In 1790, on this day America's first president, Benjamin Franklin, died in the capitol at Philadelphia in the middle of his first term.
This article is part of the American Heroes thread.
Passing 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 1968, even before the Apollo spacecraft crashed into the Moon the knives were out for the thirty-fifth President of the United States John F. Kennedy.
An installment of the No Apollo 1 Fire thread.
No Apollo 1 Fire, Part 3
The Political Assassination of John F. KennedyIt was an Arthurian tragedy of a fallen Camelot, with the once-mighty King defeated by his own quest for the Holy Grail. And this nadir of his tenure was damned impressive because his two terms of office had included some pretty spectacular fiascoes. That long, LONG list of reversals for Team America included the construction of the Berlin Wall, the Bay of Pigs invasion, troop withdrawal from South Vietnam (and the subsequent Communist takeover), grid-locked legislative agenda on Civil Rights and of course coercion into the early withdrawal of Jupiter IRBMS from Turkey.
Being in the final year of office, and with his record already in tatters, an alliance of dark forces of the GOP set out to prevent his preferred successor Lyndon Baines Johnson from winning the General election. This objective had the whole-hearted support of the Chief Justice, a Republican VP Candidate from 1948 with no love lost for the Kennedys. Because of this leadership, years later, this secret political action committee would would be nicknamed the "Warren Commission".
In 1968, on this day brothers Július and Alexander Dubček were finally re-united after a forty-year long period of separation.
Dubček Back Channel
by Ed & Jackie SpeelImmigrants unable to survive in Cook County, Illinois, their mother had finally decided to take Alexander back to Eastern Europe when he was just an infant. Meanwhile their father had anglicized the family name to Young. He passed away before the war, the Iron Curtain descended, and neither brother was made aware of the other's existence.
Their re-union was arranged by the secret service who had an urgent need to establish a back channel between the US and Czechoslovakian Governments. And the full truth only came out at their meeting. Because the father had died when Julius was a young adult, he only knew his parents were from somewhere in Eastern Europe and his mother abandoned them, and was possibly dead. But in fact both had nurtured successful political careers. Alexander of course was the national leader driving the Prague Spring. Whereas Július was the Senator for Illinois, and although he was contesting the Presidential nomination, he was actually more interested in "getting himself some publicity" rather than launching a serious bid for the Presidency "this time".
Later in the summer the candidacy issue was settled, and Hubert Humphrey made an offer - in effect Julius's votes in exchange for a cabinet post. Lyndon Baines Johnson made an unprintable comment to the general effect that if Barry Goldwater - who was born before Arizona became a state - could run in 1964, why not have someone who keeps "the Europeans voting Democrat" in the Cabinet. Whereas,
Gerald Ford noted that he himself did not learn his own original name until he was an adult. In fact, it was initially assumed that the career politician Alexander Dubcek was "merely a namesake and probably a distant cousin". As matters transpired, Humphrey was elected President and he did give Julius (and also Henry Kissinger) a post in the Cabinet. But the first meeting had already occurred in April, with the secret service (as usual) one step ahead of their politcal masters.
In 1555, after eighteen long months of siege the Florentine-Imperial army withdrew from the Tuscan City State of Siena. Although it had been in existence for four centuries, its survival had become precarious ever since the beginning of the Italian War. When the Republic was defeated by the rival Duchy of Florence in alliance with the Spanish crown its future independence looked very bleak indeed.
Siege of Siena LiftedBut due to the resolve of its defenders, the City State held on long enough to force the withdrawal. And in so doing, the Grand Duchy abandoned its ill-fated attempt to force the incorporation of the Republic of Siena. Inadvertently it had spawned a dystopian monster, permitting the ruling Strozzi Family to expand the City State into a Sienese Empire.
At the heart of this remarkable success was the Monte dei Paschi, the oldest surviving bank in the world. And the financier of mercenary armies that conquered Southern Italy in the forthcoming centuries.
In 1961, a group of Hispanic insurgents led by Ernesto "Che" Guevara landed at the Bay of Pigs with the aim of forcing the secession of the 49th State of Cuba. An installment from the 49th State thread.
La Batalla de GirúnBecause statehood on January 1, 1959 had escalated rising tensions on the island that had been building ever since the conclusion of the Spanish-American War. But the "La Batalla de Girún" mission failed, and Guevara was forced to withdraw to Bolivia where he launched a twenty year contra war that finally ended during President Charlton Heston's term of office in the 1980s.
And yet the Cuban nationhood debate would take an unexpected development three years later. In 1964, the youthful and charismatic Lieut. Gov. Fidel Castro of Cuba was elected to the U.S. Senate. Castro, a former law student who entered politics in the 1950s, would be an impassioned voice for America's growing Spanish-speaking populace, and would be one of the sponsors of the Senate resolution formally granting statehood to the Philippines.
In the Senate, Castro would start out as a solidly moderate Democrat who initially supported the war in Vietnam, but will grow disillusioned, finally announcing his outright opposition in 1969. His change of heart would anger many conservatives in his home state, sparking a challenge from Republican Rep. Fulgencio Batista, a decorated Korean War veteran, in 1970. Sen. Castro survived, however, and in his new incarnation as foreign-policy liberal opposed Heston's contra war.
In 2000, in a hotly-contested election, Democratic nominee Fidel Castro narrowly defeated former Texas governor George W. Bush to win the U.S. presidency, becoming the first native Spanish-speaker to hold that office. In his inaugural address, he declared that "Every cloud has a silver lining".
In 1979, on this day US President George W. Romney awarded the Medal of Freedom with Distinction to his illustrious predecessor, the incomparable Richard Milhous Nixon.
President George W. Romney, RebootDuring his transformational Presidency, he instituted price controls, established the EPA and pressed for universal health care. Outside this domestic sphere, he normalized relations with China and authorised Ares 1 the NASA program that concluded with the manned mission to Mars.
Although Romney sought success by association, the truth was that he had been a marginalised figure during the Nixon Presidency. Before this, he had served as the Chairman and president of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962 and the 43rd Governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969. His solo race for the White House had ended after a series of gaffes on the campaign trail. But two weeks before the convention was to meet in Miami Beach, Florida, Nixon learned that Agnew had apparently been taking kickbacks from state contractors and he turned to Romney for the VP slot.
Although he ultimately failed to gain a second term, his son Mitt Romney managed to build upon his legacy by winning the 2008 Presidential Race. But he also left a mixed record on the same issues by introducing Affordable Health Care and putting American Car Manufacturers through a process of managed insolvency declaring that "I will let Detroit go bankcrupt".
This post is a variant ending to the article Death of President George Romney by Eric Lipps.
In 1985, Konstantin Chernenko died of heart failure at the age of 73; his top deputy, Grigory Romanov, succeeded him as CPSU Secretary General.
The Death of ChernenkoChernenko's death came just three days after he was admitted to a Moscow hospital for stroke. In Romanov's first televised address as Soviet head of state, the new CPSU leader pledged to crush the PLM rebellion by the end of the year-- a pledge that he would prove unable to keep with the Red Army's already precarious morale continuing to further decline and NATO intelligence agencies funneling new weapons to the rebel forces.
On the very day Romanov was appointed Secretary General, in fact, the former chief of staff for the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany(GSFG) committed suicide.
A new installment in the Necessary Evil threadAlso on this day in 1985, Cuba and France opened negotiations for an economic assistance pact meant to fill the gap in foreign aid to Havana left by nearly five straight years' cuts in Soviet financial support to the Castro government. These negotiations would mark the beginning of a ten-year-long shift in Cuban economic policy which would see Havana relax some of the laws banning private enterprise that Fidel Castro had instituted after overthrowing Fulgencio Batista in 1959.
In 1985, BBC-TV aired the pilot episode of The X-Files, a science fiction drama series inspired by rumors of the existence of a secret UFO archive in the offices of the British Ministry of Defence.British X file on reported UFO sightings by Chris Oakley
Most intriguing of all was the filing of an event from April 19, 1984. At 4pm on an unspecified small airport near the eastern coast of England air traffic controllers reported an 'Unusual Aerial Phenomenon'.
The men were air traffic controllers. Experienced, calm professionals. Nobody was drinking. But they were so worried about losing their jobs that they demanded their names be kept off the official report.
No one, they knew, would believe their claim that an unidentified flying object landed at the airport they were overseeing in the east of England, touched down briefly, then took off again at tremendous speed.
In 1961, the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba begins, as 1,500 Cuban exiles storm the beach at Bahia de Cochinos. U.S. government supporters of the invasion had assured President Kennedy that once the exiles were ashore, the Cuban army would mutiny against Castro and the Cuban people would rise in support of their exile 'liberators.' U.S. troops in Cuba. Within hours, however, it is clear that nothing of the sort is happening and that, absent direct U.S. intervention, the exiles will be overwhelmed.On the beach by Eric LippsFearing that this will lead not only to the humiliation of the United States, whose sponsorship of the exile invaders is an open secret, but to political disaster for the Democratic Party, Kennedy orders that air support be provided to the invasion force 'commencing immediately.' In a live national TV broadcast that night, he reveals that in addition, he has directed that 15,000 Marines be dispatched to Cuba to 'aid in the liberation of that imprisoned island from Communist tyranny' and sharply warns that any attempt by 'any foreign power' to interfere with this mission will be considered an act of war against the United States. Privately, the President is seething. He believes that the CIA and Pentagon either bungled their intelligence work or deliberately misled him to make sure he went through with a military intervention they had helped plan under his predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower. However, he feels he now has no choice but to, as he tells his aide Ted Sorenson, 'see this goddamned thing through to victory.'
In 1964, on this day baseball's New York Mets played their first game at their new home field, Stengel Park. When ground was originally broken for the new ballpark in 1962 the team's owners had intended to call it Shea Stadium after the New York city council member from Queens who'd been the primary driving force in the effort to bring a National League expansion club to the Big Apple.
However, a massive petition effort by fans of the late Casey Stengel convinced the Mets brass to change their minds. Stengel Park's center field wall would later be dubbed "the Hurricane Wall" because it faced in the direction of the spot where the Jamaica Bay hurricane had made landfall in 1960.
Among the highlights of Stengel Park's 44-year history would be the opening concert of the Beatle's 1966 U.S. tour; a victory by football's New York Jets over the Oakland Raiders in the 1968 AFL championship game; an outdoor mass by Pope John Paul II in 1979; World Series wins by the Mets in 1969 and 1986; a Mets-Yankees "Subway Series" in 2000; and a Bruce Springsteen concert held shortly before the stadium was torn down in 2008 to make way for a larger stadium.
In 1962, two teenaged British friends began shooting a movie about a hypothetical Nazi occupation of England in the summer of 1940; titled It Happened Here, the film was inspired by William L. Shirer's Look article, which had been reprinted two months earlier in The Times Literary Supplement and prompted British readers to recall the invasion threat their own country faced prior to America's entry into World War II in June of 1941.
In 1608, a survey expedition left France for the New World with the goal of finding a suitable location to install the first permanent French settlement in North America. That expedition would go on to play a key role in the establishment of what is today the city of Montreal.
In 1951, on this day George Reeves did his final broadcast as Captain Pike on the Star Trek radio series.
In 1963, President Kennedy signed an executive order establishing a special panel to analyze what could be done to prevent future US presidents from meeting the same fate as the late Fidel Castro.
The panel was chaired by Supreme Court justice Earl Warren, leading the press to nickname it "the Warren Commission".
|John F Kennedy|
On this day in 1982, NWA newcomer Arn Anderson became the first victim of the Enforcers' campaign to rule the federation, getting ambushed in a parking lot attack just before he was scheduled to wrestle fellow newcomer Brad Armstrong.
On this day in 2012 citing differences with the show's producers, Gary Dourdan quit the cast of Law & Order.
Media gossip speculated his resignation might have had more to do with lingering personal and legal fallout from his 2008 arrest on drug charges, but representatives for both Dourdan and NBC disputed this claim.
In 2005, Chelsea Perkins is told by her teacher, Debra Morris, that they will have a break of a few weeks from study, so that Miss Perkins work can be evaluated by the Council of Wisdom. Chelsea asks if she can visit her mother, but Miss Morris says, 'Oh, my heavens, no. She'll call the FBI to keep you from leaving.' Although Chelsea appears to accept this decision, she has other plans in mind.
In 1997, British Brigadier General Lewis Meriweather seizes 4 nuclear missiles that Egyptian troops had been transporting to the American coast. Since the invasion of Constitutionalist America by allied forces, the Egyptians had been seeking nuclear technology and the British had been attempting to keep it from them. Meriweather likened it to fighting your friends as much as your enemies.
In 4656, one of the more remote areas of the Chinese Empire, the Samoan Islands, institutes a democratic council for the first time in its history. Following the example laid out by the new elected emperor, they elect a governing Council, which then elects a Governor. Representatives of the Chdo Democracy, the alien civilization responsible for the democratization process, are pleased to observe the elections and pronounce them a success.
In 1915, the Harlequin, captained by Congress of Nations officer Captain Michael Smith, arrives at the C.N. base on Pluto with his cargo of Q'Barian refugees. He immediately reports everything he has found out to the base commander, and is then ordered to take the Q'Barian doctor, Ch'Kel'Mlar, to earth so that he may speak to the main C.N. body about the Kainku.
In 1952, outside of Cairo, Mikhail von Heflin draws on extra-dimensional forces and heals the leg of his lover, Velma Porter. Her new foot seems to work just as well as her old one, and she is grateful to have the use of it back. She keeps the peg leg she had made, just in case.
In 1790, American exile Benjamin Franklin dies in Montreal. Although he had been active in the Canadian Independence movement and had helped with the final negotiations in that war, his heart was with his native America, and he wanted his body to rest in his home colony of Pennsylvania.
Although it took many years, his family were finally able to bring him home to rest in American soil.
In 1810, on the third anniversary of his overthrow of King Louis XVI, France's 'First Citizen' Napoleon Bonaparte declares himself emperor of France.
This action angers both royalists who have resented Napoleon's seizure of power from the 'rightful monarch of France' and French republicans who, despite misgivings, have supported the First Citizen since that time. Napoleon's feared Surete Nationale moves quickly to round up the most vocal critics, among them an agitator by the name of Maximilien Robespierre.
In 1807, King Louis XVI is overthrown in a military coup led by one of his generals, the Corsican-born Napoleon Bonaparte, who declares himself 'First Citizen' and 'Protector of the Nation' and vows to 'redeem the honor of France,' which he asserts the King damaged by losing Louisiana to Britain. Over the next few months, Napoleon will institute a series of republican reforms while strengthening his own hold on power.
75,500 years ago
on this day the Toba eruption
This mega-colossal event had a Volcanic Explosivity Index of 8, the largest explosive volcanic eruption in twenty-five million years. The total amount of erupted material was about 2800 cubic km (670 cubic miles) ignimbrite that flowed over the ground and around 800 km2 that fell as ash, with the wind blowing most of it to the west. Although the eruption took place in Indonesia, it deposited an ash layer approximately 15 cm (6 in) thick over the entire Indian subcontinent; at one site in central India, the Toba ash layer today is up to 6 m (20 feet) thick and parts of Malaysia were covered with 9 m of ashfall. 1010 metric tons of sulphuric acid was ejected into the atmosphere by the event, causing acid rain fallout.The eruption lasted perhaps two weeks, but the ensuing volcanic winter resulted in a decrease in average global temperatures by 3 to 3.5 degrees Celsius for several years. Greenland ice cores record a pulse of starkly reduced levels of organic carbon sequestration. Very few plants or animals in southeast Asia would have survived, and it is possible that the eruption caused a planet-wide die-off. Evidence based on mitochondrial DNA indicates that the human race passed through a genetic bottleneck within this timeframe, reducing genetic diversity below what would be expected from the age of the species. The human populations were completely depopulated within a decade by the Toba eruption. Resettlement began some three hundred years ago. ~ A Pre-History of the Colony by the alien race known as the Mlosh
In 1790, exiled American patriot Benjamin Franklin dies in Britain's Botany Bay prison colony in Australia, at the age of 84. In that community of exiles, the elderly Franklin has become something of a folk hero; his survival to such an age despite years of imprisonment in England and transportation in 1788 to the primitive conditions of the Botany Bay outpost is considered a sign of his toughness, and his accounts of the American try for independence appeal to his fellow transportees, who have no more reason than he to love the Crown. Franklin's revolutionary rhetoric will inspire the creation of an Australian version of the American Sons of Liberty after his death.
In 1810, Lewis Norton of Troy, Pennsylvania created one of America's greatest contributions to world cuisine with his Pineapple Cheese. This artfull blending of fruit and dairy was considered sublime perfection in the kitchens of fine European restaurants, and helped America break into the top ranks of culinary recognition.
In 1969, Enrique Soledad, El Salvador's President and Communist Party Chairman, is forced to resign under American pressure. Soledad had spearheaded the reforms known as the Salvadoran Spring, an attempt to mix communism with some free-market practices. When the population of the small nation appeared ready to throw out their socialist roots, the Soviet States of America stepped in to bring them back into the fold.
In 1961, anti-Castro Cubans land at the Bay of Pigs with support from the American Navy and Air Force. They press halfway across the island before encountering heavy resistance from Cuba's military, and then the fighting is mainly left to America soldiers. This prompts Cuba's Fidel Castro to call for help from the Soviet Union, and the world is forced to the brink of nuclear war before President Richard Nixon orders his people to withdraw from Cuban territory.
In 1790, America's first president, Benjamin Franklin, dies in the capitol at Philadelphia in the middle of his first term. His vice-president, John Adams, assumed the office of president, but the young nation was thrown into turmoil. Many urged General George Washington, hero of the revolution, to take power and rule as king, but he was uninterested in politics. He told his followers to support the new president, forestalling anarchy in Philadelphia.
In 1534, prior to his summary execution for disloyalty, Sir Thomas More was confined to the Tower of London by Pope Henry VIII. Although More had proven himself a valuable propagandist against the few remaining Yorkists in the Holy British Empire, Pope Henry thought him too capable a man to be left alive.
In 1886, on this day future Communist Chancellor of the German Republic Ernst Thälmann was born in the city of Hamburg.
Part 9 of the The Plot Against Germany thread.
The Plot Against Germany 9 Birth of Chancellor ThälmannA Social Democratic Party member from 1903, between 1904 and 1913 he worked as a stoker on a freighter. On the day of the German Revolution, 9 November 1918, he wrote in his diary on the Western Front, "..did a bunk from the Front with 4 comrades at 2 o'clock".
In October 1925 Thälmann became Chairman of the German Communist Part (KPD) and later that year was a candidate for the German Presidency. But he did not manage to reach high elected office until anti-Communist forces fell into acrimonious division. Because Gustav Steseman's intervention in the Lippe-Detmold vote scuppered the Nazi's bid for power and their extremist party broke up soon afterwards. After that popular opinion swung to the left and Von Papen was forced to rule by decree until Hindenburg's death, when Thälmann swept the right power from power - at the ballot box. Of course, at this desperate stage matters were already at a knife edge, with Soviet Forces threatening to invade Eastern Germany. But this time, doing a bunk was not really an option.
In 1920, on this day future American President Julius Young (born Július Dubček) was born in Cook County, Illinois.
Birth of Július Dubček: a Young Oak Rises
by Ed & Jackie SpeelWhen he was four, the family was separated when his mother decided to take his younger brother Alexander to the Soviet Union and then finally on to their native Czechoslovakia. In August 1944 he fought in the Slovak National Uprising and was wounded. Then the Iron Curtain descended, and they, like many Eastern Europe emigre families lost touch for over a decade.
Meanwhile back in Chicago with his father, Július had anglicized his name (Dubček meaning "Young Oak")and begun a promising career in politics, eventually entering the Senate to represent the State of Illinois. Set to launch a national bid for the Presidency, he was thoroughly investigated by the Security Services because no immigrant's son had ever occupied the White House. These routine checks unearthed the connection to Alexander who was by now also involved in national politics. Initially dismissed because the family name was not uncommon, matters gained a new urgency during early 1968. Because as the Prague Spring began to develop, members of the security service conceived the idea of creating a back channel between the Illinois Senator and his younger brother, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. Ironically, the protests had been triggered by a musical festival of the same name. And of course the Prague Autumn festival was scheduled for the middle of the Presidential election..
In 1745, on this day with the City of London occupied by the Jacobite army of Bonnie Prince Charlie (pictured) the Houses of Parliament conceded and voted to reinstate the House of Stuart and oust George II; later that year the "Old Pretender" would be crowned King James III, ruling ineffectually until his death in 1766.
This article is part of the Glorious 45 thread.
Glorious Forty-Five #1
By Ed, Scott Palter, Jared Myers & Jeff ProvineThe end of the Whig Hegemony would finally bring political rights to the Scottish and Irish, celtic nations who had been facing an uncertain long-term future of direct rule from Westminister. Even if the Hanoverians were foreigners themselves, their continued presence nurtured a three-Kingdoms-in-one-Kingdom scenario that would have been distinctly English in flavour, and nakedly colonial in nature. Had the "Forty-Five" failed, then surely the English vengeance would have been dreadful for the supporters of the Jacobite rebels.
If the intended purpose of French support was merely to weaken their greatest rival, then the consequences of the overthrow of the House of Hanover would be truly in global in scope. A new triple alliance would emerge in which France, Britain and Spain would dominate the world's oceans. And the Dutch, who had rejoiced when William of Orange was placed on the English throne, would feel the backlash the most as their Empire would be divided amongst the unmatchable strength of the allied powers. The Glorious 45 thread continues in Part 2.
In 1912, on-board the British Steamship SS Californian at a quarter after midnight, twenty-year old Cyril Furmstone Evans became the first wireless telegraphy operator in history to receive an SOS signal transmitted in Morse Code.
Rescued by Modern TechnologyThe distress call originated from the White Star Line passenger ship the RMS Titantic, which had struck an iceberg, tearing a gaping hole long enough to flood five of the water-tight compartments below the waterline. Despite the seeming wonders of modern technology, the stricken vessel was in fact so close that officers of the Californian could see the lights on-board the ship.
Evans had also reported three large icebergs fifteen miles (24 km) north of the course the Titanic was heading. But he was rudely rebuffed by the wireless operator of the Titanic, Jack Phillips, who was sending private messages to the wireless relay station at Cape Race. And Captain Edward J. Smith was so eager to make the maiden crossing in record time that he was sailing at 22 knots in the iceberg-strewn seas off the Newfoundland coast.
Fortunately for the White Star Line, the close proximity of the two ships enabled a successful rescue mission to be mounted. Later it emerged that the Titanic was only carrying enough lifeboards for less than half the passengers. And so most contemporary observers simply noted further evidence of mankind's growing supremacy in the eternal struggle with the forces of nature.
In 2015, on this day Conservative Party leader David Cameron, elected as prime minister of Great Britain five years earlier in response to popular disenchantment with the policies of Labour PM Gordon Brown, was forced to resign after a host of political and economic miscalculations that had pushed Britain to the verge of collapse.
The Straw that broke the Camel's back by Chris OakleyOn his watch Britain had seen its road and rail transport systems grind to a halt; its international standing plummet after a number of Tehran schoolchildren were killed when a missile went astray during a joint US-UK-Israeli air strike against Iranian nuclear weapons production complexes; five major British retail store chains go bankrupt; public services to Britain's less fortunate citizens slashed to the bone; the BBC, formerly the world's most respected broadcast network, reduced to a shadow of its former glorious self; unemployment pass the 4.5 million mark; the fascist British National Party make unprecedented inroads into Parliament; the House of Commons twice come within a cat's whisker of passing referendums that would have terminated Britain's membership in the European Union by 2016; and Scottish first minister Alex Salmond push for a vote on whether to declare Scotland's independence from the rest of the United Kingdom.
As if all that wasn't enough to undermine British voters' confidence in their prime minister, the British Army was stretched to the breaking point in Afghanistan and Yemen; the neo-Peronista regime in Argentina was actively working to acquire a nuclear bomb and was also rumored to be drafting plans for a new invasion of the Falkland Islands; the National Health Service was being steadily dismantled; and the royal family were virtual prisoners at Buckingham Palace thanks to the almost-daily rioting going on in London and other major cities in the UK as economic and racial tensions worsened.
But the straw that truly broke the camel's back for the Cameron administration came in March of 2015 when two of the UK's largest banks crashed within days of each other, plunging Britain into its worst internal financial crisis since the Great Depression. By early April former PM John Major, in one of his last major public statements before his death, was blasting Cameron for--in Major's words--"pouring petrol on the fires that threaten to burn Great Britain from the pages of history". Even Margaret Thatcher, who had campaigned extensively Cameron's behalf during the 2010 general elections, was going out of her way to distance herself from the incumbent PM.
In 1973, on this day Time Magazine published the feature article Defying Nixon's Reach for Power.Defying Nixon's Reach for Power
"The jowls jiggled. The eyebrows rolled up and down in waves. The forehead seemed seized by spasms. Yet the lips continuously courted a smile, suggesting an inner bemusement. The words tumbled out disarmingly, softened by the gentle Southern tones and the folksy idiom. But they conveyed a sense of moral outrage.
"Divine right went out with the American Revolution and doesn't belong to White House aides," the speaker said. "What meat do they eat that makes them grow so great? I am not willing to elevate them to a position above the great mass of the American people. I don't think we have any such thing as royalty or nobility that exempts them. I'm not going to let anybody come down at night like Nicodemus and whisper something in my ear that no one else can hear.
That is not Executive privilege. It is Executive poppycock".
With those words, typically skittering from Shakespeare to the Bible, North Carolina's Democratic Senator Sam J. Ervin Jr. was stepping up the rapidly accelerating tempo in a showdown over secrecy between the U.S. Senate and President Nixon. If the President will not allow his aides to testify publicly and under oath before the Select Senate Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, Ervin vows, he will seek to have them arrested".
Buoyed by his immense popularity since Victory in Vietnam (VVN) Day in 1971, Nixon had sought a repeal of term limits in order to seek re-election in 1976. Yet Ervin's timely intervention ensured that Vice President Gerald Ford would gain the Republication Nomination. On his inauguration day, Ford would declare that America's "long national nightmare was over". It would later emerge that Nixon had orchestrated the Kennedy assassination, ordering the Comedian to pull the trigger and ensure his own rise to the Presidency.
In 1912, America mourns the death of the 'Galveston Giant' onboard the RMS Titantic. John Arthur Johnson (March 31, 1878 - April 15, 1912), better known as Jack Johnson was an American boxer and arguably the best heavyweight of his generation. He was the first black Heavyweight Champion of the World (1908-1912), a feat which, for its time, was tremendously controversial. In a documentary about his life, Ken Burns said: 'For more than three years, Jack Johnson was the most famous, and the most notorious African-American on Earth.'Ain't hauling no coal by Michael Edward Johnson The famed blues guitarist Leadbelly also recorded a Titanic song. His lyrics included the common folklore that Jack Johnson, the black man who was world heavyweight boxing champion at the time, was initially denied passage on the boat. Jack Johnson wanted to get on board Captain, he said, 'I ain't hauling no coal'
In 1941, on this day Wehrmacht general Erwin Rommel, nicknamed "the Desert Fox" by virtue of having won a number of battles against numerically superior British forces in North Africa, was recalled to Berlin and placed in overall command of German armoured forces on the Soviet front.
On this day in 1948, botanists from the University of New Mexico announced the discovery of a new species of pear tree, Pyrus roswellae, in the vicinity of the impact site for the July 6th Roswell asteroid strike.
In 2008, President George W. Bush made his first public statement on the Zimbabwean forged letter scandal.
In a press conference at the White House Bush blasted the Mugabe regime as 'brutally corrupt' and said the United States would oppose the ZANU-PF dictatorship by any means available.
In 1985, KGB agent Dmitri Kaprinsky, alias D.B. Cooper, was posthumously awarded the Order of Lenin for his years of loyal service to the USSR.
That same day Kaprinsky was laid to rest in his hometown in the Ukraine.
On this day in 2008 the British embassy in Washington sent President George W. Bush a transcript of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's debriefing with the Zimbabwean defector, code-named 'Charybdis'.
In 1997, the Battle of Cheyenne, the last front of the war in America, begins as allied troops batter at President Shephard's last loyal troops surrounding Norad in Cheyenne, Colorado. Shephard vows to fight until the last man; allies are attempting to find and disable all the nuclear weapons still at his command in order to forestall a nuclear disaster.
In 4668, a mated pair of sloths arrive in Beijing as a gift from the Incan people to the Chinese Emperor. The exotic creatures spark an interest in eastern animals across the empire, building a healthy trade between the eastern and western worlds.
In 1952, Velma Porter tells Mikhail von Heflin that she?s had enough of Africa, and the two of them head to Cairo to secure passage back to America. Miss Porter has made a peg leg for herself, but von Heflin thinks he can help her regain her foot, lost in the battle with his ancestor. He begins meditating on the subject.
In 1789, George Washington leaves his home of Mt. Vernon, Virginia, to be inaugurated into his new office of President of the United States in New York City. Washington had expressed a desire to remain in retirement due to his advanced age of 57, which proved somewhat prophetic; he caught pneumonia on the journey, and died mere days after his inauguration. This led to the tradition of electing much younger men to the presidency in the future.
In 1998, a bar fight turns into the first battle of the war to unseat the Windsors, when a small group of the Royal Marines enter a bar in Swansea, Wales, that is very loyal to Arthur Pendrake. Several harsh words are exchanged, fists fly, and then the owner of the pub reaches for his hunting rifle.A marine sees him, reaches the rifle first, and shoots the older man dead. There is a moment of silence as the implications of this sink into everyone present; then, all the local pub crawlers are running home for their weapons. One of the marines pulls out a cell phone and calls back to base for help. Within the hour, the marines are wiped out by the locals, and military units are heading into Swansea. Arthur, as soon as the news hits the airwaves, puts out a call for all his followers to defend Swansea and repulse the royalists. His cold war against the Windsors has just turned hot.
In 1982, Nathaniel Strawn is born in College Station, Texas. Strawn, a mathematician by training, joined NASAs Mars Project in 2029, just in time to work on the final lander that would put his cousin, astronaut Catherine Taylor, on the Red Planet in 2034.
In 1891, the eastern Kansas border is fortified by volunteers from around the state. Major Mark Wainwright and his band of men encounter part of this fortification as they head to Topeka to free President Grover Cleveland, and the ensuing fight leaves 12 of his men dead; but he wins the engagement. By the evening, they are in Topeka and in pitched battle at the governors mansion, where they steal the former president from the room where is being held. They fight their way out of the city, with only half of their original force left, when a stray shot hits President Cleveland in the stomach. Major Wainwright struggles with his remaining men to Kansas City and desperately searches for a doctor in the chaotic city.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.