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.
In 1837, Britain takes possession of Michigan Territory following conclusion of a treaty with native tribes. Native tribes are granted exclusive possession of a large tract of the territory, angering white settlers who had hoped to take possession of all of the territory's land. Native-owned lands are to be incorporated as Detroit Territory; the remainder will become the Crown Colony of Michigan.
In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford vetoes the Privacy Act, passed by Congress in reaction to the excesses of his predecessor Richard M. Nixon.
Justifying his action, Ford says, "Although I understand Congress wanted to rein in the executive branch to prevent abuses, I believe that with our nation at war, with American boys still dying not only in Southeast Asia but in a Communist-threatened nation ninety miles off our own shore, I cannot support tying the hands of our investigative agencies. Subversion is a real threat, and we must take to hand whatever tools we can to keep it from harming us".
Ford's veto is met with anger on Capitol Hill.
The incoming Ninety-fourth Congress, in which the President's party will have thirty fewer seats in the House and six fewer in the Senate, will include numerous freshman members elected on promises to 'clean up the mess' from Watergate, including Nixon's controversial domestic espionage operations, and even some veteran Republicans will privately concede that the veto sends the wrong message.
On this day in 1990, deposed Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, who along with his wife Elena had escaped Bucharest seven days earlier, was arrested in Switzerland while attempting to secure political asylum at the North Korean embassy in Geneva.
In 1954, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) is formally reorganized into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In keeping with the ostensibly peaceful purposes of the new organization, it will be under civilian rather than military control, a choice which angers some in the Pentagon who saw President Eisenhower's commitment to space as a bonanza for the Defense Department.
Dr. Thomas Keith Glennan of the Atomic Energy Commissions is named first NASA Administrator. By mid-March, after two months of bureaucratic infighting, NASA is finally staffed and offices established in Washington and Huntsville, Alabama. The Huntsville facility will do much of the early development work on the satellite.
In 1959, the government of strongman General Fulgiencio Batista in Cuba falls to left-wing rebels led by former law student Fidel Castro. General Batista escapes to Miami.
Reaction in the U.S. is swift and hostile. Over the next few months, the Eisenhower administration will organize and launch a semi-secret campaign of economic sabotage and military raids, operating out of bases in the United States, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Under the supervision of Vice-President Nixon, right-wing Cubans who have fled their island country are organized into a secret army in preparation for an invasion, which they will spearhead but the U.S. military is to support, aimed at 'freeing' Cuba.
Unaware of Ike's covert destabilization efforts, Senator Joseph McCarthy will lose no time in going to the media to blame the Eisenhower administration for the fall of Batista. 'We can choose to believe that the Administration is incompetent,' he thunders, 'or that it is riddled with traitors, as was the Democrat administration of Truman before it, or both. There are no other choices.'
Even as the administration's plans go forward, the Wisconsin senator will keep up his assault. A fuming Eisenhower has no choice but to let him, in order not to expose the anti-Castro operation.
In 1808, the Africa Act, passed by Parliament the previous October, goes into effect, banning the African slave trade and empowering British naval vessels to intercept and impound slave ships on the high seas.
The Act inspires fury in the slaveholding American colonies, sparking talk of a new rebellion.
In 1958, after a number of embarrassing public failures, the U.S. finally orbits an artificial satellite, Explorer I.
Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, who had demanded a congressional investigation after the Soviets beat the U.S. into space the previous October, rushes to take credit. 'This is what happens when you hold these eggheads' feet to the fire,' he says at a news conference.
McCarthy's comments fuel resentment among space scientists and the Senator's colleagues on the Hill, who will band together to strip him of authority over the Sputnik inquiry he had instigated and to change its focus from rooting out 'traitors' in the scientific community to building up America's scientific and technological infrastructure.
In 1800, under the terms of a Franco-Spanish treaty, New Orleans, which had been a Spanish possession since 1763, is returned to France. This has the effect of placing a second colony of expatriate American rebels under the protection of the French crown. Britain, which had been reluctant to risk war with both France and Spain to pursue these 'traitors,' begins seriously considering a war to seize Louisiana.
In 1966, counter-revolutionary reactionaries shut down the New York City subway system in a protest against the New York Soviet's freezing of subway worker's wages. Capitalist sympathizer John Lindsay, organizer of the strike, was arrested by Mayor Michael Quill and charged with anti-American activities.
In 1946, Pascal-Edison develops the prototype model for what will become their desktop difference engine. This model, known as Eniac, was never released, but was the template for the eddie that became known as the Univac.
In 1959, President Fulgencio Batista is overthrown by Fidel Castro's forces during the Cuban Revolution. The United States became increasingly hostile to Cuba during 1959, driving Castro away from the liberal elements of his revolutionary movement and into the arms of Nazi Germany. Just three years later the Nazis would site nuclear weapons less than 100 miles from the United States, leading the World to the brink of Armageddon
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.