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 4

In 1642, the spies of King Charles intercepted Member of Parliament John Pym just as he was fleeing London. A fierce critic of the monarch and popular party leader, Royalists had nicknamed him "King Pym" because of his great influence on the Long Parliament, but even so he was just one of the gang of leading rebels that were being rounded up.

Execution of King PymSuspecting that some members of the English Parliament had colluded with the invading Scots during the recent Bishop's War, the King had directed Parliament to give up five vociferous members of the Commons - Pym, John Hampden, Denzil Holles, William Strode and Sir Arthur Haselrig - and one peer - Lord Mandeville - on the grounds of high treason. When Parliament refused, his wife Henrietta Maria persuaded Charles to arrest the five members by force, which Charles intended to carry out personally

Accordingly, the leading rebel parliamentarian was brought before the King, who declared Pym a traitor and had him executed in order to quell the rebellious streak that the legislature had been showing. This has the opposite effect, and Parliament and the king were at war the next month.

It is Jan 4 1894, and after much deliberation, Czar Alexander III has refused to join an alliance with France. He has been tempted to do so by a large loan that the French had given him to buy arms for the coming war against Japan. But finally, seeing the danger of having to fight against Germany, he returns the money with regret. An article from our Happy Endings thread.

Happy Endings 42:
An imperially happy ending
Twenty years later, Austria and Hungary invade Serbia, following the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand. Lacking allies in the West, Russia is forced to back down without mobilizing, when the Germans threaten to support Austria. Without the alliance with France, Russia simply could not fight Germany and Austria by herself.

Instead of World War I, there is merely an isolated conflict between Austria and Serbia, ending in a stalemate. It showed the extreme weakness of the Austrians fighting alone and the map of Europe remaining unchanged.

So now the Hapsburgs, Hohenzollerns and Romanovs still rule their respective empires to this day. Since it has not been weakened by two world wars, the British Monarchy maintains its empire as well.

In 2001, President-elect Ralph Nader, who had been chosen by the people in the biggest election shocker in a century, was assassinated before he could assume office.

President-elect Nader AssassinatedAlthough there was some constitutional question about it, the Vice-President-elect, Nader's running mate Winona LaDuke, took the oath of office later that month and became the first woman president in American history.

Wikipedia reports - Winona (meaning "first daughter" in Ojibwe) LaDuke was born in 1959 in Los Angeles, California, to Vincent and Betty (Bernstein) LaDuke. Her father, an Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) from White Earth Reservation in Minnesota, enrolled his daughter as a member of the tribe at an early age. As a young man, he had been an activist on treaty rights and tribal issues, particularly the loss of lands. The reservation was one-tenth of its original size, and the losses contributed to unemployment and other problems of its people.

In 1986, on this day Irish singer and musician Phil Lynott was released from Salisbury District Hospital in Wiltshire. Listen to Whiskey in the Jar on YouTube

The Boy is back in TownThe previous years had been dogged by drug and alcohol dependency leading to his collapse on Christmas Day 1985, at his home in Kew. He was discovered by his mother, who was unaware of his dependency on heroin. She contacted his wife Caroline Crowther, who was, and immediately knew the problem was serious. After Caroline drove him to a drug clinic at Clouds House in East Knoyle, near Warminster, he was taken to Salisbury Infirmary where he was diagnosed as suffering from septicaemia.

Fortunately this was a false alarm and a second opinion determined it to be a misdiagnosis. He recovered consciousness to speak to a mysterious visitor. No record remains of that conversation, but Phil Lynott was changed forever. He told his mother that something, something just incredible had happened to him that very day. But she knew the truth of it anyway. Hurrying to the Hospital minutes before, she had caught a glimpse of the vistors's bare feet, you see. Jesus will meet you at the point of your need she said, and he nodded in full understanding, hot tears of joy running down his face. Listen to The Boys are Back in Town on YouTube

In 1919, on this day the seventh Chancellor of the German Empire Georg Friedrich Graf von Hertling passed away in Berlin. He was seventy-five years old. An installment from the Central Powers Victorious thread.

Central Powers Victorious Part 1 Death of a PuppetHertling became professor of philosophy at the University of Munich, and while professor he published books on Aristotle (1871) and on Albertus Magnus (1880). From 1875 to 1890, and again from 1893 to 1912, he was a member of the Reichstag, and from 1909 to 1912 he led the Centre (Catholic) Party faction in the Reichstag. In 1891, the Regent of Bavaria made him a life member of the upper house of the Bavarian Landtag.

As leader of the largest party in the Bavarian Landtag, in 1912 Hertling was appointed Bavarian Minister-President and Minister for Foreign Affairs by Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria. King Ludwig III later elevated him to the rank of Count. Following the outbreak of World War I, Hertling supported the policy of Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg but declined to become his successor in 1917. After the fall of Georg Michaelis in November of that year, however, he accepted appointment as German Chancellor and Minister-President of Prussia.

Given his age and conservatism, he was not equipped to overcome the influence of the military high command, led by Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff. Like Michaelis before him, he was increasingly seen as a puppet of Hindenburg and Ludendorff, who constituted a virtual military dictatorship in the last year of the war.

In the final year of his life, Imperial Germany was a victor power making a formal transition to military dictatorship. There was growing evidence that von Hertling was fighting to reassert civilian authority. A power struggle developed. But it was simply not possible to turn the clock back five years, and in any case Ludendorff was seriously considering a formalization of the military dictatorship at the point when von Hertling passed away. Ludendorff was determined to ensure that he would have no successor...

In 1649, on this day the Rump Parliament voted to put Charles I on trial. But Dirk Puehl wonders what if the outbreak of the English Civil War had actually been avoided by a game-changing point of divergence?
This post was written by Dirk Puehl the highly recommended author of #onthisday #history Google+ posts.

The Fortuitous Death of Thomas WentworthWhen Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Stafford (pictured), succumbed to disease in September 1640 it was as if an evil spirit had been banished from King Charles said. Even though still lingering between bankruptcy, dangerous continental ideas of Absolutism and flirting with Catholicism, Charles was no longer goaded into conflict at all costs with his parliament.

When the latter went into session in September of that year, later known as the "Long Parliament" the doors were finally open for reconciliation. As King Charles was not able to lay his hands on the late Earl of Stafford's financial assets, he made quite a lot of concessions to avoid total bankruptcy - one of them being the agreement to finally divorce his unpopular French Catholic wife Henrietta Maria. This announcement made before the Long Parliament on January 4th 1641 eased tensions palpably.

During the rest of Charles rule, things never went to easy between him and parliament with his lingering demands of royal supremacy, but never went as far as being an open conflict again after the approval of almost all members to the war with France that broke out when Henrietta Maria fled with both her sons to her native lands after Charles had married Lady Anne Montagu, daughter of one of his generals and parliamentary leader Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester.

In 1815, not yet thirty years after declaring independence from Britain, New England declared independence again at the Hartford Convention during the latter days of the War of 1812.

New England SecedesWith the exception of John Adams, the United States had been dominated by Virginia planters, almost to the point of tyranny. While no one could speak ill of George Washington, the hero of the young country, the policies of Thomas Jefferson and his protege James Madison infuriated New England.

The political differences were not completely geographical, but the societies of the North and South formed a great rift. In the South, Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans held to the ideal "gentleman farmer", men who could last on their own thanks to rich soil and, of course, slaves in his employ. Great wealth was held by the elites, who spoke of representing each man with natural rights while not giving the slave votes, but counting them as three-fifths for census to bolster their numbers in representation. Small states such as Rhode Island and New Hampshire were practically overlooked. They also spoke of minimal government influence on trade, refusing money for canals or highways, but seemingly all too happy to promote embargoes that forced up agrarian prices while decimating commerce.

Trade was New England's lifeblood. While the majority of people were small landowners and cottage-industrialists, the economy of the region still tied to harbors. The Federalists favored strong government for improvement and defense, but economic tampering and declaring war went too far. When Madison won his second term, the War of 1812 raged, and Canada became victim to American campaigns. Militias had worked in the Revolutionary War, and Massachusetts and Connecticut had refused to fall under the orders of an aggressive War Department, prompting Madison to refuse payment for defenses. They raised their own funds, prompted by Harrison Gray Otis, who would be a leading member of the Hartford Convention to discuss the grievances New England held. It was an obvious example that New England was prepared to stand on its own.

Secession had been brought up in years past, but the idea had always withered. Dr. Franklin himself had said repeatedly, "Join or die". However, they now had great reason to see what became of joining with war-hawks and expansionists making war on Canada. The Constitution brought forth by Madison himself read, "...establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare..". The War of 1812 with its invasion was unjust in the eyes of New England, interrupted tranquility with its embargoes, brought about great danger with British naval raids, and retarded the general welfare overall. Otis led the call for secession, and New England voted to do just that.

The news shocked the rest of the nation. They had sneered at "Blue Light Federalists" who stood as pro-Britain and supposedly flashed blue-light signals in warning of blockade runners and known of New England opposition to the war in Congress, but this had gone too far. After news came to Washington about the signing of the Treaty of Ghent and the end of the war in December, the Federalists became embarrassed, but word of fights still continuing at New Orleans and in the frontier gave them a point to rally behind. Secession was made official, and all but a few representatives left the burned-out Washington, D.C. War-weariness dragged down efforts from the South to force New England back into the fold, though General Andrew Jackson repeatedly volunteered to lead a campaign. As Napoleon escaped from his exile and began anew his wars in France, New England took up alliance with Britain, which prompted the South to begrudgingly step back.

Tensions between the United States of America and the Federated States of America continued. Jackson became elected on a platform of invading the Federation, which had grown wealthy with its investments in canals, favored trade with Canada and Britain, as well as its improved banking system, and the War Between the States began in 1830. After four brutal years of New England's defense through militias and support from Britain, the United States answered New England's continual offer of armistice if they could just be free. Jackson proved to tear apart the Union rather than preserve it, sending the Democratic-Republicans into two parties that would break up the country further over the issue of slavery. The Confederate States of America from Virginia to Louisiana broke away in 1860, buffering up against the Republic of Texas. The old ideal of Manifest Destiny with the pioneers conquering the frontier from sea to shining sea would eventually be seen, but in the form of six differing nations after the formation of the California Republic and Deseret.

In 70 AD, the Gospel writer Matthew posted the following update to his blog:

Update - Fellow blogger John has written that he and Peter went to the tomb and it was empty! The burial clothes were there, but no body!

What if the Gospels were written as blogs?Comments (7):

Zedekiah: I can't believe you actually believe Mary Magdalene. She obviously is delusional (just look at her history) and you are a sap to take her seriously.

Abinadab: Good point @Zedekiah. But what I can't believe is that anyone would take a former tax-collector seriously. What a joke.

Luke: Great post! I'm going to link to you on my own blog!

Azel: This is ridiculous - no one takes this Jesus of Nazareth seriously; I mean, really, from Nazareth? Everyone knows that the Messiah will come from Bethlehem. You guys are all tools.

Hazael: This is clearly a hoax. I notice how you were conveniently not at his crucifixion, and how the only witness you have for his "resurrection" is a woman with a questionable history. I'll take you seriously when you show a little more proof.

Ahaziah: I don't really care about this Jesus fellow; what really matters is that we overthrow the oppressive Roman rulers. Everyone should know better than to listen to a guy who used to work for the Romans. Shame on you.

Saul of Tarsus: Jesus is a heretic and anyone who follows him has left the true Faith of God Almighty. Mark my words, there will be consequences for these actions?

IN 1990, (UPI) MOSCOW, Jan. 4 reported: A spokesman for the Soviet government acknowledged today that troops of the Soviet Central Asian republic of Abkhazia had been fired upon when they approached the Institute of Experimental Pathology and Therapy at Sukhumi operated by Dr. Boris Lupin. Bizarre rumors have swirled for decades around the facility, among them allegations that Dr. Lupin had been using artificial insemination techniques in an effort to create human-ape hybrids with supernormal strength and dulled intellects as ideal drone workers and troops.Dr Lupin's Laboratory by Eric LippsThe Soviet spokesman revealed that the institute's defenders were in fact products of Lupin's experiments, which had evolved far beyond the crude efforts to combine human sperm and ape ova or vice versa. Those early efforts, he said, had failed, apparently due to immunological incompatibilities and to the fact, unknown at the beginning, that whereas chimps and gorillas actually possess 48 chromosomes, humans have 46. Until the 1950s, it was believed that humans also had 48 chromosomes.

Lupin's later experiments apparently involved a version of genetic recombination of the sort which became feasible in the 1960s and early '70s, and involved efforts to hybridize human DNA with that of both chimpanzees and gorillas. According to the account released by the Soviet government, it appears that Lupin had actually achieved limited success with these efforts, producing individuals ranging from those with mostly human DNA and some ape traits, resembling, according to the Central Asians, stereotypical "cavemen," to those resembling upright-walking apes apparently capable of following orders and operating rifles. Lupin allegedly considered these hybrids prototypes of the ultimate uniform model he planned to produce.

The government spokesman asserted that Premier Gorbachev had been ignorant of these efforts, and had believed that the Institute had been devoted exclusively to the primate research for which it was officially known, some of which had contributed to the Soviet space program. When pressed as to the Kremlin's intentions regarding the interspecies creatures Dr. Lupin has already produced, and the technology used to create them, the Kremlin?s representative was vague, fueling speculation that Lupin's work may be continued elsewhere.

That, however, may not be altogether Moscow's decision to make. Unrest in Abkhazia has raised the specter of secession. If the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia were to sever its ties with Moscow, the likely result would be war - but whether armed conflict erupts or not, Moscow may be unable to maintain control of Lupin's technology. The prospect of such sophisticated genetic manipulation methods falling into the hands of breakaway republic or even terrorist groups is likely to be of major concern to the CIA, as well as to security organizations in other countries.

In 1662, General George Monck became Lord Protector after Parliament's refusal to restore Charles Stuart to the throne, focused the country toward fighting a war to the finish. The Royalist rebels in England were defeated in 1664 (all but in the South East) and Scotland was conquered in 1665. In the United Provinces dropped out of the war in 1664 and Ireland was conquered by 1666. Spain dropped out of the war in 1667 and France finally gave up attemtpting to invade England in 1668. The Commonwealth gained recognition from these nations, and also gained territory in North America, taking Cuba and Hispaniola from Spain and Acadia from France (though they handed back New Netherland as a condition for the Dutch dropping out).Churchill restores order by PJYWhen Monck died in 1670, the British Isles returned to a system of total domnation of Parliament. The Commonwealth didn't have a head of state or Government, all MP's were nominally equal. Several factions formed all the same.

The British didn't get involved in Continental affairs for the rest of the century, instead increasing their naval power, safeguarding their colonies (the Commonwealth and the Dutch fought another brief war in 1677-1679 that came to nothing), increasing their trade and turning themselves into a 'great nation' through men like Isaac Newton and Christopher Wren.

In 1700, the Commonwealth did begin to get involved in Contiental affairs once more when the King of Spain died and stated that he wished for Philippe de Bourbon, Duke of Anjou to succeed him. Philippe was the grandson of Louis XIV, and Parliament feared that Louis would control Spain and her colonies, thus making her a rival for British colonial amitions.

The war began in 1702 and ended in 1713 with a victory for the alliance of the Commonwealth, the United Provinces and the Holy Roman Empire.

During this period, life in Parliament became extremely chaotic and even verged on violence and civil war. The factions in Parliament (the radical aristocrat Whigs, the traditionalist republican Mosstroopers and the ultra-puritan Roundheads) hated one another and came to blows very often. After one particularly violent episode in 1714, when some leading Moostroopers called in the guard to arrest some of their opponents, many leading Whigs called upon the British hero John Churchill to return and impose order. He did.

On this day in 1963, Valery Zorin was recalled to Moscow and dismissed as Soviet ambassador to the UN.

 - Valery Zorin
Valery Zorin

On this day in 1945, Wilhelmshaven fell to the Allies.

After(cont.), ~
'One question,' Kevin said. 'How are we going to split up when we only have the one jeep?'
Jake smiled broadly. 'That's where you come in, Mr. Moneybags. You're gonna buy us a couple of nice cars.'
'My first big buy, and it's gonna be for somebody else,' Kevin said, sadly.
'Hey, if we hadn't had to leave my car in Waco, I could take it,' Janice said, petulantly. 'It better be there when we get back, that's all I have to say.'
'OK, so we head down to a car dealership today, buy a couple of things off the lot, then head in our opposite directions.' Jake looked around at Kevin's living room. 'You got a map anywhere, Bradley?'
'Yeah, hang on,' Kevin said, going to his desk and pulling one out of a drawer. They all crowded around Kevin's coffee table as Jake unfolded the map and spread it out.
'All right, here's Crawford. Janice, you took a back road into Waco ? think you could get us into Crawford the same way?'
'You got it, Sarge,' she said, saluting.
'You other four, just take the regular roads off to New Mexico. Avoid trouble, obey the curfew, be good citizens. No reason y'all should draw suspicion.'
Mike raised his hand. 'Am I supposed to be her husband or something? Cuz, I don't see people buying that. I'm pretty pasty white, and the lady and the kids here ? well, they aren't.'
Steph looked over at Jake, amused. Jake shook his head and tried to come up with something. 'You're... you're her driver.'
'So, I just won the lottery?' Steph threw a smile at Kevin.
'Yeah, that'd work.' Jake went through the scenario. 'You won the lottery, you don't like to drive, you're goin' to see family in New Mexico.'
'Cool,' Mike said. 'I'm a flunky.'
'The rest of us, well, we just have to keep away from the Guard units patrolling the area. We should be able to track 'em using the radio in the jeep, but whoever's keeping watch on Crawford isn't gonna be using Guard frequencies to coordinate. So, we'll just have to be on our toes, there.' He looked up at Eli and Janice. 'No shooting unless somebody's life is on the line, got it?'
Eli looked disappointed, but nodded.
Janice looked over at Kevin. 'We're gonna need something with serious off-road capability; I nearly busted up my car getting it into Waco.'
'We got plenty of dealers who can provide that here,' Kevin said. 'We just have to hope that they're open.'
In 1804, during the Irish War of Independence, Agent K'Tan'Jir of British Intelligence captures an Irish Mlosh agent, Pri'Kato'Mli. Although the Irish agent manages to escape, K'Tan'Jir has placed a tracking device on him, and uses him to find the base that he has been operating out of. With his young assistant, James Watson, K'Tan'Jir storms the base, only to find that he has been outfoxed - Pri'Kato'Mli had over a hundred rebels with him. The two British agents barely manage to escape with their lives.
In 1891, German Underground general and New Reich leader Alfred Jodl was born in Wuerzburg, Germany. Jodl, a ground troop captain during the initial days of combat with the Greater Zionist Resistance in the 1920's, instantly grasped the uses of the aircraft technology that the G.U.'s neo-Nazi benefactors supplied them with. His blitzkrieg attacks were one of the favored tactics of the G.U.
In 1869, the Mlosh colony ship near the Sahara Desert was briefly taken over by terrorists of the Human League. They had gained passage on board by holding the Mlosh philosopher Toa'Kil'Pi hostage and threatening to kill him unless they were allowed aboard. The Mlosh eventually overpowered them, but not before losing the hostage and several other citizens of the colony.

On this day in 1970, the Dallas Cowboys hammered the Minnesota Vikings 28-7 in the 1969 NFC championship game to advance to their third Super Bowl in franchise history.

In 47,390 BCE, Telka and Swikolay reach the island of Sumatra and find a few small tribes. Telka has much to teach them, and becomes a shaman to them. Swikolay teaches them the making of ships, and takes a mate from among them.
In 1960, the French existentialist Albert Camus might have been in an automobile accident that killed him, but is anything really an accident? And, is there really such a thing as death, or simply a transference to another realm of existence?
In 1950, the essay collection The God That Failed was published. 6 authors explored their connection to capitalist movements in the early 20th century, and their disillusionment with it that led them back to good old American communism.
In 1914, actress and future First Lady Sarah Mayfield Reagan was born in St. Joseph, Missouri. She married B-movie star Ronald Reagan in 1940, and although they experienced some troubles in the late 40's, rode it out with him for the sake of their children. Their marriage settled down considerably after Reagan entered politics in the 1960's, and she became First Lady in 1981 after her husband won the presidential election of 1980.
In 1974, US President Richard Nixon refuses to hand over materials subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee. In fact the materials contained explosive evidence about the Kennedy assassination that Tricky Dicky was honour bound to protect.

January 3

In 1670, George Monck the third Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland died "like a Roman general with all his officers about him". He was buried in Westminster Abbey and succeeded by Anthony Ashley Cooper.

Not the potter, but the potter's clayAn Captain General in the New Model Army, then leader of the Parliamentarian movement in England, he had assumed the title from the son of the revolution's leader, Richard Cromwell, in order to keep their dream of a realm without a king alive. Monck provided the leadership that Cromwell was unable to, and held off the resurgent Monarchists who were determined to restore Charles II to his father's throne.

He focused the country toward fighting a war to the finish. The Royalist rebels in England were defeated in 1664 (all but in the South East) and Scotland was conquered in 1665. United Commonwealths - of Great Britain and Ireland of Great Britain and Ireland In the United Provinces dropped out of the war in 1664 and Ireland was conquered by 1666. Spain dropped out of the war in 1667 and France finally gave up attempting to invade England in 1668. The Commonwealth gained recognition from these nations, and also gained territory in North America, taking Cuba and Hispaniola from Spain and Acadia from France (though they handed back New Netherland as a condition for the Dutch dropping out).

In 1967, Jack Ruby's cancer went into remission, allowing him to be placed on trial for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. The Night Club Owner had already been found guilty by a Dallas Jury but he had appealed his conviction and death sentence and was granted a new trial (his lawyers argued that he could not have received a fair trial in Dallas because of the excessive publicity surrounding the case).

The Trial of Jack RubyThe Warren Commission had found no evidence linking Ruby's killing of Oswald with any broader conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy. But 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.

In 1866, General Lee was thinking about how it has been six months since President Pendelton's assumption of office following the assassination of McClellan. An installment of Victorious Dixie goes down in flames thread.

Victorious Dixie goes down in flames Part 1God was surely on the side of the CSA when Sherman didn't take Atlanta until 2 days after the election. The peace treaty should be finalized by the end of the month. The negotiations went worse than he expected. The South had to give up Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Virginia north of the Rappahannock and West Virginia. Tennessee was the toughest to give up. For all practical purposes Kentucky and Missouri were gone from the very beginning of the war. He hoped for a long time to liberate them from the Yankees but he didn't really expect to get them back past 1862 anyways. Virginia north of the Rappahannock was in Union hands most of the war and even Lee thought they could not hold it long at this point. The Rappahannock was a natural barrier that could shield the rest of Virginia and Lee did not even try to regain West Virginia after 1862. The CSA might have shrunk but it did have the core left and the borders could be defended with the fortifications being built on both sides of the border. At least they got free trade out of the deal which should help the finances needed to maintain his army.Of course we had to allow for free passage down the Mississippi for the United States to get that. In fact the US government stated they would restart the war if the CSA didn't agree to it.

Secretary of the treasury George Trenholm thought "Bills, bills, bills and more bills. We are going to need to refinance our debt to survive. The fact is there is no way on God's green Earth we can pay all our debts on time. We just don't have the money. We are going to have to least double the length of our loans. Hopefully we will be enough on our feet we don't have to default entirely. At least inflation is down a bit. Corn prices went up only 12% last month". To be continued..

In 1979, having narrowly defeated fellow conservative Kent Hance in the Texas Nineteenth Congressional District, George W. Bush was sworn into the United States House of Representatives.

Chip off the Old BlockPreviously he had served as political director for an Alabama senate campaign, but he needed his father's political machinery to connect with rural Texans, building a platform that opposed gun control and strict regulation.

Bush Senior had served Gerald Ford as Vice President and was set to launch his own campaign for the 1980 election. Because of his son's unruly behaviour, he had been against his run for Congress, but having failed to dissuade him, decided that a Bush victory could only be good for his own prospects two years later. Only now he had to worry what surprises might in store from him as President.

In 1892, the future British Dictator John Tolkien was born in the Boer Free States, a time and place where forces were gathering against the nation's imperial power.

A Dark Lord Arises
Ed, RIchard Roper, Jeff Provine
As a child, Tolkien was bitten by a large baboon spider in the garden, a precursory event which triggered traumatic recall during his combat service in the Great War. By November 1916, he was invalidated out of the Army and headed back to England bitter and twisted. In his political autobiography "My Struggles" he articulated some apocalyptic fear of Communism ("darkening clouds in the East").

Over the next decade, Tolkien was increasingly drawn into the fringe of right-wing politics. But that genie of rage remaining locked in a bottle so long as Britain experienced a degree of prosperity. Society would only embrace such radicals at a moment of extremis during the developing crisis that began in 1929. With the economy heading towards imminent collapse, he took over the government as the head of an artistic-political movement. That position was consolidated into the new post of High Chanceller as the operation of democratic processes were suspended until the crisis passed. They never did.

After the mysterious fire that burnt down the Palace of Westminister, it became increasingly clear that any serious opposition would have to take shape from the outside. And sure enough it arrived in the form of a second dictator in Nazi Germany. Tolkien proposed an alliance with the rising power of Hitler in order to eventually control him for their own ends. But Europe wasnt big enough for two demagogic dictators and Hitler won out. In a final episode full of artistic anguish, Tolkien died in a desperate last stand. The keys to his headquarters, the Dark Tower of London, were only seized when the finger was cut from his hand.

In 1868, in one of the most pivotal moments in Japanese history, fifteen-year-old Emperor Mutsuhito was discovered dead in his chambers.

Meiji Emperor AssassinatedHis father had died from illness (arguably caused by poisoning) just over eleven months earlier, and now the country fell into civil war as the imperial court attempted to edge out the old guard. Many historians conclude that the assassination promoted war as each side blamed the other for the unsolved death.

It was a troubling time for Japan. After hundreds of years of the Sakoku ("locked country") policy, Japanese ports were forced open by the American Admiral Perry in his 1853 display of Western prowess and demands of a treaty. Other Europeans followed, and it was obvious that Japan had fallen behind as it attempted to keep its society pure from Westerners. Many Japanese agreed that something should be done, the shishi, young warlords, calling for barbarians to be expelled from Japan, which Emperor Komei granted in 1863. Many foreigners were attacked and counter-attacked, and rebels in the south went undefeated by the Shogunate. In 1866, the fifteenth shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, ascended to the highest office and began reforms to modernize the nation, inviting an expedition from the Second French Empire to assist in building up a new army and steam-powered navy.

A coup from the rebelling south in Satsuma and Choshu surrounded the emperor and gained great influence. They orchestrated an order in the emperor's name to call for the execution of Yoshinobu, who resigned in a ceremony of stripping him of land and titles despite his having performed no crime. He fell into retirement as according to the emperor's wishes, but Mutsuhito would be assassinated some weeks later. Yoshinobu was blamed and demands of his life were sent by the southerners. He refused to comply with the imperial court, whose coup he saw now as clearly murderous, and he sent forces southward. The Tokugawa armies, though improved by French advisers, were still largely samurai while the imperial army at Edo was modernized while outnumbered three to one.

The war followed samurai gains, which spread anti-foreigner sentiment around the islands. On March 8, at Sakai near Osaka, eleven French sailors were killed, which prompted the French ambassadors to send for help from Indochina, where the French were currently warring with rebels to maintain peace. French naval ships and troops arrived, coming to aid the imperial court. A puppet emperor was installed, and the French pushed samurai forces back, stomping out pockets of resistance over the next year, which also enabled them to gain footholds militarily over the islands. Japan was named a French colony in June of 1870, mere weeks before the disastrous Franco-Prussian War began.

The Japanese would prove stubborn subjects, and the French routinely sent new expeditions over the course of the Third Republic to put down uprisings, most notably the push for an end to Western rule in 1904, mirroring the struggles America had with its colony in the Philippines to the south. France and the United States would share resources to bolster their western Pacific colonies until World War I, when attention would turn to Europe. Russia's grossly outdated army would collapse almost immediately under German invasion, a quick end on the eastern front in sharp contrast to the dragging trench warfare of the west. After the war and the economic collapse following rebuilding of Europe, communism arose as a new strategy for society. Coming out of China, Japan would be fertile soil for communism after years of objecting to the hierarchy imposed by westerners. With the fall of France to the Third Reich, Japan and Indochina would undergo revolutions, then channeling supplies to China and Russia for their own civil wars.

Communism took firm root in the Far East, spreading to other nations previously under colonial control. It met stiff resistance from the West, and the two worlds would battle economically and militarily for decades through the twentieth century.

In 1959, the "Alaskan Missile Crisis" begins, as U.S. President Adlai Stevenson learns that surveillance flights over Russia's North American territory have found that launch sites for intermediate-range nuclear ballistic missiles are under construction.

Alaskan Missile Crisis by Eric LippsIronically, The U.S. had had the chance to buy Alaska in 1867, but then-Secretary of State William H. Seward had been thwarted in his efforts to complete its purchase by opposition in the House of Representatives, which refused to appropriate the necessary funds. The offer had been withdrawn in March 1868.

A U.S. expeditionary force had briefly invaded Alaska following the 1917 Russian revolution, but had withdrawn following the armistice of Nov. 11, 1918.

In 1974, on this day US President Richard Nixon refused to hand over materials subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.

In fact the materials contained explosive evidence about the Kennedy assassination that Tricky Dicky was honour bound to protect.

Nixon said that he first heard about Kennedy's death during a taxi ride in New York City. However, a United Press International photo taken that day tells a different story - a "shocked Richard Nixon" having already learned of Kennedy's assassination upon his arrival at New York's Idlewild Airport. The plane he had arrived on had originated from Dallas, Texas where Nixon had been from November 20 to the 22. While in Dallas, Nixon had attended meetings with right-wing politicians and executives from the Pepsi-Cola company.
Journalist Jim Marrs gives this account: "With Nixon in Dallas was Pepsi-Cola heiress and actress Joan Crawford. Both Nixon and Crawford made comments in the Dallas newspapers to the effect that they, unlike the President, didn't need Secret Service protection, and they intimated that the nation was upset with Kennedy's policies. It has been suggested that this taunting may have been responsible for Kennedy's critical decision not to order the Plexiglas top placed on his limousine on November 22".

H. R. Haldeman. In his book, 'The Ends of Power,' Haldeman cites several conversations where Nixon expressed concern about the Watergate affair becoming public knowledge and where this exposure might lead. Haldeman writes: In fact, I was puzzled when he [Nixon] told me, "Tell Ehrlichman this whole group of Cubans [Watergate burglars] is tied to the Bay of Pigs". After a pause I said, "The Bay of Pigs? What does that have to do with this [the Watergate burglary]?" But Nixon merely said, "Ehrlichman will know what I mean," and dropped the subject.

In 2008, the broad front approach conceived by Chief Strategist Harold Ickes was a stunning success for Hillary Clinton who bolted out of the gates by winning the Iowa caucuses, calling it a "defining moment in history".

Defining Moment in History repurposed content from Mary Vallis"They said this day would never come", she tells supporters in Iowa. Joseph Biden of Delaware and Chris Dodd of Connecticut abandoned their presidential bids.

The day almost didn't come for Hillary Clinton. Former Chief Strategist Mark Penn had conceived a Super Tuesday Knockout Strategy in which campaigning resources would be concentrated on a few key states. At a key meeting in 2007, Ickes had challenged Penn that he did not understand the new proportional representation voting mechanism. Winning delegate counts mattered, countered Ickes and therefore not contesting Iowa and other states would be disasterous. Clinton agreed, firing Penn and replacing him with Ickes.

In 1914, actress and future First Lady Sarah Mayfield Reagan was born in St. Joseph, Missouri. She married B-movie star Ronald Reagan in 1940, and although they experienced some troubles in the late 40's, rode it out with him for the sake of their children. Their marriage settled down considerably after Reagan entered politics in the 1960's, and she became First Lady in 1981 after her husband won the presidential election of 1980.
After(cont.), ~
"Now, let me get this straight ? I'm saving the government?" Eli was a little credulous about the plan.
"We're saving the president," Kevin said.
"Which will save the government," Eli said. "Of course, that's provided we can get into what is no doubt the most highly guarded spot in the state. That's the part I have the real trouble with".
"I thought you were all about the guns".
"I am ? I'm not about the suicide".
"OK, OK," Janice said, pushing herself between them. "Kevin, what if we just bring all of this to the resistance in Roswell and let them mount the rescue?"
"It'd take too long," Jake said. "It's gonna take us at least a day to get to Roswell, then another day for a team to get back ? and that's if they believe us right away. If the people holding Bush are serious about all this, they could probably get anything they want out of him in that time. If he's gonna be saved, we're the ones who need to do it".
They all looked at each other. Kevin was tight as a bow string, warily watching each of them for some indication of how they would turn. Mike and Eli were both wondering how much they could trust any of these strangers, while Janice was wondering if she should have just gone in to work, after all. Jake had made up his mind to throw in with Kevin, and Steph was hoping nobody would get killed. Joan was sorry she had thought of where to look.
George was almost bouncing up and down with excitement. "Georgie, hon," Steph said to him, "why don't you go lay down, take a nap? Gonna be a long day ahead of us".
He reluctantly left the room to the adults. Once he was gone, Janice said, "All right, I'm not the best shot in the world. I'm pretty confident that Jake is the only one here who could qualify to be part of some rescue team ? sorry, Eli".
Eli muttered, "S'okay".
Janice went on. "So, you're talking about a team of mostly untrained, inexperienced civilians attempting to infiltrate a position held, most likely, by an elite military unit. Have I got all of our advantages laid out here?"
"They probably don't have extra military protection," Kevin said. "Look, it would have aroused suspicion if they'd moved people in. It's probably a small team of people, at most. His Secret Service detail, and that could be as little as 4 or 5 guys".
"Four or five highly trained guys". Janice repeated herself to make the point. "4 or 5 killing machines that live for the day when they can take somebody out in the line of duty. Am I getting through to you here?"
"It's not gonna be easy," Jake said. "I say we split up. Steph, the kids and Mike head to Roswell. Kevin, Janice, Eli and I go to Crawford".
"That actually kinda makes sense," Mike said.
"Of course you'd agree to that, you don't have to storm the damn castle," Eli said, furiously.
"I think it's a good plan, too," Janice said. "Somebody needs to get our proof to Kerry and the resistance. And," she said, looking into Kevin's eyes, "somebody should try to save the president. Even if we don't like him".
Steph looked at Jake and Kevin. She asked her ex-husband, "Are you sure you can do this?"
"Hell, no," he said, and everyone laughed, breaking the tension. "But, we need to try".
In 1804, during the Irish War of Independence, Agent K'Tan'Jir of British Intelligence captures an Irish Mlosh agent, Pri'Kato'Mli. Although the Irish agent manages to escape, K'Tan'Jir has placed a tracking device on him, and uses him to find the base that he has been operating out of. With his young assistant, James Watson, K'Tan'Jir storms the base, only to find that he has been outfoxed - Pri'Kato'Mli had over a hundred rebels with him. The two British agents barely manage to escape with their lives.
In 47,391 BCE, after a year of walking, Telka the Speaker stands at the southeastern Asian shore and ponders a way across the ocean. Swikolay, her great-granddaughter and traveling companion, has an idea for going out into the waters. She hollows out a tree and they ride it into the South Pacific.
In 1642, the spies of King Charles intercepted Member of Parliament Henry Pym just as he was fleeing London. The rebel parliamentarian was brought before the king, who declared Pym a traitor and had him executed in order to quell the rebellious streak that the legislature had been showing. This has the opposite effect, and Parliament and the king were at war the next month.

On this day in 1971, the Dallas Cowboys surpassed the 1948 Browns' 15-game undefeated streak with a 16-10 overtime victory against the San Francisco 49ers in the 1970 NFC championship game.

Oddsmakers subsequently placed Dallas as 7-3 to beat the AFC champion Baltimore Colts to win their third Super Bowl under Tom Landry.

 - Tom Landry
Tom Landry

On this day in 1990, Romania's ambassador to the UN called for the Ceaucescus to be extradited back to Bucharest.

 - Nicholae Ceaucescu
Nicholae Ceaucescu

In 1963, returning from its Christmas recess, Congress immediately takes up debate on the impeachment resolutions against President John F. Kennedy and Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren in mid-December. The balance of power in the incoming Eighty-eighth Congress has shifted, and not in favor of the President and Chief Justice.


Although the Democratic Party has retaken control of the House of Representatives, many of the new members are hard-line' conservatives elected by Southern voters angry over court decisions favoring school integration and President Kennedy's decision to use federal troops to enforce compliance with those rulings at the University of Mississippi and to put down the massive anti-integration rioting throughout the South the previous October, which has been dubbed the "Southern Crisis" in the press.

In the Senate, Democrats' conservative wing has strengthened its ties with right-wing Republicans. Some observers believe there is a real chance that one or both of the impeachment resolutions may actually succeed.

Sensing the new climate, the Ku Klux Klan has stepped up its activities, prompting President Kennedy to order FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to attempt to undermine the KKK.

Hoover is reluctant: a staunch segregationist himself, and no fan of JFK, he will comply only reluctantly - and even when he does, he will also secretly launch an effort to gather dirt on prominent civil rights activists in order to discredit them and their movement.

In 1892, the scholarly giant of modern England, John R. R. Tolkien, was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

His escapist fantasy writing was greatly influenced by combat tension suffered as a Second Lieutenant in 1916. Whilst Tolkien was with the eleventh battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers, this tension reached a new and frightening level of intensity for Tolkien as his imagination was over-stimulated by the horror of the Somme.At night, he saw that most frightening of creatures charging across no-mans land. A creature of the imagination which he would never speak directly. Only W.H. Auden would guess at the depiction of the 1916 apparition. Later in the year, Tolkien was invalided with trench fever. And it was as this time he was gripped by the epic struggle, as Gandalf battled a Balrog, an ancient demon creature, and fell into a deep chasm under the Mines of Moria, apparently to his death.
In 1961, the Soviet States of America severs its diplomatic and economic ties with the Caribbean island nation of Cuba after it reorganized its economy along European lines and strengthened its ties with the Eastern powers. 'The West cannot tolerate a reactionary nation so close to our borders', Comrade President Rosenberg declared, 'and so, we will take the steps necessary to punish those who leave the Community of Trade for the oppression of capitalism.'
In 1889, deep in the woods of Michigan, Mikhail von Heflin encounters a creature that the natives call a Wendigo. It is an extra-dimensional beast that can see what he really is and attacks him out of fear. He manages to escape from it, and flees to the south.
In 1977, the number one computer company in the world, Apple Computers, was incorporated by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in California. From humble beginnings as a machine for hobbyists, Apple computers soon made their way onto desktops in businesses and homes around the world with the introduction of the Macintosh line of computers. They might have stumbled in the 80's when IBM's operating system supplier, Microsoft, made a graphical interface to match the Macintosh, but a successful lawsuit against the company crushed that dream.
In 12-17-10-5-15, Pachacamac, Incan musicians famed throughout the Empire, give their first performance before the emperor at Oueztec City. The music of the sweet mountains of their birth lofted throughout the court, bringing smiles and tears to the assembled courtiers. The emperor himself is so moved by their performance that he ennobles them all.
In 4620, Egyptologist and adventurer Luo Gan discovers the ancient tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen, and its hideous curse. Over the next five years, he and the twenty members of his team die gruesome deaths. Although most dismiss this as mere coincidence, the Imperial Ministry of Antiquities has forbade further digging into ancient Egypt's past.
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.

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.

Older Posts

© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.