A Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

January 2

In 1967, on this day Ronald Wilson Reagan was sworn in as the thirty-third Governor of California. The following day his wife, First Lady Sarah Mayfield Reagan celebrated her fifty-third birthday in the Governor's mansion in Sacremento, a "firetrap" that they soon vacated in favour of a luxurious private residence.

The Footsteps of the GipperDespite this inauspicious start, it was a remarkable success for the former actor who in defeating the popular incumbent Pat Brown had achieved a result that his GOP contemporaries William F. Knowland and Dick Nixon had failed to do. And in fact, his political career was only just beginning, he had come to prominence during Barry Goldwater's campaign race.

Unfortunately, his luck didn't last, because the following year he was shot dead by a gun man at the National Governors' Association meeting in Cincinnati. This event in election year threw a whole series of plans into deep confusion. Firstly, Reagan was considering his own run for the Presidency, and secondly, his Lieutenant Governor Robert H. Finch was favoured for VP by Nixon. Instead, Finch served out Reagan's two terms before plotting his own campaign for the Presidency.

In 1963, joined in their historic struggle to liberate Vietnam from neo-colonial rule the first wave of American Advisers led by Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann enabled left-behind Viet Minh forces to score a decisive victory at Ap Bac.

Saving Uncle HoLocated just forty miles to the south west was the seat of Government in Saigon. This capital of intrigue, corruption and nepotism was callously mistreating the very people it was supposed to protect.

But it was at Ap Bac that the Viet Minh and their American allies first exposed the underlying weakness of the French-supported regime. Despite enjoying greater advantages which came in the form of French armored personnel carriers and helicopters, Loyalist commanders were deterred from pressing home their victory due to their reluctance to absorb casualties that could be detrimental to their military careers

But in a larger sense there was just no stopping the infectious spirit of '76, and before too long, they had Government forces on the run. And they kept running until the Viet Minh chased the regime and their money-counting French backers out of Saigon.

In 1813, in a surprise reversal, the Special Commission at York granted reprieves to the Luddites who had destroyed several looms and spinning mules, committed lesser crimes of theft, and conspired to spread violence.

Luddites Gain SupportTimes in Britain were chaotic and desperate, not just from the blossoming Industrial Revolution and the reprisals from the Luddites, but also from the ongoing Napoleonic Wars where the French l'Empereur had just stormed Russia with his Grande Armee. The complex times called for swift action with the people.

Until this point, the government had been heavy-handed in its treatment of the working class. Inventions and modernizations were improving machines so that one man could do the work of a dozen. The textile industry received the greatest forward push using water power to drive looms with complex machinations replacing the skilled labor of years of guiding warps. Unemployment became widespread, and the cottage industry was overwhelmed by cheap manufactures. Desperate in these difficult economic times, the unemployed struck back, destroying industry and writing pamphlets signed by "King Ludd", a cartoon figure (pictured) based on Ned Ludd, a man who had been whipped for idleness and destroyed two frames in a fit of passion in 1779.

After widespread destruction of some 200 frames and nearly militaristic uprising by the Luddites, the Frame Breaking Act was passed in 1812, making destruction of a capital offense. Twelve thousand troops moved into Yorkshire and the surrounding North to restore order. A commission was installed to study the situation and root out the leaders with the plan of executing them as examples and solidifying productivity for the region and contribution to the war effort. However, as the commission followed the stories of the poor, they resolved that different measures must be taken to protect a way of life.

Excerpts from the sentencing explain the view of protectionism, "You, the other prisoners, James Haigh, Jonathan Dean, John Ogden, Thomas Brook, and John Walker, have been victim of one of the greatest outrages that ever was committed in a civilized country". Civilization itself was the outrage, placing productivity over humanity. Rather than punish the men for defending their livelihoods, the commission pushed for the government to support its people.

The Act called for their execution, but the commission instead sentenced them to labor, the lack thereof had been the problem in the first case. "Hear the sentence which the Laws of man pronounce upon your crimes. The sentence of the Law is, and this Court doth adjudge, That you, the several Prisoners at the bar, be taken from hence to a place where you may retake your pursuits in industry". The commission recommended to Parliament that taxation on textiles be invoked to support the less fortunate. Under social pressure and promises for military support, Parliament conceded.

Thus the Industrial Revolution in Britain became a model for other nations in progressive support for those who would be pushed to the periphery as society climbed to new heights. Taxation slowed potential progress by yoking monetary gain, but the funding became available for education for young and welfare for those economically displaced. Enormous public debts would routinely cause economic crises, but general welfare would continue.

After Napoleon's 1814 defeat, exile to Elba, and return in 1815, money for military uniforms and weapons was too tight to supply the soldiers needed for a quick defeat of the upstart at Waterloo or even Antwerp. The Lowlands Campaign dragged on for two years before Napoleon's death in battle after effectively destroying Prussian military prowess. Still, Europe would recover, and Britain would come to the forefront of progress over the course of the nineteenth century with such advances as the successes of Chartism in the 1840s and implementation of railways in the 1850s.

In 1974, on this day NASA came to the conclusion that the crash of Pioneer 10 on the limb of Jupiter December 4th, 1973 likely planted Earth bacteria in the upper atmosphere.

NASA admitted Pioneer 10 contaminated Jupiter! The fateful probe suffered a computer glitch when passing through the intense Van Allen type radiation belts that concentrate in the Jovian magnetosphere that fired the thrusters dry and altered course just enough to graze the atmosphere and crash on Jupiter. The impact occurred on the edge of the planet at a low angle, similar to the way the Apollo missions returned to Earth from exploring the moon. While the event was too small to show on Earth based telescopes Pioneer 10 continued sending pictures back to NASA until minutes before impact and the impact latitude is known.

Now a month later Earth based telescopes have detected a color change in the atmospheric belt where the collision took place. Spectrographic study of the discolored band have detected complex organic molecules identical to those built by simple single cell life forms on Earth. A new story by Allen W. McDonnellScientists have concluded that Earthly bacteria, hibernating on the Pioneer spacecraft, were released when it fell into Jupiter and have survived by consuming the organic clouds of Methane and Ammonia in the Jovian atmosphere. The Miller/Urey experiment in a lab in 1953 demonstrated that lightning passing through clouds like those on Jupiter can create amino acids in very small quantities and pieces of organic material even smaller called tholins in large quantities. Without life these chemicals simply exist for a few months before they are swept too low and the heat from inside Jupiter causes them to break back down into the simpler molecules they began as, Ammonia, Methane and Water.

Life, in the form of some exotic bacteria hitchhiking on Pioneer 10, has now found a way to access these tholins and reproduce. Jupiter will never be the same as once a planet is contaminated with Bacteria there is no practical way imaginable to bring it back to a pristine state of existence.

In 1917, on this day Vice President William Jennings Bryan asked Thomas R Marshall ~ "Mr President, how many men were executed in Indiana during your term as Governor there?".

Chapter of Accidents; How Bryan Returned From The Dead"None, thank God". There was one man sentenced to hang, but he won his appeal so I never had to reprieve him".

"Would you say nobody ever deserves to be hanged?"

"No. I expect all too many do. But I don't think the State should be in the business of killing people".

"Exactly!" Bryan pressed home the point. "Yet at least the men who get hanged are usually murderers or something almost as bad. The boys you'd have to send to die in Europe mostly haven't committed any crime. Not yet anyway".

Part 2 of a new story by Mike Stone"And the people who have died on all those ships the Germans sank. American citizens about their lawful business. Women and children too. Do I not owe them anything?" "Of course, Sir. But you don't owe them mass murder. Aren't they a bit like those guys who insist on going over Niagara Falls in a barrel? They have a perfect legal right to do it, at least if they are over 21 and not certified insane" He smiled faintly "Not yet anyway. But have they the right to insist that another man endanger his own life to defend their right to go over the Falls in a barrel? I don't really see it".

"And American seamen? Aren't they entitled to get on with their jobs? If the Germans do what they say they are going to do, then our ships will be getting sunk too, not just Allied ones". Must I allow that?"

"You can prevent it. Just order the Port Authorities not to clear US-registered ships for destinations in the barred zone. If the Allies want to buy from us, let them send their own ships. Ours can find work in the Pacific or trading with South America. There's plenty of business on those routes, now that the British are bringing every spare ship to the North Atlantic". "But what about our maritime rights? The freedom of the seas? President Wilson said - -"

"Mr Wilson was a good man," said Bryan firmly "I admired him very much; but I sometimes feel he was just a shade too legalistic. After all, if there's a race riot on or something, any city Mayor can order citizens to stay in their homes. That's an interference with their freedom, but it's necessary in an emergency situation. That's what's going on in Europe just now - a riot; probably the biggest riot ever. And the freedom to land your country in a war by insisting on your right to wade into the thick of it is just pushing your rights a teeny little step too far1".

"Mr Secretary, this is a break of diplomatic relations we are considering. I have no intention of declaring war".

"It will come to that, Mr President. Breaking relations doesn't solve anything. The Germans have gone too far to back down now, so if we break relations and they carry on, what do we do next? You will have to take another step, and what will that have to be?" "Arm our merchantmen? - -" Marshall's voice quavered slightly, as if he himself saw the weakness of the idea.

"And then what? The u-boats will torpedo without warning, so our ships can't just fire in self-defense. They will have to attack a submarine on sight.

For all practical purposes, a war will have begun. How long before we have to make it official?

"There'll be an uproar. Roosevelt, Lodge, lots of them. They'll say I'm betraying the country. Selling out to Germany".

"Mr President, they aren't worth listening to". Bryan's voice turned suddenly harsh. "They think the Sacred Book lies. They think vengeance is the exclusive property of Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and Mr Henry Cabot Lodge. I suppose we must give Roosevelt his due. If he gets his war at least he'll fight in it. But you can bet your life Lodge won't. He'll sit snug at home while other Americans die for his policies. And that's the way most of them will behave. They crawl along the ground".

"Still, I'd go easy with that line about Niagara Falls. They'll say you're just jealous 'cause there aren't any waterfalls in Nebraska".

Bryan dutifully chuckled at the President's joke, but even to him the humour sounded a bit forced.

President Marshall sat silent in the deserted Oval office. In a way, he was relieved that Bryan had gone. A good man and a good Christian, there could be no doubt about that. But was he being a bit too narrow on this? Certainly, Lodge and Roosevelt were loudmouths, but even loudmouths can occasionally be right. He thought of his father, back in the 1860s, threatened with excommunication from their local Presbyterian Church for refusing to join the Republicans. What had he said? "I am willing to take my chances on Hell, but never on the Republican Party". Yet that hadn't stopped him being a firm Union man during the Civil War, even if it had meant supporting the policy of a Republican Administration. Some things were bigger than party. In the end, he must act for the nation as a whole, and Mr Bryan represented only part of it - maybe not even the largest part. He hoped it would never come to a split. Their common faith made Bryan a kindred spirit2. But his new responsibilities were wider than that, and if worst came to worst, at some point there might have to be a parting of the ways.

But must it be yet? To keep American ships out of the barred zone would indeed involve a swallwing of pride; but the Bible was pretty clear on what pride was. And it wasn't as though the Allies were all that saintly. Some of their blockade measures went far beyond traditional international law, and he suspected that these blacklists of theirs weren't as purely war related as they claimed. Were they indeed out to monopolise world markets after the war? No, America owed them nothing; this was purely a question of what it owed itself.

He flinched slightly at the sudden pain in his chest. These had been getting worse lately. Maybe Lois was right and he should see a doctor. But what could the doctor do?

Probably only tell him to rest, and that was impossible. He had just too much on his plate.

OK, he finally decided. He would give Mr Bryan's approach one more go. But there would have to be something more than words. And it would probably have to be the last time.

Ambassador Bernstorff was pensive as he left the State Department building.

It had been a huge relief as he listened to Secretary Bryan's words, and suddenly realised that, having come there resigned to the return of his passports, he was not to be going home after all - at least not yet. The other business - the seizure of German ships currently trapped in US ports - would have to be protested, of course, but could be lived with. Fortunately, he had already given orders for them to be rendered unfit for service, so they would be no immediate use to the Americans, whatever the future might hold. So far, so good.

But, he uneasily knew, it was only time he had gained. For all his efforts to educate them, his masters in Berlin just did not appreciate the peril. They were taking risks that made him shudder. That message to Mexico, for instance. God grant it never leaked out. The consequences hardly bore thinking about.

Mr Bryan was a strong voice for peace, but he was not in final charge.

President Marshall was, and that man was unpredictable - pulled every which way, and far out of his depth There could be no certainty as to which way he would ultimately jump.

Yes, Bernstorff thought sombrely, this was only a reprieve. And the future still looked dark.

From his office window, Bryan watched the German Ambassador depart. Yet his thoughts were less about Bernstorff than about Marshall.

He was deeply afraid for the President. While accustomed to the normal rough and tumble of politics, he had never before come under this much pressure. Bryan recalled the ferocious 1896 campaign , when he had so often been lambasted as an "incendiary", "enemy of civilisation" and worse. A terrible experience, but in a way it had been good for him. As a result, he was inoculated against such attacks in a way that Marshall was not. How much more could the President take?

As Colonel Roosevelt might have put it, the time was coming to stand at Armageddon and do battle for the Lord. And he suspected that this might be a battle for Tom Marshall's soul.
To be continued

In 1727, on this day the ruthless British General James Peter Wolfe was born in Westerham, Kent.

Architect of the Northern ArmageddonA life-long military career began at the age of just thirteen when he volunteered for his father's first Marine regiment. But the moment when Wolfe exploded on the world stage was the summer of 1759. As a thirty-two year old General, Wolfe was responsible for the capture of Quebec, the pivotal military decision which ensured that the future of North America would be determined by the British.

"I propose to set the town on fire with shells, to destroy the harvest, houses and cattle, both above and below, to send off as many Canadians as possible to Europe and to leave famine and desolation behind me; but we must teach these scoundrels to make war in a more gentleman like manner" The Supreme Commander of French Forces in North America, the Marquis de Montcalm, believed that Quebec was an "impregnable Gibraltar of the New World". And so it seemed, after months of vicious fighting througout the St Lawrence River region. In desperation, Wolfe attempted a "back door" strategy of sneaking troops over the cliffs at the Plains of Abraham. And yet the information provided by "French turncoats" was in fact the work of double agents, and the amphibious assault failed in fifteen minutes of battle.

By now Wolfe fully understood the unique history of Quebec, realising the French would never give up the city. Because founder Champlain and only eight men survived the first Quebec winter, a sign of the enduring French commitment to the settlement. Accordingly, Wolfe carried out his threat to execute a "Northern Armaggedon". Because Quebec City was destroyed, and its population expelled.

Seventeen years later, Wolfe was appointed Supreme Commander of British Forces in North America. The ruthless prosecution of his orders to suppress "the troubles" on the East Coast would still provoke intense emotions two hundred and fifty years later.

On this day in 2008, the badgers found near the site of the "Giraffe In A Loft" incident filmed a TV ad promoting England's 2010 World Cup soccer team.

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In 2006, actor Wayne Knight confirms in an interview he will return as Jerry Seinfeld's arch-nemesis, the postman Newman, in The Seinfeld Movie. Though Knight has lost considerable weight since he last played the role, he mentions that the weight loss for Newman "will be integrated into the script and, as I understand it, be something of a running joke in the story" The film begins shooting in March.

 - Wayne Knight
Wayne Knight
In 1980, Comrade President John Anderson denounces the British invasion of the People's Soviet of Argentina. He organizes the tattered remnants of the now-defunct Community of Trade into their last concerted action; a boycott of all goods produced by Great Britain. In addition, Comrade President Anderson arms and trains the rebel guerrilos in Argentina, a move which will come back to haunt the Soviet States in years to come.
In 1905, Russian reinforcements manage to stave off a Japanese attack on Port Arthur, the Russian base in China. It marked the turning point of a war that had been going badly for the Russians, and heartened by this victory, they were able to go on to greater glory and eventually win the war against the island nation. This defeat dimmed Japan's hopes of becoming a world power to rival the western nations.
In 1903, after appointing a black postmistress to the post office in Indianola, Mississippi, President Roosevelt sent reinforcements along with her to ensure that she would be able to do her job. Roosevelt's commitment to the civil rights of the African-American population of America gave him a hitherto unmeasured degree of support in the south. His Civil Rights Act of 1904, ensuring the voting rights of blacks across America, is credited with landing him his unprecedented 3rd term of office in the election of 1908.
In 1889, Mikhail von Heflin reaches the American border and crosses over into Michigan. From there, he heads to the Mississippi and follows it south. He has sent word ahead to his family in Texas to expect him shortly.
In 1818, Lord Byron finished canto IV of Childe P'Tir'Losh's Pilgrimage, his epic poem of the journey of a young Mlosh across the hard and often unforgiving world.
In 902, the wizard Atticus journeys to see Merlin.
in 47,392, BCE Telka the Speaker and her great-granddaughter Swikolay begin walking away from the Himalayas to the southeast. In her dreams, she had seen a great island in that direction, and she thought that it might have a better vantage point from which to reach the sky.
In 1892, the scholarly giant of modern England, John R. R. Tolkien, was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. At Oxford, Tolkien penned some of the greatest literary criticisms of the 20th century, delving into the mythic roots of Beowulf, the legends of King Arthur, the Germanic and Celtic influences in English literature, and dozens of other subjects. In recent years, his son Christopher published a few of the bed time stories Tolkien wrote for his children, of which the most famous are his Father Christmas stories. There has even been talk of making a movie of these stories, although no one really expects they would be very popular.
In 1521, German monk Martin Luther was excommunicated by Pope Henry VIII of the Holy British Empire. Brother Martin was disgusted with the corruption of the British Papacy, and nailed a series of theses on his local church door, enumerating and protesting the wickedness of the English Church. Pope Henry, who had never been one to tolerate protestants, excommunicated then executed Brother Martin.
In 1967, Jack Ruby's cancer went into remission, allowing him to be placed on trial for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. From the stand, Ruby spun a story of conspiracy, deception and treason, and the judge was forced to place a gag order on news from the trial. When the courtroom blew up the next day, it was blamed on a 'gas leak' under the courthouse.
Coach

On this day in 1959, Baltimore Colts head coach Weeb Ewbank resigned.

Coach - Ewbank Weeb
Ewbank Weeb

On this day in 1972, the Dallas Cowboys reached the Super Bowl for the fifth time in team history with a 16-3 win over the San Franciscso 49ers in the NFC championship game.

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In 1966, reports in the Sunday editions of several U.S. newspapers detail the activities of the Vietcong in South Vietnam, bringing the Southeast Asian war to the forefront of American public awareness for the first time. Conservatives blame the late President John F. Kennedy and his successor Lyndon Johnson for 'fighting with one hand behind their backs' in Vietnam. Liberals question the wisdom of U.S. intervention in 'an Asian civil war,' especially when American soldiers are already fighting and dying in Cuba, much closer to home.

 - LBJ
LBJ

On this day in 2014 the theatrical trailer for Jerry Bruckheimer's feature film adaptation of the hit TV crime drama CSI:Crime Scene Investigations began playing at movie theaters across the United States and Canada.

 - Jerry Bruckenheimer
Jerry Bruckenheimer
US President

In 1980, at a meeting of the National Security Council, President Nelson A. Rockefeller, Vice-President Paul D. Laxalt, Secretary of State Kenneth Adelman and Secretary of Defense Alexander Haig concur that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan must be countered.

CIA Director George H. W. Bush suggests that money be funneled to Afghan resistance groups; questioned as to which groups should be favored, Bush recommends that hard-line Islamists be approached, as they are likely to be particularly opposed to the 'godless' Soviets.

US President - Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Rockefeller

Rockefeller agrees to Bush's suggestion. It will prove to be a fateful choice.

In 1777, Alexander Hamilton arrives in New Orleans, having fled New York by ship a step ahead of British troops assigned to arrest him. Angry demands from British authorities that he be surrendered to them are ignored.

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In 2008, on this day Erich Kaestner died in a nursing home in Cologne aged 107, announced his son to the Associated Press. He was the last veteran of the second Franco-Prussian War, and a moments silence was respectfully requested by the municipal government of the People's Republic of North Rhine-Westphalia.
In 1960, Senator Joe Kennedy, Jr. threw his hat in the ring for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Kennedy's inspiring tale of recovery from injuries suffered in a horrific plane crash during World War II made him a natural choice, and he won the nomination handily. He had a little more difficulty defeating Vice President Nixon in the general election, but squeaked by with a margin of half a million votes.
In 1903, after appointing a black postmistress to the post office in Indianola, Mississippi, President Roosevelt sent reinforcements along with her to ensure that she would be able to do her job. Roosevelt's commitment to the civil rights of the African-American population of America gave him a hitherto unmeasured degree of support in the south. His Civil Rights Act of 1904, ensuring the voting rights of blacks across America, is credited with landing him his unprecedented 3rd term of office in the election of 1908.
In 870, the infidel rulers Ferdinand and Isabella fall to the righteous forces of Caliph Boabdil. Allah saw fit to give the Moors control of Espagne, and from there, a foothold on the rest of Europe, so that His word might reach the poor northerners who had not heard Its beauty.
In 1979, punk rocker Sid Vicious goes on trial for the murder of his girlfriend/manager, Nancy Spungen. Vicious attempts suicide several times during the trial process, until he is finally placed into custody and put under a suicide watch. He is found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. He was paroled in 2002, a shell of his former self.
In 1905, the Japanese attack on Port Arthur is frustrated by the arrival of Russian reinforcements. At one stage it looked as if the Tsar would be humiliated by defeat, but after Port Arthur, the Russo-Japanese war drifted into a stalemate.
across the timelines, Dr. Richard Tolman and his crew of dimensional travelers battle to close the hole that has been torn across the barrier between parallel universes. One by one, his people are sucked into the great void, until he is left alone, and only the force of his own will stands between him and oblivion.As he floats in the wormhole that threatens to devour all the known universes, Tolman sees the beginning and the ending of the universe merging into one, and feels a presence share the void with him. The beings formerly known as Sarah and John Thompson, one from the beginning and the other from the end of the universe, take notice of Tolman's plight and make the sacrifice that is necessary to replace the barrier between the universes. When Tolman comes to, he is back in his office in Berkeley. On a piece of paper in front of him are rough notes detailing a paper on parallel universes. He crumples the paper, tosses it in his wastebasket, and never gives the matter another thought.


January 1

As 1918 dawns on January 1st the Dead Sea Basin has changed beyond recognition. Those newly born in 1859 when digging of the Haifa canal began life with a Dead Sea covering 250 square miles sitting 1247 feet below mean sea level. In 1875 when they were in there mid teens the Dead Sea had risen until it sat at 1200 feet below sea level and covered 265 square miles. Year after year the sea got longer and deeper, bringing its altitude closer to mean sea level. By 1918 the now living sea sits just 600 feet below sea level, but it now covers 750 square miles, three times its former area. The Jordan Sea is just above the level of the ancient Lake Lisan that had kept the basin at this level during the height of the last ice age when much more rain had fallen in the region. Because it now covers three times the surface area that it had covered in 1859 evaporation was carrying away three times as much moisture. This is all good for the peoples living in the Trans-Jordan mountains, they have more rain than ever in recorded history and it has been a great benefit too them. Between the greater surface area and the greater evaporation rate it causes the level of the waters is rising at about a quarter the rate it rose in the first few years after the canal opened.

William Allen's Boondoggle Part 3The eventual surface area of the basin will be around 1200 square miles at full pool, 4.8 times the surface area of the Dead Sea in 1859. At its widest the Jordan Sea will be 11 miles wide and 150 miles long from the remnant of the Jordan river running out of Lake Hula in the north to the shore in the south 60 miles from the Gulf of Aquaba.

A naval architect in London, Thomas Wells, points out to his superiors in the Naval Design Bureau that the UK still holds the exclusive rights to the Aquaba Canal. If nothing changes the Jordan Basin should reach full pool in under 40 years and Queen Victoria publicly proclaimed that excavation would begin when it reached full pool. However there is an out, the Ottoman Empire is required under the agreement to excavate and maintain the Haifa portion of the canal for use by the British Royal Navy. Warships in 1918 are now deeper draught than the Haifa canal, so technically the Ottoman empire has not kept up its part of the agreement. This fact is discussed in back rooms and quietly filed away.

In other news the Zionist leadership issues a blanket rejection of Uganda, Cyprus and every other offer for a homeland that does not include Ancient Israel. The Ottoman Empire finally gives in during July, 1922 when they declare the Zionists can buy land between the Haifa Canal and Sinai Peninsula within the 5 miles coastal zone of the Mediterranean Sea. It is an imperfect solution, but gives the Ottoman Empire temporary peace and the Zionists a toehold in Palestine.

In 1923 British Petroleum, formed from several previous oil companies that had been doing business with the Ottoman Empire gets exclusive rights to produce oil in Mesopotamia. They either sell it to the Ottomans themselves or on the world market through the Persian Gulf. The tax revenues coming into the empire are substantial enough to allow a complete restructuring of the Army and Navy and the construction of an Air Force. For the first time an average citizen of the Ottoman Empire can afford consumer goods like radio receivers and in wealthier families automobiles.

In North America isolationism held firm through the brief European War of 1914-1915 and confidence is high. The United States is happily building a navy to rival the British with new ships under construction carrying a dozen 16" bore main guns. This leads to the Washington Naval Limitations treaty of 1925 between the USA and UK. Each of the parties agree to limit their Battleship fleets to 48 vessels, a dozen each with 16", 14", 12" and 10" main guns. Ships with guns of 8" or less are not restricted. Germany, France, Italy and Japan each agree to limit their fleets to one quarter the size of the USA and UK fleets. Russia and the Ottoman Empire are not parties to the treaty, but neither empire has naval ambitions outside of a few defense forces and large coast guards.

In 1929 the New York Stock market collapses, the easy money printing having caused a stock bubble never seen before that time. Sadly this leads to the Great Depression and the rise of radical racism in politics. In 1931 the Workers Rights Party takes a majority of seats in the UK Parliament and enacts a series of laws against Jews whom they blame for the bad banking policies of the 1920's.

Even worse in America the charismatic leader of the Klu Klux Klan, David C. Stephenson, gets the Democrat party nomination and is elected President in 1932. Famous in his native Indiana for building orphanages and giving aid to the poor through the KKK charities he founded in 1925 he is seen as a leader who brings Hope and Change everywhere he goes. Stephenson was charged with rape and manslaughter in 1925 but his influence on all levels of government prevented his conviction. Stephenson and his carefully orchestrated KKK campaign of influence through charity and terror has tight control over the Democrat Party and uses his influence to the fullest. His racist policies mirror those of the Workers Rights Party, blaming Jews and Catholics for the woes of the Great Depression. At the same time Congress enacts legislation that will buy steamship tickets for any blacks willing to move to Liberia or other countries in Africa, giving up their citizenship in the United States in the process.

All of these factors cause a large increase in the number of British and American Jews willing to resettle in the Palestine Strip along the coast of ancient Israel throughout the 1930's.

This emigration based ethnic cleansing is well thought of by those in charge of the worlds two superpowers, but the pace of cleansing is never quite fast enough for them. Eventually the Ottoman Empire starts complaining about the flood of English speaking Jews pouring into the Palestine Strip creating what is effectively a humanitarian crisis. After much arguing between the UK and the OE it is agreed that the Jews will be resettled from the Haifa Canal in the north to the Suez canal in the south. In exchange the UK will provide new dredging equipment capable of cutting through rock to improve the harbors all through the Black Sea, Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea belonging to the Ottoman Empire.

In June 1942 the new agreement is signed in London and the emigration resumes with thousands of Jews being sent on military barrack ships from London. When President Stephenson discovered that the Ottoman Empire still refuses to accept American Jews because the deal is exclusive to the UK he flies into a rage and orders the navy to sink the barracks ships hauling the British émigré's.

World War II erupts between the United States on one side and the British Empire on the other. While the UK technically has a vast land area and population much of the Empire is primitive and doesn't supply anything other than raw materials. The naval clashes between the two powers are mind boggling because both sides have used ship construction as a way of keeping up employment during the Great Depression. In North America the USA invades Canada, but the Army has been sorely neglected and the first few skirmish sized battles are embarrassing for the USA. The US Navy does manage to create a strong blockade between Canada and the rest of the Empire so within a year the Canadian forces begin to be beaten back and by July 1944 Canada surrenders unconditionally. At sea the war is a relative tie with submarines from both sides doing half of all the damage inflicted. Great Britain gets a bit hungry and many things are in short supply, but they are never in danger of actually being invaded or starving. For the USA the loss of Billions of dollars of merchant shipping as well as half of the naval fleet is a serious blow, and in 1944 President Stephenson is voted out of office. Unable to face a world where he is no longer President he commits suicide Christmas Eve 1944. His Vice President, Franklin Roosevelt, serves as a caretaker President until John Bricker is sworn into office January 20th, 1945.

President Bricker quickly arranges a cease fire with the British Empire and brings the war to a close. Canada is redrawn with Quebec north of the Saint Lawrence River becoming an independent country while the territory south of the Saint Lawrence including New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, the Prince Edward Islands and the Gaspe' Peninsula are ceded to the United States.

The war costs to both the USA and UK are enormous treasure and a number of lives. Once the peace deal is agreed too the Worker's Rights Party loses a vote of no confidence and quickly fades into history.

In 1952 the UK finally carries through with its promised delivery of brand new powerful harbor dredges to the Ottoman Empire. In the Jordan Sea Basin things have continued to progress, the water is now just 68 feet below mean sea level forcing the last still working water mill to be abandoned. The water is now rising at just 12 feet per year, and before the decade closes the Jordan Sea will be full up to sea level, almost a century after the excavation of the Haifa Canal began. Nobody outside of the Jewish population of New Palestine pay much attention, but fishing is a major industry for them and once the sea is full fishing boats will be able to enter and exit the Jordan Sea via the Haifa Canal. Many of the Jews living in New Palestine see this as a fulfillment of the prophecy of Ezekiel 47:8-10 QUOTE

Then he said unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters of the sea shall be healed.

9And it shall come to pass, that everything that lives, which moves, wherever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come there: for they shall be healed; and everything shall live where the river comes.

10And it shall come to pass, that the fishermen shall stand upon it from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim; there shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be the same kinds as the fish of the great sea, exceedingly many. UNQUOTE

For those who have resettled in Jerusalem many of the ancient prophecies and Bible stories are as important and relevant in 1952 as they were in the ancient world. For them the apparent fulfillment of one of Ezekiel's 2500 year old prophecies is a sign that God is once again smiling upon his chosen people. In ancient times the journey from Jerusalem to the shores of the Dead Sea involved a laborious climb down from the mountain and on into the deep valley where the Dead Sea sat. Now the journey is down a good paved road from the mountain heights to what will soon be the shores of the Jordan Sea at sea level.

In the early 1950's rising tensions between the Jewish New Palestine and Egypt lead to repeated incidents. With Egyptian forces seizing cargo bound for New Palestine on ships passing through the Suez canal and mobs killing Jews accused of crimes in Egypt. These incidents cause New Palestine to begin thinking about alternatives. With the Egyptian coup d'etat in 1952 tensions grow even stronger between the two nations and when Egypt orders the UK to remove all of its troops from the Canal Zone in 1956 a full blow crisis erupts. Despite the military strength of the UK and their French allies in resisting the Egyptian attempts to forcibly remove them London finds itself in an untenable position. Under the terms of the Suez canal construction in the 1860's the share holders, France and eventually the UK as well, have a 99 year lease on the Suez Canal Zone. That lease will expire in 1968 leaving many to question the wisdom of fighting a war for something that will only be in existence for another dozen years at most. Then the New Palestinians remind the UK that they have a contract with the Ottoman Empire to build the Aquaba Canal to the Jordan Sea which will give them a 99 year lease into the future.

Representatives of New Palestine, the Ottoman Empire and the UK meet in Jerusalem in late 1956 and work out the details. Powerful dredging ships are already working in the harbors around the Ottoman Empire, including in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea. These ships will be redeployed to Aquaba and Haifa ASAP. The dredging ships in Aquaba will start working their way north along the planned Aquaba route mapped out 80 years earlier by the British Canal Survey. In the north the Haifa ships will first straighten the canal through the salt marshes once again to the Notch. Then they will cut their way through the bedrock deepening the notch to 52 feet, double its 1875 depth, to match the depth of the new Aquaba canal in the south. As soon as the Notch has been excavated the dredges will sail through the Jordan Sea and start excavating their way south.

The original work making the Notch and widening it to 900 feet had taken the better part of the 16 years of construction time the Ottoman Empire invested in the Haifa Canal between 1859 and 1875. That work had involved primitive steam powered drags, railroad dump cars and explosives with a workforce of 25,000 hand laborers. The new cutter suction dredges use powerful mechanical crushers to hammer through the bedrock smashing it into gravel that could be suctioned up with muck and water through powerful impellers and pumped hundreds of feet through pipes, or poured into barges to be hauled away and dumped at sea.

The three powerful dredges working on the Haifa canal first cut down to the new depth of 52 feet and this involves breaking through bedrock in a few places that the old works had not had to worry about in the 1860's. The material pulled up by the dredges is pumped on either side of the new straight pathway to the Notch in levies piled high on both sides.

What had been a 16 year project the first time takes only 16 weeks in 1956. When the first dredge breaks through the Notch into the Jordan Sea there is a drop of eight feet, but no damage is done to the dredge and it proceeds south through the sea as the others continue to deepen the Notch. As the second and third dredges break through the Notch the center of the canal is 52 feet wide and 150 feet wide, increasing the current into the Jordan Sea for the last few months before full pool. The gravel material excavated in the four miles of the Notch itself are hauled back into the first section of the canal and used to reinforce the levies on each side against erosion.

The same day the dredges finish working in the Notch New Palestinian fishing trawlers sail through the deepened Haifa Canal into the Jordan Sea. The eight foot drop at the end of the canal is not a steep waterfall, rather it is the place where the higher canal waters fan out into the Jordan Sea. The flow rate is still around 5 miles per hour and any decent ocean going fishing trawler can fight its way back up the canal when the time comes.

The Jordan Sea travel only takes a day for the dredges and by June 1, 1957 dredging of the Aquaba canal is underway from both ends. With the dredges averaging a hundred feet of progress on each end every day the Aquaba canal, 150 feet wide and 52 feet deep is completed in September 1961.

With the new 99 year lease in place the UK starts immediately using the Haifa/Aquaba canals to avoid paying the fees Egypt requires for all vessels traversing the Suez route. While British naval vessels transit for free and British flagged merchant vessels get passage at a discount price the Ottoman Empire charges other foreign flagged shipping 10&perc; less than Egypt charges. For ships traveling on to Greece, Asia Minor or the Black Sea it is well worth taking the longer but cheaper Haifa/Aquaba route. For ships headed west for the Mediterranean ports or passage through the Straits of Gibraltar the shorter Suez canal is worth the extra cost in fuel and time saved. The Suez canal passage is just over 100 miles while the Aquaba/Jordan Sea/Haifa route is 180, and enters the Mediterranean Sea nearly 200 miles east of Port Said at the north end of the Suez canal.

In Egypt money earned from the Suez canal fees is being used as loan collateral for two major hydroelectricity projects. In the far south the Aswan High Dam is being built across the Nile itself to control flooding and generate large quantities of Electricity for industrialization. In the northwestern desert the second project is a canal to the Qattara Depression. The bottom of the depression is 435 feet below mean sea level and natural evaporation will allow water flowing in to dissipate once the level reaches 300 feet below mean sea level.

Once the canal and turbines are installed the Qattara project will produce 875 MW of electricity compared to the 2.1 GW of electricity the Aswan High Dam will provide. Digging the canal and installing the turbine structures will be a much faster project than the Nile dam because there is no impoundment lake to fill. Long penstocks feeding from the canal down 250 feet below sea level will run through turbines before pouring into the deeper region of the Qattara Depression. Taking a lesson from the Ottoman Empire, Egypt is using cutter suction dredges to dig the canal from west of Alexandria to the rim of the Qattara Depression far faster than other methods would have required completing the 35 mile canal in 5 years while building the penstocks, generators and high tension wires at the same time. Power will be flowing out of the system within weeks of the canal being completed in 1962.

With the election of President Joseph Kennedy Jr. in 1964 the USA turns its back fully on the Anti-Catholic/Anti-Jewish intolerance of the KKK era by electing the first Catholic President. As a further move to promote good relations with the Jewish voters President Kennedy spends three weeks vacationing in New Palestine, visiting Masada, Jerusalem, and Nazareth before fishing in the Jordan Sea. Throughout Asia and Africa the 1960's are an era of anti-colonialism with many new countries forming where the British and French had held colonies for generations. Some of them followed the German and Ottoman examples of local rule under a kind of commonwealth status arrangement for international relations while others like Mali and Kenya demanded and received complete separation.

With the dissolution of the world spanning empires of the last two centuries a new power structure was needed to allow diplomatic solutions to disputes between the dozens of new countries forming around the world. President Kennedy organized the Washington Conference of 1969 with delegates sent from every country then in existence and after weeks of debate it was agreed that a World Parliament would be formed. The city selected as the home of the World Parliament was hotly debated with the major powers feeling it should be theirs by right and the minor powers fearing that having the Parliament in a major powers territory would give too much influence to the host country.

Finally in the final round of arguments the American representative shouted out in frustration "I don't care if we pick Timbuktu but this matter has to be settled today". The delegates from the African countries seized upon the offhand statement and soon the other minor powers joined in seeing this as an opportunity to place the World Parliament far away from London and Washington. By 1978 Timbuktu had been transformed into a fully modern city, with a lovely World Parliament building, international airport, rail service to Benghazi and Lagos.

In 1877, six months after the Kohinoor diamond was affixed to the English Crown, Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of China in Peking, a move carefully timed by the British Government because Russia and America were pre-occupied by post-Civil War reconstruction. An article from the British Empire on Steroids thread.

Jewel in the CrownOn the same day, the Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli was rewarded with the upgraded title Earl of Beaconsfield. He had previously impressed Her Majesty by purchasing shares in the Suez Canal and announcing somewhat obsequiously "it is settled; you have it, madam!". A member of Parliament Sir Ian Malcolm famously described the share purchase as "the greatest romance of Mr. Disraeli's romantic career" but of course it was quite comprehensively upstaged by the grandeur of the "Jewel in the Crown".

If the enoblement was a mere formality then the capture of China was the inevitable (if not deliberate) result of a sustained, long-term strategy pursued by Disraeli, Palmerston and their predecessors. Piece by piece they had built up a British influence through the Opium Wars and the Taiping Rebellion eventually imposing their will across the Southern portion of the country. And fortuitously during this rapid period of hegemonistic growth, the Confederacy had seceded and the Tsar was overthrown. But although these foolish imperial architects could never know it, they had inadvertently swept away the leadership of the old civilization only to build the foundations for modern China, the super-state that would rise up and conquer the globe.

In 1781, on this day a general uprising in the Continental Army began to take shape in the Winter Camp at Jockey Hollow near Morristown in New Jersey. History would simply record that the catalyst was the killing of three officers in a drunken rage, but emotions actually ran far deeper than that, in actual fact it was a revolt-within-a-revolt.

Pennsylvania Line Mutiny ends the RevoltThe Commander of the Pennsylvania Line was General Anthony Wayne. His considerable forces comprised eleven regiments of some fifteen hundred men. However the expense of their maintenance was the issue, because their conditions were utterly deplorable, as candidly reported in letters exchanged between Wayne and his superior officer, General George Washington, commander of the entire Continental Army. In previous years, both Generals had cited corruption and a lack of concern on the part of State Governments and the Continental Congress in fostering the poor conditions. But their futile attempts to "manage up" had ended in failure, and on New Year's Day, they lost control and destiny was being taken completely out of their hands.

After a raucous New Year's Day celebration, soldiers from several regiments had armed themselves and prepared to depart the camp without permission. Officers led the remaining orderly regiments to quell the uprising, but after a few warning shots from the mutineers, the rest of the regiments fell into line with them. Captain Adam Bitting, commander of Company D, 4th Pennsylvania Regiment, was fatally shot by a mutineer who was trying to kill a lieutenant colonel. General Wayne tried to convince the soldiers to return to order peacefully, but he was also killed in the confusion.

Several days later an emissary from General Sir Henry Clinton, British commander in New York City, arrived with a guide he had acquired in New Jersey. The agent brought a letter from Clinton offering the Pennsylvanians their back pay from British coffers if they gave up the rebel cause. News of these negotiations triggered a further uprising from the "New Jersey Line". Unlike the more conciliatory figure of Wayne, Washington saw a threat to his personal authority and responded with extreme force, executing many of the mutineers. When he was also killed the game was up but in reality general events were running in the other direction. Even before the uprising, the number of Americans under British Command had started to approach the Patriot troop count.

Addendum by Jeff Provine:By 1783, the "united states" had given up their rebellion outside of a few guerilla warriors in the South. Britain reconstructed the region, hanging all but a few of the signers of the "Declaration of Independence", which had truly been their own death warrants. Wealthy Patriots were stripped of their merchant fleets and plantations. The American colonies continued to have troubled days with the British Empire, arguing to maintain slavery and to expand into Indian lands. Britain soon went to war with Napoleon, causing a spur of enthusiasm for the mother country as was seen with the conquest of New Orleans in 1806.

In 1764, the child prodigy Wolfgang Mozart performed for the Royal Family of King Louis XV in Versailles, France.

Mozart Off-keyAlthough the boy did his best, he was distracted by the sumptuous surroundings and did not please Louis. Discouraged, the boy's father gave up on his dreams of making the boy Europe's foremost musician.

Mozart went into mathematics after being given his choice of direction in his life, and published many important papers during the early 19th century.

In 2013, on this day the United Kingdom assumed the year-long rotating presidency of the G8 group.
This article is part of the American Heroes thread.

The President-elect's Tax HavensNeedless to say, the British Cabinet had already taken ownership of the responsibilities which include hosting the annual leaders' summit (in Lough Erne, County Fermanagh) and choosing the global priorities for discussion. Accordingly, they had already chosen to focus on combating trade protectionism, cracking down on tax havens and promoting greater government transparency.

These themes (in fact the UK Government's own agenda items) had been repeatedly articulated by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne throughout the year. Even before Mitt Romney became President-elect, creating a situation of conflict because he himself had been pilloried for avoiding US taxation by holding funds off-shore.

In 1750, on this day inaugural Speaker-President Frederick Muhlenberg (pictured) was born in Trappe, Pennsylvania.

Birth of Speaker-President MuhlenbergDespite the war-time inefficiencies of Congressional Government, his predecessor General Washington never once wavered from his Republican convictions. He voluntarily surrendered his post as C-in-C, only reluctantly agreeing to serve as President and of course he outright refused to be crowned King.

During his two terms of office circumstances forced him to adopt an authoritarian leadership style bordering on monarchism. Whilst he could be trusted, his Vice President John Adams patently could not (some even feared he would crown himself King and name his son John Quincy as successor). He ludicrously suggested to Senate that Washington be addressed "His Majesty" inviting nicknames such as the "Duke of Braintree" and "His Rotundity". More significantly, he was prevented from addressing the Senate. It was Speaker of the House Frederick Muhlenberg that suggested that the title of the President of the United States should be "Mr. President" instead of "His High Mightiness" or "His Elected Majesty", as John Adams had suggested [1].

In his Farewell Address, Washington shocked the nation by announcing not only his retirement, but the dissolution of his office in favour of a unified position of Speaker-President. Of course Muhlenberg was an interesting character, being a Pennsylvanian Lutheran pastor and a German speaker. But as matters transpired, he only served in office for two years and could not have taken steps on either language or religion as his detractors feared.

It is 1511, and all of England is rejoicing at the birth of Henry, Duke of Cornwall, to King Henry VIII and his beloved Queen Katherine of Aragon.

Happy Endings Part 7
Henry VIII & Catherine of Aragon
She turns a blind eye to her husband's affairs with other women, most notably her lady-in-waiting Anne Boleyn.

As the young Duke grows, so does his father's devotion to the Church of Rome. At Pope Clement's request, the King is happy to join the other Catholic monarchs in fighting the new Protestant heresy that is flourishing in Germany. Soon all of Europe is Catholic again, as it remains to this day.

In 1766, on this day the "Old Pretender" James Francis Edward Stuart died at the St James's Palace aged seventy-seven. His Majesty's demise was just three months short of an ineffectual twenty year reign that followed the restoration of the House of Stuart.
This article is part of the Glorious 45 thread.

Glorious Forty-Five #2
By Ed, Scott Palter & Jared Myers
His contributory role in the ending of the hated foreign rule of the Hanovers was a surface conversion to the Anglican Faith. But of course his Majesty wasn't even present at the decisive moment in the Jacobite Uprising, a Council of War held on 5th December, 1745. Against the near unanimous advise of his commanders including such men as Lord George Murray, his son Bonnie Prince Charlie crossed Swarkestone Bridge and ordered the Jacobite Rebel Army to march on Oxford.

Even before his brilliant reign as Charles III, he and his father would nurture the new generation of bold commanders that would suppress the American revolt. But of course the rise of the British land army would have profound consquences much closer to home.

At first French assistance for the Stuart restoration was little more than a half-hearted and rather clumsy attempt to throw a spanner in their enemie's works. But due to the stunning success of Bonnie Prince Charles (albeit balanced with the shock of the Anglican conversion) Paris was willing to form a world-beating Triple Alliance with the Spanish that would end Dutch overseas ambitions. Overconfident in the status quo, the Bourbons also move to embrace Prussia ensuring that after 1766, Charles of England and Frederick of Prussia would tower over the other rulers of Europe like colossi. But by the turn of the century, French belligerence had returned in full force, and with the Rise of Napoleon, the continent of Europe would be confronted by a titanic clash of three great powers.
The "Glorious 45" thread continues in Part 3

In 193 AD, after the assassination of Emperor Commodus, the Roman Senate arose under the guidance of Publius Helvius Pertinax to reinstate the principles of republicanism after more than two centuries of rule by emperors.

Rome Returns to the RepublicCommodus was the son of Marcus Aurelius, a good emperor who ruled for some twenty years. Aurelius had been more of a philosopher king than a politician, writing his Meditations on self-guidance in Greek, possibly in imitation of the ancient wise men of Greece. He took his rule as a civic duty, establishing justice and fighting numerous wars for the good of Rome even though he preferred study. Aurelius died in Vindobona (modern Vienna) while on campaign in 180, succeeded by his son, Commodus.

Commodus had already ruled as co-emperor for three years and, though young, assumed full command with all skills needed, but his father had not anticipated him squandering them. Dio Cassius, a contemporary historian, recorded that Commodus began to turn Rome "from a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron". Commodus ignored the business affairs of state and instead took to entertaining the army and populace with enormous monetary gifts and lavish games. Most notoriously, Commodus would reject tradition and participate in the gladiatorial combat himself. Early in his reign and then throughout, dissatisfied leaders would organize conspiracies against him, finally culminating in his death at the hand of his mistress Marcia, his manager Eclectus, and the Praetorian Prefect Quintus Aemilius Laetus December 31, 192.

Pertinax, the praefectus urbi (roughly, Mayor of Rome), was taken by the Praetorian Guard and prepared to be named emperor, even against his will. After a night of expert reasoning and discussion, Pertinax finally managed to persuade the Praetorian soldiers to end the tradition of obeying an emperor and instead uphold their oath to the Senatus Populusque Romanus (the Senate and People of Rome). Marching into Rome in celebration, the Senate was convened and ancient legal books brought out of libraries to bring back the great Republic that had been dissolved into August's empire when Rome was so corrupt. Corruption had now swallowed up the office of imperator, and it was time for the Republic to stand again.

Great new powers were granted to the prefects in the provinces around the empire and citizens were enabled to vote for representation among the censors. The Senate took up many pet projects that had gone undone while the bureaucracy ruled, and Pertinax himself retained his position as praefectus urbi, spending much of his tenure restoring solvency and maintaining the grain supply to Rome. The Praetorians were broken up diplomatically, paying commanders enormous sums to retire or head eastward in General Septimus Severus's campaign to conquer Mesopotamia while soldiers were dispersed through the legions protecting the empire at large. Without the Praetorian Guard taking great bribes and influencing politics with the sword, Rome transitioned fairly peacefully into the New Republican Era.

In 251, the Plague of Cyprian spread through the empire. In Rome, it was rumored that some 5,000 people died each day. The Senate proved powerless to stop the suffering, several potential solutions being frozen in debate while disease raged. Prefects maintained control by establishing quarantine zones, cutting off their borders and taking executive powers. By the time the plague itself finished, the provinces were sick of making payments to an ineffective Rome that now could scarcely defend its own borders. The empire collapsed as Parthia rebelled and no one stopped them, followed by Egypt, Asia Minor, and spreading westward until Rome had become a checkerboard of mismatched kingdoms, republics, and city-states by the beginning of the fourth century.

Germanic invasions soon followed, turning the Mediterranean into a series of feudal states built upon self-defense. Trade dwindled, and a dark age settled across Europe and northern Africa. In the East, the Persian Empire arose, dominating much of the Levant and maintaining trade along the Silk Road, growing wealthy as it fed luxuries to the west, such as the Hun Empire, Kingdom of the Franks, and New Carthage.

In 1917, New Year's Day was a gloomy one at the White House. Just after Christmas it had been noted that President Woodrow Wilson was ill, and pneumonia had been diagnosed. Since then he had been getting steadily worse.

Chapter of Accidents; How Bryan Returned From The DeadThat evening, he struggled to say a few words, but could barely be understood and lapsed into unconsciousness. He died in the small hours of Tuesday, January 2nd.

President Thomas R Marshall and the Democratic National Chairman, Vance C McCormick, arranged a hasty meeting. With less than a week to go before the Electoral College cast its votes, the Democratic ticket had to be named in a hurry. No doubt, of course, who the presidential candidate must be. At such short notice, it was far to late to look for anyone other than Marshall, even if some rather wished they could. But he needed a "running-mate".

Part 1 of a new story by Mike StoneMcCormick floated the name of William Gibbs McAdoo, son-in-law to the late President. Marshall did not object aloud, but was not keen. Remembering how the Wilson cabinet had snubbed him and ignored his opinions (to the point where he had given up attending after a few months) he had little fondness for it, and was in no hurry to favour any of its members. To gain some thinking time, he insisted on a courtesy offer being made to William Jennings Bryan, the party's elder statesman, even if somewhat shopworn of late. "I don't suppose for a minute he'll accept. After all, he was offered it in 1912, but he turned it down.When you've run for President three times, Vice President is a bit too much of a come down. But let's do it anyway".

Against his better judgement, Mc Cormick had acquiesced.

Bryan studied the message thoughtfully. Vice President was, indeed, a rather anticlimactic note on which to end his career - and it was ending. That was why they hadn't turned to him in 1912; the world was passing him by. And yet - -. He had rejected the position in 1912, and that had now proved a terrible mistake. Had he swallowed his pride and accepted, then he, not Marshall, would now - -. Had the Sin of Pride cost him his last chance for the office he had sought so long? He reached his decision.

The telegram came back within an hour. "Delighted to serve my party and country in any way you wish. Accepted with thanks". McCormick groaned as he read it, but Marshall was philosophic. "Well, I guess we're stuck with him.

And [with a chuckle] if I could do the job, I'm sure he can". The telegrams went out to advise the Democratic Electors. Despite some raised eyebrows, they made no trouble; on January 8, Marshall and Bryan received all of Wilson's 277 votes. The New York Times expressed a general feeling in its editorial. "If it was felt, for whatever reason, that Mr Bryan must be offered some post, the Vice Presidency is probably the one where he can do least harm".

By the time the Electors met, Marshall had already made his first gaffe. At Wilson's funeral, he spoke in glowing terms of the late President's work for peace, and declared "I pledge myself that so long as I am your President, never will any American be sent to war, unless an invader's evil foot already stands upon our shore. Should that happen, they will need their legs - and arms - for swimming". Wild rumours soon took flight as to who had drafted those words, with Bryan as the principal suspect, but the truth was more prosaic. Marshall had inadvertantly taken the wrong paper from his briefcase, and rather than perform an undignified rummage, chose to ad lib from a talk he'd given at another funeral, a couple of years before. Unfortunately, it was that of a sailor killed in Mexico, in the course of Mr Wilson's intervention there. When Edith Galt Wilson learned of this, she was incensed. Taking his words as a slight on her late husband, she never spoke to Marshall again.

Others were scarcely happier. In a quiet whisper to Colonel House, Secretary of State Robert Lansing observed "That hick has just given away our whole position on our maritime rights, before the President's even buried yet".

House nodded. "I think I know how people must have felt when Andrew Johnson took over from Lincoln. ("Yep", interjected Lansing, "another alcoholic1"). And look at the way he's cut and run from Mexico, without even talking to the Cabinet".

"No prizes for guessing who persuaded him" responded House. "For Pete's sake, Bryan supported the Vera Cruz expedition in '14, but you'd never guess it listening to him now. Still, small mercies. At least Roosevelt's not here. That speech could have given him a heart attack". Ex-Presidents Taft and Roosevelt had both been invited, of course. Taft had come, but TR developed an illness which was widely assumed to be diplomatic.

"You should have heard what Ambassador Page told me when he was over here last Summer" added Lansing. "You know, Marshall said he took care never to read any of the papers the Allies or Germans put out, in case they caused him to form an opinion and stop being neutral. Talk about a world statesman".

"Indeed" responded House. "It is a tragedy".

House left Washington the next day. He had never held any official position, and had no personal ties with the new President. Lansing also departed, though not from choice. The pro forma resignation which he had submitted, with the other Cabinet officers, on a change of President, had been accepted, and Bryan was back at State for the next two months. Marshall quickly explained that there was nothing personal in this. As Vice-President Elect, Bryan was entitled to be first in line of succession, for which purpose he needed to be Secretary of State until March 4. Lansing wondered if that was all there was to it. So did many others; but Marshall's explanation was good enough for the Senate, who confirmed Bryan to what one newspaper described as "the sound of 192 shoulders all being shrugged at once" .

Count Johannes von Bernstorff felt his stomach knotting up as he stepped out of the Embassy into the cab waiting to take him to the State Department. He had warned his government again and again what a declaration of Unrestricted Sumarine War might do, but declare it they had, and now it fell to him to deliver the message. And at this of all moments, when the accession of a new President offered the chance of a fresh start in German-American relations. The Ambassador felt like weeping.
To be continued

In 1943, on this day Walt Disney Studios released the animated cartoon Der Fuehrer's Face. Originally intended to serve solely as an anti-Nazi propaganda piece for the American war effort, the film was hugely popular, voted #22 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons and winning the 1943 Academy Award for Animated Short Film.

Der Fuehrer's FaceFifty-three year old cartoonist Adolf Schicklegruber originated the design concept, placing his own career on an upward trajectory. Not so for Donald Duck, whose depiction as a reluctant Nazi would mark the end of the line for this particular character. The Disney Corporation even kept the movie out of general circulation until an official U.S. video release in 2004, when it was included in the Walt Disney Treasures limited edition DVD set Walt Disney.

In 1735, on this day the silversmith and renowned loyalist Paul Revere (pictured) was born in the North End of Boston. A post from American Heroes thread.

A Nightmare on King StreetRevulsed by the lynching of British Redcoats on King Street in 1770, he converted to the loyalist cause, later serving with distinction in the Massachusetts Volunteers at the Battle of Long Island and the capture of New York City.

Despite this exemplary military service and not to mention his famous engravings of the Boston Massacre, it was his "midnight ride" that turned him into an iconic hero.

Revere helped organize an intelligence and alarm system to keep watch on the patriot militia. In service as a messenger to the crown on April 18, 1775 he received intelligence that one William Dawes had set off to Lexington to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the movements of the British Army, which was beginning a march from Boston to Lexington, ostensibly to arrest Hancock and Adams and seize the weapons stores in Concord. Anticipating a bloody confrontation like King Street writ large he set off on horseback to warn the King's regulars that they would be met by formations of patriot militia. Due to his tireless energy, wiser heads prevailed and Adams and Hancock were left to enjoy their liberty, for the time being at least.

In 2002, with American troops on the ground in Afghanistan, backed up by air support, President Gore goes on national television to inform the American people.

Gore Under Fire by Eric LippsHe continues to insist that the U.S. incursion is not aimed at Kabul, but only at Al Qaeda's operation within Afghanistan's borders. What he does not tell them is that there are troubling reports that Al Qaeda cells outside Afghanistan may be readying attacks against Gulf-region governments friendly to the U.S. Intelligence analysts warn that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are particularly at risk.

President Gore's revelation that U.S. military forces have entered Afghanistan is pursuit of Al Qaeda triggers fierce controversy.

Many in both parties in Congress are angered that he has taken this action without consulting them first. Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts says, "I supported Al Gore in the 2000 election. When the dispute over its results was resolved in his favor, I was relieved, for I believed his would be a steadier hand than that of his opponent. His unilateral decision to launch a war, however--and make no mistake, that is what he was done--reveals a troubling recklessness which I fear will cost this nation dearly". The aging Democratic icon is applauded, even by some GOP colleagues who almost never agree with him.

In the media, Gore's action splits both conservatives and liberals, with some on each side approving and some condemning the Afghan intervention. Among opponents, liberals tend to agree with Kennedy's charge of recklessness, while on the right, fire-breathers such as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter snarl that Gore is merely trying to 'look tough' and will find some way to 'surrender to the terrorists,' as Limbaugh puts it on an installment of his radio program.

Vice-President Joseph I. Lieberman responds to the critics by asking, "What would you have us do? We were attacked on our home soil. Americans were killed, and many more would have died if our law-enforcement agencies had not managed to intercept some of the would-be attackers. We know where those who planned this slaughter are hiding, and we know they'll try again if we give them a chance". Privately, some of the invasion's harshest critics suggest that in defending the invasion the VP is more concerned with the interests of Israel, of which he has been an outspoken supporter, than with those of the United States.

In 1972, on New Year's Day, bombings rattle Havana.

Batista flees Havana by Eric LippsTo the disgust of U.S. occupation commander Gen. William Westmoreland, a shaken President Fulgencio Batista flees the city. U.S. troops are dispatched to "escort" the Cuban president back to the capital, where he receives a dressing-down from Gen. Westmoreland concerning his "cowardice".

The American commander is unhappy with Batista for another, more fundamental reason as well: his inability to put an end to the Castro insurgency despite the massive U.S. military and intelligence support he has received since his restoration to power.

Unwittingly anticipating a line later used in America, Westmoreland warns Batista that the seemingly unending rebellion is "a cancer growing on your presidency".

On this day in 1945, Allied troops in Germany attacked Wilhelmshaven in what would later be known as "the New Year's Day offensive".

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On this day in 2007, certain resident of London phoned Scotland Yard to report an intruder in his house; when police arrived on the scene they discovered the intruder to be a giraffe which had been hiding in the man's loft for several days. When questioned, the man vehemently stated that he had not invited the giraffe into his house and that it was keeping him awake all night.

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across the timelines, Dr. Richard Tolman and his crew of dimensional travelers battle to close the hole that has been torn across the barrier between parallel universes. One by one, his people are sucked into the great void, until he is left alone, and only the force of his own will stands between him and oblivion.As he floats in the wormhole that threatens to devour all the known universes, Tolman sees the beginning and the ending of the universe merging into one, and feels a presence share the void with him.

The beings formerly known as Sarah and John Thompson, one from the beginning and the other from the end of the universe, take notice of Tolman's plight and make the sacrifice that is necessary to replace the barrier between the universes. When Tolman comes to, he is back in his office in Berkeley. On a piece of paper in front of him are rough notes detailing a paper on parallel universes. He crumples the paper, tosses it in his wastebasket, and never gives the matter another thought.
In 1962, Pete Best, just starting his rise up the music world's ladder, signed with Capital Records. His former band, the unknowns called The Beatles, were rejected by Decca Records after an abysmal audition.
In 1952, the New Reich forms the Eurasian Union to coordinate their control over the disparate countries they have conquered in their war against the Greater Zionist Resistance and their Asian and African allies. It is largely a rubber stamp for German programs, created to give the appearance of international support for them.


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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.