In 1706, on this day America's first president, Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts Bay. This article is part of the American Heroes thread.
Birth of President FranklinHe was a major figure in the American Enlightenment before joining the patriot cause. Matched only by George Washington amongst the Founding Fathers, he was the universal choice when the General declined the Presidency .
And yet his term of office ended in bitter acrimony. Because in February 1790 he gave his full public support to Congressional petitions submitted by Quakers and also the Pennsylvania Abolition Society . Consideration of a National Emancipation Plan was demanded, but the abolitionists were out-foxed by that master of parliamentary procedure James Madison. He ensured that the Committee Report was revised by the House, creating a legislative precedent making it unconstitutional to "attempt to manumit them [the eighteen-year moratorium on Congressional action to abolish slavery] at any time". In his diary an unhappy General Washington noted that "the slave issue has [been] put to rest but will soon awake" .
Franklin was of course fully aware that the Philadelphia Agreement had taken the power to abolish slavery out of the hands of the Northern States until at least 1808 when the slave trade itself was expected to end. Nevertheless he knew that the institution of slavery was incompatible with the principle of liberty established by the revolution, and therefore the possiblity of secession from Deep South States was an acceptable risk for the infant Republic. Private letters later revealed that he was absolutely convinced that Georgia and South Carolina were bluffing.
His death therefore opened up a whole series of debates. Obviously the need to move the ownership of legislative precedent into a much stronger Supreme Court, perhaps the need for the Churches to own the issue of slavery as a sin requiring national purging. But instead his "Farewell Address" he characteristically took the higher ground, calling for Presidential Leadership on the issue up until 1808 when the moratorium on the slave trade would expire. This was viewed in the Deep South as a warning of the possible creation of a North Atlantic Confederacy which would exclude slave-owning states at a minimum Georgia and South Carolina.
In 1893, Republican Presidential Nominee Governor Rutherford Birchard (B) Hayes passed away in Fremont, Ohio. He was seventy years old.
Passing of Governor HayesAs an attorney in Ohio, he became city solicitor of Cincinnati from 1858 to 1861. When the Civil War began, he left a fledgling political career to join the Union Army as an officer. Hayes was wounded five times, most seriously at the Battle of South Mountain; he earned a reputation for bravery in combat and was promoted to the rank of major general. After the war, he served in the U.S. Congress from 1865 to 1867 as a Republican. Hayes left Congress to run for Governor of Ohio and was elected to two consecutive terms, from 1868 to 1872, and then to a third term, from 1876 to 1877.
He narrowly lost the general election. Samuel Jones Tilden was awarded the presidency of the United States by an 8-7 vote of an electoral commission established to resolve the disputed 1876 election. Tilden won after the defection of a single Republican commission member forced the commission to evenly divide the disputed electoral votes of three Southern states rather than, as the other Republican members had wanted, awarding them all to GOP contender Hayes. Had the dissident member voted with his fellow Republicans, Hayes would have won, by 185 electoral votes to Tilden's 184.
The "back-room" character of this decision lent force to a movement to abolish the Electoral College, and in 1901, the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would do exactly that, establishing direct election of the president. Ironically, U.S. senators would not be directly elected until the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913; until that time, they would continue to be chosen by state legislatures.
In 2011, on this day Apple, Inc.'s Board of Directors approved a third medical leave of absence requested by Steve Jobs.
The Baton is PassedTim Cook the professional head of Worldwide Sales and Operations had served as Apple CEO for two months in 2004, when Jobs was recovering from surgery for pancreatic cancer. In 2009, Cook again served as Apple CEO for several months while Jobs took a leave of absence for a liver transplant.
Therefore it was something of a major surprise when it was announced that the new CEO would be Jonathan ("Jony") Ive the forty-three year old Senior Vice President of Design and Cook would continue to run the day-to-day operations as COO. Jobs had always considered Ive to be his "spiritual partner at Apple," while Fortune magazine stated in 2010 that Ive's designs have "set the course not just for Apple but for design more broadly".
In 1972, on this day Herr Tony Weaver, Community Relations Manager of Volkswagen of America handed over the latest model to the Smithsonian Institution.
The American Bund on the MoveThe award symbolized three decades of industrial integration, with the Peoples Car cruising the autobahns of the American Bund.
However the event was ruined by members of the Semitic-African Resistance who revealed that like much of the Nazi Empire, the VW was an ephemeral aryan myth. Because Ferdinand Porsche ripped off the vehicle design from the the Tatra Factory in Czechoslavakia during the pre-Nazi era of the 1930s.
In 2001, on this day outgoing US President Albert Gore, Jr. issued a formal apology to the descendants of Captain Meriwether Lewis.
Meriwether Lewis Defeats Muggers, Redux By Ed, Scott Palter and Jeff ProvineOn the night of 11th October, 1809 he rested at the "Grinder's Stand", an inn on the Natchez Trace, seventy miles south-west of Nashville, Tennessee. But after leaving dinner, he retired only to be savagely attacked in his bedroom. He managed to drive off the unidentified muggers, but immediately discovered that they had made off with the journals that he was carrying to Washington, D.C. for publication.
Of course not long after his death in 1846, the "secret journals of Capt. Lewis" appeared. This narrative of the Lewis and Clark Expedition described the Corps of Discovery finding giants, the fountain of youth, and a tribe of "nearly white, blue-eyed" Indians descended from Prince Madoc of Wales.
Clearly at odds with the known facts, this account was of course a naked challenge to westward expansion. Conspiracy theorists suggested that the muggers were agents sent by the Federal Government to cover-up the truth of advanced indigenous civilization predating Columbus, but mainstream historians  suggested that too many people had traveled westward with Lewis and Clark for such revelations to be concealed.
In 1912, suffering from a combination of exhaustion, starvation and extreme cold, members of Roald Amundsen's expedition were saved from certain death by Robert Falcon Scott's "Terra Nova" scientific mission.
British Scientists save Norwegian ExplorersThe Britons had been collecting meteorological data all the way to the pole when they found the Norwegians.
Paying tribute to the heroic age of Antarctic Exploration, both Governments also heralded the rescue as the embodiment of the growing sense of internationalism that was shaping the twentieth century.
In 1961, during his "Farewell Address," President and former Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, as well as first Supreme Commander of NATO, Dwight D. Eisenhower confirmed that his administration had done its part in limiting what he called the "military-industrial complex".
Eisenhower Confirms Restrictions of a Military-Industrial ComplexIn the 1950s, the United States was in the midst of an ongoing arms-race with the Soviet Union that had continued to maintain unprecedented levels of troop mobilization despite the end of the Second World War. Fear of the spread of Communism fueled government contracts for new and better technology, giving birth to supersonic jet engines and even an artificial satellite in orbit of the Earth. However, during his administration, Eisenhower became concerned over the amount of public funds and interest tied into simply maintaining readiness for a war against Communists who, in Russia, were under collective leadership since the death of Stalin in 1953 and, in China, suffered under accidental famine from ill-planned agricultural Five-Year Plans. The Korean War had shown that conventional warfare mixed with modern politics to create a stalemate, and Eisenhower decided to keep the stalemate overt with America's readied nuclear arsenal capable of Mutually-Assured Destruction.
Citing examples from the 1956 work by sociologist C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite, Eisenhower's new policy turned to limiting the abilities of lobbyists in "The Higher Circles" who had direct influence and adding new levels of visibility to policy-creation as well as methods of direct review and polling upon budgetary issues. Numerous figures said that the policy was watering-down the leadership of America in tough times as Khruschev seized power in the USSR, but those such as Senator Robert Taft loudly questioned the ethics of those he considered fearmongers and warhawks. The FBI gained a new office investigating potential illicit lobbying, and numerous contracts between the government and large businesses were allowed to run out. The military gradually began to downscale, and research was limited to grants to universities only with direct proof of public benefit. Proposals, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which would largely guide civilian space efforts, were kept to what was pertinent given the defense of the United States.
In Eisenhower's last speech, he commented on having cleaned house in Washington and limited the possibility of special interests to dominate Congress under the table. Many believed that if anyone but the highest-ranking general in American history to become president since Washington had tried to decrease military-industrial spending, it would have blown up in his face. Ike's successor, John F. Kennedy, continued the regulation of Washington spending, preferring to use politics rather than numbers to maintain diplomacy. The standoff in the Cuban Missile Crisis proved that MAD was enough to limit Soviet threats to the United States. Some called for a Space Race after the Russians had put Sputnik into orbit as part of the festivities of the International Geophysical Year, but Kennedy noted that American missions to space would be the realm of private enterprise, much like the settling of the West.
As the twentieth century continued, the Domino Theory proved true with Soviet and Chinese power extending through Central and Southeast Asia, respectively. However, within a generation, the USSR had overextend itself with uprisings in Iran and Afghanistan as well as in old Eastern European trouble spots of Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Local resistance drained the authority of Moscow, which would collapse in the late 1980s, while China transformed itself with experimental limited capitalism and made acquaintance with the United States during the Nixon era.
By the end of the twentieth century, the world had changed drastically to what many considered a Pax Americana. There were certainly threats, primarily through terrorism, but international policing agencies as well as FBI were tasked with finding and capturing the nation's enemies. Meanwhile, everyday Americans continued improved lives as private funding took up where public funding had left off. As of the year 2000, radio systems are able to incorporate "mobile" phones as long as they were tied to a power source, such as a car. Personal computers have come into many homes, and many technologists predict a network of integration (or "Internet") in the coming decades, though the investment required would be staggering. Meanwhile, rocket-launching companies have established a number of satellites in orbit to study weather and relay communications, while others hope for a manned mission to the Moon, although it would need to prove to be economically viable.
In 1981, on this day the Patriotic Liberation Movement (PLM) achieved its first major strategic victory in its uprising against the Communist regime in Russia.
Second Soviet Civil War Part 2In a surprise late-night attack, rebel forces blew up a critical section on the Trans-Siberian Railway, seriously disrupting the flow of supplies to government troops defending the port city of Vladivostok. With bad weather grounding Soviet air force transport planes, government forces defending the city had few if any alternatives for getting food and munitions; within a matter of hours PLM forces had broken through the Red Army lines, and by 6:30 AM the next morning PLM troops had taken full control of Vladivostok with help from local civilians sympathetic to their cause. Three Red Army divisions were subsequently dispatched to retake the city from the rebels, but the offensive collapsed in the face of heavy PLM resistance -- in fact, one of the three divisions was completely wiped out and the other two were forced to withdraw after taking severe losses.
A new post from the Necessary Evil Thread by Chris OakleyDespite the Chernenko regime's best efforts to hide the truth about Vladivostok, word of the Red Army's defeat there filtered to the Russian public via Voice of America's Russian-language broadcast service, seriously undermining the CPSU's prestige both at home and abroad. As the Russian civil war went on Vladivostok would become a rallying point for the PLM and its supporters in their struggle to overthrow the Communists; by 1983 it had also become the PLM's central base of operations and would remain so until 1987, when the victorious PLM leadership relocated to Moscow to assume control of the Russian government in the wake of the Communist dictatorship's collapse.
In 1463, on this day Frederick the Wise, Holy Roman Emperor was born in Torgau, Saxony.
Birth of Frederick the Wise, Holy Roman EmperorAfter the death of Archduke of Austria, King of the Romans, and Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I in January of 1519, many of his titles went directly by inheritance to his Habsburg grandson Charles V. The title emperor, however, would be given by decision of the seven elector-princes of the Germans, Albert of Mainz; Richard von Greiffenklau zu Vollrads of Trier; Hermann of Wied of Cologne; Frederick III of Saxony; Joachim I of Brandenburg; Louis V, Elector Palatine; and Louis II Jagiellon, King of Bohemia. Charles was most obvious choice as brother-in-law to Louis of Bohemia, but others were nervous about too much power being placed in one man's hands. Along with his grandfather's titles, Charles had also recently inherited the title "King of Spain", which he ruled alongside his mother, Joanna the Mad of Castile.
Francis I of France also wished to hold the powerful title, rejoining lands that had all once been Carolingian. Francis and Charles were bitter rivals since a French victory at the Battle of Marignano the year before brought the twenty-one-year-old Francis to the forefront of European politics. The two began a bribing war for votes, which made some electors all the more nervous.
The suggestion of eliminating outside influence arose, and Frederick II of Saxony (called "the Wise") was offered the election. The task would be monumental and place him at the forefront of politics among much wealthier and more powerful figures, but Frederick determined it to be the right path and agreed. To the dismay of Francis and Charles both, Frederick was elected.
Problems quickly arose in the empire. The knights of Rhineland rebelled, using Protestant rhetoric to rally their people against the growing "new money" as Feudalism began to break down. Frederick met with the knights and created the Diet of the Germans to address issues. The Diet was proven successful as the communistic Peasants' War was put down and undercut by expanding religious freedom to the growing factions of Protestants. Germany became a powerful center to the new Europe, but would eventually be torn apart into its smaller kingdoms due to religious strife.
In 1991, on this day the general offensive codenamed Operation Desert Storm was launched with a massive air campaign; during the first mission at 2:38 A.M eight AH-64 Apache helicopters, and two MH-53 Pave Low helicopters destroyed enemy radar sites near the border at 2:38 A.M.
War in the GulfAt 2:43 A.M. two EF-111 Ravens with terrain following radar led 22 F-15E Strike Eagles against H-2 and H-3 airfields. Minutes later one of the EF-111 crews - Captain James Denton and Captain Brent Brandon - destroyed a Dassault Mirage F-1, when their low altitude maneuvering led the F-1 into the ground. At 3 A.M., ten F-117 Nighthawk stealth bombers under the protection of a three-ship formation of EF-111s bombed the enemy capital.
In a statement of supreme confidence bordering perhaps on arrogance, George H.W. Bush would appear for a press conference on his Crawford Ranch to announce that the first mission of the Gulf War had "run on rails" The President's enemies viewed this "grandstanding statement" as a cynical attempt to justify his Government's authorization of the use of military force. Worse, a deliberate attempt to shift the focus of the conflict away from the struggle for control of vital oil supplies. Click to watch Operation Desert Storm: Bush Announces Ground War
The seeds of the conflict were sown when the Republic of Texas was created from part of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas as a result of the Texas Revolution. Mexico was in turmoil as leaders attempted to determine an optimal form of government. In early 1835, as the Mexican government transitioned from a federalist model to centralism, wary colonists in Texas began forming Committees of Correspondence and Safety. A central committee in San Felipe de Austin coordinated their activities. In the Mexican interior, several states revolted against the new centralist policies. The Texas Revolution officially began on October 2, 1835 in the Battle of Gonzales. Although the Texians originally fought for the reinstatement of the Constitution of 1824, by 1836 the aim of the war had changed. The Convention of 1836 declared independence on March 2, 1836 and officially formed the Republic of Texas.
On February 28, 1845, the U.S. Congress passed a bill that would authorize the United States to annex the Republic of Texas. On March 1, U.S. President John Tyler signed the bill. The legislation set the date for annexation for December 29 of the same year. Faced with imminent American annexation of Texas, Charles Elliot and Alphonse de Saligny, the British and French ministers to Texas, were dispatched to Mexico City by their governments. Meeting together with Mexico's foreign secretary, they signed a "Diplomatic Act" in which Mexico recognize an independent Texas, with boundaries that would be determined with French and British mediation. Texas President Anson Jones forwarded both offers to a specially elected convention meeting at Austin, and the Mexican proposal was accepted with only one dissenting vote.
During the American Civil War, Texans fought upon both sides of the conflict. Despite the tensions this created in the young nation, Texas remained a border-line viable state right up until the discovery of oil. Then on January 10, 1901, a well at Spindletop struck oil ("came in"). At 100,000 barrels (16,000 m3) of oil a day, the gusher tripled oil production overnight in North America. Tension with Texas' northern neighbour became acute during the late twentieth century and by 1991, the Gulf War of Mexico was widely anticipated.
In 1861, the so-called "Crittenden Compromise" is narrowly passed by the U.S. Congress, averting the threatened secession of slaveholding southern states.
The Crittenden Compromise by Eric LippsThe Compromise, proposed by Kentucky Sen. John J. Crittenden (pictured) the previous December, is highly controversial. In its original form, it included several constitutional amendments which effectively locked in slavery forever where it then existed, made all laws in free states which interfered with the Fugitive Act or similar legislation unconstitutional, forbade Congress from interfering in the interstate slave trade or from abridging slavery in areas under federal control within a slave state, and extended the Mason-Dixon Line at 36o30' across the continent to the Pacific. Slavery was to be forever legal below that line. Only this last provision and the prohibition against federal encroachment on slavery in slave-state territory under federal control have survived, in effect cutting North America in two sections, slaveholding and non-slaveholding, and leaving the issue of fugitive slaves an open source of contention.
Also abandoned, despite furious lobbying by southern congressmen, was the provision that the Compromise could not be overturned by any constitutional amendment adopted thereafter. A nasty floor fight in the Senate over this issue nearly sank the Compromise, which was rescued only when Crittenden and Mississippi's Jefferson Davis came to an agreement that the Compromise could be altered or ended by constitutional amendment but not by any federal law or resolution.
Outgoing President James Buchanan welcomes "this peaceful resolution of the trouble between the sections of this country, which might otherwise have had to be tried by force of arms". Others warn that the issue has not been settled, and that Buchanan's trial by arms has merely been postponed. Among them is President-elect Abraham Lincoln, who declares, "A nation cannot forever endure half-slave and half-free". Lincoln's statement sets the stage for what will be a turbulent presidency.
In 2006, the U.S. National Archives noted that today marks the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth (January 17, 1706-April 17, 1790). During his life, Franklin had many careers including service as a diplomat, a printer, a writer, an inventor, a scientist, a lawmaker, and a postmaster, among others. In his later years he became vocal as an abolitionist and in 1787 began to serve as President of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. The Society was originally formed April 14, 1775, in Philadelphia, as The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage; it was reorganized in 1784 and again in 1787, and then incorporated by the state of Pennsylvania in 1789. The Society not only advocated the abolition of slavery, but made efforts to integrate freed slaves into American society.The End of the Silence
Franklin did not publicly speak out against slavery until very late in his life. As a young man he owned slaves, and he carried advertisements for the sale of slaves in his newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette. At the same time, however, he published numerous Quaker pamphlets against slavery and condemned the practice of slavery in his private correspondence. It was after the ratification of the United States Constitution that he became an outspoken opponent of slavery. In 1789 he wrote and published several essays supporting the abolition of slavery and his last public act was to send to Congress a petition on behalf of the Society asking for the abolition of slavery and an end to the slave trade. The petition, signed on February 3, 1790, asked the first Congress, then meeting in New York City, to 'devise means for removing the Inconsistency from the Character of the American People,' and to 'promote mercy and justice toward this distressed Race.'
The petition was introduced to the House on February 12 and to the Senate on February 15, 1790. Joseph J. Ellis observed in his essay 'The End of the Silence' (published in the Founding Fathers, Random House, 2000) that the advocacy of James Madison was crucial in the ultimate success of the petition.
"If Franklin's great gift was an uncanny knack of levitating above political camps, operating at an altitude that permitted him to view the essential patterns and then comment with great irony and wit on the behaviour of those groveling about on the ground, Madison's speciality was just the opposite. He lived in the details and worked his magic in the context of the moment, mobilizing those forces on the ground more adroitly and with a more deft tactical proficiency than anyone else. Taken together, he and Franklin made a nearly unbeatable team. Fortunately, for the Union, in 1790 they were on the same side [Madison agreed with Franklin that slavery was an abrogation of the principles of the American revolution].
Madison's position on slavery was clear. He found the blatantly proslavery arguments 'shamefully indecent and described his colleagues from South Carolina and Georgia as 'intemperate beyond all example and even all decorum. Like most of his fellow Virginians, he wanted it known that he preferred an early end to the slave trade and regarded the institution of slavery 'a deep-rooted abuse'. He claimed to be genuinely embarrased by at the stridently proslavery rhetoric of the delegates from the Deep South and much more comfortable on the high moral ground of his northern friends".
On April 17, 1790, just two months later, Franklin died in Philadelphia at the age of 84. Emancipation was fully implemented during Madison's tenure at the White House from 1809 to 1817, ironically just after the expiry of the 1808 restriction imposed at the Constitutional Conference in 1787.
In 1986 on this day deposed Soviet ruler Grigory Romanov was indicted by a Moscow tribunal for allegedly sanctioning human rights violations and war crimes against captured PLM guerrillas during the Russian civil war.
It was the first such prosecution of a Russian head of state in the country's long, tumultuous history; at the request of the prosecution UN observers were present to guarantee that the witnesses' civil rights wouldn't be violated.
The Romanov trial would prove to be one of the most contentious hearings of any kind ever held in a Russian court, so much so that at one point riot squads had to be deployed simply to make sure witnesses and attorneys could get in or out of the courtroom.
On this day in 1990, the former Securitate agent who had organized the Ceaucescus' escape from Romania was arrested in London.
Mike pulled into the parking lot of the motel and killed the engine on the SUV. 'OK, let's see if we can find a way into New Mexico,' he said, tumbling out and heading to the back to get their things. Steph walked into the lobby and tried to look like a lottery winner.
'Hi,' the old woman at the counter said. 'Y'all just barely made it before curfew.' She took a look at the white man outside at the SUV and the black woman in her lobby, and said suspiciously, 'You gonna need two rooms?'
'Three,' Steph said, as bubbly as she could. 'One for me, one for my kids, and one for my driver.'
'Your driver?' The woman looked a little relieved, as well as curious.
'I won the lottery,' Steph said, smiling and laughing, just like she'd practiced in the car. 'What timing, huh?'
'Oh, my goodness,' the woman said, pleasantly flustered. 'Well, congratulations.'
'Thank you.' They stared at each other for a second before Steph prompted, 'My rooms?'
'Oh, yes, yes, mercy me.' The old woman took out a registry and looked for an empty. 'You want 'em all together?'
'If you've got them.'
'We do. Soon's people could leave yesterday, they skedaddled out of here like the devil was chasin' 'em. Y'all are the first people to show up since then.' She looked outside. 'Not that many people wanna be this close to the border with New Mexico.' She said the state's name with obvious contempt. 'Figures that all them immigrants would try to take it back, you know?'
'Mm-hmm,' Steph said, non-committally. 'My rooms?'
'Yes, ma'am.' The woman made a note and said, 'That'll be $142.50, please.'
Steph peeled a few notes off her roll, impressing the woman, and handed them to her. 'Keep the change.'
'Yes, ma'am.' The old woman surrendered the room keys and said, 'They're on the other side of the building here, by the pool.'
'You're very welcome.'
Steph walked back outside and handed a key to Mike and one to Joan. 'We're three together by the pool,' she told them. 'Let's get into the rooms, set our things down, and then we'll get together in Mike's room to look at the map.' She looked at Mike. 'Sounds like a plan?'
'You're the boss,' Mike said, smiling.
|Super Bowl MVP|
On this day in 1971, the Dallas Cowboys won their third Super Bowl under Tom Landry, defeating the Baltimore Colts 17-13 to cap off a historic 17-0 season; Dallas starting quarterback Craig Morton was named Super Bowl MVP.
The Cowboys' undefeated streak would later extend into the first five weeks of the 1971 NFL regular season before being snapped with an overtime loss against the New England Patriots in Week 6.
Rationalising his narrow escape from censure over the Watergate Scandal during the critical period July - November 1973.
On July 13, 1973, Donald Sanders, the Assistant Minority Counsel, asked Alexander Butterfield (Deputy Assistant to the President) if there were any type of recording systems in the White House. Butterfield answered falsely that there was no system in the White House that automatically recorded everything in the Oval Office. The shocking revelation that there was such as system emerged during the Carter Presidency and radically transformed the historical view of the crisis - but by then, it was too late with the tapes long since removed from the White House.
Public reaction was still hostile with protestors standing along the sidewalks outside the White House holding signs saying 'HONK TO IMPEACH,' and hundreds of cars driving by honking their horns. Allegations of wrongdoing prompted Nixon famously to state 'I am not a crook' in front of 400 startled Associated Press managing editors at Walt Disney World in Florida on November 17, 1973. Much like the famous Chequers Speech of twenty years before, Nixon succeeded in cauterising the wound with a direct appeal based upon his personal integrity.
Ultimately, the American public's respect for the Presidency was again exploited by Trick Dicky to pull off yet another incredible escape. A transcript of Nixon's speech is described at the History Place.
The 'iron triangle' refer to an institutionalised collusion among defense contractors (industry), The Pentagon (military), and the United States government (Congress, Executive branch), as a cartel that works against the public interest, and whose motivation is profiteering.
Congressional leaders saw it, they requested that he remove the word 'Congressional' - Eisenhower refused as the point was central to the warning he was giving. A synopsis of Eisenhower's speech is described at Wikipedia.
On this day in 1956, Sandy Koufax notched his 150th NBA career assist in a 91-86 Celtics win over the Fort Wayne Pistons.
In 2005, after a long conversation with the woman who knocked at her door, Jeanna Best and Dave Lange agree to follow her down to a south Austin warehouse. Here, they meet a few other people, including Representative Carl Worthington. The meeting isn't led by him, however - a small woman gets up to speak to everyone and tells them that they are there because they are the real humans, and the world is being invaded by three-fingered aliens. Best and Lange leave the meeting as soon as they can.
In 1969, 20 neo-Nazis, led by Astrid Pflaume and Kurt Weimer, are sent back in time. The team led by Astrid Pflaume will organize a cadre of Jewish fighters to simulate a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, while the team lead by Weimer will be in charge of organizing a Nazi resistance to them. Unfortunately for the neo-Nazi's goals, Pflaume's team is far more successful than Weimer's.
In 2232 AUC, the Empire of Mali in Africa declared war on its northern neighbors of Rome. The Republic had been encroaching on Malian territory for decades, and the settlement of a small town on Mali's eastern border by Romans was the final straw. The war between Mali and Rome lasted almost seventeen years, and killed millions in Africa and Europe.
In 2008, Mikhail von Heflin takes a boat into the storm brewing off the Bermuda coast to the spot where he saw a ship vanish the previous day. The water is choppy, but not unmanageable. He extends his senses, and does feel something strange about the area, but can't lock down what it is. He returns to shore and decides to wait until his wife can join him to investigate further.
In 2005, Chelsea Perkins and Alma May Watson battle Elsbeth Danwich and a partially materialized demon for the life of Geraldine McRae of the Council of Wisdom. With the final wish in her Three-wish Bag, Perkins sends Danwich and the demon to the netherworld and closes the portal. Only after they have freed the councilor does she realize that they have no way home. Together, the two women and the young girl begin walking away from the sacrificial plain.
In 1904, a full-scale ambassadorial mission takes off for the Mlosh homeworld. It carries Ambassador Li'Kanto'Mk of the Congress of Nations, as well as a full military detail. They fly in a fast, well-armed and armored ship, and are prepared for anything that awaits them; or so they think.
Russian playwright Anton Chekhov
was born in Taganrog, on the Sea of Azov. His comedies of manner helped the noble class in Imperial Russia forget the troubles of the day like the crushing poverty of the serfs and the communist agitation of the Americans. His last play, Good Comrade Wilson, was a skewering indictment of the communist system as practiced by America.
In 1000 Post-Creation, Emmanuel encourages the two humans to procreate, causing the Creator to turn his attention back to earth. Emmanuel, who had thought he was going to reign in Heaven, now faces a life of servitude, and wished for a human companion of his own. The Creator casts him into the Abyss, and Gabriel takes up arms again.
In 1944, a turning point in the Great Patriotic War is reached when troops of the British Oblast accept the surrender of General Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst Paulus as the siege of Londongrad is finally raised. Within two years Tsar Alexei Nikolaevich and his British Cousins will accept the surrender of Nazi Germany at Luneberg Heath, establishing Romanov hegemony across the continent of Europe.
In 1977, the television series What's Goin' On premiered on ABC as a mid-season replacement. Starring unknowns George Winfield and Nancy Carter, the situation comedy became a huge hit and sparked raft of urban-themed copycats such as What's Happenin', What's That, What? and What's Up. While the quality of the shows was critically poor, it did have the beneficial effect of placing more minorities on television.
In 1966, an American B-52 crashed on Spain's coast after colliding with a jet tanker. The bomber created an international incident, as Spain seized it and its nuclear weapons within minutes of the crash, leading to some speculation that they had been responsible for the crash by jamming transmissions from the two planes in flight.
a fascist power gains a nuclear weapon when Spain recovers an H-bomb from a wrecked American B-52 off their coast
. When Franco's scientists make their own bomb based on this one, the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the western powers thaws; in a newly expansionist Spain, they see a common enemy.
In 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower addresses the nation for the last time in office. While his speech begins with time-worn platitudes, he then veers into conspiracy theory, warning Americans of the Military-Industrial Complex and the consequences of its takeover of the country. Just before he starts naming names, though, he suddenly clutches his chest and falls over dead from a heart attack. Most politicians attributed Ike's remarks to delirium brought on by the heart attack he was obviously suffering from as he began his speech.
In 1860, Russian playwright Anton Chekhov was born in Taganrog, on the Sea of Azov. His comedies of manner helped the noble class in Imperial Russia forget the troubles of the day like the crushing poverty of the serfs and the communist agitation of the Americans. His last play, Good Comrade Wilson, was a skewering indictment of the communist system as practiced by America.
In 1775, following the example begun by the witch-hunters of Salem, Polish Christians burn 9 women at the stake in Kalisk. The witch-hunter movement reaches its peak in the 19th century as countries that were simply full of witches were taken over by Christians and put to the torch.
Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. Was born in Louisville, Kentucky on this day. Aged just eighteen, Clay, Jr. won the Gold Medal at the Rome Olympics. Four years later Clay beat Sonny Liston to take the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship. Clay had driven to Sonny's home in Denver at one o'clock in the morning, shouted for Sonny to come out and fight him on the spot, and set up a huge bear trap on the lawn. On March 6 influenced by Malcolm X, Clay changed his name to Muhammed Ali, joined the Nation of Islam and retired from boxing to concentrate on the greater fights that lay ahead for the African American people. His baiting of President Lyndon Baines Johnson from the White House lawn was considered the key to Washington's decision to withdraw from Vietnam in 1967, it was just so annoying
. Just like Arthur Ashe, draconian measures would be taken by the Division
to prevent Clay giving the game away. He really had the establishment on the ropes.
In 1819, Simon Bolivar proclaims the Republic of Baja California, the predecessor nation to a twenty-first century mega state on the west coast. Today Spanish speaking citizens enjoy the world's highest per capita income and literacy rates.
In 1776, the defeated General George Washington is astonished by the generous final settlement terms being offered to from King George IV at Buckingham Place. Prepared for the humiliation of crushing terms for the vanquished republicans in the Colonies, rather King George IV proposes a genuine partnership for Anglo-America based on local representation and self-governing taxation. 'No victors, no vanquished' chips in his shadowy adviser Ernest Shackleton by way of explanation.
In 1596, there were so many black people in England that Queen Elizabeth I demanded that they be expelled from the country. An edict from the Queen, at first it brought no action. However it was then followed up by a Royal Proclamation, issued in 1601.
In 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower addressed the nation for the last time in office, issuing a strange warning.
'We face a hostile ideology [communism] global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method ... [warning about what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals] [that] we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by [Ike leans forward for emphasis] the congressional military industrial complex... Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.'
Richard M Nixon was seething with angry. Not only had Ike failed to back him during the campaign, not his former boss was trying to really spoil things for him.
|US Vice President|
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.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.