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 3

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.

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.


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.

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.


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

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.

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.

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.