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

September 22

By 1776, as with any war, victory in the American Revolution could only be won with as much success in espionage as on the battlefield. Nathan Hale, young Yale graduate and school teacher, had joined the Revolution in the Connecticut militia. He rose fast through the ranks from his spirit and dedication to the movement. On September 8, 1776, Hale volunteered to go into British-controlled New York City and gather intelligence.

Tallmadge Rescues Hale While Hale was in the city, the Great Fire broke out on September 21. Rumors flew about it being Patriot activity, while others suspected uncontrollable British soldiers, and, either way, the occupying army set upon a course of rounding up potential rebels. Hale was discovered in a tavern by counter-intelligence and eventually captured in Queens where he had fled. He would hang at dawn.

By what very well may have been luck, a contemporary of Hale's at Yale, Benjamin Tallmadge, was in New York. He had been recently commissioned in the Continental Army's light dragoons, but he had become ill and took a short leave. Just as he was coming back to the world, the fire had broken out, and he returned to his Revolutionary efforts hiding Patriots from the British crackdown. When word came that Hale had been captured, Tallmadge planned a desperate rescue.

In the morning, Hale was marched to the gallows. An African boy, Bill Richmond (who would later become a famous American boxer), had been hired by the British to secure the rope to the tree. Tallmadge had gotten to the boy and bribed him an enormous amount of money to have the rope slip. As the drummer ended, Hale was given his final words, and the twenty-one-year-old gave a short oration summed up, "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country".

The trap was pulled, and Hale fell. Carefully filed by Richmond, the rope snapped. Before the British guard could react, a group of Patriots let off a rifle barrage, gathering the crowd's attention. Tallmadge dove through the chaos and whisked away the stunned Hale, who would come out of the affair with a scar from the rope burn around his throat.

New York City would continue in an uproar for several days while Hale was hidden and finally sneaked out in the disguise of a milkmaid. Stories spread like lightning of the man who did indeed have more than one life to give for his country, causing a surge of patriotism across the colonies. Tallmadge was soon made Washington's chief intelligence officer, and he took Hale on as a spy. The two would form the Culper Spy Ring, which would discover Benedict Arnold's betrayal, and Hale himself would apprehend the traitorous general.

After the war, Tallmadge turned to business while Hale went back to teaching. Hale would later be elected a representative from Connecticut to the Constitutional Convention, and he would quickly give his support for Federalism under James Madison's plan. Tallmadge later served in the House of Representatives, being supportive of Hale's higher aspirations. Most famously, Hale would attend the Hartford Convention, giving another speech that stirred the war-weary New Englanders toward support and away from the idea of secession. "After all, are we not Federalists? Are we not Americans? We may not choose ourselves where the will of our country leads, but we may choose to follow the course, rough as it may be". Here, he bared his scar amid patriotic cheers.

Uniting the Federalists, Hale would win a narrow victory over Secretary of State James Monroe in the presidential election of 1816. In his term, Hale would clarify the role of state's rights, work toward internal improvements, and further bolster international trade. While his economic policies seemed good, they proved perhaps too good for their dependence of European payment, and the Panic of 1820 would usher Hale out of office with James Monroe taking over and the Democratic-Republicans returning to power. Hale returned to the Senate, and the two would prove effective friends, working to balance with the Missouri Compromise and the Monroe Doctrine of defending the freedom of other nations while maintaining ideals of isolationism.

In his later years, Hale would routinely denounce Senator, then President, Andrew Jackson as a political opportunist, bloodthirsty killer, retarder of economics, and "bad fellow". Jackson replied that Hale was a suppressor of the common man, wild gambler of others' money, and "old man". The two war heroes bit into each other until Hale's death in 1834. Jackson attended Hale's funeral even though believing that Hale had cost him the 1828 election. Despite their differences, Jackson said of Hale, "He gave every life he had for his country".

Surely there was no odder spectacle of the Communazi Pact than a heavy Kriegsmarine cruiser being re-fitted by a German-advised Soviet shipyard in Leningrad. To the Western Allies it was unmistakeable evidence that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Agreement was much more than a non-aggression pact.

22nd September, 1940 - Renaming of PetropavlovskThe Lützow was laid down in August 1937 a time when the two countries appeared to be sworn enemies. Launched in July 1939 on the eve of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Agreement, the Soviet Union put in a request to purchase the unfinished Admiral Hipper-class cruisers Lützow, Seydlitz, and Prinz Eugen, along with plans for German capital ships, naval artillery, and other naval technology. The Kriegsmarine agreed to the sale of the Lützow in February 1940, and the transfer was completed on 15 April.

The Nazi War Machine had to prepare and fortify itself for an imminent blockade from the Royal Navy. And the only source of materials and supplies could only come from the Soviet Union. Needless to say this expedient if not profoundly cynical arrangement although based on rational calculation was a profound shock to the worldwide Communist movement, particularly after the two countries had been opposing co-belligerents in the Spanish Civil War. What it meant in simple terms was that if Hitler was to be defeated, it would have to be by the Western Allies alone. Unwilling to make terms with the Fascists, they had become locked in a struggle with the forces of the Communazi Pact.

Author's Note: in the October 2014 edition of History Today their is a podcast in which Roger Moorhouse discusses the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939-41. This article itself is no divergent from OTL but leads into a larger POD.

In 1938, after protracted haggling over his fee, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer finally agreed to pay up, casting W. C. Fields as a cynical con-man in the signature role for their upcoming movie, "The Wizard of Oz".

A Forgettable MovieEven more trouble followed at the audition for the lead part of Dorothy Gale. Ten year old acting sensation Shirley Temple was on loan out from 20th Century Fox in exchange for Clark Gable [1]. She was the logical choice for the role being the box-office champion for the consecutive years 1935-36-37-38. Sporting over fifty locks of curly golden hair, she was just starting to lose her childish looks and producer Arthur Freed got off to a bad start by declaring "First we lose the baby fat". And despite being striking as a "cute kid", her singing was too shrill such that the signature tune "Over the Rainbow" had to be cut from the script.

Over billed as a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer masterpiece, and despite their remarkable star quality, these two first choices fell short in an instantly forgettable kiddies movie. And perhaps the only truly memorable scene was the encounter between Dorothy and the Great and Powerful Oz which in a note of irony contained much of the frustrated dialogue of the pre-production casting.

In 1862, on this day a preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation was released.

An Official Duty 2Just the month before, Abraham Lincoln had written a letter in response to an editorial by Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune which had urged the complete abolition of slavery. Making a clear distinction between personal opinion and official duty Lincoln placed the emphasis on saving the Union. Therefore it was a complete shock when he published the Emancipation Proclamation only four weeks later. Cynics guessed that the ink was already dry on the document when Lincoln wrote his letter to the Tribune, and he was simply waiting for an opportune moment (a Union military victory) to justify such a complete reversal of government policy.

But Lincoln never had the chance to reveal the truth of the matter because two years later, the actor and matinee idol John Wilkes Booth shot him dead. Following the bloodbath of the spring, this further horror destroyed any remaining appetite to continue the war, and threw the administration into complete disarray. However President Hamlin managed to find out a way out: a truce that hardened into a peace settlement, and a "rump Dixie" which emerged based on Confederate-occupied Southern territory. The Union retained the border states plus recovered territories that had seceded, namely Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, West Virginia, Atlantic and Gulf coasts, half of Louisiana, Mississippi Valley and of course half of Virginia.

Unlike the assassinated President, Booth did have a brief opportunity to set down a testimony which made a grim mockery of both Greeley and Lincoln's visions of the future (he blamed Lincoln for abolishing slavery rather than making an overtly pro-Confederacy statement). The Union had not been saved, and worse still, "Free blacks" were classified as citizens of the reunited Dixie unionist states but not of the US itself. In effect the Emancipation Proclamation had only taken partial effect in the Union-occupied territories, and the real consequence was the prevention of a mass migration of African-Americans to the Northern Cities. Because as much as white Northerners hated slavery, they had absolutely no intention of accepting the principle of racial equality. Whereas in the South, by the turn of the century slavery had morphed into a form of peonage/caste system due to the joint pressure from London and the dangers of runaways to Union territory. Of course in time, economic equality would begin to develop, and today, we can only speculate as to what might have happened if Lincoln had lived to introduce constitutional amendments, it might even have been a "bitter legacy" of northern ghettos.

In 1236, on this day the Livonian Brothers of the Sword consolidated thirty years of conquests by crushing the pagan Samogitians at the Battle of Saule (trans. "Sun").

Famous Livonian Victory at the Battle of SauleUnder the decisive leadership of Volkwin the Livonian Master, the Order had been forced to cope with strained financial resources, decreasing manpower, and ill reputation. Also the Order was in conflict with the papacy under Pope Gregory IX and the Holy Roman Emperor, two of its biggest supporters, over Estonia. However, on February 19, 1236, Pope Gregory IX issued a papal bull declaring a crusade against Lithuania. He targeted Samogitia, planning to conquer the coast of the Baltic Sea and connect with the Teutonic Knights in Prussia.

The Sword-Brothers wanted to keep expanding along the Daugava River and was somewhat reluctant to march against Samogitia. In fall of 1236 a party of crusaders arrived from Holstein; it demanded to be led into a battle. Volkwin gathered a large war party, which included troops from Pskov Republic, Livonians, Latgallians, Estonians.

The knights marched southward into Samogitia, raiding and plundering local settlements. They were fortunate to strike the Samogitians before the main pagan forces, led by Duke Vykintas, arrived at the camp. Because it was his delayed arrival sealed the Livonian victory, since the swampy ground was unsuitable for cavalary and a like-for-like armed battle would have favoured the javellin throwing Samogitians had they arrived on a single concentrated forced1.

In 1842, on this day the State Auditor for Illinois James Shields (pictured) was tragically killed in a duel fought on Sunflower Island across the border in Missouri.

The Sunflower Island AffairHis controversial decisions had been satirised by a fellow member of the state legislature in a Illinois newspaper, the Sagamon Journal. Taking offense at the mean spirited words used in these articles, Shields had demanded "satisfaction" by challenging the author to a participate in a duel near Alton. But his error immediately soon became apparent because his taller adversary got to decide the terms of the duel: broadswords in a twelve feet deep pit separated by a piece of plywood where they could not cross onto the opponents side.

Being six feet four, the much longer arms of this lanky Kentuckian chap, a fellow Abraham Lincoln would easily disarm his irate shorter opponent. And as Lincoln menacingly sweep away brush from above Shield's head, intermediaries attempted to wrest an apology for the letters that might have peacefully resolved the dispute, but Shields stubbornly refused to back down, falling into the pit where he broke his neck and died.

In 2011, a last minute, negotiated settlement on a "two state solution" was finally reached at the UN General Assembly after the International Quartet broke the deadlock by offering the Palestinian leadership a $multi-billion compensation fee to accept the loss of the occupied territories.

Payoff in New YorkUS, EU, UN and Russia had failed to dissuade President Mahmoud Abbas from lodging a request for Palestinian statehood on the basis of pre-1967 territory, a unilateral move supported by many non-aligned powers. Instead, they had continued to insist that a Palestinian state could only be created by negotiated settlement despite years of deadlocked talks. And in the final analysis, the bid in New York was part gambit. Also a combination of frustration, a desire to introduce a game changer and a realisation that Israel faced international isolation.

Sensing the underlying weakness of their negotiating position, cracks had started to appear in the negotiating position of the quartet. Even though Special Envoy Tony Blair was acting in a quasi-figurehead leadership role, the British Foreign Minister William Hague (who ironically had lost to Blair in the 2001 General Election) announced that Britain might after all abstain from the vote in the UN Security Council.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered to resume talks at the UN General Assembly, but indicated that the barrier to agreement was Palestinian refusal to recognise Israeli sovereignty. Netanyahu had repeatedly argued that a return to the indefinsible 1967 borders was unacceptable to Israel.

With matters heading towards impasse, a decision was made to bypass the issue of the occupied territories by offering the Palestinians a huge compensation fee that would guarantee that the new state would be viable.

In 1862, even though the Army of Northern Virginia had achieved another great victory, it was nevertheless facing strategic annihilation. On 22 September, although the battlefield was intensely quiet after the previous day's carnage, Lee ordered Jeb Stuart to send a cavalry force to the south to reconnoitre the Union positions located there.

The Race to Hancock by David AtwellNot travelling more than ten odd miles, Stuart returned to inform Lee that the Union had established strong defences that would take several hours to defeat. It seemed that, even though Burnside had lost 20 000 troops in one day, to the cost of fewer than 1 000 Confederates, Burnside had at least trapped the Army of Northern Virginia. It was merely a matter of time, or so it seemed, before total defeat. Lee, however, thought otherwise.

Lee now decided to break out of Washington, but not to the south. Instead he would attack to the west through the Union defences just north of the Potomac and the Chesapeake-Ohio Canal. Considering Longstreet was still not fully healthy, regardless of his activity in repelling Burnside's Folly, Jackson, considered the better offensive commander anyway, was given orders to attack the next morning on 23 September followed by a full evacuation of Washington as soon as possible. This was quickly achieved as the Army of the Potomac was caught unawares by Jackson's break out attempt, not to mention it had been severely weakened by the slaughter of two days earlier, and that Burnside had been sacked on the evening of 22 September by Lincoln. Ironically, Lincoln turned back to McClellan, after the Burnside's Folly disaster, as he believed he had no other choice at the time in question.A Chapter from Hancock 1862

McClellan, for his part, did not overly want to return to active duty on the night of 22 September. Furthermore, he had not even arrived at the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac when Jackson conducted his attack. Consequently no one quite knew what to do, save for the local Union commander on the spot who, although put up a brave defence, was nevertheless overrun for his efforts. Lee had thus gained his break out and, before McClellan could order a general assault upon Washington, the Army of Northern Virginia had escaped and was on the run in a westerly direction as per Lee's plan.

Unfortunately for Lee, not everything would work his way, fore mistakenly a copy of his plan had been left behind which was soon discovered by some Union soldiers. These plans were immediately sent to army headquarters. McClellan, hence, now had the opportunity to destroy the Army of Northern Virginia in his hands. Lee's plan, for the evacuation of Maryland, became infamously known as Special Orders No 191:

Special Orders, No. 191
Hdqrs. Army of Northern Virginia
September 23, 1862

The citizens of Fredericktown being unwilling while overrun by members of this army, to open their stores, in order to give them confidence, and to secure to officers and men purchasing supplies for benefit of this command, all officers and men of this army are strictly prohibited from visiting Fredericktown except on business, in which cases they will bear evidence of this in writing from division commanders. The provost-marshal in Fredericktown will see that his guard rigidly enforces this order.

Major Taylor will proceed to Sharpsburg, Maryland, and arrange for transportation of the sick and those unable to walk to Winchester, securing the transportation of the country for this purpose. The route between this and Culpepper Court-House east of the mountains being unsafe, will no longer be traveled. Those on the way to this army already across the river will move up promptly; all others will proceed to Winchester collectively and under command of officers, at which point, being the general depot of this army, its movements will be known and instructions given by commanding officer regulating further movements. The army will resume its march tomorrow, taking the Hagerstown road. General Jackson's command will form the advance, and, after passing Middletown, with such portion as he may select, take the route toward Harper's Ferry, cross the Potomac at the most convenient point, and by Friday morning take possession of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, capture such of them as may be at Martinsburg, and intercept such as may attempt to escape from that place.

General Magruder's command will pursue the same road as far as Boonsborough, where it will halt, with reserve, supply, and baggage trains of the army.

General McLaws, with his own division and that of General R. H. Anderson, will follow General Longstreet. On reaching Middletown will take the route to Harpers Ferry, and by Friday morning possess himself of the Maryland Heights and endeavor to ensure that any pursuing forces are repulsed.

General J. E. Johnston, with his command, after accomplishing the object in which he is now engaged, will cross the Potomac at Cheek's Ford, ascend its right bank to Lovettsville, take possession of Loudoun Heights, if practicable, by Friday morning, Key's Ford on his left, and the road between the end of the mountain and the Potomac on his right. He will, as far as practicable, cooperate with General McLaws and Jackson, and occupy Harper's Ferry.

General D. H. Hill's division will form the rear guard of the army, pursuing the road taken by the main body. The reserve artillery, ordnance, and supply trains, &c., will precede General Hill.

General Stuart will detach a squadron of cavalry to accompany the commands of Generals Longstreet, Jackson, and McLaws, and, with the main body of the cavalry, will cover the route of the army, bringing up all stragglers that may have been left behind.

The commands of Generals Jackson, McLaws, and Walker, after accomplishing the objects for which they have been detached, will join the main body of the army at Winchester.

Each regiment on the march will habitually carry its axes in the regimental ordnance-wagons, for use of the men at their encampments, to procure wood &c.

By command of General R. E. Lee
R.H. Chilton, Assistant Adjutant General

Essentially Lee's plan, although party based upon deception, required the capture of Harper's Ferry in order to get the Army of Northern Virginia into the relatively safe region of the Shenandoah Valley. Here Lee believed that his army would be out of danger. However, if something went wrong, the fate of the Army of Northern Virginia could easily end in disaster.

As luck would have it, though, disaster did almost take place for Lee, until it was discovered, to the senior Confederate commander's complete horror, that a copy of Special Orders No 191 had been left behind. Furthermore McClellan, now in possession of the means of Lee's defeat, immediately set off in pursuit. Lee, however, now aware of the huge mistake, reacted accordingly, and his well made plans, detailed in the lost special orders, were forthwith rescinded.

In their place, Lee issued orders to all his commanders, most notably to Jackson at Harpers Ferry who had been held up by the very stubborn defence offered by the Union garrison there of 20 000 troops under the command of General George Thomas, to immediately withdraw to the north-west and away from their current positions. They were to move at best speed in order to place as much distance as they could between themselves and the Union Army of the Potomac, which had just managed to gain the passes crossing South Mountain. At some point, though, to the north-west of Sharpsburg, Lee planed to then form up on favourable ground and offer battle to McClellan.

Read the whole story of Hancock 1862 - the Union Strikes Back on the Changing the Times web site.

In 1842, it was a grim errand that sent Abraham Lincoln hurrying toward Alton, Illinois, early on this morning. At Alton, he would cross the Mississippi River to a small island over the Missouri border-Bloody Island. There, he would prepare himself to kill or be killed in a saber duel to the death.

Abraham Lincoln Prepares to Fight a Saber DuelThe idea of Lincoln fighting a duel begs a burning question for the perennial speculator, the intensely curious sort of history aficionado who wonders what might have happened if Major General George Meade had pursued the Army of Northern Virginia after the Battle of Gettysburg, or if Lieutenant General Thomas 'stonewall" Jackson had survived his wounds at Chancellorsville. The question is this: What if Abraham Lincoln had been killed by a saber slash in 1842? It could have happened by the hand of 36-year-old James Shields if events had gone differently on September 22, 1842. Before circumstances turned Shields and Lincoln into mortal enemies, the two politicians had had a peaceable, professional relationship. They had been in the Illinois state legislature together, Lincoln having won election as a Whig in 1834, and Shields, as a Democrat in 1836. Illinois had an enormous debt in the late 1830s and early 1840s, and the legislature had its hands full just keeping the government operating. In 1837, as the state bank teetered on the brink of collapse, Whigs and Democrats fought over what to do. Lincoln and Shields, however, were able to negotiate a compromise that saved the banks. On one key issue of the time-building new infrastructure such as railroads and other public works-the Whig party wanted private corporations to own the facilities. Democrats favored state ownership. Shields, though faced with heavy pressure from his party, often supported private ownership. So, despite party differences on major issues, Shields and Lincoln often managed to land on the same side of the final vote.

From the HistoryNetWhen the state bank defaulted in 1842, however, there was no such camaraderie. Shields, now the state auditor, aligned with the state's governor and treasurer to adopt a policy in which the state would refuse to accept its own paper money as payment of taxes and other debts. Lincoln cleverly assailed this sitting duck of a policy, simultaneously striking a blow at the Illinois Democratic party in general and at Shields in particular. In a letter to the editor of the Sangamo Journal published in the paper on September 2, 1842, Lincoln presented a polemic designed to embarrass Shields. He chose the Journal as his forum because he had fairly free rein in the paper's columns; editor Simeon Francis was friendly to him and sympathetic to his views. Mrs. Francis had even opened her home as a rendezvous for Lincoln and his future wife, Mary Todd.

Lincoln offered up some pungent prose in his letter to the editor. He began with an earthy character, Jeff, complaining to the rough-hewn but shrewd Rebecca: "I've been tugging ever since harvest getting out wheat and hauling it to the river, to raise State Bank paper enough to pay my tax this year, and a little school debt I owe; and now just as I've got it?, lo and behold, I find a set of fellows calling themselves officers of State, have forbidden to receive State paper at all; and so here it is, dead on my hands".

When Rebecca identifies Shields as one of the "officers of state" and reads aloud from his declaration against accepting state money, Jeff explodes. "I say-it-is-a-lie?. It grins out like a copper dollar. Shields is a fool as well as a liar. With him truth is out of the question".

Lincoln went on to deride his adversary on the social scene, with Jeff recalling Shields at a recent fair attended by the eligible women of Springfield. "His very features, in the ecstatic agony of his soul, spoke audibly and distinctly-"Dear girls, it is distressing, but I cannot marry you all. Too well I know how much you suffer; but do, do remember, it is not my fault that I am so handsome and so interesting".

The letter ended with an appeal to the editor: let your readers "know who and what these officers of State are. It may help to send the present hypocritical set to where they belong and to fill the places they now disgrace with men who will do more for less pay?". Lincoln signed it "Rebecca".

Before sending the letter to the Journal, Lincoln showed it to Mary Todd and her friend Julia Jayne. The two women had a grand time helping Lincoln sharpen his barbs. They apparently got carried away with excitement of the situation; later, they picked up where Lincoln left off and wrote a letter of their own, a feeble aping of Lincoln's cutting wit that ended with a derisive verse signed "Cathleen". Shields was an amusing if volatile target for taunting. Lincoln's future presidential secretaries John Nicolay and John Hay, both familiar with the Illinois capital and its characters, described him as "a man of inordinate vanity?, an irresistible mark for satire". Shields's law partner, Gustave Koerner, said, "He was exceedingly vain and very ambitious, and like most ambitious men, on occasions, quite egotistical? In his manner he was peculiar, not to say eccentric".

Needless to say, Shields was incensed by the Rebecca letter. In an effort to get to the bottom of the situation, Shields asked Francis for Rebecca's true identity. Francis responded, as Lincoln had instructed him, that it was Lincoln. Lincoln, of course, had had help, but apparently he wanted to keep Mary Todd out of it. If the reason for that protective measure was not obvious at the time, it would become so on November 4, 1842, when he married her. On finding the source of his public humiliation, Shields, emotionally wounded and furious, had a menacing note hand-delivered to Lincoln in Tremont on September 17. "I have become the object of slander, vituperation and personal abuse," Shields wrote. Only a full retraction "may prevent consequences which no one will regret more than myself". Lincoln discussed the predicament with his friends Dr. Elias Merryman, a Springfield physician, and William Butler, the clerk of Sangamon County Court, and decided not to retract his pointed words. Shields was not appeased and again demanded "absolute retraction". Lincoln refused, suggesting that Shields take back his hand-delivered letter and submit one that was more "gentlemanly". There would be no further negotiation. Shields challenged Lincoln to a duel.

As the party who had been challenged, Lincoln got to set the fight's conditions. He did so on September 19 in a letter that demonstrated a personal trait that historian Gary Wills has described as "letting nonsense work itself out to its own demise". First, Lincoln selected "cavalry broad sword of the largest size" rather than pistols as the dueling weapons. "I did not want to kill Shields and felt sure I could disarm him?," he later wrote, adding, "I didn"t want the d-d fellow to kill me, which I think he would have done if we had selected pistols". Next, Lincoln prescribed conditions so advantageous to himself that his opponent would be forced to write off the martial affair as a lost cause. He ordered "a plank ten feet long, and from nine to twelve inches abroad, to be firmly fixed on edge, on the ground, as the line between us, which neither is to pass his foot over upon forfeit of his life". Such unusual conditions would allow Lincoln to take advantage of his superior reach; Shields was only five feet, nine inches tall, while Lincoln soared to six feet, four inches. Once again Lincoln had underestimated Shields. Shields was an ambitious, perseverant man, and his professional experience proved that. He had been a state legislator and now was the state auditor. He had been in the Black Hawk War, and during the Mexican War and Civil War, he would serve as a brigadier general. In the 1840s and 1850s he would win elections to the U.S. Senate-first representing Illinois, then Minnesota, then Missouri. In Minnesota, he would found a town and name it Shieldsville. Such a driven and determined man fights stubbornly over his reputation.

Stubbornness was only one of the characteristics that led Shields to the dueling field in September 1842. He also had courage in the face of death. During the Mexican War, he would take a bullet in the chest at the Battle of Cerro Gordo. After surgery and nine weeks of recuperation, he would return to command. This was clearly not a man who would run away from a fight to the death. So, on September 22, 1842, Shields left Illinois, where dueling was illegal, for Missouri, where it was allowed. He walked ashore onto Bloody Island ready to kill Lincoln or be killed by him.

Fortunately for Shields and Lincoln, shared friends John J. Hardin, a relative of Mary Todd, and Dr. R.W. English sped to the duel scene-at least as much as anyone could speed in a small boat in 1842-and pleaded with the would-be combatants to let bygones be bygones. It was a truly desperate attempt to bring peace, but it worked. The duel was cancelled. Though the incident ended without violence, Lincoln avoided talking about it, preferring to forget it ever happened. In a letter written on December 9, 1865, Mary Lincoln recalled that an army officer visiting the White House asked her husband, "Is it true?that you once went out, to fight a duel and all for the sake of the lady by your side?" Lincoln replied, I do not deny it, but if you desire my friendship, you will never mention it again".

Despite his bad experience with heavy-handed sarcasm, Lincoln did not retire his acerbic wit. Stephen A. Douglas, Lincoln's Democratic opponent in the 1858 election for one of Illinois's seats in the U.S. Senate, learned that firsthand. Lincoln roasted Douglas to a crisp during a debate in Charleston on September 18, and that display was not a one-time happening. Major General George B. McClellan, who received many kind words from Lincoln early in the Civil War, also knew the sting of Lincoln's sarcasm. Annoyed by McClellan's slowness in attacking Confederate armies in Virginia in late 1861 and early 1862, Lincoln referred to McClellan's massive Army of the Potomac as "McClellan's bodyguard". He remarked that if McClellan did not care to use his army for fighting, he "would like to borrow it".

Lincoln never again got tangled up in the makings of a duel. Shields, on the other hand, found himself involved in such proceedings in 1850, when on behalf of Democratic Congressman William H. Bissell, he presented the acceptance of a challenge to a duel issued by future Confederate president Jefferson Davis. But he immediately set to work settling the matter without violence. He was successful. Lincoln and Shields apparently settled their differences, or at least agreed to disagree. During the Civil War, Shields was nominated for the rank of brigadier general in the Union army. Final approval fell to the president-Lincoln. He approved. With that move some 20 years after the duel that was not, Lincoln publicly buried the cavalry broadsword.

In 1860, Texas Governor Sam Houston delivered a fiery speech, "The Folly of Disunion" on this day at an anti-secessionist rally in Austin.

Lone StarMany Texans heeded Houston's warning, narrowly voting to remain in the Union on February 23, 1861; Texas would not after all become the seventh star in the Confederate flag.

Born in 1793 in Virginia, Houston was a pivotal figure in the history of Texas. Not only did he sign the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico, but he also served periods as President of the Republic of Texas, Senator for Texas after it joined the United States, and finally as governor.

"Are we to sell reality for a phantom?"Although married to a Cherokee, and a slaveowner and opponent of abolitionism, he refused, because of his unionist convictions, to swear loyalty to the Confederacy and thus had a decisive role in preventing Texas from seceding from the Union.

In 1993, on this day the sitcom Cliff premieres on NBC.

Cliff premieres on NBC by Gerry ShannonA spin-off of the widely successful Cheers which ended the previous year, this new show spotlights the character of postman Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger, pictured) moving back to his hometown of Seattle after a painful divorce and taking up a new postal route.

New characters include Cliff's father, Martin (John Mahoney), a former police officer forced out of retirement following an injury in a shoot-out; and Martin's nurse, Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves), whom Cliff secretly pines after.

At the post office, Cliff's closest colleagues include his friendly, but bumbling post office manager Kenny Daly (Tom McGowan) and the opinionated, promiscuous postal clerk Roz Doyle (Peri Gilpin).

The series bettered it's predecessor by one season, ending it's twelve-year run in 2005. Wendt would win a number of Emmys and Golden Globes for his work on Cliff. In 2001, he negotiated a US$700, 000 per episode salary for the show; and is recognized for being the only actor to play the same character on television for a 23-year run.

In 1997, following the overthrow of President Eugene Terreblanche's National Front party, the Archbishop of Canterbury1 Desmond Tutu (pictured) returned to his beloved South Africa after more than a decade in exile.Tutu Actuality
Six years previously, Terreblanche had pledged the support of his extremist post-apartheid nation to the United States of America and its Constitutionalist leader, President Ralph Shephard who had said of the alliance ~
"Together, we form a fulcrum that will be used to turn the world upside down".
Now after the defeat of the Fulcrum powers by Britain, Egypt and China, South Africa was itself turned upside down.
Yet Archbishop Tutu offered fresh hope in the form of a peaceful transition from apartheid to full and free democracy in South Africa; he would chair a court-like body in which anyone who felt that he or she was a victim of violence was invited to come forward and be heard. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from prosecution.
In the Tutu actuality2, the Archbishop defined his powerful vision for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission ~
"We will have looked the beast3 in the eye.
We will have come to terms with our horrendous past, and it will no longer keep us hostage.
We will cast off its shackles. and holding hands together, black and white, we will stride together into the future.
A glorious future god holds out before us, we who are the rainbow people of god, and looking at our past we will commit ourselves: never again"..
On May 3rd 1999, a new South African constitution granted all citizens the right to vote, regardless of race, color or creed. Nelson Mandela, long thought dead in a South African prison camp, became South Africa's first president elected by a majority of the population.

On this day in 1968, President Lyndon Johnson met with Czech premier Alexander Dubcek in New York City in the first U.S. visit by a Czechoslovakian head of state in over twenty years.


During the Johnson-Dubcek summit agreements were reached on trade between the United States and Czechoslovakia and U.S. economic assistance to the Czech government.

On this day in 1971, Major League Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn announced that the 1971 MLB playoffs and the start of the 1972 MLB season were being indefinitely postponed. Of the 26 MLB teams which had been in business before the China virus pandemic, only nine were still functioning, and of those nine only five still had an adequate number of players on their roster.

 - Bowie Kuhn
Bowie Kuhn

On this day in 1944, Dutch anti-Nazi guerrillas seized control of the main phone, radio, and communications facilities in Amsterdam and sent a message to Allied field commanders that they were attacking the main German troop garrison in that city.


On this day in 1968, Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Forrest Gregg held an impromptu press conference to announce his immediate and permanent retirement from the NFL. Gregg, still heartbroken over the Packers' defeat by the Dallas Cowboys in the legendary Ice Bowl the previous December, said at that press conference he could no longer summon up the motivation to keep going out on the field.


In 1980, after months of deteriorating relations between Tehran and Baghdad, squadrons of Iraqi MiG-21's and MiG-23s attack the Iranian air bases at Mehrabad and Doshen-Tappen, along with a number of other military targets, launching a full-scale war between Iran and Iraq.

In the United States, President Kennedy convenes an emergency meeting of the National Security Council to address the implications of the conflict for America. Vice-President Jackson urges that the U.S. warn Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to back down or risk American retaliation.


Gen. David C. Jones, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warns that a military intervention will take time to prepare and that, if one is undertaken, it must be devastating, in order to force Iraq to yield. National security adviser Clark Clifford cautions that there are significant political risks to taking sides in the Iran-Iraq conflict, and recommends that the U.S. take no overt action against Iraq. Instead, he suggests, America should supply Iran with arms, taking care to keep such efforts quiet to preserve the appearance of nonpartisanship.

In 1956, punk singer Debby Boone was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, to white-bread crooner Pat Boone. A rebel against her father's wholesome image at an early age, she recorded the tribute to marijuana, You Light Up My Life, in 1977, and spiraled downward into a life of drugs and meaningless sex. She committed suicide in 1989 after breaking up with her boyfriend, Sid Vicious.
In 1927, boxer Jack Dempsey successfully recovered his title against champion Gene Tunney by knocking him down in the 7th round. Dempsey was confused about which corner to go to for the count, but his manager whistled him over before any time could be lost from the referee's count.
In 1903, Italo Marchiony patents his Gelato Cone, a thin cone used to hold the Italian iced dessert. The next year, Charles Menches uses a waffle-like variant of it to try to sell his ice cream, but the cone proved more popular than the filling. The same fate befell Marchiony's own gelato shop; Americans just didn't like creamy ice desserts.
In 1692, the last 8 witches were to be executed after the infamous trials in Salem, Massachusetts. One of their number, though, turned out to be a real witch, and escaped from her captors with a mighty spell that turned half of the township into toads.
In 1283 AUC, the minority religion known as Catholicism splits into 3 factions, all of whom hate each other more than they hate the Romans. Power struggles between the 3 Papacies kill off most of their followers, and a few Romans, as well. The Empire does its best to quell their hatred, but many in the Senate are more than willing to let the Catholics kill themselves.
In 1991, the Dead Sea Scrolls were made available to the public for the first time, by the Huntington Library. They were quickly withdrawn for further study after the Library received numerous reports of fiery letters appearing.
In 1990, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom resigned after he was dealt a fatal blow by the resignation of a senior cabinet minister. On November 1st 1990, Margaret Thatcher, one of Sir Geoffrey Howe's oldest and staunchest supporters, had resigned from her position as Deputy Prime Minister in protest at Howe's European policy. In her resignation speech in the House of Commons two weeks later, she suggested that the time had come for 'others to consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties' with which she stated that she had wrestled for perhaps too long.
In 1975, despite a determined efforts by a decorated Marine and Vietnam War Oliver Sipple, Sara Jane Moore assassinated U.S. President Gerald Ford in San Francisco. Moore was 40 feet away from the President when she fired a single shot at him. The bullet hit the President despite bystander Oliver Sipple grabbing Moore's arm; Sipple said at the time: 'I saw [her gun] pointed out there and I grabbed for it. [...] I lunged and grabbed the woman's arm too late and the gun went off.' It was the year of the three Presidents; the crises in government famously described by Richard Nixon as 'the long national nightmare' began to approach the screaming phase.
In 1918, the troops of the antichrist's armies transmogrify into the soldiers of the clashing armies in the Jezreel Valley. In a moment, they are gone. Or so it would seem.
In 1918, British General Edmund Allenby had been in hell for three years. On June 9th 1915 he had been removed from command and transferred to Egypt due to his continuing feud with Field Marshal Haig over tactical matters. Shortly after his arrival in Egypt, he learned that his son, Michael, had been killed on the Western Front by German artillery. The paralells Allenby was seeing with the Book of Revelations, and the arrival of the antichrist's armies were just further steps on the road to hell. Where he was now, to be precise.

September 21

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.

Just 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.

For the first time in centuries the Ottoman Empire received a request for military assistance, on this occasion from the Sultanate of Aceh their protectorate on Sumatra which was threatened by the imposition of Dutch Colonial rule.

21st September, 1872 - Dutch-Ottoman War breaks out on SumatraFor much of the 19th century, Aceh's independence had been guaranteed by the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 and its status as a protectorate of the Ottoman Empire since the 16th century. During the 1820s, Aceh became a regional political and commercial power, supplying half of the world's pepper, which increased the revenues and influence of local feudal rajas. Growing European and American demand for pepper led to a series of diplomatic skirmishes between the British, French and Americans. During the reign of Sultan Alauddin Ibrahim Mansur Syah (1838-1870), the Aceh Sultanate brought the regional rajas under its control and extended its domain over the east coast.However, this southward trend clashed with the northwards expansion of Dutch colonialism in Sumatra.

Following the 1869 opening of the Suez Canal and changing shipping routes, the British and Dutch signed the 1871 Anglo-Dutch Treaty of Sumatra which ended British territorial claims to Sumatra, allowing the Dutch a free hand within their sphere of influence in Maritime Southeast Asia while handing them the responsibility to check piracy. In return, Britain gained control of the Dutch Gold Coast in Africa and equal commercial rights in Siak. Dutch territorial ambitions in Aceh were fuelled by a desire to exploit its natural resources, especially black pepper and oil, and to eliminate an independent native state player. The Dutch also sought to ward off other rival colonial powers that had ambitions in Southeast Asia, particularly the British and the French.

Several things were behind this war: the question of Dutch sovereignty/influence over Sumatra that conflicted British commercial interests on the island, and the rising economy of Aceh through their pepper industry that was able to supply most of world pepper demand at that time, that threatened Dutch newly formed plantations in Sumatra back then. It was triggered by Acehnese understandably relentless attempt to build relations with western nations in order to counter the Dutch, including with that of Ottoman Empire. But of course the far-reaching consequences of the war would have effects felt far beyond Sumatra.

Author's Note: in authoring this post we have re-purposed content from Alternate History and Wikipedia ~ IOTL, that Russo-Ottoman War ended in Ottoman devastating defeat. Prior to that war, Ottomans actually had the 3rd largest navy in the world that time, and also a respectable veteran army. Had they won the war, they could have had retained that navy and army. It also thrown them back into absolute autocracy under Abdul Hamid II.

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.

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.

Pres. Argentina
Pres. Argentina - Juan Peron
Juan Peron

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.

Apollo One

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.

Apollo One - Crew

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.

Baltimore - Orioles Logo
Orioles Logo

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
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.

General -  Ivan Konev
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.

 - Joseph McCarthy
Joseph McCarthy

"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.

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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.