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 22

On this day in 1963, ex-Marine Lee Harvey Oswald walked into the Dallas County Jail and made a shocking confession to sheriff's deputies: For months he had been planning to assassinate President John F. Kennedy, but at the last moment a disembodied voice had talked him out of it saying Fate had greater plans for him.

 - Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas, while on a political swing through the South intended to repair his image in that part of the country.

Within two hours the Dallas police have arrested a suspect, an unremarkable-looking man named Lee Harvey Oswald. To the surprise of many, Oswald turns out not to be a right-wing zealot bent on punishing Kennedy for using federal troops in the 'Southern Crisis' of October 1962.


Instead he is affiliated with a left-wing group called the Fair Play for Cuba Committee which calls for the U.S. military to leave that island nation, which America occupied following the so-called 'Bay of Pigs' invasion of April 1961.

Later, aboard Air Force One, which is carrying the body of assassinated President John F. Kennedy back to Washington, Lyndon Baines Johnson is sworn in as the thirty-sixth President of the United States of America. The apparent role of an opponent of America's involvement in Cuba in Kennedy's murder has made Johnson determined to win the war there regardless of the cost.

In 1963, the Presidential motorcade turned into Dealey Plaza at exactly 12.30pm. As the assassins bullets thud into Lyndon Johnson, the Vice President realizes that he has once again been outsmarted by the Ambassador, Joseph P. Kennedy.

November 21

In 2012, just a week after he sensationally quit the long-running TV series "Little House on the Prairie", veteran actor Mitt Romney was re-employed as a gas pump jockey in La Jolla, California.

Paw Ingalls Quits 2"Mittens" had played "Paw" Ingalls for nearly three decades, becoming the central character that filled the gaping void left by series anchor Michael Langdon. However as America increasingly embraced diversity, the monochrome series has begun to appear dated. Hoping to fire a new sense of passion, in his own words, Mittens had left nothing on the field and yet was near-universally considered an anachronism by young people and minorities. And recently he had admitted to being "slightly frazzled" by the relentless schedule of appearances, welcoming the opportunity to let down his famously well-groomed hair.

It is considered unlikely that he will resume his entertainment career any time soon. His agent denied rumours that he had been on an all-night milk bender.

In 1899, on this day the 24th Vice President of the United States Garret A. ("Gus") Hobart was welcomed back to the Old Executive Office Building after a leave of absence from serious illness caused by a heart ailment.

Good Old Gus welcomed back to the Old Executive Office BuildingHe had been resting at this New Jersey summer home unable to perform any work duties, uncharacteristically forced to decline a request by President McKinley to encourage the resignation of Secretary of War Russell Alger [1] (he worked very closely with McKinley, so much so that he was informally known as the "Assistant President"). But fortunately he recovered his health and was renominated as running mate on the winning ticket in 1900.

Fate then played a cruel hand when McKinley was assassinated at the Pan-American Exposition. Shot by the anarchist Leon Czolgosz in Buffalo, the most re-knowned surgeon of the day, Dr. Roswell Park was unable to save his life even with the use of an experimental X-Ray machine which was on show at the exhibition.

As President, he brought the hugely popular Teddy Roosevelt into the Cabinet. TR had won re-election as Governor of New York, and desiring national office, had even been considering a challenge for Thomas Platt Senate seat. But Platt had prevent that displacement by getting TR appointed Secretary of the Navy, a position from which he became famous for his direction of the Panama Canal construction. Hobart's authority meanwhile was weakened by the Coal Strike of 1902. It was this event more than anything that encouraged TR to try to displace Hobart himself by challenging for the GOP nomination in 1904.

In 1963, America was dealt a devastating blow when Air Force One collided with Air Force Two somewhere over Louisiana while en route Love Field in Dallas; President John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Lyndon Johnson were both killed instantly along with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Second Lady Claudia Johnson, and several key members of the White House staff. The wreckage from the collision was scattered over hundreds of square miles, with some of it turning up as far away as the Gulf of Mexico.
An article from the November Tragedy thread.

November Tragedy
Part 1
Initial theories about the cause of Kennedy's and Johnson's deaths suggested everything from lightning strike to terrorism as possible causes, but a subsequent joint FAA-FBI investigation would determine that the chain of events leading to the destruction of Air Force One and Air Force Two had most likely started when Air Force Two's pilot had turned to avoid an oncoming flock of birds and been unable to regain control of his aircraft; Air Force Two then struck Air Force One in its midsection, causing both planes to rip apart and explode.

Within hours after Kennedy's death was confirmed, Speaker of the House John McCormack had been sworn in as the 36th President of the United States, with House Majority Leader Carl Albert serving as McCormack's vice-president. McCormack's first official act as the new commander-in-chief was to phone the late president's brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to begin making arrangements for memorial services for JFK and LBJ.

It is 1499, and two young men in their mid 20s have been sentenced to death for trying to escape the Tower of London. An article from our Happy Endings thread devised by Jackie Rose.

Happy Endings 29:
Richard IV and Edward VI find a very happy ending
Their attempt was suspicious, to say the least. Rumors are rife that King Henry VII had deliberately tried to trap them into fleeing, and for good reason.

One was Perkin Warbeck, who had led several battles against King Henry, by claiming to be the rightful King Richard IV .. one of the two little princes who had vanished after being taken to the Tower, including the rightful heir to the throne.

The other was Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick, who was undoubtedly the rightful heir, as King Edward IV's nephew. He had been imprisoned since age ten on the orders of King Henry Tudor, the Welsh invader. King Henry had a more pressing motive, too. Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain had demanded that he kill both boys, in order to ensure the safety of their daughter Catherine of Aragon, who was betrothed to the English ruler's oldest son, Prince Arthur.

But King Henry had second thoughts, when he learned that rumors of his wicked plan were spreading among the people, thus arousing the possibility of yet another rebellion against him. Making matters worse for him, his own Queen Elizabeth of York was the little princes' sister.. and the mere suspicion that her husband had killed her brother would not have made for much family harmony.

So 18 months before the escape attempt would have been made, he found another option .. namely, the latest voyage of John Cabot, the explorer whom he had been subsidizing.

With Cabot standing beside his throne, King Henry proclaimed to the two young men that he was sending them with the explorer on his latest journey, to the place that is now Newfoundland, where a priest was also headed to found a Christian community. There, the two youths were further ordered to rule the place as co-regents.

With great relief, both boys pledged eternal loyalty to their king.

Privately, they might have agreed that Newfoundland, by all accounts, was a pretty cold place .. but the Tower was even worse.

In 1916, on this day Kaiser Franz Josef Habsburg, Emperor of the Germans, (pictured) died at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.

Death of Kaiser Franz Josef, Emperor of the GermansHaving ruled for an incredible sixty-eight years, he was succeeded by his twenty-nine year old grand-nephew Karl. Tragically, he died five years later and was succeeded by Otto von Habsburg who lived to the ripe old age of ninety-eight.

The thousand year future of the Imperial House of Habsburg had taken a change of direction after the hard fought victory at Königgrätz which stymied the Prussian attempt to force the unification of Germany on their own terms. And instead of the Hohenzollerns, it would be the Habsburgs who won out, establishing the new Kaiserreich, a Germanic monarchist system, ruled from Vienna with a central european system of thinking. During the transition from Franz Josef to Karl to Otto, nationalist pressures were threatening to rip the Slavic part of the Empire apart. The resolution of this so-called "Southern Question" would completely dominate the early decades of Otto's long rule.

A sign of the coming was the assassination of Franz Josef's nominal heir Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo in August 1914. Although the Habsburg brought the Black Hand Gang to justice, by overriding Serbian sovereignty (they insisted on sending detectives across the border) they had inadvertently de-stabilised the entire region.

In 1386, on this day a Georgian army under the command of King Bagrat V defeated the forces of Timur of Samarkand at the gates of the capital city, Tbilisi.

The Triumph of Bagrat the GreatA fair and popular ruler, also known as a perfect soldier, he was dubbed as "Bagrat the Great" by his multiethnic subjects. The Trapezuntine chronicler Michael Panaretos, who knew the king personally, called him a "prominent and victorious general"

But the hard fought victory was only made possible by the arrival of a vital ally, the Khan of Golden Horde, Tokhtamysh (a descendant of Genghis Khan's eldest grandson, Orda Khan or his brother Tuqa-Timu).

In 1921, on this day the thirty-seventh President of the United States, John Vliet Lindsay (pictured) was born in West End Avenue to an upper middle class family of English and Dutch extraction that had resided in New York City ever since the 1660s.

John V. Lindsay
37th US President
With the outbreak of World War II, Lindsay completed his studies early and joined the United States Navy as a gunnery officer. He obtained the rank of lieutenant, earning five battle stars through action in the invasion of Sicily and a series of landings in the Pacific theater. Resuming at Yale he received his law degree in 1948, ahead of schedule.

Back in New York, Lindsay he met his future wife, Mary Anne Harrison, at the wedding of Nancy Bush (daughter of Connecticut's Senator Prescott Bush and sister of future President George H.W. Bush). After they married he was admitted to the bar, and rose to become a partner in his law firm four years later.

He started gravitating toward politics, serving as one of the founders of the Youth for Eisenhower club in 1951 and as president of the New York Young Republican club in 1952. In 1958, with the backing of Herbert Brownell, Bruce Barton, John Aspinwall Roosevelt, and Mrs Wendell Wilkie, Lindsay won the Republican primary and went on to be elected to Congress as the representative of the "Silk Stocking" district, Manhattan's Upper East Side.

The life of Lindsay and his fellow New Yorkers changed forever on August 17, 1960. New York City suffered the worst storm in its history as a hurricane that by today's standards would be graded Category 4 hit just after 12:30 PM; dubbed "the Jamaica Bay hurricane" because it made landfall near the Jamaica Bay section of Queens, the storm flooded large sections of Queens and Brooklyn and also devastated much of Manhattan and the Bronx. Many of New York's most famous landmarks were heavily damaged or destroyed by the hurricane, which also brought the city's mass transit systems to a screeching halt as flood waters blocked subway tunnels and overran most of the city's major bus routes.

Within months, Robert F. Wagner would resign as mayor of New York City after weeks of constantly growing criticism of his leadership of the response to the Jamaica Bay hurricane; City Council president Abe Stark was sworn in as new mayor as 12:01 that afternoon to finish out the remainder of Wagner's term. Stark, in turn, would be replaced by Congressman and surprise write-in winner of the 1960 mayoral elections John Lindsay.

Due to his vigourous leadership of the rebuilding of the City, he was re-elected in a landslide. But more significantly, he had gained national prominence through the new media of television. Before his second term was out, he was already being talked about as a candidate for the 1968 Presidential election. His opponent in the Republican Primaries would be Michigan Governor George W. Romney who was forced to suspend his campaign due to the tragic death of his son in a car crash in France. And his substitute, fellow Michiganer Robert P. Griffin was unable to retain enough delegates at the Convention. Buoyed by this victory, Lindsay defeated Hubert Humphrey in the Fall.

In 1910, on this day a "revolt of the lash" spurred a race war in Brazil. Brazil, though a large, advancing nation in the early twentieth century and a leader among Latin American countries as part of the ABC Powers (Argentina, Brazil, & Chile), still stood as a culture suffering from racial division.

Revolt of the Lash Spurs Race War in Brazil While many French colonies had ended slavery with the Revolution in 1789, England had abolished it by act of Parliament in 1833, and the United States fought its civil war in 1861 partially over the matter, Brazil did not begin gradually ending slavery until 1871 with the passage of the Rio Branco Law (or "The Law of Free Birth") providing freedom for children newborn to slaves, the Saraiva-Cotegipe Law in 1885 freeing slaves over 60 years old, and finally total abolition in 1888 with the Lei Aurea shortly before the emperor was overthrown. While Brazil avoided much of the US's infamous institutionalization of race superiority with Jim Crow, there was still a significant social division of race among the wealthy whites and the blacks, paros (mixed race), and caboclos (mixed Euro-Indians), fed by intellectual "science" of the time.

While minorities were kept at a lower caste in general culture, the most obvious racism was felt in the military. In particular, the Brazilian navy was notorious for white commanders with minority crews held at their whim. Living conditions were poor aboard ship, but the navy was making leaps beyond other navies in comparable nations. In the early days of the Republic, the government focused on the army to quell internal problems, leaving only a handful of naval soldiers and less than 2,000 marines. As tiny as it was, the navy proved instrumental in the Revoltas da Armada of 1891 when President Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca attempted to dissolve Congress and continued to battle against President Marshal Floriano Peixoto who held onto office despite legal need of elections in the next few years. After the turn of the century, calls began for building up the navy and establishing Brazil as a significant power at sea. Other nations such as Britain, Germany, and the United States rushed into the naval arms race, and Brazil was quick to catch up with many new ships and two dreadnoughts, the Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo, both commissioned in 1910.

Economic downturn struck Brazil just after the completion of their dreadnoughts, causing the third proposed, Rio de Janeiro, to be shelved. The troubled times also turned into harder conditions aboard ship as well as on land with food and supplies cut back to save on expenses. General morale fell, which caused discipline to be sharpened, including the use of racial slurs and corporal punishment, specifically the lash. This aggravated two years of organization and protest against flogging, which involved "leather whips tipped with metal balls", and pushed the sailors into planned mutiny. The men aboard the Minas Gerais chose Joao Candido Felisberto ("The Black Admiral") as leader and watched furiously as a sailor was sentenced to 250 lashes, continuing even after he slipped into unconsciousness.

In the late hours of November 21, the men began their mutiny, killing officers and capturing British engineers as hostages. The revolt spread to the Sao Paulo as well as the Deodoro and the Bahia. Their demands began simply, but as Candido saw that the Army was moving to protect the capital Rio de Janeiro and outnumber the coastal defenders who were sympathetic, he decided that the only way to survive was to make wider demands. The issue that tied the bulk of the oppressed together was the problem of race. Most of the sailors (as well as army and manual laborers) were black, many of them former slaves or their sons, forced into place by lack of other options. Candido and his advisers (including several of the British) wrote up a new list of demands for rights despite race as well as taxes on the rich to support charities for the poor.

The "Letter to Brazil" (Letra a Brasil) was sent by written message, word of mouth, and even wireless, spreading through the country and spawning an upheaval in major cities and areas where minority populations outnumbered the whites. The army quickly came onto the side of the navy, which made the white elites unable to put down the revolt as they had many in the past. Britain began to step in, but when their hostages were cheerfully released home, Brazil was left to itself. Much of the government and the elites fled the country. The remainder invited Candido ashore, and a new government was built following his manifesto.

Public education became mandatory as a subpoint on the Letter, and the new Brazilian Democratic Republic survived its depression to thrive as it contributed to the rebuilding of Europe after its neutrality in World War I. The Great Depression struck harder, and Getulio Vargas swept elections with his nationalist rhetoric. He was invited by Adolph Hitler to join the new Axis, but Vargas decided to continue Brazilian elections and relations with the United States, leading to Brazil's participation in World War II. While economic issues arose after the war and rumors circulated about militaristic or even communist uprising in the 1960s, Brazil would ultimately continue to be a social model to the rest of the world.

In 1867, the House of Representatives ended a furious debate by narrowly voting to impeach Abraham Lincoln after the House Judiciary committee had produced a damning bill consisting of a vast collection of complaints against him.

Lincoln ImpeachedIn order to "bind the wounds" of the Civil War, the sixteenth President's vision for Reconstruction had been a quick and lenient re-uniting of the nation, centered on forgiving most Confederates and quickly bringing their states back to full participation in the Union.

By April of 1865, it had become clear that his plans were no more imaginative than passing control to the former Whigs who had been reluctant secessionists. And in fact the control of the entire Federal Government itself had very nearly passed to Andrew Johnson, an Independent South politician on Good Friday. However, the assassin John Wilkes Booth had misfired at the Ford Theatre, killing Mary Lincoln instead.

The emerging prospect of a confrontation with Congress had become a near certainty when Lincoln refused to sign the Wade-Davis Bill. In so doing, he had rejected a series of far more stringent conditions for the creation of State Governments which had been laid down by Congress.

The underlying issue was that Lincoln did not have a overarching plan, rather than an inclination to use his political genius to move matters forward along a roadmap of his own choosing. His undeclared intention of working with the States on an individual basis was plainly evident in his encouragement of the election of Michael Hahn as a pro-Union Governor to head a loyal government in Louisiana. And by 1867, the US Congress had decided that matters were completely out of control and the legislature must re-establish its authority on Reconstruction by terminating the recalcitrant Lincoln's scheming Presidency.

In 2003, on his retirement as Commander of the United States Central Command, Four Star General Tommy Franks gave an interview to Time Magazine in which he accurately predicted that in the event of another terrorist attack, American Constitutional liberties would be discarded by popular demand in favor of a military state.Petraeus' Knot to Untie, Part 10 - The End of the Grand Experiment
Discussing the dangers posed to the U.S. in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Franks said that "worst thing that could happen" was if terrorists acquired and then used a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon that inflicted heavy casualties.
Franks foresaw that under such circumstances "... the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we've seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy".
Less than five years later, General David Howell Petraeus and Marine Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis would return from Iraq to an America beset by terrorism, ravaged by climate change, and ruled by a Christian military dictatorship.
The story continues.

US President

On this day in 1963, John F. Kennedy died of a cerebral hemorrhage just hours before he was scheduled to depart on a trip to Dallas; upon confirmation of Kennedy's death, Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as the 36th President of the United States.

US President - John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy

On this day in 1944, Allied forces began advancing on the German seaport of Bremerhaven.


On this day in 1971, Super Bowl 5 MVP Craig Morton returned to action with the Dallas Cowboys, leading them to a 14-point shutout win over the Washington Redskins at RFK stadium.

Super Bowl 5 MVP
Super Bowl 5 MVP - Craig Morton
Craig Morton
In 1916, following the death of Franz Josef, Archduke Franz Ferdinand ascended to the Dual Monarchy of Austria Hungary just in time to laumch a program of reform that savied the empire. The expanded Triple Monarchy represented Slavic interests, breaking the former duopoly of German-ruled and Magyar-ruled halves called Cislethiana and Translethiana. The rotating third crown was initially assigned to Bohemia, the homeland of Franz Ferdinand's wife Sophie.

In 1963, on this day a persistent drizzle convinced Winston Lawson to consider covering the motorcade's cars in Dallas with protective bubbletops. It was a topic of discussion in a fortieth anniversary interview he gave to Michael Granberry of the Dallas Morning News entitled 'Those who saved Kennedy remember'. Though the bubbletops were not bulletproof, the metal and the contour of the covering, said Lawson, made it difficult for a bullet to do much damage, and kept the other gunman from even firing in the first place. So he's asked himself a million times: Why if it didn't keep raining?' (Hours later, Dallas would end up sunny.)

In 1993, the first steps were taken towards making the District of Columbia the 51st state when the House of Representatives approved the measure. D.C. officially became a state the next year, electing its first Senators and Representatives in the election of 1994. They are widely credited with stemming a tide of Republican victories that year, leaving the House and Senate in Democratic control.
In 1975, Congressmen of the Socialist Party, newly in the majority after decades out of power, release a report accusing the last two Communist administrations of complicity in the assassinations of several reactionary government leaders abroad, including Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Although a Socialist himself, Comrade President John Anderson orders the report suppressed because 'it would do grievous damage to our country, and be used by groups hostile to the Soviet States to do damage to the reputation and policy of the Soviet States.'
In 1974, Congress failed to override a veto by President Gerald Ford on the Freedom of Information Act. The rest of this post will be $3.95, payable to U.S. Government, Pueblo, Colorado, 81001.
In 4492, Chinese sailors in the eastern ocean discover a settlement of Polynesian people on a chain of islands the natives call Hawai'i. Though the islands are small, they are rich in agricultural produce, as well as natural beauty. Hawai'I soon becomes a trading partner and vacation spot for the Chinese Empire.
In 1783, the Montgolfier brothers, testing their new hot-air balloon, successfully managed to send a French nobleman, the Marquis d'Arlandes, and a prominent physician sailing through the Parisian sky. It was the first time anyone had flown untethered, and the last for a long time, because the Montgolfiers hadn't quite perfected the method of landing the aircraft. The Marquis' successor had them both executed.
In 1946, Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader CBE DSO and Bar DFC and Bar FRAeS DL LegH CdeG RAF pleads guilty to the charge of shooting down twenty two German planes during World War II, the fifth highest total in the RAF. Shot down himself on August 9, 1941 Bader was imprisoned at Stalag Luft III at Sagan and Colditz Castle Oflag IV-C where he made numerous escape attempts despite the loss of both legs in a pre-war flying accident . Bader and Air Vice-Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory were active exponents of the controversial Big Wing theory, an aggressive policy of assembling large formations of defensive fighters north of London ready to inflict maximum damage on the massed German bomber formations as they flew over South East England. The duo failed to sell the strategy to the leaders of Fighter Command Air Marshal Hugh Dowding and Air Vice Marshal Keith Park; instead careful husbanding tactics were pursued by the RAF, contributing in no small part to the British defeat in the air war at the hands of the more aggressive Luftwaffe. The four were still arguing about the pros and cons of the two strategies right up until the execution of Bader on Christmas Eve of 1946.
In 1963, Mr Abraham Zapruder heard a small snapping noise as he cleaned his Model 414 PD Bell & Howell Zoomatic Director Series Camera. He was bitterly disappointed, it would have been nice to have filmed Mr Kennedy as the presidential motorcade passed by his offices in the Dal-Tex Building, off Dealey Plaza and directly across the street east of the Texas School Book Depository
In 1963, Police Officer Jefferson Davis 'J.D.' Tippit worked beat number 78, his normal patrol area in south Oak Cliff, a residential area in the city of Dallas. In the evening, Police Lieutenant Harry Dean Thomas provided details of the Grassy Knoll assignment for the following day. A squad of assassins had arrived in Dallas, and a shoot on sight policy had been adopted to bolster regular security. A number of trusted offices - such as J.D. - were being embedded in the crowds to eliminate the hit-men - if the need arose. During the meeting JD was promised a Medal of Valor and the Police Cross; yet the Lieutenant was only partly briefed himself. Badge Man would receive both awards post-posthumously, a state of being that would be possible in very short order. Twenty five minutes before, in the same Dallas Police Station, arrangements for the the hit on J.D. himself had just been settled.

November 20

On this day the Rimward Galactic Commission for Pre-Developing Planets once again reminded citizens that visitors to the Sol Solar System are banned from entering the Exclusive Quarantine Zone.

Don't Feed The HumansChairman Zorn announced "Ever since the Roswell Incident (pictured) the Commission reinforced the Sol 3 Exclusive Quarantine Zone to ensure the safety of the public. It is in the best interests of the Galactic Community that the inhabitants of Sol 3, otherwise know as Earth, be isolated and contained to their planet".

Regardless, though, of the repeated warnings of the Commission, individuals have continued to visit Sol 3 much to the Commission's annoyance. Only a few are caught trespassing the Quarantine Zone, on these "day visits", which the Commission deems as reckless with the Chairman calling upon the Government for extra funding in order to better police the Zone.

Mod Beatlebox, a self confessed "day visitor" to Sol 3, scoffed at the Commission and ridiculed its seriousness. "Day Visitors are simply having fun. We leave crop circles to joke with the locals and that's about it. No harm done".

Chairman Zorn, however, sees no fun in day trips to Sol 3. "The Humans are extremely dangerous. They must be left alone. If, through some miracle, they survive to the next century, then we may reconsider the Quarantine Zone. But until then they are to be strictly left alone".

In 1942, on this day Joseph Robinette (Joe) Biden, Jr. was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Birth of New Sweden Director Joe BidenOf Irish descent, his parents moved the family across the border to New Sweden when he was eleven years old. Growing up in the capital city of Christina [1], his academic record was unremarkable. He received mostly 'B' grades, but he was a natural leader among the students, and was elected class president during his junior and senior years. He graduated in 1961.

He studied Law in the New Netherlands, [2], before returning to the Swedish mini state for admission to the bar. But within three years of serving as a public defender he launched a career in politics. The crucial step in this development was his involvement in the controversial development of the East Coast Expressway [3]. This was seen in some quarters as the thin edge of the wedge, a Federalist conspiracy to integrate the economies of New England, Greater Virginia, New Sweden and New Netherlands. Initially against the development, he was to play a major role in the evolution of operating protocols that respected local autonomy but at the same time addressed the economic weakness that had forced his parents emigration. He rose to prominence across the Eastern Seaboard, and ten years later, he became the first native English speaker to serve as Director of the Swedish mini-state. In office, he pushed ahead with imaginative proposals to establish an Eastern Seaboard Free Trade Area.

In 1942, on this day the late Senator Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Birth of Senator Joe BidenHe lived there for ten years before moving to Delaware. He became an attorney in 1969, and was elected to a county council in 1970. Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972 and became the sixth-youngest senator in U.S. history.

At the end of Ronald Reagan's second term, he entered the Presidential race under the slogan "A President to make us Proud Again". This was a wide open field because Jimmy Carter's VP Walter Mondale had run (and lost) in 1984 as had Jesse Jackson.

When the campaign began, Biden was considered a potentially strong candidate because of his moderate image, his speaking ability on the stump, his appeal to Baby Boomers, his high profile position as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the upcoming Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination hearings, and his fundraising appeal. He raised $1.7 million in the first quarter of 1987, more than any other candidate. Biden received considerable attention in the summer of 1986 when he excoriated Secretary of State George P. Shultz at a Senate hearing because of the Reagan administration's support of South Africa, which continued to practice the apartheid system.

But unfortunately his health took an unexpected down turn, and although he belatedly pulled out of the race, he died aged forty-six long before election day as a result of an aneurysm.

In 1912, on this day Otto von Habsburg (pictured) was born at Villa Wartholz in Reichenau an der Rax.

Birth of Kaiser Otto, Emperor of the GermansOnly four years later he became Crown Prince, and then at the age of just nine, succeeded his father Karl as Emperor of the Germans.

During its thousand year history, the Imperial House of Habsburg had occupied many of the thrones of Europe. But events had taken the oddest of turns in 1866. In the narrowest of victories at the Battle of Königgrätz, the Prussian attempt to force the unification of Germany on their terms ended in failure. And instead of the Hohenzollerns, it would be the Habsburgs who won out, establishing the new Kaiserreich, a Germanic monarchist system, ruled from Vienna with a central european system of thinking.

But by the time Otto was proclaimed Kaiser, nationalist pressures were threatening to rip the Slavic part of the Empire apart. The resolution of this so-called "Southern Question" would completely dominate the early decades of his long rule.

In 284 AD, on this day forty-year old Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Augustus (Diocletian) was chosen as Roman Emperor after the army unanimously saluted him as their new Augustus, and he accepted the purple imperial vestments.

Hedges of the Night
Article written by Ed, Scott Palter & Jeff Provine
From freedman had he risen steadily through the ranks of the military, serving in Gaul before the appointment as Dux Moesiae, cavalry commander of forces on the lower Danube. After the deaths of Carus and his son Numerian on campaign in Persia, Diocletian was proclaimed Emperor. The title was also claimed by Carus' other surviving son, Carinus, but Diocletian defeated him in the Battle of the Margus. With his accession to power, Diocletian ended the Crisis of the Third Century.

Diocletian appointed fellow officer Maximian Augustus his senior co-emperor in 285. He delegated further on 1 March 293, appointing Galerius and Constantius as Caesars, junior co-emperors. Under this "Tetrarchy", or "rule of four", each emperor would rule over a quarter-division of the Empire. Diocletian secured the Empire's borders and purged it of all threats to his power. He defeated the Sarmatians and Carpi during several campaigns between 285 and 299, the Alamanni in 288, and usurpers in Egypt between 297 and 298. Galerius, aided by Diocletian, campaigned successfully against Sassanid Persia, the Empire's traditional enemy. In 299 he sacked their capital, Ctesiphon. he led the subsequent negotiations and achieved a lasting and favorable peace.

His life experience provided Diocletian with a broad understanding of the operation of the power structures in the Roman Empire. And from his lowly birth status grew the germ of a compelling vision for meritocracy that would secure the future. Clearly to survive the centuries, the Empire needed to devolve into a symbiotic grouping of self-sustaining admnistrative provinces which could draw from local resources (the Rhine and Danube had the good recruiting grounds, whereas the East and to a lesser extent Italy/Africa had the money). But such a structure was always vulnerable to a powerful general whose ambition was to rule the whole Empire.

The answer to this conundrum was the progression of offices under which a Count of Britain picked in York by two Caesars and two Augusti could rise to higher order roles in Trier, Antioch, the Danube and finally Rome. As a further safeguard against dictatorship, Diocletian introduced a formal separation of powers, with a strong Senate and controls to keep the Praetorian Guard in check. It was these "hedges of the night" that would sustain the rule of four in the long centuries to come, preventing the civilized world from plunging into a dark age.

In 1938, on this day the U.S. federal government bought a substantial tract of land in the Cape Canaveral region of Florida with the aim of building a rocket launch/construction/training facility in that area to be jointly operated by the War and Navy.Departments.

Part Nine of Parley Construction on the Cape Canaveral rocket base would be finished in the summer of 1939, just in time for the start of the Second World War. The base would play a critical role in crushing the militarist rebellion on Mars; in the 1960s Canaveral would gradually transition into a fully civilian spaceport, and by 1980 would serve as the principal departure point for flights between Earth and US and allied outposts on the Moon.

In 1983, the general release of the first version of Visi On - the graphical user interface-based operating environment program for IBM PC compatible personal computers running early versions of DOS - began shipping world-wide on this day.

Visi On kept under wraps at Comdex '82VisiCorp had surged ahead in the two years since Mitch Kapor had replaced Terry Opdendyk, the autocratic president hand-picked by the early venture capital investors [1].

As the former head of VisiCalc development, Kapor was a brilliant spreadsheet programmer, but in his newly elevated role he took a number of surprising entrepreneurial gambles that paid off, big time. Most notably, the high risk decision not to demonstrate the futuristic GUI (codename "Visi On") at Comdex '82 when it was demonstrable but not yet commercially viable. As it turned out, the audience reaction to VisiCalc was so positive that such a cheap marketing ploy would have been unnecessary and potentially counter-productive, running the risk of another software developer bringing the concept to market before VisiCorp [2]. Having avoided that pit fall, the development team were given the necessary space and time to reduce the required hardware footprint ensuring price parity with Apple's competitor product, the "Lisa".

In 1923, on this day in Munich, Anton Drexler the President of the German Workers' Party (DAP) was formally charged with the murder of Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler (pictured).

The Plot Against Germany 6 Hitler punks at the FeldharenhalleFirst reports had indicated that some embittered Nazis had executed the veteran for cowardice after he had punked at the Feldharenhalle, the attempted coup of November 9th known as the "Beer Hall Putsch". But investigations soon revealed that he was an army infiltrator, appointed Verbindungsmann (intelligence agent) of an Aufklärungskommando (reconnaissance commando) of the Reichswehr, to influence other soldiers and to infiltrate the DAP. The exposure was of course a tremendous shock to Drexler whose leadership had been deeply marginalized by Hitler. He suspected that Hitler had been trying to destroy the party from within. Whereas the police suspected that Drexler had used Hitler's exposure simply as a means of restoring his position in the party.

While Drexler set about the task of rebuilding the DAP in the wake of the Feldharenhalle, Hitler became a little known foot note in the early history of the party. A failed fine arts painter, a war hero and noted denizen of the Munich demimonde it was also rumoured that he briefly served with the forces of the Bavarian Socialist Republic. Unfortunately, he would not live to see Germany turn red at the ballot box, instead Drexler would be given the fruitless task of trying to stop the inexorable rise of Ernst Thalmänn to the Chancellorship of Germany. An article from the asynchronous Chancellor Ernst Thalmänn thread.

In 1759, on this day the Royal Navy was ravaged at the Battle of Quiberon Bay. The Anglo-French portion of the Six Years' War had dragged on through mixed results. Early on, the French had the upper hand with a string of victories in North America, but the leadership of Secretary of State William Pitt, Senior, resulted in a masterful use of British resources to turn the tide of the war.

Battle of Quiberon Bay Ravages Royal Navy Then came the Annus Pestis (Cursed Year) of 1759. The French settlers and their Indian allies ignited a guerilla war in the Ohio Country that frustrated British hopes of taking Quebec. In India, Madras fell to French forces, though the battle would prove Pyrrhic for the victors. On the European Continent, French troops formed a siege of Minden, taking large swaths of German land west of the Weser River. At sea, the British gained great hope after the attack on Le Havre with a two-day bombardment that destroyed many of the barges the French were assembling for an amphibious invasion of Britain and again a small victory came at the Battle of Lagos, where British ships destroyed two ships-of-the-line from the French fleet and scattered the rest. However, the Battle of Quiberon Bay would give France another chance to challenge Britain for control of the high seas.

The battle began after a storm had driven most of the British blockade keeping the remaining troop transports at bay in France. French Marshal de Conflans hurried to merge his fleet with other squadrons collected from the West Indies and remainders from battles in the Mediterranean. He was spotted by British squadron commander Robert Buff and decided to give pursuit, but Buff split his smaller fleet into two groups heading north and south. In what was is seen as the most fortuitous move of the war, Conflans decided to keep his fleet together while in pursuit of the southerly British ships, resulting in organization that would be key to victory in the hard-won battle. The bulk of the English fleet appeared under Edward Hawke from the west, and the two converged in a titanic battle. A shift in the wind nearly disorganized Conflans, but the French managed to keep their composure and defeat the English inside the bay. Hawke died in the battle and only a handful of ships-of-the-line managed to escape, enabling the French to capture some ten more and wreck others.

It would be the final straw of the Annus Pestis. The French hurried to rebuild their fleet and launch their invasion of Britain as soon as weather permitted. Meanwhile, England became frantic.

Though William Pitt campaigned for a strong militia defense, drawing in the French force and then cutting off their supplies with a renewed navy to capture the army while it starved, the rest of Parliament would be swayed by the fearful public opinion. That Christmas, the English sued for peace, and the Treaty of Paris in 1760 took England out of the war. France made great colonial demands, retaking the lost Guadeloupe in the West Indies, expanding French territory in North America, and carving out rights to a French South India from the Carnatic and Mysore regions to the Indian Ocean France continued on in Europe, pressing troops into Hanover and forcing Prussia into a stalemate with Russia and Sweden. In the east, the war would end in 1761 with Prussia's growth being checked amid the other Baltic Powers.

The next twenty-five years would be a renewed Golden Age for France, raking in great wealth from its new colonies. Britain, meanwhile, came upon problematic times as it struggled to recover, establishing a taxation system that sent its American colonies into rebellion, which was much aided by the French. The resulting United States of America would soon have the first of many border wars with the French in Ohio, Louisiana, and along the St. Lawrence River, gradually pushing the French and their Indian allies west and northward.

The American experiment in self-rule spawned a wave of Enlightenment revolutions through Europe, and France would be among the first to lose its autocracy with the revival of the Estates-General and the establishment of the National Assembly to placate and aid those suffering from poor harvests. The renewed France would again injure Britain by aiding the Irish Rebellion of 1798, which would make famous Colonel Arthur Wesley as a great hero of Ireland as he managed to forge a self-rule for Ireland while maintaining some connection with England.

With a weakened Britain, other European powers took up their chances to increase their colonial strengths with Portugal in southern Africa, the Dutch in the South Pacific with New Holland, and the French in South Asia, West Africa, the Great Lakes, and in numerous islands wherever their navy could reach.

In 1759, on this day the home fleet of British admiral Sir Edward Hawke was destroyed off the French coast at Quiberon Bay (portrayed in "The Day After" by the artist Richard Wright). It was a strategic masterstroke for the French Government whose forces were facing impending expulsion from North America, West Africa and India. Because Foreign minister Duc de Choiseul's options had narrowed to the one significant reprisal on offer - an attack on Britain itself.

The Day AfterIronically, the tactical failures at St Nazaire were also the result of over-boldness. Because under full sail, Hawke had chased the French fleet through the rocks and shoals that stretch south from the end of the Quiberon peninsula into the confined waters of the Bay of Quiberon itself with night approaching in an onshore gale, despite having no charts, pilots or any foreknowledge of the waters.

"Where there was passage for the enemy, there was passage for me. We are so close, their pilots will be mine. If they go to pieces on the shore, they shall become our beacons" ~ Admiral HawkeAdmiral Conflans received fresh orders to transport a diversionary force of twenty thousand troops to Glasgow, luring English regiments north. Meanwhile, a further twenty thousand troops set sail for Maldon in Essex, whilst a third force descended upon Ireland. Had Duc de Choiseul received better military intelligence, he would have surely realised that a single assault upon Maldon would have sufficed.

"[Quiberon Bay] is the graveyard of our navy, the ruin of all our hopes" ~ King George II of EnglandPanic soon set in when news of the naval disaster arrived at the War Department in London. Due to the imperial overstretch placed on the one hundred twenty-five regiments of the British Army, only fourteen thousand regulars were immediately available for the defence of the realm. And the breathtaking news that Charles Stuart was aboard the French Flagship Soleil Royal prevented the War Office from raising militias for fear that a Jacobite Fifth Column would form.

In 1618, the Spanish coastal town of Malaga witnessed one of the most gruesome acts of mass murder ever perpetrated on European soil as British occupation troops and Spanish Protestant militias joined forces to slaughter nearly twelve hundred Spanish Catholics for allegedly plotting to revolt against the local British garrison commander; whether such a conspiracy actually existed or was just a ruse has still not been proven to this day, but the massacre would prove to have dire repercussions for Anglo-Spanish relations for nearly two centuries afterwards.

Symbol of
Symbol of - Malaga

Between 1690 and 1778 three major wars would be fought between Britain and Spain due to lingering bitterness over the massacre, and in the early 19th century Spanish cavalry would attempt to ambush the Duke of Wellington's troops near Malaga in hopes of finally avenging the twelve hundred people put to death there during the British occupation.

Not until 1816, when Queen Victoria issued a formal apology for the massacre, did Anglo-Spanish relations begin to improve. In 1948 another British monarch, King George VI, would further the process of reconciliation by participating in a memorial service for the victims of the massacre; two decades after George VI's visit Queen Elizabeth the second would christen a memorial park in Malaga dedicated to the people killed in the 1618 massacre.

In 1960, on this day young New York newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin achieved national prominence when, in his latest article, he profiled a Brooklyn family that had been left homeless by the Jamaica Bay hurricane. His heartrending account of the family's plight sparked a flood of donations to the Red Cross on their behalf and earned Breslin a Pulitzer Prize nomination.

 - Jimmy Breslin
Jimmy Breslin

On this day in 1941, Soviet bombers flying from airfields on the island of Hokkaido attacked Tokyo for the first time; 87,000 Japanese died in the air raid, among them Imperial Japanese Navy Combined Fleet commander-in-chief Admiral Isoroku.

 - Isoroku Yamamoto
Isoroku Yamamoto
Apollo One

On this day in 1967, Apollo 1 was finally launched from Cape Canaveral; the mission lasted ten days during which the Apollo 1 crew made 163 orbits around the earth before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. On the heels of this successful test run, NASA scheduled the launch of Apollo 2 for August of 1968.

Apollo One - Crew
In 1981, former child star and adult beauty Natalie Gurdin drowned in a suspicious boating accident. Her husband, Robert Wagner, was arrested on suspicion of having done her in, and during the trial, it was revealed that Gurdin had discovered his affair with her co-star Ronald Walken during that long night on their yacht. Wagner was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
In 1980, United Artist's blockbuster hit Heaven's Gate passes the $150 million mark. The epic western tale touched a cord across America, inspiring millions to endure long lines to bask in the 3-hour long movie.
In 1948, American consul Angus Ward was captured by Chinese reactionaries after he refused to allow them to use the consulate's radio transmitter to broadcast their lies to the people. The Soviet Americans stood strong with the People's Republic of China against these counter-revolutionaries, and succeeded in winning Ward's freedom again.
In 12-12-9-13-13, an overzealous Oueztecan force attacked and massacred a group of almost 400 Cheyenne and Arapahoe warriors who were surrendering to the Empire. When the Emperor heard of this tragic mistake, he ordered the captain in charge of the force sacrificed to the Sun God at the next ceremony.

November 19

In 1918, on this fateful day Corporal Adolf Hitler of the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment was formally discharged from a military hospital in Pasewalk, Pomerania. He had been recovering from a mustard gas attack near Wervicq that left him temporarily blinded, just the latest scrape in an incredible string of near death experiences that had miraculously kept him alive throughout the long war.

The Greatest of all ExperiencesEven though he was eager to return to the Front his loyalties were in turmoil. Because during his recovery the Kaiser had been forced to abdicate and yet the new Provisional Government had decided to fight on much like Kerensky's administration in St Petersburg. In Berln also the new political elite now comprised socialists, communists, liberals, and of course the Jews (although the diversity of the Russian cabinet remained, Kerensky himself had long since given way to Chernov following Constituent Assembly elections). Needless to say this scenario was not what Hitler had signed up for when he joined the German Army in 1914 beginning (in his words) "the Greatest of all Experiences".

Author's Note: although this scenario seems improbable please note that he was discharged just eight days after the Armistice agreement ended the fighting between Germany and the Allies. Therefore just a fortnight of additional fighting could have created this scenario, in this timeline, justified because Kerensky "won out".

On this day Japanese naval and air forces attacked Chinese naval and air force assets remorselessly in the aftermath of the failed APEC and G20 meetings. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, after two failed attempts at direct peaceful negotiations with Chinese President Xi Jinping at both meetings, felt Japan had no other choice but the military option after Chinese occupation of the Senkaku Islands earlier in the year.

Chaos in AsiaThe successful Japanese attack was reminiscent of Pearl Harbor insofar as no warning was issued and took the Chinese by surprise, although tensions between the two nations had meant that both where on a war footing ever since the Chinese took the Senkaku Islands via military action. And even though the Chinese were the first to cry "infamy", the Japanese allies, namely the United States, supported the Japanese action.

The Chinese lost their most prized possession, the aircraft carrier Liaoning, in the opening minutes, along with their SSBN class submarines, several other nuclear and conventional powered submarines, and dozens of destroyers and frigates. The Chinese air force was also mauled, losing about a third of its fighters and most of its bombers, within sixty minutes of the opening rounds of the Japanese attack.

Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed revenge, in response to the Japanese attack, but the Chinese military and the Communist Party elite placed as much blame upon Xi for the successful Japanese attack as the Japanese themselves. By the end of the first day, China took stock of their losses which, by midnight, included the successful Japanese reoccupation of the Senkaku Islands.

In 1775, Congress pleads for the states to send more soldiers to serve in the Continental Army, reminding them "how indispensable it is to the common safety, that they pursue the most immediate and vigorous measures to furnish their respective quotas of Troops for the new Army, as the time of service for which the present Army was enlisted, is so near expiring".

Gen Washington abandons efforts to make militias into a militaryThe underlying problem was not just troop levels, because General Washington inherited the very same provincial differences and rivalries that had beset British Commanding Officers during the Seven Years War. He saw "stupidity" among the enlisted men, who were used to the easy familiarity of being commanded by neighbors in local militias with elected officers. Washington promptly insisted that the officers behave with decorum and the enlisted men with deference. Although he enjoyed some success with this original army, the New Englanders went home to their farms at the end of 1775, and Washington would have to start fresh with new recruits in 1776.

But instead, he had a better idea. As Commander in Chief, Washington's overarching objective was to keep the patriot cause alive long enough for the British to despair of victory. During the cruel winter of 1775-6, he came to the bitter conclusion that this could only be achieved by a nationally co-ordinated insurgency, fought on the ground by the State militias. Because the Continental Army would only ever be an easy target for the Redcoats, giving the British the opportunity for a symbolic victory even if they did not re-establish control over the colonies. We seek him here, we seek him there, those Redcoats seek him everywhere...

In 1802, on this day 22nd President of the United States Solomon Foot (pictured) was born in Cornwall, Vermont.

Birth of President Solomon FootHe was a Vermont lawyer, state representative and later senator who spent more than 25 years in elected office. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1826 and was admitted to the bar in 1831. He served as a state representative briefly in 1833, and also from 1836 to 1838. After six years as a prosecuting attorney, he was elected as a Whig congressman in 1843 and as a senator in 1850. He was re-elected as a Republican senator in 1856, in which capacity he served until his death in 1866. He served as President pro tempore of the Senate from 1861 to 1863.

By an accident of history, he then occupied the White House for the remaining eighteen months of Chester A. Arthur's term. Because the President had been forced to resign when Arthur P. Hinman discovered evidence that he was was not a native-born citizen of the United States. Instead, he was born in Ireland and had arrived in the US at the end of fourteen.

By coincidence, he shared his birthday with the 20th President, James A. Garfield, and his predecessor died on November 18th.

In 1831, on this day the twentieth President of the United States James A. Garfield was born in Moreland Hills, Ohio.

Birth of President James A. GarfieldIn 1881 he was shot once in the arm and once in the back by Charles J. Guiteau at the Sixth Street Station of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad on the National Mall in Washington.

Although the first bullet only caused a graze, the second was initially thought to have lodged near his liver. However the hopelessly incompetent Dr. Doctor Willard Bliss was completely wrong, and the bullet was actually located behind the pancreas, a discovery made by a metal detector devised by the brilliant Scottish inventor Alexander Graham Bell.

Aside from the creation of the mocking expression "Ignorance if Bliss", the event was quickly forgotten because Garfield, like many other veterans were unfazed by such an injury. In fact one of the detectives who took Guiteau to the district jail still had a Civil War bullet lodged in his head. However the consequence of his survival was huge; as soon as his recovered, he quickly resumed his radical programme of reform that would change Washington forever.

In 1600, Charles the Last, the final British monarch was born in Dunfermline Palace. He ascended to the throne of the United Kingdom of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in 1625.

Charles the LastCharles was deposed by Oliver Cromwell's forces in 1646, and despite several attempts to restore the monarchy over the next couple of decades, the people of the UK were never to follow a king or queen again.

Although Cromwell was followed by his son as Lord Protector of the Kingdom, Parliament began electing the Lord Protector in 1660 and the office was filled at the pleasure of the people from then on.

Other monarchies in Europe were disturbed by the loss of their British cousin, and financed many of the pretenders who tried to raise armies to retake the crown, but none were successful. Indeed, the agitators were sometimes toppled by British counter-espionage tactics - the French king fell in 1684, the Russian tsar was ousted in 1692, and the Swedish monarchy was replaced by a democracy in 1704. The rest of Europe's non-democratic governments gave up after the brutal execution of Sweden's nobility, and pretenders to the British Crown disappeared in the 18th century.

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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.