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December 24

In 1981, speaking live from the Republic of Australia on this day for "Countdown '81" the English musician Jona Lewie led worldwide tributes to the brave servicemen and women who triggered a series of widespread unofficial ceasefires that took place along the Western Front around Christmas of 1914. Watch the Youtube Clip of "Please Mr Churchill stop the Cavalry"

Lest We ForgetThey warily crossed the no-man's land they had been fighting over, exchanged drink, food and small gifts; they even played football together.

When they were ordered to begin fighting by their superiors, they refused; their rebellion spread across the lines until a great pacifist movement toppled the governments of all the European powers fighting in the war, replacing them with worker's councils committed to peace and brotherhood.
Watch the Youtube Clip of "Play the Pipes of Peace"

In 1979, on this day USSR Premier Leonid Brezhnev ordered a stand down of Soviet Forces operating in Afghanistan.

Brezhnev Orders Stand Down in Afghanistan After enjoying a dominant position in international diplomacy over the United States, the latter 1970s carried a decline for the Soviet Union. Nixon had opened US relations with Communist China and ended American involvement in the Vietnam War that had nearly torn the country apart. In 1979, Egypt and Israel had reached a peace agreement hosted by the US. Iraq, too, had fallen away from Soviet dependence when it began purchasing Italian and French weapons. Farther east, however, things were looking up for the Soviet Union: Iran had overthrown its US-backed Shah and American-Afghani relations had all but ended after their ambassador was killed during an assault against the militants who had kidnapped him.

With waning influence in the western Middle East, the Soviets looked to a goal dating back over a century in the Great Game, political one-uppings with the British Empire in an attempt to hold all of Central Asia under a sphere of influence. Always looking for warm-water ports, the Russians had long desired to add Iran to their empire. Even if possible, it would be a long-term goal, and more immediate were the goings-on in Afghanistan.

In 1973, former Prime Minister Mohammad Daoud Khan overthrew the king in the coup known as the Saur Revolution and would be overthrown himself five years later by the army and the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan. Forced modernization and violent purges of factionalism caused a great deal of turmoil, but the government was Soviet-supported, even signing a treaty that outlined rights for calling upon the Soviet Union for military support. As the unrest broke into full-fledged civil war and half of Afghanistan's army deserted or joined the opposing Mujahideen, President Amin and the PDPA asked for Soviet help, first with helicopter support in June, then rifle divisions in July, and increasingly through December when Brezhnev gave orders prepping for deployment of Russian troops.

His plans changed immediately, however, after a leaked, and possibly false, note from US President Carter's national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski read, "We now have the opportunity of giving to the Soviet Union its Vietnam War". Brezhnev did not make the note public, but it did alter his opinion on Afghanistan's significance. President Amin had already been straying from Soviet loyalty, and his purges had killed numerous supporters of Russia. Brezhnev decided that the Afghanis would lie in the graves they dug for themselves rather than support them.

The diplomatic shift was handled carefully. The PDPA cried out as abandoned, but Brezhnev remained firm and offered advisers and the use of training facilities. Amin and his government attempted to appeal to China and Pakistan, that latter of which did send troops to defend Pakistani nationals, but it was too little and too late. His government collapsed in 1980, the same year as the successful Olympics in Moscow. Sending food and medical supplies to the new nation, Brezhnev managed to gain a foothold in diplomacy there, opening up relations that would later lead to heavy Russian economic influence.

With the 1980s, international significance returned to the USSR. Using Afghanistan as leverage, the Russians were able to convince Carter and the US Senate to ratify the SALT II nuclear weapons manufacture treaty. The Iran-Iraq War saw another leap forward as the American-supported Saddam Hussein began a long stalemate as the two nations brutalized one another beginning in 1980. The USSR secretly afforded the Iranians weapons, keeping the war going and ultimately drawing in beleaguered American action to contain the altercation.

By the time the war ended, the Americans were war-weary in the Middle East. Saddam's invasion of Kuwait prompted action from the UN Security Council, and the USSR led action by securing northern Iraq. Citing defense of the Kurdish people, the Soviets refused to pull out much as they had done in Eastern Europe after World War II, and the US saw a new wave of the Cold War begin in the Middle East. Using Afghanistan as a model, the USSR would also later see Iran become an economic satellite, cutting the Middle East in half.

CIA actions in Pakistan and beyond the Sandy Curtain encouraged insurgence, finding a new balance between the world's two superpowers. USSR influence continues to push eastward with increased Socialist activity in India, where many political commentators speculate we may see another Korea in coming decades of the Cold War.

In 1939, with Nazi UFOs poised to wipe out the Eastern European and Western Russian populations of the Soviet Union, a new and insidious force emerged in "the Bloodlands" of their future battlefield: the enemy that Hitler had always imagined - the Greater Zionist Resistance (GZR).

The Rise of the GZRFirst proposed at the Congress for Safeguarding of Non-Jewish Interests held in Dresden, Germany in 1882, this paramilitary unit was secrely formed by the Jewish officers of the NKVD that had sown the seeds of anti-semitism during Stalin's purges.

And their orders to shoot political dissidents in advance of the Nazi invasion was all but certain to make willing executioners of the German-friendly elements of the gentile population who would welcome the invaders as liberators. Instead, they would form a "stay behind" organization that would prevent such an alliance from ever forming.

But the mad aspirations of Hitler's mind had expanded with the successful development of super-weaponry. A grander vision had now taken the place of the "lebensraum" dreams he penned as a political prisoner in "Mein Kampf". And as events turned out, Nazi inhumanity extended to Slavs as well, and Hitler made unnecessary enemies of the people of the occupied territories which he planned to completely depopulate. Because the Aryan race and their alien allies would be more faithfully served by robots instead of the Slavs.

As the troop formations of the Red Army were swept away, the Wehrmacht raced towards Moscow and a bloody siege of street-to-to-street facing that would last for six months. The GZR would score early successes by creating havoc in the German supply chain. By the end of 1940, Ribbentrop and Molotov would sit down to negotiate a ceasefire that would enable both nations to team up against the GZR which was by now a putative authority, the new masters of "the Bloodlands".
A rather different timeline for the origination of the GZR was proposed in Robbie Taylor's excellent novella Protocols of the Elders of Zion, gotta love it.

In 1933, the six-month power struggle that had grid-locked the executive branch of the federal government ended with the widely anticipated dismissal of the Attorney General, Huey Pierce Long on Christmas Eve. Less than three years later, "the Kingfish"would die a tragic and mysterious death at the age of just forty-two.Payback for the Straight-shooters

In July the Justice Department issued federal warrants ordering the arrest of the former governor of New York Al Smith and also Irenee du Pont, a chemical industrialist.

Charged with un-American Activities, zealous departmental officials alleged that Smith and du Pont were the financial and organizational backbone of the so-called business plot. The central piece of evidence for such a conspiracy was a sworn deposition presented to Long by the retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler. "Old Gimlet Eye" claimied to have been offered the all-powerful Cabinet position of Secretary of General Affairs. Such an appointment of super-secretary would of course have reduced the role of President to a figure head, placing the control of the administration firmly in the hands of the military-industrial complex.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt had little cause to doubt either Smedley or Long. Both men were principled lone-wolf individuals of long standing profession who had built untarnished reputations for honesty.

A decade before, it was the case of Cumberland Tel & Tel Co. v. Louisiana Public Service Commission, 260 U.S. 212 that had delivered Long to the national stage. Chief Justice William Howard Taft described Long as one of the best legal minds he had ever encountered after he successfully argued the case on appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1922.

Yet Long's desire for justice had a strong social dimension, declaring proudly that he never took a case against a poor man. Following in the foot-steps of his Revolutionary ancestor Richard Vince, Long was expelled aged just fifteen for petitioning to fire the school principal. Despite winning a debating scholarship, he was too poor to finance textbooks and forced to turn down his place at Louisiana State University. Finally after taking the bar after just one year at the University of Oklahoma School of Law, Long spent a decade in private practice representing small plaintiffs against large businesses, including workers' compensation cases.

Intimately involved with workers' compensation cases himself, Smedley Darlington Butler shared two common traits with Long. A high achiever, Butler was the most decorated Marine in U.S. History by the time of his death (in his book My First Days in the White House, Long stated that, if elected to the presidency, he would name Butler as his Secretary of War). Also a man of the people, Butler addressed the Bonus Army in 1932, backing their demands for the immediate payment of bonuses due them according to the Adjusted Service Certificate Law of 1924. Days later, their tent camps would be destroyed by US Army cavalry troops under the command of General Douglas MacArthur.

In the 1932 election both Butler and Long had supported Roosevelt, yet FDR was right to sense that both men had moved away from him. President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not want to pay the bonus, instead issuing an executive order allowing the enrollment of 25,000 veterans in the Civilian Conservation Corps for work in forests. Realising that both Long and Butler were disimpressed with this watered-down compromise measure, the President feared that the pair would mount their own business counter-coup, going much further than FDR's own plans for a New Deal. An an ardent critic of the Federal Reserve System, Long was privately advocating a new wealth redistribution measures in the form of a net asset tax on large corporations and individuals of great wealth to curb the poverty and crime resulting from the Great Depression.

Yet Long would not live to implement these plans. Running on the "Every Man a King" platform in the 1936 election with Butler as his running mate, Long was shot dead at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge; he died two days later.

His last words were reportedly, "God, don't let me die. I have so much left to do". Until his own death in 1940, Butler would allege that fellow serviceman Douglas MacArthur organised the assassination, a central charge in his explosive post-election book, War Is a Racket.

New York

In 1960, on this day the New York Philharmonic held a special Christmas Eve benefit concert for workers involved in New York City's post-hurricane recovery efforts.

New York - Philamonic
Philamonic
In 2003, a horrible crack opens in the earth surrounding London. Fires shooting up a hundred feet prevent the population from leaving by car or on foot - even airplanes find it hard to take off and fly through the geysers of fire. Pope Righteous I commands his Holy British troops to begin their march on Jerusalem.
In 1994, Algerian extremists hijack a French plane and fly it to Paris, where they blow up the plane, killing all the passengers on board. The horrific spectacle prompts governments around the world to institute new security procedures in their airports. Scarily, this catches many other groups that were planning similar attacks over the next few years, including five groups in the United States who had planned on using large planes as missiles.
In 1972, international superstar Pete Best makes a controversial decision to perform for American troops fighting in Vietnam. Although he is derided as a sellout by the anti-war movement, the performance endears him to American troops everywhere. Best eventually mends the fence with the peaceniks with his album Goodwill Towards Men, released the following Christmas.
In 1970, Bartholomew Thompson, direct descendent of Mikhail von Heflin, is born in Bryan, Texas. Although all four of his older siblings were aware of their lineage fairly early in life, Thompson didn?t find out until meeting with the Baron in 1996. Their introduction to each other at the science fiction convention Aggiecon proved pivotal for the both of them.
In 1952, Congress is unable to override President Truman's veto of the McCarren-Walter Act. Truman's characterization of the act as 'inhumane' evoked the image of all the Jews turned away from America who went back to their deaths at the hands of the Nazis, and scuttled any chance the bill had of being enacted. This led to charges from the Republicans of being soft on Communism, but even incoming President Eisenhower agreed with Truman, having seen what happened to the Jews in Europe because of bad immigration policy.
In 1905, star-maker Howard Hughes was born in Houston, Texas. Although his family business was in the tool industry, Hughes saw his fortune in Hollywood, and with his acquisition of RKO Pictures in 1948, gave up all interest in virtually every other pursuit. Under his direction, RKO made some of the greatest classics in Hollywood's history, such as Spartacus, The Godfather, and Star Wars. Hughes, who hated flying, died in a plane crash on his way home to his native Houston in 1982.
In 1865, the Ku Klux Klan was founded in Pulaski, Tennessee, by former Confederate soldiers unwilling to accept defeat. The racist organization was, oddly enough, responsible for keeping America from falling under the influence of the pro-Nazi American Bund during the 20th century because it forbade its members from allying with foreign powers.
In 1814, the Treaty of Ghent brought peace between Canada and Great Britain after 2 years of war. Canada kept the formerly American colony of Maine by virtue of having troops all over it, and Great Britain paid restitution for the burning of the new Canadian capitol at Ottawa.
In 1802, a Signore Tolman, was permitted into the presence of Emperor Buonaparte of Italy to inform him of a grave disaster he could foresee with mystic powers. The emperor listened half-heartedly at first, but gave the man greater attention when he showed that he could disappear and reappear at will. Emperor Buonaparte sent his armies to the German north at the stranger's request.
In 753 AUC, a young Hebrew couple, the woman heavy with child, were given shelter in an inn in Bethlehem. The innkeeper, whose wife had just had a baby, took pity on them and gave them his finest room free of charge. When the woman died during childbirth the next morning, the husband took the young child to the east with 3 men who had apparently come to pay homage to the child because of a prophecy. This child grew up to be the great east philosopher Yeshua ben-Yusuph, whose speeches and writings became a bridge between Roman culture of the west and the Asian cultures of the east.
In 47,392 BCE, Telka and her great-granddaughter Swikolay reach the mountains of the Himalayas. The two slay many animals over the next week, and tan their hides into furs that they can wear. They start up the mountain as the years turns, and Telka tells Swikolay, 'This mountain will allow us to touch the sky.'
After(cont.), ~ Jake and Steph pulled the sleeping bags from the jeep and wrestled them into comfortable handholds. 'So, what do you know about Kevin, besides the whole lottery thing?'
Jake looked over at her with raised eyebrows. 'You didn't just ask me about another man, did you?'
'Hey, baby, we're done,' Steph said, snapping her fingers. 'You might as well help me move on.'
He laughed and shoved her shoulder gently. 'He's not a bad guy, I guess. Probably a good church-goin' boy, you'd like that. And, if you got with him, I wouldn't have to worry about the kids' college. Yeah, go for him, Steph.' He turned her back around towards the Johnson's house. She wheeled back and slugged him on the arm.
'I haven't really had that many dates since we split up, you know. I guess since I chose you for a husband, my taste in men's not the best, so I should ask somebody else's advice.'
He shook his head in disbelief. 'Maybe you could be having this talk with Janice, then, instead of insulting me.'
Steph snorted. 'Please. That girl wants you so bad, she practically has an ad in the paper.'
'Really?' That put a little pep in Jake's step. 'All right, then.'
'You so full of yourself,' she said, looking down the road. Twin beams of light were rushing toward them. 'Jake, is somebody else supposed to be comin' here?'
'No,' Jake said, following her gaze.
They turned off all the lights and gathered by the windows. Janice put on her night-vision goggles and told the others what was happening across the street. 'Three guys just piled out of the car. They don't look too nice.'
George plaintively asked, 'Where's mom and dad?'
'I don't see them.' She scanned the yard for any sign of the pair, but saw nothing. The jeep, as far as she could see, was empty. She saw one of the strange men do something to the lock on the door of the Morris' house and open the door. 'They just busted the lock on your house.' All three of them rushed inside, drawing guns as they did so. 'They mean business, too. They're armed.' She looked across the yard one more time. 'Where is Jake?'
Kevin stood and said, 'I'll go after them.'
'Sit your butt down, GI Joe,' Janice told him. 'It's three to one, and those guys are probably not computer jocks.'
'I can shoot,' Kevin said, his face growing hot.
'I don't doubt it,' she said, trying to see where the strangers were in the house. 'But, I bet they can shoot, too, and they're probably in better practice.'
Kevin reluctantly sat back down. 'How about I just sneak over there and see if I can find Steph and Sergeant Morris?'
Beams from flashlights flashed crazily all over the Morris' house. 'They're not doing a real thorough search; looks like they're just running around the house to see if they can find anybody.' They all jumped as they heard a gunshot.
Joan squeaked out, 'Oh my god, did they see mom and dad?'
Janice was desperately looking everywhere she could see in the house across the street. 'Damn it,' she whispered. 'OK, Bradley. Looks like we're stormin' the castle after all.' She pulled out her own pistol and stood up. 'You let me lead, all right? They're using flashlights, so we may be able to spot them before they get the drop on us.'
'What if they shine the light in your goggles?'
'Then, I'm screwed, and you better be ready to back my butt up.'
'All this concern is touching,' Jake said from behind them, 'but, y'all don't have to worry about us.'
Janice immediately ran over and hugged him, then let go quickly and looked at him and Steph. 'What happened?'
'We saw them coming down the street,' Steph said, pulling herself away from her children's embrace. 'So, we just went around back here.'
'You scared us,' Kevin said to her. There was a strange half-smile playing around his lips.
'Sorry,' Steph said to him, an odd softness in her voice.
Janice turned back to the window and asked, 'What were they shooting at, then?'

In 1970, reports of the death of guerrilla leader and Fidel Castro are proven false when the deposed Cuban president makes a daring public appearance in Camaguey, capital of the Cuban province of the same name.

Castro's survival and the fact that he was able to appear in the open in a major Cuban city and escape drive President Nixon into a frenzy of rage. The President drinks himself into a red-eyed stupor and then, shortly before midnight, issues the order for a massive bombing of the area around Camaguey.

 -

"I don't care how many sp*c-monkey villagers you have to kill," he screams at Cuban occupation commander Gen. Westmoreland over the phone. "I want Castro dead, do you hear me! For real, this time!".

In 1979, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan. Its forces will overthrow the independent but pro-Soviet government in Kabul and replacing it with a puppet regime under Babrak Karmal. A U.S. response is not long in coming. Its public face is presented in the form of a strong condemnation of the Soviet action in the United Nations. Privately, President Kennedy confers with the governments of several nations, including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, regarding the provision of support to anti-Soviet elements inside Afghanistan. Kennedy opposes directly involving the U.S. military, but is willing to employ the CIA to help funnel material support to anti-Soviet fighters.

 -

In 1962, more than 1,000 servicemen from the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba returned to the United States in time for Christmas. A rapturous crowd of 10,000 Cuban exiles greeted each new arrival at the Dinner Key Auditorium, on the outskirts of Miami. Police and army cordons could barely restrain the mass of cheering, flag-waving people as they surged towards the buses bringing the prisoners back. US President Richard M Nixon congratulated the men on a job well done. Also present for the speech were former President Dwight D Eisenhower, and Richard Mervin Bissell Jr., director of Operation Zapata, the CIA's codename for the operation.

Cubans
Cubans - Heroes
Heroes


In the timestream the Ghost Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come shows Ebeenezer Scrooge a strange vision of the far future.

The births of two beautiful dual heritage children in London England. The babyfather tells them he loves them more than all the stars in the sky.
Lord Lucan

In 1974, former UK Lord Lucan was found living under a false name in Australia after apparently faking his own death. He was detained under an immigration law by Melbourne police at the seaside resort of St Kilda, where he told officers his name was Donald Clive Mildoon. He is due to appear before a magistrate on Boxing Day and it is thought he is being held for entering the country with a false passport. Lord Lucan, 49, was feared drowned after vanishing on a business trip to Miami Beach on 20 November. He vanished while swimming in the sea and there was no trace of him but for the pile of clothes he left behind on the beach.

Lord Lucan - Found
Found

It has emerged he then left the country the following day and travelled between Singapore, Denmark and the Lebanon before returning to Australia around 10 December. Melbourne police's 'dog squad', so called because they hunt in packs, had placed Mr Stonehouse under surveillance from 10 December after a tip-off from overseas. There are unconfirmed reports they believed him to be the missing Lord Lucan who disappeared after his children's nanny was found dead. The re-emergence of the Lord,on the other side of the world has stunned Parliament and his colleagues at Westminster. A Whitehall source said his future in the House of Lords was uncertain but it is too early in the proceedings to comment on whether he could be expelled.

In 1994, Algerian extremists hijack a French plane and fly it to Paris, where they blow up the plane, killing all the passengers on board. The horrific spectacle prompts governments around the world to institute new security procedures in their airports. Scarily, this catches many other groups that were planning similar attacks over the next few years, including five groups in the United States who had planned on using large planes as missiles.Story Chunk 2
In 1905, star-maker Howard Hughes was born in Houston, Texas. Although his family business was in the tool industry, Hughes saw his fortune in Hollywood, and with his acquisition of RKO Pictures in 1948, gave up all interest in virtually every other pursuit. Under his direction, RKO made some of the greatest classics in Hollywood's history, such as Spartacus, The Godfather, and Star Wars. Hughes, who hated flying, died in a plane crash on his way home to his native Houston in 1982.
In 1952, Congress is unable to override President Truman's veto of the McCarren-Walter Act. Truman's characterization of the act as 'inhumane' evoked the image of all the Jews turned away from America who went back to their deaths at the hands of the Nazis, and scuttled any chance the bill had of being enacted. This led to charges from the Republicans of being soft on Communism, but even incoming President Eisenhower agreed with Truman, having seen what happened to the Jews in Europe because of bad immigration policy.
In 1802, a Signore Tolman, was permitted into the presence of Emperor Buonaparte of Italy to inform him of a grave disaster he could foresee with mystic powers. The emperor listened half-heartedly at first, but gave the man greater attention when he showed that he could disappear and reappear at will. Emperor Buonaparte sent his armies to the German north at the stranger's request.
In 1946, Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader CBE DSO and Bar DFC and Bar FRAeS DL LegH CdeG RAF is executed at Nuremberg on Christmas Eve. Speaking in exile from Toronto, former British Prime Minister Winston Spencer Churchill pays tribute to Bader. Reprising his 'Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few' speech, Churchill pledges to fight a second Battle of Britain and reconquer the islands from the Nazi occupiers. He speaks at length of his experience as a journalist in the Boer War, drawing comparisons with the relief of Mafeking and Ladysmith in 1900. Britain, he says, has lost some wickets, but the innings is far from over.
In 1814, the Treaty of Ghent brought peace between the United States and Great Britain. The British, once again, had gotten the raw end of the deal, and were unable to negotiate back the Canadian possessions they had lost during the war. If they had maintained their alliances with the Native Americans, it's possible that they could have had more negotiating strength, but British arrogance towards the 'savages' lost them a valuable ally.
In 0, a young Hebrew couple, the woman heavy with child, were given shelter in an inn in Bethlehem. The innkeeper, whose wife had just had a baby, took pity on them and gave them his finest room free of charge.
In 1914, the 'Christmas truce' begins in World War I as Russian and German soldiers swap cigarettes and chocolate. After its over, the Armies go home and overthrow their respective monarchs.

In 1942, German scientist Werner von Braun tests the world's first surface-to-surface missile at Peenemunde.

The Fuhrer gave Braun just sixteen months to deliver a super-weapon.

The incredible true story of how he made the deadline, and stopped the war is epically described by the journalist James Herbert in '48

V1
V1 - Rocketry
Rocketry
in 1946, Commander of the British Eighth Army Colonel T.E. Lawrence was executed at Nuremberg on Christmas Eve. Lawrence blamed his defeat upon a group of Egyptian officers, headed by Gamal Abdul Nassar, and Anwar el-Sadat, who secretly sided with the Germans, ridding North Africa of Britain's presence. On the prison wall, Lawrence had scribbled a biblical quote from the Book of Proverbs, 9:1: Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars


December 23

In 1912, the Nouvelle Revue Francaise rejects A la Recherche du Temps Perdu ("Remembrance of Things Past" or more literally, "In Search of Lost Time"), an abysmally awful novel by Marcel Proust. Confined to his cork-lined bedroom, he had slept during the day and worked tirelessly at night to complete it.

In Search of Lost TimeMany of its ideas, motifs, and scenes were foreshadowed in Phis unfinished novel, Jean Santeuil (1896-99), though the perspective and treatment there are different, and in his unfinished hybrid of philosophical essay and story, Contre Sainte-Beuve (1908-09).

But other leading editors also turned down the manuscript which had been offered in longhand. And so instead he published the work himself in 1913, but after it met with little success, he committed suicide in his small apartment in Paris, France. The work has since been viewed with a less harsh eye, but it has still never garnered much critical acclaim.

In 1777, on this day future Tsar Alexander I of Russia was born in the capital city of Saint Petersburg. He succeeded to the throne on 24 March 1801,and was crowned in the Kremlin on 15 September of that year. Unfortunately for Alexander I, his ill-fated reign occurred at the same time as the rise to power of his nemesis, the magnificent Emperor of the French, Napoleon Bonaparte.

Birth of the ill-fated Tsar Alexander I of RussiaAutocrat and "Jacobin", man of the world and mystic, Alexander appeared to his contemporaries as a riddle which each read according to his own temperament. Napoleon Bonaparte thought him a "shifty Byzantine", and called him the Talma of the North, as ready to play any conspicuous part. To Metternich he was a madman to be humoured. Castlereagh, writing of him to Lord Liverpool, gives him credit for "grand qualities", but adds that he is "suspicious and undecided"; and to Jefferson he was a man of estimable character, disposed to do good, and expected to diffuse through the mass of the Russian people "a sense of their natural rights".

Six years into his reign he was comprehensively defeated by the French in Poland, deciding to sign the Treaty of Tilsit. This agreement included a binding commitment to not trade with England, such that the French and Russians were thus allied at the time. But in 1811, Tsar Alexander started to break the agreement.

Napoleon and his advisers considered attacking Russia to reinforce the treaty. Napoleon saw that his army far outnumbered the Russian army, but fearing the harsh Russian lands he had the good sense to realize that if Russia attacked him, he would face no real threat. Nevertheless he dispatched one of his advisers to gather information about the Russian lands from people who had travelled there. Until then, Napoleon decided not to leave his Grande Armee idle, so he captured the rest of Europe, the relatively weak Ottoman empire to the south-east with the spotted remains of the Byzantine. After completing this campaign, Napoleon decided to move his capital to a new city he founded in Switzerland called Nepola, to control Europe from its center. When Napoleon was finally ready to punish Russia for breaking the treaty of Tilsit in the early spring of 1813, he had conquered all of Europe barring Russia.

Although Napoleon barely won the battle south of Moscow by coordinating his troops, he was well placed to return to Moscow with Tsar Alexander to sign a peace treaty, agreeing that Napoleon may claim the western area of Russia around Finland, including Saint Petersburg, and that Russia become an ally of the French again. Before Napoleon returned, he ensured that the newspapers herald his victory in Russia well.

In 517 AD, on this day, the Romano-Celtic High King of Britain Arthur Pendragon defeated Mordred's rebel forces at the Battle of Camlann.

Battle of CamlannThe "Strife of Camlann" was a bitter feud which had begun (as usual) with an act of selfish disloyalty. Because in a bid to gain the High Kingship for himself, his former lieutenant had reneged upon Arthur's trust, striking a bargain with the Saxon invaders instead of defending the northern marches of the Kingdom.

To bait Arthur, Mordred had raided the Court, throwing his wife Gwenhwyfar to the ground and beating her. Fought upon a site of his choosing (pictured), the crooked bank of a river by Hadrian's wall, both armies suffered devastating casualties. At the last, Arthur managed to run Mordred through, narrowly avoding a sword thrust that would almost certain have killed him.

But the bloodbath had fatally weakened the Britons who were easily overcome by the Saxon invaders that Arthur had kept at bay for twenty years. Forced into exile on the Isle of Apples, and his sword Excalibur thrown back into the Lake, he was unable to mount a comeback despite speculation that persisted years after his death.

In 1865, Chancellor Bismarck's arrival in a steam-powered exo-skeleton upstaged the dirigibles carrying mustachio-twirling German diplomats and monocled English & French civil servants to the Colonial Conference in New Amsterdam. Which was to say nothing of the majestic dapperness of the Russian contingent. The Dutch of course were already there. An episode from the Steampunk America thread.

Steampunk America
Part 1 by Ed & Jared Myers
Almost inevitably, the "Scramble for America" had created a large number of boundary issues between the European Colonies. Perhaps the most pressing of which was navigation of the Mississippi River, an issue that affected the co-existence of Spain, England and France. Also required was a common approach to liquidating Lee's rebels who were believed to be holed up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia refusing to accept the dissolution of the Union.

But the remainder were in broad agreement that a growth spurt in the European Industrial Revolution spelled domination of the Americas for the forseeable future. Because during the last decade, neo-colonials had reversed the American revolution and re-created a patchwork of assorted states ruled by European Governors. Nothing less than an all-out invasion of the USA by Russia, France, Spain, Britain, Prussia, and the Dutch Republic.

In 2011, Occupy Apple Campus was electrified by the unexpected arrival of a new protestor: Steve Jobs.

Occupy Apple Campus 2
By Ed and Robbie Taylor
A near-miraculous temporary recovery from pancreatic cancer had forced the co-founder of Apple to completely re-evaluate many of his core beliefs. After his retirement on medical grounds, he appeared on a number of television and radio interviews, expressing increasingly maverick opinions. This quaint controversy only led to a complete break with the company when he remorsefully admitted to the "soft-bullying" of his subordinates. In a cruel self-parody of his former self, he joked "Thats the most stupid thing I have ever heard!" to express his profound regrets over his business decision to outsource the manufacturing of Apple products to China. That judgement in particular had defined his demonized status an an enemy of the American working man.

Of course Jobs biggest regret of all was delaying medical treatment in 2004 when his medium-term survival prospects were far better. Because he had recently discovered that the cancer was back and he only had months to live. He immediately announced his desire to use the remaining time he had left to become a friend of the American worker. And even though he was a marketing genius, he expressed doubt that he could actually pull off such a complete rebadge. But then he received the fateful call from US blue-collar labour advocate George Lucas inviting him to join the protest in Cupertino. It was a home-spun truism that was driving the campaign of Democrat Presidential front-runner Charlie Bucket with his key platform message - "one day, things will change, and probably when you least expect it". Watch Cheer up Charlie on Youtube!
This article is part of the Blue Collar Fightback thread.

In 1888, on this day the troubled life of Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh took its most dreadful turn as he murdered his roommate and fellow artist, Paul Gauguin.

Van Gogh Murders Gauguin Van Gogh was born March 30, 1853, and suffered a lifetime of mental illness, most based in anxiety and magnified by poor nutrition and alcohol. He described his youth as "gloomy and cold and sterile" in a later letter to his brother Theo. Boarding school troubled him as a student, prompting him to leave abruptly. His uncle managed to find him a position as an art dealer, bringing van Gogh to London where he fell in love with his landlady's daughter. She rejected him, and he fled to Paris, where he lost his job after voicing his opinions that art was not to be treated as a commodity.

After stints as a minister's assistant, bookshop worker, and missionary, in 1880, he decided to become an artist in pursuit of God's service. His early work while in the Netherlands was notoriously dark and somber, such as The Potato Eaters with its ugly portrayal of genuine peasants. In 1886, he moved to Paris to study art further, moving in with his younger brother Theo, who had always supported Vincent financially and emotionally despite, or because of, his worries about Vincent's mental health.

Van Gogh's work brightened, and Theo used his art-dealer connections to introduce him to many other artists whose work helped to influence van Gogh's growing styles. After some 200 paintings and two years imbibing and smoking too much, van Gogh sought to leave the city in pursuit of a dream of an artists' colony. He settled in Arles in the south of France, much to the chagrin of locals and, after ten months, persuaded his friend Paul Gauguin to join him.

Gauguin, five years van Gogh's senior, was a man of experimentation and a leader in the Symbolist movement. He held some Peruvian blood and had lived in South America in his youth. After serving in the French Navy, marrying a Danish woman, and beginning a career as a stockbroker, he quit it all in 1885 to paint full time. Gauguin had met van Gogh in 1887, and the two shared similar experiences with depression. In October of 1888, he moved to stay with van Gogh in his famed Yellow House in Arles, beginning a nine-week deterioration of their friendship that would lead into an altercation where van Gogh slashed Gauguin's throat with a razor.

According to interviews, van Gogh immediately regretted his action and attempted to save Gauguin by gingerly holding his throat, but the latter bled to death. Neighbors were roused by van Gogh carrying Gauguin's body into the street and screaming for the police to arrest a murderer. Van Gogh was indeed arrested and sentenced to death, though his brother Theo successfully campaigned (and bribed) for Vincent to be placed permanently into a mental institution. There van Gogh was allowed to paint and was studied by eminent psychiatrists.

Great shock was raised in Paris, London, and Brussels at word of the Murderer-Artist, and galleries were filled with his works, instantly in demand and expensive. Van Gogh had achieved fame, but he remained in horrid mental condition at the guilt of murder. When his brother died in 1891 of syphilis's dementia paralytica (believed from over-celebration at his newfound wealth), Vincent stopped painting and became increasingly suicidal, famously stabbing out his left eye with a paintbrush. After months of interrupted attempts, van Gogh hanged himself by his own shirt.

The shock increased throughout Europe's artistic circles, and the new reaction was that the post-Impressionist style was too much for the human mind. It became unpopular among the wealthy to pay artists to paint unrealistically, just as one would not pay to see dogs fight. Underground galleries continued to show lesser known artistic experiments, but New Realism dominated the art world until the horrors of World War I gave a new call for escapism. Haunting Abstractionism and Surrealism of the Mad Generation exploded across Europe and North America in the 1920s and '30s, which itself would ultimately fall as the pendulum of taste swept back toward realistic depictions in art for the next twenty years.

In 1864, the Confederate House followed the CS Senate and two-thirds the Confederate States in passage of the Emancipation Amendment, which repealed every endorsement of slavery in the Confederate Constitution and established a prohibition against slavery or any sort of involuntary bondage.

Gettysburg Prayer Part Two by Raymond SpeerThe celebration of the Greatest Christmas Present continued in every Confederate State well into the new year of 1865, (Winston S. Churchill's Commentary, 1933.)

When the Confederate Congress returned to session, there were eight different bills of impeachment on file at the House Judiciary Committee to the effect that President Davis ought to be removed from office. It was pointed out that the president had disparaged the guarantees of slavery written into the CSA Constitution, and one complaint went to the core of the issue and declared Davis had gone insane for love of the Negro.

News of the Gettysburg Prayer were passed off as inconsequential by radical Republicans like Thaddeus Stevens, who grumbled that Southerners could admit that they were defeated and be rid of slavery without arguing the issue among themselves. The Lincolns held a reception for General Grant, who was cheered on the assumption that he would soon take the battle to Lee. But every federal general was either dead (like Hancock) or in a Richmond jail like George Meade (whose nerves were shattered), so it was no easy matter to get a new federal Army ready to try to defeat Lee.

Around Washington DC went higher walls, deeper trenches, new artillery batteries and even telegraph lines to the new entrenchments. Though Lee have famously replenished his artillery by seizure of the heavy guns of the Army of the Potomac, Lee was hardly disposed to strike the fortress that was Washington and so quiet returned to the East theatre of the War.

At the next big battle between the Union and the Confederacy, Chickamauga on September 20, 1863, the South had reinforced its Western Army with Longstreet's Corps which featured Hood's Texas division and Pickett's Virginians. The men of Hood and Pickett co-operated and broke the position of Union General Thomas, putting out of commission the Army that Grant had great plans for.

The British Cabinet voted to offer the two sides in America the services of the British Foreign Officer as mediators to end the ongoing War. Made in the first week of October 1863, the British offer to act as a mediator was rejected by Abraham Lincoln two weeks later even as Davis accepted the proposal. The "People's Militia of New York, the ruffians and hooligans who had dominated the streets in most parts of the metropolis since the Gettysburg-caused shortage of Union regular troops, took up arms again when Lincoln spurned a peace conference and were reduced in urban combat by Yankee arms which encircled the city.

Adroit maneuvers by General Jackson's infantry and General Stuart's horse soldiers permitted the Confederacy to exploit eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey from their base in central Pennsylvania. While Grant used his talents and men to suppress rioters block by bloody block, Lee waited on the strategic periphery of New York, certain that his foe could not take any substantive maneuver against the Army of Northern Virginia.

The great successes of the winter of '63 and '64 were Stuart's rescue of 4,000 prisoners of war from a camp in the far north, and Jackson's candy raid, when Jackson's men had brought to the South so much in the way of supplies that many of the wagons were hauling candy!

Given time illuminated by victories, support grew for implementation of emancipation. Foes of Davis forced votes in Congress on the issue. The Senate gave an emancipation amendment majority support and the House was ten votes shy of a majority, but no one could argue that there was no reasonable support for the deal.

Negroes in gray uniforms were usually in garrisons in Confederate territory and public opinion was galvanized around Christmas when black Confederates near Trenton, New Jersey, atacked and ran off an equal number of federal white troops, who began reciting the Gettysburg Prayer on the field of battle.

In spite of everything, given the size of the Union's edge over the Confederacy in population and in productive capabity, the South still stared defeat in the face at the beginning of 1864.

In 2001, for the second time this Christmas week, President Gore appears on nationwide television. In somber tones, he informs his audience that the Taliban government of Afghanistan has refused to comply with his demands.Final Warning by Eric Lipps
"Therefore", he continues, "in accordance with my responsibilities as President of the United States, I have decided to act, as I promised the American people I would do. I do not consider myself at liberty to divulge what measures are planned. I am sure that those who have made themselves the enemies of this nation are listening tonight along with the American people, and I do not intend to give them advance notice of our strategy. To the extent that our actions may involve the nation of Afghanistan, I again warn Kabul: do not attempt to obstruct our efforts to locate, capture and bring to justice the murderers of September 11. Any such action will be taken as indicating that the government of Afghanistan sides with the murderers, and we will respond accordingly. One final note, again to Kabul: we have chosen at this time not to sever relations with the government of Afghanistan, because despite its non-cooperation we do not now consider it an enemy of the United States. But if any action is taken against our embassy in Kabul, or against its personnel, by the Afghan government or anyone else, we shall consider ourselves to be at war not only with the terrorists of Al Qaeda but with the government of Afghanistan. We shall not allow our concern for the welfare of our diplomatic personnel to be used against us. There shall be no repetition of the nightmare of Iran".
The President's words are, if anything, even more controversial than those of two nights earlier. Many people had expected him to let his 48-hour deadline pass without comment, and without action, while he kept on pleading with Kabul for aid in rooting out Al Qaeda. His words this evening suggest he is not interested in further diplomatic maneuvering, but do not--quite--amount to a statement that he will use military force.

Los Angeles

On this day in 1973, the Cowboys' season came to a shockingly early end as the Los Angeles Rams jumped out to a 14-3 first half lead and went on a 37-20 upset victory in the 1973 NFC divisional playoffs. The Rams subsequently beat the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game to clinch their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.

Los Angeles - Rams Logo
Rams Logo

On this day in 1944, the last German occupation troops in Norway left for home; the next day, Norwegian King Haakon V would return to Oslo after over four years in exile.

Coat of Arms
Coat of Arms - Norwegian Royal Family
Norwegian Royal Family

On this day in 1972, the Dallas Cowboys beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-28 in the 1972 NFL divisional playoffs.

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In 1905, star-maker Howard Hughes was born in Houston, Texas. Although his family business was in the tool industry, Hughes saw his fortune in Hollywood, and with his acquisition of RKO Pictures in 1948, gave up all interest in virtually every other pursuit. Under his direction, RKO made some of the greatest classics in Hollywood's history, such as Spartacus, The Godfather, and Star Wars. Hughes, who hated flying, died in a plane crash on his way home to his native Houston in 1982.
In 1914, the "Christmas truce" begins in World War I as Russian and German soldiers swap cigarettes and chocolate. After its over, the Armies go home and overthrow their respective monarchs.
In 0, a young Hebrew couple, the woman heavy with child, were given shelter in an inn in Bethlehem. The innkeeper, whose wife had just had a baby, took pity on them and gave them his finest room free of charge.
In 1802, a Signore Tolman, was permitted into the presence of Emperor Buonaparte of Italy to inform him of a grave disaster he could foresee with mystic powers. The emperor listened half-heartedly at first, but gave the man greater attention when he showed that he could disappear and reappear at will. Emperor Buonaparte sent his armies to the German north at the stranger's request.
In 1952, Congress is unable to override President Truman's veto of the McCarren-Walter Act. Truman's characterization of the act as "inhumane" evoked the image of all the Jews turned away from America who went back to their deaths at the hands of the Nazis, and scuttled any chance the bill had of being enacted. This led to charges from the Republicans of being soft on Communism, but even incoming President Eisenhower agreed with Truman, having seen what happened to the Jews in Europe because of bad immigration policy.
In 1994, Algerian extremists hijack a French plane and fly it to Paris, where they blow up the plane, killing all the passengers on board. The horrific spectacle prompts governments around the world to institute new security procedures in their airports. Scarily, this catches many other groups that were planning similar attacks over the next few years, including five groups in the United States who had planned on using large planes as missiles.
In 2004, outgoing US President Al Gore pardons his former boss, Bill Clinton, and former First Lady Hillary Clinton for the many scandals that forced Clinton's impeachment and subsequent resignation.


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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.