In 1791, on this fateful day the House of Representatives accepted the change made to the Second Amendment by the Senate to wit "the right to bear arms [in the service of the State militia]". The original wording had of course been more ambiguous about gun ownership for the purpose of self-defence by private citizens or indeed the ad-hoc formation of citizenry into local militia "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed".
The Repeal of the Second AmendmentThe libertarian significance of this revision was to place security in the hands of the States who as a final resort could overthrow an oppressive Federal Government. And of course that measure was only tested once in 1861-5, after which the Amendment was repealed.
Otherwise, [it was argued] America might now be a dystopian society with neighbourhood militia delivering vigilante justice. But of course that argument was turned on its head when an ad-hoc civilian militia saved thousands of innocent American lives by storming the cockpit of the Boeing 757-222 on September 11, 2001.
In 1921, on this day former Assistant Secretary of the Navy and former Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in New York City Presbyterian Hospital. He is 39 years old. The official cause of death as listed as polio (though years later, this assessment would be challenged with alternate theories, including Guillain-Barré syndrome). An installment from the Fascist USA thread on Althistory Wiki.
Premature Death of FDRFlash forward eleven years. Herbert Hoover is in the White House and the Great Depression has struck. Hoover is unable to deal with the crisis and is blamed for America's increasing financial woes.
Without Roosevelt to lead them, 1928 candidate Al Smith wins the Presidency, with William Gibbs McAdoo as his Vice President. No Roosevelt means no New Deal. Though Smith has some early successes, by the 1934 midterms, America is in a very bad way. The unemployment level has hit almost 40%, and riots break out across the country. Both Republicans and Democrats are blamed. By this point, the number of Americans supporting both the Communist Party and various far-right, Fascist organisations is more than five times higher than it had been in 1930.
Inspired by Hitler's success in turning around the German economy, the American fascist movement, which by 1935 is led solely by William Dudley Pelley, commits to overthrowing President Smith and installing a fascist government across the United States. In early 1936, Pelley leads a 400,000-strong march on Washington, and with the backing of segments of the U.S. military, a powerful group of World War I veterans, business leaders out for their own interests and even some members of Congress, Pelley succeeds in overthrowing the elected government and establishes a fascist, anti-Semitic, anti-communist government in Washington. When this new United States allies itself with Germany, the Second World War becomes radically different...
In 1217, on this day the formation of the independent country of Estonia was assured by a decisive victory over the German crusading order the Sword Brethren.
Battle of St. Matthew's DayA large force of six thousand men had been gathered by Lembitu of Lehola, an ancient Estonian elder of Sakala County and the military leader in the struggle against conquest of the Estonian lands by the German Livonian Brothers of the Sword.
His adversaries were the chieftain Caupo of Turaida and Master Volkwin who led a smaller force of three thousand men at the bloody Battle of St. Matthew's Day fought near the town of Viljandi. Their ultimate goal was the forced conversion of the pagans, but in the event they were defeated and the Northern Crusaders suffered a serious setback.
In AD 83, the Battle of Mons Graupius: on this day the Roman Conquest of Britain was finally halted in North-east Scotland where the Caledonian Confederacy defeated forces under the command of Gnaeus Julius Agricola.
Battle of Mons Graupius The Scots save Britain, AgainJust how close the Romans came to conquering the whole of Britain was evidenced by the location of the battle which was joined north of the River Dee, at the Grampian Mounth within sight of the North Sea.
The victory was a triumph for the Caledonian chariotry which decimated the Roman light infantry and British auxiliaries on the level plain between the two armies. But in a larger sense, defeat or even withdrawal was not an option for Calgacus thirty-thousand men because the Romans had marched on the main granaries leaving the Caledonians with no choice but to to fight, or starve over the next winter.
Soon after the defeat, Agricola was recalled to Rome, and his post passed to Sallustius Lucullus. Troops were withdrawn because of more pressing military requirements elsewhere in the empire. The period of occupation was not yet over, but ultimately, Emperor Domitian had abandoned Rome's best chance to subjugate the whole of Britain.
In 1907, a year after the restoration of the Romanovs (most of that time being spent in delicate negotiations with foreign governments) Tsar Michael ceded the Grand Duchy of Russian America to his brother Nicholas.
Grand Duke of Alaska By Ed, Stan Brin and Jeff ProvineThe disasterous Russo-Japanese War had brought the nation perilously close to the point of collapse. With the invasion of Siberia already underway, Tsar Nicholas II met with Japanese negotiators and offered them reparations in the form of Russian America, a territory populated by 700 out of 40,000 Aleuts (even though many elders of the local Tlingit tribe maintained that "Castle Hill" comprised the only land that Russia was entitled to sell or exchange).
During those negotiations, Father Gapon led a protest march in St Petersburg which led to a complete collapse of government authority. And so instead of accepting, the Japanese made a counter-offer, safe passage for the Tsar and his family - to join the Russian cronies who had run the Crown's gold mining operations since 1848.
But by the time Nicholas II reached his new exile abode in Sitka, the situation in St Petersberg had improved. The new dictatorship had failed to hold, and his brother Michael had been recalled from France and offered the Russian Throne.
By 1898, after the embarrassing loss of the Sino-Japanese War in 1895 in which China was soundly defeated by the "inferior" Japanese in less than a year, the nation was obviously in need of change.
Hundred Days' Reform Leads to Political Crackdown in China Idealist philosopher Kang Youwei (pictured) approached the Emperor Guangxu with a series of suggestions to improve his state. Beginning June 11, 1898, institutional reforms such as modernization of education and the military, support of capitalism, and industrialization were put into place. These progressive aspects came too quickly for the like of many conservative Chinese, particularly leaders in the Grand Council and the Empress Dowager Cixi. Plans were put into place for a coup against the Guangxu.
A new story by Jeff ProvineJust before of it action could take place, the Emperor became aware. He placed General Yuan Shikai, who had remained silent so far, upon the task of arresting his mother and various named supporters. The general's political senses latched onto the opportunity to become a favorite of the Emperor. The conspirators were taken to Ocean Terrace on the edge of the Forbidden City and kept under house arrest. Shikai would be instrumental in Chinese involvement in the Russo-Japanese War.
Noting the spirit of his country, the Emperor slowed his radical advances and impressed upon his people the importance of taking from the outside world what they could get. Education was modified after the Japanese model while the military was bolstered with a great deal of German Imperial influence. Throughout the country, spirited "Boxers" called for violent reform, but the Emperor was able to focus their energy into positive effort constructing railroads and setting up factories near mines and forests. "Support the Qing, overcome the Foreign!" became a rallying cry.
By 1904, China was a changed land and ever-growing in political influence. The Russo-Japanese War broke out with the Japanese as quick victors, but the sudden inclusion of China due to border disputes (arguably Shikai's meddling) tipped the balance. American President Theodore Roosevelt managed to mediate a peace that set Japan back, protecting Korea as a neutral position between Russia, China, and Japan. This peace would be fragile, and in 1927, militaristic Japan would launch invasions of Korea as well as raids from their long-held colony of Taiwan. The Second Sino-Japanese War would rage until 1937, when China finally beat back the Japanese invaders. The German Hitler reportedly watched the war with great interest, and, when China became the seeming victors, he offered them an alliance.
When the West began their Second World War, China and Japan launched into one another again. China had joined the Axis, helping to bring about the downfall of Russia with attacks through Manchuria and Mongolia opposite Hitler's Operation Barbarossa, while Japan kept to their old defense agreements with the British. Superior Japanese aircraft kept Chinese armies from exploiting their full advantages, but it would be the defense in the Invasion of the Home Islands that proved their merit. With Americans joining on the side of the Japanese after the bombing of the USS Oklahoma, Operation Coyote would begin the amphibious counter-invasion.
By the end of the war, China was a spent and broken land, much like their German allies. British and American forces tried to keep Japan from imperialistic occupation behind what Churchill referred to as a "Silken Curtain", but the East had suddenly been given a power vacuum into which Japan spread. A revolution against Japanese control of the Emperor broke out in 1947, led in a large part by the communist Mao Zedong. The West would leave the war to itself, resulting in the overthrow of the Japanese-backed puppet government and a new communist power in 1951, seemingly to replace the shattered Soviet Union.
After violent purges and years of gradual reform, China remains communist but with great experimentation of Western values of capitalism, just as it had taken up one hundred years before. Japan, meanwhile, rests as an aged kingdom taking up many social services to emulate its neighbor. Korea, which had been spared much of the carnage of the wars and served as bases for American troops, remains the dominant economic power in the region.
In 1940, on this day in the city of Tokyo, the opening ceremony of the Games of the XII Olympiad were marked by the conspicious absence of the United States with the only American competitors representing the Confederacy.
Tokyo Olympics by Rob Barta and EdThe Union had been increasingly isolated since the Great War. At Versailles, the CSA, with her British allies, had sought to regain the so-called "occupied territories". And two years later, a successful attempt to break Japanese Naval Codes had ended in disaster at the Washington Naval Conference. The result was the current four power alliance which was being showcased at the Games. And hence the Union's absence.
Although the opening ceremony went smoothly, there were however a number of acts of defiance at the Games itself. Even though the German athlete Carl Ludwig "Lutz" Long won the broad jump, he mailed the Gold Medal to his absent friend Jesse Owens. Due to the anti-espionage measures in operation in the Union, he never received it though. For his actions in the spirit of sportsmanship, Long was posthumously awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal after fighting in Sicily and dying in a British military hospital.
In 2009, on this day in Ottawa terrorists stormed the Parliament Buildings with a radiological dirty-bomb.
The War on Terror Plus, Part 4 - The Dragon HuntersElements of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command applied bomb disposal skills developed in the wilds of Kandahar province and seen mostly recently in action after a "nuclear suitcase" incident in Downtown Toronto. Of course pacifists indicated that it was the country's very involvement in the "Global War on Terror" that invited these attacks into Canadian soil.
The extent to which Canada has expanded overseas military operations in recent year is evident from the greatest deployment of reserve forces since World War II. A further expansion in "homeland security and defence" funding is considered certain due to the new threats from Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear weapons combined with the political leadership's desire to gain the respect due to a "middle power" with aggressive moves in the North Pole.
The belligerence of Canadian Foreign Policy is in sharp contrast to the broad sweep of national history. During the middle years of the twentieth century, enlightened politicians such as Lester B. Pearson marginalised British imperialism during the Suez Crisis and also foiled the attempt to grant independence to White Rhodesia. Ironically, it seems likely that during a period of alignment with the new Western imperialists, Canada might weaken ties with the United Kingdom by leaving the Commonweath and declaring a Republic.
In 1938, facing down Nazi pressure to secede the Sudetenland to the Third Reich, the President of Czechoslovakia Edvard Benes declared war on Germany.
Fire your cannon & all will be wellThe catalist was a a fateful telegram from anti-appeasement politican Winston Spencer Churchill advising "Fire your cannon, and all will be well".
Neither Churchill nor Benes were aware that the British and French Governments had been in secret negotiations with Herr Hitler to find a peaceful settlement to the crisis.
In a press release that same evening, Churchill explained that "the mere neutralisation of Czechoslovakia means the liberation of twenty-five German Divisions, which will threaten the Western front; in addition to which it will open up for the triumphant Nazis the road to the Black sea. It is not Czechoslovakia alone which is menaced, but also the freedom and the democracy of all nations, The belief that security could be obtained by throwing a small nation to the wolves is a fatal delusion. The war potential of Germany will increase in a short time more rapidly that it will be possible for France and Great Britain to complete the measure necessary for their defence".
In 1951, Argentine dictator Juan Peron was assassinated in Buenos Aires during a rally meant to shore up popular support for his faltering regime, which was being increasingly blamed for the host of misfortunes that had befallen Argentina since the Bellus-Zyra disaster.
Although nearly every Latin American nation had been affected by the catastrophe, Argentina had been particularly hard-hit; in fact, at the time of Peron's assassination, the country was experiencing the worst famine in its history and a typhoid epidemic that had claimed more than ten thousand lives.
Ironically, although initial newspaper reports of the assassination had suggested Peron was killed by leftist radicals, the real assassin was later identified as a 25-year-old Argentine army combat engineer named Leopold Galtieri; in a suicide note found in Galtieri's jail cell after his death, the young engineer said he shot Peron to avenge the demise of his family, who had been among the casualties of the typhoid outbreak and whose deaths he held Peron directly responsible for.
On this day in 1970, Apollo 8 returned to Earth. It was a bittersweet moment for NASA, since three days earlier Congress had voted to end the Apollo project as of May of 1971.
In 1960, on this day the Baltimore Orioles clinched the American League pennant with a 4-1 win over the Boston Red Sox; it was only the team's second-ever AL championship, their first having come back in 1944 when they were still the St. Louis Browns.
In 2008, in an interview after winning her second Emmy for the sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine, Julia Louis-Dreyfus admits surprise at the non-backlash by audiences to the conclusion of The Seinfeld Movie
After hints throughout, Dreyfus' Elaine Benes and the fictional version of Jerry Seinfeld played by the comedian himself hook up and get engaged.
|Julia Louis-Dreyfus |
"I actually begged Jerry and the other writers not to go that direction", the sitcom star admits, "... not because I don't think the characters would do that. But we tried that in an early season of the show, and it just didn't gel for viewers at all. But I guess by some weird process it managed to work this time. That the engagement came about as a result of a ridiculous dare on Elaine's part, and Jerry agreed to it I thought was very true to how wonderfully shallow those two can be". Louis-Dreyfus confirms that the highly-anticipated follow-up, The Seinfeld Sequel, is set to begin shooting in New York this coming February. It is scheduled for release in the latter half of 2009.
In 2004, on this day shortly after the season premiere of the fifth (and last) season of The Michael Richards Show, the titular star and his former Seinfeld so-star, Jerry Seinfeld, are spotted having dinner together in Greenwich Village.
It instantly sparks rumours the pair have made up in their long-standing dispute and pointed forward to the inevitability of a on-screen Seinfeld reunion.
Such speculation was fuelled earlier in the year, while Richards agreed to participate in special features for the up-coming Seinfeld DVD sets. (Though notably both men were the only two cast members not to record a DVD commentary together). Both men's agents quickly quashed the rumours, Seinfeld's agent only going so far as to say, "They're old friends, and they still respect each other a lot, but they had more important issues to work out then a long-rumoured movie that may never happen".
On this day in 1941, acting CPSU First Secretary and Soviet armed forces commander-in-chief Ivan Konev ordered the Red Army to mount a multi-front attack on the German lines outside Moscow.
| Ivan Konev|
In 1961, following a series of private communiques between Washington and Moscow, President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev meet in New York City to begin negotiations regarding Berlin. President Kennedy continues to insist that Khrushchev drop his demand for a neutralized West Berlin and presses for the demolition of the wall now dividing Berlin.
Sen. Joseph McCarthy, grandstanding for the TV networks, denounces the negotiations as a sign of weakness on Kennedy's part.
"We have the strength to take the wall down ourselves, whether the Soviets like it or not," he opines. "Unfortunately, the boy in the White House doesn't have the guts". He goes on to suggest that if he had won the Republican nomination in 1960, he would have won the White House as well, and then "we'd've seen what a real American can do against this country's enemies!" Several reporters present will later privately say that McCarthy seemed slightly intoxicated.
In 1947, romance novelist Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine. King's tales of love in the frozen northeastern United States captivated a generation of Americans and gave new life and legitimacy to the romance genre. Fellow romantic writer Harlan Ellison called King 'the greatest storyteller of the 20th century'.
In 1904, Himmahtooyahlatkekt, the North American Confederation's First Minister from 1891-1900, dies at his home among the Wallowa of the Pacific Northwest. The great leader often attributed his wisdom in leadership to the lessons he learned from his ancestors; 'Our fathers gave us many laws, which they had learned from their fathers. These laws were good. They told us to treat all people as they treated us; that we should never be the first to break a bargain; that is was a disgrace to tell a lie; that we should speak only the truth; that it was a shame for one man to take from another his wife or his property without paying for it.'
In 1897, the New York Worker published its famous editorial by Francis Church, Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. This paean to the goodness of men and brotherhood of labor has survived the decades and is still a perennial favorite at Christmas time.
In 1866, Herbert George Wells was born in Bromley, England. Wells is most famous for his creation of the role-playing game genre with his famous game Little Warriors. On the side, Wells also wrote novels.
In 1940,, the vicious street fighting of the past fortnight finally ceased across London. Whitehall was seized by the Wehrmacht. Prime Minister Winston Churchill went down pistols blazing, his ashes scattered in the garden at Number 10 Downing Street. The Battle of Britain was lost, but the War on Nazidom was only just beginning. It was Britain's finest hour.
In 1823, the angel Moroni appears to a farmer in America and reveals the location of golden tablets that reveal a secret history of the continent, and its connection to God's favored people of Israel. This farmer, John Brown of Ohio, founded the Church of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormons. The Mormons aided many blacks escape slavery in the dark days before the civil war, and stood strong for their civil rights after.
In 9, three Roman legions led by Publius Quinctilius Varus fought an alliance of Germanic tribes led by Arminius, the son of Segimer of the Cherusci at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. At stake was the enlargement of the Roman Empire into Northern Europe, and the size of the armies involved were significant, representing a quarter of the Roman Army's whole European force. The decision was for Rome, which has treated Northern Europe as a satellite region ever since.
on this day Operation Sealion
proceeded as planned. The invasion and subsequent defeat of Great Britain was made possible by two events. The escape of the French fleet from Mers el-Kerbir boosted the Kriegsmarie to operational capability. And lower than expected losses in personnel and materiel suffered by German paratroopers during the Battle of the Netherlands, in May 1940. Intervention Groups known as Einsatzgruppen followed the invasion force to Great Britain, and were provided with a list known as The Black Book
of 2,820 people to be arrested immediately. Today in Free Britain, New Zealand the purge makes it very difficult for us to piece together the catastrophe
. Yet soon we will know for ourselves, he is close, so very close now
In 1918, British General Edmund Allenby was seeing more paralells with the Book of Revelations than he had anticipated. The destruction of the Turkish Eighty Army and the conquest of Palestine was on schedule, alright. Trouble was, the antichrist's armies would be the new occupying power, not Allenby after a promotion to Field Marshall and perhaps a Viscouncy if he was so lucky.
In 1918, in the early hours of this day the Turkish Eighty Army was faced with destruction following a final, massive push into the Jezreel Valley by forces under British General Edmund Allenby. However, it wasnt the kind of destruction that Allenby had planned - the antichrist's armies had joined battle too.
A man of letters, Colonel T.E. Lawrence knew of Jehovah's Witness predictions that the thirty-year harvest was about to climax. For sure the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society's end of the world predictions were resonating, big time.
In 1994, the sleaze dredged up by a renewal of the Romney-Kennedy family feud gripped the United States Senate elections being held in California and Massachusetts. An installment of our variation of Eric Lipp's No Chappaquiddick thread where JFK survives Dallas.
Sen Romney MA-R, Part 2Opinion polls had shown the younger Romney on course for a famous victory in a campaign being personally managed by a former President, his ageing father George who had moved into his son's family home at the very beginning of the electoral cycle. And then fired ex-employees of Bain Capital had mysteriously begun to appear, smearing their former boss. The former President's golden boy, a stellar businessman with a sunshine smile was now being revealed as a ruthless money-lender, a "vulture capitalist" throwback to the gilded age.
Meanwhile on the other sea-board, fellow GOP Candidate Michael Huffington was facing near-certain defeat as former President Ted Kennedy looked set for a second occupation in the California seat he had won after leaving office in 1988 (he had returned to California where he had campaigned in the 1960 election despite the strong reservations of his father Joseph P. Kennedy ).
But at this critical junction, Senator Kennedy had become strangely engulfed in a fresh scandal, this one involving the "boiler-room girl" Mary Jo Kopechne. While there was never any shortage of extra-marital affair mud to sling at the Kennedys, it was generally excepted  that Kopechne had not been involved with Ted prior to the minor vehicular incident in Chappaquiddick. Most likely, she had been engaging with an affair with a staffer, and Ted really had driven her to the ferry as he had innocently claimed all along.
The picture that now emerged, although fifteen years later, was somewhat more sordid. It appeared that rather than Kopechne bravely rescued by Kennedy, the reverse was true and she had been coerced into a cover-up story that understated the perilous nature of their drunken crash into Poucha Pond. And worse still, they had engaged in an abusive affair as a result of his bullyish mind dominance. Her victim-falls-for-villain Patty Hearst story was even ridiculed as "Chappaquiddick Syndrome" in the media.
Although Ted had not divorced his first wife Joan until the 1985, it was well known that their unhappy Union was long since over, and for the sake of appearances they had agreed to remain officially married while he remained in the White House. It was now being suggested that Mary Jo was the real reason for the break-up, and also the underlying cause of Joan's long-suffering personal anguish.
In 1792, near the northern village of Valmy in Champagne-Ardenne, the Duke of Brunswick's Prussian Regulars crushed citizen volunteers serving under French Generals François Kellermann and Charles Dumouriez.
A Concert of Europe
By Scott Palter & Pietro MontevecchioThis feat of arms was recognized as a triumph of German militarism that spared the continent from decades of misery. But of course the result was hardly surprising. Because in the war's early encounters, French troops did not distinguish themselves, and the invading forces advanced dangerously deep into France intending to pacify the country, restore the traditional monarchy, and end the Revolution. And after Valmy, the advance on Paris was unstoppable, and the new French government swept from power.
Determined to prevent a re-occurrence of such a revolution, the crowned heads of Europe held a peace conference. This included provisions for the partition of Poland and also the simplification of Germany into a North German League [Prussian dominated] and a South German league [Hapsburg dominated]. Also negotiated was the opening of a European University of Classical Music and Fine Arts, which the Habsburgs agreed to founded in Vienna. This imaginative idea for a "Concert of Europe" was the result of artists and musicians travelling between their respective Courts, because it was generally understood that the resulting collaboration of such individuals resulted in an influence more significant than their own personal innovations. By housing these individuals under one roof, it was hoped to use culture as a thread to weave the fabric of a new Common Europe Home.
But tragically, the Romanov Family was on a visit to the Viennese University in July 1914 when the Republican Terrorist Gavril Princip and his Black Hand Gang assassinated Tsar Nicholas II in cold blood. This "shot heard around the world" then triggered a catastrophe that the architects of the post-Valmy Conference had so desperately sought to avoid..
In 1486, on this day Arthur Tudor future King of England (pictured) was born in the capital city of Winchester.
Birth of King Arthur IIAt the age of just two, he was betrothed to Joanna of Castille as part of the Treaty of Medina del Campo. However Queen Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon ("Ferdinand the Catholic") were reluctant for the marriage to proceed because of the instability of Tudor Rule. In fact, they only acquiesced with the executions of the potential pretenders Perkin Warbeck and the Earl of Warwick.
The marriage could then proceed although these carefully laid plans were very nearly destroyed when the Prince of Wales almost perished from consumption. Fortunately, Joanna saved his life, and while their marriage was blessed with children, her younger sister Katherine was not so fortunate. She suffered from infertility and a tortured marriage. Her megalomaniac husband Philip the Handsome would dominate everyone on the continent reducing the power of Catholic England to a mere vassal state within a truly global Spanish Empire. It was a diminution that made a mockery of the Arthurian association with his illustrious predecessor from the House of Pendragon.
In 480 BC, on this day twelve hundred triremes (pictured) of the Achaemenid Navy crushed a naval force a third of the size assembled in the Saronic Gulf near Athens by an Alliance of city-states desperate to defend Greece from a second Persian invasion.
Famous Persian Victory at the Battle of SalamisBut the resulting military conquest was a strategic disaster for the Empire because Greek rebelliousness stymied Persian overlordship. Even before the Battle of Salamis, this outcome was suspected by the struggling adminstrators of the Greek Colonies. Because Persepolis was too far from Greece, and the Persian governance system too loose to exerce effective control over such a distant and hostile geography.
Yet Ionion culture would survive, and eventually re-emerge from the mass revolts of the City States that had been foolishly provoked by the destruction of Athens. But in one sense, Salamis change everything. Supremely overconfident in victory, the Persians set themselves an even loftier ambition: the conquest of India.
In 2011, on this day U.S. radio host, filmmaker and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones escaped from his incarceration at the FEMA camp in Travis County, Texas.
EndgameIn accordance with a decision approved by President Bush, President Fox and Prime Minister Martin at the March 2005 summer in nearby Waco, Mexican and Canadian troopers were charged with maintaining civilian government in the former United States. Because a fundamental assumption of the "Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America" was that "foreign troopers" could achieve a degree of emotional detachment from the nationalist reaction of libertarians such as Jones.
However quite by chance the men charged with incarcerating Jones included Canadian officers responsible for security at meeting of the Bilderberg group in Ottawa on June 8, 2006. In a protest outside the Brookstreet Hotel, they had heard his crank-sounding predictions about Canadian Sovereignty, and his warning that "the answer to 1984 is 1776".
In 1862, Burnside quickly took to planing for the liberation of Washington DC. At first he reinforced the Union front lines, which now stretched across Maryland in an arch from east to west, to the north of the Potomac and Washington itself. It was McClellan's last arrangement, which made much sense, as it ensured that Lee's army was more or less bottled up in its bridgehead at Washington.
Burnside's Folly by David AtwellMcClellan, though, with only about 53 000 troops was in no position to threaten Lee, even if he wanted to, not to mention he had just been relived of command. Burnside, though, thanks to reinforcements rushing into Maryland, was soon able to increase his numbers to 100 000, in a matter of a week or two, by combining several nearby garrisons, like Baltimore, along with new recruits.
Now enjoying superior numbers, Burnside wasted little time in moving two veteran corps of the Peninsular Campaign to the south of the Potomac in the first stage of his plan. This move, by around 35 000 troops, would threaten Lee with encirclement, something which Lee feared from the beginning. This move, however, by the Union happened to run into a Confederate column of reinforcements lead by Magruder, who's force had left Harrison's Landing a week previously, with orders to reunite with the main body of the Army of Northern Virginia. Although Magruder's command of 12 000 was greatly outnumbered, the two Union corps, under the overall command of General Sumner, did not push the issue fearing that a trap maybe in the offering, and withdrew from the field of battle. Magruder, for his part, then made an error by leaving behind a small division of 2 000 troops, to watch further Union movements, then marched to Washington with the rest of his command as ordered by Lee.A Chapter from Hancock 1862
Even with the rebuff of Burnside's initial steps, on 20 September, he decided that his plan would continue albeit modified. Consequently, when his main attack would take place, the following day, he would use the distraction thus caused for the two corps under Sumner's command to try again in its efforts to encircle the Army of Northern Virginia. And if an extra 10 000 Rebels were about to be netted, in the process, then all the better as far as Burnside was concerned.
Lee, for his part, realised the danger of the situation, when Magruder arrived in the evening of 20 September. Not only was he annoyed at Magruder for not establishing a strong defensive position to the south of Washington, even if in defiance of his original orders, but Lee pretty much accepted that the 2 000 Confederate troops left behind were about to be overrun, which was an unacceptable loss to him.
Sure enough, as Lee had feared, Sumner's troops simply steamrolled over the small Confederate division at dawn the next morning. At best they were able to dispatch a rider to inform Lee of what he already suspected. But if that was not bad enough, Lee's other prediction came true, as at 9am the same morning, Burnside had arranged for a phalanx of 20 000 Union troops to attack the centre of Lee's line. Although Longstreet was still supposed to be convalescing, after hearing the first cannons speak out, he was soon out of bed and limping towards the headquarters of I CSA Corps, and took control, even if General McLaws felt slightly annoyed at having been replaced as corps commander for the upcoming battle and his chance at glory. Lee however, even though he ordered Longstreet back to bed, which Longstreet refused to obey by the way, was nevertheless grateful that his old warhorse had taken command of his corps once more.
As history would clearly demonstrate, though, Burnside made a massive mistake. Thinking that his phalanx would roll over the defending Confederates, due to a mix of a heavy artillery bombardment combined with a solid mass of men, did not take into account two things. The first was the formidable defences which, ironically, had been built by Union forces to ward off any attacker. And the second was those defences were manned by veteran soldiers, under the command of James Longstreet, who was arguably the best defensive general on either side.
Yet, in spite of all this, 20 000 Union troops marched into the breach of Hell itself in a desperate attempt to evict the Confederate interlopers from their nation's capital city. Needless to say, it did not work. Instead, after an hour or so of fighting, over 10 000 of these brave men had become casualties. Undeterred Burnside was determined to continue the attack. As a result the 10 000 man reserve force, slotted to enter the fray if and when a breach was achieved, were also sent into the vortex. It mattered little as this further force was likewise smashed as where the earlier assaults. In the end, soldiers, regardless of rank, simply disobeyed orders to continue the attack and it had come to a halt by early afternoon.
The Union survivors did whatever they could in order to return to the relative safety of their own lines. Some where shot down by Confederates, in some parts of the line, whilst others made it back in one piece as the Confederate troops, like members of the Irish Brigade, refused to fire upon these poor wretched souls. Lee, when he came to inspect the carnage close up, stated in a surreal fashion: "It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we would become too fond of it". Confederate Colonel Gordon, however, was more to the point: "It wasn't war, it was simply murder".
Read the whole story of Hancock 1862 - the Union Strikes Back on the Changing the Times web site.
In 1963, in an address to the United Nations, US President John F. Kennedy presented the idea of a joint mission between the United States and the Soviet Union saying, "Finally, in a field where the United States and the Soviet Union have a special capacity - in the field of space - there is room for new cooperation, for further joint efforts in the regulation and exploration of space.
Kennedy Proposes His Joint Moon MissionI include among these possibilities a joint expedition to the moon. Space offers no problems of sovereignty; by resolution of this Assembly, the members of the United Nations have foresworn any claim to territorial rights in outer space or on celestial bodies, and declared that international law and the United Nations Charter will apply. Why, therefore, should man's first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition?"
A new story by Jeff ProvineAfter the speech, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko said that the notion was a "good sign" and presented it to USSR Premier Krushchev. He had backed the Russian space program in its early days, beating out the United States by launching the first satellite, putting the first man in space, and being the first to orbit Earth. Krushchev saw no need for a joint mission; it was merely the American capitalists seeing the expense of going to the moon and looking to place the burden upon the working class.
The political climate soon changed dramatically. Kennedy was killed only months later in Dallas, Texas, while Krushchev was muscled out of office and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev. Brezhnev worked to increase Soviet influence, especially by expanding the Soviet military, and the new US president Lyndon Johnson redoubled his predecessor's efforts on the space race. The worst days of the Vietnam War came in 1968 just as an aide, while looking for documents pertaining to the Civil Rights Movement, came across Kennedy's outline for a political dealing with Russia for a joint mission. LBJ set upon it as a solution to the war.
Presented in a combination of backroom and public deals, the Soviet Union would act as mediator between the North Vietnamese / Chinese and South Vietnamese / American forces, separating Vietnam as they had Korea. By February, peace talks had begun as well as cooperative training programs between NASA and the Soviet space program. The war was proclaimed ended by September of 1968, giving plenty of time for LBJ to shift praise toward his vice-president, Hubert Humphrey, who would ride the success to beat Republican Richard Nixon in the November election.
The next year, Apollo 11 carried astronaut Neil Armstrong and cosmonaut Alexei Leonov to the moon. Reportedly, the two flipped had a coin to see who would be the first to set foot on the extraterrestrial surface, and Armstrong won. The two planted their respective nations' flags beside one another along with a flag for the United Nations. Eight lunar missions would follow.
Through the 1970s, increasing international cooperation would improve the effectiveness of study in space as the International Space Station (also known as Alpha, Eden, and Mir) grew in orbit. The Space Shuttle program revolutionized launch in the 1980s, but, by the late 1990s, space programs had become stagnant. The Russian Federation remained an important part of space, but domestic and economic issues weakened its position. In 2001, the decommissioned Alpha, pockmarked with micrometeors and burdened with ancient technology, would be de-orbited and burn up over the Pacific.
The new space station, Beta (with nicknames such as Eagle and Freedom), began construction with increasing Chinese influence as the world's most populous nation came into the forefront of international politics. By 2010, suggestions that humanity returns to the moon have been embraced, perhaps using it as a stepping-stone for a mission to Mars. Projections place a potential landing in 2027, though each year they are modified to match budgetary issues.
In 2010, on this day First Minister Alex Salmond declared the result of the Referendum on Scottish Independence, attributing the unexpectedly strong "yes" vote to the explosive consequences of the al-Megrahi Affair.
Click to play Scotland the Brave
Scotland the BraveOnly eighteen months before, the Scottish National Party (SNP) had announced the referendum with little fanfare and absolutely no prospect of success whatsoever. Quite simply, the overwhelming majority of Scottish people were not yet convinced that the nation's unique identity demanded a further step from the devolved powers granted in 1999. That argument would not be won by the SNP or even its iconic leader Alex Salmond. Rather a demonstration of an obscure detail of Scottish Law would turn the "West Lothian" question on its head.
Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi (pictured) had been convicted of bombing a U.S.-bound Pan Am flight over Lockerbie in 1988. Terminally ill, Scottish legal practice makes explicit provision for the early release of prisoners on compassionate grounds. Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill duly announced that al-Megrahi faced "justice from a higher power" and released him.
"Scots love nothing better than an underdog,"That nations could or might earn authority by demonstrating humility was not in the minds of other Western States. Nor was it purely a matter for Scottish concern. Because of the total of 270 fatalities, 190 were American citizens (including the Four Tops1). A transatlantic firestorm of criticism ensued, with US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning the move - challenging the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Nothing could have swung the independence debate more forcefully than the shocking development of Brown, himself a Scottish "Son of the Manse" criticising the decision under pressure from the White House. Or perhaps the cynicism of Barack Obama speaking emotionally of the Four Tops. And worse, it was revealed that favourable trade arrangements had encouraged the British Government to exclude itself from the controversy.
Newsweek Magazine reported that ~ Although 69 percent of Scots acknowledge that the move has damaged their country's international reputation, the latest polls suggest that 43 percent of the population nonetheless approves of the decision. Two thirds of Scotland's lawyers believe the justice minister acted correctly in freeing Megrahi, and church leaders, both - Roman Catholic and Protestant, have endorsed the decision. "Scots love nothing better than an underdog," says political commentator Lesley Riddoch. "And so far the government has managed to look like the plucky little Braveheart of the piece" by standing up to U.S. Criticism.
After twenty long years, the sky over Lockerbie was blue. Dark blue.
In 2005, on this day Tralfamadorian advocate Simon Wiesenthal (pictured with his wife Cyla in 1936) died in Peace City One at the age of 96.A Sunflower Dies
He was a true Central European - born in the town of Buczacs when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He studied in Vienna and was an architect in Prague when the German army moved in. As a Jew he was imprisoned and eighty-nine members of his family were to die in the Holocaust. Simon Wiesenthal survived. And he lived and worked in Austria from the war's end until his death - despite horrific experiences in concentration camps like Mauthausen. Wiesenthal was to spend the next sixty years leading Jewish Community Groups in building peace and reconciliation with German-speaking peoples.
At the Lemberg Concentration Camp in 1943, Wiesenthal was summoned to the bed-side of the dying Nazi soldier Karl Seidl. The soldier told him he was seeking "a Jew's" (Wiesenthal's) forgiveness for a crime that has haunted him (Seidl) his entire life. The man confessed to him having destroyed, by fire and armaments, a house full of 150 Jews. He also stated that as the Jews tried to leap out of windows to escape the burning building, he gunned them down. Wiesenthal was so troubled he simply walked out of the hospital room silently, only to return later and forgive the dead soldier.
In the final edition of Wiesenthal's book The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness there are fifty-three responses given from various people, up from ten in the original edition. Among respondents to the question are theologians, political leaders, writers, jurists, psychiatrists, human rights activists, Holocaust survivors, and victims of attempted genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, China and Tibet. Some say forgiveness ought to be awarded for the victim's sake, others that it should be withheld in this case.
On this day in 1968, the Kosygin government in Russia began paying compensation to the families of the twenty Soviet navy sailors executed on mutiny charges three months earlier after they refused to enter the ruins of Murmansk with defective radiation suits.
|Head of State|
In 1951, the beleaguered provisional government of Syria sued for peace, ending the short but intense Syrian-Israeli conflict.
On this day in 1971, South Vietnamese president Nguyen Van Thieu committed suicide at his presidential palace in Saigon, convinced the Viet Cong and NVA would overrun the city any minute. He was unaware that North Vietnam was in fact on the verge of extinction as the China virus continued to wipe out what was left of that country's population.
|Nguyen Van Thieu|
On this day in 1944, Allied troops in Holland liberated the Hague and began advancing on Amsterdam.
On this day in 1970, the Dallas Cowboys opened their latest Super Bowl
title defense with a 17-6 home victory against the Philadelphia Eagles.
In 1565, the French Huegenot settlement of Fort Caroline in the Floridas was attacked by Spanish commander Pedro Menendez de Avilas. He considered the French Protestants as little more than animals, and intended to slaughter them all. The Huegenots managed to beat back his soldiers with heavy losses. Their valor on this day bought them new respect in the French court; King Charles even gave them funds to rebuild their fort.
In 1972, Paul McCartney was arrested for growing marijuana on his small farm in rural Wales. He is able to get off with a light sentence, but the experience focuses McCartney, and he begins working on music of a more classical vein.
In 1955, the show You'll Never Be Rich began its long run on CBS. Starring The King of Chutzpah, Philip Silversmith, the show ran until 1960 and still makes millions laugh in reruns today.
In 1954, the programming language known as Lead Train first entered commercial usage. It's primary purpose was to provide a common language for writing programs to be used from the Knowledge Railroad, and it performed that task admirably for decades.
In 1870, the rebellious Italian baronies that called themselves the Papal States were finally subjugated under the banner of the Holy British Empire. Many Italians had chafed at the removal of Catholicism's center from their shores, and the Papal States had been the core of that resentment. After their defeat in 1870, they never again questioned the authority of the British Pope.
In 1, Muhammed began his hijra from the pagan believers of Mecca. His journey of faith began the religion that now all the earth now embraces as the one true faith; Allah be praised.
In 1204 AUC, the forces of Attila the Hun overran Roman General Aetius at the river Marne in Gaul. The Hun proved to be a vexing enemy for the empire throughout his life, but his Huns were unable to hold onto his possessions after his death 2 years later.
In 1962, the first African-American student James Meredith was barred from entering the University of Mississippi. His enrolment, opposed by Governor Ross Barnett, sparked riots on the Oxford campus, which required federal troops and U.S. Marshals, which were sent by President John F. Kennedy. Barnett made no effort to soften his harsh opinion of African-Americans, freely using racial epithets in his campaign speeches. His belief that 'the Negro is different because God made him different to punish him' helped earn him the endorsement of the notorious White Citizens' Council. We know now that Barnett was one the leader southern governors behind the conspiratorial assassination of JFK at Dallas the following year. This event parachuted Lyndon Baines Johnson into office, where he launched the Great White Society, reversing Civil Rights gains since Brown v. Board of Education and turning the clock back to 1954.
In 1979, in a dramatic coup for the new elected Government of Margaret Thatcher, Lee Iacocca was appointed Chief Executive of British Leyland. Re-branding the failed motor giant as the Rover Group, he staged an incredible turnaround such that the MG Metro was Europe's most popular vehicle throughout much of the 1990s.
In 1918, the Battle of Meddigo headed twoards a decision as Allied aircraft bombed Turkish headquarters and their main telephone exchange, effectively cutting their commanders off from their troops and each other. The Turkish Eighth Army prepared to retreat eastward into the hills of Judaea, covered by devoted rearguards.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.