Born on this day in Atlanta, Georgia, disgraced Civil Rights leader Michael King (his father had seriously considered changing his name in honour of German reformer Martin Luther).
FBI outs Michael KingA popular civil rights activist, he emerged as a major leadership figure during the Montgomery Riots of 1955 which were sparked by the imprisonment of forty-two year old seamstress Rosa Parks for resisting bus segregation. Thereafter he devoted his time to non-violent civil disobedience activities culminating in an unsuccessful struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, in 1962. The law enforcement agencies hadn't pursued one individual with such unrelenting doggedness since Eliot Ness brought down Al Capone, and in a mirror image of that remarkable case, a like-mind nemesis ensnared the "criminal" in a well-laid out trap.
Of course FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover knew that King was associated with the Communist Party, had indeed categorized him as "the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country" shortly after the outbreak of the Montgomery Riots. But there was another side to his charm and it was through surveillance that the discovering of his philandering, a continuous stream of his extramarital affairs with Southern belles that exposed King before he could be awarded the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize at which point it would be too late to stop him. Ironically, John F. Kennedy, who via his brother Robert, had approved the wire-tap of King's home and private office, won the Prize for his controversial decision to withdraw US troops from Vietnam. Soon enough he figured, those troops would be needed south of the Mason-Dixon line, and so indeed it proved.
In 1815, on this fateful day in New Orleans, Napoleon Bonaparte's Creole militia ran up the flag of the Republic of Louisiana as Major General Jackson's defeated army fled from the city.
American Napoleon 2
By Ed, Brian Hartman & Scott PalterThe secession was orchestrated by the incomparable British General Arthur Wellesley whose strategic goal was to force a victory in the so-called War of 1812. Of course the British had never accepted the Louisiana Purchase, and to prevent a reversion of the British protectorate, Wellesley would remain in the city to act as a quasi Governor General.
Some unusual drivers were at work. Jackson had expected Louisiana to be occupied rather than seized, but the British had lost their appetite for taking direct control of large contested American territories. Instead, they could unsettle the United States by operating through a protectorate. And Napoleon, as a US citizen, was an unlikely revolutionary. However beneath his diminutive size, the "Little Corporal" in the mostly Anglo Federal army had been overlooked for promotion on too many occasions. And so he now set about realizing his ultimate dream of become First Citizen of Louisiana, L'Emperor in all but name.
In 1933, the Nazi Party put in a desperately weak performance at the Lippe-Detmold state election due almost entirely to the active opposition of Gustav Streseman.
The Plot Against Germany 3Prior to his retirement on health grounds in 1929 , he was widely recognized as the Weimar Republic's Greatest Statesman. And he had promised to use his retirement  in order to prevent the rise of Adolf Hitler who he had identified as Germany's most dangerous man.
Sure enough as he had anticipated the result at Lippe-Detmold was an unmitigated electoral disaster for Hitler whose Nazi Party had been rapidly overtaken in national popularity by the Communist Party. He had hoped that a particularly strong local showing might encourage President Hindenburg to offer him the Chancellorship. But despite determined attempts to coerce the vote he had been discredited by Streseman's strong voice of reasoned authority. Instead, von Papen stayed in office until Hindenburg's death eighteen months later. This extension of Chancellorship required the signing of an emergency decree by the President which lapsed with his death. And of course the failure of the right to coalesce around a single strong authority figure was the primary reason of the election of Chancellor Ernst Thälmann. The secondary cause was the Soviet Forces threatening to invade Eastern Germany. And the third reason, was the fracture in the Nazi Party itself To be continued in Part 3.
In 1976, on this day Sara Jane Moore was sentenced to life in prison for the assassination of the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford (pictured).
Sentencing of Sara Jane MooreThe security forces had proven powerless to protect Ford whose luck had finally run out on September 22, 1975 outside the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.
Just seventeen days earlier Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme had pointed a gun at the President, and just the day before the assassination Moore had actually been picked up by police on an illegal handgun charge but was released from arrest. The police confiscated her .44 caliber pistol and 113 rounds of ammunition. And in a separate incident earlier in the year, she had been evaluated by the Secret Service who had mistakenly decided that she presented no danger to the President.
Ten months later, the new President, Nelson Rockefeller, and his Vice President George H.W. Bush narrowly won the General Election. This Republican victory was made possible by the candidate's distance from the controversial decision to pardon Richard Nixon. But soon enough Rockefeller and Bush took some deeply controversial decisions of their own, choosing to back the Shah of Iran, deciding against a full reconciliation with Saudi Arabia and also approving the introduction of National Health Insurance.
In 1919, after a humiliating outcry condemning the use of paramilitary soldiers, President Friedrich Ebert was forced to step down and the united workers of Germany created a new, socialist government. It was another phase in what would be a tumultuous decade for what had been the proud and powerful German Empire.
Spartacist Uprising Overthrows Weimar Republic Following the defeat of Russia in 1917, the Kaiser and his generals had great hope for the winter campaigns. The people of Germany had suffered through the Turnip Winter of 1916-17, eating vegetables usually fit only for livestock. It seemed the chance to turn the war around as hundreds of thousands of troops came home from the eastern front and were re-trained with new "storm-trooper" tactics that were designed to break the trench-warfare stalemate before the American soldiers arrived. Unfortunately, the strategy failed in 1918, and Americans began pouring onto the battlefield at a rate of ten thousand a day. Amid the depressed morale of the people and soldiers, orders went out to launch the fleet for a final fight with the Royal Navy, and the sailors refused. The October mutiny spread into outright revolution, and the Kaiser abdicated along with the rest of Germany royalty, which handed control of the state over to the Social Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, the Independent Social Democratic Party (USDP) broke away from the SDP with stronger demands for worker's rights and an overall socialist state. It was joined by the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) led by the "Spartacist" Karl Liebknecht, newly released from prison, and Rosa Luxemburg, whose ideals would form many of the economic policies of the party. The last chancellor of the Empire, Friedrich Ebert, held his power through popularity with the SDP and was elected president in the carefully timed elections in late 1918. For a time, the USDP worked in an uneasy alliance with the SDP, both wary of the Freikorps, a name dating back to voluntary guerilla soldiers against Napoleon and now meaning paramilitary groups made primarily of retiring soldiers who held very right-wing ideals.
When Ebert fired the Chief of Police for Berlin for not using force against strikers during the Christmas troubles, KPD and USDP began a new revolution, forming a "Revolution Committee" on January 5, 1919, that called for a general strike to show support. More than 500,000 workers in Berlin flooded the streets, and the city shut down. After the initial success, however, the Committee began to falter. No one was able to agree on whether to negotiate with Ebert or began an armed revolt to topple him. Liebknecht and other KPD members worked to gain the support of the Volksmarine who had initially begun revolution the October before as well as the army regiments. Most of the soldiers, however, had either given up their posts or sworn loyalties to the present government.
Seeing the failure to bring real soldiers onto their side and the meager arms taken up by the workers that would have been soundly defeated if Ebert's government cracked down, a new plan was determined. Just as the KPD and USDP were about to break their Committee on January 8, a flyer was discovered telling that Ebert had made a call for the Freikorps to "take revenge" on the leftists that had lost the war for them. Outrage was shared among the leaders, and Luxemburg suggested the outrage could be spread to the rest of the country. Using expert propaganda as had been perfected over the course of the Great War, the workers were persuaded to put away their weapons and Ebert was portrayed as a backstabber who called up brutes while promising to meet for deliberations (an image of the French turning away the 1916 German offer of armistice just before the bloody Battle of Verdun). When the Freikorps attacked on January 12, the workers refused to fight back and were easily defeated. However, as propaganda of the atrocities by the paramilitary flooded the country, outrage turned public support to the socialists. Freikorps members were pelted with clods of earth in the streets, symbolizing their loss of ground during the fighting, and Ebert was blamed for the deaths of over 100 workers as the strike continued.
Under public pressure, Ebert and his government left Berlin and new elections were held. The united USDP and KPD won overwhelmingly, and their representatives attended the Treaty of Versailles that summer. The resulting treaty would be viewed with great suspicion by the Americans, whose Senate soundly rejected it, and the Germans took it as a solid display that the communists had sold out their country. The Allied blockade had stood for months after the armistice, and more Germans than ever had died of malnutrition, which was also blamed on the communists. While France rested on its laurels, Americans fearful of the expansion of communism called for occupation of Germany to settle the matter there as only a Red Scare could overcome the sense of non-interventionism.
When the Socialist government collapsed in March of 1920 in yet another wave of revolution under Kapp and Lüttwitz, a coalition army marched into Germany aiding the institutions established by and the return of a limited monarchy under Wilhelm III (who famously declared the War "the most stupid, senseless and unnecessary war of modern times" as Crown Prince). The international soldiers were begrudgingly hosted as they kept the peace and supported the flow of aid, particularly money under the Dawes Plan of 1921, which not only stymied potential hyperinflation with capital investment but also tied together the two nations' economies and political theories. After the Great Crash, the monarchy and its vibrant Chancellor Adolph Hitler were blamed for mismanagement, and Germany fell into a civil war that would later return the Republic.
In 1536, on this day the forty-four year old King of England, Henry VIII was killed in a jousting accident at Greenwich Palace.
Defender of the Faith
By Ed & Scott PalterTudor, in full armour, was thrown from his horse, itself armoured, which then directly fell on top of him.
At the appex of his powers, a great "Defender of the Faith" had been taken from Catholic England. And the unfortunate timing of this appalling tragedy meant that his sickly twenty-five year old son, Prince Henry, Duke of Cornwall would prematurely inherit a divided nation locked in a schismatic power struggle with the Protestant faction.
Lacking his father's huge popularity in the country, he was quite unable to exercise anything like the same vice-like grip over this struggle - even on his own court. With the country disintegrating fast, he desperately needed the support of a willing Catholic ally.
Enter Philip II, King of Spain, who agreed to marry Henry IX's thirty-seven year old sister Mary in 1544. The forging of this alliance required a grand bargain that would ultimately cause a long-term, global shift of alignment of the Great Powers. For his wars against the France, and to save a huge cost to His Majesty's Treasury, Britain willingly agreed to cede Calais to Philip. But this trade-off was not quite enough, and Spain insisted on a deal-breaker. With Henry's support, Philip claimed all of the Americas except Brazil, bar Canada which the English now began to settle by lawful possession.
In 1919, on this day the ring leaders of the Spartacist uprising Rosa Luxemburg (pictured) and Karl Liebknecht were taken into custody by Captain Waldemar Pabst the Commander of the Freikorps' Garde-Kavallerie-Schützendivision in Berlin.
Protocols of the Elders of Zion
The Prison BreakForced into using a brutal paramilitary organisation in order to crush the left-wing revolution Social Democratic leader Friedrich Ebert was fully aware that he had issued the Freikorps Officers with a death warrant.
Following a brief but extremely violent episode of questioning by Kapitänleutnant Horst von Pflugk-Harttung, Pabst issued his own orders for the ring-leaders to be executed and then thrown into the Landwehr Canal by Lieutenant Hermann Souchon.
But destiny played an unexpected hand when Souchon and his subordinate Otto Runge were over-powered by mysterious assailents who were able to pull off a remarkably daring prison break. Luxemburg and Liebknecht were awoken by Astrid Pflaume who explained that their rescuers were members of the Greater Zionist Resistance.
It turned out that the leader of the GZR had some radically different ideas about the direction of post-war Europe, and before nightfall, Luxemburg had shaken her long-standing conviction that the national development of capitalism would automatically resolve all national questions.
In 1920, on this day the New York Times congratulated Robert H. Goddard (pictured) and the Smithsonian on the successful research, but gently reproves Goddard for thinking too small in suggesting hitting the Moon with blasting powder..
AD ASTRA by Thomas Wm. HamiltonAs World War I raged in Europe for three years, the United States was quietly taking steps to prepare itself for entry into the war, despite Woodrow Wilson's running on a slogan of "He Kept Us Out Of It". One of these preparations involved trying to learn more about the meteorology of that portion of the atmosphere used by the primitive airplanes of the day-roughly 3000 to 6000 feet. The Smithsonian Institution had a War Department contract for this research, carefully disguised. The Smithsonian subcontracted with Robert H. Goddard.
Robert Goddard was a professor of engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. Long interested in space travel from having read Jules Verne as a child, Goodard built and tested rockets from near his home. The Smithsonian's contract paid for developing rockets which would carry meteorological equipment, to be recovered and provide the desired atmospheric measurements.
One clause of the contract, enthusiastically supported by Goddard, had the Smithsonian paying to publish a report of Goddard's work and findings a year after the war ended. Thus it was in November 1919, a 68 page pamphlet written by Goddard was issued by the Smithsonian, under the title "On A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes".
Most of the pamphlet was taken up with a description of the rockets (all solid fuel), equipment, and discoveries. However, on the next to last page an eight line paragraph mentioned that if the rocket fired long enough and hard enough, it could reach the Moon, and if the meteorological equipment were replaced by blasting powder, anyone looking at the Moon at the moment of arrival would see a flash of light.
The New York Times apparently got hold of a copy of the pamphlet, and in January published a short piece on its editorial page denouncing both Goddard and the Smithsonian for being ignorant of the facts "ladled out in our schools every day", that space is empty, and therefore rockets can't work outside the atmosphere because they have nothing to push against. (To be fair to the Times, they did retract this drivelling nonsense--on July 21, 1969.)
But what if the editorial writer were not a fool? The editorial actually hurt Goddard, in that it discouraged future funding to some extent. Goddard was not stopped: he went on the invent the first liquid fueled rocket on 1926, and the bazooka in time for use in World War 2. He died of cancer as the war ended, but his widow over twenty years later won a patent infringement law suit against the government for rocket design features in the Atlas and other rockets, getting a settlement of millions of dollars. But better funding might have had an impact.
A republished story from Thomas Wm. HamiltonJanuary 1920: The NY Times congratulates Goddard and the Smithsonian on the successful research, but gently reproves Goddard for thinking too small in suggesting hitting the Moon with blasting powder. "The French have their Mr. Verne sending his countrymen to the Moon, and our British cousins have Mr. Wells sending adventurers there. Perhaps it would not have been amiss for Prof. Goddard to have suggested, in the brief mention in his monograph, the possibility of Americans someday raising the stars and stripes on our celestial neighbor".
March 1920: Inspired by the Times' editorial, Henry Ford and Otto Herman Kahn separately contact Goddard and inquire as to his future plans. Goddard explains he can no longer static test or launch rockets anywhere near his home in Worcester due to complaints by neighbors and the fire department, but plans to do his work from property his wife recently inherited at White Sands, New Mexico. Travel related expenses will of course slow his work.
May 1920: Ford, a noted anti-semite, offers to fund all Goddard's travel expenses, but will not co-operate in any way with anything Kahn proposes. Kahn quietly suggests to Goddard that he will fund engineering research in return for recognition if Goddard is successful.
August 1924: Moving ahead at a good rate, Goddard successfully launches the world's first liquid fueled rocket at White Sands, using a suggestion from Kahn that fuel from on board storage cool the feed lines into the burning chamber. Ford is so offended that he drops all support of Goddard, who switches to driving an Oldsmobile. They later use the association in their advertising with references to their cars as "rocket 24".
September 1932: Despite Kahn's death, and the Great Depression, Goddard has put together enough money to build the first manned rocket. It flies eight miles, and the pilot actually survives.
Feb. 1937: The Army Air Corps begins building rocket planes.
Dec. 7, 1941: The Japanese Imperial Navy assault on Pearl Harbor begins at 7:50 AM. By 8:40 AM, American rocket plans from Inyoken Army Air Base in southern California arrive and within twenty minutes the entire Japaese fleet is sunk. The following day most of Tokyo is flattened by rocket bombs. Japan surrenders unconditionally on January 1, 1942.
January 2, 1942: United States orders the Third Reich to cease all military operations. Hitler makes three hour speech with spittle dripping from his mouth, referring to President Roosevelt as "Rosenstein", Americans as '"juedische schweinhunden", and rockets as Jewish-subhuman terror weapons. He orders everyone in Germany working on rocket weapons shot as Jewish spies and traitors. Two days later Berlin, Dresden, and Frankfurt are flattened.
July 4, 1945: Goddard, although suffering from cancer, lands the first manned rocket on the Moon. He quotes from a New York Times editorial of a quarter century earlier as he raises the stars and stripes.
In 2009, disregarding his qualifications, experience or expertise for the role of Attorney General, the Senate Judiciary Committee raised a series of probing questions about the nominee's personal relationship with the President-elect Mrs Hillary Clinton at the confirmation hearings for Vincent Walker Foster, Jr held on this day in Washington, DC.
Vast right-wing Conspiracy, ReduxAs a principal of the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas, Foster had overcome the reluctance of other partners to hire a woman by appointing Hillary Rodham in 1974. A close working relationship would develop causing Clinton to describe Foster as "one of the best lawyers I've ever known", comparing him in style and substance to Gregory Peck's Atticus Finch role in the classic 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird.
In 1992, Foster was persuaded to join the Clinton Administration receiving the appointment of Deputy White House counsel. As he had feared, the move from Arkansas to Washington was an unhappy one. And on July 20th, the critical event occured which was now endangering his appointment as Attorney General. Because members of the Senate Judiciary Committee had been informed that Foster attempted suicide because Hillary tried to break off her alleged affair with him.
This charge was dismissed by Clinton as the unmistakeable return of the right-wing conspiracy that had troubled her husband's two terms in office.
In 2010, the Hughes' brother's post-apocalyptic movie "The Book of Eli" premiered in cinemas across North America. Set in the year 2043, Academy Award and Golden Globe winning actor Denzel Washington stars as the mysterious travelling crossing America with the last iPod and only copy of the Bible to have survived an apocalyptic event which took place some thirty years earlier.
Click to watch the trailer.
The Book of Eli premieresIn the original screen play, Eli meets the archetypal "devil in the desert" who seeks the use the "Book of Eli" as a weapon to expand his power base out of the one horse town he runs as Mayor. Carnegie, played by Gary Oldman, succeeds in shooting Eli and seizing the Bible, only to discover it is written in brail and Eli is in fact blind. Nevertheless, Eli manages to reach his sanctuary, where he dictates the Bible to a printer played by Malcolm McDowell, thus enabling the scriptures to be recovered for another generation.
Trouble was that the final scene was leaked during post production and an alternative ending filmed, in which Eli actually dies, but McDowell finds the Bible stored as an audio book on his iPod.
In 1945, Goring was historically worse than useless through this period. Dissipation from drugs, excess weight and sheer funk made him just another toady in a Red Queen's court of utter loons. However, between his capture in May of 1945 and his trial at Nuremberg, he lost the excess weight, kicked his drug habits and snapped out of his funk. Alone among the major defendants, he was lucid and unrepentant. I have moved the trigger event from his capture to the July Plot of 1944. He is the least unlikely of the inner circle to make into a responsible leader.
To the Lair of The Fascist Beast by Scott PalterFinally, I take the Goebbels' myth of the National Redoubt and move it from its absurd alpine locale to the correct place for a true twilight of the gods, Fortress Berlin.
Our first historical change is that Goring sees and responds to the handwriting on the wall after the failure of the July Bomb Plot. Historically none of the Nazi leaders or senior generals realistically faced up to the mess they had created. They simply refused to deal with a situation where they couldn't win and also couldn't hope for negotiations that would leave them with some gains, some power or even their lives. To make this work we will have Goring face reality. He will need most of the remainder of 1944 to recover his health and some measure of influence. So by mid-January he has recovered equality with Bormann, Himmler, and Goebbels at Hitler's Court. He has diligently worked at mobilizing Air Force manpower for the final battles. He has not thrown away the last air units in a suicide offensive against the Americans, Operation Bodenplatt.
His analysis of the situation for Germany and the Nazis will be ultra realistic:
1. The war is lost. There will be no miracle of the House of Brandenburg. The only questions are how fast Germany falls. The difference will be measured in months, not years. Germany may live past May 8,1945. Germany will not live into 1946.
2. The Nazi leadership will all die. There will be no last minute deals. The only question is the legend they will leave behind.
3. The only outside chance of negotiations does not lie with the West. Regardless of how much Germany batters the West, they will not leave the war at this late stage. However, there is an outside remote chance to play on Stalin's paranoia by appearing to have done a deal with the West. Stalin dealt with the Nazis once. If faced with a tacit Nazi - Western Alliance it is vaguely possible he may deal again. If not it is better for the image to go down defending Europe from godless Tartar - Jewish Bolshevism.
Goring sees Hitler collapse on being informed of the Russian breakouts across the Vistula. He has been reestablishing his contacts among the Berlin Gestapo which he helped create in 1933. He has gained access to their extensive wiretaps by using his authority as Deputy Fuhrer to get passes for Berlin Gestapo families to be relocated to safe small towns in South Germany. He goes to Himmler and Goebbels with proof of Bormann's plots. In 24 hours a 2nd Night of the long Knives is organized. Bormann, Fegelein, Kaltnbrunner and the bulk of the Gauleiters are rounded up. Hitler's physicians are replaced by new ones from the Air Force who take him off the insane program of quack remedies and amphetamines he was on, giving him vitamins and tranquilizers instead. He is given faked evidence of a plot by Bormann to sell him to the allies. The new junta takes over in his place, leaving the sedated Fuhrer to contemplate his final testament and collaborate with Goebbels on propaganda speeches. A good double is retained for public appearances at briefings and public meetings around Berlin. The split of powers is as follows.
1. Goebbels gets custody of the Fuhrer and control over the actual Bunker. He can compose the final speeches and be with his Fuhrer.
2. Himmler is made Reichsprotector of Scandinavia (occupied Denmark and Norway). He also is made Deputy Fuhrer for North Germany and Foreign Minister. Essentially he gives over command of the police and Waffen SS outside his zone in return for a fiefdom and permission to conduct negotiations with the West. He is also left with a few dozen U-Boats to flee to Argentina if all else fails.
3. Goring takes the Party Ministry from the dead Bormann. He takes control of OKH from Keitel and Jodl. He takes the job of War Minister back from Hitler. He gets the Interior Ministry from Himmler, plus command of all SS and other party paramilitaries outside Himmler's zone which is bounded at Hamburg and Kiel. He is made deputy commander-in-chief of the Army under Adolph. Essentially he gets the government, military and the war. What he does with it will be detailed below. Guderian is his military deputy as head of OKH. Speer is his civilian deputy as a deputy Chancellor.
The first problems concern the collapsing northern half of the Eastern Front.
1. Immediate orders are given for mass evacuation from Poland and Silesia back to the Oder. The priority is troops and supplies first, civilians second. Stop lines are set up on the Oder to pull all troops and all civilians capable of fighting or labor service out of the retreating treks without regard to family structure or compassion. The Oder and Berlin will be Germany's final fortress.
2. Unlike in OTL, no other cities are declared fortresses. Where garrisons are cut off they can be left to die but none are intentionally sacrificed.
3. Civilian mobilization of the Landwehr is taken out of the hands of the party and put in the hands of the SS in the East and of Speer's people in the West. There will be a final callup of everyone capable of resistance or labor.
4. Instead of massacres and treks to nowhere, the foreign POW's, forced laborers, and camp prisoners in the path of the Russians will simply be dumped unless truly capable of forced labor on arrival. In other words only healthy male East Europeans will be herded to the Oder. The rest are just a logistical burden on the advancing Russians. However a few SS special commandos will murder several tens of thousands of captured Allied airmen. They will use Russian uniforms and fire Russian bullets. They will be sure to leave survivors to spread ill will between the allies. There will be no attempt to blow up the camps or hide the evidence. The propaganda line is to glory in what was done. The Nazis had tried to cleanse Europe of the Jewish infection and the Bolshevik one as well. Why should they hide their great deed?
5. The Army and Corps HQ radio stations in the West were left intact. Even without knowing about Ultra, it was a standard ploy to move units out from under an HQ to confuse the enemy. Given the German habit of frequent rotation of formations into and out of the line, this would not arouse much comment. The West was also likely to be cautious after the twin attacks in the Ardennes and Alsace. However the staffs and troops of the Fifth Panzer Army, Sixth Panzer Army and First Parachute Armies were in fact pulled out of the line and sent to safeguard Berlin. Fifth Panzer Army gets renamed Eleventh Army. Sixth Panzer Army gets renamed Third Army. First Parachute Army gets renamed Fifth Army. By early February they will all be on the Oder.
6. The command of the Western front is given to Manstein. He is told to withdraw in stages across the Rhine abandoning the Colmar Pocket, the Rhineland, the Palatinate, the Saar, the Eiffel, and Holland. Basically his mission is to screen Ike so it looks like an Allied push instead of German flight. His divisions from the Alsace offensive and another ten halfway decent ones are sent to Hungary to replace the SS and other units sent in OTL. In its place he is given the final dregs and Landwehr plus Hitler Youth. He loses all his major armored formations, all his artillery above division level and most of his good manpower. He gets jokes like the 9th Parachute Division (Air Force service personnel with no ground training) and the 4th Marine Division (navy base personnel with no ground training) that in OTL were used to defend Berlin. He will have 100 ?divisions' and more ration strength than Rundstedt and Model did in OTL. He will not lose Remagen to a botched bridge off a retreat. He will burden Ike with some twelve million Dutch and German civilians (the old, the young, the infirm and those cunning enough to escape the press gangs) to feed. His ?front' will be hasty trenches with no combat power. Ike will be up to the Rhine by mid - end February but only Patton will have a bridgehead. There will have been no slog to the Rhine but many more useless mouths to feed. He will probably be even more cautious as it will appear to him as if he is confronting a sensible German defense of a major river instead of them pissing away a major part of their forces west of the river as they did in OTL.
7. Kesselring will similarly be told to thin out his front by 50% while preparing for a staged withdrawal to the Alps. He's to take what labor he can easily pressgang but not get tied down in protracted antipartisan operations. The Salo people can come if they want or not - no one in Berlin really cares. The line of defense is to be the Adige (South Tyrol) and the Veneto. He is also to start sending two divisions a week to Hungary.
8. Budapest is basically abandoned. There will be no more relief attempts. Model will be pulled out of the West in February to manage the withdrawal from Hungary and Croatia. The retreat on and past Vienna will go as it did historically except that the Germans will do a much better job of getting sympathetic Yugoslavs out ahead of Tito.
9. Heinrici will be given Schroner's job covering Moravia but will have his armored reserves cut in half and his supplies mostly sucked into the new Berlin fortress. If he loses a few Carpathian towns ahead of schedule who cares.
10. The Army Group in Courtland will be evacuated over a six-week period from mid-January to the end of February. The two armies will go to the lower Oder. The civilians will be dumped on Denmark and North Germany.
11. There is no way to avert the disaster of East Prussia. However every effort will be made to mitigate it. The civilians will be shuttled out until the Reds cut the lower Vistula escape route. The troops and civilians will then be sea lifted out in March. The losses will still be extreme and the atrocities by the advancing Reds innumerable. However, most of the civilians and the bulk of the Army Group will be lifted out in February and March. Add 10K more dead to the sea disasters and distribute as in 10 above.
12. Hauser will be given the Stargard operation instead of the idiot Himmler. He will have more tanks, more men, and the best SS Panzer divisions. He will put an even bigger scare in Stalin. He will shield the evacuation of the transOder region.
13. Student, Steiner, Wencks and Guderian will get the joy of preparing the Oder and Berlin defenses. Berlin will be stripped of nonessential civilians. It will have a million healthy young people digging trenches and preparing the city for a siege with extremely competent professional supervision. It will have enough home guards to man the successive lines of defense. A few veterans and a mass of pressganged kids are good enough to hold their ground and die. It will have the vast bulk of the armor, artillery and supplies remaining to Germany. The stage will be set for Armageddon.
So by the end of March Stalin will be having fits. The West will have taken most of northern Italy (up to the line Balzano - Venice) and be across the Rhine virtually everywhere, while he is fighting major battles for tiny villages in Pomerania and Moravia. He will also have taken more losses to accomplish what he did, taxing his manpower reserves even more than historically (in OTL recaptured POW's and German camp prisoners were used to boost the line strength for the final months of 1945). By slighting his more southern fronts, he will still be ready to attack by April 16th. Let the fun begin.
The Germans will have noted the preattack preparations. That night before the barrage commenced they struck. Using the carefully horded remains of Goring's Air Force and the few remaining uncaptured air bases bases wave after wave of German planes came low over the East bank of the Oder. They dropped no bombs. Instead, at tree top height they sprayed nerve gas on the 2.5 million men; 41,600 guns; and 6,250 AFV's arrayed for the attack. It was pure murder. One hundred thousand Red soldiers died. Another two hundred thousand were put out of action. Konev was seriously inconvenienced. Zhukov was stopped cold before the Seelow Heights.
Stalin ordered retaliation. Red Army war gas stocks were rushed to the front, disrupting the attack plans further by hopelessly snarling the elaborately planned logistics. The attack on Zhukov's front was suspended. The full weight of the Russian effort would be made to support Konev's breakin (it was a breakthrough in OTL but with the gas I am presuming he will be inconvenienced).
Stalin's bigger problem was what to do with his Western allies. Ike basically stops on the Elbe as in OTL. Only this time there is no effort made to defend it. Himmler has a rump army in North Germany and Denmark. Manstein with Speer sent to be his civilian deputy has a screen in front of Ike's troops from the Harz Mountains to the Upper Rhine. Stalin does NOT want to share the prize of Berlin with the West. However, practically speaking this means bleeding the Red Army while the West watches. Stalin will have heard of Himmler's approaches to the West through the Swedish Count Bernadotte. Uncle Joe was not a man who needed much to fuel his paranoia. He will pour everything he has into the one great push on Berlin.
He will meet a carefully prepared German fortress, a Kursk in reverse. A million armed men including the best the Reich had left, all its supplies and most of its heavy weapons with another million press ganged laborers who in a pinch are reserve cannon fodder. Even reinforced by half of Zhukov's armies Konev will crawl towards Berlin hemorrhaging casualties. Hausser and Guderian will trade one for one on 15 year old pressganged HJ's for Red Army frontnik's. The tradeoff against trained soldiers will be 4-1. In the end, the Red Army will grind to a halt elsewhere as 4 million of the 7 million men will be fed through the one sector. Two million will fall to seal the city by mid-May and finally uncork Zhukov. Another million will fall through the five weeks of the siege.
The German air attacks will only stop when Patton overruns their last airfields in Bohemia. Essentially the West will have ended its war the 2nd week of May when they overrun Denmark and Bohemia-Moravia. With his peace plans exposed for the joke they always were, Himmler and Doenitz will lead a caravan of higher Nazis to Argentina and exile. Once they leave Norway, the German garrison commander will surrender to the British and Swedes (who is this TL enter the war the first week of May). Trieste, Fiume and all of Slovenia will be occupied by the West.
The final Gotterdamnrung will take place in the last week of June. Across an urban hellscape of 24 hour combat from one mined and fortified ruin to the next, only with gas attacks by both sides for added horror, the final hundred thousand survivors will die defending the government district of Central Berlin. Goring will add one last atrocity. He will leave in the rubble ahead of his final line as much radiological waste as the German nuclear program was capable of creating and proudly announce it to the world. Hitler and Goebbels will die by their own hands in the Bunker. Goring will go down fighting, side by side with the Hitler double defending the bunker complex in the wreckage of the old Prussian war ministry. A final breakout commando of Russian speaking SS led by Otto Skorzeny and the Flemish SS Leader Leon Degrelle will exfiltrate the pocket with the two talismans, the recovered skulls of Goring and the man believed to have been Hitler. They will lead a few tattered survivors and the two holy icons to the last two U-Boats waiting off the Baltic Coast. The last transmitter will broadcast Hitler's Final Testament, a screed of hatred to the world coupled with a nihilistic boasting of how only the true European crusaders had the moral courage to act against the diseases that ravaged Europe. It will be a hymn to the Aryan Race, the Great PanEuropean Anti-Bolshevik Crusade and the nihilistic vigor of Nazi biological racism. It will accurately predict the coming Cold War and blame the gutless European masses and the decadent West for bringing Stalin's horrors to Europe's heart. It will scream that history will absolve and honor their memory, including their final sacrifices. The signoff will be the music of last act of Gotterdamnrung followed by the Valkerie thyme.
There is no final German surrender. Every German and allied person trapped in the fortress is killed by the enraged Russians. The remaining civilians in the Russian zones of Germany and Austria will be carted off to Siberia never to return. There will be no West Germany as Germany will never be forgiven for the final atrocities. There will be no Potsdam conference. The Cold War begins on the ruins of the old war as Stalin will never believe that there was no secret deal. Stalin keeps his allied prisoners (Beria will return some after Stalin's death in 1953). Stalin keeps every inch of soil he holds including Norwegian Lapland and half of Iran. The Soviet Blitz against Japan will be a smaller offensive. Again, Stalin will keep everything he conquers including all of Manchuria, North China and Inner Mongolia. However, Japan will still hold most of Korea when it surrenders after the 3rd A bomb hits Yawata. Hitler's revenge will be a rump Germany under permanent Allied occupation and an Eastern Europe directly annexed by Stalin (Tito dies at the hands of a Soviet hit squad just before the incorporation of Yugoslavia and Albania). Soviet Europe will be both Communized and Russified. The old nations will die ethnically and culturally. The Greek Reds will be forced back into the Soviet lines in Macedonia. The fascist beast will have been slain in its lair.
In 1969, with the animal testing done, Astrid Pflaume and Kurt Weimer are sent back in time to 1916 in their first journey through time. While they are there, they accidentally kill Lenin, then nervously activate their return trip. They return to their own time, and nothing has been changed. Schoemann postulates that they should be able to return to the changed world they have created because they now have a quantum affinity with it; this will be how they change the world.
On this day in 1969, Apollo 4 was launched from Cape Canaveral on the so-called 'dress rehearsal' mission in which docking and undocking techniques would be practiced in preparation for the Apollo 5 lunar landing attempt scheduled to take place in July.
In 1972, closing arguments were made in the trial of Dmitri Kaprinsky, alias D.B. Cooper.
Just as the sun was being cut in two by the horizon, Jake pulled the jeep up to the wall of a small creek and turned off the engine. "OK," Janice said, studying the map on her laptop. "We just need to hop over that little cliff there, hike about a mile and half, and we're at the ranch. I'm amazed that we could get this close".
"You can have a talk with his security people after we've got him," Kevin said.
"We should wait for night, then send somebody in for a look-around," Eli said. "Recon, like you said, Sarge. Get a good feel of what their layout is before we go in".
"Right," Jake said. He studied the creek side for a good way up. "All right, I'm gonna head up and do that. Should be dark by the time I get close enough for a look. Hand me those goggles, Janice". She took out her night-vision goggles and handed them to him. "Y'all try to keep quiet and stay outta sight. I'll be back after dark". He then took off up the wall and out of sight.
Eli took out his guns, pulled out the ammunition, and started cleaning them. Janice pulled a small radio out of her pack and plugged in small earphones. She handed one to Kevin. "Share?"
"OK". He took the bud and stuck it into his ear as she adjusted the channel. After a minute, they got the Emergency Lady, and Janice paused.
"...of emergency, the citizens of Texas are asked to report to the nearest military recruitment center or base and volunteer their assistance in whatever capacity they are able to contribute. If you have information about the terrorists or the invading force..".
"Invading force?" Kevin and Janice looked at each other as they spoke in unison. Eli looked up from his guns at them.
"...der, you are required by law to report to the nearest police station or Guard unit and surrender this information. General Wilson McNeil, commander of the military units currently repulsing the invaders, has requested all able-bodied Texans near the borders of the state to immediately join the Guard with whatever weapons they possess and assist in keeping these foreign forces off of our soil".
"What does this mean?"
Janice turned to Eli and told him what had been said, then answered Kevin. "I'd lay odds that it means that they want as many Texans in uniform as they can get, and they've pulled together this cockamamie story to get them. That puts another deadline on us".
Eli was smiling. "Yeah, this is gonna be the big one, here".
"Sometimes, Eli, you scare me," Janice said.
He grinned wider. "Just sometimes?"
"That's gonna make it harder to get Bush out," Janice told Kevin. "There's gonna be more soldiers".
"Forget Bush, what about Steph and the kids?" Kevin looked very concerned. "Do you think they meant the border with New Mexico, or just the border with Mexico?"
"I'd say both," Janice said.
"How are they going to get across if there's fighting going on at the border?"
Janice shrugged. "Well, they've got that SUV, so they might be able to find a way over to New Mexico without using a road. Mike's pretty good at finding information that's supposed to be secret - "
"He's the best," Eli piped in.
"So," Janice continued, "he should be able to find them a route that'll bypass any fighting. They've got some cash to spread around, thanks to you, and that always help grease your way". She put a hand on his shoulder and rubbed. "They'll get through".
"I sure hope so". He shook himself and looked embarrassed. "For Jake's sake, I mean".
"Yeah," she smirked, "for Jake's sake".
the Reverend Martin Luther King of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church and his wife Alberta had their first boy
, whom they named after the Reverend. Young Martin Jr. did not take after his father's temperament, though, and was a young hellion who gave the Kings fits. In his 30's he found some purpose in the civil rights movement, but was killed during a riot in Atlanta.
In 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He grew up to become the public face of the Semitic-African Resistance in America. During most of his lifetime, he was able to keep the genocidal American Bund from gaining power, and was forced to compromise with the racist President Strom Thurmond in order to keep a greater evil at bay.
the Reverend Martin Luther King of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church and his wife Alberta lost their first son
, a boy they were going to name after the Reverend. Reverend King, a prominent figure in the community, withdrew from the public eye after this and retired from the ministry.
In 1929, Comrade Martin King was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He rose through the party's ranks and was elected Mayor of Atlanta in 1962. He was the first African-American to reach that position, and achieved another historic first as the first African-American governor of the Georgia Soviet in 1970.
In 1929, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Although deeply spiritual as a young man, Dr. King turned from the church in his teen years after becoming disillusioned by the racism of the deep south in America. Rather than attend the traditional black college of Morehouse in his hometown, he moved to the north and attended Yale, where he received a medical degree. His studies of sickle cell anemia provided a cure for the disease in 1977, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Medicine.
In 1929, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia. A powerful voice in the civil rights movement, King narrowly escaped death in 1968 when a gunman shooting at him on a Memphis hotel balcony was distracted by the appearance of King's young protege Jesse Jackson. Jackson was killed, but King was unharmed.
In 1307, the mullah Malik al-Rai is born in Timbuktu. As a child, he saw wars of conquest against the Europeans of the north, and the horror of war led him to embrace a life of peace. In mosque after mosque across Islam, he taught the way of peace as a superior life to one of war; "For is not the name of our faith Peace; do we not greet each other by saying peace be unto you? Peace is the greatest gift of Allah".
In 4625, Guan-di Wang a spiritual leader of the African people in the Chinese Empire, is born in the ancient city of Timbuktu. Before his famous Journey of Enlightenment in 4660, the ethnic Chinese of the Empire had felt that the other ethnic groups under their rule were treated well; his sermons led the Chinese to understand the second-class nature of the citizenship conferred on non-Chinese. With the opening of democracy in the latter half of the century, he was able to bring a new ethnic ethos that saw all citizens of the Empire as equal.
In 1929, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia. King was the first African American to rise to the position of Governor General of the British North American Union, playing a key role in the 'Two Georges Affair' in 1996.
In 1945, fourth generation German-American Kurt Vonnegut's body was filled with holes by a firing squad. As a prisoner of war, he had been set to work in the City of Dresden following the Allied bombing. Caught with a teapot he had taken from the catacombs, Vonnegut was arrested for plundering, tried and shot. So it goes. Vonnegut was philosophical about his death, concentrating on the happy moments of his life, and ignoring the unhappy ones-to stare only at pretty things as eternity failed to go by.
In 1784, in a bitter-sweet moment the Continental Congress ratified the Second Treaty of Paris, ending the War for Independence but acquiescing to the British retention of the former royal provinces of New York and New Jersey re-organized into a City State. An article from the New York City State thread.
Ratification of the Second Treaty of ParisIt was little more than a double twist of fate, or rather two separate miracles the saved the Loyalist community: the extinguishing of a near-catastrophic fire in 1776 and then the recent extraction of the British Army from Yorktown.
Logic aside, patriot anger finally boiled over in 1813 when Yankee army engineers landed on Bedlow's Island on a revenge mission to destroy the Statue of Britannia, that hated symbol of imperial power in Upper New York Bay. But to their immense anger and frustration it would be a brief occupation because they were forced to withdraw under the obligations of the Treaty of Ghent. However before they left, General Jackson delivered a powerful "Dream that Never Dies" speech . The loyalists were left in absolutely no doubt that the Americans considered the possession of the New York City State. "Unfinished business leftover from the American Revolution by an accident of history".
In 1847, on this day fighting of the Mexican-American War in Alta California was brought to a peaceful conclusion by the Treaty of Cahuenga.
A variant ending to Tracy Johnson's Facebook article.
Treaty of Cahuenga ends the Mexican-American War in Alta CaliforniaNot a formal treaty between nations but rather an informal agreement between rival military forces in which the Californios gave up fighting, it was drafted in English and Spanish by José Antonio Carrillo, approved by American Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Frémont and Mexican Governor Andrés Pico on January 13, 1847 at Campo de Cahuenga in what is now North Hollywood, Los Angeles in the Bear Republic of California.
The Bear Flag Revolt itself was instigated mainly by Anglo-American settlers in the area, and the Californios, for the most part, opposed to any sort of revolt, preferring to stay with Mexico. However the unexpected outcome of the war the Californios, Anglo-Americans, and Native Americans in the area of Alta California uniting together in a multi-ethnic nation. However their independence would only last until the discovery of gold, a bitter sweet development which brought the young nation into the orbit of several foreign powers, eventually becoming a Russian Client State for almost a century.
In 1761, on this day a coalition army of Afghan (Durrani) and their Indian Muslim allies was defeated by a northern expeditionary force of the Maratha Confederacy equipped with French-supplied artillery and cavalry in an epic battle fought at Panipat (Haryana State, India) sixty miles north of Delhi.
Battle of PanipatAhmad Shah Abdali, the founder of the Durrani Empire had been unwilling to allow the Maratha Confederacy to gain territory from the decline of the Mughal Empire. And further northward expansion would inevitably lead to a clash between the two belligerents. Instead, he decided to pre-empt this future conflict: in 1759, he raised an army from the Pashtun tribes and made several gains against the smaller garrisons.
His chief opponent was Malharrao Holkar who gathered an army of between 70,000-100,000 troops with which the Marathas had ransacked the Mughal capital of Delhi. And crucially, he took the time to supplement this force with allies. There followed a series of skirmishes along the banks of the river Yamuna at Karnal and Kunjpura which eventually turned into a two-month-long siege led by Abdali against the Marathas.
Between 60,000-70,000 soldiers were killed in fighting, while numbers of the injured and prisoners taken vary considerably. The result of the last major battle between indigenous South Asian military powers was a further expansion of the Maratha advances in the North. Because soon enough the Marathas would have to deal with an insidious new enemy, the British Empire.
In 1741, on this day Benedict Arnold was born in Norwich, Connecticut.
Benedict Arnold Meets Washington for BreakfastBy 1780 he was a Major General and had served his country well, even taking a wound to his leg, but he felt the young America had not returned the kindness. Arnold had been repeatedly passed over for promotion and robbed of commands that were given to men of much lesser quality.
In 1778, he had been accused of profiteering in Philadelphia, but the later court martial proved him innocent of all but a few minor charges. Despite his innocence, his name was blackened, and he wrote Washington, "Having become a cripple in the service of my country, I little expected to meet ungrateful returns". The final straw came after his Quebec campaign, a military disaster, in which his retreat had run up severe costs. The Continental Congress was to reimburse him, but due to lack of proper documentation, Arnold was told he owed over £1,000.
Arnold was newly married to Peggy, the daughter of Philadelphia Loyalist Judge Edward Shippen. His Loyalist ideals were piqued, and, over the course of the next year, Arnold would begin a plan to change sides in the war. Communications exchanged between himself and various British officials until he made his demands of £20,000, coverage for his losses, and the rank of a brigadier general. In exchange, he gave troop positions, army strengths, and supply information to Clinton in his Hudson Valley campaign. In a final offer, Arnold promised to turn over the Continental fort at West Point, New York.
On September 21, Arnold met with British spy Major John André, but the forces under American Colonel John Jameson had attacked the HMS Vulture, chasing away André's escape. The major would have to return overland through enemy lines, and Arnold supplied him with the appropriate papers for safe passage. André did not go far before he was caught by Patriots, who took him to Jameson after finding suspicious notes in his socks. These papers were sent to Washington, and André asked Jameson to send him back to Arnold. Major Benjamin Tallmadge, a member of Washington's intelligence service, convinced the colonel to hold onto the spy, and, though Jameson was highly suspicious of the divergence from the chain of command, not to mention the capture to the suspect Arnold.
That Sunday morning, Benedict Arnold, blissfully ignorant of André's capture, met with Washington for breakfast. The commander-in-chief had read the indicting papers, but he remained calm. Fellow military leaders said that the breakfast was pleasant and full of conversation about plans for winter. As he stood, Washington said to the soldiers, "Men, do the Major General the honor of arrest on suspicion of treason". Arnold reportedly tried to fight his way from the room, but the Patriots, including Washington, subdued him. Just before he was dragged away, Arnold made a last request to Washington to allow his wife Peggy safe passage back to her family in Philadelphia. Washington would fulfill the request.
The investigation would take up the next week. Being found completely guilty, Benedict Arnold would be hanged alongside André on October 2. Just after his death, a letter from Arnold entitled "To the Inhabitants of America" would be published in Loyalist newspapers throughout the former colonies. In it, Arnold redressed his grievances: the independence of the Articles of Confederation despite offers to meet pre-war demands and return to the British Empire, a rejection of treaty with the French (whom he described as "the enemy of the Protestant faith"), and the lack of rebels to follow simple "common sense", as had been recommended by Thomas Payne's pamphlet.
With a popular martyr, the Loyalist movement in the Colonies would begin anew. Washington would spend years settling uprisings and defeating British troops as they moved. The Crown, meanwhile, began a scheme of amphibious attacks that were intended to wear down the rebels but only dragged on an expensive war, inciting riots of war-weary cities. Internationally, the Dutch, Spanish, and French preyed heavily on the British shipping and conquered other colonies. Finally, in 1785 after the bloody defeat of British General Cornwallis at the Battle of Williamsburg, the Revolutionary War would end. International fighting would continue until the humiliating Treaty of Paris of 1788 was signed.
In the wake of the successful, though hard-fought, revolution in America, emulated revolutions would break out in France and over the Continent. What papers called "democratic chaos" caused uproars and wars against the French Republic until finally the kings of Europe agreed that they had gone too far in giving the Americans republican rule. The American Invasion would begin in 1815 and force upon them as king Prince Edward, George III's fourth son. In the coming years, his daughter Victoria would become queen of both America and England, finally reuniting the wayward colonies, though with separate parliaments.
In 1858, in an organized attack by Italian independence radicals led by Felice Orsini, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, nephew of the famous Napoleon I and reigning emperor of France since 1852, was killed in a firestorm of bombs.
Napoleon III Assassinated in BombingThe emperor and his consort, Eugénie de Montijo, were on their way to the opera when Orsini and his fellow assassins hurled bombs that exploded on impact, following a design created by Orsini the year before. The first two bombs struck at the front of their carriage, the second wounding animals and breaking the protective glass, while the third and final landed inside the carriage itself. A policeman was the first to reach the wreckage and cried out, "l'Empereur est mort!".
It was a tragic end to what had seemed an epic life. Louis-Napoléon was born in 1808 as the third son of Napoleon's brother Louis, puppet-ruler of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Holland. After the fall of the French Empire, Louis-Napoléon grew up in Switzerland comfortably while his cousin Napoleon II was held under royal trappings under the Austrian court. Following the deaths of Napoleon II and the earlier generation, Louis-Napoléon became the head of the Bonapartist movement and dedicated his life to reestablishing the glory days under Napoleon I. In 1836, he attempted to begin a coup at Strasbourg much like the Hundred Days, but, rather than join him, the garrison arrested him and sent him back into exile. Another failed coup came in 1840, and Louis-Napoléon was sentenced to perpetual imprisonment in the fortress at Ham.
There, Louis-Napoléon began formulating his ideals of the liberal emperor. He wrote L'extinction du paupérisme, defining Bonapartism as autocracy for the good of the masses and outlining economic policies bordering on socialism. Following six years of imprisonment, he escaped after trading clothes with a mason and came to England, where he remained until the Revolutions of 1848 toppled King Louis-Philippe and established a new republic. Louis-Napoléon returned to Paris after the June Days uprising proved the reforming efforts of the Republic were ineffective, and he won the new presidential election with more than 75 percent of the total vote. He was wildly popular, "all things to all men" with progressive economic policies for the poor, being dubbed "least bad" by the Monarchists, and holding the historic Napoleon name. His term proved beneficial, but problems began as Louis-Napoléon requested an amendment to the 1848 Constitution so that he might run again after his term ended in 1852. The National Assembly refused and instead amended voting laws with a three-year residency requirement, which would cut out many traveling workers of the lower class who would have voted for him. Calling for maintenance of universal male suffrage, Louis-Napoléon secured the support of the army and at last had his successful coup in 1851.
Now ruler of the Second French Empire, Napoleon III worked to create anew what his uncle once held. A new constitution kept universal male suffrage and the Parliament, but all real power lay with Louis-Napoléon. He exiled political rivals to Devil's Island and other penal colonies and married the Spanish Eugénie de Montijo (after being turned down by higher nobles from the houses of Sweden and Britain) to produce his heir, Louis Napoléon the Prince Impérial, born in 1856. Louis-Napoléon also worked to overcome the colonial restrictions placed on France by aiding European powers in the Crimean War (using Russia as an excuse for the return of French influence) and the Anglo-Persian War. More notably, he also gave influence in the militaristic attempts at Italian unification, such as his providing troops to restore Pope Pius IX and defeat the short-lived Roman Republic of Garibaldi and Mazzini in 1849.
This action had caused an uproar in France (which had been calmed by Louis-Napoléon's popularity), but it had also instilled in the minds of Orsini and others that Louis-Napoléon was a stumbling block to an Italian nation, leading to his assassination. The assassins were caught and executed with Orsini notably going to the guillotine quietly and with a sense of satisfaction. Meanwhile, France became a political vacuum as Napoleon IV was only two years old. Bids for an advisor turned into factionalism, and power gradually fell back to the Parliament, making the young emperor a figurehead. Anti-Italian sentiment led to the French assistance of the Austrians (a large reversal from the old Napoleonic enemy) in the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859, which formed the alliance that narrowly defeated the Prussians in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, giving Emperor Franz Josef political clout to build his Southern German Confederation opposing Prussia and its northern German allies.
Prussia would eventually have its victory in the Great War (spawned from another assassination in 1914 of Austria's archduke) when it joined with Russia and Britain against France, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire, leading to the dissolution of the latter two and the formation of South Germany and, finally, an independent unified Italy. With its humiliating defeat, France gave up its empire as the aging Napoleon V abdicated. The new republic lasted only briefly before the fascist Third French Empire arose in the 1930s. The resulting imperialism with its Japanese allies would be opposed by a congress of nations, including the century-old Republic of Mexico and the liberated Vietnamese who suffered under years of Japanese colonialism before becoming a republic under American encouragement.
In 1908, on this day George Washington Miller was pleased to announce that retired Colonel Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders would be accompanying the 101 Ranch Wild West Show on their forthcoming tour to Mexico City.
Catharsis in Mexico CityThe programme of events had originally featured steer-wrestling in which the cow-boy bit the beast's nose and upper lip before pinning it to the ground. Miller had considered adapting this wrestling for the Mexican audience by replacing the steer with a bull, but had recently been advised that in fact bull fighting was more of a mental than a physical contest of wills.
That advice had come from another evergreen cow-boy, a man never short of a crazy idea, Roosevelt himself.
"Something is missing in this harsh world" ~ TR's Diary EntryIn fact TR had been kicking his unspurred heels for the most of the previous decade and was bored to distraction. He proposed a thrilling show featuring his "Rough Riders", the name bestowed on the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, one of three such regiments raised in 1898 for the Spanish-American War and the only one of the three to see action. TR sold Miller on a feature that would eclipse the other Wild West Show which was even now running another swash-buckling adventure writ large in the American psyche, the Little Big Horn featuring the ageing George Armstrong Custer. The letter ommitted to mention a small factual point (never a strength of TR's), that the Rough Riders had not been provisioned with horses, and in no sense could be described either as cavalry, or even riders.
"How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? How can a loser ever win?" ~ Al GreenA few months later, Miller desperately wished that he had stuck with the original nonsense. His neighbor Major Gordon W. Lillie, who performed as Pawnee Bill, proudly declared "Alturas de San Juan!" before introducing a stage managed and highly fictionalised version of Roosevelt's horsed men racing up San Juan Hill to sweep all before them.
The problem with this cow-boys and indians farce was of course that the mostly Hispanic audience was simply horrified by the scenes they were witnessing. Which was not to say that the occasion was a disaster, because the audience's reaction shocked Roosevelt out of his despair and presented him with a fresh opportunity to turn his own life around.
A sickly child, he had enjoyed a brief moment of glory in Cuba before returning to an unhappy and unfulfilling existence in the States. The cause of that sorrow was the death of his first wife Alice and since his remarriage, his troubled relationship with their child of the same name, whose birth had led to the tragedy. During her formative years he had failed to communicate effectively and also managed to project his frustration and sense of loss upon her. Outwardly larger than life, he flashed his winning smile at all but his daughter who inevitably developed her own sense of resentment.
Quitting Mexico City, a wiser TR set his eyes upon a new and infinitely more difficult challenge that would be fought on a battleground in which few men truly emerge as victors. He would put aside foolish nonsense and embark on a mission to be a hero once again in the eyes of his first child.
Click to listen to Al Green singing How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.
In 1858, on this day the Emperor of France and his wife were assassinated en route to a theatrical performance of Rossini's William Tell. Police investigations that began in Paris would subsequently unearth a trail of conspiracy that led all the way back to revolutionary London.
The Orsini AffairTo murder the Royal couple, Italian revolutionaries Felice Orsini, Giuseppe Pieri, Antonio Gomez and Carlo di Rudio had thrown three hand-made bombs at the the Imperial Carriage in the Rue Le Peletier. It would later emerge that the bombs had been manufactured by the English gunsmith Joseph Taylor and tested in Sheffield and Devonshire. Because Orsini had been covertly assisted by London since the unsuccessful revolution of 1848.
Few in France were surprised that Great Britain should become a rogue state which exported terrorism. Because a thriving republican community had existed even before the execution of Charles Stuart. In the late eighteenth century, revolutions had broken out in England, France and the American colonies. Defeated overseas, extremists such as Thomas Paine had gathered in London and overthrown the British Royal Family. Standing alone against the Royal Houses of Europe, Britain existed in a state of undeclared war with the continent, being the only great power to have emerged into the eighteenth century as a republic. Desperately short of allies, the British Government had hoped to creating a sister state in Italy with men such as Orsini.
In 1898, on this day Lewis Carroll better known as the hideous murderer "Jack the Ripper" died in a lunatic asylum. He was sixty-five years old.
"His vorpal blade went snicker-snack"Ten years before, the first victim was found in the Whitechapel area of London. Mary Ann Nichols, who had turned to a life of prostitution in her youth, was found cut to pieces on Buck's Row.
Her murder was followed by several others, and then the killings stopped for several years. The murders remained unsolved for many years until the killer published, of all things, a children's book in which he wrote a cryptic confession of his dark deeds.
Thomas Wyndham, a detective at Scotland Yard with a fondness for puzzles and cryptograms, was reading the edition of "Alice In Wonderland" known as Nursery Alice to his daughter when a passage on the page seemed to leap out at him; he rearranged the words and it turned into a confession of ominous portent.
He and a colleague paid a visit to author Charles Dodgson, and after hours of questioning, the author broke down and confessed everything, also implicating his friend, Thomas Bayne, a colleague from Oxford. The sensational capture of the elusive Jacks stunned the world of children's literature, and Dodgson's work was pulled from publication; it is read today only by criminal pathologists seeking insight into the twisted mind of this terrible murderer.
In 1961, on this day book-lovers in New York celebrated the reopening of New York Public Library branches in Brooklyn and Queens.
In 2005, Jeanna Best finds a strange site on the Internet that mentions the clawing gestures of U.S. Representative Carl Worthington, but the site is almost entirely gibberish. When she shows the site to her friend Dave Lange, he finds a hidden link that asks for a password when he clicks on it. He does not guess the password after the three tries that system gives him, but then a message comes up asking him to email someone at the address of OriginalHuman@saveearth.net. He sends an email from Jeanna's computer, asking for information about the site.
In 2005, after two weeks of work on the Great Tree, Chelsea Perkins and Alma May Watson finally have it restored. While they have been occupied saving the Tree, though, the Council of Wisdom has been attacked, and Elsbeth Danwich has found a human sacrifice that will allow her to grant passage to a demon into our world. Chelsea and Alma May leave the Tree to stop her.
racist reactionary George Wallace
attacks the inauguration of newly elected Alabama Soviet Governor Comrade Charles Davis, the first African-American comrade to hold the governor's office of the Alabama Soviet. Wallace shoots Davis in the spine, leaving Comrade Davis paralyzed from the waist down. In spite of this setback, Comrade Davis proves one of the most capable governors Alabama has ever had, and a true hero of Soviet America.
In 1000 Post-Creation, Lucifer attempts to speak with the Creator about the former rebellious angels, but Achazia, the half-human, half-angel girl, holds Yahweh's attention, instead. As much as Lucifer pleads, Yahweh has no time for him. The angelic leader leaves, feeling a disquiet he has not had in a millenia.
In 1980, gold prices plummeted when the Ethiopian Motherlode was discovered. The formerly-precious metal had been trading at $300 US an ounce, and was the monetary standard of many countries, when the doubling of the world's supply by the discovery in Ethiopia brought the price crashing down to $50 US an ounce. The African nation, which is now the world's largest supplier of the metal, has achieved a standard of living rivaling many European nations.
In 1969, with the animal testing done, Astrid Pflaume and Kurt Weimer are sent back in time to 1916 in their first journey through time. While they are there, they accidentally kill Lenin, then nervously activate their return trip. They return to their own time, and nothing has been changed. Schoemann postulates that they should be able to return to the changed world they have created because they now have a quantum affinity with it; this will be how they change the world.
In 1889, Mikhail von Heflin barely escapes the dark forces in Mason, Texas that are conspiring to trap him there and defy the destiny of the Baron von Todt. As Mason burns to the ground behind him, Mikhail turns to the southwest and begins his long walk to the Texas Hill Country.
On this day in 1945, American and Soviet advance troops in Germany linked up at the village of Torgau, effectively isolating Berlin from the rest of the country.
On this day in 1973, the Cowboys avenged their previous year's Super Bowl defeat by Miami, winning over the Dolphins in overtime 20-17 in Super Bowl VII. The Dallas victory marked the first time the NFL championship had been decided in OT since the Baltimore Colts' 23-17 win over the New York Giants in the 1958 NFL title game.
In 1966, Sergei Korolev, head of the Soviet space program, dies. His death will be a serious blow to the Soviet program.
In America, a design report will be presented to NASA administrators recommending the abandonment of the full-pressure pure-oxygen cabin atmosphere used in early manned flights. The report warns that use of this atmosphere risks turning what might otherwise be a small fire inside the cabin into an uncontrollable conflagration.
After considerable study, it will be decided to use a partial-pressure atmosphere, three pounds per square inch of oxygen. The use of ordinary air at normal pressure is c nsidered but rejected.
On this day in 1968, comedian and talk show host James Todd Smith III was born in Queens, New York. Known as "Cool J" to his fans, Smith would become one of the biggest film and TV stars of his generation.
|LL Cool J|
In 1969, with the approval of outgoing President Lyndon B. Johnson, President-elect Richard M. Nixon is briefed on Operation Garden Plot and Operation Noah's Ark, the Johnson Administration's secret plans to conduct mass arrests of antiwar activists and to strike at North Vietnam by bombing the country?s elaborate system of dikes to cause flooding and famine.
Nixon is pleased with both plans, which together potentially offer him the chance to both win a war aand lash out hard against his domestic political critics, whom he has resented since his entry into politics in 1946.
On this day in 1968, the Dallas Cowboys won their first Super Bowl championship, beating the Oakland Raiders 37-14.
In 1777, George Washington is captured at his estate at Mount Vernon, to which he has returned to salvage what he can before Tory mobs wreck the place following the collapse of the American colonial rebellion.
An informer tips off local British officers, and Washington is dragged from his bed at two in the morning after having spent the previous day feverishly packing his valuables.
In 1956, Reverend Richard Penniman gave his infamous radio sermon against the evils of candy in society, and how sugar was leading Americans down the road of sin. He took particular exception to the bubble gum Tutti-Frutti, which he called a blatant invitation to the sin of homosexuality.
at the request of the British Parliament, the American Continental Congress formally breaks all ties with the Canadian nationalists
. The American militias had been assisting British troops in fighting the nationalists for a couple of years, but the Congress had never made a formal break. A flood of former rebels surges northward from America to Canada, swelling the ranks of the nationalists.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.