In 2012, on this day Vice President Xi Jinping was elected to the post of General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission by the Party Central Committee.
Launch Pad to the 21st CenturyAs leader, he committed to land a man on the Moon before the changeover to the sixth generation of leaders in 2022.
Of course the purpose of this bold announcement was to justify world leadership through maturity. Because the thousand of years of continuous civilization was surely a more representative context than the short-lived history of the communist nation since 1948.
Undoubtedly, there was a challenge implicit in his words. Because America had developed its own space program, but having beat the Russians into orbit, had called it quits while there were still ahead of their Coldwar Rival. And although China started much later, it was generally considered highly unlikely that America could restart their own programme and still win this new race.
In 1705, at a decisive moment in Rákóczi's War of Independence, the invading force of Austrian-Danish-Serbian Corps under the command of Field Marshal Ludwig Herbeville were defeated in Transylvania.
Glorious Kuruc Victory at ZsibóIn a struggle that would change the balance of power in central Europe, a group of noblemen, wealthy and high-ranking progressives under his leadership were bidding to topple the rule of Habsburg Austria over Hungary. Because relations between the court and the nobility had deteriorated so badly and the new Habsburg rulers treated the peasants so poorly that eventually some people wished for a return to Turkish rule.
The outcome of the battle secured Transylvania, marking the beginning of the end for the Hungarian nobility in their quest to defend the Hungarian interest.
In 1315, an army under the command of Duke Leopold I of Austria narrowly survived a Swiss ambush in the Morgarten Pass.
Ambush at the Morgarten PassThe architect of the clandestine attack was Werner Stauffacher. He had mobilized a a Swiss Confederation force of 1,500 infantry archers to regain their local autonomy within the Habsburg Empire.
The dispute had arisen despite the Swiss holding imperial letters of guarantee signed by former Emperors. And after a raid on the Habsburg-protected monastery of Einsiedeln, Duke Leopold I had set out to crush the rebellious Confederates. And his ultimate victory was the end of hopes to restore the Old Swiss Confederacy.
In 655, in an early engagement that firmly established Anglo-Saxon paganism in Britain, the forces of King Penda of Mercia triumphed at the Cock Beck in present-day Yorkshire.
Glorious Mercian Victory at the Battle of WinwaedFresh from his successful campaign in Northumbria, he had gathered allies from East Anglia and Wales marching south with a large force led by "thirty warlords". Their opponent was Oswiu of Bernicia, the brother of Oswald of Northumbria who had fallen to defeat at the hands of the Mercians in the early battle of Maserfield.
The battle was fought by the river in the midst of heavy rains, and many more were drowned in the flight than destroyed by the sword. The result consolidated Mercian ascendancy over the Northumbria.
In 1915, the great powers declared Kurdistan a German Protectorate under a general post-war settlement that dismembered the Ottoman Empire.
Kurdistan gains her independence.. sort ofEarlier in the year, Anzac Forces had achieved a vital break through at Gallipoli. A brave rearguard action was organized by the Ottomans, but after their inspirational commander Mustafa Kemal was killed the line quickly collapsed and Istanbul was seized by the Allied Powers. Perhaps more significantly, British forces were able to re-inforce the Tsarist Armies which was just as well because they had started to show early signs of not just mutiny but militant political organization. Workers committees known as Soviets were disbanded and trouble-makers rounded up before sirens of rebellion could really get started.
Of course the collapse of a minor ally was not of itself a reason for the other members of the Central Powers to capitulate - far from it, but in the heightened risk of stalemate on both fronts there was unexpectedly an opportunity to share the spoils of war. Under some imaginative proposals formulated by Sykes-Picot Agreement, Istanbul was passed to the Russians, and Kurdistan (including the Mosul Oil Fields) passed to the Germans as part of a general post-war settlement that split the Middle East between four great powers. Although the Entente had been formed to beat the Germans, this formula provided a means for all belligerents to climb down and yet gain some of the war gains - it was a "win win". In reality this deal was not all it seemed because the British had recently discovered even more lucrative oil fields in Southern Iraq, but no matter - the Germans had their place in the sun plus oil reserves, and the Kurds finally had a nation state of sorts, with a capital city of Ebril. It was exactly the kind of great compromise that put the Great into Great Britain.
In 1485, on this day John II, King of Portugal approved Christopher Columbus's plans to equip three sturdy ships, granting one year's time to sail out into the Atlantic and search for a western route to the Orient, and return.
Escape to the AmericasBut instead the Genoese Explorer discovered the Americas. And it was to this New World Continent that Christians began to flee to in huge numbers through out the course of the new century. Because the new Sultan Şehzade Mustafa  continued the great work of his father Suleiman the Magnificent in comprehensively beating the people of the book.
Within three centuries, Islam had engulfed Western Europe. America was a common Christian Home, with the notable exception of Orthodoxes and "Hidden Christians" . Long before the Fall of Constantinople - in fact ever since the Fourth Crusade - they had consistently maintained "Better the Sultan's turban than the Cardinal's hat!".
In 1397, on this day Pope Nicholas V was born Tommaso Parentucell in Sarzana, Republic of Genoa. The Pontificate of Nicholas saw the breaking of the siege of Constantinople.
Pope Nicholas V's Tenth Crusade lifts the Siege of ConstantinopleUnited Christian forces directly under the Pope gathered from a wide alliance of Venetian, German, and Genoese troops, broke the Ottoman siege at Constantinople. It would serve as the crowning moment of Nicholas' impressive eight-year term as pope and herald a new age of military security in Christendom from outside threats. Dubbed the time of the "Third Rome", the triumph would mean the end of the Byzantine period and domination over the European Muslims.
Constantinople grew up from the humble Greek town of Byzantium when Emperor Constantine decided to shift his capital in 330 to escape Roman factions and intrigue as well as establishing quick connection to frontiers where barbarian threats could arise. The Byzantine Empire continued even after the fall of Rome to German invasion and grew wealthy by controlling the key point of trade between the West and East as well as the Bosporus, the only shipping route from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. Despite centuries of decline since the golden age of Justinian where the Byzantines dominated an empire almost as large as Rome's had been, Constantinople continued to hang on as a crucial lynchpin of world trade and civilization.
Meanwhile, the world changed around stagnant Constantinople. The Orthodox Church broke with the western Rome due to differences such as the veneration of icons and, especially, attacks such as the sacking of the Church of Holy Wisdom in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade. The Byzantines lost control of Anatolia, which broke into various principalities, one of which was ruled by Osman I in 1299, who held a vision of an empire as a tree with roots spreading through three continents and leaves blotting out the sky. He defeated the Byzantines at Bapheus in 1302, which was the first display of the quick expansion of the Ottomans through Anatolia and then, under Mehmed I, into the Balkans (1413-1421). Though the growing Ottoman Empire was just a few miles from Constantinople, it would be more than a century before they could muster enough force to conquer the city, merely demand tribute. Upon taking the Ottoman throne in 1451 at age nineteen, Mehmed II immediately set upon building up his navy and preparing to take Constantinople. He finally arranged a force estimated at around 100,000 soldiers with some 320 ships and established a blockade and siege in April of 1453.
"Appeals from Constantinople did not go unheard, however. Pope Nicholas V began to call for a crusade for the liberation of the Bosporus from the Ottomans. No king seemed willing to head the expedition, and so Nicholas volunteered himself, using unprecedented powers hinted at in the declarations of Papal supremacy in the Council of Constance in 1418. He still needed armies, which he could gather freely as the Western Schism finally ended with the resignation of Antipope Felix V in 1449. While he would gather great support from Spain, France, and the Italian States, his greatest ally came as Frederick III, King of Germany, whom he crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1450, on the condition that he aid in the pope's new crusade.
Just as the citizens of Constantinople were beginning to give up hope while seeing visions mysterious fogs darkened the city, a total lunar eclipse passed, and St. Elmo's fire was seen above the Church of Holy Wisdom, the Papal forces arrived. Winning the battle at sea, the crusaders cut off the Ottoman forces, who were in the midst of a final assault on Constantinople. The defenders held part of the city, and the Ottomans attempted to use defenses they had seized against the papal army. Eventually the Ottomans would be overwhelmed, and young Mehmed II would be killed in the fighting, which would rage for months to come as the crusaders stormed the rest of the Ottoman territories.
Rather than set the Byzantines up again, the territories were divided among the conquerors. Venice and Genoa received their outlying islands and sections of Greece while Frederick's empire expanded over much of the Balkans. Pope Nicholas would die in 1455, but he began the healing of the rift between Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy, which would be completed in a series of councils loosening strict dogma on political grounds. Nicholas's interest in humanism and the arts would be embraced, widening the Renaissance and establishing a new era of hierarchical unity through the Church, accepting reforms proposed out of Germany through men such as Luther and Calvin.
However, Nicholas's humanism would be notably prejudice in the religious superiority of Christendom. His expansion of slavery against "Saracens, Pagans and other enemies of Christ wherever they may be found" in the 1452 papal bull was meant originally to encourage conquest by Portuguese in Africa, but the rest of Christendom would seize the opportunity. A new world superpower increasingly centralized through the Holy Roman Empire and Holy League would sweep through the Middle East and North Africa in further crusades, wantonly conquering and eliminating other cultures for centuries until Enlightenment ideals of separating church and state sparked mass revolt.
In 1925, on this day the 41st President of the United States Howard Henry Baker, Jr. was born in Huntsville, Tennessee. Article from the Reagan wins in 1976 thread.
Birth of President BakerHe had previously served as a United States Senator from Tennessee (1967-1988), holding the position of Senate Minority Leader (1977-1988).
Born in Huntsville, Tennessee, Baker was the son of a member of the House of Representatives. During World War II he trained in the U.S Navy before discharge in 1946. After a defeat in his first run for Senate in 1964, Baker returned to politics, winning a seat in 1966.
Baker gained prominence during the 1970s where he co-chaired a committee investigating the Watergate hearings. After winning reelection continuously in 1972, 1978 and 1984 Baker once again took to the national stage, running for President in 1988 and winning the Republican Nomination, followed by the general election over Vice President Dale Bumpers.
Baker served at a time of change, taking office shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. As President he oversaw the passage of education reform, as well the Environmental Continuity Act. A bi-partisan negotiator, Baker gained a reputation as a man of compromise in the White House. Despite his popularity he was defeated for re-election by Texas Governor Anne Richards.
Today, Baker ranks surprisingly highly amongst rankings of former presidents, and has acted as a spokesperson for a variety of personal causes.
It is 1895, Czar Nicholai the Second's child Olga Romanovna was born.
Czarina Olga RomanovnaThe oldest of his four daughters, she was known to be beautiful, bright and kind. What's more she was first in line for the Russian throne, until her brother Alexis was born ten years later.
It's true that Czar Paul I, had tried to enact the salic law, preventing females from ascending the throne, after four Czarina's had ruled .. most notably his mother, Catherine the Great.
However, his nobles argued successfully against the proposal, pointing out that Queen Victoria's reign had been a brilliant success.
The proposal's failure proved to be a good thing for the royal family, when Alexis was discovered to have hemophilia, inherited from his mother's grandmother Victoria .. although it never afflicted women.
Guilt-ridden and desperate, the family turned for help to Rasputin, the Mad Monk, who apparently used hypnosis to control the disease. Rumors grew that he was also the empress' lover, to the point where he had to be dismissed.
Just as the family had feared, Alexis died at age ten. It was not the end of the dynasty, however, because Olga took the throne. Her kindness, intelligence and beauty soon won her people's hearts, and those fine qualities have also appeared in her heirs.
In 1891, on this day 35th President of the United States W. Averell Harriman was born on this day in New York City. As the winning VP candidate in the 42nd quadrennial election he served out the remainder of the term of office vacated by the disgraced Carey Estes Kefauver.
Birth of President HarrimanHeading a U.S. Senate committee investigating organized crime during 1950, Kefauver hsf discovered information that compromised the twelve-year Senate career of Democratic Majority Leader Scott Lucas . This information was quietly suppressed, a cynical decision for which the under pressure Kefauver was rewarded with the nomination.
However during his single term of office the scandal blew up and forced his early resignation. The remainder of his term was served out by Harriman who was crushed at the 1956 polls by Governor Christian Herter of Massachusetts.
In 1977, on this day an ethnic Korean Japanese (Zainichi) monster called Sin Gwang-su abducted thirteen year old Megumi Yokota (pictured) on her way home from school in Niigata, forcing her (and seventeen others) to help train North Korean spies to pass as Japanese citizens during the late seventies and early eighties.
Repeal of Article 9
By Ed and Eric OppenThe kidnapper was finally arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1985. But by then the political fall-out had already happened. Long before this criminal resolution for Yokota's suffering parents, public opinion in Japan had demanded a different kind of justice.
Because the submarine that ferried the North Korean agents carrying the stolen identies of the abducted Japanese citizens had gone aground in the Yellow sea. Megumi Yokota was rescued by the South Korean Navy; now free, she had spoken openly of her plight in captivity which had led to several attempts at suicide. Enraged by its inability to protect its own citizens, the Government of Japan repealed Article 9 of the Constitution which renounced the right to declare war or use military force in international disputes.
In 1957, in a move that many who knew him considered shockingly uncharacteristic (and believed to have been caused by advisers warning against words antagonizing opponents as had caused massive uprising in Hungary), Russian First Secretary of the Communist Party Nikita Khrushchev said during an interview with an American reporter that he would be willing to share missile technology with the United States, who clearly did not have the same ICBM capabilities as the Soviets.
Khrushchev Offers to Share Technology "If she had, she would have launched her own Sputnik", Khrushchev noted, recalling the Russian success of being the first people to put an artificial satellite into orbit some six weeks before on October 4. Later in the interview, given as part of the commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the October Revolution, he discussed East-West relations and noted that neither side wanted war, but that the Soviets would win if one began.
The interview came just days after the Soviets had hurriedly launched Sputnik 2, which brought the first living creature into orbit, a dog named Laika. She proved that living creatures could survive weightlessness and opened the door for human scientific exploration of space. It also came after the humbling Gaither Report was leaked to the press. Assembled by the Security Resources Panel of the President's Science Advisory Committee, the report showed that the United States was far behind the Soviets on missile technology. After a decade of not working toward that end, the US had as its only defense the system of bomb shelters that were hardly effective if a large-scale war erupted.
"The American populace continued to reel from the shocking news of Soviet superiority. Only a decade ago, the USA had been unquestionably the most powerful nation in the world with the A-bomb born out of the Manhattan Project. At the end of the war in 1945, Operation Paperclip sent OSS agents throughout Germany picking up Nazi scientists such as Werner von Braun and capturing what technology they could. Many of these scientists came to work for the Americans (some even illegally imprisoned at places such as P.O. Box 1142), and an inter-continental ballistic missile project was begun in 1946 by Consolidated-Vultee with its MX-774. The program was shut down a couple of years later as conservative feelings overtook post-war America, and it would not be until after the shocking launch of Sputnik that the Americans would reawaken.
Embarrassed and shocked by the Russians, Project Vanguard was quickly put into place by the Eisenhower administration to lift the Explorer Program, picking up proposals from the US Navy and Army that had been shelved due to lack of interest and funding. With the disastrous launch attempt of the Vanguard TV3 on December 6, 1957, where the three-stage rocket rose four feet before losing thrust, collapsing, and exploding, American public turned back to Khrushchev's offer. Many took it as if he were an older brother offering help with homework, while others thought he was twisting the diplomatic knife with a pandering, impossible offer. The world was in the midst of the International Geophysical Year sharing science on geomagnetism, oceanography, etc, and leaders internationally began to criticize the Americans for not taking up Khrushchev's offer to take up an American satellite on a Russian rocket. Much of the hooplah was settled with the launch of Explorer 1 on January 31, 1958, and then rocketry settled to a calmer scientific route with military espionage riding closely, secretly behind.
International relations improved somewhat between the USA and USSR, later resulting in the Nuclear Limitation Treaty in 1962 avoiding a massive stockpile of weapons beyond the point of Mutually Assured Destruction. Despite Khrushchev's constant assurances that communism would bury capitalism and colonialism, the Soviet Union would eventually fall in 1992, but not until after the success of the Buran shuttle system, launched in 1988 on the anniversary of Khrushchev's speech that began a time of peaceful coexistence in orbital space above the simmering Cold War. With an international space station being pieced together by Russian rockets with American engineered segments, long term space habitation is gradually being explored. Scientists hope to eventually put a man on the moon, where probes and flyby satellites have already taken a great deal of data, but cost and lack of public incentive have kept humans home.
In 1778, Britain's last hope for crushing the American Revolution was dashed when Lord Cornwallis, commander of the British expeditionary force in Virginia and the Carolinas, was killed by sniper fire during an assault on Continental Army regimental lines northwest of Charleston, South Carolina.
Double Jeopardy Part 12
Death of CornwallisCornwallis -- at that time the most experienced field general the British had in North America --had originally been sent to crush guerrilla activity behind the British lines but soon found himself facing Continental Army regulars. The precise details of Cornwallis' death are murky even to this day, but historians generally agree he was one of the last casualties in the fight for Charleston and fell at American hands.
Cornwallis' death broke the morale of the British troops under his command and drove them into headlong retreat; from that moment on until the Revolutionary War ended in August of 1779, the British Army in North America was almost totally on the defensive.
In 2001, on this day Lexington wrote in the Economist ~ THIS has been a truly remarkable week for President Al Gore. The Taliban is in full retreat in Afghanistan.
Al Gore discovers himselfVladimir Putin has agreed to scrap more than two-thirds of Russia's nuclear weapons, fulfilling a dream that Mr Gore has cherished since he first went into politics. And Congress stands poised to pass a giant stimulus package. No wonder the president's approval rate stands at a stratospheric 87 percent.
An article by LexingtonIt seems almost churlish at such a time to bring up the little matter of the 2000 vote. But after last November's disputed election a consortium of conservative newspapers, led by the Washington Times, decided to pay for a recount of all the Florida votes. A million dollars of Richard Mellon Scaife's money and thousands of man-hours later, these Republican geniuses have proved what we all knew already: that the election was damn close. If Mr Gore had followed the advice of some of his more cynical advisers and concentrated on counting the votes in just four Democrat-controlled counties, rather than doing the honest thing and calling for a recount of all the votes in the state, he would have lost to George Bush."After September 11th, Al Gore at last realised what God put him on earth to achieve"
Can you imagine it? Mr Bush has gone into semi-retirement in Austin, his limited abilities as Texas's governor taxed by a legislature that meets only every other year. But the mere thought that he might have been president sends shivers down the spine. This is a man whose idea of foreign travel was to visit a barrio or two when he wished to appear "compassionate", and who would have conducted foreign policy from behind a Maginot Line of missiles. There is every reason to believe that, after September 11th, a President Bush would have struck out blindly at Osama bin Laden, perhaps even using nuclear weapons.
Which all goes to show how sensible the American people were to choose a man with real experience. Mr Gore has brought a remarkable set of skills to the present crisis, honed by a lifetime in politics and eight years in the vice-presidency. His "golden Rolodex", as one commentator has called it, has been invaluable to his building of a grand alliance against terror. He used his close personal relationship with Mr Putin to bring a reluctant Russia into the war, fundamentally changing the whole pattern of geopolitics. He used his ideological ties to Tony Blair, forged at many a seminar on the Third Way, to turn Britain into a bedrock of support. It is fair to say that Mr Gore has not one secretary of state but two: the indomitable Richard Holbrooke and the ever-loyal British prime minister.
The mention of Mr Holbrooke points to another extraordinary fact about the Gore presidency: the quality of the people he can call on. It is no exaggeration to say that Mr Gore has the entire brainpower of the country, from Washington think-tanks to the Ivy League universities, at his disposal. And there are few brains as acute as the secretary of state's.
Mr Holbrooke is one of the most experienced diplomats in the business. Mr Gore credits him with getting Germany wholeheartedly to join the anti-terrorist campaign, thanks to his time as ambassador there. But in some ways Mr Holbrooke still has to come into his own. The very qualities that make the secretary of state so unpopular in polite circles-his abrasive self-importance, his absolute confidence that he is right on matters big and small-make him a giant when it comes to negotiating with primitive warlords. He knocked heads together with extraordinary success in Bosnia; he will do the same thing in Afghanistan.
Fiddle, fiddle, fiddle
Mr Gore's extraordinary knowledge of Washington has been more of a mixed blessing in two other areas. The first is military strategy. The president has been a military buff ever since he became a congressman back in 1977. But his encyclopedic knowledge of warfare-and his iron belief in his own abilities-have inevitably led to clashes with the Pentagon. The generals grumble that Mr Gore wanted to control where every bomb was dropped, and that the result was a much more hesitant start than necessary to the war.
On the home front, Mr Gore was furious at the way the anthrax outbreak threw his administration into confusion. He could not understand why the Centres for Disease Control did not know more about the illness. He was apoplectic when he discovered that the FBI did not even know which laboratories in the country were licensed to produce the stuff. Yet his decision to put himself in charge of a special task-force has failed to produce results. Even more unsatisfactory has been his handling of the question of airport security. His remarks that those Republicans who oppose federalising security workers are "Neanderthals with the blood of the American people on their hands" is hardly likely to produce compromise.
Mr Gore's habit of micromanaging events is clearly his biggest weakness: a weakness that has been made worse by the decision to put Vice-President Joseph Lieberman (who had aroused much wrath on the Arab street because of his Jewish background) into a permanent secret location. But all this pales into insignificance beside Mr Gore's secret weapon during these dark days: his discovery of his true self.
The strongest criticism of Mr Gore has always been that he does not know who he is. Throughout his career, he reinvented himself to suit the mood of the times. In his first run for the presidency, he presented himself as a champion of the business-minded New Democrats; in his second run, he campaigned for the people against the powerful. All this left the impression that he had no hard centre, but was simply playing at politics in order to appease his father's ghost.
All this changed on September 11th. The collapse of the twin towers gave this extraordinarily restless and energetic man the task he has been seeking all his life: the war against terrorism. Al Gore at last knows what God put him on earth to achieve.
In 1963, on this day President Adlai Stevenson asked Congress to revoke the honourary US citizenship of the recently disgraced former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Bulldog's BiteThis totally unexpected and shocking outcome was caused by a chance discovery made in January by the CIA operative Miles Copeland. Based in Beirut, he had been investigating the British double agent Kim Philby. Transcripts dating from early 1945 were discovered which revealed that the British Government had ordered the assassination of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
By that time, London had a number of reasons to be dissatisfied. At the Yalta Conference, Churchill had told Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden that he was unable to insist Stalin honoured his promises because "I am no longer fully heard by him [Roosevelt]". From the lifting of the siege of Stalingrade, Roosevelt had begun to shrewdly re-evaluate his relationship with both allies, ultimately determining that the Soviets were a far more effective partner to fight a proxy war with Hitler. He sent far more resources to the Soviet Union than to Great Britain, and England was (according to a drunken slur from Churchill) "jilted".
A new story co-written by Ed & Scott PalterThese mispoken words were the equivalent of Henry VIII's unconsidered comment of "off with his head" that had doomed Thomas More. Apart from this soliloquy, the decision to eliminate Roosevelt was taken with Churchill's blessing, but in all probability, without his explicit approval as is the way of such things. As an amateur historian, with an American mother, Churchill might well have reflected upon the unexposed conspiracy to murder Abraham Lincoln. A well known actor called John Wilkes Booth had shot the President, jumped onto the stage where he had made his getaway from Washington on horseback (presumably, getting himself lost amongst the rebel soldiers flowing home after Lee's surrender).
But history would not repeat itself on this occasion. Because in the transcripts discovered by Copeland, Kim Philby had falsified intelligence reports that Roosevelt planned to use the strength of the dollar to hammer the pound sterling after the war. Already fearing that Roosevelt would use the United Nations to dismante European colonial empires, this new information forced the British Government's hand. Of course there was a typically British cover-up later on when it was discovered that not only was this information false, but worse Truman was "tight-fistedly" planning to reduce Britain's post-war aid. The result was counter-productive: a "deadly hiatus" between the two Presidencies, which could only profit the Soviet Union, and personally satisfy the traitorous intentions of Kim Philby.
In 2000, on this day The Godfather Part IV is released. Co-written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, it is the fourth instalment of the film saga detailing the life and times of the Corleone crime family. Godfather Part IV by Gerry Shannon
The film tells the story of the rise of Don Vincent Mancini-Corleone (Andy Garcia) from the early- to mid-90s as he is forced into conflict with foreign drug cartels when dealings with them go sour. This story is inter-cut with flashbacks to the 1930s, borrowing much of it's material from Mario Puzo's original novel, and featuring the rise of Vincent's grandfather in New York, Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro, reprising his 1974 role) and his early success as Don while his children come to terms with his criminal legacy - chiefly from the POV of his eldest, Santino or Sonny (played by Leonardo DiCaprio, in the role made famous by James Caan in the original), the father that Vincent never knew. Al Pacino also briefly reprises his role as the ageing embittered Michael Corleone retired and alone in Sicily, in a memorable scene with Garcia set before Michael's death in the third film's coda, in which the former Don reveals the fate of his adopted brother Tom Hagen in a chilling monologue on family loyalty and betrayal. (Hagen was played by Robert Duvall, and notably abscent from Part III).
There is much industry and public skeptism prior to release, given the reaction to the much critically malinged 1990 third instalment, most especially the casting of DiCaprio as the young Sonny, him then being better known for heartthrob roles in Titanic or Romeo and Juliet. However early reviews and audience word-of-mouth prove surprising for Coppola and Paramount studios, with Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times saying, "Make no mistake: This is the kind of Godfather sequel we should have got in 1990. Coppola and Puzo's screenplay should be commended for very definitely ending the saga of the Corleones with great style and the powerful thematic qualities we've come to expect".
The film also earns several Oscar nods, winning 'Best Picture' (though in a surprise move, Coppola looses Best Director to Steven Soderbergh for Traffic), 'Best Actor' for Garcia, 'Best Supporting Actor' for DiCaprio and 'Best Adaptated Screenplay' for Coppola and Puzo. The last award is tinted with some tragedy however, given Mario Puzo's death shortly the previous year before the film's release, and Coppola's emotional tribute to his late collaborator is cited as one of the most moving Oscar speeches of all-time. Leonardo DiCaprio's win, meanwhile, kicks off further critical acclaim over the next decade by building on the early promise of his acting career - going on to further acclaim with leading roles in The Aviator, Catch Me If You Can, Blood Diamond, The Departed, and most especially his stunning portrayal as the villain the Joker in two Batman sequels, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Returns.
On this day in 1941, the Soviet landing force on Hokkaido captured the mountain village of Sapporo.
On this day in 1982, Tommy Rich made his first WWF TV appearance, beating Ivan Putski in a bout aired on Monday Night Raw.
In 1962, on the Senate floor, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy delivers a furious but inarticulate tirade against President Kennedy for his use of federal troops in the South. He appears to be intoxicated. After fifteen minutes of vitriol, during which he refuses to yield the floor to anyone, he suddenly collapses. The Senator is rushed to Walter Reed Hospital, where he is diagnosed with terminal liver failure. He will die five weeks later, on Nov. 20. Conspiracy theorists, noting that he fell ill in the Senate while denouncing President Kennedy, begin to claim he was actually poisoned.
In 1946, at the Nuremberg Trials Wing Commander Guy Penrose Gibson VC DSO and bar DFC and bar RAF is found guilty as charged of the destruction of the Moehne and Eder Dams on May 16, 1943 with the 'bouncing bomb'. Inventor of the bomb Barnes Wallace asked - 'Would a man like Gibson ever have adjusted back to peacetime life? One can imagine it would have been a somewhat empty existence after all he had been through. Facing death had become his drug.' Co-defendant 'Bomber' Harris described him as 'As great a warrior as this island ever produced'. Use of the past tense in the statement was appropriate as it was made after the island had been occupied by the Nazis of course.
the German Luftwaffe bombed Coventry
in a massive raid which lasted more than 10 hours and left much of the city devastated. Relays of enemy aircraft dropped bombs indiscriminately. One of the many buildings hit included the 14th century cathedral, which was all but destroyed. Initial reports suggest the number of casualties is about 1,000. Intensive anti-aircraft fire kept the raiders at a great height from which accurate bombing was impossible. Reports say 4,330 homes were destroyed and three-quarters of the city's factories damaged. Eighteen year old Prisoner of War Kurt Vonnegut
would later compare the landscape to 'the surface of the moon' in his biopic Prisonhouse Five.
In 1990, Frank Farian, producer of the group Milli Vanilli, pulled off one of the best hoaxes in music. At a live press conference, when reporters asked the duo to sing, Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan apparently broke into one of their songs, matching the vocals on their album exactly. Unknown to the press, and only revealed after Pilatus' death in 1998 from a drug overdose, the incident was carefully choreographed and rehearsed. The reporter who asked them to sing was an assistant producer in disguise, and their voices were piped in from a production van outside. Because of this hoax, Milli Vanilli was able to keep their act going for 8 more years and 3 more Grammys.
In 1919, Comrade Joseph Wapner, Chief Justice of the People's Supreme Court, was born in the Louisiana Soviet. Comrade Wapner witnessed first hand the lives of sailors from capitalist nations when he worked the docks of Louisiana, and vowed that justice for the people of his own land would always be his first concern.
In 1891, Erwin Rommel was born in Heidenheim, Germany. Astrid Pflaume recruited Rommel for the Greater Zionist Resistance herself, in spite of his gentile background, because she felt that they needed his military prowess. It proved to be a wise choice; Rommel pulled victory from many hopeless situations in their early struggles, and lasted them in good stead until the neo-Nazis from the future brought in superior weaponry in the 40's.
In 1889, Brazilian emperor Pedro II survives a close call when members of his military attempt a coup. Although Pedro had guided Brazil to unprecedented prosperity and stability for a South American nation, his leading military staff felt that he was becoming too progressive. With the aid a hastily-raised peasant army, Pedro II fought off his staff and retained his throne, and took measures afterwards to ensure that no military leader would ever wield that kind of power again. His daughter, Empress Albertina, was beloved by the military for her wars of conquest against Argentina and Uruguay.
In 1859, a great literary work is left unfinished because of Charles Dickens' untimely demise at the hands of his estranged wife. A Tale of Two Cities, due to come out in his circular All The Year Round on this day, was instead never published. Catherine Dickens, mother of their 9 children, had become enraged at him over the terms of divorce he had offered her, and stabbed him to death the month before. A tragic ending to one of literature's giants.
In 1751, Anglican minister/racist demagogue William Cowper was born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. Cowper was haunted throughout his life by mental illness that he refused medical treatment for, believing Mlosh techniques to be sinful. He founded the anti-Mlosh communities in Olney and Chelsea Downs.
In 1597, actor William Shakespeare is cited by St. Helen's Parish for failure to pay his taxes. Sir Francis Bacon had been using Shakespeare as a front for his theatrical work, but Shakespeare's unreliability, evidenced by behavior such as this, forced Bacon to come out as the author of his work in 1599.
In 1988, the unmanned Shuttle Buran is launched by the Soviet Union on her first flight. It had military missions other than simply placing one or two men into space, involved with space defense missions against the United States Air Force's X-20 Dyna-Soar.
In 2012, on this day failed GOP President candidate Mitt Romney announced the formation of a permanent, political action super-committee of elite donors.
Romney GroupAttributing the reason for his defeat to "Gifts" he argued that President Obama had abused his office by using policy announcements to pander to the interests of minority groups. A co-ordinated continuity of effort was therefore required in order to guarantee success in 2016. And the best vehicle for achieving that was to avoid the need for the next nominee to spend so much time fund-raising rather than forming hard policies alternatives and strategically campaigning in winnable swing states.
Of course there was an element of narcissism to the proposal, and yet there was clearly merit in retaining such an infrastructure. This allowed Romney to maintain a position of influence, participate in the development of public policy and ultimately find a meaningful next step away from the disappointment of failure.
It is November 1972, and lovers Charles Windsor and Camilla Shand are celebrating the Prince of Wales twenty-fourth birthday. They are pleasantly surprised to discover that his mother, the Queen has relented and invited Camilla to stay at Sandringham for Christmas, although this welcome news is clouded by two issues. An article from our Happy Endings thread.
Happy Endings 43:
Charles tells Camilla to wait for himHer former tryst with Andrew Parker Bowles has become somewhat embarrassing because he is set to marry Charles' elder sister Anne, and worse Charles is set to go on a long tour of military duty. But he tells her not to worry and she in turn agrees to wait for him.
They marry during the summer of 1974, and three children soon follow in 1976, 1979 and 1982. However fate plays a cruel twist when they are thrust into the monarchy decades before they can enjoy their marriage in some degree of privacy from the media. Because in October 1981 Queen Elizabeth II was assassinated at the Horse Guard's Parade by Marcus Sarjeant. And the couple ascend the throne, just nine years after that fateful birthday celebration. It is the eve of King George VII's thirty-third birthday as the Prince had previously sworn not to be enthroned with the regnal name of Charles III/IV due to the potential digit confusion caused by the Scottish ascendency..
In 1935, on this day Prince Hussein bin Talal was born in Amman, capital city of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Birth of Prince Hussein of JordanAfter completing his elementary education in Amman, he was educated at Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt. He proceeded to Harrow School in England, where he befriended his cousin Faisal II of Iraq. He pursued further study at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
However his life was to be cut tragically short. On 20 July 1951, he travelled to Jerusalem to perform Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque with his grandfather, King Abdullah I. Tragically, a Palestinian assassin opened fire on Abdullah and his grandson killing both of them. Purely from a dynastic succession perspective, the timing was a disaster for the House of Hashemite because his father ascended to the throne as King Talal but he was already suffering mental health issues that included schizophrenia. After a brief reign of only eighteen months, he was forced out, ushering in an era of political instability including multiple military coups. But only later did it emerge that the real purpose of the visit to Jerusalem was to normalize relations with the State of Israel.
In 1527, on this day the Spanish Explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca became the first European to set eyes upon the great American city of Cahokia .
Mississippians welcome de Vaca ExpeditionAlthough a chief officer in name, originally, his role was simply that of treasurer of the Narváez expedition of six hundred men. But only four made it ashore at Tampa Bay in La Florida and the raft of Narváez himself was lost during a hurricane at the mouth of the Mississippi River.
The tiny party was joined by indigenes of the upper Gulf Coast. About forty men including the three Spaniards made it to
Cahokia with de Vaca at the head. By that stage he had developed such a remarkable reputation as a faith healer that his indigenous companions regarded the companions as "children of the sun", endowed with the power to both heal and destroy. For now it was unclear which of the those two powers would prevail. And their sense of awe was surpassed by the spectacle of the great plaza, larger and more sophisticated than any comparable metropolis in Europe.
In 1943, on this day a Mark-15 torpedo fired by the destroyer USS William D. Porter struck the BB-61 class battleship USS Iowa carrying President Roosevelt to the Tehran Conference. An article from the Alternate World War Two thread.
The Iowa AffairFDR had asked to be brought up to the deck to observe the Iowa conduct an anti-aircraft drill to demonstrate her ability to defend herself. Porter, along with the other escort ships, also demonstrated a torpedo drill by simulating a launch at Iowa. This drill suddenly went awry when the #3 torpedo aboard Porter discharged from its tube and headed toward Iowa.
A signal from the Porter weakly confirmed "we did it". Because a single torpedo was unlikely to actually sink the Iowa, the officer class of the Porter feared a misadventure , perhaps the nightmarish image of FDR pitched overboard and sinking to the bottom carried by the weight of his leg-irons.
More farcically, the torpedo struck the battleship but failed to detonate. In fact the problems with the Mark-15 were not only well-known but actually had been solved in pre-production. Nevertheless, this highly visible and embarrassing display provoked fury from FDR. He threatened to dismiss senior figures in the Bureau of Ordinance. But instead he ordered a congressional inquiry led by the committee headed by Sen. Harry S Truman (D-MO), which was ferreting waste and abuse in the war effort. As events were to turn out, this proved a decision of some consequence.
In 1938, on this day Princeton University astronomy professor Richard Pearson, one of the first Western scientists to make contact with the Martians following the landing at Grover's Mill, was seriously injured at his office in what was initially thought to have been a failed robbery but later determined to have been an assassination attempt by Gestapo agents who had recently infiltrated the Princeton campus.
Part Seven of Parley Knowing the value of Professor Pearson's work in relation to the larger human effort to understand Martian culture and technology, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover personally took charge of the Pearson case and instructed the FBI's New York City field office to make the Gestapo agents' capture its top priority.
In 1776, in the St. James Chronicle, English citizen Benjamin Franklin, originally from Pennsylvania, published his "Letter to the English Speaking Peoples on Account of Unity".
Benjamin Franklin Calls for Peace Three years before, he had written a satirical essay entitled "Rules By Which A Great Empire May Be Reduced To A Small One," ridiculing the heavy (and seemingly inept) hand of government between England and her colonies. While the Americans had been on a track toward revolution from unfair taxation without representation, Franklin had been in England, climbing social ladders, even to the point of securing his son the position as governor of the colony of New Jersey.
In 1773, a series of letters from Governor Thomas Hutchinson of Massachusetts were given to Franklin anonymously as he was representative from the colonies. The letters depicted a draconian call to order by stripping colonists of their rights "by degrees" and an "abridgement" of liberties. Franklin sent the letters to Boston to inform them of their governor's thoughts, and they were published in the Boston Gazette. Uproar broke out in Boston, and Hutchison was sent back to England. The government began an investigation to find the source of the leak, eventually discovering Franklin as he stepped forward to protect innocents. In January 1774, he would be reprimanded and humiliated before the Privy Council, quashing many of Franklin's ambitions.
"By 1775, Franklin was prepared to leave London forever, returning to his beloved home and participating in the coming of a new age there. However, as spring came, he suffered a vicious attack of his gout, and Franklin was forced to spend the summer in the English countryside rather than risking a painful voyage. He rested with his aged friend Lord Chatham, William Pitt the Elder, and read the news from the colonies, where war broke out at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts Colony. Franklin knew that there would be no return to America with war, and so he determined to help his people whatever way he found. Discussing the war with the Whigs, especially Pitt's son, Franklin determined that the war must end and the British Empire be reunited as well as reformed.
Hope for peace grew dim as the Crown sent increasing numbers of troops and the Colonists returned with small victories, but the signing of the Declaration of Independence affirmed the Americans' will to fight no matter concessions. Franklin imagined that, if he had been there, he might have signed it himself, but several key wordings would have been changed. Instead, in England, he encouraged William the Younger and routinely addressed the English to begin diplomacy, as he wrote in the St. James Chronicle.
Despite his cries, the war would drag on. While the Americans would find allies with the Dutch, finances could not take the place of warships, which they hoped to derive from a French Alliance. Unfortunately for the colonies, no American ambassador, even the acclaimed Thomas Jefferson, seemed able to intrigue the French Court into more than loans and guns. The British controlled the seas, but the American colonial forces gradually chased them off land. With the flexibility of the navy, however, the British army could be spirited away from one point and set upon a new invasion elsewhere, as seen at the disastrous Siege of Yorktown in 1781. By the mid-1780s, broke and facing counter-revolution, the Continental Congress began to give up.
Feeling victory, George III and like-minded Parliamentarians pressed for a scourging of the colonies in retribution, but Franklin called for a peaceful reuniting. Appealing to the tale of the Prodigal Son, Franklin showed that the colonies needed to be met with love. Reform would change the hearts of the colonists, though there were several bad apples to be taken from the barrel, such as Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who would live out their days imprisoned in England. George Washington would remain in house arrest at his much-reduced plantation, while Thomas Jefferson led expatriates to France, finding sanctuary there.
In the 1790s, a wave of revolution would wash across Europe; many would blame it on Jeffersonian influence. While France turned to a republic, most nations underwent softer reforms, especially Britain under the leadership of William Pitt the Younger. During the Napoleonic Wars, England and her colonies would be reaffirmed as a new generation of colonists fought against French troops along the Mississippi frontier.
Franklin himself would remain in Britain the rest of his life, though his preserved body would be sent back to Philadelphia in 1790. There was some discussion of burying him in Westminster for his work preserving the Empire, but his will stated that he was to return home "now that the house is in order".
In 1985, running alongside the Potomac River in the bright November sunshine, brother Terry Fox completed his second "Marathon of Hope", an incredible cross-America run that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars of sponsorship funding for cancer research.
Marathon of Hope 2At the White House, Fox was greeted by the fortieth President of the United States, Ted Kennedy, his twenty-four year old son and Four Seasons' CEO Isadore Sharp who had pledged $10,000 to the marathon and challenged 999 other corporations to do the same.
"Terry Fox is like a meteor passing in the sky, one whose light travels beyond our view, yet still shines in the darkest night" said Sharp.
Of course Kennedy Junior fully understood the meteor's moment of triumph. In 1973, when he was twelve, a form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma was diagnosed in his right leg. The leg was surgically amputated on November 17, 1973. On that same day his father had escorted Kennedy's cousin Kathleen Hartington Kennedy - the eldest child of Robert F. Kennedy - down the aisle at her wedding and rushed back to the hospital.
In Canada, the thirtieth annual run occurred on September 19, 2010. Since 1981, $550 million has been raised by 35 million participants in more than 40 countries around the world who have laced up for the event. Terry Fox is no longer with us, but across his beloved Canada, his light shines on.
In 1917, on this day the Left Socialist Revolutionaries triggered the "third Russian revolution" by purging Bolshevik elements from the government of soviets.
Neither War Nor PeaceLenin's authority in the Central Executive Committee had been broken by the damning proof of treason. To wit, that he had been infiltrated back into the country by the German Government in the hope of hampering the war effort. And so when Lenin insisted that the first priority of the government of soviets was to secure an armistace on any terms, Left Socialist Revolutionaries came to the shattering realisation that the German Government's tactic's would now pay off.
Differences were more a matter of strategy, than tactics. Because the Left Socialist Revolutionaries asserted that the best way of inspiring revolution in the West was to appeal to the Russian people to fight a guerrilla war against the German invaders.
"[Bolshevik plans were] destructive to the international proletarian movement, and deeply harmful to the interests of Russian workers, the revolution, and the Russian economy in general"Denouncing Lenin as a German Spy, the new Government rejected the Bolsheviks plans as "destructive to the international proletarian movement, and deeply harmful to the interests of Russian workers, the revolution, and the Russian economy in general".
Somewhat cynically though, the new strategy would be based on a catchy phrase from Trotsky who had proposed a declaration to the Central Powers that the Government of Soviets sought "neither war nor peace".
Not that Trotsky benefitted from this piece of imaginative thinking. The Left Socialist Revolutionaries had also discovered that Trotsky had been living stylishly in New York, staying rent-free at a luxury apartment with a chaffeured limousine provided ex gratia by the Standard Oil Company. Arrested by Canadian Immigration Authorities at Halifax Novia Scotia, Trotsky had been carrying $10,000 of funding from Wall Street Capitalists who planned to overthrow central authority in Russia to develop their own oligarchies.
|US Secretary of State|
On this day in 1941, US Secretary of State Cordell Hull imposed a deadline of November 28th for Japan to agree with a ceasefire with the Soviet Union and a withdrawal of Japanese troops from mainland China; after that, Hull warned ominously, 'things are automatically going to happen'.
In 1979, President Jimmy Carter of the U.S. froze all Iranian assets in America and American-controlled banks. This bargaining chip was what allowed him to negotiate the release of the 63 American hostages that Iranian students had taken at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The release of these hostages in mid-1980 guaranteed Carter's reelection.
In 1993, the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico approved a referendum on statehood, prompting the island's governor to begin negotiations in earnest with the American government to give it independence. The negotiations continue to this day; influential Puerto Ricans, despairing of America's willingness to grant them their freedom, have organized a boycott of U.S. products throughout the Caribbean, which has finally led to the U.S. drawing up the final plans for the island's independence.
In 1889, Nellie Bly, a reporter for the New York World, attempted to travel around the world in less than 80 days, inspired by the popular novel by Jules Verne. With the newspaper covering her expenses, Bly hopped across the globe in one adventure after another. However, a broken ankle while she was traveling through India delayed her just enough to where she missed her deadline, arriving back at her New York embarkation point 81 days after she left.
In 4004 BCE, the Presence isolated a small group of people in the middle east and began indoctrinating them with the values of the main galactic civilization. The people, known as Hebrews, were converted from a polytheistic religion to a monotheistic one, and many confusing dietary and cultural restrictions were placed on them.
In 1642, on this fateful day a Parliamentarian army under the command of the Earl of Essex was defeated by a smaller Royalist force at the Battle of Turnham Green.
Stunning Royalist Victory at Turnham GreenAfter the Battle of Edgehill King Charles had captured Banbury and was greeted by cheering crowds as he arrived in Oxford. His nephew and cavalry commander, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, then swept down the Thames Valley, capturing Abingdon, Aylesbury and Maidenhead, from where he captured Windsor .
With the last remaining defending force defeated, the Royalist army's unstoppable march to London had opened the gates to the city and the Parliamentarians were staring defeat in the face. But the reaction from Londoners was fierce. Although the twelve thousand man Royalist army was short of ammunition and by normal standards too small to attack the 24,000 strong Parliamentarian army, the King had ignored advice that to engage such an oddly assorted army containing what was obviously a large contingent of armed civilians (namely the Trained Bands under Philip Skippon) would provoke a massive reaction from the populace. And so it proved.
In 1927, in a ground-breaking engineering breakthrough for the New York City State, the Cornwallis Tunnel opened to
vehicle traffic across the Hudson River.An article from the New York City State thread.
Opening of the Cornwallis TunnelDuring the late seventeenth century, New Jersey had been governed first within the Dominion of New England and then the Province of New York. But by the turn of the eighteen century, a separate province was established with a royal governor. Probably the separation of government would have stayed that way but for the fortuitous sequence of events at the climax of the American Revolution.
By extracting the British Army from Yorktown, and with the support of the Royal Navy, Charles Cornwallis ensured that the British maintained control of the North-east region (he served as military governor for the immediate post-war period). During the war of 1812, Americans briefly occupied the area but it was later returned under Treaty. Out of this set of unusual developments, the British decided to form a New York City State which ultimately would develop along similar lines to the government models for the port cities of Singapore and Hong Kong.
In 1520, on this day Henry VIII's illegitimate daughter Elizabeth was born to his long-time lover Bessie Blount.
Birth of Elizabeth Tailboys, Queen of EnglandEven though her mother's arranged marriage to Gilbert Talboys, 1st Baron Tailboys of Kyme did not occur until two years later, she adopted her stepfather's surname.
Of course her brother Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset, 1st Earl of Nottingham was the King's only acknowledged illegitimate child. It was even suggested that he should be named the legal Tudor heir. But his death from consumption aged seventeen stopped such a succession plan.
Nevertheless all was not lost because at this desperate juncture, Blount had convinced the King that his wives fertility problems was due to something desperately wrong in his marriages. She managed to get her daughter acknowledged and the result was that Elizabeth Tailoys succeeded to the throne after the death of Queen Mary in 1558. Needless to say, this triggered an immediate challenge from Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne Boleyn. And as England descended into Civil War, King Phillip of Spain began to amass his armada.
In 1715, on this day John Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar led the Jacobite rebels to a glorious victory at the Battle of Sheriffmuir fought near Dunblane in Scotland.
Battle of Sheriffmuir
By Ed and Jared MyersBoth the Scots and the English hated King George, the foreign monarch who sat on the English throne but who spoke no English. But only the Jacobites sought a restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England and Scotland.
When the Earl of Mar was seen as a political threat to the King, he was snubbed, and his response was to turn his support to the Jacobite cause.
Now the standard-bearer for the cause, he mustered Highland chiefs and on 6 September declared James Francis Edward Stuart (the "Old Pretender") as King of Scots. With a huge army of about twelve thousand men Mar proceeded to take Perth, and commanded much of the northern Highlands. Following unsuccessful skirmishes against John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll (based at Stirling), Mar was eventually persuaded to lead his full army south, on 10 November. Spies informed Argyll of Mar's actions, and he moved his army of about four thousand to Sheriffmuir, near Dunblane. The two armies met on the battlefield on 13 November where the Jacobites won a decisive victory under his command.
Argyll was seriously outnumbered by the Jacobite army and his left wing, commanded by General Whetham, was far shorter than the Jacobites' opposing right. Argyll's right wing attacked, and tried to drive the Highlanders back, while Whetham's soldiers were overpowered by a much larger force.
Forced to withdraw from the field, Argyll would eventually surrender to the Jacobite rebels at Preston. And the continued survival of the Hanoverian monarchy was placed on a knife-edge.
In 1861, after not even two weeks of being General-in-Chief of the Union Armies, General George B. McClellan was dismissed from his position after repeated faux pas.
Lincoln Dismisses McClellan after Insult President Abraham Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, and presidential secretary John Hay came by McClellan's house for a strategy meeting. The general was out, so the men waited. An hour later, McClellan returned but did not acknowledge them, and, after another half hour, his servant finally told the president that McClellan had gone on to bed. Lincoln was initially very calm, as he would typically be despite the trials of his presidency, and at first determined "better at this time not to be making points of etiquette and personal dignity". When word slipped that McClellan had privately referred to Lincoln as a "baboon" and "gorilla" and Seward as an "incompetent little puppy," Lincoln's uncustomary temper rose, and he fired his general-in-chief, demoting McClellan simply to commander of the Army of the Potomac.
"Lincoln, however, put himself into dire straits. His military was hardly ready, but the populace was unsure whether a war to keep the Union united would be worth it, and he needed victories to keep the people in ready. General Winfield Scott, who had served with the US Army since before the War of 1812, had retired October 31 due to "health reasons" of being seventy-five years old. Other commanders might have been available, but Lincoln needed someone he was certain would be brash and wield the available army to the fullness of its effect. He recalled meeting Colonel William Tecumseh Sherman, one of the most effective commanders at the Battle of Bull Run that June. Lincoln had been so impressed that he promoted Sherman to brigadier general of volunteers.
Sherman, however, was unnerved by the war. The defeat by Confederates had caused him to question the abilities of Union soldiers as well as his own competency as a commander, despite his bravery even after taking grazing bullet wounds to his shoulder and knee. He had been assigned to Robert Anderson in the Department of the Cumberland and that October had replaced Anderson due to ill health. Sherman had been promised by Lincoln not to be given such authority so suddenly, and it began to wear on him. He was increasingly paranoid of Confederate resources and sent constant requests for more supplies from Washington. After a review by Secretary of War Simon Cameron, the press turned against him, noting his pessimism and what would be later described by psychology as a "nervous breakdown". He was relieved of command and sent to St. Louis, where he would receive his summons to Washington by Lincoln as a new general-in-chief to concoct the strategy for defeating the South.
Sherman arrived in Washington and immediately pleaded with Lincoln (directly as well as through his brother, Senator John Sherman) that he was unfit for command. Lincoln recalled his reservations about McClellan's ability to be both general-in-chief while still operating as an army commander, to which McClellan assured him, "I can do it". The president was tired of generals who questioned his decisions as commander-in-chief, and Lincoln wrote Sherman a direct order to take command. Sherman committed suicide December 23, 1861, under the pressure.
It would be a severe strike against Lincoln's administration and public opinion about the war. Further, Lincoln was once again stuck without a commander. Frémont had proven overly aggressive in Missouri that November, turning Lincoln to the third most senior general in the Army, Henry Halleck, who had just replaced Frémont in Missouri. Halleck soon arrived in Washington and proved an able administrator, though Lincoln would be frustrated over his lack of action in the next years, referring to Halleck as "little more than a first rate clerk". The Union struggled to make any progress in the East, but the Western theater with its eager General Ulysses S. Grant returned numerous victories. Winfield Scott's "Anaconda Plan" eventually began to choke out the South, who suffered Pyrrhic losses in its invasion of Pennsylvania under Lee, and Grant was made the new general-in-chief in 1864 with Halleck being "kicked upstairs" to Chief of Staff.
Grant put forward Lincoln's plan of total war to break down Southern infrastructure and keep potential reinforcements pinned. The taking of Atlanta by General George Henry Thomas on October 2, 1864, came just in time to guarantee Lincoln's second election, and Thomas would lead the careful and slow demolition of Southern communication, transport, and industry. However, shortly after the end of the war with Lee's surrender in June of 1865, the superficial damage would be easily repaired. Lincoln's assassination came as a harsh blow to the South, but Thomas's gentlemanly use of Army resources to enable Southern rebuilding did much to aid feelings in Reconstruction after the notions of him being a "traitor" to his native Virginia faded.
Andrew Johnson battled through the rest of Lincoln's term, and in 1868 Grant would win the presidency. While dealing mainly with the issues of the South, he would also be notably genial toward Native Americans. His use of treaties restricting buffalo hunts came too late to preserve the food supply entirely, but he would continue his overall attitude toward Natives as "harmless" and "peaceful" until "put upon by the whites" and prevent as many armed altercations as he could.
In 1938, on this day the United States and Great Britain jointly initiated a crash atomic weapons development program meant to counter the German-Italian A-bomb effort.
Part Six of Parley Dubbed "the Manhattan Project" because its main U.S. offices were initially housed in a Manhattan U.S. Army Corps of Engineers building, the Anglo-American program's main goal was to produce a working atom bomb before the Axis powers did; one of its key additional purposes was to harness atomic energy as a power source for the heat ray batteries being constructed along the U.S. and British coasts.
One of the first scientists recruited for the Manhattan Project was a UCLA graduate student named Clayton Forrester (pictured). As the nuclear race between the West and the Axis accelerated, Dr. Forrester became one of the most important scientific figures in America; by the time war finally broke out between the Western alliance and the Axis nations Forrester was the de facto number two man on the project's scientific team. After the Third Reich collapsed and the anti-monarchist uprising on Mars was crushed, he became a physics professor at Harvard and continued his research on atomic energy. Dr. Forrester would go on to win the 1953 Nobel Physics Prize.
In 1772, a group of American independence advocates met in Boston to form the Brotherhood of Liberty.
Double Jeopardy Part 4
Formation of Brotherhood of LibertyThe most radical American political organization that had been established up to that time, the Brotherhood called for the citizens of the 13 colonies to engage in an armed insurrection similar to the rebellion that had been going on in Quebec for over two years; although at first the organization's numbers were small, they would steadily and swiftly expand in the face of Quebecois successes against the British occupation forces in Quebec and British acts of repression against American citizens. By the time the Quebec Rebellion ended in the summer of 1773 the Brotherhood had branches in every one of the 13 colonies, with the largest number of chapters operating in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Prior to the start of the American Revolution, the Brotherhood's most dramatic act of opposition to British colonial rule was the Boston Tea Party in August of 1773, when crowds of anti-British protestors stormed three British merchant ships and threw crates of tea into Boston Harbor. Outraged over this blatant act of defiance to the crown's authority(not to mention the loss of tons of high-quality tea), British colonial officials declared martial law throughout all of Massachusetts and sent troops to hunt down the Brotherhood's leaders. The hunt was still going on when the Revolution broke out in the spring of 1775.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.