A Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

Quick Links

Blog Roll
Changing the Times
Everything Is History
This Day in AH
Voice Christian Worker
Editor's Recommendations
Althistory Wiki
Editor's Postbag
Headlines
Lets Talk About History
Selected Threads
Reader's Favourites
Top 100 Ranked Stories
Site Construction
Archive Navigator
Clean DB
Facebook
Get Blogs
Newsfeed Update
Twitter

Selected threads

Guest Historian Andrew Beane
 Andrews Posts
Guest Historian Chris Oakley
 Apollo 1  Arnold Hiller
 Axis Spain  Baltimore Colts
 Barbaro 2006  Barbarossa 41
 Battle Alaska  Belgium 1940
 Biti Letter  Blackpool 40
 British X Files  Ceaucescu 90
 Chance Encounter  Charles Barkley
 Chicago19  Cimino
 Cleopatra  CSI
 Cuba '62  Curt Flood
 D.B. Cooper  Dead Serious
 Double Jeopardy  Eternal City
 Falklands  France 44
 Francis Urquhart  Giant Surprise
 God Save Queen  Grey Cup
 GZ Murmansk  Hirohito@100
 Houston 57  Ice Bowl
 Ill Wind  Iraq NEO Impact
 Jamaica Bay  Japan45
 Jay Sebring  Johnny Damon
 Kirk Prime  Korea 53
 Koufax 35  Last Broadcast
 Lusitania '15  McCain 09
 Middle East 67  Moore 911
 Necessary Evil  New York Knights
 O Tempora, ..  Omega Man
 Oswald63  Parley
 Roswell '47  Salems Lot
 Shirers WW2  Shock
 SL Rangers  Surprise Attack
 The Devourer  Titanic 13
 Tom Brady  Tommies
 Tommy Rich  Trek49
 Valkyrie  Weebls
 Worlds Collide
Guest Historian David Atwell
 Action Jackson  Hells Doors
 Hell on Earth  House Cromwell
Guest Historian David Cryan
 Swine Flu
Guest Historian Dirk Puehl
 Dirks Blog
Guest Historian Eric Lipps
 49th State  Bonaparte 2
 Cuba War  Da Vinci Engine
 Ford Killed  Gore Wins
 JFK Impeached  Liberty Fails
 Lifeterm  Linebacker
 NoChappaquiddick  Whig Revolution
Guest Historian Eric Oppen
 AuH20  Malcolm X
 No Tolkien  Trotsky's War
Guest Historian Gerry Shannon
 CSA Today  Godfather IV
 Hero Oswald  JFK Lives
 Seinfeld Movie
Guest Historian Jackie Rose
 Happy Endings
Guest Historian Jeff Provine
 Jeff Provine Blog
Guest Historian John J. Reilly
 John Reilly Blog
Guest Historian Jackie Speel
 Bosworth 1486  Conjoined Crisis
 Voynich
Guest Historian Kwame Dallas
 African Holocaust
Guest Historian Mike Stone
 WJ Bryan
Guest Historian Raymond Speer
 Cuba War 62  Fall of Britain
 Fascist Flight
 Gettysburg Prayer
 Pacific and Dixie
Alternate Historian Robbie Taylor
 2nd Coming  Canadian Rev
 Chdo Democracy  King Arthur II
 Lucifer Falls  Pete Best Story
 Protocols  Reagan 1976
 Richard Tolman  Sockless
 Soviet America  Speakers Line
 The Sheridans  The Baron
 The Claw  Warp
 Welsh Wizards
Guest Historian Scott Palter
 WW2 Alt
Todayinah Editor Todayinah Ed.
 1850 Compromise  1860 Crisis
 20c Rome  Alt WW2
 American Heroes  Anschluss
 Bomber Harris  British Empire +
 Business Plot  Canadian Heroes
 China 4ever  Communist GB
 Communist Israel  Comrade Hiller
 Comrade Stalin  Co presidency
 Deepwater  Fed Lost Cause
 Flugzeugtrager  Glorious45
 Good Old Willie  Gor Smugglers
 Happy Hitler  Hitler Waxwork
 Intrepid  Iron Mare
 Islamic America  Israel's 60th
 Jewish Hitler  Kaiser Victory
 Liberty Beacon  Lloyd George
 LOTR  Madagscar Plan
 Manhattan '46  McBush
 Midshipman GW  Moonbase
 No Apollo 1 Fire  NY City State
 Obama  Oliver Stanley
 Peace City One  POTUS TedK
 POTUS Nathaniel  Puritan World
 Resource War  Sitka
 Southern Cross  Texan Republic
 The Miracles  Traitor
 Tudor B*stards  Tyrants
 Ukraine 1920  US is Born Again
 US mini-states  US Heroes
 Victory Disease  War on Terror +
 WhiteHouse Wimp  Wolfes Legacy
 Zoroastria
Guest Historian Zach Timmons
 Alt Indiana Jones
 Brett as 007  The Duke

Archive Navigator

January February March
April May June
July August September
October November December

Editor's Postbag     |     Feed

All Postbag Items
Reader's Favourites
Janowska Escape
POTUS Finch
President Boone
Dessalines Lives
Ike's Epiphany
Bolingbroke executed
Aztec Invasion
Freeman's Farm
Camp David
POTUS Scoop Jackson
Gusmao Fails
Dutch Courage Part 8
Duke's Dedication
Baldwin as Batman
Tragedy at Coburg
Cheap Shots
Gleiwitz incident
Bismarck Denied
Austrian Throne Empty
Down in Flames 5
War in New Guinea
Arrests at Central Cafe
Nieuw Zwolle
Death of President William King
Hibernian Union
White Ghost
Icebreaker
L'architecte de la victoire
Electric Nightmares 3
British San Juan
Bay of Pigs, Redux
Dubcek Back Channel
Birth of Julius Dubcek
Happy Endings 46
Telegraph Part 13
Passover
Toledo Rebellion
RMS Titanic
Yamasee War
Tokhtamysh Victorious
Happy Endings 3
Battle of Barnet
Breakout
King Oliver
Art of War
Night of Terror
Sir Thomas Jefferson
Margaret Thatcher
President Bill Davis
Vienna Vanquished
Cosmonaut Leonov
FDR Suffers Minor Stroke
Toast of Fascist China
Mary Follows William in Death
Pacific War Redux
Korean War widens
Down in Flames 4
L'Empereur
Mistress Boleyn
Mount Tambora Merely Burps
Fifth Beatle
Shaken, Not Stirred 11
London Uprising, Part 2
Down in Flames 3
Off the Bench
American Guerillas
Bacons Invention
Edward IV Survives
Entente-Cordiale
Steel Seizure Case
Death of James Bond
1812, Redux
Churchill stumbles
Xavier's Vows
Hindenburg Disaster

Site Meter


January 2

In 1917, on this day Vice President William Jennings Bryan asked Thomas R Marshall ~ "Mr President, how many men were executed in Indiana during your term as Governor there?".

Chapter of Accidents; How Bryan Returned From The Dead"None, thank God". There was one man sentenced to hang, but he won his appeal so I never had to reprieve him".

"Would you say nobody ever deserves to be hanged?"

"No. I expect all too many do. But I don't think the State should be in the business of killing people".

"Exactly!" Bryan pressed home the point. "Yet at least the men who get hanged are usually murderers or something almost as bad. The boys you'd have to send to die in Europe mostly haven't committed any crime. Not yet anyway".

Part 2 of a new story by Mike Stone"And the people who have died on all those ships the Germans sank. American citizens about their lawful business. Women and children too. Do I not owe them anything?" "Of course, Sir. But you don't owe them mass murder. Aren't they a bit like those guys who insist on going over Niagara Falls in a barrel? They have a perfect legal right to do it, at least if they are over 21 and not certified insane" He smiled faintly "Not yet anyway. But have they the right to insist that another man endanger his own life to defend their right to go over the Falls in a barrel? I don't really see it".

"And American seamen? Aren't they entitled to get on with their jobs? If the Germans do what they say they are going to do, then our ships will be getting sunk too, not just Allied ones". Must I allow that?"

"You can prevent it. Just order the Port Authorities not to clear US-registered ships for destinations in the barred zone. If the Allies want to buy from us, let them send their own ships. Ours can find work in the Pacific or trading with South America. There's plenty of business on those routes, now that the British are bringing every spare ship to the North Atlantic". "But what about our maritime rights? The freedom of the seas? President Wilson said - -"

"Mr Wilson was a good man," said Bryan firmly "I admired him very much; but I sometimes feel he was just a shade too legalistic. After all, if there's a race riot on or something, any city Mayor can order citizens to stay in their homes. That's an interference with their freedom, but it's necessary in an emergency situation. That's what's going on in Europe just now - a riot; probably the biggest riot ever. And the freedom to land your country in a war by insisting on your right to wade into the thick of it is just pushing your rights a teeny little step too far1".

"Mr Secretary, this is a break of diplomatic relations we are considering. I have no intention of declaring war".

"It will come to that, Mr President. Breaking relations doesn't solve anything. The Germans have gone too far to back down now, so if we break relations and they carry on, what do we do next? You will have to take another step, and what will that have to be?" "Arm our merchantmen? - -" Marshall's voice quavered slightly, as if he himself saw the weakness of the idea.

"And then what? The u-boats will torpedo without warning, so our ships can't just fire in self-defense. They will have to attack a submarine on sight.

For all practical purposes, a war will have begun. How long before we have to make it official?

"There'll be an uproar. Roosevelt, Lodge, lots of them. They'll say I'm betraying the country. Selling out to Germany".

"Mr President, they aren't worth listening to". Bryan's voice turned suddenly harsh. "They think the Sacred Book lies. They think vengeance is the exclusive property of Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and Mr Henry Cabot Lodge. I suppose we must give Roosevelt his due. If he gets his war at least he'll fight in it. But you can bet your life Lodge won't. He'll sit snug at home while other Americans die for his policies. And that's the way most of them will behave. They crawl along the ground".

"Still, I'd go easy with that line about Niagara Falls. They'll say you're just jealous 'cause there aren't any waterfalls in Nebraska".

Bryan dutifully chuckled at the President's joke, but even to him the humour sounded a bit forced.

President Marshall sat silent in the deserted Oval office. In a way, he was relieved that Bryan had gone. A good man and a good Christian, there could be no doubt about that. But was he being a bit too narrow on this? Certainly, Lodge and Roosevelt were loudmouths, but even loudmouths can occasionally be right. He thought of his father, back in the 1860s, threatened with excommunication from their local Presbyterian Church for refusing to join the Republicans. What had he said? "I am willing to take my chances on Hell, but never on the Republican Party". Yet that hadn't stopped him being a firm Union man during the Civil War, even if it had meant supporting the policy of a Republican Administration. Some things were bigger than party. In the end, he must act for the nation as a whole, and Mr Bryan represented only part of it - maybe not even the largest part. He hoped it would never come to a split. Their common faith made Bryan a kindred spirit2. But his new responsibilities were wider than that, and if worst came to worst, at some point there might have to be a parting of the ways.

But must it be yet? To keep American ships out of the barred zone would indeed involve a swallwing of pride; but the Bible was pretty clear on what pride was. And it wasn't as though the Allies were all that saintly. Some of their blockade measures went far beyond traditional international law, and he suspected that these blacklists of theirs weren't as purely war related as they claimed. Were they indeed out to monopolise world markets after the war? No, America owed them nothing; this was purely a question of what it owed itself.

He flinched slightly at the sudden pain in his chest. These had been getting worse lately. Maybe Lois was right and he should see a doctor. But what could the doctor do?

Probably only tell him to rest, and that was impossible. He had just too much on his plate.

OK, he finally decided. He would give Mr Bryan's approach one more go. But there would have to be something more than words. And it would probably have to be the last time.

Ambassador Bernstorff was pensive as he left the State Department building.

It had been a huge relief as he listened to Secretary Bryan's words, and suddenly realised that, having come there resigned to the return of his passports, he was not to be going home after all - at least not yet. The other business - the seizure of German ships currently trapped in US ports - would have to be protested, of course, but could be lived with. Fortunately, he had already given orders for them to be rendered unfit for service, so they would be no immediate use to the Americans, whatever the future might hold. So far, so good.

But, he uneasily knew, it was only time he had gained. For all his efforts to educate them, his masters in Berlin just did not appreciate the peril. They were taking risks that made him shudder. That message to Mexico, for instance. God grant it never leaked out. The consequences hardly bore thinking about.

Mr Bryan was a strong voice for peace, but he was not in final charge.

President Marshall was, and that man was unpredictable - pulled every which way, and far out of his depth There could be no certainty as to which way he would ultimately jump.

Yes, Bernstorff thought sombrely, this was only a reprieve. And the future still looked dark.

From his office window, Bryan watched the German Ambassador depart. Yet his thoughts were less about Bernstorff than about Marshall.

He was deeply afraid for the President. While accustomed to the normal rough and tumble of politics, he had never before come under this much pressure. Bryan recalled the ferocious 1896 campaign , when he had so often been lambasted as an "incendiary", "enemy of civilisation" and worse. A terrible experience, but in a way it had been good for him. As a result, he was inoculated against such attacks in a way that Marshall was not. How much more could the President take?

As Colonel Roosevelt might have put it, the time was coming to stand at Armageddon and do battle for the Lord. And he suspected that this might be a battle for Tom Marshall's soul.
To be continued






© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.