In 626, on this day Avars Storm Constantinople. Following the fall of Rome to the Visigoths, Constantinople took up the mantle of Roman Empire and again established rule through the Mediterranean under the emperor Justinian (527-565). Such a massive empire again proved unwieldy, and Justinian had to install massive bureaucracy to achieve the continuation of his empire.
Avars Storm ConstantinopleWhile maintaining order, the bureaucracy was also incredibly expensive, which ironically created unrest as the populace grew weary of heavy taxes despite the wealth of empire. Emperor Maurice (582-602) created cost-saving measures whenever possible, such as refusing in 598 to pay ransom to the Avar Khaganate for thousands of Byzantine prisoners-of-war. The result was the soldiers being slaughtered, but the coffers of the Empire remaining full. In 602 as another measure, he ordered the army to make winter quarters on the frontier north of the Danube rather than march home. This action caused the army to rebel and march on Constantinople, dragging Maurice out of sanctuary in a monastery to execute him. Their leader Phocas was installed the new emperor.
A new article by Jeff ProvineAlthough popular, Phocas proved unable to defend the empire. In the north, the Avars and their Slavic allies overwhelmed the Balkan territories. In the east, Governor Narses of Mesopotamia incited a rebellion against Phocas' rule. When Phocas sent an army to put him down, Narses sought aid from Khosrau II, emperor of the Sassanid Persians, who was pleased to attack the weakened Byzantines. The Persians defeated the Byzantine army sent against them and began conquering through Armenia and Asia Minor. In 610, Heraclius, the Exarch ("regional governor") of Africa, overthrew the now very unpopular Phocas and tried to make peace. The Persians denied him and continued conquering the Levant and Egypt. Heraclius assembled expeditionary forces to counterattack in northern Asia Minor and then left Constantinople in 624 to campaign in the Caucasus.
The Avars continued their sweep across the Balkans to the capital itself with some eighty thousand men and siege equipment with the goal of wiping out the Byzantines altogether. An army twelve thousand strong and featuring cavalry defended the city, but it was the bureaucracy who managed life there. A bureaucrat named John determined that food the coming siege was of crucial value and began work to maintain the bread supply. He moved to cancel the free bread ration for the imperial guard (who had ample money of their own to spend) and enacted that overall bread prices be increased from three to eight folles to ensure none was wasted. On May 14 and 15, people gathered at the Great Church and chanted in protest. The local governing body under Bonos discussed what to do and ultimately decided that austerity must be retained in the face of the oncoming barbarians. After days of protest, the government sent loyal soldiers to chase away the chanters. Rioting began, and soon the city was set aflame. Order was restored at times, but the populace proved unresponsive even to zealous religious appeals. In the end, most of the citizenry abandoned the city and fled by sea in convoys to avoid attack Persians. City bureaucrats attempted to stop the retreat with control of the sea walls, but defenses were sabotaged by the people hoping to escape.
When the Avars arrived on June 29, few soldiers were left loyal to Byzantium. A short battle followed, and, despite superior defensive technology with its walls, the Avars broke into Constantinople. Barbarians looted what remained of the city and burned the rest, ending what had been a key position of trade in the known world. Heraclius found himself without a capital, and his allies lost all confidence. He began an overall evacuation to Africa and established himself there, though the empire continued to crumble with Visigoths seizing lands to the west in Spain. The Persians and the Avars reached agreement on a border along the Hellespont, giving both access to trade there while making it a dangerous haven for pirates on the newly unprotected strait.
Although victorious over their Byzantine rival, the Sassanids soon found themselves overwhelmed by the Arab Empire that grew up following the spread of Islam in the 630s and 640s. It eclipsed Zoroastrianism and spread through Africa to Spain, India, and northward to become the principal religion of the Huns and Rus. Charlemagne maintained Christendom in central Europe, and the Scandinavian nations joined as well. Western Europe continued as a marginal corner of the world with trade centering on the vast holdings of the Caliphates. Eventually European explorers seeking a westward route around the Muslim monopoly discovered the New World, which brought a new age of empire upon the out-of-the-way continent.
In 1815, a week after his fruitless return to Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte left Malmaison for Rochefort where he evaded English coast guards to board a vessel that carried him to the United States.
Napoleon's Escape to North America, Reboot
by Ed, Eric Oppen and Jackie RoseTravelling to Bolton, Massachusetts, he resided at the home of the merchant Sampson Vryling Stoddard (S.V.S.) Wilder, a noted member of the small American community in Paris. He was an acquaintance of both Talleyrand and Lafayette, and in addition to the influence of their political thought, had been deeply impressed by the changes brought about in society and politics under Napoleonic Rule. Compelled to act after the tragic defeat at Waterloo, he provided the fallen Emperor with his valet's passport.
Wilder dreamt of a meeting of minds with President Madison, a potential co-belligerent who had declared war on England in 1812. But Napoleon had set his mind on a new vision shortly after after he visited Malmaison where Josephine had died only thirteen months before. And so over the next six months he collected all his relatives around him, forming the nucleus of a national union, a second France. They headed West to found a Bonapartist dynasty that would dominate Mexican politics for the next two millenia.
This blog is a reboot of an article with the same name in which Napoleon didn't make it.
In 1876, the problem of choosing a candidate to fill the boots of outgoing President Ulysses S. Grant appeared to be miraculously solved by the fortuitous arrival of George Armstrong Custer on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in St. Louis.
American Heroes 3:
Triumph of "The Morning Star"Positively beaming with the euphoria of his spectacular victory at the Little Big Horn, the "Morning Star" was very much a chip off the old block. A shameless self-promoter with a track record of show-boating, he was a genocidal, centennial poster boy for foolish men to rally around. Dripping with Indian blood, he too was an inhuman butcher devoid of respect for human life. Incredibly, his administration would make Grant's look good by comparison.
Only later during his impeachment trial would the grisly truth emerge amongst other evidence of malfeasance, corruption and deception.
One insight that the more cynical convention delegates had long suspected. Amongst a political generation that had fought the Civil War, those fomer servicemen had queried the logic of a three pronged attack which made no military sense. Because surely a concentration of forces was the best tactic for defeating a large hostile army ferociously defending its native homeland? At least until it was revealed that Custer and Major Marcus Reno had ordered their loyalist troopers to indiscriminately slaughter the helpless women and children in the village of White Deer, none of whom were committed Democrats voters anyway.
In 1935, on this day in Baton Rouge, the charismatic Louisiana senator Huey Pierce Long formally announced his entrance into the race for the White House even though he had no intention of running for the presidency the following year1.
The greatest President we never had
Huey Long was without a doubt the greatest politician who ever livedLong instead planned to challenge Roosevelt for the Democratic nomination in 1936, knowing he would lose the nomination but gain valuable publicity in the process. Then he would break from the Democrats and form a third party using the Share Our Wealth plan as a basis for its program.
He also planned to use Father Charles Coughlin, a Catholic priest and populist talk radio personality from Royal Oak, Michigan; Iowa agrarian radical Milo Reno; and other dissidents. The new party would run someone else as its 1936 candidate, but Long would be the primary campaigner. This candidate would split the progressive vote with Roosevelt, thereby resulting in the election of a Republican as president but proving the electoral appeal of Share Our Wealth. Long would then run for president as a Democrat in 1940. In the spring of 1935, Long undertook a national speaking tour and regular radio appearances, attracting large crowds and increasing his stature.
Long was well on his way to being president in 1940. If Long would have been elected president, there would be no WWII, no profits from the banking interests in Europe and America in financing this war, nor any war profits from American corporations like IG Farben. All of the best laid plans Roosevelt had would have gone to hell in a handbasket.
In 1916, on this day the liberal journalist Henry W. Nevinson shouted out "God save Ireland!" from the back of the Old Bailey when the Irish patriot, poet, revolutionary, and nationalist Roger Casement was acquitted of treason.
God Save Ireland!Nevertheless, he was stripped of his British Honours; in 1911, Casement had been knighted by George V as Knight Bachelor for his efforts on behalf of the Amazonian Indians, having been reluctantly appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1905 for his Congo work.
Unsuprisingly, no honours would be forthcoming for his work on behalf of the Irish. Because his involvement in the "Irish Plan" was unquestioned; during his time in Germany (pictured) he recruited an "Irish Brigade" consisting of Irish prisoners-of-war in the prison camp of Limburg an der Lahn, who would be trained to fight against Britain.
"I maintain that I have a natural right to be tried in that natural jurisdiction, Ireland my own country"Unfortunately for the prosecution team, it seemed that the medieval Treason Act applied only to activities carried out on English soil. And they failed to convince the court that the inclusion of a comma in the text widened the scope to include "in the realm or elsewhere" meaning where acts were done and not just where the "King's enemies" may be. And so the court decided that Casement was not to be "hanged by a comma".
Among the many people who pleaded for his clemency were Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who became acquainted with Casement through the work of the Congo Reform Association, W. B. Yeats and George Bernard Shaw. Edmund Dene Morel could not visit him in jail, being under attack for his pacifist position. Although the outcome of the case upheld the honour of the judicial system, the consequences for the British War Effort would be huge. Encouraged by Casement his supporters would take their arguments to the United States where they would cause immense difficulties for the American politicians seeking to enter the war on the Allied side.
In 1767, on this day the so-called "Townshend Acts" were voted down in the British Parliament.
Originated by Charles Townshend and designed to collect revenue from Britain's American colonists by imposing customs duties on imported glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea, the acts were rejected as likely to cause even more resistance than had the recently-repealed Stamp Act.
Townshend Acts by Eric LippsFrustrated partisans of the Acts demanded to know, as one of them put it in a letter to a friend shortly after the vote, "How, if it be barred that we collect monies from the Colonies in duties for Trade, or by direct Taxation, we can be expected to provide for the Defence, of those selfsame Colonies? Yet if we do not, their Agitators will cry that we have Abandoned them, to the French and to the Savages which do infest that Continent.
One might almost think they consider themselves, an independent Country, yet demand Tribute from England in the form of Protection from Attack".
In 2004, on this day British Prime Minister Robin Cook confirmed to the House of Commons that Iraq had sought "significant quantities of uranium from Africa" warning that "his [Saddam Hussein's]" military planning allows for some of the Weapons of Mass Destruction to be ready within forty-five minutes of an order to use them".
Britain's biggest selling popular daily newspaper, The Sun, carried the headline "Brits 45 Mins from Doom", while the Star reported "Mad Saddam Ready to Attack: 45 Minutes from a Chemical War".
Forty-five Minutes from DoomTo the fury of many figures in the British establishment, Cook urged a cautious, measured approach to the crisis. The Foreign Secretary Bryan Gould was working closely with Britain's key allies around the world, confirmed the Prime Minister. A powerful coalition was being built which would seek a resolution from the UN Security Council, sanctioning multi-lateral military action in order to disarm Iraq.
Cook urged the House to consider the key lessons from his adept handling of the Kosovo Crisis. "There was no doubt about the multilateral support that we had for the action that we took [in Kosovo]. It was supported by NATO; it was supported by the European Union; it was supported by every single one of the seven neighbours in the region. France and Germany were our active allies. It is precisely because we need that same level of support in this case that it is all the more important to get agreement in the Security Council as the best hope of demonstrating international agreement".
Yet forces outside the mother of parliaments were driving events now. And a far more belligerent approach to Iraq was adopted by his successor, after Cook's mysterious death in the Highlands of Scotland on August 6th, 2005.
Because at around 2.20pm, whilst walking down Ben Stack in Sutherland, Scotland, Cook suddenly suffered a severe heart attack, collapsed and lost consciousness. A helicopter arrived 40 minutes after a 999 call was taken, containing paramedics. Cook then was flown to Raigmore Hospital, Inverness. Despite strenuous efforts made by the medical team to revive Cook in the helicopter, he was already beyond recovery, and at 4:05pm, minutes after arrival at the hospital, Robin Cook was pronounced dead. "I may not have succeeded in halting the war, but I did secure the right of parliament to decide on war".Two days later, a post mortem revealed that Cook died of hypertensive heart disease. Rumours of foul play continued throughout the Second Gulf War.
In January 2007, a headstone was erected in Grange Cemetery in Edinburgh, where Cook is buried, bearing the epitaph: "I may not have succeeded in halting the war, but I did secure the right of parliament to decide on war". Cynics would claim another victory for the national interest, that unstoppable force that had driven British Foreign Policy since the Middle Ages.
In 1776, South Carolinian Edward Rutledge writes what will become the most influential letter of the brief war for American independence to John Jay of New York.
The Rutledge LetterRutledge urged Jay to find a way to turn his Continental Congress colleagues from independence, hoping that there was still a way to "effectively oppose" the headlong rush toward nationhood that the colonials were in.
When Jay took control of the Continental Congress and began negotiating for a rapprochement with the Crown, he sent Rutledge to Great Britain to argue on behalf of increased autonomy for the colonies if they would yield to continued British rule. Rutledge found many in Britain's Parliament eager to accede to American demands in order to free up forces for the disastrous war in Canada, and his own affinity for the British won him enough allies to push his measures through and end the war between the American colonies and Great Britain.
This post is an article from the Canadian Revolution thread.
In 1984, Muammar Khadafy was indicted in the Hague before a UN war crimes tribunal; it marked the first time in thirty-eight years a senior official from a dictatorship had been so charged.
It wouldn't be the last, however, as Khadafy would be joined in the dock before the end of the year by fellow Middle East tyrant Saddam Hussein.
In 2003, the Australian military sent couriers to the US, Russian, British and Chinese militaries with samples of nanobots and the process for making more. Multiple couriers went to each target nation, in case of capture.
In 1941, Kwame Toure, future leader of the American underground organization, the Semitic-African Resistance, is born. One of the galvanizing moments of his life happens in his first few hours: the neo-Nazi supported German People's Underground fires several nuclear missiles at Greater Zionist-controlled cities across Europe.
In 4561, casualties on either side of the siege of Hanoi stand at 200,000 fatalities as the final week of battle begins. The Chinese forces move slowly into the city, fighting every inch of the way against truly horrifying opposition from the citizens and military inside the city. In his memoirs of the Battle of Hanoi, Imperial General Zuo Zongtang said that he would prefer being dropped into the deepest of the hells to fighting the Viet again.
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac meets with a small team of his Round Table Corps in London. 'Much like myself,' he tells them, 'the king has become bewitched by Queen Gwen's charms. He freed me; I aim to do the same for him.' The three knights he has brought together to aid him murmur about treason - Sir Lance cuts through this sharply. 'It is not treason to rescue our beloved King Arthur from the clutches of the woman who sent him into a coma. Indeed, it is the highest form of patriotism. The king needs our help. Which of you will stand ready for him?' Slowly, all three of the other knights raise their hands. Satisfied, Sir Lance tells them, 'We shall move tomorrow night.'
In 1644, Charles I of England defeated a Parliamentarian detachment at the Battle of Cropredy Bridge. The rebellion was starting to quell, and the House of Stuart was about to enjoy the golden era of their quad centennial rule that ended with the velvet revolution of 1989.
In 2001, a memorial in honour of Charles Windsor, Prince of Wales, is to be built in London's Hyde Park, the government announced. The GBP 3m fountain will be built on the site of a derelict pump house and chlorination plant on the banks of the Serpentine - the 40-acre artificial lake in the royal park. The prince, who would have been 53 this year, was killed in a high-speed car crash in Paris with his lover Camilla Parker-Bowles almost four years ago. Teams of architects will now be invited to tender designs for the memorial, which will be paid for by public funds.
In 1974, on this day Eva Peron was sworn in as interim leader of the Argentine Republic. Her husband President Juan Peron delegated responsibility after doctors said he required 24-hour medical attention and rest. Mrs Peron was now Argentina's first female president and at 55 the youngest Latin American head of state. Her 78-year-old husband has not been seen in public for two weeks and is reported to be seriously ill with bronchitis and influenza. In a state broadcast, Mrs Peron said her husband was 'conscious that his state of health prevents him from directly attending to government affairs until his recovery'. Peron would become Argentina's greatest President. As the 'Iron Lady', she defeated the British in the 1982 Malvinas Conflict and recovered the sovereignty (and prestige) of the lost islands.
In 1970, NBC aired The Judy & Liza Show, which paired the mother-daughter team of Judy Garland and Liza Minelli. The emotional show, featuring music and skits between them, won several Emmys, including Ms. Garland's first after 3 other nominations. Accepting the award, she thanked God, Reverend Martin King, and her daughter, 'who's been on this road with me for so long. I love you, honey.' It was all the more poignant because they had each been nominated in the same category, and rumor had it that Ms. Minelli wanted the award just as much for herself as for her mother. Still, when her mother won, they embraced and the two seemed to bear no ill will towards each other afterwards.
In 1964, producer Bob Wesley's show Star Trek airs its pilot, The Cage. Although the pilot is disappointing, the show's concept excites the test audience, and Wesley reworks the cast and script. With a new cast starring Canadian William Shatner, the series was a phenomenal hit, running through 1973 and inspiring a wave of science fiction on television.
In 1956, blonde bombshell Norma Jeane Mortenson married famed humorist Arthur Miller. When asked why she had chosen a man who was not exactly known for his physique, Mrs. Miller answered, 'He makes me laugh.' Indeed, the sex goddess seemed much happier after the marriage, and the two laughed away their years together until Mrs. Miller's death in 2001.
In 1613, London's Globe Theatre burns down. Suspicion immediately falls on William Shakespeare, who had been presenting himself as the author of several plays penned by Francis Bacon until Bacon revealed himself as the author. Shakespeare's life had taken a sharp downturn since that time, and the entire theatrical community knew that he harbored a dep grudge against Bacon for stealing that prestige from him.
In 1974, 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 2007, conspiracy theories that dispute the official version of US President John F. Kennedy's assassination have been given a major boost by tests in Italy. Army-supervised tests on a rifle identical to the Italian-made weapon Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly used to murder the president suggest he could not have been working alone.
According to the official Warren Commission report on the assassination, Oswald loaded and fired three shots at Kennedy in seven seconds in Dallas on November 22, 1963. He used a Carcano M91/38 bolt-action rifle. The first shot missed the president, the second went through his back and neck and the third hit Kennedy in the head, killing him. But the Italian tests showed that it would take a minimum of 19 seconds to load and fire three shots using a Carcano M91/38. So there must have been at least one more sniper for so many shots to have been fired in such a short space of time, the experts believe.
The tests were carried out at the former Carcano factory in the town of Terni, around 100km north of Rome, where the alleged murder weapon was produced in 1940. The research also raised questions about whether the Commission's conclusion that the third bullet disintegrated when it hit Kennedy's head is compatible with the supposition that Oswald was about 80 meters away in a book depository when he fired the shot.Tests on the Carcano M91/38 suggested the bullet would have remained intact and come out of Kennedy's forehead, if fired from that distance. The tests also focused on the so-called 'magic bullet' of the second shot. The Warren Report concluded the bullet passed through Kennedy's body and hit then-Texas Governor John Connally in the back, chest and wrist, remaining almost perfectly intact at the end. Bullets fired through two blocks of meat in the Italian tests were so deformed that experts concluded it would have been impossible for the bullet to remain intact.
Over the years sceptics have picked at suspected inconsistencies in the official version of the Warren Commission - named after Chief Justice Earl Warren - to support a wide range of conspiracy theories.
In 614, Allah is merciful as Christian rebel Ferdinand of Castille is driven from Cordoba by the faithful Moors. The infidels are pushed north, where they last for another century before the faithful can destroy them.
In 3828 by the Hebrew Calendar, Saul of Tarsus died in Rome of the thorn in his flesh (Old Testament - thorns means enemies). And the murderer was none other than the amanuensis Paul had often employed for authoring his Epistles, only occasionally writing himself.
In 1778, on this day Major General Charles Lee was forced to withdrew his advanced guard from the Monmouth Court House in the face of overwhelming British opposition.
A reversal of the earliest post All Hail King Washington.
Long Live King LeeThe decision left Major General George Washington incandescent with rage, and he immediately called for the court martial of his second in command (Washington had wanted to test the abilities of Lee's troops, since they were among the first to be trained in European tactics by Baron von Steuben). Fortunately, knowing Lee's famous weakness for insubordination, his loyal officers managed to avoid an angry confrontation between the two men (married to Mohawk woman he was called "Chief Boiling Waters" by that tribe due to his foul temperament).
At the court martial in Englishtown, the blame for the failures of the day were placed squarely on General Washington's shoulders, ensuring that the vindicated Lee would succeed him as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. Fate intervened, when a disheartened Washington was captured shortly thereafter (there were even rumours that he may have "turned coat". If so, this was ironic given that Lee was born in England unlike Washington who was a native Virginian).
Even if Lee and Washington could be considered equals in terms of military prowess, their mentalities were fundamentally different. Because Lee had absolutely no problem in accepting the crown when it was eventually offered to him at Philadelphia. After all, he was an Englishman.
It is June 28, 1922, and the Irish Civil War is about to begin.
Brendan Biden and Paddy RyanBrendan Biden and Paddy Ryan have both helped to fight the British Army to a standstill, but now a treaty has been signed that is tearing the rebels apart.
Biden, who is also called the Laughing Boy, is standing with Eamon de Valera and the Irish Republican Army, in demanding an independent Republic. Ryan, on the other hand, has taken the side of compromise, with Michael Collins and the Irish Free State, which will still be part of the empire. The two sides collide when Ryan leads the attack on the Four Courts building, which Biden is holding along with his fellow IRA men. Led by two such dedicated patriots, the battle is the beginning of the Irish Civil War.
In 1098, on this day the eight month Crusader's Siege of Antioch was finally relieved by a Muslim army from Mosul under the command of Kerbogha.
Allah Wills IT!Although a huge force of over one hundred thousand men had departed from Catholic Europe, the Crusader Army had been greatly weakened by attacks from two Muslim armies. And Antioch was so large that the crusaders did not have enough troops to fully surround it, and as a result it was able to stay partially supplied.
The crusaders knew they would have to take the city before Kerbogha arrived if they had any chance of survival. Bohemund secretly established contact with Firouz, an Armenian guard who controlled the Tower of the Two Sisters but had a grudge with Yaghi-Siyan, and bribed him to open the gates. He then approached the other crusaders and offered to let them in, through Firouz, if they would agree to let him have the city. Raymond was furious and argued that the city should be handed over to Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, as they had agreed when they left Constantinople in 1097. They were still arguing when Kerbogha arrived.
Although the defeat at Antioch was a military setback for the Crusaders, their retreating troops were reinforced by a Byzantine Army. And their subsequent success upheld the overarching principle of the First Crusade, to save the Byzantine Empire which could have been easily undermined by the establishment of Frankish States as secretly desired by Godfrey, Tancred, Robert, and the other leaders.
In 1519, on this day Henry VIII was elected Holy Roman Emperor. After 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.
Henry VIII Elected Holy Roman EmperorFrancis 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. Ideally, a German would be emperor, which was suggested to Fredrick of Saxony, but he refused. Another possibility for the election was Henry VIII of England, but he did not have nearly the money or influence to compete with the Bourbons of France and all the holdings of the Habsburgs. The decision seemed to settle toward Charles until Cardinal Thomas Woolsey, the Lord Chancellor who had conducted matters of state for the young Henry, presented in secret a new plan: Francis use his influence to support Henry's election. Francis, though disappointed that he would not win the title, was at least satisfied that Charles would be deprived of it. The electors were amiable toward an English king (since at least they could relate the language to German) and were more comfortable with a less overwhelming force. The election of Henry was announced to the shock of Europe and instant dismay of Habsburg-supporters.
A new article by Jeff ProvineIn 1520, Francis and Henry met in a garish display at the Camp du Drap d'Or ("Field of the Cloth of Gold") in northern France as Henry began a tour of his new lands. Wolsey orchestrated this meeting as well, but it proved ineffectual as, despite Francis' generosity, Henry declined forging an alliance. Wolsey, who was quietly campaigning for himself as pope, also organized a meeting with Charles while in Germany, but this meeting also came to no avail. Instead, Europe was in a tense peace as Henry threatened to attack whoever began a war.
Meanwhile, Henry focused on the problems of the Reformation beginning in his new empire. Reacting to the sale of indulgences as part of the funding for construction on St. Peter's Basilica, Augustinian friar Martin Luther had posted Ninety-Five Theses critiquing the Catholic Church. During the latter part of Henry's tour in 1521, he heard Luther's case at Worms. In the end, and to the frustration of Pope Leo X, Henry determined to appease his subjects and declared the matter religious debate and did not seek any punishment for him. The support for Luther won over the respect of disgruntled knights in the Rhineland who were nervous of new money but reaffirmed by Henry out of his fanaticism for jousting. The knights' loyalty proved key to Henry's defeat of the German Peasants' Uprising a few years later.
Despite his great realms, Henry struggled to produce an heir. His wife, Catherine of Aragon, six years his senior, had not had a pregnancy since the birth of their daughter Mary. Henry had become fascinated with one of Catherine's maidens, Anne Boleyn. Anne refused to become a mistress and replied that she could only meet Henry's advances if she were queen. Henry asked Pope Clement VII for an annulment of his marriage as Catherine had earlier been married to his brother Arthur, but the pope declined. After the debate dragged for years, Henry decided to break with Rome as the Swedes has had done, name himself Supreme Head of the Church of England in 1533, and bring about his marriage to Anne.
This led to the question of what to do with his holdings in the Holy Roman Empire. Catholic regions saw Henry as an adulterer, but the Protestants saw a chance for freedom from Rome. When Henry dissolved the monasteries of England and seized their valuables, Charles took a stand as defender of Catholicism and invaded the Holy Roman Empire to seize the title he long believed to have been stolen. Henry counterattacked with Swedish assistance, and the war spilled across the Alps as Italian states saw a chance to rebel. Germany served as the principal battleground with towns razed and re-razed as Protestant and Catholic armies carried on campaigns. France attempted to remain neutral as internal strife with the Huguenots grew up, and eventually Francis I determined a policy of religious freedom to maintain his allies. The war threatened to expand further with an unprecedented alliance with Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire who had previously besieged Vienna and threatened Hungary, and Charles knew when to capitulate and agreed to a treaty.
Upon the death of Henry in 1547, the electors met again and, thanks to Henry's urgings, named his son Edward VI of England as the new, ten-year-old emperor. Edward proved a great mover in Protestantism, but he was sickly, dying in 1553. His half-sister Mary ascended the throne of England; the electors, however, could not have a female emperor and instead chose Henry II of France, whose consort Catherine de Medici had great influence and policies of religious tolerance were a healthy compromise between electors optioning Protestant King Christian of Denmark or staunchly Catholic Habsburg Ferdinand I. Bourbons continued to be Holy Roman Emperors until 1685 when Louis XIV worked to affirm his autocracy by promoting Catholicism as the single state religion. Many Protestants fled to Germany, but when Louis began to enact strict religious rule in the Empire as well, the electors refused and stripped him of his title. The Franco-German War brought about a liberated Germany at the expense of France. The electors named Frederick, King in Prussia, as emperor; Augustus II of Saxony, King of Poland, also stood had allegiances outside of Germany, and the time had come for German self-rule. United Germany became a powerful central figure in Europe, leading modernization and industrialization through the next two centuries.
In 1519, on this day Frederick the Wise was elected Holy Roman Emperor. After 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.
Frederick the Wise Elected Holy Roman EmperorFrancis 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.
A new article by Jeff ProvineThe 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 1937, on this day at the Ansaldo Shipyard in Genoa Il Duce ordered an expansion of the Regia Marina (Royal Italian Navy) to include the building of the Aquila ("Eagle") and Sparviero ("Sparrowhark") double aircraft carrier force mirroring (and perhaps rivaling) the "Plan Z" construction undertaken by the Kriegsmarine.
Flugzeugträger Part 9:
Operation HatsBenito Mussolini saw the control of the Mediterranean Sea as an essential prerequisite for expanding his "New Roman Empire" into Nice, Corsica, Tunis, and the Balkans. He described the Mediterranean as "Mare Nostrum" (Our Sea) and ensured that Italian naval building accelerated during his tenure.
With the German double aircraft carrier force committed to the Atlantic, it would fall upon the Regia Marina to lead the Battle of the Mediterranean. And eventually the operation of Malta Convoys ("Operation Hats") would pave the wave for the the Italo-German invasion of the island of Malta. And yet the development of a formidable Italian Navy was a luxury resulting from the early Italian disengagement in the Spanish Civil War, a messy conflict that could have easily sapped resources at a time when military build-up needed to accelerate. Instead, the Fall of Madrid (and subsequent implosion of the Republic) was entirely due to the fortuitous deployment of a German Volunteer Division that had tipped the scales in favour of the Fascists.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.
It is June 28 1914, and the Austrian Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie are touring his imperial uncle's possessions in Bosnia. Suddenly a bomb is thrown into their carriage, forcing them to flee.
Close call in SarajevoFranz Ferdinand insists on going to the hospital, to visit the ambush victims .. but Sophie pleads with him to take refuge in the Sarajevo city hall, until the soldiers can arrive to guard them on their way back to the border. Giving in to her urging, he waits until the soldiers are surrounding them, thus forming a human shield all the way back to the border.
He is soon very glad that he listened to her, when reports come that four radical Bosnian and Serbian youths were planning to shoot them both, thus inciting a war between their own countries and the Austrian empire. With their plot foiled, both nations join in giving thanks that the couple's life was spared, thus bringing Bosnia closer to her imperial rulers.
In 1914, on this day the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sofia were assassinated at Sarajevo, the provincial capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, by Gavrilo Princip, a member of Young Bosnia and one of a group of assassins organized by the Black Hand.
The Last Chance for Peace #1 By Steven FisherThe Sarajevo crisis was suposed to ignite the world into a 4 year war that would devastate much of Europe. But what if it didn't? What if, in the dwindling lgiht, when it looked like war was certain, the determination of one man prevented a continent wide conflict.
Bethmann-Hollweg, the German Foreign Minister and an avid Anglophile, realized that Count Berchtold had double crossed him and was courting disaster. Knowing what he had to do, he recalled Wilhelm from his cruise early, to stop the crisis. After many arguments, he convinced Wilhelm to withdraw the "Blank Cheque", and declare neutrality in this conflict. Wilhelm agreed, and a proclamation was issued later that day that Germany would not be mobilizing in the defense of Austria.
With Germany staying out, France takes a limited position in the war, and WW1 stays as an isolated war between Austria and Russia, ensuring that the German Reich survives. Austria Hungary falls in a three-year war with Russia, fragmenting the Balkans, who slowly polarize around Germany and Russia. The Balkans light the fires of WW1, a war with more advanced tech, and a forknowledge of the impenetrable defense. The world feels the flames of war once again, but this time there is no knowing when they will die out. The whole thread is available at the Alt History Wikia.
In 1776, on this day a five-man drafting committee placed the Declaration of Independence before the Second Continental Congress after striking out the inappropriate fifty-five word preamble penned by the young idealistic author, Thomas Jefferson.
MangledChairman John Adams had originally asked the far more experienced Benjamin Franklin to pen the declaration but he had refused citing a long-standing aversion to having his own words edited by others. It was a lesson not lost on the dismayed Jefferson who truly believed that his rhetorical prose had been "mangled" by the drafting committee.
From a broader perspective, Adams, Franklin, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman were absolutely right because the Declaration was not a standalone document to be embellished by Jefferson. Rather it was the last in a series of stage documents preceded by Richard Henry Lee's resolution of June 7th that "these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states".
In his own treatise, "Thoughts on Government" Adams had made it clear that he sought evolution. Not much more in fact than the transfer of sovereignty to a Republican Government. Because despite its grandiose democratic-sounding title, the Second Contintental Congress was not yet an elected body. And Jefferson's words took the struggle for independence to a new level, a revolution that seem to invite, welcome even, an untested future of mob rule: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".
Franklin, a man that heartily agreed with the sentiments of the preamble, offered a prophetic warning to Adams. Rushed into action by King George's Prohibitory Act, Adams plan offered a reasoned approach to the assumption of power. But ran the risk of causing a reaction. Making revolutionaries of idealists such as Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, soon to be the most dangerous men in America.
In 1984, on this day Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha died suddenly of heart failure at the age of 75.
Death of Enver HoxhaHis passing triggered the most severe political crisis in Albania's modern history, since succession procedures were unclear and almost no one in the Marxist regime's upper echelons was strong enough to take power single-handedly; furthermore, the Albanian people were becoming increasingly fed up with the repression they'd been subjected to under the hard-line Stalinist government that had ruled the country since 1946. Within just hours of Hoxha's funeral on July 2nd, the streets of Albania's capital Tirana were filled with demonstrators demanding the end of one-party rule and greater political and economic freedom for Albania's citizens.A new installment in Necessary Evil
In spite of the Marxist regime's sternest efforts to crush the incipient uprising, the demonstrators refused to back down from their calls for change; indeed some of the more militant dissidents were inspired by the example of Russia's Patriotic Liberation Movement to begin secretly stockpiliing weapons in hopes of being able to launch their own armed insurrection. Even when the Albanian regular army, still largely pro-Communist, unleashed a massive crackdown on the dissident movement it only succeeded in driving the anti-Communists underground. Albania would spend the next seven years locked in a state of quasi-civil war and nearly fell into total anarchy between the anti-Communist faction finally prevailed in the summer of 1991.
Following the overthrow of the Marxist dictatorship the new Albanian government moved quickly to restore the diplomatic ties with the West the Hoxha regime had severed; one of the first Western nations to re-establish relations with Albania was the United States, which saw the post-Communist government in Tirana as a potential ally in Washington's efforts to combat global terrorism.
In 2010, US Senator Robert Byrd, the longest-serving member of Congress in history, has died aged 92, his spokesman has said.
Longest-serving US lawmaker Robert Byrd dies, aged 92The West Virginia lawmaker died peacefully at a hospital in Fairfax, Virginia, the spokesman says. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Senator Byrd was elected to the House of Representatives in 1952, becoming a senator seven years later. As a young man, Mr. Byrd was for a brief period a member of the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan and also joined Southern Democrats in an unsuccessful filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He later apologized for both actions, saying that intolerance had no place in America. In his later years as a senator, Robert Byrd became a champion of civil rights. He was also an outspoken opponent of the Iraq war and warned against a build-up of US troops in Afghanistan, winning a record ninth term in the Senate in 2006.
His death is not expected to change the Democrats' current majority in the Senate. West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, a Democrat, is expected to appoint a Democrat to serve the remainder of Mr. Byrd's current six-year term, which expires in 2012, Reuters reports.
Sen. Byrd's most controversial action in the Senate was his decision to support the conviction of President Bill Clinton at his impeachment trial and to use his influence to persuade other Democrats to do likewise. Byrd's efforts led to the defection of a coalition of Democratic conservatives and self-described "independents," among them Ben Nelson of Colorado and Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut from the embattled President's side, making possible Mr. Clinton's conviction, by a margin of one vote, on Feb. 16, 1999. Mr. Clinton thus became the first U.S. president ever removed from office via impeachment. (In 1868, Andrew Johnson-the only other president ever impeached and like Clinton a Democrat facing a Republican Congress-was acquitted by one vote. Richard Nixon, facing impeachment, resigned instead.)
Bitterness over the impeachment would affect the 2000 election. Senator Lieberman would be repudiated in his state's Democratic primary and would win another Senate term only by running as an independent with substantial aid from the Republican Party, which actually provided more funds to his campaign than to that of its own nominee for his seat. President Gore would spend much of the campaign fending off Republican efforts to impeach him as well. GOP opposition to Gore was sufficiently powerful to prevent the confirmation of anyone to replace Gore as VP, meaning that if he, too, had been removed from office, the Republican speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, would have succeeded to the presidency, the first time in U.S. history the office had changed partisan hands without an intervening election. (The closest parallel would have been that of Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, had run with President Abraham Lincoln on a Union ticket in 1864.) Lieberman, running as a Republican in 2006, having joined the GOP after an unsuccessful attempt to mend fences with the Democrats and run for that party's 2004 presidential nomination, would lose to Democratic challenger Ned Lamont in a race whose most memorable commercial would be nicknamed "Hop, Frog," featuring Sen. Lieberman as a frog leaping among lily pads labeled "D", ""I" and "R".
Byrd, by contrast, would survive relatively unscathed, calmly enduring his being tagged by both parties as "George W. Bush's favorite Democrat" after Bush's narrow victory over President Gore and running-mate Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont. In the evenly divided Senate which emerged from that election, he would wield extraordinary power due to his combination of seniority and personal influence. As recently as 2009 he was a senior Democrat on the powerful Appropriations Committee.
In 1944, at dawn on this day officers of the KGB Station in Vienna entered the bohemian apartment of Adolf Schicklegruber and his wife Geli Raubal, seizing a number of paintings in which the Jewish artist had expressed his insanity on canvass.
Happy Artist Hitler ArrestedThe Soviet authorities had becoming increasingly alarmed by the emergence of a modern art movement known as "post-Dadaism", a style originally founded in Zurich in 1916 at the Cabaret Voltaire. The term Dada, nonsense or baby-talk term, symbolizes the loss of meaning in European culture, starting out as an indictment against the values that were responsible for the horrors of the Great War.
Heavily influenced by the recent conflict in Europe, the conventional art scene had begun to give way to a group of bohemians whose artistic endeavors tended towards anti-war and anti-conformities. In fact the subversive artworks ignored religion, government and all arranged forms of conformity, breaking all of the known rules of painting.
And so Schicklegruber and his colleagues were shipped to Nuremberg for a mock trial followed by execution. At least that was the plan, but it didn't quite turn out that way...
In 1919, a comprehensive peace settlement was signed on this day in the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles; the signatories were the proletariat representatives of the provisional socialist governments which had emerged from the Great War.
Crying WolfNaturally, the United States acted as the guarantor, being the only great power to have emerged unscathed from the conflict. Consequently, President Woodrow Wilson's proposals for self-determination and a League of Nations would be central to the new framework for collective security.
America's declaration of neutrality at the outset of the war had in fact proven unenforceable because both sides had attempted to starve each other out with naval blockades. There could be no freedom of the high seas for neutrals whilst the battle raged in the Atlantic between the Royal Navy and the Kaiserliche Marine. And so during May 1915 America actually came close to joining the war as a belligerent when a passenger ocean liner owned by the Cunard Line had entered the war zone. However Captain von Luckner of the steamship SMS Seeadler chose not to sink the RMS Lusitania, but instead to capture it. And the German Government was therefore able to issue an unambigously worded official statement that the Lusitania had been armed with guns, and had "large quantities of war material" in her cargo.
Subsequently, the US Government made any form of involvement conditional upon the belligerent's acceptance of the Fourteen Points proposed by President Wilson. And during 1916, a settlement became a distinct possibility because by then both sides were exhausted and only wanted to save themselves. Emperor Karl Habsburg of Austria-Hungary issued a letter seeking peace on the basis of a "status quo ante bellum" agreement, but the initiative came to nought.
By 1918, Spanish Flu had decimated the continent of Europe, the monarchies were overthrown and provisional governments sought to re-establish central authority in their anarchic nations. Far-flung Empires were disgarded by the impoverished new nations that could scarely control their own borders.
And yet Versailles would prove a false dawn. As many members of Congress had warned, American's commitment to collective security dragged the US into a never ending series of brush wars in the nineteen twenties and thirties. And by the time Hitler set Europe on the road to war, America had already withdrawn from the League of Nations.
In 1919, delegates of the newly founded independent states which had emerged from the dissolution of the former British Empire issued the Versailles Declaration on this day. These free nations committed themselves to an exhilirating multi-racial future based upon the principle that "We believe in equal rights for all citizens regardless of race. We recognise racial prejudice as a dangerous sickness and racial discrimination as an unmitigated evil of society" Two years before, military exigencies had forced British Prime Minister David Lloyd-George to bring the White Dominions into an imperial government, after Canadians demanded that "if you want our aid, call us to your councils".
A Communist Britain, Part Two - The Peace AccordThe invitation had been issued to India too; whilst not a self-governing Dominion, the subcontinent committed over a million men to the Imperial British Army, suffering over 80,000 deaths.
"We believe in equal rights for all citizens regardless of raceYet the war had ended in catastrophe for the British Homeland, with chronic food shortages and an intolerable casualty counts fuelling a Communist overthrow of Lloyd-George's Government in London.
And so the peace delegation at Versailles would be composed of free men, sitting at the top table as equals with their British comrades. And yet none would have foreseen that their declaration of principles would meet the severest of tests - the re-emergence of Germay with a programme of ethnic cleansing that would shake the Versailles Declaration to its very core.
In 1914, Serbian nationalist Nedjelko Cabrinovic blows up the Austrian nobleman Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, along with their driver.
Flower of Freedom
by Robbie TaylorA dozen people on the Sarajevo street where the Archduke was driving were injured. The Serbian terrorist had tossed his bomb into the Austrian car, and Ferdinand almost tossed it back out, but it went off before the nobleman could save himself and his wife.
The horror of the bomb scene, with the mutilated bodies of the Austrians and injured Sarajevans, enraged the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Emperor Franz Joseph wanted to move troops into Serbia immediately to hunt for the nationalists who killed his nephew. Russia was asked not to interfere, because they had a security pact with Serbia, and the Austrian negotiator took photographs of the Archduke's body to convince them. After seeing the consequences of this horrible attack, the Russians reluctantly worked with the Austrians to convince the Serbs to give up the nationalist elements in their society. The betrayed Serbians declared war on both Austria-Hungary and Russia, but the tiny nation was unable to keep these European giants from dispatching their own military in short order.
Once Austria-Hungary had the nationalists who had assassinated the Archduke in custody, they withdrew from Serbia, but their attack proved more far-reaching; Serbians sympathetic to the nationalists began a campaign of terror attacks against Austro-Hungarian and Russian targets across Europe. Although Russia eventually toppled the Serbian government and replaced it with one more to their liking, the terror attacks continued until the Austro-Hungarians and Russians committed genocide against the Serbs in 1928, virtually annihilating the Serbian people.
The two empires were condemned by the western democracies for this war crime, and lack of trade with civilized nations after this horrific transgression took them into a gradual decline; Russia's Tsar abdicated in 1934, and a parliamentary government headed by Alexander Kerensky took control and reestablished diplomatic and trade relations with the rest of the world. After Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary died in 1936, the empire split into 6 minor countries, each of which repudiated their imperial past and rejoined the international community. This blossoming of democracy in the 1930's even spread to the powers that hadn't been involved in the Serbian atrocity - Germany, Spain and Italy all liberalized their governments into parliamentary democracies. "The flower of freedom has bloomed from the grave of Serbia" Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany said as he turned over most of his power to the new German Chancellor, Friedrich Ebert.
In 1969, what had been planned as a simple raid on a New York night-club that was violating its liquor license turned into a neighborhood-wide riot as police were attacked by locals angered at the treatment of the night-club's homosexual patrons.
Stonewall Inn Riot
by Robbie TaylorThe raiding policemen were shut up in the Stonewall Inn by the riot, and they desperately radioed for assistance. When riot police arrived, a few hotheads in the crowd began setting fire to buildings, including the Stonewall Inn, itself. With fires raging all around them, the riot police were unable to contain the situation, and withdrew. Fire trucks were allowed in to put out the blazes, but police were repelled when they attempted to follow the fire fighters into the community to restore order. This chaos continued for almost three days while the nation watched, and homosexuals across America became galvanized into action. When the New York cops finally put the riot down, 43 people were dead, over 300 were injured, and the nation saw for the first time that "Gays", as they now referred to themselves, would no longer take the abuse they had been dealt in the past.
The Stonewall Organization, dedicated to civil rights for homosexuals, was founded on the ashes of the night-club, and won their first major victory that year, as New York City voted to recognize the civil rights of homosexuals and decriminalize homosexuality. A storm of outrage from conservatives and fundamentalist Christians across America greeted this progressive move, but the Stonewall Organization was just getting started.
In spite of many cultural battles over the '70's and '80's, homosexual rights won acceptance from the mainstream culture, and the Stonewall Act of 1987, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, a one-time opponent, granted homosexuals full citizenship for the first time in American history.
In 1914, the near-assassination of Austria's Archduke Franz Ferdinand, later Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, by a militant Serbian nationalist was a crucial turning point in European history.
Serbian nationalism had been a sore point within the Empire ever since the Kingdom of Serbia was formally recognized as an independent state in 1878. In the years leading up to the attempt on the Archduke's life, there had been a series of diplomatic crises and brushfire wars, between Serbia and Austria-Hungary over the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina and then between Serbia and Turkey, from which the Serbs seized Macedonia and Kosovo. Franz Ferdinand favored a policy known as "trialism", under which the Hapsburg Empire's Slavic lands would be reorganized as a separate monarchy, transforming the so-called Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary into a triple one and making the Slavic lands a bulwark against Serbian expansionism.
The Emergence of Trialism by Eric LippsFollowing the death of Emperor Franz Joseph in November 1916, Franz Ferdinand succeeded to the imperial throne, from which he labored diligently to put his favored policies into effect and improve the position of Austria relative to that of Germany.
An early crisis gave him the opportunity to do so, when the deeply unpopular Tsar Nicholas II of Russia faced a radical uprising in 1917.
Anti-government sentiment had been growing in Russia since the humuiliating conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War, which had actually provoked a revolution which had compelled Nicholas to agree to the creation of a parliament, the Duma. Radicals, however, had considered this reform insuffcient, even after the Duma's power was increased by subsequent measures. The Tsar's dismissal of the first and second Dumas undescored the fact that he remained the real power, and his actions following itas formation inspired little confidence. Although the Duma's creation temporarily divided Nicholas's opposition, resentment over his high-handed treatment of what were supposed to be the Russiaan people's representatives presently swung the pendulum in the opposite direction.
Nicholas was actually forced to abdicate in March of that year, and a parliamentary government established under Alexander Kerensky. When Kerensky's government in turn seemed about to fall to a radical left-wing movement led by Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, Emperor Franz Ferdinand dispatched Austrian troops to "restore order". By March of 1918, the revolutionaries had been crushed and Kerensky, who had fled to Finland in January, had returned to St. Petersburg. Ulyanov disappeared, and rumors had him dead, imprisoned or hiding somewhere in Europe.
At that point, Franz Ferdinand faced a decision: recognize and support the embattled Kerensky regime, or restore his Romanov cousin to the throne. He chose the latter, and backed it up with force. In April, Nicholas reassumed the throne.
The restored Tsar, however, was little more than a figurehead. The events of 1917 had demonstrated how weak his support really was among his own people, and it was soon apparent that if the Hapsburg troops who had helped put him back in his seat were to leave, he would fall once more. That harsh reality compelled him to realize that he had become essentially Franz Ferdinand's subject.
The Hapsburg ruler realized it as well, and took the opportunity to squeeze the weakened Nicholas for trade and territorial concessions, which his Russian cousin had no choice but to grant even though doing so reduced his power and popularity even more. Among the prizes taken by Austria-Hungary were Russian Poland and the Baltic provinces of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
In March of 1923, Vladimir Ulyanov surfaced in Munich, where he attempted to lead a general strike of the city's industrial workers. The Prussian police responded with brutal force, and Ulyanov was among scores of casualties.
Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II regarded the ascendancy of Franz Ferdinand's Austria with growing apprehension. Wilhelm's Germany, dominated by Prussia, had been a bigger, stronger brother to Austria since the nineteenth century; now, it seemed, the scales were tilting in the opposite direction. The Hohenzollern emperor began to worry that the Hapsburgs might, in time, become an actual threat. In an effort to counter that danger, the Kaiser began to extend diplomatic overtures to its longtime rival Britain and even to France, its foe since 1870.
In 1928, Emperor Franz Ferdinand's "trialist" scheme became reality, with a newly established Kingdom of Slavonia, embracing the Hapsburg Empire's Slavic possessions, assuming its place as the third partner in the Emperor's Triple Monarchy under the rule of Prince Aimone Roberto Margherita Maria Giuseppe Torino of Savoy, great-grandson of Italy's King Victor Emmanuel II. At his coronation, Prince Aimon assumed the name Tomislav II, in homage to the first king of medieval Croatia. The new king's ancestry bound him firmly to the Hapsburgs, while his choice of kingly name affirmed his opposition to Serbian ambitions, which had never abated.
By 1930, Europe had been transformed. The alliances of 1914, which, if war had come at that time, would have pitted England, France and Russia against Germany, Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Turkey, had given way to a new order in which England, France and Germany faced the newly established Triple Monarchy of Austria-Hungary-Slavonia, Turkey, and a docile but resource-rich Romanov Russia under the frail hemophiliac Tsar Alexander IV, who had succeeded Nicholas II upon the latter's death in 1929.
In 1491, King Henry VIII, second monarch of the House of Tudor, was born - beginning the golden age of the British Royal Family.
Birth of King Henry VIII
by Chris CollinsHenry VIII is known to have been an avid gambler and dice player. In his youth, he excelled at sports, especially jousting, hunting, and real tennis. He was also an accomplished musician, author, and poet; his best known piece of music is Pastime with Good Company ('The Kynges Ballade').
Henry VIII was also involved in the original construction and improvement of several significant buildings, including Nonsuch Palace, King's College Chapel, Cambridge and Westminster Abbey in London. Many of the existing buildings Henry improved were properties confiscated from Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, such as Christ Church, Oxford, Hampton Court Palace, palace of Whitehall, and Trinity College, Cambridge. He founded Christ Church Cathedral School, Oxford in 1546.
On 12th October 1537 the King and his wife Catherine of Aragon announced the birth of a healthy baby boy. Edward VI (12 October 1537 - 6 July 1597) became King of England, King of France (in practice only the town and surrounding district of Calais) and Edward I of Ireland on 28 January 1547, and was crowned on 20 February, at nine years of age. Edward's early rule was mediated through a council of regency, first led by his uncle, Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (1547-1549), and then by John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland (1549-1553). When he reached maturity, Edward established his own protestant authority announcing "Oh my Lord God, defend this realm from papistry and maintain Thy true religion"; he really was "a chip of the old block".
In 2015, on this day the former Prince of Wales, Charles Windsor, won election as first premier of the newly independent Welsh Republic.
In 2003, Jacob Sheridan replicates and is able to control nanobots created using the techniques copied from the captured Martian vessel. The handful of nanobots he has made are able to generate more power than a rocket engine. Sheridan had been awake for over 48 hours, and was manic when he burst into office of General Bertram Hughes, declaring, 'We've got the buggers, now!'
In 4561, forces in Hanoi are facing starvation, along with the general populace. Chinese troops begin advancing into the outlying districts, and the Viet of the city are urged to fight with whatever weapons they have at hand. 'Let us not face them as a goat waiting for slaughter,' Prince Nguyen Vo exhorted his citizens, 'but as the tiger in the trap waiting for the man to come. Let us make the price of our lives so high that none will ever wish to fight the Viet again, for even victory is a defeat.'
In 1862, in a serendipitous stroke of good luck, a police officer in the small town of Heathfield stopped to assist a young man whose vehicle had broken down. The young man looked familiar to the officer, Patrolman Danny Barnett, who scanned his image and checked with the main computers at Scotland Yard. When the man's identity came back as Brent Carpenter, founder of the Human League, Patrolman Barnett immediately called for help and wrestled Carpenter to the ground. Once handcuffed to his own vehicle, Carpenter began freely confessing everything to Barnett, who let his handheld computer record all the horrific acts of violence against both human and Mlosh that the terrorist told him about.
In 1491, future Pope Henry VIII of the Holy British Empire is born. Henry was the most tolerant Pope towards the Protestants in history; some wags even called him the 'Protestant Pope'.
On this day in 1981, Tommy Rich was attacked by Terry Funk during an interview segment for the NWA's weekly TV show; the injuries Rich sustained in that attack would put the NWA world champion out of action for almost two weeks.
In 1999, Walton Ray Thermopolous meets with Prime Minister Kay Ector at the PM"s insistence. "I have a feeling the queen needs our help," Sir Kay says to Thermopolous. "But she cannot ask for fear of what may be revealed. Therefore, We must come to her aid stealthily". Thermopolous, who is doing quite well now that he no longer has to split his profits with either the Illuminati or Queen Gwen, is reluctant to do anything to jeopardize his position.She seems to be fine with the state of affairs they way they are," he tells the prime minister. "Why act without orders? Right now, we're on top of the world - the CEE is gone, my old masters went with them, and the queen sits at the side of the king rather than in a jail cell. There is no need for action" Ector simply cannot bring himself to believe this. "She needs our help. I know this is the case. And if you will not help, your government contracts will be cut off". Thermopolous reluctantly agrees to supply a small team of professionals for the plan that the prime minister has drawn up for them.
On this day in 2004 American conservative political commentator Ann Coulter weighed in on the Fahrenheit 9/11 controversy with a scathing indictment of Michael Moore titled 'Moore-onic'.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.