In 1460, on this day Mary of Guelders the Queen Consort of Scotland was tragically killed by an exploding Mons Meg siege gun at Roxburgh Castle in the Borders.
Mary of Guelders killed at RoxburghKnown as "the Lion" the prized cannon had been a gift from her Uncle, the Duke of Burgundy because her husband "James of the fiery face" (so-called for the bright red birthmark that covered a whole side of his countenance) had expressed his wild enthusiasm for modern artillery. After defeating his Scottish rivals the Black Douglases, he confiscated their considerable wealth and set his sights further South.
While cultivating alliances abroad and negotiating with both the Yorkists and the Lancastrians during the Wars of the Roses, he assaulted Berwick, mounted a sally into Northumberland, raided the English-held Isle of Man and attacked Berwick again in 1457. Three years later he besieged Roxburgh Castle. Despite the loss of the cannon and the accompanying personal tragedy, his army under George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus siezed the Castle. But it was just beginning of a long campaign that would forever change the history of the nation.
In 1949, on this day MacArthur Declares Himself Japanese Dictator. Douglas MacArthur, born 1880 and in 1925 made the youngest major general the in US Army, proved his military record in World War II with a 30:1 kill ratio against the Japanese as well as being awarded a Medal of Honor, multiple distinguished service medals on land, sea, and air, and two purple hearts.
MacArthur Declares Himself Japanese DictatorWhen the war ended, he was given the title Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers and ordered to oversee the Occupation of Japan. He drafted a new constitution in 1946 that became ratified the following year, reformed land ownership to put millions of acres into the hands of owner-operators, and reorganized and rebuilt the nation's industry as a peacetime leader.
One of his most significant moves was to recommend immunity to Japanese scientists such as those in the infamous Unit 731 who conducted human experiments. In exchange for their information (which would remain secret), the doctors would not be tried for crimes against humanity. Rather than handing the data on biological weapons over to the United States government, he kept the information to himself, an action believed to be the first on his road to megalomania.
A new article by Jeff ProvineIn 1948, MacArthur was among those put forth for the Republican nomination for the presidency. Democrats had held the White House since 1932, and it seemed like a good chance to bring about needed post-war change. When MacArthur lost to Dewey, who in turn lost to Truman, he became despondent about his homeland. Meanwhile, the great changes he had made to Japan continued, and he began to focus more on his life in Japan.
MacArthur became unruly in the eyes of Washington as he too-often traded out military personnel, eventually creating a power structure completely loyal to him. He had won over the respect of the Japanese with his land reforms and encouragement of trade unions in the new industry, creating grassroots support. Censorship boards, which MacArthur began to direct personally, equated all good news with himself and bad news with other American figures. When President Truman called for MacArthur's removal, he refused and pronounced himself dictator of Japan. His title became Gaijin Shogun ("foreign military ruler"), and he stated that any threat to remove him would be met with military-grade biological weapons cultivated from Unit 731's experiments.
Americans balked, but war-weariness caused them to leave him as MacArthur allowed any of the 30,000 Americans stationed in Japan to evacuate peacefully. Much of the military equipment had "disappeared" into MacArthur's personal army's hands, leaving no paper record to prove claims for return of American materiel. After obligatory reorganization and crackdown, MacArthur sealed the Japanese borders with rearmed fishing vessels, allowing trade only through approved channels.
Until 1964, Japan was an isolated state controlled by rationing and fear of MacArthur's release of plagues. Sanctions were placed on the nation, but they only contributed to the seclusion. International forces reacting to the Korean War were believed to be staging for a campaign of liberation, but as the war became stalemated, the idea was never explored. Instead, for fifteen years, Japan returned to a feudal period and did not return to the world scene until MacArthur died and his son Arthur MacArthur refused to continue rule, fleeing to Switzerland. Since then, Japan has been a figure of East Asian politics despite economic struggles.
In 1852, a decade after each had formed their boating club for crew, Yale issued a challenge to its rival Harvard for a race "to test the superiority of the oarsmen of the two colleges".
Yale Wins Regatta versus Harvard The Race (as it became known) was held on a warm day at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire with the various clubs of the teams putting forth several boats. Just before leaving New Haven, a group of Yale students decided that, though hardly sporting, they would reorganize their crews to put forth a strongest boat with the other members on another boat. The result was Yale's boat Shawmut winning by an impressive three lengths to Harvard's Oneida. General Franklin Pierce (soon to be President Pierce in 1853) awarded Yale the silver-inscribed oars used for the trophy.
While nothing of note seemingly came from the simple boating match (another would be held in 1855 with Yale winning again; and a third in 1859 with Harvard taking the lead), an air of craftiness and superiority would come over the Yale campus. Students took to heart a lesson of plotting.
This feeling would come to a head forty years later on the US Supreme Court while Melville Fuller (a Harvard man, graduating in 1853) was the Chief Justice. Three Yale men served as Associate Justices: Henry Billings Brown (Yale, 1856), David J. Brewer (Yale, 1856), and George Shiras, Jr. (Yale, 1853). While they supported votes with Fuller putting into effect the legality of the anti-trust Sherman Act, they decided that it was time the federal government took a step further.
It was over dinner at Shiras' Washington residence that they formulated their plan to take it upon themselves to clear up questions that might be solved in blood later in American history. For example, Brewer noted, if the question of slavery had been handled by the courts in the Dred Scott case in 1857, there would have been no need for a Civil War to sort out the social affairs of states. They had then only been starting their legal careers and still gloating over victory in The Race, but they knew they could have done something. Now they had the chance for real change.
In 1895, Brown convinced Shiras and Brewer to follow him in supporting the Income Tax Act of 1894 that had come under question in Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Company, 157 U.S. 429. With a slight majority of 6-3, income tax became legal in the United States, and they felt that the working people would be kept better affirmed in power and not be in fear of taking a violent step toward revolution. They later supported limits on workers' hours as well as the Trust Busting of the Roosevelt and Taft administrations.
1896 held another key vote in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537. The case of a 1/8 black man attempting to ride a "whites only" car in Louisiana came under fire by protection from the 14th Amendment. Though they initially agreed that the Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction to mandate laws on intrastate travel, the three began to suspect the idea of "equality" if races were truly kept separate. They joined with Justice Harlan dissenting (a former slave owner, he had many negative things to say of racism and, specifically, the evils of the Ku Klux Klan), but they knew the court would be split 5-4. By using the quote "Equal Justice Under Law" Fuller had used himself in Caldwell v. Texas, 137 U. S. 692 (1891), they managed to persuade the Chief Justice to side with them, thus stopping a trend toward "segregation" over the whole of the country, despite political fallout and several white uprisings. Working further with race relations, the Court would support the citizenship of the American-born Chinese man Wong Kim Ark in 1898.
While the South, Midwest, and large cities of the North went through a troubling decade of integration from 1900-10, the court also dealt with the growing territories of the United States, declaring citizenship to Puerto Ricans in 1904 with Gonzalez vs. Williams (192 U.S. 1) and outlining the rights of the peoples among newly conquered islands in the famous Insular Cases. Justice became required in such places as the war-torn Philippines, which underwent a sort of Reconstruction modeled on that of the South after the Civil War and now stands as a model among Southeastern Asian countries after independence in 1946.
The distribution of wealth and power among the lower classes caused an upheaval for rights in the United States, many of which were granted to keep up American morale in World War I. The Post-War Boom lasted well into Hoover's second term, but eventual readjustment of the inflated markets caused the painful Crash of '33. With much of the country applauding First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's work to advance minorities in public-works programs, the Great Depression was considered over by the time war was declared in 1941. Peace in the form of the Cold War settled on America, when another Supreme Court decision named the draft unconstitutional in the exception of defense against an invading enemy. The Korean and Vietnam Wars would thus be handled by volunteers and an increasingly professional army, as displayed by the Years of Service awards given by President Johnson after the Armistice of 1969 in Saigon, South Vietnam.
In 1485, on this day three papal vessels, the Gallega, Pinta and Santa Clara (pictured) departed Palos de la Frontera, setting sail for the New World.
The New JerusalemIn order to "discover" the Americas, the commander of the fleet, the Templar Cristoforo Colombo was provided with a unique set of navigational aids - his biological father Pope Innocent VIII had granted him access to study ancient texts and maps in the Vatican Library. Because Colombo's mission was to seize the New World gold that was required to finance a fresh wave of Crusades.
Trouble was, Colombo didn't find any gold and duly returned to the Port of Lisbon empty-handed, his mission seemingly a failure.
Surprisingly, the Pope's own father was Jewish and his grandmother was Muslim, and his overarching goal was to reunite all three religions. But when the mission failed, Colombo began his second voyage, with orders to establish a New Jerusalem in the Americas. The sponsorship of the foundation of that city would be recorded for all time at Saint Peter's Basilica with a Latin inscription which simply records "the glory of the discovery of the New World" on the tomb of Pope Innocent VIII.
In 1943, this day could have marked the end of General George Patton's career. He was having a fit at a "cowardly" enlisted man in a military hospital in Sicily when his chief of staff, Brigadeer General Gay grabbed his arm before he could strike the man. Gay then shouted down his commander until a military doctor could explain that the man actually had malaria rather than "battle fatigue". Gay then proceeded to risk his military career by physically restraining Patton and getting him out of the tent. Gay had other officers find a senior physican to brief the enraged Patton on shell shock as an actual disease with physical symptoms distinct from cowardice. By this time Patton had demoted all his attending officers to privates and threatened them with court martials.
Written by Scott PalterHowever the physican proved to have a louder shouting voice than Patton and was even more stubborn. When the tantrum worse off, Patton insisted the physican start again from the beginning. When the docotor was done and had answered all of Patton's questions Patton appologized to the physician, saluted, did an about face, marched himself back into the tent and appologized to the soldier. [His appology to Gay and his staff officers took some further hours but did happen].
Gay was allowed to use good staff work for Patton's following hospital visits [Patton was a rarity among WW2 US senior officers in regarded hospital visits as part of his job]. The tents Patton visited contained only wounded, not sick or shocked. So when the story of the original incident broke in Drew Pearson's radio news show there was no followup to ruin Patton's career. The original soldier was interviewed at length by newspeople but his story never changed. The general made a mistake, appologized for it and never touched him. The soldier and hospital staff were actually quite moved by a general who actually seemed to care about enlisted personnel or the wounded. The more prevailing army ethos was to treat personnel as interchangeable and replaceable parts.
Patton was still used as a decoy against the Germans, first of mythic other Meditteranean landings and then of the even more mythic First Army Group that was supposed to land at Calais. However Patton was able to secure a place on a warship to observe the Normandy landings. The rest is history, or fate if you believe in such. With the Omaha Beach landings a seeming failure General Bradley sat on his command ship and surveyed the wreckage. Patton acted. He browbeat the commander of his ship to make a ship's boat available and then landed on Omaha with himself, Gay and a handful of aides. He sorted out the confusion under continual enemy fire and personally led the attack that cleared the main beach exit. Patton would claim afterwards that he had been the highest paid major in the US Army for that day. In a sense this was correct. He was doing work many levels below his pay grade. However while Bradley respected the chain of command and sat on a ship, Patton had seemingly won the day on his own [historians afterwards would claim this was lucky timing - the weight of US troops would eventually have found exits up the cliffs and cleared the beach exits from behind].
Needless to say Bradley had a total fit. Eisenhower was not impressed. Yes Patton had violated all the rules. He had also won while Bradley seemed about to fail. A quick substitution was made and the US landing force was now Patton's Third Army instead of Bradley's. First [to maintain the deception operation against the Germans General Walker, was announced as army commander to the press].
So nominally it was Walker not Patton who by constantly going forwards to see what the holdup in the bocage operations was was able to greenlight the special plow tanks that solved the problem. This in turn led to Patton being given 12th Army Group command when the US contingent on the continent was upped from one army to two. Walker now had Third Army in fact and Bradley was informed he would not be bumped up from First Army command.
Under Patton's command the Falaise Pocket was closed by a sweeping maneuver that carried Walker's Third Army totally across the path of the British 21st Army Group to the mouth of the Seine. What followed was classic Patton. Leaving Bradley to manage digesting the pocket with Montgomery, Patton pushed spearheads of the Third Army straight north. Ike's logistics people kept trying to slow him down and get him back in his proper zone. Patton and Walker were moving so fast they kept overruning the orders [they would be ordered to hold at place X to reorganize after they were 50-75 miles north of X]. At heart Patton was an old time cavalryman and a pursuit such as this is what a cavalryman dreams of. Third Army blew through Brussels to Antwerp taking the port intact. Patton was personally up with the lead division. He recognized that with an inland port such as Antwerp the key was the islands in the Scheldt Estuary that were Antwerp's route to open sea. By throwing all of the army's shrinking fuel reserves at the two lead divisions he blizted through the Scheldt with one division while the other moved due north to take Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
This advance prompted a complete reorganization of the European campaign. Patton was given the newly arriving US Ninth Army and became the Allied left wing. Montgomery took the center. Bradley whose slow advance to link up with the Allied forces moving up from Provence had not managed to bag the retreating German troops from southwest France was left at the army level and put under General Devers Sixth Army Group.
With Patton on the left and supplies pouring in through Antwerp and Rotterdam, Eisenhower was able to keep hammering the Germans all through the autumn and winter. Indeed analysts credit these offensives with shortening the war in Europe by months. But for Patton the Americans and Russians would not have met at Torgau in late February of 1945 and the German surrender would not have come on the ides of March.
In 1958, British the nuclear-powered submarine USS Nautilus disappeared while attempting to become the first vessel to cross the North Pole underwater, in a maneuver codenamed "Operation Sunshine".
Operation Sunshine by Eric LippsNaval investigators eventually found the wreck of the submarine beneath the Arctic ice and determined that an explosion within its pressurized-water nuclear reactor had been responsible for its sinking. This discovery was a serious blow to military contractors Westinghouse, which had designed and built by Westinghouse Electric, and General Dynamics, which had built the submarine as a whole. Also tarnished was Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, who had supervised the nuclear submarine project; President Eisenhower would request Rickover's resignation in January 1960.
The failure of the Nautilus called the entire "nuclear navy" idea into question. Doubts were fed by the Air Force, whose interservice nuclear rivalry with the Navy had been going badly for the airborne service with the difficulties encountered by the USAF's nuclear-airplane program. Only shrewd exploitation of rumors that the Soviets are on the way to deploying their own nuclear submarines ultimately enabled the Navy to prevent cancellation of the nuclear submarine program.
A civilian consequence of the controversy was the abandonment of plans to use a scaled-up version of the Nautilus' reactor for civilian power generation. A pilot plant at Shippingport, Louisiana, which had gone online in December 1957, was discreetly deactivated in October 1958. Later civilian nuclear power plants would use a variety of other designs, but not the pressurized-water type.
In 1979, white man's black Prime Minister Bishop Abel Muzorewa fled Zimbabwe-Rhodesia just twenty-four hours after the British delegatation quit the Lusaka Conference.Down to the Last Cartridge
At Government House in Salisbury, a new regime took power led by the intransigent Defence Minister, Pieter Kenyon Fleming-Voltelyn van der Byl (pictured).
Promoted to the cabinet in 1968, Van der Byl became a spokesman for the Rhodesian government and crafted a public image as a diehard supporter of continued White minority rule. In 1974 he was made Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence at a time when Rhodesia's one ally, South Africa, was supplying military aid. His extreme views and brusque manner made him a surprising choice for a diplomat (a Times profile in November 1976 described him as "a man calculated to give offence").
Accompanied by commander of the Selous Scouts Colonel Reid-Daly and the professional head of the Rhodesian Army General Peter Walls, van der Byl made a typically belligerent statement to world press ~
"it is better to fight to the last man and the last cartridge and die with some honour. Because, what is being presented to us here is a degree of humiliation ... ".
In 1960, the drug antigerone was discovered by Diana Brackley, a research scientist working for Francis Saxover, a somewhat eccentric private researcher.
All the Time in the WorldBy accident they independently discovered that a specimen of lichen sent to them for analysis had the ability to extend human life by many hundred years. Within months, they had discovered precisely how the lichen extract could substantially retard the aging process, preparing the prototype drug Antigerone.
The trouble was that the lichen was in limited supply being a very slow-growing plant which grew in China.
Both biochemists saw the implications of this, realising that many institutions would try to repress this knowledge and were careful to keep the substance secret. However Brackley decided that it must eventually become available to all humans and sets up an organisation designed to introduce it by stealth. Unfortunately Saxover decided to let his immediate family in on the secret, and his daughter-in-law gives away part of the secret for money. As a result criminal forces begin to take interest in both Francis and Diana.
In The Trouble was Lichen investigative journalist John Wyndam foresaw the coming of a new evolutionary order and with it, a revolution.
The TV advertisement for the Antigerone product featured Louis Armstrong's classic "All the Time in the World".
"We have all the time in the world, time enough for life to unfold. All the precious things love has in store. We have all the love in the world, if that's all we have, you will find. We need nothing more. Every step of the way will find us. With the cares of the world far behind us. We have all the time in the world. Just for love. Nothing more, nothing less. Only love".
Watch the Youtube Clip
Neither Armstrong nor Wyndham use Antigerone, and by coincidence both died months apart in 1969. The lyrics are available at at Lyricwiki
In 1935, Officer John Bruce of the Tank Corps revealed that the recently demised Private Shaw of the Tank Corps Regiment was none other than Colonel T.E. Lawrence, pursuing his ambition to be remembered as "a man of letters, not a man of action" by retreating into obscurity at Bovington Camp.
Secrets from the Arab Revolt Part II
In early 1920, Lawrence set about the daunting task of rewriting as much as he could remember of the first version which he had allegedly mislaid whilst changing trains at Reading Station. Working from memory alone (he had destroyed his wartime notes upon completion of the corresponding parts of Text I), he was able to complete this "Text II", 400,000 words long, in three months.
Lawrence described this version as "hopelessly bad" in literary terms, but historically it was "substantially complete and accurate". That was a filthy lie. Text II was a substantial rewrite of Lawrence's capture at Deraa in November 1917.
In 1961, the first hurricane warning siren was installed in New York City as part of mayor John Lindsay's post-Jamaica Bay disaster readiness program; by the time Lindsay left ofice, a network of 250 such sirens would be in place throughout the metropolitan New York areas with an additional 100 deployed across the Hudson River in New Jersey.
Later mayors would continue to refine and expand the early warning system; in 2010, as part of ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the Jamaica Bay hurricane, Mayor Michael Bloomberg would declare the site of the first siren a civic landmark.
On this day in 2002, British prime minister Tony Blair directed the Foreign Secretary's office to evacuate all remaining non-essential personnel from the UK embassy in Baghdad.
On this day in 2004 Laura Ingraham's petition received its two millionth signature.
On this day in 1973, the FBI raised the reward for the Lawnmower Man's capture to 750,000 USD.
The Lord of the Rings
Four hobbits in grave peril
Second breakfast missed
Hobbit wants the ring
Declares himself the Dark Lord
Five races combined
The fellowship of the ring
Doomed to be broken
Hobbits to defend
Warrior is overthrown
Peace, son of Gondor
Where is my precious?
In the darkness, he whispers
Gollum sits alone
Tom Bombadill, Oh!
Happy prankster and saviour
Not in the movie
Servant of the hidden west
Rhadagast the brown
A moth flutters by
Wizard snatches and whispers
Gandalf is rescued
The fires of Mount Doom
A hobbit stumbles backwards
Dark Lord is no more
On this day in 1920, Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence submitted a letter to a newspaper editor ~ "The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia [modern day Iraq] into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information". The full article is available at Securing America
In 1975, "they" had eliminated ex-Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa. Having made a payment of half a million dollars to President Richard Nixon and his attorney general, John Mitchell to secure his release from prison in 1971, Hoffa had had his union activities curtailed. Recently, he had been trying to strong-arm his way back in to a position of influence.
As part of his comback plan, he had recently threatened to reveal the mob's entanglement with Teamsters pension funds -- even though he himself turned the Central States Pension Fund into the Mafia's private piggy bank.
He also wanted to expand the national union agreement to encompass all transport works, placing himself in a position to paralyse America.
The White House organized the execution, naturally turning to their trusted allies, the Tralfamadorians. Kurt Vonnegut had likened the aliens to Plumber's friends. He was quite right. They were real tight with E. Howard Hunt and the White House team. And so it goes.
On this day in 1977, Red Sox pitcher and 2-time World Series MVP Tom Brady was born in San Mateo, California.
On this day in 1953, Chinese Communist dictator Mao Zedong was assassinated in Beijing. Mao who had seized power nearly four years earlier in a victorious guerrilla war against Nationalist leader Chiang Kai Shek, was targeted for death after his unilateral decision in October of '52 to withdraw all Chinese Communist troops from the Korean Peninsula rather than risk all-out war with the United States.
In 1798, "its possible that Britain might have won the Battle of the Nile, that Nelson might have defeated the combined French and Spanish fleet at Trafalgar though its hard to imagine that as possible in any event. There are even rumours, historically that the Emperor might have sold most of the holdings he got from Spain, the land west of Mississipi to your President Jefferson. He needed the money to fight the British, but once he took Egypt and India after the Battle of the Nile that point was moot". ~ French American police interview of Ryan, American terrorist..
In 1995, Richard M. Langworth combined fiction and fact in his publication "If Weygand had lost the Battle of France". In this somewhat far fetched scenario, the failure of the Weygand Plan causes the General to flee to North Africa with Free French Forces. Defeated again by Rommel, he then heads south to the Brazzaville. General Maxime Weygand dies in 1965 in his exiled Congolese stronghold, buried under a boulder inscribed, "Founding Father of the movement to uproot Nazidom from the world". His mission, as the book ends, is unfulfilled.
In 4675, Emperor Deng Ziopeng establishes the first Chinese colony outside the solar system with the beginning of Yang Gao in the Tchou star system. Yang Gao will grow to rival the earth itself, one day.
In 1891, the Congress of Nations authorizes an expedition to the asteroid belt to gather material to strengthen the earth's crust. The wealth of all the nations on earth is bent towards this endeavor; ships are built or modified to fly in intrastellar space as quickly as possible.
In 1851, rum-runner Lady Isabella Caroline Somerset is born. Lady Isabella was famous for the flow of alcohol at her parties resembling a large, heady river. Oscar Wilde once said of her mansion, 'If you removed all the bottles, it would be a quaint cottage with one bedroom.'
In 1989, the Toledo Mudhens Town Ball team sends a record 20 men to bat, getting another record 16 hits in one inning as they score 14 runs in the 1st inning.
In 1963, the Silver Beatles give their final performance, sans Pete Best, at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England. Since their parting of the ways with Best, their crowds have been getting smaller and smaller, and the management has asked them to find some other venue to perform in.
In 1851, rum-runner Lady Isabella Caroline Somerset is born. Lady Isabella was famous for the flow of alcohol at her parties resembling a large, heady river. Oscar Wilde once said of her mansion, 'If you removed all the bottles, it would be a quaint cottage with one bedroom.'
In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain for India, traveling west across the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, his crews mutinied when it appeared that he had underestimated how long the voyage would take, and he was killed and thrown overboard. The Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria became pirate vessels, waylaying ships traveling in the western Atlantic.
Greg Bear published his masterful short story Through Road No Whither
set in a world where the Allies won World War II. During the occupation of German, British officers insult a gypsy woman when asking for directions, and she arranges for the Allies' retroactive defeat.
In 1934, surrounded by the Kamarilla those shadowy courtiers who had forced the dismissal of Chancellor Hitler, eighty-six old and senile President von Hindenburgh expired at the worst possible time imaginable, just days after the outbreak of the German Civil War.
Von Hindenburg Dismisses Hitler Despite his huge popularity in the country few independent observers had expected the Weimar Republic to survive the conflict: due to the rules set down by the Treaty of Versailles, as Supreme Commander-In-Chief of the German armed forces Von Hindenburg could only call upon a force of one hundred thousand troops primarily split between seven infantry divisions and three cavalry divisions.
The likely victor was not Hitler but Ernst Röohm whose private army, the Sturmabteilung consisted of up to six million veterans of the Great War who ironically had served under Hindenburg.
The announcement of the passing of Hindenburg was accompanied by the deceased President's post-humous appeal to restore the German monarchy. Though he hoped one of the Prussian princes would be appointed to succeed him as Head of State, he did not attempt to use his powers in favour of such a restoration, as he considered himself bound by the oath he had sworn on the Weimar Constitution.
Story continues in Part Two.
In 338 B.C., King Phillip II of Macedon was defeated at Chaeronea.
Phillip II Defeated at Chaeronea It would be his final battle of the long Grecian Campaign. Phillip II of Macedon had led his "barbarian" troops to conquest of many of the Greek city-states and alliances with many more, building a league that, he hoped, would be enough to overthrow the powerful Persians to the east and solidify Greece as a world power with himself as the head. Not all Greeks agreed with his domination, and a band of Theban, Athenian, and numerous other allies stood as the final block to his plan (other than the Spartans, but they would never bow to a foreigner while still alive).
Phillip arranged his 30,000 man army with himself and his powerful cavalry on the right and his eighteen-year-old son Alexander with his Thessalian allies on the left. Alexander would face the Thebans, while Phillip himself would challenge the Athenians. A new story by Jeff ProvineHis plan was simple and elegant: attack the Athenians, withdraw to the high ground, and then hit them with Alexander and his cavalry as they were drawn out and their middle exposed.
Phillip began his attack and then withdrew, but the Athenians held. He launched a second attack, sortied away, and again the Athenians held. Their generals, reflecting only that morning on the high ground effectiveness of the Battle of Marathon, refused to fight uphill.
Meanwhile, the overwhelming numbers of the Thebans and allies pressed against the Thessalians. As Phillip began his third attack, the Athenians, still fresh, finally moved forward. However, instead of following Phillip up the hill, they wheeled and charged Alexander and his cavalry. Seeing the assault, Phillip charged downhill, but the Athenian formations parted to avoid his horsemen and regrouped to fight him at their rear.
Now divided, the Macedonian army began to break. Alexander held his men in constant attack, nearly breaking the Greeks. The young general may very well have won the battle and conquered the world, but it was not to be. A lucky Athenian spear found itself lodged into Alexander's side, the prince fell, and the Macedonians broke. Phillip would cover their retreat, but he knew his campaign had come to an end. He fell back to Macedon and worked to secure his throne for a new heir.
Again defending their freedom, the Greeks would rebuild their cities and return to their daily lives. The Persians, weary of their attempts at conquest, would remain quiet, and the next few decades would see the wars of the Mediterranean world shift toward the west with the Romans and the Carthaginians at each other's throats. In their second war, Greece would be drawn in by the Siege of Syracuse and split as some city-states favored Rome and others Carthage. Devastation would come across Greece as alliances built and fell until the end of the war when Rome would secure itself as dominant over nearly the whole of the Mediterranean.
Seeing a new superpower on the world, the Persian emperor Artaxerxes VI moved to a third attempt to conquer Greece while the Romans were still rebuilding. The Persian Wars (144 to 51 BC) would dwarf the Punic Wars, especially in the naval combat of the First. Great Romans such as Gaius Marius, Sulla, Pomey, and Caesar would arise. After only a generation of peace, civil war would split the Roman world, tearing it into pieces such as Hispania, Italia, Africa, Achea, Mesopotamia, and Persia. Each small state would vie for dominance with the others, swallowing the world in a dark age of sparring warlords.
It would not be until the Germanic Enlightenment (circa AD 450 - 750) that conquerors from the north would pick up the pieces of the scattered former empire and build a new order based on trade, peace, and, most importantly, the idea of banking to fund expeditions. Science (the fatalistic understanding that laws govern the universe) would follow in revolution with such technology such as the dampfmaschine (AD 769), telegraf (837), and glihbirne (879). Gradually, the world powers would move northward with the Nordic explorers and colonizers achieving dominance as leaders of the world through the second millennium.
In 1974, White House Chief of Staff General Alexander Haig (pictured) took the fortieth Vice President, Gerry Ford for a walk in the rose garden on this day. Nixon was going bonkers, said Haig, and we have got to get him out of here, and there are four possible ways to do that. The first three are unrealistic. But the fourth, he said, was if Ford would promise to pardon Nixon after he [Ford] became President, which in his [Haig's] view would gain Nixon's agreement to resign.
High Stakes Poker in the White House Rose GardenFord dismissed the suggestion out of hand. But the discussion was far from over, it was in fact just getting started. Because Nixon had an "ace in the hole". Previously, 82nd Airborne had been brought in to protect the Presidency against anti-war demonstrations. The division was commanded by General Cushman, unusually a political appointee who had served Nixon as National Security Advisor during his Vice Presidency, and later Deputy CIA Director. Cushman understood that those same protestors were now calling for "Jail to the Chief". And so from his inside pocket, Haig produced a top secret, "eyes only", limited distribution order to move the the 82nd Airborne Division from its base at Fort Bragg, North Caroline to surround the White House. Signed by General Robert Cushman, commandant of the US Marine Corps the order was marked topmost priority, Flash Override.
"All men are created equal and that includes presidents and plumbers" ~ Mike Mansfield, Democratic Majority LeaderOf course the provisions of the National Security Act required that the President transmit all military orders through the defense secretary, James Schlesinger. In fact the Secretary was deeply concerned about the President's mental condition - during the last six months alone Schlesinger had been forced to countermand orders to bomb Damascus and Jordan and nuke Vietnam and Korea (orders that were ignored until Nixon sobered up in the morning). Secretary of the Treasury George Schultz also believed that Nixon was stoned out of his mind on Seconal, single-malt Scotch, Dilantin, speed, and clinical paranoia, beating his wife, Pat on a regular basis. By this time the pressure to resign was incredible, and Nixon was clearly losing his mind. Both Schlesinger and Schultz feared a military coup, having agreed with the Joint Chiefs of Staff that all military orders must be signed by two Senior Cabinet Officers (them).
Ford bought the deal, he had not choice. Forced to accept the fourth option, he was not forced to honour the bargain. Because Ford's integrity was built open loyalty to the Constitution and the American people. And so less than four weeks in office, on September 8th now President Gerry Ford anounced that his predecessor would be subject to the full force of criminal law, whether he was insane or not. And shortly afterwards, Haig was replaced in his post by Donald Rumsfeld.
In 1971, the Cambodian government of Lon Nol falls in a coup orchestrated by former North Vietnamese troops and indigenous leftist guerrillas calling themselves the Khmer Rouge.Fall of Lol Non's Government by Eric Lipps
Lon Nol's regime had itself been established by a CIA-backed coup in March 1970 which deposed Prince Norodom Sihanouk while he was out of the country, and the Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge exploit Nol's CIA connection -- documented in papers seized during the takeover--to whip up anti-American sentiment.
Over the next several months, Cambodia's new rulers will establish a totalitarian regime on Marxist principles. Under the influence of the Vietnamese among the leadership, who include NVA general Vo Nguyen Giap, they mobilize a guerrilla army aimed at launching a cross-border assault on U.S.-occupied Vietnam.
In the U.S., early CIA reports regarding this effort will not be taken seriously by the Nixon administration. President Nixon, determined to claim victory in Southeast Asia, will dismiss the possibility of an attack from Cambodia as 'alarmist.'
In 1935, Officer John Bruce of the Tank Corps Regiment delivered the most extraordinary announcement to the world's media. This revelation followed the recent death of a Private Shaw of the Tank Corps in a motorcyle accident at Clouds Hill.
Secrets from the Arab Revolt Part 1Shaw was a false name for Colonel TE Lawrence, hiding from both a murky past and also unwanted hero worship. The hero worship had been partly caused by the British Government.
Trying to move the focus off the meatgrinder of the Western Front, the Government had shifted the attention of the home front by glorifying Lawrence's role in the so-called 'Arab Revolt'.
In fact, the significance of the campaign has been questioned by military historans even since - seen by many as a reckless side show with dangerous long-term side affects for the people of the Middle-East. In 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom' Lawrence had penned his war diary setting out a somewhat different account. Actually, in the first version, a very different account.
The diary had been immediately written following the fall of Damascus in October 1918, which Lawrence marked as the end of the 'Arab Revolt'. Written whilst the events were fresh in his mind, this seven volume account ran to over 250,000 words.
Actually Lawrence kept extensive notes throughout the course of his involvement in the Revolt. He began work on a clean narrative in the first half of 1919 while in Paris for the peace conference and, later that summer, while back in Egypt. By December 1919 he had a fair draft of most of the ten books that make up the Seven Pillars of Wisdom but, in an act of monumental absent-mindedness and misfortune, lost it (except for the introduction and final two books) when he misplaced his briefcase while changing trains at Reading railway station.
National newspapers alerted the public to the loss of the hero's manuscript, but to no avail: the draft remained lost. Lawrence refers to this version as 'Text I and says that had it been published, it would have been some 250,000 words in length.
In a statement that rung true, John Bruce said that anyone who believed that story, would believe anything.
In 1807, British foreign minister George Canning received mistaken reports of Danish naval mobilization, coinciding with the news of the the Franco-Russian agreement at Tilsit.
Watch the Youtube Clip
Fateful Decision by Jussi JalloThe impression was that Denmark was already acting in accordance with the Continental System and preparing to close the Baltic from the British shipping. Luckily the veracity of the reports was challenged in time, enabling Canning to make a fateful decision.
Ignoring advice to go pre-emptive, Canning was quickly proven correct. Crown prince Frederik had taken command of the Danish army in Holstein, ready to defy all French encroachments threatening the vital Danish-Norwegian maritime trade. With the previous policy of neutrality now rendered impossible, Denmark was ready to roll the dice and take its chances on the same side with Britain in the battle against the Napoleonic France.
|Head of State|
On this day in 1968, a new provisional Russian government headed by former Brezhnev supporter-turned-critic Alexei Kosygin formally disbanded the CPSU, effectively ending more than half a century of Communist rule in Russia
On this day in 1944, Soviet troops liberated the Latvian capital, Riga.
On this day in 2007, Magical Trevor made another food commercial, this time promoting cucumbers.
On this day in 1944, the Polish anti-Nazi uprising in Warsaw was dealt a severe setback as German troops recaptured the Stare Miasto section of the city.
I have a normal practice. I treat people who have problems with their drinking, with depression, with the way that they're seeing the world. I help them get through that, and try to steer them to a better view of life. I've been doing it for about 15 years now, and I like my work. I think that I'm making a difference, and I think that I'm helping people.
I live in a medium-sized town in Texas, a couple hundred thousand people. Not East Podunk, but not New York City. People are fairly polite, pretty nice, but they can get into bad situations, and they need someone who can talk to them, and give them advice. I'm not the only psychiatrist, but I care about my patients, and I see to it that they get only the best from me.
I want to make it perfectly clear from the outset that I am not a crusader for pseudoscience. I am grounded in science, in the real world, in my relationships within my community. I do not look for outlandish explanations to people's problems, I don't believe in regressive hypnotherapy, I don't believe in past lives. Or, at least I didn't.
There was a very hot summer, a couple of years ago, that I noticed a large upsurge in patients. I don't know, maybe there was something about the heat that was just setting everyone on edge. Many of my long-time clients were feeling anxious, most of my new clients seemed to be of the violent sort, and I was beginning to think that maybe I should find another line of work or else retire. You get those thoughts, sometimes. You can't help them. Psychiatrists are weighed down with a lot of cares, and if they don't have a good therapist of their own to talk to, it can be very hard to carry on.
So, it was a terrible summer, and my professional life wasn't giving me any satisfaction. I was thinking of taking a vacation, but with the upsurge in business, I didn't think that I could abandon anyone for my own selfish desire to sit on a beach with my wife and sip Margaritas. I was feeling stressful, and needed a rest, so I took a day off. It's nice to be able to play hooky for a little while. I cancelled all my appointments, painfully in some cases, and I took a drive to Austin for a long weekend with Francine, my lovely bride.
It was sheer heaven. Austin, if you've never been, is an oasis of goofiness in the vast desert of Texas' sanity. There are people there who could make you believe the Sixties never ended, and that they never began. It appeals to the conservative and the liberal. A fascinating city for people-watchers like myself, and a wonderful opportunity to catch up on culture for Francine.
'Tom,' she said to me as we drove down Highway 79 towards that lovely Mecca, 'when we get there, can we stop at the Whole Foods on Lamar? We can get some of their fresh fruit, a little bread, some wine and cheese, and have a nice little picnic down in Zilker Park.' She laid her hand across my shoulder and gently massaged. 'Wouldn't that be romantic? You and me, a blanket, all-natural? and au natural later on, if you want.' Her hand slid down my arm and gave my thigh a squeeze, very close to my favorite spot for her to squeeze.
'That sounds wonderful.' I glanced at her smiling face, then turned back to the road. 'Maybe we can find one of those nice secluded spots on the rock island.'
Her head leaned over and rested on my shoulder. Her short black hair had a lovely scent of jasmine and rosemary, and I breathed it in. My wife can be positively intoxicating at times. I had been missing moments like this for almost a year. That can place a strain on any marriage, but Francine had been very understanding, thank god.
We had reached the stretch of road outside of Hutto that is almost nothing but farmland when I saw a man on the side of the road. There was nothing to block my view of him, so I was able to observe him from a couple of miles away. He was only wearing shorts, nothing unusual in the Texas summer, but he didn't seem to be either jogging or hitching. He seemed to be stumbling.
'Francine, does that man look all right?' We were about to pass him, so she shaded her eyes and squinted to get a better look. I slowed down some, but we still shot past at a good clip.
Francine's gasp made me slow down almost to a stop. 'Jesus, Tom, that man has some kind of head wound.' My foot hit the brake and I swerved onto the shoulder, then started backing up, watching the man grow increasingly larger in my rearview mirror.
He was a man of average size, blond hair, skin reddened by exposure to the sun, and he was a mass of bruises. His nose and lower face were covered in blood, and his eyes were glazed over. As soon as we were within ten feet of him, I stopped the car and ran out to him.
He didn't react to me at all. I grabbed him by the arm and looked into his eyes, and they were almost fully dilated. That meant that he was probably blinded by the bright sunlight all around us. 'Sir, can you understand me?' His face turned to me, but it remained expressionless. 'I'm a doctor. I'm going to help you, get you to a hospital. Can you understand?' He made no sound, and I was beginning to think that he must have been severely concussed by whatever had happened to him. I started walking him to my car, and Francine got out and opened the back door to help him in. 'It's going to be all right. I think you have a concussion, but we're going to get you to some help.' I didn't think he was hearing a word I was saying, but you never know, and it's best to be smooth and reassuring in moments like that.
As we came to the car door and I started to help him in, he turned to me and pulled me very close to his face. 'They're coming now. They've got me, and they're coming now for the rest of you.'
'Who's coming now?' My opinion at this point was that he was probably suffering delusions after the head trauma, which was quite understandable. I did my best to remain calm and soothing.
'The others. They'll be here, and there isn't anything we can do to stop them. They took the only one who could.' He allowed me to bend his head so that he could fit into the back seat, and I closed the door on him. Francine got in and started reassuring him, too.
When I got in, she was caught up in the conversation with him. 'They're not here now, so you can relax, sir. Don't worry. What's your name?'
'Tim Johnson.' He came to life a little bit. 'I'm from Branford.'
'I never heard of that. Is it a small town?'
'Everything's small here in Connecticut.'
I glanced over at Francine and shook my head. There was no need to tell this man where he was and give him any further shock.
In 1975, mob executioner Frank Sheeran dumped the cremated remains of Jimmy Hoffa into Lake Michigan. The cremation had been performed at Grand Lawn Cemetery, a short drive from the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Nobody had expected Hoffa to settle into a quiet retirement. For relaxation, Jimmy enjoyed boating trips wherein he and friends would chum the waters, shoot sharks with Thompson submachine guns and/or beat sharks to death with nail studded baseball bats.
Yet he had entered a whole new league of trouble when he threatened to reveal the mob's entanglement with Teamsters pension funds -- even though he himself turned the Central States Pension Fund into the Mafia's private piggy bank.
The mob weren't the only people wanting to eliminate Hoffa. The White House feared Hoffa's plans for the labour movement. In 1964 Hoffa had succeeded in bringing virtually all North American over-the-road truck drivers under a single national master freight agreement. His ambition now was to an agreement for all transport workers, giving him the power to paralyze America. The interests of the White House and the mob converged. Naturally, 'they' had organized the hit.
In 1996, on this day Adrienne Gormley published 'Children of Tears'. In the alternate world of this counter-factual novel, rather than stay the course, the British have prematurely withdrawn from the Raj in India during the early post-war years.
A woman recounts how her family are directly affected by the fictional sectarian partition that follows. The essence of of Gormley's genius is to present an anti-imperialist Winston Churchill and ask the question What If Churchill had meant it when he said he would preside over the end of the British Empire?
In 1990, troops of the Iraqi army invade the neighboring nation of Kuwait, threatening to bring Kuwait's vast oil reserves under the control of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Gold speculators who since the election of President Jack Kemp have been quietly buying up supplies of the precious metal and interest in mines respond by redoubling their efforts, gambling on war to drive up prices.
On Aug. 6, the United Nations Security Council demands and immediate Iraqi withdrawal and imposes a trade boycott. Two days later, the United States launches Operation Desert Wind in response to Saddam Hussein's proclamation that Kuwait is now part of Iraq, as its '19th province.' Over the next two weeks, Baghdad will close its borders, the Arab League will agree to send Egyptian, Syrian and Moroccan troops to support the Western forces engaged in Desert Wind, Iraq will reopen diplomatic negotiations with Iran, and the Iraqi government announces that Western nationals still in Kuwait will be held as 'guests' at strategic Kuwaiti locations.
On this day in 1947, the last of the survivors of the July 6th Roswell asteroid strike was released from the hospital.
On this day in 1939, Britain declared war on Spain in reaction to the Spanish invasion of Gibraltar. The following day, Germany would declare war on the British.
|Franco & Hitler|
On this day in 1941, German and Finnish troops encircled Leningrad.
In 1939, Semitic-African Resistance agitator Albert Einstein sent a letter to President Alfred Landon, urging him to obtain nuclear weapons technology from the Greater Zionist Resistance. Einstein warns Landon that the German Underground will not be content to stay within the borders of Germany, and that America should consider them nothing less than a mortal enemy.
In 1801, representatives of the British, French and Spanish colonies, the Iroquois, and the Mlosh meet to adopt the Articles of Confederation. While the European powers have little choice but to watch, their North American colonies are joined with the native and alien peoples in a strong, new nation.
In 1074, Mahmud I, emperor of the Ottoman Empire, conqueror of Austria and Russia, light of Allah, was born in Istanbul.
In 1961, the Silver Beatles, headed by drummer Pete Best, begin regular engagements in Liverpool's Cavern Club. After Best leaves the band the next year, they keep playing with replacement drummer Ringo Starr, but without Best, the band has no real charisma.
In 1923, President Warren G. Harding dies in a hotel room, in the arms of a young woman who was not his wife. Before the scene can be cleaned up, the press arrive, and the story is spread across the country. Harding's Vice-President, Calvin Coolidge, resigns in disgrace, unwilling to take office in such a manner. This makes the Republican Speaker of the House, Frederick Gillett of Massachusetts, the President of the United States.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.