In 1961, needing a distraction to fire the public imagination in the wake of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, President Kennedy announced the goal of landing a man on the Moon in a speech to a Joint Session of Congress.
Apollo XI Triumph
by Ed & Jackie Speer"First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, within the next ten years1, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish". In a cabinet meeting with NASA administrator James E. Webb and other officials, Kennedy explained that the moon shot was important for reasons of international prestige, and that the expense was justified. Johnson assured him that lessons learned from the space program had military value as well. Costs for the Apollo program were expected to reach $40 billion.
Of course it was a timescale safely out of reach of Kennedy's term of office, but it was an irrevelance at least for him because he was assassinated. Of course for his less photogenic successors it was a delivery problem of frightening proportion. And so five years after the cabinet meeting, Johnson and Webb met privately in the Oval Office. The progress report was bleak; both the US, and the Soviet Union, had independently calculated very high risks for the mission. And public sentiment had changed dramatically, the likely death of the astronauts would almost certainly lead to calls to cancel the Apollo program. Caught between a rock and a hard place, they decided to fake the moon landing.
Twelve months later, both Johnson and Webb had left office and their successors Richard Nixon and Thomas O. Paine were confronted with a series of security leaks that forced them to cancel those plans. Another factor in the decision was that the progress reports were more upbeat, and during Nixon's first term, he was able to deliver on Kennedy's dream when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin touched down on the lunar surface on 20 July 1971. This is a reversal of Eric Lipps article Apollo XI Tragedy.
In 1521, on this day Martin Luther was assassinated. The success of the printing press hastened the spread ideas, particularly theology. Lawyer-turned-monk Martin Luther published Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences in 1517, which became known as The Ninety-Five Theses. It formed a list of what he felt was wrong with Church practices, particularly the selling of indulgences: writs of forgiveness for sins that could be purchased (even in advance of committing a sin).
Martin Luther AssassinatedLuther had suffered through his own understanding of forgiveness while in the monastery and finally relied solely on God's power rather than Dominican friar Johann Tetzel's salesmanship, "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, The soul from Purgatory springs".
The letter spread through much of Northern Europe and found many like-minded supporters. Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz and Magdeburg, who had initiated much of the surge of indulgence sales (and received half of the profits to pay debts, the other half going to pay for the construction of St. Peter's Basilica), sent a copy to Pope Leo X, who responded with orders that Luther be arrested. Luther, however, had won the support of Frederick III, Elector of Saxony, who protected him politically. The Pope excommunicated Luther in with a bull in December of 1520 and ordered him to recant at a diet in Worms under Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Luther prayed for guidance and finally admitted before the emperor, "I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen".
Luther was released as he had been guaranteed safe passage through Frederick the Elector, but deliberations continued five more days until May 25 when Emperor Charles announced, "We want him to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic". Luther's literature was banned. He himself was declared an outlaw, forbidding anyone to give him shelter or even food, requiring his arrest, and legalizing his murder. As Luther traveled homeward, he was met by armed men in the forest. Thinking they were his escort from Frederick, Luther and his party peacefully approached them. These men, however, were zealous supporters of the Church who had been waiting for the emperor's word. Frederick's soldiers arrived shortly after Luther had been killed and were able to win back his body before the bandits could escape with it in hopes of a bounty.
An uproar rang through Germany, taking Luther as a martyr. Faced with a wave of rebellion among Luther's supporters outraged by actions blamed on the Church as well as incursions by the Turks besieging Vienna, Charles decided to separate himself from Rome's stalwart rejections. Pope Leo X shifted blame to Bishop Albrecht, who was replaced and forced to pay his debts.
Without Luther, the Reformation settled onto the shoulders of Philipp Melanchthon, who distinguished himself from the violence associated with radicals such as Zwingli and the Zwickau prophets. Melanchthon had long kept correspondence with Luther, and the monk had even invited Melanchthon to a professorship at the University of Wittenberg after his liberal theology was dismissed at T?bingen. He determined to work with the Church in gradual reforms, such as the end of indulgences as outlined in the 1530 Augsburg Confession. Melanchthon's use of reason won him great fame and calls for lectures across northern Europe. His student Flacius carried on after him, working alongside the Church for reforms throughout north and eastern Europe. Centers like Spain and the Italian states were slower to take to reform, but eager to trade. Seeing bloody violence in England after Henry VIII's forcible creation of the Church of England in 1529 discouraged Scandinavian crowns from separating outright, instead slowly asserting political authority as the Continent shifted toward humanism.
Capitalism and technology outpaced spiritualism as the centuries progressed. The Holy Roman Empire, a model of the balance of power between the First, Second, and Third Estates brought on by waves of reform, became the "Hinge of Europe" as Habsburg power waned due to excessive inbreeding. Instead, Congresses of dukes, princes, and elected representatives, all joined together by the Catholic religion across nationalities, ruled. The Ottoman Empire began to wane as Austria looked to the Atlantic for trade through Spain and Portugal rather than eastward. With Dutch mariners joined by German innovators and ample settlers from among the myriad of Austrian-Hungarian peoples, Roman colonies spread into North America to balance French Canada and Louisiana, the Caribbean, Africa, India, and the Pacific until a third of the world was under imperial power.
In 2010, after a four week period of clinging to power witheringly described by Nick Clegg as "squatting in 10 Downing Street", Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown finally reached his "Ceaușescu moment" when Conservatives and Liberal-Democrats voted down the Queen's Speech at the start of the new session of Parliament.
Gordon Brown reaches his "Ceaușescu" momentThis unexpected event threw the leadership of the British political class into complete confusion. Having interpreted the indecisive result of the May 6th election as a rejection of the Conservative Party, Gordon Brown had subsequently assured the Queen that he could muster sufficient votes to ratify Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech.
And the imperturbable Conservative Leader "Cool Hand Dave" Cameron had not only expected to win, but had toured British with his Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, acting as if his rightful turn had arrived. And now the right-wing of the party, having been uncharacteristically quiet to give its moderate leadership the one-shot chance to pursue the "Change to Win" strategy now swung behind a re-appointment of former leader William Hague, this time without a fifth column.
Nick Clegg, having mastered the television debates, and having stated that his ambition was to become Prime Minister, then delivered a desperately disappointingly poor result for the Liberal Democrats.
The Queen herself was unable to suggest a next step for the so-called balanced parliament, declaring that "the British constitution has always been puzzling and always will be".
In 1940, heavy bombardment by the Luftwaffe joined German cannon in saturating would-be evacuation beaches. By midnight May 25, the Navy reported that the Germans were on all the beaches and were preventing the BEF from leaving them.
Slaughter at Dunkirk by Raymond SpeerChurchill suggested that a major raid be made for the purpose of clearing at least one Dunkirk port. "It will be a complete surprise for the foe". The general's comment to the Prime Minister was that his project would be a slaughter.
In 1940, on this day the commander of the British Expedition Force, Gort, decided that his Army woulld evacuate from Dunkirk and he requested full assistance in that task from his country.
Disaster at Dunkirk by Raymond SpeerThe previous day, French General Weygand had noted that the British were fleeing lines they had promised to hold, falling back twenty five miles in order to reach the ports.
Also that Friday, Adolf Hitler had radioed from von Rundstedt's headquarters a question to Hans Gunderian, chief of the Panzers which spearheaded the German offensive. Did Gunderian feel confident in his forces' present order, or would he want to delay his advance and re-organize? Gunderian wanted to go ahead at full speed and Hitler instantly ordered that.
In the coming week, the Nazi armor and infantry arrived at the shore, usually in place before the British came upon them. Brave British units lost heavily trying to brush the enemy away from their only hope of evacuation.
In 1765, Patrick Henry spoke before the Virginia House of Burgesses in praise of the British Parliament?s defeat of the Stamp Act.
The Defeat of the Stamp Act by Eric LippsThe first direct tax to be levied on the American colonies, it would have required that all newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, commercial bills, advertisements, and other papers issued in the colonies bear a stamp.
Although the revenue to be raised from the stamps was earmarked for colonial defense, the proposal was hugely unpopular in America, where it was seen as a crippling blow to all sorts of ordinary activities, from the publication of newspapers to such legal documents as birth and marriage certificates.
The defeat of the Stamp Act was a serious blow to the ministry of George Grenville, which contributed to his fall from power of July 10, 1765 following a dispute with King George III on a separate matter involving the composition of the regency council.
In 1951, following the conclusion of a ceasefire with its Arab neighbours, the State of Israel finally emerged from a three-year "war of independence" - but unexpectedly, as a communist client state of the Soviet Union.
A Communist Israel, Part 1 - the Victims of Hitler's MadnessOtherwise Israel stood alone, and most likely would have been defeated by the overwhelming Arab forces that had been secretly supported by a sympathetic Great Britain.
And President Harry S. Truman had been forced to heed the advice of George Marshall (pictured). Because his Secretary of State had stated "If you (recognize the state of Israel) and if I were to vote in the election, I would vote against you".
Truman had been inclined to give the "victims of Hitler's madness" the opportunity to "build new lives". But the level-headed Marshall had publicly declared that "We are in the midst of a very critical situation. We should therefore carefully avoid approach international problems on an emotional basis". And on May 12th 1948, two days before the end of the British Mandate, Truman summoned Marshall to the White House to confirm that he was nevertheless planning to recognise the State of Israel. Marshall, who had already given assurances to Arab rulers that America would not, and exploded, accusing Truman of "a transparent dodge to win the Jewish Vote" and insisting "they don't need a state, they don't deserve a state, it isn't theres, its stolen that land". Click to watch PBS - 50 years war Israel and the Arab Episode One
In the midst of this fracture in the US leadership, Stalin now saw an opportunity to recognise Israel first. Only later did US foreign policy makers realise that America had "Lost Israel" giving the Soviet Union an unwelcome entry into the Middle East. And the weapons that would be used to defend Tel Aviv would arrive from Czechoslakia.
It would take three years of bitter fighting to win the war of independence. And ultimately, the actions of irregular forces, operating out of their Kibbutz communities who would imbue a genuinely Marxist-Leninist perspective into the victorious Zionist's psyche.
Meanwhile on the Zionists western flank, the huge military bases of the British Army would be repurposed - to protect the Suez Canal from this terrifying new communist threat to Western oil supplies..
In 1977, the cult film "A New Hope" opens in US theaters to general critical disappointment.
Cult film "New Hope" premieres Twentieth Century Fox, the studio that finally gave filmmaker Luke Walton the green light to make his space opera is pleased to find out that the public doesn't share the critics' opinions, and the movie makes a reasonable $50 million in its theatrical release.
A few years later, though, it enjoys a second life as it becomes a hugely popular rental at video stores across the English-speaking world. It earns enough, in fact, for Walton to film 2 sequels to the campy original, fleshing out his story of a young man's fight against an evil that turns out to be closer to him than he originally thought. These direct-to-video sequels brought Walton enough money to retire on, although there are persistent rumors that he still plans to do something more with the Darth Vader character someday.
In 1965, on this day former British Prime Minister and defeated War Leader Winston Churchill died in the cell that had been his home in Spandau Prison, Germany for over twenty years.
The Death of ChurchillWord of his demise reached the Fuerher in Bechtesgarden that evening.
Terminally ill himself, Hitler outlived Churchill by five weeks, describing him as a "remarkable adversary" and a "remarkable drain on the Reich Treasury" in reference to the extravagant quantities of alcohol and cigars consumed by the Old Lion in his Prison Cell.
In 1977, Sex Pistols' manager Malcolm McLaren fired bassist Sid Vicious.
Sid Vicious gets fired from the Sex PistolsGlen Matlock who had left in February was reinstated.
Writing thirty years later Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day sympathised with McLaren's dilemma. "It wasn't necessarily a mistake to replace Glen Matlock with Sid Vicious. Matlock was cool, but Sid was everything that's cool about punk rock: a skinny rocker who had a ton of attitude, sort of an Elvis, James Dean kind of guy. That said, there's nothing romantic about being addicted to heroin. He was capable of playing his instrument, but he was too messed up to do it".
In 2009, on this day all New England states end the school year for all students. More then 700 school children have died in the past week.
On this day in 1967, the Israeli air force shot down dozens of Syrian fighter jets during a massive air battle over Damascus.
Jordan's King Hussein, convinced the Arab armies were headed for disaster, urged Gamal Abdel Nasser and Syrian president Nureddin Atassi to begin cease-fire negotiations with Israel before it was too late.
In 1961, following a huge explosion at the White Sands Proving Ground where the boosters for the Dyna-Soar space plane are being developed, President Kennedy decides to postpone a planned speech in which he was to have pledged to 'place a man on the moon and return him safely to earth' before the end of the decade.
Wernher von Braun had persuaded the new President that the boosters could be used not only on the orbital plane but for lunar missions as well. The accident at White Sands had called that into question. Worse still, von Braun himself was badly injured, and will be hospitalized for over a month.
In 1999, Queen Gwen of Great Britain tries to convince her husband, King Arthur II, to give quarter to more of the Central European Empire's former vassal states. "Mercy to them now would show them what a wise and kind ruler you can be," she tells him. When she sees that this line of argument isn't persuading him, she tries another tack. "Wouldn't Merl tell you to pursue peace if it was offered? Wouldn't he have seen the wisdom of saving your resources to battle those who actually mean to fight back?" This finally sways him, and he instructs his Prime Minister, Kay Ector, to begin negotiations with the CEE nations that are willing to surrender to the United Kingdom.
In 1891, General Theodore Monteith faces off against an exploratory force of Kansans testing the new defenses at the Concordia fort. He bests them easily, but sends word north to Major Mark Wainwright to hurry reinforcements down from Hebron in case the Kansans try to take back their fort again. Major Wainwright immediately assembles his best 2000 men and heads south to aid his commanding officer.
In 2004, David Adams, a computer science professor at UCLA, frantically attempts to contact the White House about the Smartnet node he administers at the university in Los Angeles. He dies later that evening as the plane he is flying in to Washington, D.C. crashes in a freak collision at Dulles International Airport.
In 1983, George Lucas released the last of his Star Wars films, The Revenge Of The Jedi. In spite of hinting at a larger backstory, Lucas never returned to the series, preferring to concentrate on other projects, such as his game and special effects businesses. He also started a computer graphics based animation studio, Pixar, that soon became as synonymous with cartoon excellence as Disney had once been.
In 1974, Jim Morrison's ex-wife Pam died of a drug overdose in Los Angeles, California. Morrison had divorced her after going through drug rehabilitation in 1972, and her drug use had spiraled out of control since then. Morrison had attempted to get her into rehab earlier in the year, but she had refused his help.
In 1961, in a somewhat short-sighted effort to save money, President John Kennedy slows down the American space program, cutting funding to everything except the military projects. With their competition removed, the Soviet space program lands a man on the moon in 1972, and enjoys a tactical superiority over the world today.
In 1915, the Ottoman Empire attempts to deport its Armenian population in a brutal program of genocide against the minority, and quickly draws international condemnation, including the cessation of support from its Central Power allies, Germany and the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. This causes the Ottomans to rethink their policy and halt the Armenian program.
In 1844, New York City's Stuart Perry patented an engine that ran on gasoline, a refined oil. Because gasoline was so hard to make, the design didn?t make much of an impact until it was modified to use vegetable-based oils; this engine runs most large machinery today.
In 1803, New England's elder statesman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Emerson was the mentor of the Communist Party's founder Henry Thoreau, and one of the first public figures to back his young protege's ideals after the publication of Thoreau?s and Marx's Communist Manifesto.
In 1787, the formerly united states of the American colonies dissolve the Articles of Confederation. The Articles had been losing their effectiveness since the end of the war in 1783, anyway. Several of the revolutionary war?s heroes attempted to bring the states together again with a convention in Philadelphia, but only 5 states sent delegates.
In 1660, George Monck, a general in the Parliamentarian movement in England, assumed the title of Lord Protector from the son of the revolution's leader, Richard Cromwell, in order to keep their dream of a realm without a king alive. Monck provided the leadership that Cromwell was unable to, and held off the resurgent Monarchists who were determined to restore Charles II to his father's throne.
In Hellenic Year 3176, Comorus of Thebes makes the sun disappear with his powerful magic. The frightened citizens of Thebes make him their king; his first action is to forbid the teaching of astronomy to any Thebans.
In 1787, delegates from the thirteen United States of America meet in Philadelphia to hammer out reforms to the country's governing charter, the Articles of Confederation.
The convention quickly decides that the Articles cannot, in fact, be reformed, and begin work on an entirely new constitution. They conduct their debates in absolute secrecy, fearing the reaction if the public learns prematurely of how they have departed from the mission for which they were appointed.
One of the most contentious issues they consider is the role of the President. Under the Articles, the presidency is a minor office, first among equals in Congress, in which no person can serve more than one year in three. Under the influence of Alexander Hamilton, the presidency is greatly strengthened, becoming the chief officer of an entire separate executive branch of the government, among the powers of which is appointment of federal judges. There is fierce debate over the length of time a president should remain in office, though there is general agreement that the one-year-in-three rule in the Articles is far too restrictive.
One early proposal is for a lifetime presidency, whose occupant will be chosen by Congress. It is highly controversial; some delegates warn that it would establish an American monarchy. Proponents counter that Congress will retain primacy through its power to appoint the chief executive, especially since the legislative branch is also to have the power of the purse, enabling it to rein in the executive by controlling that branch's funding. Alternatives are suggested, including a single six-year term and a four-year term with the opportunity for reelection.
Eric Lipps says, ~ As you may or may not know, Columbus gulled Ferdinand and Isabella into backing his voyage by presenting a plan based on an estimate of the Earth's circumference about one-third smaller than the then-accepted (and nearly accurate) figure, which had been derived by geometrical means centuries earlier. If the Americas hadn't existed, he'd probably have died at sea.
In 1660, Parliament rejected the idea of Charles Stuart returning to Britain and becoming King once more. This rejection led to war with Charles and with France, Spain and the United Provinces who supported him. George Monck became Lord Protector in 1662 and focused the country toward fighting a war to the finish. The Royalist rebels in England were defeated in 1664 (all but in the South East) and Scotland was conquered in 1665.
|of Great Britain and Ireland|
In the United Provinces dropped out of the war in 1664 and Ireland was conquered by 1666. Spain dropped out of the war in 1667 and France finally gave up attempting to invade England in 1668. The Commonwealth gained recognition from these nations, and also gained territory in North America, taking Cuba and Hispaniola from Spain and Acadia from France (though they handed back New Netherland as a condition for the Dutch dropping out).
In 1976, on this day the author Frederick Forsyth published the semi-fictional account 'The Day of the Jackal'. The book depicted the events of 1974 when the Emperor Napoleon V Airport was belatedly opened by the Mayor of Paris, Andre Joseph Marie de Gaulle. The event was almost marred by an assassination attempt on the Major. The assassin known as the Jackal, disguised as a war veteran, made his way to a building which faced the runway where de Gaulle presented veterans with medals. However, the Jackal failed to take into account the Gallic custom of kissing on both cheeks, expecting instead that de Gaulle would shake hands with the medal recipient. As the Jackal fired, de Gaulle simultaneously moved forward to kiss the recipient on the cheeks, causing the bullet to miss.
In 1994, the UK Lottery Foundation consortium won the contract to run Britain's first national lottery which starts in November. Richard Branson and former cabinet minister Lord Young guaranteed that the consortium would give all profits not used to run the lottery to the nominated charities and the arts.
In 1961, on this day President John F Kennedy pledges man on Moon, calling for millions of dollars to fund a space programme to get the first man on the Moon by 1970.
In a speech to a joint session of Congress broadcast on TV and radio around the United States, he asked for an extra $1,700m (GBP 600m) on the federal budget. The largest proportion of this would be spent on researching and developing ways of getting an American on the Moon by the end of the decade.
"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth," he said. Within eighteen months, the Cuba War would ensure that priorities had changed somewhat, with man struggling to survive on Earth itself.
In 1982, dozens of men were feared dead in the seas around the Falkland Islands after the container ship Atlantic Conveyor and the destroyer HMS Coventry were hit by Argentine missiles. HMS Coventry managed to destroy two Argentine Skyhawk planes with Sea Dart missiles. Another wave of Skyhawks hit her four times with 1,000 bombs. She capsized, losing 21 of her crew.
An explosion and a fireball swept through the operations room. The ship listed to port and the crew and wounded made their way to the upper decks from where they were rescued. It is thought the Atlantic Conveyor, owned by Cunard, was mistaken for the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes. The vessel's troop-carrying Chinook helicopters, key equipment necessary to re-capture the islands, sank with the ship.
More than 900 people died in the three-week war - 655 Argentines, 255 British troops and three Falkland islanders. The Falklands War gave a huge boost to Eva Peron's popularity. She won the general election the following year with a massive majority and remained in power until 1990.
In 1986 Malachi turned eighteen.
" 'SO now is the Age of Favour lowered from nineteen plantings and harvestings to eighteen,' Isaac went on relentlessly. 'Yet be fruitful and multiply as the corn multiplies, that my favour may be shewn you, and be upon you.' Isaac ceased. The eyes turned to Malachi and Joseph, the only two among this party who were eighteen. There were others back in town, perhaps twenty in all.
|Children of the Corn|
They waited to hear what Malachi would say, Malachi who had led the hunt for Japheth, who evermore would be known as Ahaz, cursed of God. Malachi had cut the throat of Ahaz and had thrown his body out of the corn so the foul body would not pollute it or blight it. 'I obey the word of God,' Malachi whispered. The corn seemed to sigh its approval. And that night all of those now above the Age of Favour walked silently into the corn and went to the clearing, to gain the continued favour of He Who Walks Behind the Rows".
the author Edward Morgan Forster
published A Passage to Cuba
, later selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 great works of English literature. Set against the backdrop of the Cuban independence movement, Forster's genius was to foreshadow the end of British control in this increasingly isolated anglophone pocket of America.
In 1963, Leaders of 32 African nations set up an organisation that would give them a united voice for the first time in Africa's history.
The African summit conference ended on this day in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, with an agreement from all delegates to found an Organisation of African Unity. Its primary aim was to 'decolonise' the remaining bastions of white rule in Southern Rhodesia, South Africa, Mozambique and Angola.
It planned to support African "freedom fighters" with finance, arms, volunteers and training bases and to close off their airspace to colonial forces. Heads of state were urged to impose sanctions on South Africa and break off diplomatic relations. The conference also expressed concern about racial discrimination in the United States.
"May this convention of union last 1,000 years" ~ Emperor Halie Selassie.
The OUA was the predecessor governance structure to the African Union, which competed for global mastery with the other emerging super-powers of India and China during the late twenty-first century.
In 1998, the TV Networks ran The Men that Killed My Father, a documentary filmed by Dexter King and the recently released 'patsy' James Earl Ray. Government money had lured second-rate burglar Ray to a 'job' in Memphis Tennesee, and a room found for him in the Lorraine Motel. Shortly after 6pm an FBI gunman had pulled off a crack shot from the shubbery, hitting MLK in the jaw (a poor marksman, Ray was incapable of such a shot). Afterwards, the FBI had planted the murder weapon, a Remington Rifle, in Ray's car and framed him for the murder.
Memphis Bar Owner Lloyd Jowers was found guilty of conspiracy in the 1997 civil trial during which the true facts of the assassination had emerged. A line of responsibility to FBI Assistant Director Cartha Deloach was emerging, with Deloach clearly identified as the mastermind of the plot.
J Edgar Hoover would have found some satisfaction in the outcome. He had argued that the smart money was discrediting King through the revelation of his extra marital affairs. NOBODY would buy the lone gunman story a third time, surely?
In 1864, in one of the final military encoutners of the Civil War, the
Union II Corps under Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock stormed a small
Confederate force at "Henagan's Redoubt" to seize the Chesterfield
Bridge crossing on the Telegraph Road, but did not advance further
south across the river. An installment of the Federal's Lost Cause thread.
Federal Lost Cause Part 4: Decisive Confederate Victory at North AnnaThat night, Lee and his engineers devised a masterful scheme for
defensive earthworks in the shape of an inverted "V" that
could split the Union army when it advanced and allow the Confederates
to use interior lines to attack and defeat one wing, preventing the
other wing from reinforcing it in time. Grant fell into this trap. As
Hancock's men failed to carry the Confederate works on the eastern leg
of the V on May 24, a brigade under the drunken Brig. Gen. James H.
Ledlie was repulsed from an ill-conceived assault against a strong
position at Ox Ford, the apex of the V.
Although Lee was disabled with an intestinal illness, fortunately for
the Confederates "Stonewall" Jackson was able to execute his
planned attack. News of this improbable field victory moved the
Northern electorate firmly into the Peace Camp. Months later,
"Little Mac" edged Lincoln at the Polls, and the Civil War
was at an end. By then, the myth of the Federal "Lost
Cause" had taken hold of the American pscyhe. And yet the reality
was that Lee had fought on for a stalemate, holding out until the
electoral cycle forced a decision upon the weary population of the
North. Grant meanwhile had fruitlessly butchered the troops of the
Union armies in a pointless meat grinder. And although Rosecrans
accepted the personal criticism for the disaster at Chickamauga, the
bigger picture was that his predecessor as Command of the Union Armies
McClellan had been right to hold back in the earlier phase of the war.
For this, "Little Mac" had been chosen by the peace camp,
even if he himself was equivocal on the issue of a settlement short of
victory. Regardless, that is the scenario he inherited in 1865 when
Lincoln - the man who had fired him - left office. And after all, the
whole confrontation had begun when Lincoln was elected, so in a sense,
the wheel had turned full circle, and more than once.
In 1789, on this day Irish Rebels Take Dublin. For centuries, the English maintained rule in Ireland. The two had been joined politically after the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169 and 1171 under Henry II with permission of Pope Adrian IV (the only English Pope in Catholic history) to aid Dermot MacMurrough in retaking his lost throne in Leinster.
Irish Rebels Take DublinHenry made further conquests in Dublin and created the Lordship of Ireland, making much of the island vassal states with relative independence. Henry VIII, as part of his Protestantizing of England, was named King of Ireland to assure his political dominance over the vast Catholic majority. When Ireland supported the Catholic James II against the incoming Protestant Mary and her husband, William of Orange, and lost the Williamite War in 1691, rule became systematized through the Ascendancy, the Protestant minority who controlled the Church of Ireland.
New ideas of liberty came to Ireland in the Enlightenment just as they had America and France. These ideas came later, as thousands of Irish were quick to join the Volunteers against the Americans in the 1770s, and, in the 1780s, most were pleased with the gradual freedoms won by politician Henry Grattan such overturning Poyning's Law that forced approval from London and granting Catholics of property voting rights (though they would not be able to hold office). By the 1790s, however, the Irish were ready for a rebellion to win their freedom.
In 1791, the Society of United Irishmen was founded in Belfast by liberal-minded Protestants who sought togetherness through Irish nationalism and an end to religious divisiveness. The success of the revolution in France excited the Irish in Ulster to find unity, which was a stark difference to the typical thinking that inspired sectarian warfare such as that between the Protestant Peep o' Day Boys and the Catholic Defenders. Loyalists fanned the flames of violence between them and contributed to founding the Orange Order as another society to counterbalance the efforts of the United Irishmen. When it became obvious that the goal of universal suffrage was not to be found politically, the United Irishmen looked for help in 1794 from revolutionary France, who dispatched an army of 14,000 soldiers in 1796 that never landed due to inclement weather and poor leadership. Uprising continued in Ireland without them, and the British reacted with violent measures such as execution, arson, torture, and pitchcapping. Martial law spread over much of the island, and loyalist spies among the rebels led to the capture of much of the Irish leadership.
On the night of May 23, the British military received late notice of an Irish march on Dublin. Samuel Neilson and Lord Edward FitzGerald, two of the remaining Irish leadership, decided to capitalize on the unrest born from martial law. British soldiers marched en masse to capture rebel meeting places, but they found them already held by the Irish. In furious firefights throughout the city's alleys and squares, the cunning and local knowledge of the rebels won out over superior British firepower. The city fell along with hundreds of British dead and thousands captured. Rebels intercepted mail-carriages, which was the secret signal to alert their allies in the surrounding counties.
While the British stopped a similar uprising at Carlow, the rebellion won out at Tara Hill and spread to the north, where it turned into guerrilla warfare among those seeking independence and those loyalists and Catholics who had come to distrust revolution after the French's capture of Rome three months before. Wexford (where the Normans had come into Ireland some 600 years before) became the center of Irish success, and the rest of the island became embroiled in war. In September, France finally made good on its promise of support, sending thousands of troops by sea into County Mayo on the northwest, giving all but Ulster to the revolution. The British, now wary of French intervention, began a blockade of the island, and a second expedition in October was intercepted. While the French were scattered, a few made it to shore, including Theobald Wolfe Tone, one of the original leaders of the United Irishmen who had been in exile since 1793 after the first discovery of communications with the French.
Wolfe soared through the ranks of the Irish with great promises, using to his advantage his theatrical leanings and firsthand knowledge of the French Revolution as well as interviews with General Napoleon (who himself did not much believe in the success of an Irish movement). Among some of his first actions were to remove the strength the Anglican Church, and then to weaken the Catholic church, placing as much property and money into government hands loyal to him. Wolfe dispatched Robert Emmet to the newly crowned Emperor Napoleon for additional aid, which was supplied, though the British redoubled their efforts to find a foothold among loyalists frustrated with Wolfe's rule. Napoleon was dubbed the greater enemy, however, and the fighting in Ireland grew into a stalemate until 1812 with Allied success in the Peninsular War and Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia.
After forced abdication in France, the British turned on Ireland, where Wolfe was hastily overthrown. The chaos continued until the newly made Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, an Irishman, was made military governor. While he was very popular in London because of his war service, he became immensely popular in Ireland after championing reforms, particularly Catholic Emancipation. With a better balance of political rule, reinforced by groundbreaking social services instituted during the Great Famine of the 1840s. Wellington's liberal nature, applauded by the Tories, would prove too much for British sensibilities, hamstringing his chances of a prime ministership.
Since its turbulent, short-lived republic, Ireland has been a key member of the British Commonwealth. It aided greatly in many of the Empire's international concerns including both world wars, although a renewed independence movement out of the Lost Generation in the 1920s that came mainly as social reforms and literary marvels.
In 1985, on this day the Head of the Macintosh Division Steve Jobs was relieved of managerial duties at a board meeting of Apple Inc.; he would leave the company five months later.
Bad for AppleAlthough respected as a persuasive and charismatic leader, he had invited criticism for being an erratic and temperamental executive, notorious for keeping meetings running past midnight, sending out lengthy faxes and then calling new meetings at 7:00 am. The perception of ill discipine reinforced by poor standards of personal hygiene when combined with a series of bungled technical and marketing decisions was enough to convince President John Sculley that he was "bad for apple".
Of course the bigger picture was disappointing sales volumes; Sculley and Jobs blamed each other, concluding that neither man was right to lead the company. Matters came to a head when Sculley learnt that Jobs had been attempting to organize a boardroom coup and he called the fateful directors meeting to resolve the matter.
A year later, Jobs bought The Graphics Group (later renamed Pixar) from Lucasfilm's computer graphics division for the price of $10 million. An unintended consequence of the purchase was the building of a life-long relationship with George Lucas that would eventually change his whole outlook towards the American working man.
This article is part of the Blue Collar Fightback thread.
In 2016, on this day first reports from the Middle East of massive civilian casaulties caused by unmanned drone aircrafts were received in a 3 am telephone phone call to the White House. This nightmare scenario would test every ounce of the foreign policy experience of US President Hillary Rodham Clinton which the "Big Girl" had claimed during her election campaign eight long years before.
Click to watch the Campaign Advert
The Big GirlThe vision of developing smarter unmanned aircraft that could make life-and-death combat decisions on their own was a proposal from "Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Plan, 2009-2047", a thirty-eight year road map plan authored by the US Air Force during the Presidency of George W. Bush. At that time, drones had been remotely controlled from Air Force Personnel based in the contintental United States, mainly to provide ground troops with constant overhead video. And there seemed little imperative to change, with senior policy makers playing down the ultimate objective of drone autonomy "because it's a plan. And having a plan is better than not having a plan".
In 2010 the Defense Department had planned to spend $5.4 billion on unmanned aircraft development, procurement and operations - about $2.5 billion more than the military spent on UAVs during the 1990s. Then the world financial crisis had forced Clinton's Administration to take some brutal cuts in the military budget.
A decision had been made to accelerate the development of next-generation unmanned aircraft for a slate of new missions, including air strikes, aerial refueling, cargo transport and long-range bombing. Before Clinton's re-election, just one control crew - airborne or ground-based - was able to control multiple UAVs at once. Soon after the "Big Girl" returned to the White House, she signed the fateful order that provided executive approval for developing smarter unmanned aircraft that could make life-and-death combat decisions on their own. Investigations at the Creech Air Force Base would later reveal that the drone had been "hacked" by al-qaeda operatives and that the decision to fire had not after all been a malfunction.
In 1940, Churchill and the five members of his War Cabinet listened in the basement of the House of Commons for news of the BEF's extrication from Dunkirk.
Disaster at Dunkirk by Raymond SpeerForeign Minister Halifax suggested that Britain should accept an offer from Mussolini that Italy would broker a peace between Britain and Germany. "Maybe we will get decent terms," Halifax said, and Churchill had a temper tantrum, predicting that Germany would insist on Britian's enslavement.
Referring to Hitler as "That Man", Churchill said that Hitler would insist on the surrender of the Fleet and would elevate Mosley to be his lieutenant in London. Churchill stated that "I am convinced that every man of you would rise up and tear me down from my place if I was for one mment to contemplate parley or surrender. If our long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground".
In 1962, the New York Police Department interviewed the sixteen-piece band which had played five shows a day until the recent murder of lead singer James Brown.
The mysterious death of James BrownIn the three years since his first opening gig at the Apollo in 1959, Brown had turned his band into one of the tightest groups in all of R&B.
One reason was that the band played more than 300 shows a year. Another was the harsh fines Brown imposed on band members for everything from flubbed notes and missed dance steps to scuffed shoes. The Apollo gig in October was fast approaching, and the pressure was really climbing. Recently, though, the fines were especially harsh. "You made a mistake one night," says Bobby Byrd, "the fine would move from five or ten dollars to fifty or a hundred dollars". Police suspected that the pressure had provoked one member of the band into killing James Brown, but were forced to drop charges due to lack of evidence.
In 1948, the very toughest reporters and writers were women who had taken over the jobs of men who'd gone to war.
And the first story Kurt Vonnegut covered he had to dictate over the telephone to one of those beastly girls. It was about a young veteran who had taken a job running an old-fashioned elevator in an office building. The elevator door on the first floor was ornamental iron lace. Iron ivy snaked in and out of the holes. There was an iron twig with two iron lovebirds perched upon it.The making of Slaughterhouse-Five, Part 2This veteran decided to take his car into the basement, and he closed the door and started down, but his wedding ring was caught in all the ornaments. So he was hoisted into the air and the floor of the car went down, dropped out from under him, and the top of the car squashed him.
So it goes. So I phoned this in, and the woman who was going to cut the stencil asked me. "What did his wife say?" "She doesn't know yet," I said. "It just happened". "Call her up and get a statement". "What?" "Tell her you're Captain Finn of the Police Department. Say you have some sad news. Give her the news, and see what she say"
So I did. She said about what you would expect her to say. There was a baby. And so on. When I got back to the office, the woman writer asked me, just for her own information, what the squashed guy had looked like when he was squashed. I told her.
"Did it bother you?" she said. She was eating a Three Musketeers Candy Bar. "Heck no, Nancy," I said. "I've seen lots worse than that in the war".
In 1940, UK War Leader Winston Churchill delivered his final radio broadcast before fleeing to the Falkland Islands with the remnants of the British Navy.
Parting WordsHis last words to the defeated British nation were a fragment of His last words to the defeated British nation were a fragment of Samuel Taylor Coleridge' poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
"The Sun's rim dips ; the stars rush out : At one stride comes the dark ;..
Fear at my heart, as at a cup, My life-blood seemed to sip !
One after one, by the star-dogged Moon,Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang, And cursed me with his eye".
In 2015, on this day the United States began taking possession of the former United Kingdom's nuclear arsenal under the terms of a secret agreement made two years earlier between the Cameron government and the administration of President Mike Huckabee.
The pact was intended to keep British nuclear weapons from falling into the wrong hands if the UK collapsed.
In 2009, on this day the Russian leader and Mr Putin declare to the world that due to current events it must update its current preemptive strike with or without nuclear weapons.
On this day in 1976, Carrie White was formally indicted on over 100 criminal counts related to her murder/arson spree.
On this day in 1940, Belgium's King Leopold III made a radio broadcast rejecting German demands for his nation's surrender and calling on his fellow Belgians to "fight until our last bullet has been fired and our last bomb dropped". Just hours after this speech, Allied tanks assaulted the German left flank near Tillburg.
|King Leopold III|
On this day in 1967, IDF ground troops in northern Israel repulsed an attack by Syrian forces from the Golan Heights; earlier that day, the Syrian government had announced it was declaring war on Israel in defense of Egypt against what was called 'blatant Zionist aggression' by Radio Damascus.
In 2004, the first Smartnet nodes began operation around the country. Concentrated in college towns and large industrial centers at first, the Smartnet wireless connections to the internet prove so popular that Congress expands the funding for them. President Al Gore basks in the glow of the popular program, and his approval ratings soar.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.