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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

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December 25

In 1941, the Battle of Chusan ended on the same day that Admiral Chester W. Nimitz arrived at Pearl Harbor to assume command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The Japanese occupation begun exactly a century after the small fortified Island had become a British Crown Colony.

The Fall of ChusanThe Prime Minister Lord Palmerston (pictured) had instructed Chief Superintendent of Trade, Charles Elliot and his cousin Rear Admiral George Elliot to occupy one of the Chusan islands, to present a letter from himself to a Chinese official for the Emperor, then to proceed to the Gulf of Bohai for a treaty, and if the Chinese resisted, blockade the key ports of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers. He demanded a territorial base for trade so that British merchants "may not be subject to the arbitrary caprice either of the Government of Peking, or its local Authorities at the Sea-Ports of the Empire". However at the Convention of Chuenpee the Elliots were offered an exchange of Chusan for Hong Kong, a potentially valuable base for the British trading community in Canton.

But they declined the exchange and the cession was formally ratified in the Treaty of Nanking, which forced Qishan the Viceroy of Liangguang to cede Chusan "in perpetuity" to Britain. This result from the First Opium War had actually been sought by the earlier mission by George Macartney but his refusal to kowtow to an empty chair occupied by an edict from the Qianlong Emperor was one of the reasons why Britain had failure to secure "a small unfortified island near Chusan".

The other reason was that the Chinese desired self-sufficiency seeing no need for European goods and services. By the middle of the twentieth century the Japanese had developed a similiar respect for their economic sovereignty deciding it was far easier to sieze the lightly garrisoned European colonies than open a conflict with China. Instead, the Chinese became partners in the formation of a Greater Asian Prosperity Sphere. Meanwhile Western Europe was under the shadow of Fascist rule, forcing Australia and New Zealand to turn to America for security. Given the geography it was always likely that the United States would sutain interest in the Far East. Following the attack on Pearl Harbour, she was at the centre of a sequence of actions that ultimately would place the centre of the world economy in the Pacific-Rim.

On 12th of Tevet, 3761, Zechariah's cousin Yeshua was born in Galilee. He had Elijah's spirit, and turned many to the Lord.
An installment from the Miracles thread.

Third MiracleBut the truth of their birth stories was withheld from them by their foster parents. Only years later while serving as a Rabbi did Zechariah finally discover that his mother Elizabeth had pleaded with his dumb-struck father to name him John - but to no avail, even though he had lost his voice because he questioned the will of Jehovah. The angel had said "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time" (Luke 1:19-20).

But as a result, when he did proclaim the arrival of the Messiah he did so from within the very heart of the Orthodox Jewish community. And took his rightful place amongst the Great Prophets of the Tanakh.

In DCCLIV A.U.C., on this day the great Jewish Rabbi Yeshua was born in Galilee.

The Birth of YeshuaThroughout the brief tenure of his ministry he benefitted from religious freedoms granted by the Eastern Roman Empire to the provincial citizens of Iudaea, summarised by his simple truth "Pay Alexandria what is due to Alexandria, pay God what is due to God".

Because after their dramatic victory at the Battle of Actium, co-rulers Marc Anthony and Cleopatra had loosened the tight Roman grip on the Eastern Mediterranean region. Their largely benign governance philosophy was based on the Greek, Egyptian, Persian, and Asian idea of allowing local economies and religion to flourish.

But Yeshua had an even bigger and bolder strategic vision, of a "Kingdom of Heaven" which his follower Saul encourage hime to take to Rome, where he was crucified in DCCLXXXVI A.U.C.

In 1915, on this day the Kaiser demanded an armistice after a second Christmas Truce took hold in the trenches. The words of Chief of Staff Hulmuth von Moltke from 1914 rang in the Kaiser's ears, "Your Majesty, this war cannot be won".

Second Christmas Truce Takes Hold Wilhelm II had initially rejected the view of Moltke and fired him, but as 1915 dragged on, it became possible that the German fate was sealed. There were new developments such as air warfare and poison gas, leading to whole new aspects of battle. A further innovation was mass-propaganda, and the Kaiser decided this may be the method to come out ahead in an unwinnable war.

In 1914, the soldiers in the field began what was to be known as the Christmas Truce. On Christmas Eve, the German troops decorated their trenches and sang carols. The English troops, who recognized many of the tunes from their own carols, joined in singing. The artillery bombardments on both sides ended for the night, allowing soldiers to collect their dead, and joint services were held honoring the fallen on both sides. Once-enemies approached each other across the "No Man's Land", exchanging gifts, sharing food, and engaging in games of football. Commanders on both ends reacted with disgust at the fraternization, but the unofficial truce lasted until after New Years' Eve in many places along the lines.

The cases of fraternization had continued despite the horrors of war by attrition. A German unit attempted a truce over Easter, but were warned away by their British opponents. Later that November, units from Saxony and Liverpool successfully fraternized. The soldiers in the trenches obviously did not care for the war; the Kaiser merely had to convince them to take a stand against it. While the Allied command issued orders against fraternization that upcoming Christmas, German orders encouraged the possibility and handed out gifts to exchange (including reasons for the war to be ended). Despite the orders, the soldiers in the trenches met and joined again in their small feasts and games of football. The Allied commanders erupted at the news and began court martial proceedings for hundreds, possibly thousands. Rebellion broke out among the ranks. Wilhelm was urged to attack while the Allies were weak, but he intended to win the war rather than a few battles before the Allies had propaganda material to regroup.

Seizing the diplomatic initiative and ensuring that word of the Christmas Truce spread past censorship, Wilhelm capitalized on the friendly spirits among the common soldiers. He demanded an armistice in the West, which the Allies agreed only along with an armistice in the East. Talks began, and the politicians finally conceded under pressure from the soldiers and their families. Lists of demands were drawn up, and, for each point, games of football and other athletic events would decide the victor. While troops remained in station during an armistice, Germany hosted the 1916 Olympics in Berlin that summer as it had planned to do before the war. Fighting for honor as well as diplomatic success, athletes built value with gold, silver, and bronze medals to be used in agreements during what would be a precursor to the League of Nations.

The notion was considered ludicrous by many, but war weariness kept naysayers from the majority opinion. Germany did not fair as well as the Allied nations, and most of the world expected the Kaiser to turn against his own idea and restart the war. To their surprise, he did not and ordered the removal of troops from France and Belgium as part of the agreement, though he kept Alsace-Lorraine. Reparations were traded, and war was formally outlawed in 1918.

Europe celebrated the War to End All Wars, though the name was hardly apt. Wars went underground, constantly fed by international espionage, support for uprisings (such as the Russian Civil War that would eventually stomp out notions of communism), and sabotage of other nations' teams. Tempers flared over each scandal, but war did not come back to the world stage until Ireland's fight for independence in 1928 was found to be supported overtly by the Germans. The Irish Revolt exploded outside of British borders with a Royal Navy blockade of Germany to cease supplies. The Germans countered with an invasion of Belgium to secure new ports, and Europe was swallowed up in the Second World War.

In 1863, President Hannibal Hamlin confirmed the Declaration of Emancipation that General John C. Fremont had proclaimed in Tennessee when he had occupied that State earlier in the year.

Crucifixion Day Part 6 by Raymond SpeerFrom the start of the war, which Fremont spent stationed in Missouri, that general had realized that the institution of slavery was the motivation of secession and the engine that worked the economy of the South. Accordingly, Fremont had abolished slavery In Missouri.

Hannibal Hamlin, a convinced Abolitionist from childhood and the possessoor of a dark complexion that gossips attributed to some Negro ancestors, had been told by his Attorney General that Fremont's liberation policy would alienate the border states and drive them all into the Confederacy.

"If our loss of the capitol city has not doomed us," Hamlin told his advisor, "I doubt that adding Missouri to the free states will substantially worsen our condition". The Attorney General, an appointee of the dead Lincoln, resigned and Fremont's move was approved.

In the summer of 1863, Fremont lead the Army of Missouri east and conquered Kentucky and Tennessee that season. In keeping with his program in Missouri, Fremont refused to let slavery continue in areas controlled by the Union, and Fremont's action roused discontent at Montauk Point, Long Island, New York, where the US Congress met by right in December 1863. A resolution that criticized Fremont was voted down in each House, and a counterdraft (praising the move) was passed through the support of President Hamlin.

The buildings at Montauk Point were raw and crude owing to their hurried construction. With no attendents from the Cotton South or Border States among the members of that Congress, a bill to relocate the capitol from Washington DC to Montauk was passed by both Houses, and money was appropriated for more buildings.

Thaddeus Stevens, the Speaker of the House, met with the President on a yacht offshore Nantucket Island when Hamlin signed the decree that approved Fremont's second emanicipation program. "Mr. Speaker, when Congress is as far sighted as General Fremont, it will pass laws that will tear the guts out of the Confederacy".

In 1776, during a howling nor-easter Colonel Johann Rall and his Hessian mercenaries repelled a bold American attack on Trenton that left Commander George Washington and many of his troops from the decimated Continental Army dead or dying in the freezing Delaware River on this bitterest of Christmas Days.

One-way trip across the Delaware RiverSince the heady days of the summer, Washington had lost ninety percent of his command and had already admitted both to his diary and in confidence to his colleagues that "I think the game is pretty near up".

And yet his successors would carry the germ of an idea that Washington had conceived on the eve of Battle. That concept was a breakthrough in organisational planning for irregular forces, that "a people unused to restraint must be led, they will not be drove". In effect, Washington had blended the best ideas of the American revolution with the War of Independence. His advocacy of open councils in a proletariat army was his gift to the future, a Union of Socialist Republics in America that would have been unimaginable to Washington as a member of the landed gentry.

Sharing his dead comrade's "full persuasion of the Justice of our cause" Thomas Paine returned to Great Britain after the so-called "black times of '76". The War of Independence might have ended in defeat, at least for now, but the Revolution had not, and Paine would ensure that it spread across the fertile ground of his homeland, Great Britain itself.

In 1999, Hideko Cardinal Tokugawa of Kyoto presided over a Christmas celebration of nearly one million Japanese Catholics.

Kirishitani by Eric LippsChristianity had been introduced into Japan in the sixteenth century. The shogun Oda Nobunaga (pictured), in particular, had embraced the new faith, both for the technologies its missionaries brought with them, which included firearms, and as a political tool against Buddhism. Although Nobunaga never converted to Christianity, he allowed Christians to proselytize and permitted the construction of the first Catholic church in Kyoto in 1576, on the site of the present Watanabe Cathedral.

After his death, some powerful Japanese came to view Christianity not as beneficial but as a threat to the state, and pressed for its restriction or even outright banning. Among them would be Toyotomi Hideyoshi, responsible for the Feb. 5, 1597 massacre of twenty-seven Christians at Nagasaki and a vocal proponent of laws restricting not only Christianity but all contact with the West. Support for such "seclusion laws" remained limited, however, and although some restrictions were imposed beginning in 1614, the Nobunaga Shogunate would lift them four decades later under Oda's great-grandson Toyo Nobunaga. By the end of the Nobunaga shogunate in the late nineteenth century, there would be twenty million Christians in the island nation. At the close of the twentieth, the number would have risen to forty million.

In 1991, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was executed in front of a Soviet Army firing squad in Red Square this morning, according to the USSR's Interior Ministry. Gorbachev had been arrested on August 18th of this year for crimes against the Soviet Union, including undermining the Soviet economy and giving military secrets to the West. Soviet President Gennady Yanayev used the occasion to reassure the Soviet people that the Communist Party (CPSU) remained firmly in control, and the damage caused by Gorbachev's Glasnost and Perestroika programs would be swiftly rectified.

Gorbachev Executed in Red Square on Christmas Day A story by Andrew Beane This ended a series of high-profile executions, starting on August 21st with the assassination of Boris Yeltsin, then the newly elected President of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic. Yeltsin had been arrested on August 17th after his return from a trip to Kazakhstan, though he had yet to be charged with a specific crime. Yeltsin's assassin was an unidentified man that shot himself before he could be subdued.

Efforts to remove Gorbachev from power and restore the nation to its once-mighty status began in December of 1990, when members of Gorbachev's government quietly conspired to create the need for the declaration of a state of emergency in the USSR. The State Committee of the State of Emergency, headed by Yanayev and seven other former members of Gorbachev's administration, seized upon the instability caused by the slow break-up of the union and ordered the arrest of Gorbachev and other "western conspirators". At the height of the crisis, the Soviet Army invaded and recaptured the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania).

American President George Bush condemned the execution, saying that Gorbachev had been the greatest hope for peace between the USSR and the West, and that the dead leader would live on "the hearts and minds of the people who so long had to strive for their God-given rights". Deng Xiaoping, leader of the Peoples' Republic of China, applauded the "halt of the USSR's capitulation to the West," and expressed hope that Moscow would follow China's example of "market socialism".

In 1977, legendary silent-film star Charlie Chaplin died at his home in Hollywood. He was 88.

Death of ChaplinIn 1952, following a visit to his native country, the British-born actor had been barred from re-entering the U.S. due to his left-wing political associations. Popular outcry forced the U.S. government to relent, and Chaplin returned to Hollywood on December 6 of that year. Like other actors whose politics resulted in their blacklisting, he would eventually return to films; he would make a brief appearance as a mute servant in the movie version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To the Forum alongside the former blacklistee Zero Mostel. In his last years, however, he would become increasingly reclusive, avoiding contact even with family members.

In 1985, ruinous years of drug and alcohol abuse caused thirty-six year old Irish folk singer Phil Lynott to collapse at his home in Kew on Christmas Day. Listen to Whiskey in the Jar on YouTube

The Juice of the BarleyHis unresponsive body was rushed to Salisbury Infirmary where doctors and family members feared for his life. He remained unconscious for almost ten days.

Then a mysterious bare-foot stranger visited him on the 4th January. He awoke from his coma and conversed in his customary low voice that was inaudible to the medical staff. Their own record was simply a note in the visitors log, under the somewhat odd name of Captain Farrell [1].

By 12th January, he was sufficiently recovered to be released from Hospital. Instead of relapsing into his former destructive ways, he set out in a new direction serving alongside his fellow Irishman Bob Geldorf as an Ambassador for "Live Aid", a do-gooder Rapparee. And six months later he returned to music to play a signature role alongside van Morrison and former Thin Lizzy bandsmen Gary Moore in the "Save the World" concert at Wembley Stadium. This included a heart felt appeal to give the starving masses of Africa the second chance that Jesus had given him; inevitably the emotional and spiritual effect was electric. Because something had been missing in this harsh world, but finally it was fulfilled. [2]

Afterwards he traveled the continent working with community groups and challenging political leaders to build infrastructure and fight poverty. An incomparable humanitarian spokesman, he died in Rwanda in 1994, praising the Lord every remaining day of his life.

In 1653, Richard Cromwell, son of the newly appointed Lord Protector of England, holds a wild party and is arrested under the 1647 legislation banning the celebration of "Christ-tide".

Christ-tideHe commits suicide in jail. His father Oliver is heart-broken and dies of natural causes on September 3rd the next year.

As new Lord Protector, Parliament chooses General John Lambert, whose thirty-year service as First Citizen of the Commonwealth fixes England on the staunchly republican path it has followed to this day.

In 1914, British and German troops begin an unofficial truce in the war in France.Christmas Truce

They warily cross the no-man's land they had been fighting over, exchange drink, food and small gifts; they even play football together. When they are ordered to begin fighting by their superiors, they refuse; their rebellion spreads across the lines until a great pacifist movement topples the governments of all the European powers fighting in the war, and replaces them with governments committed to peace.

Pictured, a cross, left near Ypres in Belgium in 1999, to commemorate the site of the Christmas Truce in 1914. The text reads 1914 - The Khaki Chum's Christmas Truce. 1999. 85 Years. Lest We Forget. Watch the Youtube Clip

In 1918, Muhammad Anwar El Sadat was born in Mit Abu al-Kumt. A man of peace and integrity, his life was cut short by an insidious force that sought to destroy the great nation of Egypt. Most tragic of all, this aspiring young officer was shot dead in a hail of gunfire from a group of soldiers who believed they were simply doing their duty.The Cold-Blooded Murder of Anwar Sadat

"As a young man, Sadat's experience convinced him the British hold over Egypt was unjust. A man named Zahran, who came from a small village like his, was hanged for taking part in a protest in which a British officer had been killed. His courage as he made his way through the streets to his death impressed the young Sadat enormously. Surging forward with the crowd, Sadat was shot dead by the escourt of British soldiers". ~ Cold Blooded Killings by Charlotte Greig

Pope

On this day in 1944, Pope Pius XII held a special Christmas Day prayer service at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome to call for a swift end to the war in Europe.

Pope - Pius XII
Pius XII

On this day in 1989, just minutes before they were to have been executed by a firing squad, deposed Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu and his wife Elena were rescued by Securitate agents loyal to Ceaucescu; the next day the Ceaucescus fled to Switzerland, where they registered under assumed names in a Geneva hotel and made preparations to seek political asylum in North Korea.

 - Nicholae Ceaucescu
Nicholae Ceaucescu

In 1819, the former King Louis XVI of France dies in exile on the island of Elba, at the age of 65.

He has been an invalid for years, having never really recovered after being badly wounded during an unsuccessful attempt by French royalists to free him from his incarceraation in July of 1810.

 - King Louis XVI
King Louis XVI
In 1861, the United States government refused to free Confederate diplomatic envoys James M. Mason and John Slidell. While traveling to take up the post of Confederate envoy to Britain and France, on the British mail steamer RMS Trent, the ship was stopped by USS San Jacinto on November 8, 1861. Mason and John Slidell were confined in Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, precipitating the Trent Affair that brought Britain into open war with the United States of America.
In 1620, the Pilgrim Fathers land at what becomes New Plymouth in Massachusetts. Today, New Plymouth is the capital of an Anglophone pocket of North America. Surrounded by a patch work quilt of nations, European and Amerindian, English is currently the fourth popular language in the continent after French, Spanish and Dutch.
In 1988, the first clue to the Lockerbie crash was found by Crash investigators. Uncovered wreckage from Pan Am flight 103 held the key to the Lockerbie air disaster. Rescue teams continued their search for bodies and the death toll currently remained at 240. This number included Levi Stubbs, Abdul 'Duke' Fakir, Renaldo 'Obie' Benson, and Lawrence Payton who had been members of the band the Four Tops for 42 years. Michael Charles, who is heading the investigation said it was not known yet if the crash was caused by structural failure or a bomb. Investigators could not establish if the plane disintegrated before it came to the ground, suggesting a bomb, or if it was destroyed by impact on the ground after severe structural failure led to its descent.Aviation experts said they believed the most likely cause was structural failure after an initial inspection of the black box flight recorders which did not disclose anything. Only a split second before radar contact was lost there was a 'faint unquantified noise'.
In 2006, on this day Gerald Ford, Jr. died aged 93 in Rancho Mirage, California. Thirty-three years before, Gerald Ford had been confirmed as the new Vice President of the United States, assuming the presidency less than six months later. Ford had become a national figure since his appointment to the Warren Commission, sensationally traveling to Dallas with Chief Justice Earl Warren and other commission members for a series of private meetings in Dallas with Jack Ruby during June of 1964. Upon its release in 1964, all files of the Warren Commission were sealed from public view for 75 years by executive order of President Johnson. In 2039, it was finally revealed that Ford, acting on the explosive information provided by Ruby, had strong-armed the CIA into unseating Vice President Spiro Agnew and President Richard Nixon, gaining him the White House. The CIA exacted revenge, scuppering Ford's re-election attempts by clandestinely backing one of their own, the 'Georgia Giant', James Earl Carter.
In 1843, the next day after Christmas, Scrooge arrives at work early. Cratchit is late and Scrooge pretends at first to be his old selfish self, but then tells Cratchit that he is going to raise his salary. Cratchit is shocked and Scrooge wishes him a Merry Christmas.
After(cont.) ~ The three men stayed in the Morris home for almost half an hour before Janice finally was able to say, 'OK, looks like they're leaving now.' She was watching them through her night-vision goggles while everyone else sat in the dark. George was having a hard time of it, and his mother was holding him now. 'I don't think they're carrying anything. Hope the place isn't too trashed, Steph.'
'Me, too.'
They all heard the roar of the car start up in the still night, and it pulled out of the driveway quickly and took off down the street. Janice turned off her goggles and took them off. 'Well, should we go see what they did to the place?'
'I don't know if that's a good idea,' Jake said. 'What if they anticipated us coming back and left some kinda trap?'
'They probably bugged the place, too,' Janice said, 'but, we won't really know until we get over there.' She grabbed her backpack and took out a small, flat device. 'We can use this to sweep the place for bugs.'
Jake laughed. 'What else have you got in there?'
'I got a ghost detector that I blew about 300 bucks on that doesn't work for crap,' she said. 'Just your standard paranormal investigation gear. I like to be prepared.'
'Good.' He stood up and turned to the others. 'Steph, it might be best if you and the kids stay here.'
'Nobody knows my house as well as I do,' Steph said, rising with him. 'If you need to tell if something's been messed with or taken, I should be over there with you.'
'She's got you there, Sarge,' Janice said, elbowing Jake in the ribs. 'You're not leavin' us over here,' Joan said, grabbing onto her father's arm. The memory of what she had seen played in her eyes, and Jake shook his head.
'All right, then, everybody comes.' He turned to Kevin. 'Bradley, you and the ghostbuster here go first. Steph and I'll follow up with the kids. Start sweeping the house with that thing, Janice, and let us know if we need to watch our mouths.' He turned to his ex-wife and children. 'Now, till Janice gives the all-clear, we need to keep quiet. We don't want them hearing us come back.'
Janice gave him a little mock-salute. 'Aye, aye, captain.' She and Kevin slipped out the front door of the Johnson's place and snuck across the street. She swept the bug detector all around the door as they approached, then gave Kevin a thumbs-up. They both entered the house and began a very slow pass through to see if the three strangers had left anything behind.
In 1969, The 'Christmas Offensive' was begun in the People's Republic of Venezuela. One of the greatest triumphs of the S.S.A. was repulsing the capitalist armies of the United States of Russia. While the war would last for a few more years it is widely believed that this initial push northward by the South Venezuela's People's Army of Venezuela turned the tide.
In 1958, Famous civil rights leader/humanitarian Adam Hitler Catt is assassinated. The Ku-Klux-Klan is claiming responsibility for the murder. Mr. Catt was most famous for his work with civil rights issues in the South, which eventually led to desegregation laws being passed in the 1940's. His mother, Carrie Lane Chapman Catt, helped found the League of Women voter's in 1919. In 1893, 4 year old Adolph tragically lost both his parents in a fire that destroyed his family's home. He was adopted by the Catt family after a trip to Germany in 1894. The Catts visited an orphanage where young Adolph clung to Mrs. Catt for security. The two were inseparable ever since. The Catts changed Adam's first name from Adolph to Adam but kept his last name as his middle name. Adam Hitler Catt will be remembered in history as one of the greatest humanitarian leaders of the Twentieth Century.
In 1926, Japanese emperor Hirohito begins his kingdom after his father Yoshihito passes away. His schemes with the Third Reich during WWII were the catapult to put Japan as center of a new World Order after ruined Hitler's agenda.
In 1920, Anastasia Romanov marries Adam Hitler Catt in America. The small, quiet ceremony was beautiful with a background set with decorated Christmas trees outside the Catt's family home in Iowa. Anastasia, the daughter of the former Czar Nicholas II, escaped Russia with her family in 1919, at the beginning of the Bolshevik revolution. The family was given refuge, by Nicholas' 1st cousin, King George V.
In 1642, famous music composer Isaac Newton was born in Lincolnshire, England. His parents took him to Oxford in order to study mathematics, but he showed no interest in numbers and abandoned this college one year later. His natural ability for music composition was known throughout the British Empire as well as his several symphonies like his Opus in G minus for violins also known as Gravitas.
In 1033, Yeshua returned once again exactly like he said he would. Finding a world filled with barbarism, paganism, or just plain disbelief, Yeshua consulted his father briefly before deciding, 'ah, hell with it,' and left the humans to their own devices instead of starting the Rapture. The loyal few he did take with him were basic unknowns, having devoted themselves to the study and practice of a religion that the mainstream sects of Christianity considered heretical. These heretics believed in women ordination, among other astounding beliefs, and took the remaining Christian relics with them when they went to walk with God.
In 800, Charlemagne, duke of the Franks, is offered the crown of the 'Western Empire' by the Patriarch of Rome and refuses, uttering the famous words 'There is only one emperor, and his throne is in Constantinople'. This will come to be seen as the turning point of the Western Interregnum, paving the way for the reunification of the whole Empire in 1054.
In 323, Saint Nicholas of Myra is executed by the pagan Emperor Licinius, and becomes the last martyr to suffer death before the victory of Constantine the Great established Christianity throughout the Roman world. The Ultimate Martyr gained enormous prestige and grew to be ranked as the greatest saint of the Church, displacing even Saint Peter. Today Saint Nicholas is revered as the stern but fair gatekeeper of Heaven, and every child learns that Saint Nick 'knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness' sake!'
In 2637, a splinter group of Imperial scholars studying the heavens from a foreign point of view discover, much to their surprise, that the alignments of certain starts and planets at that time signaled the return of a great leader....a king among kings. Obviously this pointed to the Emperor's newest baby, a daughter named Lei-tzu, who would in fact rise in power to virtually rule China through her nearly retarded husband.
In 2003, Estelle Gerard descends from Heaven to Buckingham Cathedral, a host of angels around Her. As the order to sack Jerusalem is given, She opens the walls of the Cathedral with a clap of Her hands, and calls Pope Righteous out to face Her. They struggle for the day, as Estelle's host flies to Jerusalem to aid its defenders against the horde facing them.
In 2001, Eurasia celebrates its first Christmas since the overthrow of the German Reich. In a gesture of reconciliation, the Eurasian Union hosts representatives of the Semitic-African Resistance at their headquarters in Berlin, and a declaration is signed by delegates from all the nations that they would never allow the slaughter of the last century to occur again.
In 1998, after decades of neglect, Comrade President Sam Webb lights an official Christmas Tree at the White House, and Christians across the Soviet States of America display their own trees openly again. The Communist Party's embrace of religious freedom is a sign that the party is the instrument of the people again, and is hailed across the world as a miracle.
In 753 AUC, Roman soldiers capture a married Hebrew couple that are attempting to escape the census. While they are in prison, the woman gives birth to a boy, whom the soldiers take away. Although the woman is hysterical over the child, the couple is to be imprisoned for their crime, so they will not be able to raise the boy. He is adopted by Romans, and rises to command of the Senate as Caius Jesus Bethlehemus.
In 4 B.C., Yeshua of Nazareth is born while his family is visiting relatives in Bethlehem. A charismatic speaker and innovative religious philosopher, Yeshua reenergizes the Hebrew faith through his subtle interpretation of God as Father, where previous rabbis had only taught of Him as Lord. This new vision of the faith swept Judaism, and helped it extend even to the Gentiles, who converted in mass numbers during Rabbi Yeshua's life. His son continued his teachings, and Yeshua's vision of Judaism is now the dominant sect in the world?s most numerous faith.
In 0, Joseph of Nazareth and Mary, his young bride, give birth to a son in the town of Bethlehem, where they had gone for a Roman census of their land. Four men of distant lands bring the newborn gifts, saying that he is to be the King of Kings, the Messiah of the Hebrew people. The gifts of frankincense, myrrh and gold are easily understood by the Hebrew couple; but the gift of something called a time/space locator, from the wise man known as Tolman, completely mystifies them.

On this day in 1971, the Dallas Cowboys began their quest for a fourth Super Bowl under Tom Landry with a 21-12 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the 1971 NFL divisional playoffs.

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In 1843, Ebeneezer Scrooge changes his life and reverts to the generous, kind-hearted soul he was in his youth before the death of his sister. He anonymously sends the Cratchits the biggest turkey the butcher has, meets the charity workers to pledge an apparently impressive amount of money to their delight, and spends Christmas Day with Fred and his wife.
In 4 B.C. Yeshua of Nazareth is born while his family is visiting relatives in Bethlehem. A charismatic speaker and innovative religious philosopher, Yeshua reenergizes the Hebrew faith through his subtle interpretation of God as Father, where previous rabbis had only taught of Him as Lord. This new vision of the faith swept Judaism, and helped it extend even to the Gentiles, who converted in mass numbers during Rabbi Yeshua's life. His son continued his teachings, and Yeshua's vision of Judaism is now the dominant sect in the world's most numerous faith.
Raga Storms

In 1974, on this day Acting Prime Minister Dr Jim Cairns announced the abandonment of the northern Australian city of Darwin the national capital as raga storms continuned to pound the Far East. Much of the joy of Christmas disappeared as devastating high winds of up to 135mph and driving rain tore through homes, flooded streets and left up to 90% of the town in ruins. More than 100 people have been injured, many of them critically with deep lacerations, spine and head wounds and it is thought at least 30 people have been killed.

Raga Storms - Earth
Earth

The most seriously injured have been airlifted to safety by the Royal Australian Air Force and commercial airliners.

Earth had just begun to swung into Line, a ray of metafrequency energy jetstreaming from the massive black hole at the galactic hub. The transmuting effects of this atypical energy altered the planet for over a century until the Earth swung fully into line in 2113. A self-sufficient scientific community on the southern Peruvian coast - Center of International Research for the Continuance of Life on Earth, 2009-2113) - succeeded in compensating for the massive morphological changes that had occured. An ingenious discovery at CIRCLE succeeded in sustaining life - Rubeus, an artifical super-intelligence originally created to manage global weather systems.

New Sydney was repopulated fully by 2165.

In 1989, on this day, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher finally succumbed to pressure from Cabinet colleagues and resigned from her post. Thatcher had served three consecutive terms until an unprecented run of government crises in the late 1980 had made her position untenable. The stock market crashed and poll tax riots had been just two of the events in a traumatic year of spasms. Violent fast-moving change was racing across the Western democracies and the end of capitalism was in sight. The reinvigorated Soviet Union under the decisive leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev was on the march, and already people were talking about 'the end of history'.
In 1861, United States government made the pivotal decision to refuse to free Confederate diplomatic envoys James M. Mason and John Slidell. While traveling to take up the post of Confederate envoy to Britain and France, on the British mail steamer RMS Trent, the ship was stopped by USS San Jacinto on November 8, 1861. Mason and John Slidell were confined in Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, precipitating the Trent Affair that brought Britain into open war with the United States of America.
In 0, a young couple in the Near East have a child that is destined to change the world, that will be truly known as the son of God. His mother is a virgin, and men come from afar to show him respect and give him gifts. His name, which will be trumpeted across the world, is Mithra.
In 753 AUC, Roman soldiers capture a married Hebrew couple that are attempting to escape the census. While they are in prison, the woman gives birth to a boy, whom the soldiers take away. Although the woman is hysterical over the child, the couple is to be imprisoned for their crime, so they will not be able to raise the boy. He is adopted by Romans, and rises to command of the Senate as Caius Jesus Bethlehemus.


December 24

In 1814, on this day Admiral of the Fleet James Gambier shook hands with the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, John Quincy Adams and the negotiation of the Treaty of Ghent was completed. It was subsequently ratified by Parliament on December 30, 1814 and signed into law by the Prince Regent (the future King George IV) then put into affect by unanimous ratification by the U.S. Senate on February 18, 1815. An article from the New York City State thread.

Signing of the Treaty of GhentDue to the Patriot Backlash, emotions were running high and essentially the cessation of hostilities was driven by the political elite according to the imperatives of their own trading logic. Because after the abdication of Napoleon in April 1814 British public opinion had demanded major gains in the war against the United States. However the Prime Minister, Lord Liverpool, aware of growing opposition to wartime taxation and the demands of Liverpool and Bristol merchants to reopen trade with America, realized Britain had little to gain and much to lose from prolonged warfare.

This included the prized repossession of the "jewel in the crown" of British North America. Because although the earlier Treaty of Paris had left New York in British hands, Yankee troops had finally managed to capture parts of the City State, they were now required to evacuate. However before they left, General Jackson delivered his powerful "Dream that Never Dies" speech [1]. And the loyalists were left in absolutely no doubt that the Americans considered the possession of the New York City State. "Unfinished business leftover from the American Revolution by an accident of history". In defiance, they rebuilt the Statue on Bedlow's Island, that hated symbol of imperial power in Upper New York Bay (admittedly the successor was somewhat less controversial, just featuring lions without the provocative figure of Britannia). Nevertheless despite the bad blood caused by this and other atrocities such as the sacking of Yorktown, the United States and Great Britain slowly began to develop shared national interests. The day of forced annexation never came. And within a century, they would even fight alongside each other as allies against the Kaiser's Germany.

In 1166, on this day John, King of England was born in Beaumont Palace, Oxford. As a result of catastrophic mistakes during his reign he would be the last ruling member of the House of Plantagenet.

Birth of King JohnHaving met with rebellious barons who objected to what they perceived as his abuse of his powers as their feudal lord and who had confronted him with armed force to demand that he sign a charter guaranteeing them various rights and limiting the authority of the crown over the feudal aristocracy and the church, he arranged for the barons to be set upon and slain at the meeting at which the King was supposed to have signed the charter. The result was disaster. Already at the point of civil war, England exploded as news of the barons' slaughter by the king, with Prince Louis of France offering aid to the rebel forces. In May 1216, as England descended into anarchy, Louis's forces landed unopposed in Kent and marched for London.

John desperately struggled to marshal forces to fight off the revolutionaries and their French allies, but ironically his slaying of the barons at Runnymede had wiped out too much of the feudal authority structure under which levies could have been called forth in his name, and alienated the remainder. Adding to his troubles, in September 1216, while at the port town of King's Lynn, John developed persistent dysentery. On October 18 of that year, he would die of the disease.

A new story by Eric LippsThe barons' charter would disappear into the mists of history. Prince Louis, already in line to become King Louis VIII of France, would be crowned Louis I of England in March of 1217, inaugurating a century of renewed French domination of the British Isles which would be marked by frequent outbreaks of rebellion. Finally, in 1347, Louis IV, the last French king of England, would be dethroned by rebels. His attempt to regain his English possessions would be cut short gruesomely by the arrival, in 1348, of the Black Death, which would rage until the 1360s and kill an estimated one-quarter of the entire population of Europe.

Ironically, it would be that horror which would revive interest in a charter of rights in England. The shortage of manpower after the mass death meant that laborers were in a better position than previously to press for improved conditions, while the aristocracy wanted legal protection against the looting of their estates by the king, which had happened repeatedly as a monarchy impoverished by disease, famine and disorder among its subjects sought to maintain a luxurious lifestyle. In May of 1366, a conference of nobles, military officers and representatives of the newly powerful craft guilds presented a charter of rights to King Edward III, who reluctantly signed it. He had no alternative. The delegation had come with an army at its back; there would be no repetition of the massacre at Runnymede.

In 1943, Chief of Staff George C. Marshall (pictured) became the Supreme Allied Commander (SAC) three weeks after the tragic death of General Dwight David Eisenhower. Because "Ike" had been killed in a jeep accident while being transported from headquarters just one day after being unceremoniously appointed Supreme Commander in the coming Operation Overlord in a handwritten note from FDR to Stalin.

one day after being unceremoniously appointed Supreme Commander in the coming Operation Overlord in a handwritten note from FDR to Stalin, General Dwight David Eisenhower died in a jeep accident while being transported from headquarters.

Eisenhower Dies in Jeep Accident IIWhile some speculate that the accident was in fact Nazi assassination or perhaps political intrigue, the majority of historians agree that it was simply the fault of a dog crossing the road. Funeral services were conducted in Europe and again in the United States with the war hero's body being interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Having lost a great leader, FDR woefully appointed Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, whom he had earlier told, "I didn't feel I could sleep at ease if you were out of Washington" when explaining his choice.

Many considered the appointment a demotion for Marshall, as he was in key position in Washington to organize and manage the resources of the Allies. Churchill himself would call Marshall the "organizer of victory", and now it was Marshall's duty to exact that victory in Europe. With the landing at Normandy in June 1944, victory in Europe gradually became a reality. When the war ended, Marshall continued to his duties to America by his appointment to China by President Truman to broker peace between the Chinese Nationalists and Communists. No peace could be made (and Marshall argued against the Pentagon that the United States simply shouldn't become involved), and Marshall returned to the US, soon appointed Secretary of State. Here he would win a Nobel Peace Prize for his "Marshall Plan" for the organization and rebuilding of post-war Europe, also being named Time Magazine's Man of the Year for the second time.

After retiring on grounds of ill health, Marshall was again brought to duty on the call of President Truman to be Secretary of Defense. The Korean War had shown how poorly the post-war American armed forces had been organized, and no one organized better than Marshall. Marshall effectively prepared the military for demobilization in less than a year and retired again. Meanwhile, fellow Five Star General Omar Bradley would be instrumental in Truman's decision to relieve MacArthur of command before he sparked a war with China.

In 1952, Marshall would be called up again, this time by the Democratic Party. General Bradley was running on the Republican ticket for president, and the Democrats sought a president that could surpass his military clout. Marshall declined, saying, "I'll stick with retirement. When men like Joe McCarthy are running around, Washington is no place for me.

While the Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson would lose out against President Bradley, Marshall's famous statement would cause a surge of unpopularity for McCarthy, costing him his reelection to the Senate. Bradley's two terms would be famed for their time of prosperity, forward development with projects such as the Bradley Continental Highway, and his liberal leanings, continuing New Deal programs and combating segregation, as well as his openness in international policy with Communism. The Bradley Doctrine would prevent America from becoming something of a policeman, instead working to ensure that proper popular elections were held, preventing another Korea and MacArthur.

Through the course of the latter half of the twentieth century, Communism would grow throughout the world, taking over many nations in Southeast Asia, North Africa, and Central and South America. By the 1980s, however, the Stalinist nations would begin to fall apart after defeat in Iran and Afghanistan, leading to Germany reunifying and the Soviet bloc disappearing. The other "communist" nations of the world turned either into militaristic dictators or revolutionized themselves as seen in Red China, conflict with which Bradley had said would be "The wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy".

In 1865, Lee's rebels, mistakenly believed to be holed up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, were actually in Battery Park City readying their steam-powered mecha-suits for an audacious surprise attack. An episode from the Steampunk America thread.

Steampunk America
Part 2 by Ed & Jared Myers
Because less than 2 miles away in mid town New Amsterdam, mustachio-twirling German diplomats, monocled English & French civil servants plus assorted Russian and Dutch dignitaries were finalising their retro plans for the future of North America. And needless to say, it had a distinctly imperial flavour.

Due to the monarchical elitism of the Europeans, a final rubber-stamp approval was pending the arrival of the European Royal Families. And the stage was set for the German Emperor to arrive at the Peter Stuyvesant Airport in New Jersey in a steam-powered dirigible. But of course Robert E. Lee and his redoubtable Virginians had other plans for the evening - it would end in a fireball that would rekindle the spirit of liberty.

In 1166, on this day the future Angevin Emperor John Lackland was born to Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Birth of John LacklandShortly after his birth, John and his sister Joan were taken to Poitiers, the capital of Aquitaine. This relocation was calculated to win over the support of the French nobility, because from this city, Henry's heirs would rule a collection of states that stretched from the Pyrenees to Ireland. But ironically, the circumstances behind his ascension to the throne were caused not by the Acquitaine Inheritance but were entirely due to a rebellion of the English nobility. And the central issue of the revolt was that Henry II believed the Plantagenets were French Lords that happened to be Kings of England.

From his late teenage years, his elder brother Richard had commanded the armies of their father Henry II. As King, he led the Third Crusade in the Holy Land. Inevitably, this overseas military focus created a vacuum of power at home that was filled by domestic plotting. Richard was forced to return home where we was killed in a full-scale baronial revolt. Having spent only six months of his rule in England, he was widely considered in want of sympathy, or even consideration, for his people. This reckless monarch was succeeded by John, a hard-working administrator, an able man, an able general.



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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.