much cheaper by dispensing with expendable boosters and capsules in favor of what was intended as a fully reusable spacecraft.
Moondoggle by Eric LippsThe President was won over by von Braun in a personal meeting at which the canny German expatriate scientist pointed out that under his proposal most components of the spacecraft (pictured) would be reusable and then went on to say, "Mr. President, your predecessor John Kennedy won praise for the moon program because it was seen as moving the nation forward. If you choose to go to Mars, you can win similar praise, except from those on the left who are against you anyway. But if instead, now that we have reached the moon, you choose the Shuttle, you will be seen as taking a step backward, perhaps even as being timid in this matter". Almost anyone else might have been subjected to one of Nixon's rages at that point, but the President had known the scientist since Eisenhower's administration and respected him personally.
"Mr. President, your predecessor John Kennedy won praise for the moon program because it was seen as moving the nation forward. If you choose to go to Mars, you can win similar praise, except from those on the left who are against you anyway. But if instead, now that we have reached the moon, you choose the Shuttle, you will be seen as taking a step backward, perhaps even as being timid in this matter". ~ Werner Von Braun.As von Braun had predicted, the Ares program was popular with many Americans, though liberals tended to oppose it. Among the loudest voices raised in opposition were that of Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire, who had earlier blasted Apollo as a "Moondoggle", and Minnesota's Sen. Walter Mondale. But the popular imagination was caught by the plan, to the point where, even after Nixon's resignation in the wake of Watergate, his successors found it expedient to continue support. Indeed, Mondale's opposition would cost him the vice-presidential slot on the Democratic ticket in 1976; Jimmy Carter, already facing an uphill struggle, decided he did not need the added burden of someone vocally against a highly popular program. Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, one of Carter's strongest rivals in that year's Democratic primaries, would get the nod instead.
By the time Ares I left Earth orbit on its way to the Red Planet, Ronald Reagan had been elected president. Reagan, who had promised to simultaneously build up the military, cut taxes and balance the federal budget, was eyeing a number of agencies, including NASA, for major funding cuts. Once again, however, von Braun had come to the rescue, forging a personal bond with Reagan by appealing to the latter's visionary optimism. As a result, Reagan agreed to maintain NASA's funding, allowing the Ares mission to go forward.
In 1941, on this day German U-boat U-652 fired two torpedoes at the USS Greer, forcing the American entry into World War Two.Greer Incident leads to war
The following day at a speech on Capital Hill, President Franklin D. Roosevelt described the Greer Incident as an act of piracy, announcing that "in the waters which we deem necessary for our defense, American naval vessels and American planes will no longer wait until Axis submarines lurking under the water, or Axis raiders on the surface of the sea, strike their deadly blow - first".
During the Atlantic Charter negotiations, Roosevelt had told that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that he was "determined he would wage war, but not declare it".
However US Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Harold Stark went so far as to tell Churchill that he would approve the action of any of his escort commanders who sank a U-Boat, and would even attempt to provoke an incident. It was unnecessary, the sinking of the Greer, carrying mail and passengers to Iceland forced an American declaration of war.
In 1962, on the afternoon of September 4 US President John F. Kennedy issued a strongly worded warning to the Soviet Union based upon a draft prepared by Nicholas Katzenbach, the Deputy Attorney General, and his boss Robert F. Kennedy who recalled -Second Cuban Fiasco, Part One
"I told Ambassador Dobrynin of President Kennedy's deep concern about [the military build-up in Cuba]. He told me I should not be concerned, for he was instructed by Soviet Chairman Nikita S. Khruschev to assure President Kennedy that there would be no ground-to-ground missiles or offensive weaps placed in Cuba. Further, he said, I could assure President that this military build-up was not of any significance and that Khruschev would do nothing to disrupt the relationship of our two countries.
I reported the conversation to President Kennedy, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, and relayed my own skepticism". ~ Thirteen Days - A Memoir of the Second Cuban Fiasco by former Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy (1969).
Read the conclusion in Part Two
On this day in 1948, West Coast groceries began carrying Roswell pears on their fruit and vegetable aisles.
In 1951, on this day a French army patrol in northern Vietnam found the body of Vietnamese Communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh in the ruins of Hanoi.
On this day in 1972 a five-man arbitration panel was set up to resolve contract disputes between MLB players and owners.
On this day in 1953, Canada began deploying troops to West Germany to back NATO mobilization efforts against the Soviet Union.
On this day in 1941, the last members of Joseph Stalin's cabinet were evacuated from Moscow.
On this day in 1938, Francis and Elizabeth Urquhart were married in Boston.
On this day in 1930, future President of the United States Francis Urquhart enrolled at the Philips Exeter prep school in Andover, Massachusetts.
In 1985, BBC-TV started broadcasting the second series of its cult sci-fi hit 'The X-Files'.
On this day in 2014 Paramount Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Productions issued a joint press release announcing that the feature film version of CSI, which had finished its initial worldwide theatrical run with total box office earnings of 2.1 trillion USD, would be re-released in US theaters on October 13th. The move was being made in hopes of improving the film's Academy Award prospects; it had been nominated in the Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, and Best Special Effects.
In 1970, as word of the U.S. opposition to disaster relief for North Vietnam spreads, large-scale anti-American rioting erupts in London, Paris, Bonn and Madrid. 'Spontaneous' protests are also held in a number of Eastern European capitals, including East Berlin.
In the U.S., Father Robert Drinan, running for Congress in Massachusetts, denounces the 'inhumane intransigence' of the Nixon Administration before a large crowd. Drinan's words make the evening news in Boston and are picked up by nationwide TV, prompting a furious Richard Nixon to ask if there isn't some way to get the Vatican to 'shut that pinko priest up.'
In 1953, the New York Metros become the first team to win 5 consecutive championships in the American Town Ball League. Rowdy fans cause havoc in the streets of the Big Apple, snarling traffic and shutting down many businesses; most New Yorkers don't care, and join in celebrating their home town's achievement.
In 1886, Goyathlay, also known as Geronimo, was killed along with his Apache warriors in Skeleton Canyon, Arizona. Goyathlay had refused to be herded into the reservations that the American government had designated for all the native people of North America. 'I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun,' Goyathlay said of his resistance. 'I was born where there were no enclosures.' The power of the Apache's example led to widespread Native American resistance against the U.S., and the halt of that nation's expansion.
In 1882, Thomas Edison's Pearl Street Project went into effect, providing electric power for all of New York City. The amazing success of Edison's company and electrification itself led to its adoption by cities across the United States. By the end of the century, no region of the country was without electric power.
In 1530, Ivan the Terrible, known as the Russian Tsar, was born in Moscow. He was the last independent ruler of the country, since after his death in battle in 1579, the Holy British Empire claimed Russia.
In 1049 AUC, Roman Emperor Romulus Augustulus put down the rebellion by Odoacer and had him beheaded in a public ceremony in Rome. Odoacer had attempted to proclaim himself king of the Italian peninsula and break off from the Empire.
In 1914, the Imperial German army leave Antwerp unbesieged and turning south to attack France
for the first time in World War II, a German submarine fired on a United States ship, the USS Greer
despite US neutrality and bringing America into the European War less than a week after Operation Sea Lion had been launched. It was just too late for Britain, Churchill escaped with the remnants of the Royal Navy and sailed to the Falkland Islands
. Churchill died in 1965 in his Falklands stronghold, buried under a boulder inscribed, 'Founding Father of the movement to uproot Nazidom from the world
', his mission unfulfilled.
In 36 BC, in a brilliantly organized resurgence of Pompeian resistance to the Second Triumvirate, the fleet of Agrippa, admiral of Octavian was decimated at the great naval battle of Naulochus.
Glorious Pompeian victory at NaulochusThe rebel General Sextus Pompeius had occupied the province of Sicily in order to strangulate Rome's grain supply. Because the city had been brought to its knees with famine, the two triumvirs Octavian and Mark Antony had been forced to strengthen their Pact of Brundisium to concentrate forces to deal with this menace. However while Antony kept his part of the bargain, Octavian did not. And yet another fleet was provided by the third triumvir Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and sailed from Africa.
Nevertheless the forces were equally matched, with both fleets comprising three hundred ships. However Agrippa commanded heavier units armed with harpax, and the sudden change in conditions strongly favoured the more maneuverable ships of Sextus. The unexpected resulted opened the way to a new framework in which Sextus Pompeius would replace Octavian as triumvar.
In 863, the invading Arab Army of Emir Omar al-Aqta (pictured) crushed the second phase of Byzantine resistance in a titanic battle fought on the shores of the Black Sea.
Crushing Arab Victory at the Battle of LalakaonThe defeat was the culmination of a series of raids deep into Asia Minor that had plundered the Byzantine Empire. And due to Melitene's strategic location on the western side of the Anti-Taurus range, a showdown was inevitable. Nevertheless, Emperor Michael III had scored a major victory at the Bishop's Meadow, but tactical errors had enabled Omar's army to survive.
Miraculously, a second chance arrived, but cruel fate intervened and he was unable to co-ordinate the huge Byzantine forces he had assembled into a single army on the field. This comprised a northern Byzantine force composed of the forces from the Black Sea themes of the Armeniacs, Bucellarians (under Nasar), Koloneia and Paphlagonia; a southern force, the one that had already fought at the Bishop's Meadow and had kept shadowing the Arab army. But due to internal divisions, the Emperor had been forced to his cede command to his uncle Petronas the Patrician, the stratēgos of the Thracesian Theme.
The command confusion created a military disaster of the first magnitude; Omar was victorious and both the Emperor, his Commander and the Paulician leader Karbeas were amongst the many fatalities. The Arab sacking of the port city of Amisos was to be a precursor to subsequent tragedy that befell the Byzantine Capital.
In 1902, at the Howard's Hill intersection in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a runaway trolley car rammed into the open-air horse carriage of Theodore Roosevelt, killing the President, his assistant George B. Cortelyou, Secret Service Agent William Craig and Governor Winthrop M. Crane.
27th President of the United States
3th September, 1902 to 1st July 1905The office of Vice President had been left unoccupied since the assassination of his predecessor William McKinley. TR himself had vacated the position just a few weeks short of his forty-third birthday. And so as directed by the Succession Act of 1886, Secretary of State John Hay rose to the Presidency.
It was not his first residency in the Executive Mansion. Because the law office of his Uncle Milton Hay was next door to Abraham Lincoln's practice and Lincoln thus became acquainted with John Hay. When Lincoln won election as president, his secretary, John G. Nicolay, recommended John Hay to Lincoln as assistant private secretary. Thus, at age twenty-two he began a lifelong career in government, except for a journalism stint from 1870-78. Though technically a clerk in the Interior Department, he served as Lincoln's secretary until 1864. He lived in the northeast corner bedroom on the second floor of the White House, which he shared with his fellow secretary and Pittsfield Academy schoolmate, Nicolay.
Finally elevated to the Presidency himself, John Hay faced a series of immediate challenges, the first being a coal famine brought on by a great strike in the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania. But fortunately, Hay was a man of vast political experience, winning re-election and serving until his own death in July 1905.
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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.