In 1916, on this day the commander of the 6th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers (Temporary) Lieutenant-Colonel Winston Churchill inspected the ruined church of St. Nicholas in Messines on Plug Street. Brushes, sketches, pencils and paint-boxes were discovered by his men in the crypt. Upon inspection it appeared that during the lull in the fighting an Austrian corporal in a Bavarian reserve infantry regiment had found the time to sketch the church, a matter of moderate interest to Churchill who had recently taken up the very same pastime.
Churchill sketches out his great comebackThe reason for taking up art, indeed for his recent arrival in Flanders, was the Gallipoli Campaign. Because of his vigorous support for that military disaster he had reluctantly resigned from the Admiralty, and then with too much time on his hands had taken to paint before accepting an offer of a military command from the professional head of the British Expeditionary Force, his old friend Sir John French. Having readily agreed to serve in a lesser role in order to learnt the ropes, he purchased a Brigadier-General's outfit and sailed for France with his own brushes, sketches, pencils and paint-boxes. Trouble was though French was out of favour as well, he also resigned and the Prime Minister appointed Douglas Haig instead; the rotters declined to honour French's promise and hence Churchill never got his promised command of a brigade.
Although he scarcely gave a damn about one more dead German, something about the young Corporal's death bothered Churchill mightily, an echo of his own mortal perhaps, and that night he suffered a terrible nightmare in which he dreamt he was sketching Plug Street with hands covered not in paint but in blood. In the difficult coming days ahead he decided that he would return the London and force Asquith out. By then Lloyd George had drowned at sea on-board the HMS Hampshire, an event which removed the second discordant voice in the Cabinet, an insidious development itself viewed with suspicion by enemies of Asquith. But for now he sketched out the water colour of Plug Street, and for some private amusement, placed the small figure of the Austrian Corporal into the landscape.
Author's Note: in his article Churchill and Hitler: At Arms, At Easels publised in the May 2014 Edition of Today in History Magazine the author Nigel Jones notes that Hitler and Churchill were in close proximity during January 1916.
In 1964, The Seekers were found in the UK, and lead singer Judith Durham rocketed to be a top recording star for decades.
Judith Durham quits The SeekersThe Seekers became the first Australian folk/pop group to have a Top 5 single in Australia, U.K., and the USA, as "I'll Never Find Another You" became the biggest selling single in the U.K. in 1965, and went on to sell 1.75 million copies worldwide.
Durham was stolen from the group when they sailed to the UK in the mid-1960s after making so much noise with their big hit "I'll Never Find Another You". She was paired with another successful group there just forming which came to be known as The Moody Blues. Their earlier symphonic-rock sounds worked wonders with her clear voice to make Rock and Roll history.
Longing for the life she knew as the voice for The Seekers, Durham eventually left the group a few years later when The Moody Blues changed their style to a more conventional rock sound. Durham did well in solo work, and by adding Celtic-style songs to her lists, sometimes singing with The Chieftains.
In 1821, on this day Confederate President John Cabell Breckinridge was born in Lexington, Kentucky.
Birth of POTCS John C. BreckinridgeA lawyer and politician from the U.S. state of Kentucky, he represented the state in both houses of Congress and in 1857, became the 14th and youngest-ever Vice President of the United States (1857-1861).
Serving in the U.S. Senate at the outbreak of the Civil War, he was expelled after joining the Confederate Army. He was appointed Confederate Secretary of War late in the war.
After the armistice brokered with United States President George McClellen, he was - after the premature death of Robert E. Lee - a rallying point for Southern Unity. Elected Confederate President, he implemented a series of economic reforms to make the Confederacy competitive on a global stage. But both he and his succesor James Longstreet failed, and thirteen years after his own premature death, President Fitzhugh Lee was forced by events to call for the legal dissolution of a confederacy that no longer had any members at all.
In 1979, on this day Mohammad Reza Pahlavi the Shah of Iran fled Iran with his family and relocated to Egypt. Political unrest had transformed the country into a revolution and shortly thereafter, the monarchy was formally abolished, and Iran was declared an Islamic republic led by Ayatollah Khomeini.
The Second Pillar CollapsesHaving so recently saved Vietnam from Communism, it was a disastrous turn of events for Richard Nixon during his "victory lap" third term. His Government had been fully committed to the "Twin Pillar" cold-war strategy of supporting Saudi Arabia and Iran in order to control oil supplies in the Middle East. And during his first year as Eisenhower's Vice President, the Iranian oil industry was briefly nationalized under the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh before a US-backed coup d'état deposed Mosaddegh and brought back foreign oil firms.
As a result of this long standing personal entanglement the downward spiral of crisis continued to escalate across the whole region drawing Nixon into the picture as a Satanic bogeyman. Because the Arab masses were enraged that the Shah, a hated autocrat, had arrived in their country with an entourage, acting as if he was still Head of State in Exile and hoping that the US Government would restore him to power after a brief interruption to 2,500 years of continuous monarchy since the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great.
With the Egyptian Government quickly losing control of events, Nixon readily agreed to provide sanctuary for the Shah at the American Embassy in Cairo whilst he could arrange some form of extraction. But this secret movement was betrayed, and protesters assembled outside the Embassy Gates, shouting revolutionary slogans. The Iranian Revolutionary Government demanded the return of the Shah to Iran to stand trial for his crimes. When Nixon refused the Embassy was overrun by militants and the whole Temple began to topple.
In 1847, on this day representatives of Her Britannic Majesty's Government offered to set up a quasi-independent Republic/British protectorate of California headed by John C. Frémont.
British Appointment of President FrémontThe "Great Pathfinder" was from Savannah, Georgia more than two thousand miles away from the puppet he would later serve with ignominious distinction as the Golden Bear Republic's inaugural President.
The causal event was the declaration of an independent Republic in Alta California by a group of American settlers in Sonoma. At the outset of this so-called "Bear Flag Revolt" he was hand picked by the US President and Secretary of State who provided him with verbal orders to conceal their direct involvement in the Revolt. It was a poor choice, because they believed him to be a suitably daring officer when in fact he would be better described as "over-bold". Worse, it was mistake because, Frémont was a maverick, a loose cannon who could not be trusted to operate at arms length under any form of meaningful control.
Appointed lieutenant colonel he formed the grandiose-sounding California Battalion from his survey crew and also local volunteers. It was partly a bluff to fool Mexico into overestimating the size of his forces, but it was also a de facto self-appointment as theatre commander and liberator.
Insofar as he could be said to follow the instruction of others, Frémont then broadly adhered to the orders of Commodore Robert F. Stockton by leading a military expedition of three hundred men in the capture of Santa Barbara. A few days later he led his men southeast toward Los Angeles, accepting the surrender of the leader Andres Pico.
Unknown to Frémont and the Bear Flag supporters, war had already been formally declared but the news did not reach California until early July. Ironically the name of the frigate carrying the declaration was the USS Savannah which shared the name of the town of Frémont's birth in Georgia. Already over-zealous, the coincidence fired the imagination of the young officer who know decided he was the de jure leader of the the Bear Flag supporters.
Meanwhile his window of opportunity was beginning to shut. U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny had orders from the U.S. president and secretary of war to relieve Frémont and serve as governor. Fate played Frémont a hand. Unwilling to withdraw from the south-west, Mexico refused to cede the territory to the United States, instead accepting compensation from Great Britain who then set up an quasi-independent Republic/British protectorate headed by Frémont.
It was a bad choice, because Frémont was a "show-boater" who was temperamentally unfit to govern. Disregarding the advice of the British military attache, he allowed himself to be provoked by events stage managed in southern Texas which provided the US with a fresh pretext for intervention. It would be his successor, and former Commander, Robert F. Stockton who would have to fend off the United States' second and more determined attempt to seize the territory.
Historians portray Frémont as controversial, impetuous, and contradictory. Some scholars regard him as a military hero of significant accomplishment, while others view him as a failure who repeatedly defeated his own best purposes. The keys to Frémont's character and personality may lie in his illegitimate birth, ambitious drive for success, self-justification, and passive-aggressive behavior perhaps the three attributes best used to describe the new nation that he had founded.
In 1566, a rebellion against the ardent militant religious policies of Roman Catholicism was sparked in the Low Countries by the harsh but empathetic Holy Roman Emperor Charles V passing the throne to a Spanish-raised son who spoke neither Dutch nor French.
Backlash to the Spanish Suppression of the Dutch RevoltPhilip II had become the ruler of the largest state in the world. During the early years of his reign, tensions flared over heavy taxation, suppression of Protestantism and centralisation efforts. The growing rebellion would only be suppressed by a series of favourable developments beginning in the autum of 1567 with his visit to the Habsburg Netherlands.
Order was eventually restored in the Low Countries but the Second Dutch Revolt was not long in coming. Because rebel leader William the Silent and his followers took the struggle across the Atlantic to New Amsterdam. By preventing the emergence of an independent state in the Netherlands, Spain's status as a Great Power has been preserved at least for the time being. Whether she could retain her provinces in the New World was now the question facing Madrid.
In 495, on this day the rule of the old Roman Families was ended by a decisive Saxon victory at the Battle of Mons Badonicus.
Battle of Mons BadonicusEastern warriors gathered from the Humber to the Solent annihilated the remaining knights of the last Romano-British High King Artōrius. But instead of a new regime arising, the outcome of the battle would inevitably lead to a fragmented country torn apart by bloody civil war.
The principal architects of Mons Badonicus were Ælle and Octa, respectively the Saxon Kings of Sussex and Kent. Both had dreamt of an Anglo-Saxon imperium, but they quarrelled over who should be crowned bretwalda (Britain-ruler).
In 2011, the movie adaptation of Searching For Albert premiered in London. Paddy Ashdown, making good on his previous threats, led his supporters in a nationwide protest against the movie; those protests, however, were dwarfed by rallies held in Albert's defense.
Searching For Albert
Part 5The drama only served to help the movie's cause, as it set UK box office records for the highest opening gross profit by a theatrical release. Albert would also make a major splash at the American box office, opening to packed houses in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco in a special preview run held a month prior to its February 2011 U.S. nationwide release.
From his home in Wales Ken Follett, a fan of the original novel, pronounced himself "highly pleased" with the movie in an interview for Sky TV. In that same interview Follett confirmed that he would be working with Loach on a screen adaptation of Albert's sequel, Memorial.
In 1917, on this day Zimmermann sent a telegram to the United States. The World War had raged for nearly three years, and Germany felt the pinch with trench warfare in France, the British blockade, and bitter warfare on the icy Eastern Front.
Zimmermann Sends Telegram to the United StatesDespite the pressures against them, the German Army had been the main strength of the Central Powers and held against the Allied onslaughts. The Battle of Verdun lasted ten months over 1916 and cost 300,000 lives, ultimately ending in a failure of Germany taking Verdun, though some ground was taken. Kaiser Wilhelm II had taken it as enough to declare victory in the war and call for terms of peace.
Wilson, who had long been seeking opportunities to put into place his ideal League of Nations, attempted to negotiate with the two sides in note. The Germans requested a more open discussion, while the British under Lloyd George took the opportunity to lead the Allies in creating a list of enormous demands including reparations, evacuations, and recognition of nation-states. The diplomatic gamble ultimately led to further division between the Allies and Central Powers, Wilhelm blaming the Allies for being unreasonable while the Allies did the same of him. With time running out as supplies dwindled behind the blockade, Foreign Secretary of the German Empire Arthur Zimmermann decided a new tactic.
The United States had gradually come into line with the Allies over the course of the war after being vehemently neutral due to German naval attacks and increasing economic influence due to war-profiteering in Britain while Germany sat behind its blockade. The original countermeasures to the blockade had been "unrestricted" submarine warfare against Allied ships in the Atlantic, torpedoing them at sight rather than stopping and conducting searches as was typical in naval warfare. While tactically advantageous, the sinking of the RMS Lusitania and others had resulted in grave negative response as many American passengers had been killed despite being warned against travel. The outcry from neutral countries had put an end to the U-boat attacks, but the failure of diplomacy in December of 1916 prompted the German command to resume unrestricted submarine warfare beginning February 1, 1917, though it would almost certainly bring the United States into the war.
Initially, Zimmermann had considered finding more allies such as Mexico and Japan to expand the war to soak up inevitable American troops, but he settled on ways of keeping the United States out or even voicing positive support for Germany. He sent a telegram through the ambassador to Washington reading,
"We intend to begin on the first of February unrestricted submarine warfare. We shall endeavor in spite of this to keep the United States of America neutral. While such tactics are not to our pleasure, it has become necessary to fight against the British Navy as they have sought to starve the people of Germany into submission through their blockade. Americans as well have felt the economic frustration of their activity of war. Please call the President's attention to the fact that the ruthless employment of our submarines now offers the prospect of compelling England in a few months to make peace". Signed, ZIMMERMANN
Word of the German eagerness for peace seized many Americans, especially the German-Americans whose parents or themselves had immigrated. Other Americans began to demand the opening of German ports to ships with food and medicine, especially those whose exports had been harmed by the cut-off of German consumers. Britain had allowed searched ships through its blockade, but propaganda through political cartoons showing John Bull stealing dinner from starving German children's mouths stirred public opinion. William Jennings Bryan, who had resigned as Secretary of State due to Wilson's fascination with the war, spoke out from his stage on the Chautauqua circuit that the United States must take up a fresh stand to end the war before desperation pushed the Germans too far. Former President Theodore Roosevelt spoke out against the German "pirates", but promises of German U-boat escorts for neutral ships kept their image as, at most, wartime privateers.
President Wilson delivered an address to Congress on April 6 to confirm neutrality while publically rebuking the Germans for their unrestricted submarine warfare and also rebuking the Allies for not seeking reasonable peace. Allied freight was sunk by the millions of tons in the Atlantic, and improved convoy and decoy tactics were limited by increasing neutral support for blockade-running ships with courses set for lucrative German ports. The war seemed to continue at a bitter stalemate over the summer, but the collapse of Russia and decisive Central victory at the Battle of Caporetto seemed to give the Germans an edge. As the revolutionary government of Russia began talks for peace at Brest-Litovsk, the beleaguered French also agreed to armistice with Austria through Belgian intermediaries. Frustrated Britons felt that they could not carry the war on alone and capitulated to US-led talks hosted in New York.
Diplomacy was bitter and nearly fell apart on a number of occasions as various sides made overwhelming demands. Enumerated reparations caused so much money to exchange hands that an equivalency was found granting primary gains to France, Alsace-Lorraine became divided, and Northeastern Europe became a variety of new states such as Poland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, while Austrian advances on Serbia were rebuffed and internal nationalities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire gained significant self-rule. Over the course of the 1920s, many of these nations would rebel to become independent states, as well as Ireland in the UK, as the Balkans and Middle East shattered into other states.
Meanwhile, Wilson would get his wishes of a League of Nations to be hosted in neutral Geneva. Upon the implosion of the Ottoman Empire, renewed colonialism would swarm into the Middle East, sparking, along with bitter economic downturn, the Second World War in the mid-1930s. Again, the United States would seek neutrality.
In 1836, a gang of recruits known as the Tennessee Mounted Volunteers assembled in Nacogdches and set off to the Rio Grande in order to help the Texian Cause. An installment of the Republic of Texas thread.
Lion of the WestCommanded by a young Ohion called William B. Harrison, the company included forty-nine year old private David Crockett. An impulsive figure never known to shy away from a fight (no matter the odds), he was famously known as "the Lion of the West". His popularity certainly added a star-sprinkling amount of legendary status to the enterprise, but it was also an ephemeral myth that almost led to their death and ruin.
Because when they reached Washington-on-the-Brazos, other like minded anti-Jackson figures encouraged Crockett to aid weight to the opposition of the command of Sam Houston. His hatred of Jackson clouded his better judgement and moreover his ego was sorely tempted by the prospect of joining a historic defence of the Alamo. Fortunately, his company commander had the good sense to realize that the introduction of the legendary Crocket would encourage a whole bunch of leaderless men to throw away their lives for nothing. Accordingly, he refused to listen to such petty nonsense and ordered the Volunteers to continue their journey. Weeks later, Crockett would learn that the old mission at the Alamo had been destroyed by the escaping defenders who had withdrawn to San Antonio de Bexar. It was fortunate that Houston's orders had been carried out because only a few days later, Santa Anna arrived at the ruin with an overwhelming force of regulars and Mayan Indians.
But of course Crockett had left Tennessee in order to build his fortune and perhaps even relaunch his political career. These opportunities were wide open to him in the new Republic of Texas, and he never look back in regret at that impulsive moment in the Texian capital. As the President of Texas, it was some well-seasoned advice that he felt he could offer the US Government during the stand-off at Fort Sumter.
In 1859, the Great Pig War entered a new and tragic phase. Two thousand British soldiers, then occupying the US island of San Juan in Puget Sound, Oregon Territory, once again attempted to arrest an American farmer on charges of murdering an English pig that had torn up his potato patch.
The Great Pig War Once again, American forces on the island refused to permit the British to arrest an American citizen on American territory. A fist fight ensued, followed by a gunshot, the infamous "Shot Heard Round the World".
Both sides opened fire. When the news reached London, members of the opposition demanded war. In Washington, Congress demanded reparations and cession of Vancouver Island.
The British government refused to relent and Congress declared war. One week later, advance elements of the Minnesota Militia sailed north down the Red River, and crossed the 49th Parallel. Three days later, the governor of Minnesota declared all of Prince Rupert's Land to be territory of his state. The local Metis population was ecstatic, and dared the British to intervene. (This would be impossible for at least ten months as the area could not be reached by land from Upper Canada.)
A new story by Stan BrinIn May, 1859, The US Army siezed Toronto, facing little opposition. The rest of British North America in the east fell by August. Only British Columbia, where ther war began, remained.
The Royal Navy attempted to blockade the US coast, but could do little to interfere. British Columbia fell the week after Abraham Lincoln was elected to the presidency in november 1860. The war dragged on for two more years, but to little effect, other than the British loss of the Bahamas. A treaty of peace signed in Copenhagen on July 4, 1863, ratified the reunification of North America.
Seccessionist sentiment in the south remained quiescent for three years as southern officers were active in the war, and southern politicians were reluctant to appear treasonous in wartime.
In 1863, the new northern territories demanded admission to the Union, but the South threatened succession, fearing the newly expanded Senate would vote overwhelmingly against them. Still, the Maritimes were admitted in March,1864, and Upper Canada and Vancouver Island, three months later.
South Carolina seceeded, but President Lincoln immediately mobilized the army and siezed Charleston. He freed all of South Carolina's slaves. Secession remained dormant for a decade.
In November, 1864, shortly after the reelection of Abraham Lincoln, the governor of Minnesota gave up his state's claim to Prince Rupert's Land. "How can we hope to rule a land ten times the size of Texas from a statehouse in St. Paul?"
In 1980, on this day Leonid Brezhnev, CPSU general secretary since 1964, died of heart failure at the age of 73; he was succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko, who'd been chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet at the time of Brezhnev's death.
Death of Leonid BrezhnevIn Chernenko's first official act as Soviet premier the new CPSU First Secretary declared martial law in Moscow, Kiev, and Leningrad in an effort to quell the civil unrest which had been racking those cities -- and much of the rest of the Soviet Union as well --for months. But in hindsight the martial law declaration would prove to be a case of closing and locking the barn door after the horses had already run away. Demonstrations demanding political liberalization and reform would only become more frequent during Chernenko's first months as Soviet leader, and some of the more radical anti-government factions incited riots just to spite him.
A new post from the Necessary Evil Thread by Chris OakleyAnd things would only get worse for Chernenko; on the same day he officially assumed the post of CPSU general secretary East Germany and Hungary confirmed they would not be participating in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. Two weeks after that announcement, the Czech ambassador in Moscow told Chernenko that Czechoslovakia was also withdrawing from the 1980 Summer Games. On the heels of this stunning decision then-U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance sent a memo to President Jimmy Carter asserting that both the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact were in the first stages of their ultimate collapse; the memo concluded with the prediction the Soviet Union would break up within the next 3-5 years.
While not entirely convinced of the validity of Vance's argument, Carter nonetheless gave the State Department the green light to begin updating its European policies to prepare for life in a post-Cold War world. He also instructed his Director of Central Intelligence, Stansfield Turner, to step up CIA surveillance activities inside the Soviet Union to look for signs of how far and how rapidly that country's internal disintegration was progressing.
In 1863, the Republican Congress passed the National Reconciliation Act and Abraham Lincoln signed the same at a festive event that Friday evening.
The Scrooge Contribution Part VIThe Act set up standards by which a State could seek readmission of their Senators and Representatives to the United States Congress. In the interim until an "ironclad" oath of fidelity was recorded in favor of the Union by two-thirds of the State's residents, a Governor would be appointed by the President to act in the State's interests under close US Congressional supervision.
In 1935, Polish forces crossed the German frontier in Poleranian and Silesia, and reached the Oder and Neisse rivers within a week. East Prussia was occupied within four days.
War Against Hitler by Stan Brin"This is a war against Hitler", Polish radio declared, "not against Germany. We will withdraw the moment that Hitler and his henchmen are in our hands" . Ten days after the outbreak of the war, Polish troops captured Frankfurt and spread across eastern Germany, virtually unopposed. Everywhere they went, they hanged captured nazi party members.
French troops stationed in the Rhineland swept into Saxony and southern Germany. French and Polish forces met at the Elbe on March 1. Two days later, Hitler, Himmler, Goering, and the rest of the nazi leadership arrived at the Swiss border seeking asylem. After threats from the French, the Swiss returned Hitler and his party to German territory.
In 1942, a TWA DC-3 passenger plane en route to Los Angeles from Indiana crashed, killing all aboard.
Actress Carole Lombard, wife of Clark Gable, had considered taking a plane rather than returning home aboard the train which had conveyed her to an appearance at a war-bonds rally in her native state, and had actually purchased a ticket for the ill-fated flight.
At the last minute, however, the actress, a believer in numerology who had been spooked by the recurrence of the number 3 in the planned trip (she was 33, there were three in her party and the aircraft was designated Flight No. 3), agreed to let her press agent settle the matter by flipping a coin. As a result of the coin toss, Lombard returned home by train.
She would go on to star in 21 more films, last appearing as the mother of 'President Douglas' (played by James Garner) in the 1996 political comedy My Fellow Americans. She would die on March 3, 2003, at the age of 94.
On this day in 1972, the Dallas Cowboys suffered their second Super Bowl defeat in franchise history as they were blown out by the Miami Dolphins 27-3.
On this day in 1983, the WWF held its first annual Royal Rumble PPV special at the Rosemont Horizon near Chicago. In the main event, 'Psycho' Tommy Rich won the WWF world heavyweight championship from Bob Backlund using a modified sleeper hold Rich dubbed the Straitjacket; Backlund, seriously injured both
physically and psychologically during this bout, left the WWF shortly after his defeat and wouldn't compete in the ring again for more than eight years.
On this day in 1948, Seattle society matron Ellen Rimbauer mysteriously disappeared while walking through the gardens of the mansion that had been her home since 1909.
Her disappearance, and her strange life in general, would later become the subjects of author Stephen King's second book, Rose Red.
In 1991, Operation Desert Wind ends; Operation Desert Blaze begins, as air war is stepped up dramatically with the use of f-15 Eagle fighters against Iraqi troops inside Kuwait. The following day, Iraq will attack Israel with Scud missiles.
In 1780, British Admiral Sir George Rodney chases a small Spanish squadron back home after engaging them off the coast of Portugal. Like most of the continental powers, the Spanish were supporting the Canadian independence movement, and so were at war with Britain. Sir George missed capturing the weaker Spanish force by adhering to the rules of naval engagement - since he couldn't assemble his ships in a line beside the fleeing Spaniards, he couldn't bombard them.
In 2008, Mikhail von Heflin, the former Baron von Todt, starts a well-earned vacation in Bermuda. His wife, Velma Porter, had stayed in America to finish up some business, but had promised to join him in a day or two. While relaxing on the beach, he notices some unusual clouds over the ocean, and watches them for several hours. With his heightened senses, he is able to see a ship underneath the clouds disappear. Against his better judgment, he decides to investigate.
In 2005, Jeanna Best gets a phone call from a woman who asks how many fingers she has. Confused, Best hangs up on the woman. Checking her email later that day, she has a reply from OriginalHuman@saveearth.net also asking how many fingers she has. When she talks to her friend Dave Lange about it, he tells her to reply back five and see what happens. Two hours after Best does so, there is a knock at her door.
In 1969, neo-Nazis converge on the laboratory of Faisal Yassin and Wilhelm Schoemann, ready to make a new world in their perverted image. They are feted by the original conspirators, and prepared for their journey back in time by Schoemann. After seeing the caliber of men the neo-Nazis are entrusting with this operation, Schoemann begins to have serious second thoughts.
In 1953, Chevrolet tried to create some buzz for its new sports car by releasing it at a car show in the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. Auto critics called the Corvette an underpowered, flimsy toy car, and this stinging rebuke depressed sales for the car. Chevrolet discontinued the line the next year.
the U.S. ratified the 18th amendment
to its constitution, prohibiting the sale of all intoxicating substances, except under extreme medical emergency. The suddenly sober nation quickly drafted and ratified the 19th amendment
, repealing the 18th, the following year.
In 1904, the Plutonian talks between Li'Kanto'Mk of the Congress of Nations and Ji'Mish'Miko, representing the Mlosh homeworld, produce a written request from the Mlosh homeworld for all the Mlosh to visit their homeworld again. The homeworld grants a request from the C.N. ambassador for an emissary to visit the homeworld to determine what has become of the expedition that was sent.
In 1000 Post-Creation, Gabriel and Emmanuel lead a small number of angels back down to Eden and take up with the humans, Adam and Eve, again. Derdekea, mother of Achazia, stays at the Creator's side this time, and the Creator allows the angels to stay on earth. Lucifer begins to doubt again; his days are wracked by enticing thoughts of his earlier rebellion.
In 47,372 BCE, Swikolay, great-granddaughter of the Speaker, reaches the northern shore of Australia and sets her 6 traveling companions to building boats. During the days it takes them to craft vessels large and strong enough to carry them, she watches the sky and tries to remember the stars as they changed during her last voyage.
In 1919, the U.S. ratified the 18th amendment to its constitution, prohibiting the sale of all intoxicating substances, except under extreme medical emergency. The suddenly sober nation quickly drafted and ratified the 19th amendment, repealing the 18th, the following year.
In 1604, the Hampton Court conference reported to King James I that they were unable to agree on a translation of the Bible into English. The King had charged them with this daunting task in order to cut down on the confusion resulting from the many different English versions of the good book, but even the august and learned men of the King's choosing were unequal to the task.
In 1570s, African slaves were increasingly seen in Britain. Their use fell into three main categories. The majority were as household servants, while others performed the role of prostitutes or sexual conveniences for well-to-do Englishmen and Dutchmen or as court entertainers. Based on these job roles, you might well wonder why there was a fear that the Africans might be taking jobs away from English citizens. Its a good question.
In 1901, reactionary dictator Fulgencio Batista of Cuba was born in the Oriente Province. Although the Socialist comrades of the island nation treated him well, Batista was moved to join the battle against the rightful Cuban leaders because of the corruption of his youth in the capitalist slums of Havana. The Soviet States of America initially supported him in his revolution, but turned against him when he revealed his true stripes at the end of the 50's.
In 1979, Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran has the leader of the Islamic revolutionary movement against him, the Ayatollah Khomeini, assassinated along with several other religious leaders in the country. The nation erupts in chaos, and the Shah is killed by his own guards the next month. Iraq's Saddam Hussein, with U.S. blessing, carves out a large chunk of western Iran for his own, while Turkey, the Soviet Union and Pakistan take over portions of the rest of the country.
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.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.