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 13

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 Liberty
The 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.

In 2010, on this day Christopher Hitchens wrote this article in Newsweek Magazine ~ It's a fantasy to believe a Gore presidency would have looked nothing like the Bush presidency.

Be Careful What You Wish For I used to play a guilty-pleasure game with a fellow leftist, in which we asked ourselves which American election would have been best decided "the other way". The most appalling unintended conclusion we reached was that Nixon really ought to have beaten Kennedy in 1960. After all, there'd be a sporting chance that the proven anticommunist Nixon would not have felt such a strong need to prove himself at the Bay of Pigs, or in Indochina. We would have also been spared much mushy "Camelot" sentimentality. Kennedy could have got the treatment for Addison's disease that he so clearly needed, instead of getting by on drug cocktails furnished by "Dr. Feelgood". Conceivably, a Richard Nixon who did not darkly believe that the Kennedy clan had paid to help steal the vote would be a Richard Nixon with fewer demons. And, at the very worst, Tricky Dicky would have been a retired politician by the end of January 1969. My friend and I looked at each other with a sudden access of horror, and then went back to hating Nixon and all his works all over again.

So the business of remolding history nearer to the heart's desire is a very vertiginous one. And you have to decide what price you are prepared to pay for what you want. To take what you might call a macro-example: how best to stop the rise of Adolf Hitler? The only way to make absolutely certain is to let the British and French lose the First World War, or at least to make a deal with Germany by 1916 (in which case you would never have had to hear about a communist seizure of power in Moscow, either). To offer a more recent and less epochal instance: if you want Barack Obama in the Oval Office, be glad that you didn't vote to send Sen. John Kerry there last time.

What you can't do is change only one thing, or have it both ways at once. In his Intruder in the Dust William Faulkner describes the fantasy of every white Southern boy: that somehow the fatal order for Pickett to charge Little Round Top at Gettysburg was countermanded at the last moment. Without that self-inflicted calamity, so the faithful believe, the Confederacy would have been within a short march of Washington. But the sheer fact is that the South could never have outgunned or outproduced the Union, and the cause of slavery was doomed even in the medium run. I once read a very clever "what if?" essay by the historian Christopher Hollis, who argued that if the British had not so cruelly shot the Irish rebel leadership--Connolly, Pearse, and the other firebrands--after the Easter Rising of 1916, Ireland might have become pacified. He completely forgot to mention that if these popular leaders had not been executed, they would have still been alive!

With some of this in mind, what of the millennial election? Picture, if you will, that hairbreadth contest being decided the other way. The Republicans at once become entitled to claim that an incumbent vice president who couldn't carry his own state, or any other Southern one, after eight years in office, shouldn't get the benefit of a technical "tie". Whoever has "won," there is a good case for saying that Gore has not. Then picture the rancid resentment about the withdrawal of his election-night concession, the judge-shopping in Florida, and all the rest of it. Nixon's rage about Cook County in Illinois in 1960 is replicated, but on a more than personal scale. At the very least this means that the new president is confronted with a very malcontent Republican wing of Congress. The Kyoto treaty has already failed to attain the ratification of the Senate (or to be fair, even to get close to doing so), but now it's well and truly toast. Nor would I wager much of my own money on any Supreme Court nominees that the White House cares to advance.

This is relatively small-change partisan stuff, perhaps (unless you think that Al Gore would somehow have found a way to preempt it all), but the Qaeda death squads are already well inside the territory of the United States, and on September 11 they pull off their devastatingly simple plan. The president is not at a school in Florida. Let's say he's at a groundbreaking for some establishment that is going to make solar panels. It makes little difference: the Secret Service still takes over and spirits him away, with the result that he looks weak and frightened on the very day he most needs to look tough. Now, you have to picture the pressure from the already infuriated right. The new president has already backed his predecessor's Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, putting many extraordinary powers in the hands of our police and security agencies. He's made many a harsh speech on the subject of Middle Eastern terrorism. He and his vice president from Connecticut have between them the most solid history of pro-Israel voting in the whole United States Senate. It is not a time to look wimpish. The mind begins--does it not?--to boggle. It's even possible to doubt that Afghanistan would have gone uninvaded, or that suspected terrorists would be tried in courts in downtown Manhattan. Might well not have happened ..

Gore does have an overwhelming trump card to play against the Republican drumbeaters. In all the 2000 presidential debates with his now-defeated Texan rival, he has stuck up for the use of American troops in nation-building overseas, and deflected Bush's critical questions about the Clinton-Gore administration's use of "secret evidence" in terrorism trials. (This is worth looking up, by the way.) Moreover, and since breaking ranks to vote for the Desert Storm operation in 1991, he has often said in public that the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq will have to go sooner or later, and perhaps sooner. He is associated with those in the Senate who passed the Iraq Liberation Act, making this objective into official American policy. With a deftly calculated counterstroke, ably supported by fighting speeches from his vice president, Gore preempts and defangs the hawks and seizes the high ground of "America versus the terrorists". This high ground also happens to constitute the long-cherished "middle ground". The president's principal point--that terrorists will find no refuge and that states that even look at us the wrong way will be on the receiving end of retaliation--swiftly becomes baptized as "the Gore doctrine". As a well-known advocate and friend of the United Nations, the chief executive has little difficulty in reminding the world body of its long and shameful record of unenforced resolutions in the matter of Mesopotamia.

Now I look back to the naughty game I used to play with my old comrade, and review what I have just written, and I can't for the life of me see the element of "what if?" in any of the above.

In 1979, Ronald Reagan, former governor of California, declares his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. In the speech announcing his run, Reagan blasts President Carter for "abandoning America's friends in embattled Indochina and liberated Cuba".

Reagan DeclaresPresident Orlando Bosch of Cuba, who had succeeded Fulgencio Batista following the latter's death in 1973 and had won a 1974 election generally regarded as rigged with the assistance of the U.S. occupation forces which had been in Cuba since the Bahia de Cochinos intervention of April 1961, praises Reagan for his hard-line stance.

Also favorable is the response of President Nguyen Van Thieu of the United Republic of Vietnam. Both Bosch and Thieu are battling Communist insurgencies, Cuba's led by deposed president Fidel Castro and Vietnam's by General Vo Nguyen Giap of the former "Democratic Republic of Vietnam," AKA North Vietnam.

In 2015, on this day the UN Secretary General Barack Hussein Obama II arrived at the United States deep-water naval base at Pearl Harbour. The former Kenyan President would have absolutely no time to reflect on the personal significance of this odd home-coming, rather he had to focus all his attention on an international showdown with the forty-fourth US President, Hillary Rodham Clinton.The Barack Obama Story, Part 3 - Homecoming Showdown

The crisis had begun the day before Clinton's election in 2008 when General Toshio Tamogami (pictured) lost his job as chief of staff for Japan's Air Self-Defense Force after saying in an essay entitled True Perspective of Modern and Contemporary History that "it is certainly a false accusation to say that our country was an aggressor nation [in World War Two]".

The state-run China Daily commented that "The denial of the aggression history by Toshio Tamogami comes in as an element of disharmony, Yet, as long as the Japanese government has a right attitude to this question, the smooth development of ties between the two neighbors will not be derailed by such discordant notes".

However since his election as Prime Minister of Japan during the summer, Tamogami now was the head of government in Tokyo.

Clinton had spent much of her Presidency building good relations with China and was determined to bring Tamogami and Japan's recently rediscovered belligerence to heel.

Yet in Washington, neoconservatives were eyeing the November 2016 election with glee. Retired General David Petraeus had formed a Presidential Committee. Perhaps Tamogami was the strong man that America needed in the region, combatting both the inexorable rise of China, and also the war on terror with the Islamic forces in Indonesia. Because the hanging of Saddam Hussein had taught the neocons a big lesson about the geopolitical value of such regional strong men. America had been forced to watch the great nation of Iran fill the power vacuum created by his departure ...

In 1974, Karen Silkwood's car is run off the road by a mysterious black car, and flips several times before coming to rest.

Silkwood SurvivesShe had been working at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron Fuel Fabrication Site plant near Crescent, Oklahoma. Silkwood's job was making plutonium pellets for nuclear reactor fuel rods. She joined the union and became an activist on behalf of issues of health and safety at the plant as a member of the union's negotiating team, the first woman to have that position at Kerr-McGee. In the summer of 1974, she had testified to the Atomic Energy Commission about her concerns. For three days in November, she was found to have high levels of contamination on her person and in her home. While driving to a meeting that month with David Burnham, a New York Times journalist, and Steve Wodka, an official of her union's national office, she was involved in a car accident under mysterious circumstances.

Miraculously, Silkwood survives the crash with only minor injuries. Ms. Silkwood was carrying evidence of negligence towards safety at the nuclear power plant she worked in; her work resulted in the closing of the Kerr-McGee plant in Crescent, Oklahoma, and the indictment of its owners on several counts of criminal negligence.

In 1964, the King of Soul Sam Cooke gave a press conference in Los Angeles, in which he claimed that he had been the victim of an attempted mob hit just two days before.

Sam Cooke SetupIn being one of the first African American musicians to attempt to take control of his own destiny, Cooke attended to the business side of his musical career and in so doing clashed with the rocket label, the mob and the Nation of Islam. He had abandoned his backers and some shadowy people were severely out of pocket.

The hit had been carefully stage managed. He had checked into the the Hacienda Hotel, a cheap hotel where he could meet with new potential backers. Whilst showering, all of his clothes had been stolen from the room. Cooke had approached the Motel Manager wearing just a towel, and she had immediately began to scream rape. Whereupon two men set upon Cooke who barely escaped with is life. Police investigations could not trace either the Motel Manager or the two guests, which Cooke believed was further evidence of a setup.

In 2004, Chelsea Perkins has her first meeting with the Council of Wisdom, where her father has been forced to bring her. The Council is very rude to Chelsea, who is rude right back. This impresses the people on the Council, who agree with Terrence Perkins that her learning must be accelerated so that she can face the danger that is coming for her.
In 2002, the robot ship carrying Professor Thomas and Air Force Captain Trent Laughlin surges to the very edge of the sensors Dr. Courtney and his fleet are able to use to track them. Dr. Courtney commands one of his ships to break off pursuit and head to earth, so that at least someone will return from this mission. The other two ships follow him.
In 1974, the Kerr-McGee nuclear power plant in Crescent, Oklahoma suffers a horrific meltdown, killing all of the workers inside the plant as well as half the population of Crescent. The radiation spreads across Oklahoma and reaches as far as southwestern Mexico, causing cancer rates to skyrocket and killing many animals as well as people. The owners of Kerr-McGee, who had been suspected of negligence, are now jailed for it; small comfort to the people injured by their plant.
In 1969, a demonstration against the war in Vietnam provoked President Nixon into a personal confrontation with peace marchers who were carrying posters with the names of the 45,000 dead from the war. When the march came the White House, Nixon met the leaders and began berating them, calling them communists and dupes. When the crowd grew ugly, only the swift action of Secret Servicemen was able to keep Nixon from being attacked. The incident was hideously embarrassing for Nixon, and weakened the rest of his single term in office.
In 1890, after a long night of torture by Charles Brigman's rebel Mormon band, Colonel Beauregard T. Jackson is brought before Brigman. "Beg me for your life, Colonel", Brigman demands Jackson. When Jackson refuses, Brigman says, "Then you can measure your life in hours. We will execute you at sunrise".
In 1969, after a rip in the space/time continuum threw him into his own future, Corporal Jeffrey Thompson of California returns to Vietnam and re-enlists for another tour of duty. He eventually leaves the country with a silver star for bravery, and goes back home to college and a career as a real estate speculator. He also became a philanthropist, giving millions to homeless shelters across the state.
In 1789, President George Washington ended his disastrous tour of the states that had recently ratified the constitution by slinking back to his home in Mount Vernon, Virginia. Washington had taken several slaves with him during the tour, and their presence had incited many crowds to boo the new president in the free states.
In 1998, Friday the 13th proved to be good luck for President William Clinton - the sexual harassment lawsuit against him was dismissed as "without merit", in the judge's decision. The rest of Clinton's presidency went from triumph to triumph as he outmaneuvered the Republican Congress and managed to engineer his succession by his Vice-President, Al Gore, and a new Democratic majority in both houses of Congress in the elections of 2000.
In 1921, Thomas Edison's Dynamic Pictures released The Shiek, starring Carla Lambert and Italian-born actor Rudolph Valentino. Valentino immediately becomes a sex symbol, although one detractor accused him of "the effeminization of the American male".
In 1312, Pope Edward III was born. Edward's mother and father contested the papacy bitterly, and Edward was crowned at 14 when his father was deposed. Although his mother effectively reigned as Pope during most of his teen years, Edward came into his own when he reached manhood, and faced many challenges during his reign of the Holy British Empire, not the least of which was the devastation of the Black Death.
Crisis Over

On this day in 1962, Soviet troops and missile crews began withdrawing from Cuba under the terms of the cease-fire pact that ended the Florida Coast War.

Crisis Over - Armwrestling
Armwrestling
In 1953, a Textbook Committee Member in the Soviet of Indiana denounced the classic tale of Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott as being "a piece of imperialist, counter-revolutionary trash", and threatened to ban references to it in the soviet's textbooks. Mrs. Fiona White was voted down by other members of the committee, who felt the tale of a knight trying to bring back his king was essentially harmless to the psyches of young comrades.
In 1949, noted child actor Caryn Johnson was born in New York City. She started acting as a girl of 8 in small stage productions with black theater companies in the city, and moved on to films and television roles during her teens. Like many child actors, she had her problems with drugs once she became an adult, but comedy turned out to be her rehab clinic. During her 30's, she started touring the country with a stand-up routine, and soon became nationally famous as "the funniest woman in America". Ms. Johnson used that fame to go back to dramatic roles on occasion, winning the Oscar for her lead role in "The Color Purple", but comedy has always been where she returns.
In 1980, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan "Yoni" Netanyahu and other veterans of the Entebbe Raid arrive secretly in the United States. Whilst there, they will post mortem Operation Eagle Claw, the failed military operation to rescue the 53 hostages from the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran on April 24, 1980. And come up with a new, improved plan.
In 4578, the Siamese-Vietnamese War Memorial was erected in Beijing. The design was controversial at first, but after the opening, lauded as brilliant - it was simply a black stone wall, engraved with the names of all the slain soldiers of the war. Emperor Min-Yuan, on seeing the wall at the opening, wept openly, but viewed the entire length of the wall.

In 2007, jurors in Galveston, Tex., heard opening arguments on Tuesday in the trial of a bird-watching enthusiast who fatally shot a cat that he said was stalking endangered shorebirds. The defendant, James M. Stevenson, is the founder of the Galveston Ornithological Society and leads bird-watching tours on this Gulf Coast island 60 miles southeast of Houston. If convicted on animal cruelty charges in the shooting last November, he faces up to twenty-five years in jail and a $1,000,000 fine. Mr. Stevenson, 54, does not deny using a .22-caliber rifle fitted with a scope to kill the cat, which lived under the San Luis Pass toll bridge, linking Galveston to the mainland. He also admits killing many other cats on his own property, where he operates a bed and breakfast for some of the estimated 500,000 birders who come to the island every year.

Birder
Birder - James M. Stevenson
James M. Stevenson
Benazir Bhutto

In 2007, unambigous evidence of collusion was established between Pakistan's former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto and the military-led government of Gen Pervez Musharraf. A conspiratorial arrangement presupposes Gen Musharraf's early retirement from the army and a lifting of the emergency ahead of elections, which he says will be held before 9 January. It also presupposes a quick trial of Gen Musharraf's eligibility as president by the new Supreme Court, without which he is not ready to quit the army. Previously, there had been no way of knowing whether such an arrangement has been choreographed, with both Ms Bhutto and Gen Musharraf only playing to the galleries to earn credibility before they do what has been agreed. However copies of emails between Bhutto and Musharraf had been intercepted by al-Qaeda and the Taleban, who emerged as the unlikely defendants of liberty in the 'Fort of Islam'.

Benazir Bhutto - Opposition
Opposition
On December 13, 2003 the military objectives for Operation Red Dawn are achieved when imperial forces in the British Protectorate of Mesopotamia finally capture the 'Shadow' outside Tikrit. Under the jingoist headline 'We got him', the Times of London newspaper reveals the secret identity as one Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majidida al-Tikriti, noting that the Arabic meaning of Saddam is 'one who confronts'. Also revealed in the same article is the Shadow's lead role in the assassination of Prince Charles of Great Britain during his victor's mission to Kuwait on June 26, 1993. By a twist of fate this tragic event led to the marriage of his widow to the Arab billionaire Dodi Al-Fayed. The Shadow's agents also pulled off a terrorist attack in St Pauls Cathedral at the ceremony in 1997, slightly injuring the British entertainer Elton John.


November 12

The short-lived days of the Roman Empire came to an end as Greek conqueror Pyrrhus of Epirus determined to finish off the growing city. What had once been a pack of exiles and bandits who could only gain wives by stealing them during a false olympics became Rome, a masterful city-state that had taken in numerous forced allies after years of expansionistic war in Italy.

278 BC - Pyrrhus Obliviates the RomansWhat had once been a pack of exiles and bandits who could only gain wives by stealing them during a false olympics became Rome, a masterful city-state that had taken in numerous forced allies after years of expansionistic war in Italy.

Originally of the Molossians, Pyrrhus's father had been dethroned, and he grew up in exile, learning the importance of military strength and political prowess. His father-in-law, Ptolemy of Egypt, restored him as king of Epirus in 297 BC, and Pyrrhus determined to expand his power. He attempted to conquer Macedon, but was defeated. In 281 BC, a new chance arose to build a league of allies when Tarentum on the southern end of Italy determined to revolt against the growing influence of Rome. The Oracle at Delphi told him "Aio te, AEacide, Romanos vincere posse", meaning, "I say, Pyrrhus, that you the Romans can conquer". Armed with 3,000 cavalry, 2,000 archers, 500 slingers, 20,000 infantry and 20 war elephants (much of his forces on lone from Egypt), Pyrrhus set off for his Italian campaign.

In 280 BC, he met the Romans in the Battle of Heraclea, defeating their larger army but taking tremendous losses not easily replaced as he was away from Epirus and his allies were wary of utterly declaring war on Rome. The Romans considered a treaty, but eventually declined and rebuilt a fresh army. The next year, he Pyrrhus again defeated the Romans at Asculum, and again his losses were so large that he commented, "One more such victory, and we shall be undone".

In 278 BC, Pyrrhus came upon two new opportunities. The Greek cities in Sicily approached him to drive out Carthage as he was driving the Romans out of southern Italy, and the Macedonians invited him to take the throne there as their king Ceraunus had been killed by barbarians. Both were glorious, but Pyrrhus determined his most important goal should be utter defeat of his present enemy, lest they counterattack and he lose his position as his father had. Taking up what was left in his coffers and forces, Pyrrhus stormed Rome with a grand army and left the city with no stone on top of another.

With Rome destroyed, Pyrrhus's influence in Italy was secure. He next took up the position as King of Sicily, driving out the Carthaginians and pacifying the Greeks in Sicily to be loyal under his command. Pyrrhus then returned to Macedon, and he was able to build up a system of diplomacy that make the Pyrrhic Empire the great power of the middle Mediterranean. He was invited by Cleonymus of Sparta to overthrow the city there, and Pyrrhus began his last campaign in 272 BC. He would be caught in the street fighting after successfully sneaking his army into the city and killed by a roofing tile thrown by an old woman. It seemed an unfitting end who Hannibal, the great statesman of the Carthaginians and conqueror of Gaul, called the greatest military commander in the world. His strategy of utterly destroying and absorbing his enemies gave birth to the phrase "Pyrrhic victory" in which a conquest is total.

In 1864, on this day William T. Sherman's Union forces captured Atlanta. An installment of the Federal's Lost Cause thread.

Federal Lost Cause Part 5: Atlanta falls too late to save LincolnAlthough it only had a population of ten thousand citizens, , the Confederacy's second-most important city was a vital rail and commercial centre and had thus become a critical point of contention. Northern newspapers covered the victory, reporting General Hood's burning of many military facilities as he evacuated. But it was too late for Lincoln who had lost the General Election just four days earlier. The war-weary mood of the Northern voters had sealed his fate. Even if the mis-perception of stagnant stalemate had now been corrected, the peace candidate George B. McClellan (pictured) had won out.

However the bigger picture was still transformed. First of all, "Little Mac" would not take office until March, by which time Lincoln might still be able to defeat the South. Even if not, he could force legislation through that enabled his successor to continue the fight throughout 1865 without needing to seek funding approval. And of course McClellan himself was a reluctant peace candidate (the party platform was actually written by Copperhead Clement Vallandigham of Ohio). And so there was a dawning realization that an independent Confederacy was unlikely to emerge from the US Civil War regardless of military outcome. A weighty factor was McClellan opposition to emancipation. The balance of probability then was that the Southern States would rejoin the Union under terms they would not have been offered by Lincoln, and therein lie the chief consequence of the electoral result of 1864.

In AD 60, a Roman army led by Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was trapped in an ambush set by the Iceni Queen Boudica.

The Battle of Watling StreetDue to poor command decisions, the occupying force only numbered ten thousand, comprising Legio XIV Gemina, parts of the XX Valeria Victrix, and any available auxiliaries (a third legion, II Augusta, near Exeter, failed to join them and a fourth, IX Hispana, had been routed trying to relieve Camulodunum). Whereas the alliance of indigenous British peoples had assembled a staggering two hundred and thirty thousand men. Although impresssive in numbers, this unorganized horde would have been no match for a disciplined force, had they met in open battle.

Although Nero had been seriously considering a withdrawal from the Islands, he was determined to punish the British and moveover the Province remained highly profitable. However the timing was off because unrest was on the boil. And soon enough the Year of the Four Emperors arrived and the reconquest of the British Isles was taken off the table until the time of Vespasian. Meanwhile Boudica consolidated both her alliance with the Kent and Sussex tribes and also the trading partnership with Gaul. The Romans had withdrawn from the British Isles, at least for Boudica's lifetime. It was a revenge of sorts for the violations that the Romans had inflicted upon her daughters.

In 1916, on this day businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer Percival Lowell regained reason to live.

Lowell Regains Reason to Live Percival Lowell had lived a life that few could not envy. A Harvard graduate, he left the world of business for travel and spent much of the 1880s in the Far East. He served as a diplomat's aide and made a study of Korean and, more specifically, Japanese culture. From his trips to the region, he wrote three books: The Soul of the Far East (1888), Noto (1891), and Occult Japan (1894). In 1893, he decided to dedicate himself to astronomy, picking up where the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli had left off with a study of canals on the surface of Mars. The next year, Lowell used his fortune to establish the observatory in Arizona that bears his name.

Through his study, Lowell determined sketches of the canals on Mars and wrote three more books: Mars (1895), Mars and Its Canals (1906), and Mars As the Abode of Life (1908). As the twentieth century began, Lowell's ideas of the canals as symbols of an intelligent Martian race led to less and less credit among the astronomical community. The dispassion weighed on him, and he turned toward further research to reestablish his name. Taking discrepancies in the orbit of Uranus, Lowell calculated that some other body must exist beyond the orbit of Neptune, an unfound planet he dubbed "Planet X". Despite laborious searches, nothing from the photographs of the heavens could be determined to be such a planet.

In 1916, Lowell's life seemed to have run out. The World War weighed as heavily on him as the sneers from fellow astronomers. He had believed so much in humanity and the drive of human progress; reports of hundreds of thousands of young men slain on battlefields seemed to disprove that. Stresses had built up into his system, perhaps directing him to an early end of life. But, in the early hours of November 12, an aide hurriedly approached Lowell with prints from the photographic plates taken that March and April with a distant dot that may have been his Planet X.

Reinvigorated, Lowell threw himself into research. The planet looked too small to genuinely affect the mass of Uranus and Neptune, which caused him to recalculate the planetary masses. When this new mathematical arrangement seemed to fit better than the standard model, Lowell published his results in 1917. While some of the astronomical community became persuaded, the overall opinion was against him. Rather than falling under pressure as he had before, Lowell broke with standards and decided that humanity as a whole was becoming corrupt. If progress were to be made, it would be by smaller groups of like-minded, imaginative mini-cultures. He decided that hope for the future lay not in the overpopulated nations of the world but in individual creativity.

Lowell began bringing influential scientists and writers (including his sister, Amy) to his observatory, creating a new community. Some whispered that he was building a scientific cult, but Lowell had given up on impressing his fellows. Instead, he gathered funding and built up the observatory into not only an astronomical facility, but a place for research in numerous fields.

In 1920, Lowell came across a front page article in The New York Times about a lecturer at Clark University believing he could reach the Moon by means of rocketry. Dr. Robert Goddard proposed sending meteorological instruments into the upper atmosphere and even flash powder to the dark side of the Moon, illuminating it for astronomical study. The day after the article, an editorial in The Times trounced Goddard's ideas and concluded that he was a fool who had forgotten "the relation of action and reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react-to say that would be absurd". Lowell contacted Goddard through his connections at Clark University (where he had received an honorary degree in 1909), the two bonded over Goddard's explanation of the fallacy believed to be from Newton's laws of motion. When Lowell secured funding for Goddard's experiments, the latter joined him at the Observatory.

In 1923, Lowell was informed of another controversial thesis, this by a young German student, Hermann Oberth, entitled Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen ("By Rocket into Planetary Space"). Lowell became enamored with traveling not only to the Moon, but Mars itself, and invited him to join Goddard's research. Oberth, who also had been frowned upon by the academic communities as "utopian", accepted Lowell's invitation. Lowell would later invite Konstantin Tsiolkovsky after widespread publications of the genius's earlier work, but the Russian would decline to move to Arizona, instead maintaining a rigorous correspondence until Lowell's death in 1930.

Lowell died from a stroke February 18, 1930, many said caused by overwork. Since the Crash of the stock market, funding had begun to dry up, and Lowell worked continuously to keep his society running. While the '30s would be lean times at the Observatory, the explosion of need for technological development as the United States entered World War Two gave them something of a blank check. It is believed that Lowell's efforts, combined with yet another war, enabled mankind to achieve space flight in 1948, establish the Lowell Lunar Colony in 1961, and launch the Lowell Ares Program, establishing a Martian outpost in 1983. By that time, however, it had become obvious that Lowell's canals were only an optical illusion.

In 2009, on this day Michael Isikoff wrote this article in Newsweek Magazine ~ The Impeachment of Al Gore Next Essay. Be Careful What You Wish For None of this ever happened. But if George W. Bush had lost the election, it could have.

I. A New Day in Washington

It is hard to reconstruct, nine years later, just how inspiring Al Gore seemed when he first addressed the country after being declared the winner of the 2000 election. It was a moment that nobody in Washington ever anticipated--at least not until Justice Anthony Kennedy at the last minute flipped his vote in chambers on Bush v. Gore, thereby permitting the Florida recount to proceed. (And even then, Gore was able to eke out a razor-thin 107-vote victory only when the Florida Supreme Court ordered that all disputed ballots be tallied.)

The Impeachment of Al GoreBut as Republicans cried foul, Gore, on Christmas Eve, rose to the occasion. "What remains of partisan rancor must now be put aside," he declared in a nationwide television address in which he vowed to do "everything possible" to bring Americans together, including naming Republicans to his cabinet. Gore fulfilled his pledge two days later by picking John McCain as his defense secretary. Soon enough, the pundits were predicting that Gore had the potential to usher in a new "post-partisan" era in American politics that would make the country forget the nasty divisiveness of the Clinton years. Little could they imagine that, within a few short years, Gore would have embroiled the country in two unpopular wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or that, blamed for failing to stop the deadliest attack ever on American soil, he would confront a harrowing impeachment trial in the Senate that would make Clinton's Lewinsky troubles seem like a frolic.

II. The Troubles Begin

Gore's political woes began within minutes after he took office on Jan. 20, 2001. A new article from Newsweek MagazineNo sooner had he finished his inaugural address than a firestorm erupted over Bill Clinton's last-minute pardon of fugitive financier named Marc Rich. Although Gore had known nothing about Rich or the pardon, his White House was immediately under siege. Jack Quinn, a longtime adviser who was Gore's first vice presidential chief of staff, had later become Rich's chief lawyer. Sources inside the Justice Department leaked word that Quinn had gotten a crucial assist when Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, Gore's nominee to be A.G., told the White House he was "[neutral, leaning toward favorable" on a Rich pardon.

Career prosecutors at Justice were outraged. Inside the White House, tempers flared. "I can't believe the goddamn Clintons did this to us again!" First Lady Tipper Gore was reported to have screamed to her husband one night over dinner.

When NEWSWEEK reported on Feb. 10 that federal prosecutors in New York were considering a criminal investigation into the pardon, Republicans saw their opening. "How could the Gore Justice Department possibly investigate itself?" thundered Rep. Dan Burton, who, as chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, had already announced hearings. Even The New York Times editorial page agreed. Before the week was through, Holder's nomination was withdrawn. ("I'm done. Public life is over for me," he told The Washington Post.) As the price for getting the president's new nominee (Jamie Gorelick) confirmed, the administration had no choice but to capitulate to GOP demands for an independent investigation. Gore's term had barely begun and already he was saddled with that hallmark of the Clinton era--a special prosecutor.

III. A Gathering Storm

Yet there were even graver threats looming beneath the surface in those early days. On Jan. 25, 2001, CIA Director George Tenet (whom Gore had decided to retain) told the new president in a briefing that the "preliminary judgment" of the U.S. intelligence community was that Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda was responsible for the bombing of the USS Cole, which had killed 17 U.S. sailors off the coast of Yemen the previous October. That very same day, Richard Clarke, the White House counterterrorism adviser and another Clinton holdover, wrote Gore a fateful memo urging him to retaliate for the Cole bombing. "We have got to destroy these guys, Mr. President. If we don't, there will be more attacks," Clarke would later testify he told Gore that day in a private conversation outside the Situation Room. As Clarke recounted the exchange in his testimony at the House impeachment hearings (and in a bestselling book that somehow managed to come out the same day), Gore brushed him off: "Enough already, Dick. I know all about Al Qaeda. We'll get them. But now is not the time".

Gore would hear much the same thing from Tenet four months later when the CIA director presented a National Security Council (NSC) briefing about the alarming uptick in threat warnings about Al Qaeda. "The system is blinking red," an exasperated Tenet told Gore on June 30. Gore was troubled and told the CIA director to "stay on top of this one". But Gore once again insisted that there was nothing he could do about Al Qaeda right away. He had too much on his plate--like winning congressional passage of his new climate-change tax-credit proposals. Besides, the public had forgotten all about the Cole bombing. The U.S. military also had given him no good targets for hitting bin Laden. "What's the point of pounding sand?" asked McCain, echoing the views of the Joint Chiefs, at the NSC meeting that day.

Frustrated at the administration's lack of attention, intelligence-agency officials made another attempt to drive home their concerns about Al Qaeda. On Aug. 6, while Gore was on vacation at the family farm outside Carthage, Tenn., the CIA presented a President's Daily Brief (PDB) with the eye-grabbing title: "Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S". Gore poured over the PDB and repeatedly underlined key portions. "Damnit, I want the FBI all over this right away," he told Gorelick in a phone call later that morning. But still, the brief was sketchy, offering no specifics or any proposed course of action. Certainly, there was nothing that dissuaded Gore later that day from directing White House lawyers to finish up work on a document intended to fulfill one of his campaign promises--an executive order banning religious, ethnic, or racial profiling by federal law-enforcement officials.

IV. The White House Under Siege

Gore signed the executive order at a White House ceremony on Sept 10. The next day, he flew off to Detroit for an education event at an inner-city school. He was reading a book to second graders about the effect of global warming on polar bears, Where Did All the Little Bears Go?, when his new chief of staff, Ron Klain, whispered in his ear that two airplanes had slammed into the World Trade Towers and that "America is under attack".

Gore flew back to Washington that afternoon and rallied the country. "This will not stand," Gore proclaimed. "We will not shrink from doing whatever it takes to prevail against the terrorists who did this to us". At a Camp David meeting later that month, Gore assembled his war council and gave the approval for an immediate invasion of Afghanistan.

As Bob Woodward later reported in his book Gore at War, some on the president's team--notably Vice President Joe Lieberman and McCain--wanted even bolder moves. "What about Iraq?" Lieberman asked. "Shouldn't we be going after Saddam as well?" Gore, according to Woodward's explosive account, thought Lieberman was "out of his mind". At Camp David, he curtly cut his vice president off. "Joe, this has nothing to do with Saddam," Gore said, ending the discussion. "Let's stay focused here".

Once the initial shock of 9/11 wore off and the Taliban fled Kabul, Republicans in Congress started demanding a full-scale investigation of how the country had found itself defenseless against a tiny band of terrorists. "We need to know who knew what and when about bin Laden," Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said in early November. The same day, Sen. Arlen Specter introduced a resolution (cosponsored by every Republican in the Senate) creating a special Senate panel to probe the 9/11 attacks. Others in the GOP (and on the right-wing talk-radio shows) blamed nine years of "spineless" Democratic national security decisions that began when Bill Clinton pulled U.S. troops out of Somalia in 1993 and continued right up to Gore's failure to retaliate for the Cole bombing. Democrats were aghast at the GOP hypocrisy: Wasn't it Specter who, just three years earlier, had suggested that Clinton's decision to retaliate for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa was a "diversionary" move to distract attention from the Lewinsky scandal? And Lott who had said much the same thing when Clinton bombed Iraq?

But by now, the administration was reeling. In April 2002, The Washington Post obtained leaked FAA documents and e-mails showing that nine of the 9/11 hijackers--including all five on American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon--had been flagged for secondary screening the morning of the attacks by an agency computer system known as CAPPs, set up to identify potentially dangerous passengers. (The flagged hijackers had purchased one-way tickets and paid for them with cash.) But the airlines were barred from using the CAPPs warning as a basis to question the passengers themselves. Why? A commission on aviation security headed by Gore in 1997 had recommended against any extra questioning and frisking of passengers on the grounds that it might cause undue "inconvenience" or "embarrassment" for some religious or ethnic groups. "Does anyone here have any doubt we could have saved thousands of lives had it not been for those ridiculous [Gore] commission rules?" one internal FAA official had written in one of the most damning of the leaked e-mails.

Three weeks later The New York Times--quoting unnamed "U.S. intelligence officials"--reported the title of the bombshell Aug. 6, 2001, PDB about bin Laden's plans to attack. The first resolution of impeachment was introduced in the House the same afternoon. "Gore Knew" screamed the headline in the New York Post the next day.

V. Impeachment and Trial in the Senate

The summer of 2002 was agony for the White House. Each day, as the House Judiciary Committee pursued its impeachment inquiry, there were new leaks about government screw-ups in the run-up to 9/11. Despite Gore's orders to Tenet and Gorelick, his directives had never made their way to the field. The CIA didn't tell the FBI about two of the hijackers who had entered the country. The FBI had failed to follow up on warnings about Arabs attending U.S. flight schools. These and more foul-ups had taken place, the Republicans charged, because the Gore White House had been "asleep at the switch". "They were more interested in promoting their extremist climate-change agenda than in protecting the country," declared Dick Cheney, the losing 2000 GOP vice-presidential candidate in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute (where he served on the board). When Republicans scored an overwhelming victory in the 2002 congressional elections, locking up commanding majorities in both chambers, Gore's presidency seemed in peril.

On Jan. 20, 2003, two years to the day after he had been sworn in, Gore was impeached by a lopsided vote of 285-150. To make their case, the House impeachment leaders had crafted an article that charged Gore with the "high crime" of "dereliction of duty". But then, to mollify demands of libertarian conservatives like Grover Norquist (of the anti-tax advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform) and the NRA, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay included an extra article of impeachment that focused on Gore's post 9/11 actions, accusing the president of violating the constitutional rights of Americans by holding some terror suspects as "enemy combatants" and--even worse--issuing an executive order that blocked gun sales to thousands of citizens whose names had been added to the FBI's rapidly expanding terrorist watch list. (NRA "action alerts" trumpeted "horror stories" about innocent Americans being placed on the watch list and then denied their Second Amendment rights--all thanks to the "gun grabbers" at the White House.) The so-called civil liberties article seemed a stroke of political genius: not only had it whipped up enthusiasm for impeachment in rural America, but it had also attracted cautious support even from liberals appalled by the roundups of illegal aliens and other crackdowns of the Gorelick Justice Department.

White House political advisers warned Gore he needed to take bold action to save his presidency--and there was only one obvious option on the table: invade Iraq. Gore had thought the whole idea of an Iraq invasion made no sense and was based on skimpy evidence. But McCain and Lieberman--egged on by influential columnists like Tom Friedman and The Washington Post editorial page--had never given up their campaign for war. They relentlessly pushed Tenet to make his "best case" to Gore. When Tenet told the president in December 2002 that it was a "slam dunk" that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, Gore had seemed annoyed. "This isn't a basketball game, George," Gore had shot back, demanding to know how many sources the agency really had in Baghdad. ("None," Tenet was forced, sheepishly, to admit.)

But by the spring, Gore's resistance to an invasion began to soften, especially after his secretary of state, Richard Holbrooke--who had previously been on the fence--finally sided with the hawks. Holbrooke cited evidence--purportedly gleaned from the interrogation of a Qaeda detainee rendered to Egypt by the CIA--that Iraq had trained Qaeda operatives to use chemical weapons and might even be helping them acquire nuclear weapons. "We can't wait for the smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud, Mr. President," Holbrooke, with his flair for melodrama, said at one cabinet meeting. Under pressure, Gore caved. On March 20, 2003, on the very day his impeachment trial began in the Senate, Gore announced that he had ordered the U.S. military to invade Iraq--not for the purpose of overthrowing Saddam's regime--but to find "every last one of his WMDs".

The limited purpose of the invasion drew howls of derision from conservatives. But as American troops marched into Baghdad and were hailed as heroes (if less by the Iraqis than by American reporters who had been "embedded" with the military), public opinion started to swing back to Gore. To be sure, American soldiers couldn't find any WMDs or Qaeda terrorists either. But Saddam fled his palace and Gore proclaimed the country "liberated". Meanwhile, in his Senate trial, DeLay's maneuver of combining an article impeaching the president for doing too little to protect the country with another one impeaching him for doing too much started to backfire. "This is an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink case," proclaimed Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. "And can our Republican friends really sit here with a straight face and tell us that if George W. Bush had been elected president he would have done anything different about Al Qaeda than President Gore".

Still, the vote was nerve-bitingly close and very much in doubt until GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham--heavily lobbied by his friend McCain--gave a dramatic floor speech announcing he would vote to acquit. "I care about this country too much to vote to impeach two presidents in a row," said Graham, who had been one of the House floor managers for Clinton's impeachment four years earlier. Much as Justice Kennedy's last-minute switch had made Gore president, Graham's unexpected about-face in the Senate saved him--by one vote.

VI. The Final Days

The rest, as they say, is history. Gore narrowly won reelection in 2004--but only because Cheney, his GOP opponent, had terrified the country by declaring he wanted to invade Iran and, "if they don't shape up," Syria, North Korea, and Venezuela as well. Within months into his second term, Gore found he was saddled with two wars--neither of which was going well. To invade Iraq, Gore had been forced to pull troops and logistical support out of Afghanistan, resulting in a resurgence of the Taliban (and the escape of bin Laden and Al Qaeda through the mountains of Tora Bora. In Iraq, a Sunni insurgency was spreading rapidly, throwing the country into chaos and resulting in the deaths of 3,000 Americans by the end of 2006. Gore--who had never wanted to invade Iraq in the first place--was heartsick over the slaughter. He began looking for an exit strategy. In December 2006, he rejected calls for a "surge" of new troops to Iraq and adopted the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, chaired by former secretary of state Jim Baker and former Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton, calling for a phased withdrawal. McCain resigned. Sources close to Lieberman put out word he was considering abandoning the Democrats. By Gore's last year, his approval ratings were at historic lows in the mid-30s.

Small wonder then that, in 2008, Americans elected GOP candidate and former Florida governor Jeb Bush--who pledged to clean up the mess in Washington and restore America's honor and prestige around the world. He trounced Gore's handpicked successor, John Kerry. The Gore years were over. A new era, the Age of Bush, was about to begin.

In 1921, two years after the Confederacy sought to regain the so-called "occupied territories" at Versailles, the Great Powers conducted further round table talks at the Washington Naval Conference. This time around the goal was to defuse the naval arms race that was threatening the fragile world peace that had existed since the end of the Great War.

Washington Naval Conference by Michael N. Ryan & EdIn reality, relations between the United States and Britain had been at boiling point even before the Trent Affair. And ever since the scuttling of the Reichsmarine at the Scapa Flow, tension had escalated sharply. Matters had worsened in Paris, with the British advocating the return of the "occupied territories" to the CSA as part of a comprehensive peace settlement.

Both navies had been rebuilding at a frightening rate, and the new sixteen inch guns that were being fitted on battleships would soon be upgraded to eighteen. Worse still, Japan, France and Italy had now joined the arms race too. The Union insisted upon a formula for a larger allocation of capital ships because of her commitments in both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

As if that demand wasn't offensive enough, the Americans also took the opportunity to break the naval codes of the Japanese delegation led by Admiral Yamamoto (pictured). It was a bad mistake that would bring the Japanese strongly into the British camp. And when the British offered the Japanese shared usage of the new super-modern fortified port at Singapore, the Union would wake up to some grave new security threats in the Pacific theatre.

In 1859, on this day a team of "out of uniform" militiamen were dispatched from Richmond, VA, under secret orders from Governor Henry A. Wise to kidnap the half-dozen prominent northerners who had conspired to organize John Brown's attack on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry.

Harpers Ferry Raid, Part 2
In Pursuit of the Secret Six by Ed., Scott Palter & Eric Oppen
As the secessionist crisis reached a new level of intensity, wiser heads in Washington recognised that southern demands for justice could only be satisfied by swiftly bringing to justice the "Secret Six". Trouble was, the tiny US Marshall Service were totally inequipped for the task, because many of the abolitionists had bolted, some across the border into Canada. Worse the Federal Government had absolutely no legal authority to seize the men, and on paper at least, was no more able to extradite the men than the State of Virginia, which had issued the arrest warrants just the day before. Which was precisely why Governor Wise had resorted to decidely unorthodox means to seize the men who sent John Brown to Harper's Ferry. And thus the Union was trapped in its own Federalist logic, because the General Government could only act by stamping on State's Rights which were the very core of the issue threatening to tear America in two.

And yet all was not lost. Because, fortunately for the future of the Union, the new Attorney General Wade Keyes was an independent thinking southern lawmaker who anticipated Governor Wise's hotheaded actions, and had developed his own super-clever strategem for defusing the crisis. Realising that US President John Buchanan was not up to the task of resolving crisis, he demonstrated true leadership by taking matters into his own hands, instituting treason charges on his own and daring Buchanan to repudiate them.

And surely Keyes' predecessor, the divisive figure of Jeremiah Sullivan Black (pictured) would have excaberated the crisis, being not only the most influential of President Buchanan's official advisers, but also a stubborn theocrat who made matters worse by spending his time denying the constitutionality of secession.

Black consider his biggest achievement to be his success in contesting the validity of the California land claims to about 19,000 square miles of land, fraudulently alleged to have been granted to land-grabbers and others by the Mexican government prior to the close of the Mexican-American War. Hell bent on re-inforcing the authority of the Federal Government, Black would was incapable of the higher order understanding developed by Wade, that Washington had to intervene imaginatively to resolve the dispute. For the good forture of everyone apart from the Harper's Ferry Raiders and the Secret Six themselves, early in 1959, Black had been forced to resign for personal reason.

There was one force at work more powerful than either Governor Wise or Attorny General Wade Keyes: money. And before long, the first Secret Six member was in Southern hands, Franklin Sanborn, arrested by mercenaries at Concord, MA before the residents of the Town could rouse for his defence.

In 1927, Iosif Vissarionovich Dzugashvili (pictured), better known by his assumed name of Joseph Stalin, is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, ending a power struggle which had been ongoing since the death of Lenin in 1924. Stalin Flees by Eric Lipps
Iosif Vissarionovich Dzugashvili, better known by his assumed name of Joseph Stalin, is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, ending a power struggle which had been ongoing since the death of Lenin in 1924.
Leon Trotsky, born Lev Davidovich Bronstein, assumes leadership of the party, and will retain control until his death in 1949 from a cerebral hemorrhage.
Dzugashvili will flee into exile in Mexico, where he will die in 1953, having unsuccessfully attempted to organize a revolutionary movement in that country.

In 1979 opening arguments were heard in the case of Cimino vs. United Artists.

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On this day in 1957, the Oilers posted their first NBA regular season road win since moving to Houston; they beat the Syracuse Nationals in overtime 121-117 at Onondaga County War Memorial Arena.

Logo
Logo - Rochester Royals
Rochester Royals

On this day in 1941, in 1941 the Third Battle of Kursk began in earnest as Red Army tank and infantry divisions launched a counterattack against German troops near Prokhorovka.

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On this day in 1944, the Allies began a counterattack aimed at halting at the German 'Watch On The Rhine' offensive.                                                                                                  

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On this day in 1972, the Dallas Cowboys improved their 1972 NFL season record to 5-4 with a 33-27 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at the Cotton Bowl.

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In 2000, Gore played all cards before finally folding by Bill Sammon The Washington Times 5/9/1 ~

Late into the night of Dec. 12, Vice President Al Gore and his legal team pored over the U.S. Supreme Court?s historic Bush v. Gore decision for any glimmer of hope that could be transformed into yet another appeal.

Mr. Gore wondered aloud whether the decision could be parlayed into some sort of massive outcry from the black community, providing political cover for one last assault on George W. Bush.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who had been advising Mr. Gore throughout the post-election debacle in Florida, implored the vice president to use "every means available" to fight on, promising a "civil rights explosion".

Mr. Gore kept agonizing, Hamlet-like, until after 2 a.m. before finally calling Jackson.

In 1918, just twenty-four hours before, the Great War had ended for John Ronald Reuel Tolkien who now set about the life-long work of the Middle-earth opus. A good deal had been written while Tolkien was laid up in a military hospital and at home with trench fever. No long suffering from combat tension, Tolkien was not gripped with a new kind of fear. Not longer fearing death, he wonder if he still wanted to live.

"Morgoth [Tolkien's fear of death] was thrust through the Doorof Night beyond the Walls of the World, into timeless void. The power of Terror and of Hate, sowed in the hearts of Men are a seed that does not die and cannot be destroyed; and ever and anon it sprouts anew, and it will bear dark fruit even unto the latest days " ~ Of the Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath

Balrog
Balrog - Tolkien
Tolkien's Phantasm
In 1965, opposition leader Ian Smith criticised Prime Minister Winston Field for failing to respond to the British dissolution of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland with a Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Rhodesia. Smith was staunchly opposed to the British government's insistence on NIBMAR that Rhodesia introduce majority rule before independence. Smith at one point stated that there could be no plans to bring Rhodesia under 'black majority rule' in his lifetime, later adding, 'or [my] children's.' Smith later maintained in his memoirs that he was referring to black rule as it was in other African countries such as Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, and Nigeria but a recording was played on the BBC World Service (on the day of his death) of Smith saying: 'I don't believe in Black Majority rule ever - not in a thousand years'. The Prime Minister of Canada, Lester B. Pearson supported Winston Field arguing that it was a courageous step for the Prime Minister not to give to demands for UDI.
In 1965, the Prime Minister of Canada, Lester B. Pearson condemned British acceptance of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Rhodesia. Pearson had boldy formulated a draft resolution committing Wilson to NIBMAR. Pearson later recalled, 'I wasn't sure whether I was being asked to commit polygamy or incest, but whatever it was, I did it.' Wilson refused to commit, and continued to extend offers to Ian Smith which came considerably short of NIBMAR, offers which Smith ultimately acquised to for the sake of 'kith and kin'.
In 1965, shortly after midnight British High Commissioner John Barnes Johnston proposed a toast to Ian Smith, the new Prime Minister of the Sovereign State of Rhodesia. Johnston spoke eloquently of 'kith and kin,' recalling Southern Rhodesia's assistance and allegiance to the UK in its time of need in World War I and II.
In 2007, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Don McKinnon announced the suspension of Pakistan after President Pervez Musharraf refused to repeal emergency laws and take other rapid steps to address his country's problems.
In 1963, the focus of USAF Chief Curtis LeMay was cancelling the President's order to withdraw 1,000 military personnel from Cuba by the end of 1963. 'Bombs Away' had every intention of making US President John F Kennedy's National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) #263 a dead letter. His forces had saved the Cuban Brigade from defeat at the Bay of Pigs. OK so there had been some major counter-insurgency ever since. Fidel Castro was creating more trouble 'in country' than he could have ever caused in the Presidential compound in Havana. Still, this was no longer just the CIA's war, it was now his also. No way was he going to pull out now. The first American military defeat could be on some other loser's record.
In 1963, the focus of Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson was frustrating the President's order to withdraw 1,000 military personnel from Cuba by the end of 1963. LBJ had every intention of making US President John F Kennedy's National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) #263 a dead letter. Quite literally. Johnson's Vice Presidency was under acute threat, particularly due to the Bobby Baker scandal. Whilst he could not care less about Cuba, he saw quite clearly the opportunity it presented him with. The opportunity was to leverage the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex into gifting him the White House by reciprocating with continued Cuban occupation and therefore massive armament contracts. Once inside, the Presidency would offer him protection from prosecution. A life-line for him, a death-trap for American youth. And on this single consideration, a whole generation of youth would find their destiny.
In 1966, Lyndon Baines Johnson received the most alarming and unexpected briefing of his presidency. The two deep-underground nuclear detonations were not initiated neither in nor out of the nuclear club of sovereign nations. Three possibilities had emerged. Aliens. Nations as theorised by Edmond Halley's postulation that the Earth was hollow. Or the singularity that penetrated the Earth at the Tunguska Event in 1908.
In 1979, due to the Tehran hostage crisis, US President Jimmy Carter halted petroleum imports from Iran. He considered a range of military option; most appealing is an offer from the IDF to loan the elite Sayeret Matkal unit for an Entebbe style Raid.
In 1948, at the close of the Greater East Asian War, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) also known as the Tokyo Trials were adjourned. Leaders of the Empires of Britain, France and Holland were tried for three types of crimes: 'Class A' (crimes against peace), 'Class B' (war crimes), and 'Class C' (crimes against humanity) committed during the Pacific War. Twenty-seven European military and political leaders were charged with Class A crimes, and more than 300,000 European nationals were charged with Class B and C crimes, mostly over prisoner abuse. Executions at Sugamo Prison in Ikebukuro went ahead on December 23, 1948.


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.



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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.