A Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

August 28

In 1916, on this day Paul von Hindenburg succeeds Erich von Falkenhayn, with whose strategy he disagreed, as Chief of the German General Staff. An installment from the Central Powers Victorious thread.

Central Powers Victorious Part 2 von Falkenhayn dismissedBoth his deputy Erich Ludendorff and principal staff officer Max Hoffmann also transferred from the Eastern Front. Although they reluctantly agree to appoint Ludendorff Quartermaster-General, he does not get the supremacy he desires because the Chancellor and the Emperor insist that Hindenburg and Ludendorff follow Hoffmann's plan and he has a completely free hand.

It takes eighteen months, but he formulates the winning strategy that delivers victory to Central Powers. The break through finally comes at the middle of the front in June at Marne II and the German armies surge towards Paris. The French as they always said, fall back upon the defence of their capital. There is then a cease-fire with the French, while the Germans threaten the Channel ports. The British and Lloyd-George now have what they have been talking about and feared - one to three million hostages in France.

Landsdowne is swiftly sent to Basel to accept Cousin Willi's Peace Office presented by Alfred Duke of Clarence and Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Cousins George's and Willi's uncle and British royal duke. Landsdowne signs. Meanwhile Woodrow Wilson and Pershing are wrong footed, not being in position to attack in time. FDR as the young assistant naval secretary in France inspecting "his" marine corps is absolutely furious.

Because Hindenburg and Ludendorff (pictured) had no control over the military strategy, they had spent the majority of their time focusing on war time control of the economy. A domination had inevitably developed, and they intended to convert this into a military dictatorship at the soonest opportunity. von Hertling was determined to prevent this, but he only had a year to live, and by the time of his death, the office of Chancellorship was on the cusp of abolition.

In 1728, on this day John Stark was born in Londonderry, Province of New Hampshire. He was the major general in charge of the Continental Army during the disastrous Battle of Bennington which saw the patriot cause spectacularly collapse.

Gen John Stark loses the Battle of BenningtonIt there was one moment within the American Revolution turned from a somewhat close fight into a clear loss for the rebels it likely began in the prelude to the Battle of Bennington. John Burgoyne's men were marching south and, even though conditions were declining, many men still held strong morale from the retake of Fort Ticonderoga. The pivotal moment however, was still yet to come.

German General Friedrich Baum and his men had been marching toward Bennington since August 11th, 1777 when they encountered several small bands of patriots. Skirmishes ensued and prisoners were taken and it was from those prisoners that Baum's men learned that the American force stationed at Bennington was much larger than expected. By mere chance Baum's men encountered a detachment of the American General John Stark's men who were scouting reports for Indians in the area. There was a slight skirmish and all nearly appeared lost for the British being able to take prisoners until the rebels made a slight mishap. They were attempting to burn a bridge in order to prevent the British/German/Indian forces from catching them and taking prisoners but were unable to do so in time*. Baum's men caught them and they were taken back to the camp where they were tortured into releasing information on the location and size of the rebel's camp. Most of the men didn't crack but the few who did gave the German General enough sense to ask for a larger band of reinforcements that earlier expected from Burgoyne's main army camped several days away.

The Americans however, were ignorant of the large British presence in the area and assumed the men that they had sent out to scout had indeed found an Indian presence. The men stayed in Bennington and were unaware that in just hours the Battle for the fate of the Revolution was going to begin.

Burgoyne received Baum's message the following day and dispatched Hienrich Von Breymann to lead a large group of men to help take Bennington. In the meantime Buam's men prepared a redoubt and began to slowly creep towards the American Camp. Early plans were made and scouts began to reveal important information on the American force which was camped still in Bennington with little to do. No defensive line was created and most men thought that Burgoyne's men were still deep in the Upper New York wilderness, not right on their doorstep.

Breymann arrived on the 15th of August with about a thousand men and final plans were put into place, the terrible weather which had been plaguing the area appeared to be continuing until finally breaking on the morning of the 16th of August. The British set their lines and with Indian scout advice, began to position themselves for a surprise attack, something which many of the officers (including Breymann, but not Baum) were normally opposed to.

The Americans awoke on the 16th to the sound of gunfire as the British force pummeled the Americans. Many men awoke, heard the battle, and rushed outside still groggy only to be slain by the prepared British. General Stark was slain by midday after attempting to make a morale boosting and line breaking attack against the British and failed upon being dehorsed following a shot to the neck. The American morale crumpled and casualties were high while the British suffered very few. By nightfall the remainder of the force formerly commanded by John Stark had either fled or been captured. The redcoats were victorious.

In 413 BC, spooked by a lunar eclipse1, the superstitious Athenian Commander Nicias ordered the fleet to set sail immediately and the disappointing Sicilian Expedition ended on a farcical note.

Delian League wins the Peloponesian WarMore significantly, the talented Spartan Commander Gylippus had been robbed of a never-to-be-repeated opportunity to strike a heavy blow against the Delian League that had endangered a large naval force on a near pointless mission. A second chance would not be forthcoming, Nicias was dismissed and the Peloponesian War was decisively won by his forces now led by the Athenian Commanders Demosthenes, Menander, and Euthydemus.

This great victory for the arsenal of democracy ensured the establishment of a newly unified Greece that could withstand that imminent rise of the Macedonians.

In 387 BC, the barricaded Capitoline Hill fell and Gallic leader Brennus declared "Woe to the vanquished!" before mercilessly ordering the execution of both the citizenry and also the troops of the surviving right wing of the Roman Army that had fled the disasterous Battle of the Allia.

The Fall of Rome, 387 BCWhen newly installed dictator, General Marcus Furius Camillus arrived with a relief army, the city was an uninhabitable, smoking ruin. The Senate was forced to move the capitol to Veii where the left wing of the army had fled.

Despite this setback, there would not be a Gallic Empire bestride Western Europe. Because the Romans learnt the critical lessons, completely re-evaluated their art of war, and reinforced a new capital with defensive walls that were impregnable to future assault.

By 1917, suffrage for women in the United States was an uphill struggle. Despite even the reminder from the earliest days of the Revolution with Abigail Adams writing to her husband, "Don't forget the Ladies,"", the right to vote had been kept from women for over a century. While many abolitionists worked with the suffrage movement, once the Civil War ended and the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments provided rights for African Americans, women's suffrage seemed forgotten.

Suffragette Killed while Protesting President Leaders like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Caddy Stanton continued the fight, but great political ground was made until well into the twentieth century.

America had joined World War I in April of 1917 amid a fair amount of protest of the involvement in Europe's war. President Woodrow Wilson used propaganda machines to keep the war popular, showing films of troops in training, "minute-men" giving public speeches over the importance of making the world safe for democracy, and upholding ideals of everything American. Meanwhile, the National Woman's Party, the renamed union of many women's suffrage organizations, used negative publicity against the President. He was routinely questioned why women weren't in his agenda of support for all humankind. Women picketed the White House with placards demanding the right to vote. Other placards displayed anti-war slogans, which was growing among the movement.

The protesters, nicknamed the "Silent Sentinels", had gradually ended their silence days before. As the President drove by, tipping his hat as he usually did, the women shouted at him. Outraged bystanders began to clash with the protesters, and eventually the police were brought in to calm the situation by arresting many of the women on charges of obstructing traffic. In the altercation, one of the leaders of the suffragettes, Alice Paul of New Jersey, violently slipped out of a policeman's grasp and fell, hitting her head on the pavement. Police and protesters alike attempted medical help, but Alice died in a matter of minutes. The women rose up in what many called a "riot", but police quickly arrested whoever they could catch to be placed in the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia.

As the media and the remainders of the NWP spread word about the death, Wilson faced a public relations disaster. In a change from his usual quiet on the subject, he approached Congress with a speech requesting women's suffrage, noting that they "were willing to die, just as any man in the Revolution had been". Meanwhile, the negative press only grew as the arrested women entered hunger strikes. Potential bills flew around the Congress, drowning out suggestions for a temperance amendment controlling alcohol. Opposition to suffrage repeated pseudo-scientific evidence that women had smaller brains, and it was on a demand that women could think just as well as men that a solution was found. Common throughout the South, poll tests would be established to prove literacy and basic knowledge of citizenship for a voter. The Eighteenth Amendment, establishing the National Poll Test, would be ratified January 6, 1919. Any citizen of the United States, male or female, black or white, and even of any age, could vote after passing the test and proving merit.

As the Test went into use around the United States, it became steadily obvious that, statistically, the poor would be the first to be turned away from voting. Only a few who recognized this matter took it seriously, and of those, there were ones who used it to their advantage. Workers' rights were a question of the unskilled laborers, but the increasing difficulty of the Test kept them from voting. As the economy sank into the Great Depression, social leaders spoke out against the Test. Facing his own public relations issues, President Franklin Roosevelt urged Congress to repeal the amendment with a new amendment continuing the guarantee the vote for all adults, men and women. The Nineteenth Amendment would repeal the Eighteenth in 1933, the first of many political shifts for the nation.

Although ignored in 1917, the idea of the prohibition of alcohol would arise again in 1937 along with the control of marijuana. After two decades of facing an explosion in organized crime, these measures, too, would be repealed under the presidency of Stuart Symington in 1963 shortly before his assassination in Dallas, Texas.

In 1951, the world infrastructure is thrown into chaos when all electronic systems shut down for exactly a half hour.Warning from the Stars by Gerry Shannon

It is later revealed that the cause is the technology within the ship of the alien Klaatu whose spacecraft landed in a Washington DC baseball field two days before.

Klaatu left his android bodyguard Gort while the alien himself was placed under federal custody under strict orders by President Truman. (Klaatu's requests to deliver a message to world leaders at the United Nations were refused). Escaping, and hiding under a false identity in a boarding house; Klaatu would then track down famed scientist Albert Einstein to help him meet with the greatest representatives of the field of science at a hurried international conference at the location of his craft. Klaatu told Einstein he would use the other-wordly technology at his disposal to stage a 'demonstration' of what he and his race could do to mankind.

With the aid of a sympathetic widow, Klaatu makes it to his ship where he addresses the world before he, Gort and his ship finally departs. His parting words are grave, Watch the Youtube Clip

Unfortunately, America does little to lead the way in heeding Klaatu's warning - and it would be Klaatu's own son (along with a returning Gort) who would arrive in another craft 57 years later for a more cataclysmic confrontation. Watch the Youtube Clip

In 1950, the withdrawal of United Nations forces forced President Harry S Truman to accept the counsel of advisors, who called for unilateral U.S. airstrikes against the North Korean forces.Pusan forces the issue
Truman had already ordered the Seventh Fleet to protect Chiang Kai-Shek's Taiwan, thereby ending America's policy of non-interference in Chinese domestic affairs. The Nationalist government (now confined to Taiwan) asked to participate in the war. Their request had been denied by the Americans, who felt they would only encourage PRC intervention.
Despite the post-World War II demobilization of U.S. and allied forces, which caused serious supply problems for American troops in the region, the United States still had substantial forces in Japan to oppose the North Korean military and its largely outdated Soviet equipment. These American forces were under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. Trouble was that apart from British Commonwealth units, no other nation could supply sizeable manpower.
Pusan changed everything, and the regional containment strategy had failed. Truman, needing allies, reluctantly invited Taiwan into the war. By September of 1950, a state of war existed between the United States and China. It became apparent that World War III would be fought in Asia-Pacific.

Logo

On this day in 1957, the Houston Oilers held their inaugural preseason workout at the Rice University campus.

Logo - Rochester Royals
Rochester Royals

On this day in 1944, the Allies launched Operation Market-Garden, a four-pronged infantry and armor offensive against the German divisions threatening Antwerp; Winston Churchill, who had advocated a paratroop attack, was later heard to quip that the assault should have been code-named Operation Dragoon "`because I was dragooned into it".

British PM
British PM - Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Nature Boy

On this day in 1982, Ric Flair defended his NWA world championship against Tommy Rich in a best 2-of-3 falls match at an NWA televised card in Orlando, Florida; Flair won the third and deciding fall to retain the title.

After the match a visibly infuriated Rich berated his Enforcers teammate Bret Hart for not coming to his aid, to which Hart responded by making an obscene gesture at Rich.

Nature Boy - Ric Flair
Ric Flair

On this day in 1941, the Wehrmacht campaign in Russia achieved its greatest triumph to date, smashing a Red Army tank offensive near the town of Kursk.

The general whose strategy helped win the battle, Erwin Rommel, was later awarded the Knight's Cross and promoted to field marshal.

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On this day in 1953, Soviet premier Georgi Malenkov warned the United States that any intervention by the US or other Western powers in the situation in China would be regarded by the Soviet Union as an act of war and answered in kind.

 - Georgi Malenkov
Georgi Malenkov
In 1996, Prince Charles of England reconciles with his estranged wife, Princess Diana, before their divorce can be finalized. In what has been repeated in countless recreations of the moment, he met her at the entrance to a subway station, and while both were in disguise, rode a train for 3 hours while they talked out their differences.
In 1963, President Kennedy himself made a surprise visit to Martin Luther King's rally on the Washington Mall, and is so deeply moved by Dr. King's speech that he immediately runs up to the podium and embraces the reverend before the gathered multitudes. Promising that he will do more for American blacks, he introduces the Civil Rights Act of 1963 before Congress as soon as they come back from their summer recess.
In 1999, a murderous cult appears to be slaying people throughout the Philippines. Police determine a strange pattern to their slayings, with each victim being born under a particular star sign.
In 1961, Robert A. Heinlein's novel Stranger in a Strange Land becomes the first science fiction novel to reach the top of the New York Times' bestseller list. Literary critics begin reexamining a genre that they had disdained for many years and the field experienced a renaissance in popularity, both critical and commercial.
In 1938, Northwestern University awards an honorary degree to Edgar Bergen's dummy Charlie McCarthy. The jocular mood of the occasion is broken when the 'dummy' comes to life and flees the stage, leaving a dead Edgar Bergen behind.
In 1249, Caliph Amal bin-Yusuph convenes the Conference of Cairo to recodify Sharia law in Islam. bin-Yusuph favors a more liberal interpretation of the Koran, and hopes to change the Sharia to reflect this.


August 27

In 1896, brilliant scientist and inventor Léon Theremin was born Lev Sergeyevich Termen into a family of French Huguenot and German ancestry in Saint Petersburg in the Russian Empire.

Birth of Leon Theremin: Father of the ThingOne of his many acoustic inventions was an early electronic musical instrument that could be controlled without physical contact. And as fate would have it, one of the many enthusiastic amateur players of this incredible device was the notorious Bolshevik Revolutionary called Lenin. Of course Lenin had some considerable free leisure time on his hands, because he had been forced underground after his arrival at the Finland Station in April 1917. Along with Trotsky, he had secretly met with Theremin and the conversation took the oddest of turns.

Two years later Alexander Kerensky and his ministers were invited to the Paris Peace Talks. Of course their presence was expected to be little more than a courtesy as the Four Great Powers intended to frame the final agreement. Nevertheless, they were consulted by the Imperialist architects, and those very revealing discussions were transmitted to the Bolshevik leadership by an ingeniously remote-powered eavesdropping device known as "The Thing" that had also been developed by Theremin. Needless to say, when the cynical nature of the secret discussions were revealed to working class militants in Saint Petersburg the city rose in uproar. Shortly after the establishment of a Soviet Government, Theremin took his musical instrument to the United States. He continued to conduct espionage operations for the Soviet Union until his exposure when Whittaker Chambers was turned in 1948.

In 1664, on this day the Dutch defenders of Fort Amsterdam received first reports that the English invasion fleet had sunk in a storm. An article from the American Heroes thread.

Relief in the Big OrangeThe capital of the New Netherlands had miraculously survived. And to celebrate victory in the Third Anglo-Dutch War ten years later, the defense was renamed Fort Willem Hendrick (pictured) in honor of the Dutch leader who was Stadtholder and Prince of Orange. And New Amsterdam was renamed New Orange.

Due to the peaceful manner in which the region was later,transitioned to the United States, Dutch-American relationship remained warm. As a result, three hundred years later, the ten-lane elevated highway stretching from the East River to the Hudson River, connecting the Holland Tunnel on the west side to the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges to the east was named the Willem Hendrick Expressway [1].

In 1809, on this day 17th President of the United States Hannibal Hamlin was born to Anna (née Livermore) and Cyrus Hamlin in Paris, Maine. He was a descendant in the sixth generation of English colonist James Hamlin, who had settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1639. Hamlin was a great nephew of U.S. Senator Samuel Livermore II of New Hampshire,and a grandson of Stephen Emery, Maine's Attorney General in 1839-1840.

Birth of President HamlinPrior to his election as Vice President in 1860, Hamlin served in the United States Senate, the House of Representatives, and, briefly, as the 26th Governor of Maine. And with Abraham Lincoln in ill health, as Acting President he planned and executed the Union response to the secession of Maryland. Federal Troops were sent into Washington, Allegany, Garrett and Frederick counties to support a Western State's retrocession into the Union with Hagerstown as State Capital. Weeks later, Lincoln was dead and his policies had unraveled; Hamlin was forced to relocate the Federal Capital to Philadelphia.

The vengeful Booth struck four years later after the US Government had returned to Washington City. After mortally wounding Hamlin, he leaped gracefully onto the stage of Ford's Theater, landing uninjured while announcing to the audience, "Sic semper tyrannis!" During the chaos, he made his escape out the back door, adding, "The South is avenged!".

Federal troops poured into southern Maryland in pursuit, and a $100,000 reward was offered for information leading to his capture. They followed his trail to Virginia, where Booth was spotted on April 26 in the tobacco barn of farmer Richard H. Garrett. After a brief shootout with intelligence officers under Everton Conger, Booth again escaped on horseback while his accomplices were captured.

Booth fled deep into Virginia, disappearing forever. Many cases of "Booth-fever" would lead to numerous captures of innocent men, and it was believed that Booth was able to escape out of the newly reunited country or out west, living among miners and ranchers who had never heard of his fame. Because of his acting abilities, there would be a great deal of theories about where he could have ended up. Other theories suggested he died attempting to ford rivers under the cover of darkness while still others hold that enraged Southerners, whether white or black, killed him on sight and did not leave enough remains to identify.

One year later, in Columbus, Georgia, the Ladies Memorial Association determined that a day should be set aside for remembrance of the Southern dead in the Civil War. Elizabeth Ellis chose the day April 26, referring to General Johnston's surrender, but soon Booth's disappearance came to mind. After proper review the Association determined the memorial would be held for all dead, including a special commemoration of President Hamlin. Flowers were placed on graves both Confederate and Union while a wreath was dispatched to Illinois. Booth ironically contributed to great healing between the two halves of the American nation.

In 1941, Japanese Prime Minister Prince Fumimaro Konoye meets with President Franklin Roosevelt of the United States in order to improve relations between the two countries in light of Japan's war with China.

Konoye meets FDRKonoye, who hated the European fascists that his country had allied itself with, sought to divert American attention from his country to Europe; he knew that Roosevelt also hated the fascists, and was quite willing to be moved in that direction, if Konoye could assure him that American interests in the Pacific would not be compromised by Japan.

The Prime Minister was eager to grant such guarantees, and returned to Japan with a peace agreement that relieved a great deal of pressure from the island nation. Although the military was unhappy with this deal, they saw the advantage of not having to fight American forces in addition to the allies of China that they were currently struggling against. They called off a secret plan to attack Hawaii and other Pacific American possessions in the winter, and instead focused on the Chinese mainland and the nations of Oceania.

In 1975, in accordance with his heartfelt wishes, Generalissimo and former ROC President Chiang Kai-shek was buried in his native Fenghua, a county-level city in the north of Zhejiang province, mainland China [1]. It was the final leg of a historic journey from Taipei, the Taiwanese capital city that he had ruled in exile for twenty-nine years.

The Tragedy at Wuhan Part 2Due to his ancient rivalry with Chairman Mao (pictured together) these funeral arrangements would have been unthinkable prior to The Tragedy at Wuhan. However the pace of development and reform had moved ahead at an incredible speed under his dynamic successor, Deng Xiaoping.

Following on from the official state visit from President Nixon, Chiang was invited to visit Deng's Beijing. It was a city transformed, no longer did a smiling but nevertheless demagogic portrait hang menacingly over the Forbidden City. Instead, change and transformation were in the air. And in this positive atmosphere, the representatives of White and Red China agreed to a collaborative partnership that would bring Taiwanese finance and technology into mainland development [2].

If it was a legacy that the ageing Generalissimo could be proud of then surely few could begrudge his request to be buried in his native Fenghua where the incredible story of his life had been almost ninety years before. It was an epic saga of lifelong struggle for an ideal. And in the finest traditions of Chinese literature it ended fittingly on a high note of supreme achievement. Because as China re-emerged as a regional superpower, the photograph of two ancient rivals finally became a new icon of this unexpected but nevertheless welcome partnership. Two great helmsmen, staring out into an exhilarating future.

In 1324 BC, on this day Hittite prince Zannanza narrowly survived a bandit attack before safely crossing the border into Upper Egypt.

Zannanza, Pharaoh of EgyptHis father Suppiluliuma I, king of the Hittites had reluctantly agreed to Egyptian Queen Dakhamunzu's offer of marriage to one of his sons. Widowed, and without an heir, she had appealed to him in writing "My husband has died and I have no son. They say about you that you have many sons. You might give me one of your sons to become my husband. I would not wish to take one of my subjects as a husband .. I am afraid".

Of course Zannanza was to discover that the Queen was not just isolated, she had very specific reasons for her fear, because the bandit attack had been organized by the same devil's that murdered her husband Tutankhamun. But the conspirators bid for power was counterproductive, because inadvertently their actions would lead to the creation of a powerful unified Hittite/Egyptian Empire. And soon after the conspirators were crushed, a common enemy emerged that required the concentrated forces of both nations. They were the so-called Peoples of the Sea, a confederacy of seafaring raiders who sailed around the eastern Mediterranean, causing political unrest, who ultimately attempted (unsuccessfully) to seize control of Egyptian territory.

In 1979, on this day English republicans bombed the Shadow V the thirty-four foot long lobster-potting and tuna fishing boat owned by the private citizen Louis Battenberg (formerly His Serene Highness Prince Louis of Battenberg) near the castle in Mullaghmore, County Sligo where he had lived in internal exile for six decades.

Shadow V
By Ed, Scott Palter & Jeff Provine
Along with their Russian and German cousins in the Royal Houses of Romanov and Hohenzollern, the Great War forced the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas Family off the throne.

At the outbreak of war, his father had been forced to step down as First Sea Lord by the Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. The harsh injustice of this brutal decision drove young "Dickie" to tears of rage. But despite being a "blue-eyed German" himself, "Dickie" served in the Royal Navy during the early part of the war, distinguishing himself at the Battle of Jutland. As a result, of this valour, and due to the goodwill that he had established with the local community, he was permitted to reside in internal exile in County Sligo. And when Southern Ireland received its independence, he found himself located twelve miles south of the British border, a private citizen of the new state of Eire.

By the second half of the twentieth century, post-imperial Britain was in absolute decline and sinking fast. Monarchists dreamt of a restoration which might lift the nation out of chaos. But such a step could only be possible if the socially awkward young Prince Charles was supported by his mentor and favourite Uncle. And that was why Republicans decided that he had to die.

By 1941, war in the Pacific had been brewing for years. During the 1930s, Japanese influence into China had increased to all-out war in 1937 and domination of Manchuria. With the fall of France in 1940, Japan stationed troops in French Indochina.

Roosevelt Agrees to Summit with KonoeGermany's invasion of Russia in 1941 placed Japan in a precarious position: Hitler pressured them to attack north to the Soviet Union, which would have been an easy front; French Indochina stood ready for full occupation with Vichy troops occupied in Europe. Far to the east, the United States rested like a sleeping giant.

Prime Minister Prince Fumimaro Konoe was desperate to prevent war with America. Roosevelt routinely demanded removal of Japanese troops from China, which was an impossible agreement since the army and navy had suffered too much to give up conquests. On July 28, 1941, Japan commenced its occupation of French Indochina, and the United States retaliated by freezing Japanese assets and, more importantly, leading Britain and the Dutch East Indies in an oil embargo. Without foreign oil, Japan was stuck; within two years, the entirety of oil stockpiles would be depleted. The military had not anticipated such a rash move by the Americans, and Konoe made a last-ditch effort: a personal summit. He sent notice to Roosevelt that he would soon be arriving in Washington in hope FDR would meet him.

It was a diplomatic gamble, but Konoe's risk-taking paid off. The summit was rushed in preparation, and, on September 5, the Japanese Prime Minister was welcomed to the White House. The talks were primarily a standstill; Roosevelt made demands that Japan leave China and stop its military expansion to the south, something that Konoe could not do. While the meeting essentially gained nothing, Konoe did learn one important point: much of the American public did not want to engage in another "European" war, so the United States would never be the one to strike first.

Under the Tripartite Pact signed among Germany, Italy, and Japan in 1940, the three had agreed to join forces if an unnamed force (the United States) came into the war against them. While, militarily, an immediate strike against the small American Pacific fleet would be advantageous, it could prove costly in the long run. Konoe reported to the other Tripartite nations that the United States must never be assaulted. They could not risk a repeat of even the slightest negative PR move like the sinking of the Lusitania in the first World War.

With pressure from Hitler, the Japanese would begin their plans for war against the Soviet Union. They assured him that, without oil, they would be unable to put their armies into the field effectively. Defeat in 1939 at Khalkhin Gol also showed that Japanese ground forces were not adequate against Soviet heavy tanks, so they focused on devising a defensive war with long-reaching strikes by aircraft. However, as Operation Barbarossa became a logistical quagmire, it was obvious that Hitler had bitten off more than Germany could chew.

The Emperor did not want to be on the losing side of a war with the Soviet Union, but Konoe and his ministers could not break the Tripartite Pact. Instead, they bought time, assuring Hitler that their army would be ready for combat in the summer. On June 28, 1942, Japan launched attacks toward Soviet oil fields north of Manchuria simultaneous with Germany's operation Case Blue. Stalin let the east lose ground with only minor defensive measures, pressing most of his might into the defense of Moscow and the west. Even with two fronts, by the middle of 1943, Russia halted the tide of advance and began to push back.

Japan fell to maintaining position and working with its air force (arguably the best in the world after years of buildup) to spy on troop movements and pin down Russian reserves before they could reach the front. Germany's war with Britain had come to a standstill with Hitler giving up North Africa but holding the Mediterranean. The manpower and materiel did not seem available for an amphibious invasion of Europe until at least 1945 despite the fact that the Blitz had long passed. Instead, they fought Germany's navy while Stalin began to eat away at the back of Hitler's European fortress.

Finally, the end came for Germany with the British landing at Normandy under Operation Overlord in March of 1945. By that time, Stalin was pressing into Germany itself, and the Third Reich faced collapse. On August 14, 1945, the remainders of Hitler's government (Hitler himself had disappeared, presumed dead in his bunker via suicide) sued for peace. Stalin then joined with Britain in pressing toward the east where Japan had stood unquestioned for years. Seeing the vicious defeat of allies, Emperor Hirohito offered terms for peace, but Stalin would not accept anything less than what had been declared at Potsdam: disarmament, reduction of empire, and partial occupation.

Prime Minister Konoe, who had been in and out of power over the course of the war, approached American President Thomas Dewey for mediation. Dewey agreed, but Stalin and Prime Minister Clement Attlee did not agree to ceasefire until concessions had been made. While battles still roared in Siberia, Mongolia, China, and French Indochina, talks began. When the dust cleared, Japan would maintain Korea as a protectorate, but they would lose all other imperial gains and face limitations on armed forces.

The United States, now economically on its feet with its profitable Lend-Lease program, suddenly faced a world with vaporizing empires and Soviet dominance over almost all of Europe and Asia. Renewed military buildup began through the 1950s, and America found itself trailing distantly behind Russia in missile technology and space development. In 1962, Russia moved ICBMs to its ally Cuba and refused to recognize American requests that they be removed. The successful invasion at Playa Giron and subsequent seizing of those missiles began the Soviet-American War that would last until 1968 with Russian troops marching into Chicago, where the relocated American government had sat after the Bombing of Washington.

In 1789, on this day the de facto government of Revolutionary France, the National Constituent Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man of the Citizen, a statement of enlightenment principles co-authored by the Marquis de Lafayette and the Virginian émigreé radical Tom Jefferson.

Pursuit of LibertyThirteen years before, Jefferson had penned the United States Declaration of Independence. But a paragraph indicting Britain's role in the slave trade was deleted from the final version creating a contradiction between the claim that "all men are created equal" and the existence of American slavery. "If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature", English abolitionist Thomas Day wrote in a 1776 letter, "it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves".

"Rather it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated"Jefferson agreed, quitting Virginia to enjoy Parisian Society with his common law mixed race wife, Sally Hemings. They were soon to discover that the French were prosecuting their own revolution with a great deal more extremism, too much for Jefferson's own "personal taste for disorder and violence". Still, his vision for a French revolutionary occupation of England might yet rescue his former colleagues, because if there was one overarching principle Jefferson really believed in, it was that both revolutions were connected by the common pursuit of Liberty. It was a concept that Jefferson had brow-beaten Lafayette into codifying into the Declaration.

In 1806, the compromised reality of the American Revolution was thrown into sharp contrast - whilst President James Monroe's High Representative William Pinkney conducted negotiations in London to renew the Jay Treaty, his predecessor, the "philantropic cock" Thomas Jefferson was across the English Channel enjoying Parisian Society with his common law mixed race wife, Sally Hemings.

Philanthropic Cock by Ed, Scott Palter, Raymond Speer and Eric LippsUnderstanding that the infant republic needed at least two decades of peace in order to survive, George Washington had risked his reputation as a patriot by approving the original ten-year treaty with Great Britain. Now, more important than a simple renewal was the need to resolve differences over the issue of impressment of American sailors from US ships and neutral trading rights. Because in acquiesing to American independence, it was now clear that Great Britain's cynical ploy was to give away the cake whilst keeping the cream.

Agreement seemed possible if not likely, because the British Prime Minister Lord Grenville and his "Ministry of All the Talents" believed that the US Navy was partly manned by British deserters who were desperately needed to fight Napoleon. Accordingly, Grenville ordered Lord Holland and Lord Auckland to cut a deal with Pinkney. Trouble was, that whilst President James Monroe approved the treaty, the US Senate rejected it, and the result was the War of 1812.

The political crisis created by the Senates rejection might of course been avoided had Thomas Jefferson served a second term, because he would never have approved the treaty in the first place. However he had claimed to be exhausted by the complexities of the Louisiana Purchase and the misbehavior of Aaron Burr.

In reality, Jefferson was hugely frustrated with the development of the American revolution which had become a more of a worldly struggle for survival than the building of the egalitarian society that he had dreamt of. In fact, the American Revolution had stopped, and there was little to interest a mental giant in business as usual.

Of course Jefferson's frustration had begun at the very outset. Not only had his bold anti-slavery statement been disgracefully removed from the Declaration of Independence, he had resigned from Washington's government to spend more time with Hemings, and later faced the scandal of this affair in the mainstream press during his political comeback.

But in a larger sense, Jefferson wanted the American Revolution to have the transformative energy of its French equivalent. Having served as a diplomat in Paris, he had experienced the freedom of living with Hemings in a way not possible in the States. Soon after Monroe's inauguration, Jefferson and Hemings sold up Montecello, freed his slaves and left America forever.

Without knowing it, Jefferson had started the African-American Revolution which ironically, was a transformative process more attuned to his own thinking.

In 1861, President Hannibal Hamlin was opposed by prominent business interests when he attempted to revive the District of Columbia on Manhattan island. By the end of his second year in office, Hamlin was resident at Montauk Point, Long Island, where a Seaside White House was available to him and his family, as was a double domed capital, larger and more spacious than the one left behind in Washington D.C.

Crucifixion Day Part 3 by Raymond SpeerMeanwhile, Richmond remained the capital of the Confederacy, but that organization was disintegrating while unchallenged by the USA. Georgia and Mississippi sanctioned the disintegration of the infantry units that had been raised by those states upon the expiration of their 60 day enlistment periods. Virginia was more responsible (well aware of the Grand Army of the Republic that the Yankees had training in Pennsylvania), but was straining its own resources by putting forth the defense for the Confederacy's eastern seaboard. And sales had not been good for Confederate bonds, though the documents were being marketed freely in Europe.

The Post-Skedaddle phase of the War Between the American States began in the Nevada territory, where a convention hall of orators in Virginia City announced that Nevada was joining the Confederacy. That was in the last week of November 1862 and a rival Union government in Carson City was established by a company of cavalry the next month. By the beginning of 1862, Nevadan settlers were fighting among themselves over which side would get the mineral wealth of the territory.

Both Jefferson Davis and Hannibal Hamlin appointed proxies in Nevada, and contacted their respective Congresses for appropriations to send an overwhelming force to conquer Nevada beyond dispute. Of necessity, each side made ready their home defense forces back east.

As those events transpired, Brigham Young in Salt Lake City organized his people, ordering a prepared defense force to resist outside domination "from either side". In London, with the advent of the Nevada Crisis, maps are consulted concerning the American southwest lands and the settlements thereon.

In 2006, Housing Minister Barack Hussein Obama II visited Kibera, one of Africa's largest slums in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. "You are all my brothers and sisters," Mr Obama told crowds of excited residents who craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the Minister (pictured). The Barack Obama Story, Part 4 - The Audacity of Hope

"Everybody in Kenya needs the same opportunities to go to school, to start businesses, to have enough to eat, to have decent clothes," he said over a loudspeaker.

At least six hundred thousand people, many without jobs or legal title to the land they inhabited had been given fresh hope for a brighter future. Thw Minister's Community Action Policies had helped set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants' rights organization.

Unquestionably, his most significant contribution was in organizing finance for the program. Sponsorship funding had been obtained from sources as diverse as the Chicago Bulls, Irish Rock Band U2 to the United Nations office of the High Commissioner for Refugees.

Obama was creating an international profile that would propel him to the position of UN Secretary General in 2014, and a dramatic confrontation with the forty-fourth President of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

On this day in 1968, the Vietnam War ended with the signing of a cease-fire pact between North and South Vietnam. The withdrawal of remaining foreign troops from Vietnamese soil would begin two days later.

"Westie"
"Westie" - Pulls Out
Pulls Out
Flag of

In 1951, on this day Syria officially declared war on Israel.

Flag of - Syria
Syria

In 1960, on this day the US Treasury Department published a sobering report on the economic impact of the Jamaica Bay hurricane; the report estimated that it would take at least 4-6 months for metropolitan New York to recover from the storm and the stock market would be in decline for 6-8 weeks.

 - Casey Stengel
Casey Stengel
In 1943, on this day the U.S. naval destroyer escort Eldridge was commissioned by the Navy for Project Rainbow.

In a military application of Albert Einstein?s unified field theory, the destroyer escort was fitted with powerful generator equipment, designed to distort electromagnetic radiation and gravity, rendering the ship invisible to radar. On or before October 28 1943 USS Eldridge was rendered invisible to human observers for a brief period of time. Upon her return, she left a very visible tear in the fabric of the Universe. The observers reported a thermal distortion much like the running of gas out of a pipe, or hot air rising off the desert. By the time President Truman arrived for a personal viewing on October 30th, there were some seriously worried people on the Project.

That included Albert Einstein, who offer absolutely no guarantees to the President that the tear could be fixed up.
US Athlete

In 1935, American athlete Jesse Owens commented on the decision by United States Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage to withdraw the participation of the American athletics from the Games of the XI Olympiad in Archona, capital city of the Dominion of Draka.

With Owens expected to win up to four gold medals, a tinge of bitterness could reasonably be expected from most human beings.

US Athlete - Jesse Owens
Jesse Owens

It is widely repeated that Chief Justice von Shrakenburg 'snubbed' Jesse Owens and his achievements. Brundage believed that politics had no place in sport; von Shrakenberg feared sport would define politics by debunking the Draka assertion of white supremacy. Owens said, "I think journalists showed bad taste in criticizing the man of the hour in the Dominion of the Draka". One can only wonder if his tongue had crept into his cheek before making this memorable statement.

On this day in 1969, serial killer Jay Sebring resurfaced after nearly a week in hiding and shot a homeless drifter.

Unbeknownst to Sebring or his victim, a tourist in a motel across the street from the site of the shooting managed to capture the murder on his home movie camera; the footage was turned over to the LAPD the next morning, giving investigators a crucial break in their efforts to solve the Manson/Tate/Polanski/LaBianca murders and the August 21st motorcycle cop shooting.

 - Jay Sebring
Jay Sebring
In 1947, actor Herbert Streicher was born in the Bronx. Despite appearing in some films of questionable morals in his youth, Streicher went on to a great comic career, starring in such films as M*A*S*H and Love & Death before landing the role of Jack on the hit TV series Three's Company.
In 1937, George E.T. Eyston, driving Pascal-Edison's Indra electric car, sets a world land-speed record of 347.18 miles per hour. While the Indra is not an automobile for sale to the public, Pascal-Edison's electric car sales soar by association with the Indra.
In 2145, philosopher/scientist K'ung-Fu-Tzu was born in China. Master K'ung defined the role of benevolent monarch that the Chinese Emperor should aspire to be; as his philosophies were studied and followed by the nobility, they also adopted his patronage of the sciences, especially after the Shen Dynasty declared its goal of mastery of the sky.
In 1979, on this day Interim Prime Minister Louis Mountbatten was assassinated by terrorists who planted a bomb in his boat at Mullaghmore, County Sligo in the Republic of Ireland. Mountbatten was hated by the Labour Movement because of his plot to overthrow Harold Wilson. It was widely believe that the action was carried out by socialist sympathisers who were horrified that the British establishment had returned from Empire to enslave their own people.
In 1962, on this day the Mariner 2 was launched to Venus. On the way it measured for the first time the solar wind, a constant stream of charged particles flowing outwards from the Sun. It also measured interplanetary dust, which turned out to be more scarce than predicted. And something else was discovered which the Mariner 2 was not simply designed to report. The spacecraft is now defunct in a heliocentric orbit, where it is bristles with a virulent space plague.
In 1908, on this day Lyndon B. Johnson was born at Stonewall, Texas. Due to heavy smoking and lifelong stress, Johnson suffered acute coronary problems, leading to three heart attacks - the final and fatal infarction in his last fortnight of the Presidency. Vice President Hubert Humphrey had been sworn in for a single day according to the US Constitution, with President-elect Richard M Nixon arguing that his Government-in-transition should take office a day early.
In 1908, on this day the regicide Lyndon B. Johnson was born at Stonewall, Texas. Only a third and final heart attack in 1973 prevented this most traitorous of Vice Presidents from facing justice. 'Hey, hey LBJ, how many Kennedy's did you kill today' was the youth chant after unmistakeable evidence emerged of his complicity in the Sirhan-Sirhan affair.
In 1908, on this day Lyndon B. Johnson was born at Stonewall, Texas. A career politician of uncredited worth, Johnson used his network in the house to force through President Kennedy's legislative program througout the 1960s. He also gave not a few politicians 'the treatment' when his charm failed.
In 1943, on this day the U.S. naval destroyer escort Eldridge was commissioned by the Navy for Project Rainbow. In a military application of Albert Einstein's unified field theory, the destroyer escort was fitted with powerful generator equipment, designed to distort electromagnetic radiation and gravity, rendering the ship invisible to radar. On or before October 28 1943 USS Eldridge was rendered invisible to human observers for a brief period of time. Upon her return, she left a very visible tear in the fabric of the Universe. The observers reported a thermal distortion much like the running of gas out of a pipe, or hot air rising off the desert. By the time President Truman arrived for a personal viewing on October 30th, there were some seriously worried people on the Project. That included Albert Einstein, who offer absolutely no guarantees to the President that the tear could be fixed up.
In 1979, on this day Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC died and entered Valhalla. Mountbatten bungled the partition of India in which 10 million people died, yet was the suprising choice for Interim Prime Minister during the 1976 military coup in Britain. Mountbatten was assassinated by the Provisional English Republican Army (IRA), who planted a bomb in his boat at Mullaghmore, County Sligo in the Republic of Ireland.


August 26

In 1978, on this day Italian Cardinal Albino Luciani, 65, was elevated to the papacy as John Paul.

The glorious thirty year papacy of John PaulThough in sickbed for weeks with a highly mysterious ailment, following just a month of being pope, he made a "miraculous" recovery. Though perceived as an intellectual lightweight and "out-of-his-league" by critics in his first month of his papacy, his brush with death (due to circumstances never fully explained) changed such perceptions. He was one of the longest-serving popes in modern history, dying at the ripe old age of 93, in 2006. He outlived the man he had mistakenly predicted would be pope some day, the conservative Pole, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla.

John Paul was a hugely popular pope with the masses; unpretentious, and a moderate in terms of theology. There was great consternation among conservative elements in the Church when the pope allowed for certain types and uses of contraception. The public cheered him for allowing the Italian police authorities access to information related to the Vatican Bank and its murky relations to the Banco Ambrosiano, data which led to the huge scandal that rocked the Italian government and financial elites for a decade (and led to the disgracing of a media magnate, Berlusconi, for his attempts to protect friends with biased reporting in all his media outlets.)

John Paul was far from popular with many conservative Americans, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, such as President Ronald Reagan; the pope's improving of Church ties to the Soviet Union, and dismissal of many pro-US clergy, seemed to conservatives to be prolonging the Cold War and strengthening the USSR's diplomatic position on the global stage. When John Paul made a public pronouncement against the installation of US Pershing II missiles in West Europe, US and Vatican relations soured for decades (though the US is rumored to have stealthily installed them anyway). The Holy Father's stance towards the Russians was seen as lacking in moral clarity vis a vis which side in the Cold War was more committed to true human freedom - it was 'moral equivocationism', in the words of then Vice President George H.W. Bush, in 1983. The pope was given high marks by most Balkan experts across the political spectrum for his calming, 'non-partisan' pronouncements regarding the possible breakup of Yugoslavia after Marshal Tito's death in 1980 (a breakup which never occurred, ethnic aspirations being assuaged with strongly autonomous ethnic republics that remained within a loose federation.) However, John Paul was criticized for not speaking out against a robust yet ostensibly 'humanitarian' Soviet intervention in 1987 that prevented land-grabbing, 'score-settling', or population-removal attempts, albeit with a marked favoring of the Orthodox Serb (fellow Slav) brethren of the Russians. (This intervention continues to this day; the Russians accuse the US of arming Croatian, Bosnian Muslim, and Kosovo Albanian independence movements that wage armed struggle against the Soviet 'peacekeepers'.)

Though the dream of many neoconservatives, in the successive two-term Reagan, Bush, and Dole administrations, of regime change in Moscow has yet to be realized (as of 2006), most liberals dismiss any conservative carping about the significance of John Paul's "not standing up to the Communists". Many liberals either believe in the moral equivalency promulgated by John Paul, or at least the non-confrontational approach he took toward the Soviets, or feel that the political importance of the Vatican in the late-twentieth and early twenty-first centuries was highly exaggerated by the neocons.

In 1969, former President Kennedy, New Orleans Attourney General Jim Garrison and other notable advocates welcomed home Lee Harvey Oswald at Miami International Airport.

PatsyFollowing on the back of the Apollo Moon Landing, it was a second stunning political "win" for the newly elected Humphrey Administration. Within Washington, D.C. it was better understood that the release of the former US marine was attributable to five and half years of delicate advocacy and diplomacy.

His incarceration was an injustice that two Democrat Administrations fought to overturn, aided more recently by the rise of a more moderate government in Cuba. And in so doing the Democrats had managed to avoid the apocalyptic super-power confrontation sought by rogue Soviet agents who were embittered by the humiliating outcome of the Missiles crisis.

Arrested and charged with the assassination of Fidel Castro, compelling evidence soon emerged to shed doubt about his role as a lone gunman. Armed only with a surplus Italian Army rifle, and not being a particularly skilled marksman, it seemed unlikely that he had managed to pull off the assassination in Havana. Instead, many suspected that he was merely a "patsy" for anti-Casto Cubans who wanted to draw the United States into a conflict that would see the overthrow of the Communist regime. But the inside story was that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the suspected victim of brain washing by rogue Soviet agents who had also planted evidence of a trail from his Marine base in Japan to US, Russia, Mexico and finally Cuba. And in November 1963, having been drugged and smuggled into Havana, he was programmed into carrying a set of curtain roads into Revolution Square.

In 1723, on this day the "father of microbiology" Antonie van Leeuwenhoek died in Delft, Dutch Republic. He was ninety year old.

Leeuwenhoek BlindedHe was born in Delft in the Netherlands, the baby seemed well enough: he cried, he reacted to his mother, he ate and grew. As little Antonie grew, his family came upon troubled times. Two of his sisters and his father died, and Antonie suffered a terrible fever that would blind him by his sixth birthday. The boy recovered, but he now faced a terrible handicap.

In 1640, Leeuwenhoek's mother remarried, and he was sent to a monastery in Germany that cared for the blind. While unable to read, Leeuwenhoek would be taught songs and oral passages from the Bible by the monks. He was considered the brightest of the children in the care of the monks, and they came to give him special privileges. Sometime when Leeuwenhoek was about sixteen, he was with a scribe who told him about the illuminations in the book he read to Leeuwenhoek and offered him to touch the gilt and thick medieval paints. Leeuwenhoek's later letters described the sensation of feeling images as almost as if he could see again with his mind's eye.

When he became sixteen, the monks encouraged Leeuwenhoek to pursue a trade beyond simple manual labor. He considered several options before becoming a draper, being able to measure by a grooved ruler he carved himself, having the monks check its accuracies for him. When his skills were approved, he moved home to Delft and secured an apprenticeship with a cloth merchant. While he worked, he considered his system of grooves and the illuminations, and, by 1653, he developed a method of "writing by texture".

Leeuwenhoek worked in business until he had built enough capital to set himself up as a teacher. He did not know Latin, and he had never attended university, but his drive to develop a written alphabet for the blind pushed him. Over the course of months and perfected over years, he built a set of mirrored letters. His method of writing was to etch each backward to be used as a mold. He experimented with systems of carving wood and pouring wax, but the wax was prone to melt under the warmth and pressure of fingers. Lead proved too soft, and tin plates warped. Finally he settled upon glass, and the glass books he produced became the first written code for the blind.

Leeuwenhoek's school attracted the attention of parents of blind children among the growing middle class of the early Enlightenment, and he soon found himself with no shortage of students. His methods spread across Europe and were translated to match the alphabets of French, English, and German. Only two of his original glass books are known to survive due to breakage and the glass being worn down by generations of fingertips. In place of glass, Leeuwenhoek experimented later with typesetting machines into plates of alloys, adding mechanical engineering and metallurgy to his life's impressive list of feats.

His contributions to science are held among the greatest of the Enlightened Age. Along with the creation of calculus, natural law, and principles of physics. It would not be until the Industrial Revolution that discoveries in biology and anatomy would catch up with the science of microbiology founded in part by Charles Darwin, whose theory of the sexual reproduction of microorganisms would cause scandal among the Victorian world, though later contribute to Sir Alexander Fleming's germ theory.

In 1444, although they exposed the weakness of pike formations against artillery, the outnumbered forces of the Swiss Confederacy were able to safely withdraw from Basel to the small hospital of St. Jakob having earned the huge satisfaction of inflicting a brutal assault upon the invading French army.

Old Swiss Confederacy punish French at St. JakobBut the stoic expression of Swiss military bravery backfired spectacularly because the celebrated French Knight Burkhard VII Münch then rode to court to deliver a report that enraged Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor. His sponsor, Charles VII of France was more philosophical because he had only acted upon the appeal to occupy his unruly Armagnac troops. Nevertheless, the prestige and honour of both monarchs had been seriously impugned, and they were forced to gather overwhelming force of men and artilley for a bolder mission. To relieve the besieged city of Zürich and also inflict a crushing blow upon Berne, the Swiss canton which had contributed the small army.



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© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.