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

November 11

In 1940, two hundred and fifty miles north-west of Sumatra the Blue Funnel Line cargo ship SS Automedon was intercepted by the Kriegsmarine cruiser Atlantis. German officers boarded the ship and seized top secret British mail that they sent on to the Empire of Japan.

Impregnable Fortress, Redux - Part 2In the chart room Herr Captain Rogge found a small weighted green bag marked "Highly Confidential" containing the Chief of Staff's report to the Commander in Chief Far East, Robert Brooke Popham. The bag was supposed to be thrown overboard if there was risk of loss, but the personnel responsible for this had been killed or incapacitated. The report contained the latest assessment of the Japanese Empire's military strength in the Far East, along with details of Royal Air Force units, naval strength, and notes on Singapore's defences.

Although unstated, those details were the top end of projections based upon the enhanced land and naval capabilities that Prime Minister Winston Churchill had pledged to Australian Prime Minister Mr John Curtin. The false certainly exaggerated impression given was that Britain was prepared to fight a war with Japan.

The mail reached the German Embassy in Tokyo on 5 December. The German Naval attaché Paul Wenneker had the summary of the British plan wired to Berlin, while the original was hand-carried by Kamenz to Berlin via the Trans-Siberian railway. A copy was given to the Japanese, to whom it provided valuable intelligence prior to their commencing hostilities against the Western Powers. Rogge was rewarded for this with an ornate Samurai sword; the only other Germans so honoured were Hermann G&oouml;ring and Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.

After reading the captured Chief of Staff report, on 7 January 1941 Japanese Admiral Yamamoto wrote to the Naval Minister proposing that Japan refocus her opening moves on knocking the unprepared American Pacific Fleet out of the war.

In 1869, on this day Victor Emmanuel Savoy was born in Naples in the Kingdom of Italy. He would rule Italy from 29 July 1900 until his death on 28 December 1947 [1].

House of Savoy Redeemed by Ed & Scott PalterDue to the political and economic instability of Europe between the wars, he was reluctantly forced to appoint a nationalist government. But he compounded the error by linking the fate of the House of Savoy to the Junta that took Italy to war in 1938 [2].

Four years later, the Allies took another fateful decision, to proceed with Operation Giant [3]. Ignoring the pleadings of his mother, Prince Umberto stayed with the Rome Garrison to restore the honour of the House of Savoy. And despite his tragic death (he was not yet forty) he had indeed assured that the Royal House of Savoy would emerge from the war with some shreds of prestige that would allow them to continue their reign. Of course the Western Allies were keen to put in place a bulwark against Communism, and in Italy (like Japan) saw the intrinsic value of continuity of a Head of State in a defeated nation that they need to convert to a Cold war ally.

In 1790, on this day the tenth State ratified the Second Constitution and George Washington became President-for-Life.

A Disagreeable Scheme, ReduxWith his administration destroyed by Debt Assumption, Whiskey Rebellion and Indian troubles, his predecessor James Madison had already quit in disgust and returned to his native Virginia.

And as the Republic began to fall apart, a Second Constitutional Convention was hastily assembled. Inevitably, General Washington, who had declined the Presidency at the first convention, was recalled (mostly because the Army would not mobilize under any other leadership figure).

Subsequently, Washington attempted to sell a new compact to the States, although ultimately he failed to persuade North Carolina and Rhode Island. This is a variant ending to A Disagreeable Scheme in which Gen Washington also refuses the Presidency

In 1885, on this day American General George Smith Patton, Jr. was born in San Gabriel, California.

Old Blood and GutsThe erratic nature of his long military career is perhaps best exemplified by an incident that occurred on December 9th, 1945. While on his way to a hunting trip in the German countryside, the Cadillac belonging to General George S. Patton collided with a left-turning 2.5 ton truck. Patton's driver, Private First Class Horace Woodring, rather than braking and hitting the truck at lower speed, briskly turned to dodge, and the two vehicles slammed into one another's sides.

Woodring and Patton's chief of staff Major General "Hap" Gay both suffered bruises, but Patton seemed totally unhurt after tumbling sideways.

The accident seemed to follow the course of luck that could be traced through the old soldier's life. Patton had attended the Virginia Military Institute and United States Military Academy, competed in the modern pentathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics, finishing fifth overall and the only non-Swede in the top seven. He studied swordsmanship in Europe the next year, going on to become the youngest Master of the Sword in Army history. From there, Patton became an instructor, wrote pamphlets, and helped design the Army's final saber in 1913, later nicknamed the "Patton saber".

Peace soon gave way to war, and Patton's real career began. He served as Pershing's aide in the Mexican expedition in 1916 and then became a captain among the US Tank Corps in WWI. Campaigning for years to acquire funding for armored divisions for the US Army, but with little success, Patton spent the between-war years stationed in Hawaii (where, in 1931, he wrote a defensive plan for a potential air raid) and in Washington, D.C., (where he led tanks against the Bonus Army on the orders of General Douglas MacArthur). When WWII began, Patton's arguments for armored divisions gained clout, and he was promoted to major general to head the 2nd Armored Division.

Patton's leadership would give the Allies massive advantage in the African and European Theaters of the war. The "Desert Fox" Irwin Rommel was notoriously concerned of Patton, and the German military would routinely place their best troops against him, often to no great avail. Patton pressed his troops through North Africa, Sicily, and France.

While a master on the battlefield, Patton met with great controversy when bullets did not fly. Hoping to motivate his men, he maintained a powerful visage and carried nickel-plated revolvers with ivory handles. He swore constantly, even in public addresses. Patton's belief in the honor of the military contradicted Eisenhower's easy-going nature and cartoonist Bill Mauldin's ridicule, both of whom chafed Patton's temper. Most shocking was the "slapping incident" in Sicily where Patton had hit a soldier suffering from shellshock and ordered him back to the front. Patton would be stripped of command for a time, but he would use his time to confound German intelligence on where the European landing would begin. After Normandy, Patton would be back in command with the Third Army and helped in the liberation of Europe.

As the war came to an end, Patton began to give warnings about not being able to trust the Soviets. Some 25,000 American POWs had been liberated but not returned in Eastern Europe, where the communists were seemingly settling in. Patton suggested that the American Army be ready for war again to keep Russia in its place while they were low on supplies. Instead, the Army began dismantling itself for peacetime, and Patton was reassigned to the Fifteenth Army, which was mainly handling occupation and historical collection.

After the accident, the Fifteenth Army headquarters was inactivated on January 31, 1946, and Patton sent his request for retirement to the War Department, which was approved. According to Hap Gay, Patton would have resigned if retirement had been refused. The weight of peace seemed too much for the old soldier to bear. When Patton returned to his native California, he began a lecture circuit, which provided a great deal of scandal, and primarily wrote, commenting on his past as well as the present and future of America. He consistently warned of Soviet expansion, which gained the attention of political movements.

Patton was invited to the 1948 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. He was surprised to be seen in politics and even more to hear that he had been placed on the ballot. While he campaigned rigorously after the invite, it was apparent that he had no real hope of taking the presidency as Dewey had cinched the vote and Patton's infamy preceded him, not to mention that his military clout was blocked by votes going toward MacArthur. Instead, Patton returned to retirement, writing to several friends with the exclamation, "God, give me a war to fight!"

As if an answer to prayer, Patton was called up by Vice President Richard Nixon to be an adviser in the situation in French Indochina, which was quickly becoming known as Vietnam. Having watched the turmoil that was the Korean War from the sidelines in agony, Patton was eager to sort out the situation himself. Though he agreed with MacArthur's suggestion to use atomic weapons, Patton was disgusted by his former commander's disrespect of President Truman. Patton arrived in Saigon and met with CIA advisers, many of whom had connections back to the old Army OS. Upon his assessment, Patton shook his head over the situation and said of Ngo Dinh Diem, "I wouldn't fight for him, even if it were against Stalin himself". It was clear the people preferred Ho Chi Minh, who was a cunning warrior working to limit trouble upon the peasants.

Patton wrote an extensive description of the corruption in South Vietnam and suggested winning over the resistance-fighters of the Viet Minh rather than trying to fight the Viet Cong and their pro-populace support. The CIA worked to follow his plan, infiltrating North Vietnam and gaining leverage as the Sino-Soviet split began to appear in the late '50s and became clear by the '60s. With the American-backed regime change in South Vietnam in 1958, the short-lived Vietnam War of 1959-60 established firmly the division between the Communist North and the increasingly western South, as had been seen in Korea. Containment continued to be the policy of the United States as it subtly transformed itself over the twentieth century while Communism would self-destruct by the 1990s.

However, Patton would not live to see his influence on modern events. He died at age 72 in December of 1957 while touring Vietnam and suggesting military placements for defense along the northern border despite rainy weather. His body was returned to the US, where it was buried in Arlington Cemetery.

In 1880, on this day Ned Kelly (pictured) was granted life, but on a condition.

Ned Kelly granted life, but on a conditionThroughout his early life, the Australian state of Victoria was plagued by bushranger Edward "Ned" Kelly. He was the son of an Irish ex-convict who had been sent to Van Diemen's Land on charges of thievery, though many argued he was a patriot who had stood a little too tall. The senior Kelly's vigor-beyond-legality passed on to his son, and Ned was notorious for cunning, while questionable, activities. At age 14, he was arrested for assault (claiming he was defending his sister's honor); at 15, he was again arrested for assault (on a man who had borrowed a horse without permission) and harassing his wife. Kelly himself would be accused of horse-thievery, and, in the resulting altercation with one Constable Hall, he beat Hall and reportedly rode him like a horse. Kelly grew and eventually assumed a career in cattle-rustling.

In what may or may not have been police harassment, Kelly was accused of shooting an officer in the wrist, and so a warrant was put out for his arrest. The Kellies' version of the story was that the constable, Alexander Fitzpatrick, had come asking about Dan Kelly while Ned was gone to New South Wales, made an inappropriate advance on Kate Kelly, and was hit with a coal shovel by the mother, Ellen. Fitzpatrick's doctor noted the smell of alcohol, but Judge Redmond Barry found Ned guilty on scant evidence, prompting a 15-year sentence if he were to be found. Instead, Ned and his brother Dan fled into the bush, later joined by Steve Hart and Joe Byrne.

The Kelly gang was pursued, and a shootout at Stringybark Creek left two officers dead, meaning that Kelly would now be wanted for more than assault. Knowing his life hung on a thread no matter what he did, Kelly turned to daring bank robberies. In Euroa, the gang stole some two thousand pounds while entertaining hostages with horsemanship theatrics. The police scurried to arrest known Kelly sympathizers, but his legend only grew as the government pressed harder. In Jerilderie, they impersonated police officers with uniforms stolen from the local police station, bought hostages drinks, stole another ?2000, and burned the mortgage papers of everyone in the town.

On June 27, 1880, the gang, dressed in long, gray cotton coats and large hats, raided Glenrowan. Beneath their clothes, unbeknownst to the police, was armor constructed out of plowshares that weighed nearly 100 pounds and was thick enough to deflect bullets. When police arrived and the shootout began, bullets bounced off Kelly and terrified police. They cried that he was the Devil or a bunyip. Constable Gascoigne hit Kelly point blank, but the man did not fall, and Gascoigne called out that he could not be hurt. Eventually, the volleys caught Kelly in the foot and hand, and he was brought down and arrested.

The rest of his gang had died, Byrne dying from blood loss while Dan Kelly and Steve Hart reportedly committed suicide. Kelly stood before Judge Redmond Barry, the same who had promised to give him 15 years in the original harassment that had sent Kelly into the bush two years before. Barry sentenced Kelly to hang, but at the last moment 30,000 signatures for a stay of sentence were met with an enterprising lieutenant with an idea. In exchange for life imprisonment, Kelly would join in the designs of mass producing his armor for infantry.

Given into permanent custody of Her Majesty's Army, Kelly was taken to London where he and several military engineers reproduced his armor. The original suits had been made on a bush forge, but were of incredible quality, accidentally using the lower temperature and spotty nature of the rough forge to create uneven, more bullet-resistant metal. The armor designs would be put to use in the Boer War, where they would prove useful only in aggressive forward raids. Primarily, the armor was declared useless, though Kelly was maintained in military prison. He spent his time dictating and writing letters from his prison, denouncing the Australian government and arguing for the rights of Irish Catholics throughout the empire.

When the First World War began, trench warfare turned advances into slaughter until Kelly's armor was reintroduced in 1916. At the Battle of the Somme, armor-clad British soldiers stormed across No Man's Land. While many were cut down in the legs by machine gun fire and others simply fell over and were unable to get up, the pushing force overwhelmed German troops and started the general retreat from France that would end the war in 1917.

As Europe breathed between the wars, the Kaiser began a new arms race, developing motorized Panzer that would be emulated by other nations. In 1936, the Second World War would begin due to Germany's move into Austria during socialist riots. The new war would be nothing like the stalemate of the first and spread the deadness of No Man's Land across much of the continent. Kelly would not live to see the massive destruction his idea had caused, having died in prison in 1928, still writing in criticism of abusive tyranny.

In 1960, with the electoral recount process underway in the disputed States of Texas and Illinois, Lieutenant Colonel Vuong Van Dong and Colonel Nguyen Chanh Thi of the Airborne Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam effected a more dramatic change of government by assassinating President Ngo Dinh Diem.

Change of GovernmentAfter the plotters had trapped the ruling Ngo Family inside the Independence Palace, Diem tried to stall the coup by holding negotiations and promising reforms, such as the inclusion of military officers in the administration. Opposition politicians then joined the fray, exploiting his position, but Diem was simply playing for time, unaware that the 5th and 7th Divisions of the ARVN were unable to lift the siege because the plotters had closed the roads leading into the capital Saigon1.

Whilst this drama played out, lame duck President Eisenhower and his two successor candidates Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy were also in limbo. Both candidates decided to seize the initiative by putting forthrightly their views on both the situation in Indochina, and also the case for US intervention to save the region falling like a domino to Communism.

In 1796, largely due to the destructive misbehaviour of John Adams the victor of the first contested American presidential election was Alexander Hamilton (pictured).

Dragon's TeethNominally at least, Adams was Hamilton's senior in the Federalist Party however the Vice President had destroyed his revolutionary credentials by persisting in his advocacy of an American monarchy. Just a month into office, Adams had been labelled "his rotundity" in the Senate by arguing that George Washington should be addressed with the monikers "His Majesty the President" or "His High Mightiness" over the simple "President of the United States" that eventually won the debate.

A fact that was lost on no one was that the childless Washington was sterile, and the Vice President was almost alone amongst Founding Fathers in having a male heir, John Quincy Adams.

Thomas Jefferson was uncharacteristically drawn into the debate due to the indiscretion of a printer who repeated his harsh criticism of Adam's "Davila Papers". Never one to miss out on an argument, Adams accused Jefferson's anti-monarchism of being a Francophone in nature, stating that his former friend was sowing "Dragon's Teeth" in the new republic.

Prior to the passage of the Twelve Amendment, the runner-up in the presidential race was elected Vice President and consequently Hamilton was saddled with Colonel Aaron Burr. But by irony of circumstance, this unlikely partnership saved the young republic. Because Hamilton made the stupendous error of raising and organizing an army to fight the French by invading the colonies of her ally, Spain.

Hamilton congratulated himself that he had succeeded in pulling the "Dragon's Teeth" by ensuring that America would not be drawn into the French system of thinking. And yet it was not the end of the French episode, because in 1803 Napoleon Bonaparte's brother-in-law General Charles Leclerc landed in Louisiana with twenty-thousand crack troops. Fortunately, Burr was a crackerjack soldier, who, as an emergency Commander-in-Chief, crushed the French at New Orleans.

In 1859, on this day the State of Virginia issued warrants for the half-dozen prominent northerners who conspired to organize John Brown's attack on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry.

Harpers Ferry Raid, Part 1: "Those Who Sent Him"Accordingly, the "Secret Six" would be obliged to "surrender to fugitive's justice [from Brown's raid]" , being collectively "charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia". Because widespread popular protests in the North on the day of John Brown's execution infuriated Southerners such as Virginia Governor Henry A. Wise who admired Brown's courage and forthrightness but condemned "those who sent him [John Brown]". The enduring image is captured in "The Last Moments of John Brown", by Thomas Hovenden (pictured).

Governor Wise admired Brown's courage and forthrightness but condemned "those who sent him" Despite appeals for clemency, Wise staunchly refused to commute Brown's sentence. And his insistence on pursuing the "Secret Six" was no less determined. Wise argued convincingly that Harpers Ferry wasn't Brown's first act of psychotic madness. Just days after the proslavery sack of Lawrence, his band of men had killed several proslavery settlers in "Bleeding Kansas", hacking to death five men along Pottawatomie Creek with short, heavy swords.

If abolitionists praised Brown's compassion for the "poor slave," to white Southerners he was anarchy incarnate. Yet easy as it was to dismiss John Brown as a madman, the "Secret Six" were neither hardscrabble ruffians nor ex-slaves but respectable, wealthy residents of Boston radiating culture, education, and fortune. As such, they presented an especial threat to the slave-holding plutocracy, by serving as the archetypical Northern mercantilists who had undermined the Founding Father's dreams for Confederacy.

Senator James Mason of Virginia formed a Senate committee to investigate the raid, to validate Wise's allegations of Northern abolitionist complicity. After much hard talk about a Northern abolitionist cabal his committee colleague Senator Jefferson Davis of Mississippi, the committee found proof of Northern complicity "It would be hard to conceive of a conclusion other than conspiracy that to which the whole affair has come," the New York Times observed in June 1860. The same paper suggested that it would be a miracle if the next President had a Union to preside over come the next inauguration.

In 1621, at Thanksgiving Township in the modern-day province of Wampanoag, English Settlers set apart a day to celebrate their first harvest festival.

The First Deliverance DayThe guest of honour, Ousamequin (also known as Massasoit), the Great Sachem of the Pokanoket had prevented the failure of the settlement, and the almost certain starvation that the English faced during the earliest years of the Township's establishment.

Moreover, the Sachem had forged critical political and personal ties with the leadership figures of John Carver, Stephen Hopkins, Edward Winslow, William Bradford, and Miles Standish.

"The English are my friends and love me".In "Mourt's Relation", Winslow himself would later record ~ "Many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others".

In good spirit, the English settlers agreed henceforth to celebrate their deliverance with Native Americans on the fourth Thursday in every November.

In 1941, on this day the S.S. Automedon was boarded by the German Raider Atlantis in the Indian Ocean.DLG '40 - Part 3: Force Orange
Onboard the Automedon were the plans for the defence of Singapore. The Germans discovered the documents but the recent peace settlement with Britain prohibited them from sending them to the Japanese. Shortly afterwards, the architect of that peace, David Lloyd George announced the formation of Force Orange (Lloyd George who had been appointed Prime Minister as an 'honest broker' after the Battle of Britain).
Heading towards Singapore was a battle group including Prince Of Wales and Repulse with support from HMS Indomitable, an Illustrious class aircraft carrier. First Sea Lord Sir Dudley Pound felt that Singapore could not be adequately defended, unless the Royal Navy sent the majority of its capital ships there, to achieve parity with the estimated nine Japanese battleships. That had been until recently considered unacceptable as the British were at war with Germany and Italy. On December 7th, the attack on Pearl Harbour would create an improbable scenario. British Seapower would be the only effective deterrent to Japanese aggression, which had been demonstrated in the invasion of French Indochina. ..(the story continues).

In 2004, on this day the Palestinian Head of State, His Excellency Mohammed Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini died at the Mukataa, his lavish presidential compound on the Central West Bank of the River Jordan.Turning Point

Yasser Arafat - as he was more commonly known from his freedom fighting days, or Abu Ammar by his kunya given name - was seventy-five years old and had dedicated his entire adult life to the founding of Palestine.

In 1947, Mr Arafat enrolled in the University of King Fuad I. During the 1948 War of Independence, Mr Arafat left Cairo to join Arab forces fighting against Zionist troops. In early 1949, when the war was winding down in Palestine's favor, Mr Arafat returned to study Political Science, serving as president of the General Union of Palestinian Students. During his first year as president of the union, the institution was renamed Cairo University after a coup was carried out by the Free Officers Movement overthrowing King Farouk I. By that time, Mr Arafat had graduated with a bachelor's degree and was called to duty with Egyptian forces during the Suez Crisis to repel a fresh set of invaders, this time the British and French. The unconditional backing of the Free Officers Movement, and in particular the lifelong support of Abdul Gamal Nasser and his successors would be key to Mr Arafat's own rise to power in Ramallah.

Accordingly, a week of national mourning was declared in both Ramallah, and nearby East Jerusalem, just 10 kilometers (6 miles) to the north of the capital city.

Students of irony might care to note that the term Mukataa although commonly used to describe Palestinian government bureau and centres actually means 'something separated' in Arabic. This term could equally apply to the desperately unhappy state of a Zionist organisation led by Mr Binyamin Netanyahu, currently residing somewhat further away from the 'Eternal City of the Jews' than that gentleman would undoubtedly have preferred.

In Ellington, Connecticut Mr Netanyahu convened a news conference in his capacity as the Head of Congregation Knesseth Israel. Founded in 1906 by a group of Jewish farmers, the synagogue was built in 1913 partly with funds from the philanthropist Baron Maurice de Hirsch's Jewish Colonization Association. The choice of the Constitution State was unintentionally symbolic; the motto of Connecticut is Qui transtulit sustinet, in Latin meaning 'He who transplanted sustains'.

Of course the Jewish Colonization Association had long labelled Mr Arafat an Arab nationalist and a terrorist, saying his death could be a turning point for Jewish fortunes in the Middle East.

Despite the catastrophe of 1948, the people of Eretz Israel had not given up on their vision of a Jewish State in the Middle East, said Netanyahu. However, when pressed, he refused to give a road-map stating that 'for the foreseeable future', the Jewish homeland would be these agricultural colonies on real estate purchased by the committee, in the Americas.

In 1918, the Great European War ends with the downfall of all the monarchies on the continent.

Treaty of PragueAfter the Christmas Truce of 1914 had produced a huge body of soldiers unwilling to fight each other, these soldiers had returned to their native countries and begun fighting the regimes there. The 4 year struggle finally ended on this day with an agreement among the new governments in a dozen nations to never commit war against each other again.

The Treaty of Prague, signed by over a hundred soldiers and representatives of the new Peace governments, marked what President Wilson of America called, "the end of the war to end all wars".

On this day in 1973, the Cowboys got their seventh win of the 1973 NFL season with a 27-23 comeback victory on the road over the New York Giants; shortly after the game it was disclosed that Roger Staubach would remain on injured reserve pending further medical tests.

 - Roger Staubach
Roger Staubach

In 1960, on this day President-elect John F. Kennedy used the occasion of a Veterans' Day gathering in Boston to outline his ideas for expediting federal aid to New York City's post-hurricane recovery effort.

Pres. Elect
Pres. Elect - John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy

In 2001, President Al Gore confers with British prime minister Tony Blair in the first of a series of meetings aimed at assembling a Desert Storm-style international coalition to support the U.S. in the event that a full-fledged military intervention in Afghanistan becomes necessary.

 - Al Gore
Al Gore

Such intervention, if undertaken, is sure to be controversial, since there are many who will argue that invading a sovereign country is a disproportionate response even to a terrorist attack like the Sept. 11 downing of United Airlines Flight 93 by agents of the terror group Al Qaeda.

However, intelligence reports indicating that the Flight 93 attack was part of a larger, mostly unsuccessful strike at multiple targets including the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have persuaded the President that drastic measures must be considered to deal with bin Laden's organization before it can pull off a successful mass-casualty strike.

In 1958 Sandy Koufax scored his 615th NBA career point in a 116-113 Celtics win over the Minneapolis Lakers at Boston Garden.

 - Sandy Koufax
Sandy Koufax

In 1918, on this day the Great War ends.

At the news of German's defeat, an Austrian-born corporal in a Bavarian regiment, Adolf Hitler, loses his will to go on living and succumbs to the complications of having been gassed.

 - Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler

In 1959, Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy announces his intention to run again for the presidency.

The move infuriates Vice-President Richard Nixon, who intends to announce his own candidacy and now fears a bruising fight in the Republican primaries, one potentially worse than that of '56 because Nixon is much less personally popular than Eisenhower. 'That'--expletive deleted--'SOB may have just handed the White House to the'--expletives deleted--'Democrats!' he rages.


In 1957, NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan and rocket expert Wernher von Braun are summoned to the White House by President Eisenhower and questioned as to the feasibility of developing anti-ballistic missile technology to counter Soviet ICBM's, now that the launch of Sputnik has confirmed that the USSR has the technology to build intercontinental missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons to the United States. Both men express skepticism, Glennan observing that the only obvious method would be via an interceptor rocket, a technique he compares to 'hitting a bullet with a bullet.'

 - Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke

Also present, however, is physicist Edward Teller, popularly (and not quite accurately) described as 'the father of the H-bomb.' Teller insists that ABM technology can and must be developed. 'If it is not,' he warns, 'the Soviets will soon be able to smash America to her knees with a barrage of intercontinental missiles in a Pearl Harbor-style attack, and then move in and conquer what remains of this nation.? In a private conversation later with his former Manhattan Project colleague Isidor I. Rabi, Teller goes further, claiming that if ABM technology is not developed immediately, he expects to be a prisoner in a Soviet concentration camp in a Communist America within five years. Rabi, who has become accustomed to such hyperbole from the militantly anti-Communist Teller, says nothing, but will recount the incident decades later in a television interview.

Eisenhower finds Teller's argument - and in particular his evocation of Pearl Harbor - persuasive, and directs that NASA devote itself to ABM development. Glennan's objection that this is an inappropriate mission for a supposedly civilian agency is brushed aside.

After the meeting, however, Eisenhower decides he cannot trust the obviously reluctant Dr. Glennan to devote himself wholeheartedly to the ABM project. In a telephone call to Secretary of Defense Neil H. McElroy, he directs that the Defense Department launch its own ABM program, which is to be kept as separate as possible from that of NASA, ostensibly to avoid 'bureaucratic conflicts' but actually to keep Glennan's attitude from spreading to the military project.

Ariel Sharon

In 2004, the Chairman of the Jewish Colonization Association, Ariel Sharon spoke of the death of Yasser Arafat at a press conference in Colonia Lapin, Buenos Aires Province. Sharon reminded the world press of a comment made by President Arafat In an interview published on 1969-06-15, the Sunday Times which quoted him saying: 'There were no such thing as Israelis, only Jews. When was there an independent Israeli people with a Jewish state? It was either southern Syria before the First World War, and then it was a Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was an Israeli people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.'

Ariel Sharon - Chairman, JCA.
Chairman, JCA.

The Jewish Colonization Association was established by Baron Maurice de Hirsch in 1891. The association was greatly affected by the British withdrawal from mandated territory in Palestine in 1947, considering the move an act of betrayal following the Balfour Declaration of 1917. By 1947, oil had been discovered in the Middle East, and the Western Powers were more concerned about keeping the Arab nations on board. At the one hundredth anniversary celebration in 1991, having abandoned demands for final status talks, the Association was seriously considering either a South American option or in fact an Israel mini-state. The JCA also established several colonies in Argentina. Once such colony is Colonia Lapin founded in 1919 in the Buenos Aires Province.

In 2004, Veteran leader Yasser Arafat dies in hospital in Paris, aged 75, bringing to an end more than 40 years of rule over the Palestinian people. A controversial leader, President Arafat was hated by Zionist groups for denying Jewish settlements existed in Palestine prior to the end of the British mandate in 1948.

Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat - Pres. Palestine
Pres. Palestine
In 1963, US President John F Kennedy issued National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) #263. Orders were thereby given for the withdrawal of 1,000 military personnel from Cuba by the end of 1963, with a total withdrawal by 1965. USAF Chief General Curtis LeMay and Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson had no intention of letting this happen, but for very different reasons.
In 1936, on this day King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom abdicated. During World War II he was at first stationed with the British Military Mission in France, but after private accusations that he was pro-Nazi, was moved to the Bahamas as Governor and Commander-in-Chief. The rest of the Royal Family arrived in the Bahamas shortly afterwards, exiles after the Battle of Britain in which Hitler successful prosecuted Operation Sealion.
In 1918, on this day an armistice with Germany was signed in a rail road carriage at Compiegne in France where Germans had previously dictated terms to France, ending the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. At 11:00am on November 11, 1918 - the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - a ceasefire came into effect and the opposing armies on the Western Front began to withdraw from their positions. They were unaware that they took with them the Spanish Super flu that would rage through civilian populations, driving Europe to the verge of depopulation by 1920.
In 1965, Ian Smith sent a telegram notifying British Prime Minister Harold Wilson of Universal Declaration of Independence at precisely 1 p.m. local time (11 a.m. in London) on 11 November, at the precise moment that the UK started its traditional two minutes of silence to mark the end of World War I and honour its war dead. The not-so-hidden message to 'kith and kin,' as Smith put it, recalled Southern Rhodesia's assistance and allegiance to the UK in its time of need in World War I and II. British High Commissioner John Barnes Johnston, who disliked Smith, emptied the High Commission building of all official documents and left Rhodesia. Smith gave strict instructions to his government not to harm the High Commission building in any way, much to Johnston's surprise. The international community condemned UDI, and the High Commission staff were assaulted and spat upon by Rhodesian soldiers as they departed Salisbury.
In 1922, on this day the author Kurt Vonnegut was born. As recounted in his famous book Slaughterhouse-Five, Tralfamdorians had explained to him that the act of conception was much more complicated than most human beings believed. Flying-saucer crews had identified no fewer than seven sexes on Earth, each essential to reproduction. Vonnegut couldn't possibly imagine what five of those seven sexes had to do with the making of a baby, since they were sexually active only in the fourth dimension. The Tralfamadorians tried to give Vonnegut clues that would help him imagine sex in the invisible dimension. They told him that there could be no Earthling babies without male homosexuals. There could be babies without female homosexuals. There couldn't be babies without women over sixty-five years old. There could be babies without men over sixty-five. There couldn't be babies without other babies who had lived an hour or less after birth. And so on. It was gibberish to Vonnegut.
In 1960, while vacationing in Palm Beach, Florida, President-elect John F. Kennedy's was assassinated by Richard Paul Pavlick, a 73-year-old former postal worker. Pavlick's was a suicide bomber who crashed his dynamite-laden 1950 Buick into Kennedy's vehicle, killing Kennedy, his wife and daughter. Suggestions that Pavlick was a hypotised CIA agents were explorerd in the 1962 movie the Massachussets Candidate.

November 10

In 1444, on this day a mixed Papal army defeated a large Ottoman force near Varna in eastern Bulgaria.

Glorious Papal Victory at VarnaTheir hard fought victory was a personal triumph for Władysław III of Poland (also King of Hungary). Over-ruling the sound advice of the more experienced Bulgarian Commander Hunyadi János, he rushed five hundred of his Polish knights against the Ottoman center in a bold move that ultimately won the day.

It was of course a huge risk but the only way that the thirty thousand man Papal Army could overcome an Ottoman force nearly twice the size. It would prove a crucial turning point in the Ottoman War.

In 1973, lead members of the cast delayed the production of Godfather Part II by five whole weeks.

James Caan plays Young Vito Corleone in Godfather Part IIAl Pacino's lawyers told producer/director Francis Ford Coppola that he had grave misgivings with the script and was not coming. Coppola spent an entire night rewriting it before giving it to Pacino for his review. Pacino approved and the production went forward. And the actor James Caan (a native of the Bronx but not Italian, being the son of German Jewish Immigrants) demanded that he be paid the same amount he received for the entire previous film for the single scene in Part II which reprises the role of Sonny in the birthday flashback sequence.

At this juncture, Robert De Niro pulled out unexpectedly, and Coppola decided to offer Caan the part of Young Vito Corleone. Despite several strong performances in Part 1, Brian's Song and Rollerball it was this casting decision that took his acting career to a new level, albeit he was subsequently typecast as a wise guy. De Niro meanwhile would appear in a host of varied but non-violent roles in box office hits such as New York, New York and The Mission. In recognition of the significance of this pivotal decision, and of course being celebrated actors with a strong sense of history, both Caan and De Niro readily agreed to play alongside James Gandolfini and Joe Pesci in the 2010 remake Godfather, Redux. Set in post 9/11 New York, Caan played Mayor Rudolf Giuliani whereas De Niro starred as the ageing Michael Corleone. He won an Oscar for his masterful performance, the pulling of the "Deniro Face" left many wise guy fans to wonder what might have been.

In 1956, to the further embarrassment of the Soviet Union, the Russian adventurer Boris Skossyreff (pictured, with monocle) managed to join the revolutionary armed forces fighting for the Hungarian Uprising.

Conjoined Crisis Part 7
Colonel Pal Maleter welcomes King of Andorra
Colonel Pál Maléter and his troops were holed up in mines which dated back to the old Empire and extended across the border into Czechoslovakia. Their plight was being broadcast to the world by Imre Nagy who had been given refuge in the British Embassy. Despite their bold attempts to emulate the Cursed Soldiers of Poland, their resistance to Soviet forces was mostly symbolic. However, the intervention of Boris Skossyreff was a psychological blow to the Soviets.

A Lithuanian Baron who fled Russia after the Revolution he later proclaimed himself King of Andorra before being sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. He had been released from a labor camp in Siberia earlier in the year.

Superficially, the bold personal interventions of maverick nobles such as von Habsburg, Skossyreff and later Michael King of Romania was a rival "throwback" challenge to Soviet Authority. Regardless of the misreports in the Western Media that the old Royal Families were tearing down the Iron Curtain, there was of course absolutely no prospect of a return to power for the Imperial Houses of Eastern Europe. Which was not to say their token resistance was completely without significance, because the real issue was the series of blundering mistakes that had been made in the Politburo, not just the release of Skossyreff but also yielding to Władysław Gomułka the newly appointed First Secretary of the Party in Poland.

The impression was that Stalin's successors - Nikita Khrushchev, Mikoyan, Bulganin, Molotov, Kaganovich, Marshal Konev and others - had lost their grip, and it was becoming increasingly likely that the crises in Eastern Europe would force a regime change in Moscow. An article from the Conjoined Crisis thread.

In 2012, just days after Mitt Romney's defeat at the polls, Republicans demanded a fundamental restructuring of the Electoral College that would bring an end to the frustration of dysfunctional Federal Government. The result followed a wave of voter disappointment in which Donald Trump (pictured) called for a protest march on Washington. Other commentators remarked upon the excessive focus on swing states and undecided voters that perhaps disenfranchised the mainstream majority.

Radcliffe Cloud, ReduxBecause under these far-reaching proposals to address the change of demographics, the winner-take-all voting system would be slowly eliminated on a state by state basis. One option was a national roll-out of the congressional districting solution already operating in Maine.

Of course a more extreme option being proposed by GOP backers was secession model based upon a refinement of the Radcliffe Cloud in which those congressional districts would become red or blue cantons in a two-countries-in-one geography model like the modern India. Comedian Bill Maher suggested that perhaps Trump's hair and scalp represented an assessment model for the viability of two entities loosely connected in a shared living space.

In 2011, on this day the ruinously high costs of providing a nuclear shield to American allies was carefully examined by the US Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

Flaithiulacht The Federal Deficit forces America to call time on "Ruinous Generosity"Back in August, the Debt Celling Negotiations had introduced a "trigger mechanism" that should this Supercommittee fail to reach an agreement, disproportionate cuts would fall upon the defense budget. And for the past two decades the centrepiece of America's critical defense program had been the Strategic Defense Initiative. But the costs of providing a ground and space-based systems to protect the United States and its allies from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles had become prohibitively expensive.

The problem was that there was an even bigger picture in November. That very day the International Atomic Energy Agency released a report estimating that Iran was less than eighteen months away from acquiring nuclear capability. Therefore the removal of the nuclear shield from Israel was currently unthinkable. And with the Eurozone close to financial collapse, America could not seek to recover costs from faltering countries such as Italy and Greece. Coming into view was the prospect of a contracted nuclear shield for critical coverage, a decision that could split the Western Alliance.

In 1938, on this day the British High Commissioner's office in Rome cabled prime minister Neville Chamberlain with alarming news: Martian militarist technicians were working with Italian and German physicists at a desert research station in Italian-occupied Libya on the development of a new type of explosive weapon which utilized the process of atomic fission to achieve its destructive effect.

Part Five of Parley To make matters worse, these same technicians were also consulting with German rocket scientists on the possibility of adapting the experimental atomic weapon to be capable of fitting into the warhead of a long-range or medium-range ballistic missile.

If the Nazis succeeded in devising such a warhead, the cable warned, Hitler could potentially attack targets as distant as London simply by pushing a button.

In 4004 B.C., Humanity Resists Temptation. On this day, as calculated by our brother James Ussher and remembered by Mother Eve, she was walking in The Garden when approached by a serpent, that crafty foe.

Humanity Resists Temptation The world was still young, having only been finished that October, and there were but two humans in all of Creation, Eve and our slightly older Father, Adam, from whose rib Eve, and thereby all of us, came. She meandered by the feared Tree of Knowledge that has long been buried under concrete and steel.

Before its protection, however, the tree was open to be seen and its fruit could be picked with mere fingertips. The serpent asked, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"

Eve replied, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'"

The serpent scoffed and said, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil".

After a moment of temptation, Eve resisted and ran screaming through the Garden, crying out for God. Upon hearing His voice asking after the matter, Eve explained she had been tempted. God found the spirit of Lucifer, that most rebellious angel cast out of Heaven, in the beast, and both were cast into the Pit. Since that day, we humans have always fought the temptation of the Tree, leading to its burial in the ongoing Babel project, putting it under a foundation someday as high as Heaven. Until the end of time, we will drive it deeper and deeper, away from our hand so that we will never know what it is to "die".

In the six thousand years since, humanity has grown and achieved feats applauded by the angels such as building cities and exploring to every corner of the Earth. As far as we have gone, all of us consider The Garden our home, and many continue to sleep under its boughs. We have even "created" on our own, making art and music and telling tales of fanciful things, such as if the morning dew were so heavy it fell from the sky in waves of drops or if we could fly like angels.

Meanwhile, Heaven has been quiet other than a second rebellion by angels suffering something known as "boredom," perhaps a thing akin to the arrogance of the first rebellion. The Word, which was in the beginning being with God and being God, also seemed at a loss, as if He were meant for more. Still, He was known to approach Earth and share fellowship with us. Most dramatically, some 2000 years ago, the Word became man by virgin birth and ruled as king. While a significant entry, most agree we would have accepted Him in any case, but who are we to question God's Plan?

In 1382 AH, in the hot lush savannah country which lies four days up river from the coast of the Gambia, Kajali Demba died peacefully in his sleep. For too many years he had been the griot of the village of Juffure, serving the local Mandinka as an oral historian, poet, praise singer and wandering musician.

Saga of an African FamilyHis successor would be the young man Kinte (pictured second from left) who began his first address with a simple demonstration. Cutting open a mango, he held the fruit high above his children, preventing them from taking it.

He then began his oration with a piece of homespun wisdom, "When you clench your fist, no one can put anything in your hand, nor can your hand pick up anything". This metaphor of non-violence had served his people for half a millenia of peaceful existence by the banks of the River Gambia.

Flag of

In 1606, British colonists established the first permanent European settlement in what is today the state of Georgia.

Flag of - State of Georgia
State of Georgia

In 1968, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers made their first CFL postseason appearance in twelve years, taking on the Calgary Stampeders in the first round of the 1968 CFL Western Division playoffs. The Blue Bombers took a 13-0 lead in the first half only to collapse early in the second half and lose to Calgary 34-20.

Blue Bombers
Blue Bombers - NFL Logo
NFL Logo

The Stampeders subsequently beat Saskatchewan in the Western Division finals and were in turn defeated by the Eastern Division champion Ottawa Rough Riders in the 1968 Grey Cup title game in a 13-12 nailbiter. As for Winnipeg, its inglorious first round exit at Calgary's hands would mark the first of four straight early eliminations for the Bombers in the late '60s and early '70s.

Clive Rush

On this day in 1974, the New England Patriots lost to the Cleveland Browns 24-14 in Clive Rush's final game as head coach. The next day Rush was fired; up until Rod Rust's disastrous 1-15 campaign in 1990, Rush's tenure would be regarded as the worst recorded by a Patriots head coach.

Clive Rush - in 1953
in 1953

On this day in 1944, Allied forces in Germany began advancing toward Dortmund and Munster.


On this day in 1944, the Allied campaign in Germany was dealt an unexpected setback as the Wehrmacht, in a desperate and ultimately doomed last-ditch gamble, launched its famous 'Watch on the Rhine' offensive against the weakest point of the Allied lines.

Crisis Over

On this day in 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to a cease-fire in Cuba.

This marked the end of the Florida Coast War.

Crisis Over - Armwrestling

In 1989, East German troops begin dismantling the Berlin Wall.

In the United States, Democratic efforts to credit the fall of the Wall to what Senator Richard Gephardt calls 'the patient diplomacy of the cool-headed administrations of Presidents Ted Kennedy and Gary Hart' are greeted with furious Republican rebuttals.


Conservative pundit Patrick Buchanan noted acidly that 'patient diplomacy' did not bring down the Wall until a Republican once more occupied the Oval Office. 'It's more likely,' he suggests, 'that once a real leader, a real American, was in the White House again, the Soviets knew the jig was up, and lost their nerve.' Why that had not happened earlier, under President Ford or Buchanan's former employer Richard Nixon, he leaves unsaid.


In 1918, the Great War entered its last day and John Ronald Reuel Tolkien set about the life-long work of the Middle-earth opus.

"Beleriand was ablaze with the glory of their arms, for the host were arrayed in forms young and fair and terrible, and the mountains rang beneath their feet". ~ Of the Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath

Balrog - Tolkien
Tolkien's Phantasm
In 1988, the U.S. Department of Energy approved the construction of a supercollider to be built near Corsicana, Texas. The supercollider, completed in 1997, has been used to produce anti-matter and has proved invaluable in advancing our knowledge of quantum particles.
In 1973, a church group in Rugby, North Dakota burned all the copies of the novel Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut that were in the town's library. Reverend Jonathan Clark of the First Church of Christ proclaimed Vonnegut a false prophet. When the author arrived in Rugby the next day to seek some sort of common ground with the congregation, he was himself seized and burned at the stake. This lynching of a famous and respected novelist shocked the nation, turning Rugby into a flashpoint against fundamentalist religion.
In 1917, 41 Suffragettes, in a staged protest in front of the White House, commit suicide as the police arrive to arrest them. The horror of the nation at the desperation this action speaks of makes Congress rush through legislation granting universal suffrage throughout the United States.
In 1863, Swiss Immigrant Henry Wirz was hung for the murder of hundreds of Union soldiers during his tenure as commander of the Andersonville Prison Camp in Georgia. When the Southern Rebellion broke out against President Walt Whitman, the rebels sent any Union prisoners to Andersonville, a small stockade that had no facilities for the care of any prisoners at all. Over the months of incarceration, Wirz allowed horrific deaths by disease and starvation to thin out the prisoner population. President Whitman, on hearing of the conditions at the camp, said, 'There are deeds, crimes that may be forgiven, but this is not among them.'
In 12-9-12-16-9, the Osage nation surrended its southern plains to the Oueztecan Empire, under threat of losing their entire nation if the Empire should fight them for it. The farmlands of these plains became the larder of the Empire, producing enough food to both feed the Empire and export to the continent around them.

November 9

In 2008, just days after Barack Obama's landslide defeat at the polls, the Democratic Party proposed a "no more amateurs amendment".

No More Amateurs AmendmentUnder this principle of progression of offices, candidates would be required to serve two full terms as either senator or governor as a condition of eligibility for the Presidency.

Because inside the beltway, it was fully understood that the US had constructed a political maze that only the insiders could understand. But suitable experienced candidates such as six-term senator Joe Biden were always disadvantaged by populist candidates such as Obama who were less experienced but more photogenic. And worse, such an imbalance also ran the larger risk of a dysfunctional government whereby the electorate would be tempted to vote for a progressive candidate of hope that would inevitably fail to enact the promised kind of legislative program. Whereas a terms-limit would ensure the Chief Magistrate had a record of voting that would unambiguously demonstrate their ability to build bipartisan support on the Hill.

In 1987, on this day Soviet newspaper Izvestia reported that the First Secretary of the Moscow Communist Party Boris N. Yeltsin had passed away in an unspecified city hospital aged sixty-six. According to the rumours the radical reformer had been rushed into emergency care after a botched suicide attempt, bleeding profusely from self-inflicted cuts to his chest.

Radical reformer dies in MoscowHowever his impending dismissal from the City Committee had been widely expected after he gave a "secret speech" in the Politburo criticizing the slow pace of change of promises charging that Mr. Gorbachev's economic restructuring programme perestroika "was giving virtually nothing to the people". Nobody in Soviet history (not even Trotsky) had ever been so outspoken in their criticism of a leader of the party and his resignation from the Politburo was completely without predecent. In his reply, Gorbachev accused Yeltsin of "political immaturity" and "absolute irresponsibility". Nobody in the Central Committee had backed Yeltsin.

Author's Note: in reality he survived but Gorbachev ordered the injured Yeltsin from his hospital bed to the Moscow party plenum two days later where he was ritually denounced by the party faithful in what was reminiscent of a Stalinist show trial before he was fired from the post of First Secretary of the Moscow Communist Party. Yeltsin said he would never forgive Gorbachev for this "immoral and inhuman" treatment. According to Gorbachev Yeltin's dissolution of the Soviet Union was to get rid of him.

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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.