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

September 1

The Franco-Prussian war had gone as a disaster for the French. Prussia and its allies in the North German Confederation as well as Baden, Bavaria, and Wurttenberg had been hardened in the Austro-Prussian War a few years before while French troops were newly recruited. The most seasoned troops to be had were newly defeated and expelled from ambitions of empire in Mexico.

September 1, 1870 - Trench Warfare at Sedan BeginsAfter the diplomatic fiasco of the Ems Dispatch being given to the press with what appeared as King Wilhelm insulting French demands, the French had to save face in a Europe that was leaving them behind. Napoleon III had begun the war with an incursion into the Rhineland, but the Germans countered with three massive armies marching into the north of France.

Battles were nearly continual defeats for France at Wissembourg, Wörth, and Mars-la-Tour. Gravelotte had been a victory, but the Prussians out-maneuvered the army and began the Siege of Metz. Approximately 190,000 French troops were pinned within German lines, and their attempt at breaking out by Noisseville did not seem promising. Instead, Napoleon III ordered Marshal MacMahon to lift the siege with the 120,000 men of the Army of Chãlons. The emperor accompanied the army, which was quickly pursued by the Prussian Third Army, itself accompanied by King Wilhelm as well as Chancellor Otto von Bismark.

The two armies met at Beaumont-en-Argonne, which became another defeat for France, losing 5,000 men and 40 cannon. They withdrew to Sedan, where the Germans again encircled them. Napoleon III (pictured) found his army meant to lift a siege under siege itself.

He had been warned not to try the Prussians in the open field, where their modern army could routinely outflank the French; Napoleon had ignored the advice. His initial reaction was to return to battle and break the siege with an advance, but he was stopped by a thought of his uncle, the first emperor Napoleon. Napoleon I had won his desperate victories being expert in artillery, the new weapon of the day. While French rifles were superior to those of the Germans, the Krupp-made artillery routinely served as the basis for French defeat. War had changed, a thing he had seen with Crimea and other engagements. Napoleon decided that instead of simply leading his troops in a charge to break out, it was time to find a new way to fight.

Just after midnight on September 1, Napoleon gathered several young commanders who had worked their way up through the ranks, just like his uncle. Taking their advice, he gave the order to organize thick battlements to avoid the German artillery and rely on the superior French rifle. By two in the morning, the sounds of shovels digging trenches rang through Sedan.

Bavarian General Baron von der Tann attacked across the river on pontoon bridges, leading to the first engagements. The French held their ground, and more brigades surged into the half-prepared earthworks. Fighting continued on into the morning, even though the Germans were unable to bring up their artillery. Marshall MacMahon was wounded, passing command to General August Ducrot, who followed Napoleon's order to dig in. By the time German artillery arrived at nine o'clock with additional Prussian troops, the French were holding ground in long trenches outside of the town and harsh urban warfare in the southern quarter.

By nightfall, the Prussians ended their advances. They had tried to break past the French defenses, but it only led to the deaths of hundreds of troops. Even with artillery, the Prussians could not advance except under fire of their own guns. That night, Wilhelm ordered more assaults, but each resulted in French driving their opponents back across the field. Where the Germans nearly broke through, French cavalry was quick to reinforce, and reserves followed soon behind.

In the morning, it became clear that the siege was a stalemate. Battles at Metz were similar, and Napoleon's order to dig in followed suit there. Bismark became increasingly agitated, worried that the larger nation of France would regroup if the war stretched longer than a few month. He pleaded with Wilhelm to break the siege and head toward Paris, forcing the French back into the open field where they could be again defeated. After three days of inconsequential assaults and counter-assaults, Wilhelm ordered Field Marshall Moltke to withdraw.

When the siege lifted, the French began to pursue the Germans as they disengaged, but artillery kept the French from carrying out a rout. For the rest of September, the Germans would carry out maneuvers in the north of France, but each would be blocked by French. As the fall turned to winter, the Germans arranged their own lines and dug trenches. Through the winter, only minor engagements would follow, and, in the spring, the war would return as the Germans made pushes toward Paris. By this time, the French had improved their artillery and continued trench defense. When the German allies of Prussia began to question the leading state, Bismark suggested a peace treaty be formed. Wilhelm agreed and sent notice to Napoleon, who received them at Versailles.

The terms of the Treaty of Versailles 1871 practically set back political powers to what they were the year before, except that Prussia would pay war indemnities. While the war was essentially a draw, the plan of a unified Germany had been halted. Bismark had suggested that Germany be a united nation-state by the treaty, but Napoleon refused to recognize such a move by Prussia. With the return to Prussia, Bismark dedicated the rest of his diplomatic career to the unification of German, though he was only able to solidify rule for Wilhelm in what had been the North German Confederation. Luitpold, the Prince Regent of Bavaria, led the states disgusted with the Prussian failure to defeat France in creating the South German Confederation. Meanwhile, the French Empire would continue as Napoleon IV succeeded his father in 1873, whose dying words were, "We were brave at Sedan.

In 1890, Bismark was fired by the new king, Wilhelm II, and German diplomacy fell to war over trade disputes. Even while Bismark was forced out of office, his legacy continued: a military machine developed with the intent of breaking trench defenses. The "kampfwagen" ("battle wagon") was an armored motorized transport powered by steam. In the German Civil War, Prussian kampfwagene stormed Bavaria and finally united the Germans under Wilhelm's rule as a "Kaiser".

International spirits frowned upon the war as well as the growing strength of a new power in central Europe. The Kaiser's government tried to find allies where it could, eventually taking up agreements with Italy, another young European state, and Austria-Hungary, which recognized the importance of empire. The French and the Russians had a long-standing alliance, as did Russia and Britain. With nationalistic furor, it was only a matter of time before war broke out, which it did in 1904 when Bavarian rebels were pursued into France, breaking German military jurisdiction. When France counter-invaded, Europe erupted into the Great War.

New diesel-powered kampfwagene stormed France, conquering Paris in a matter of weeks. The French Empire disintegrated, and Russia sued for peace as it was losing another war against the Japanese. With the upper-hand, Wilhelm gave demands the Czar could not meet, and Russia descended into civil war in 1905. Continuing war with Britain, the Germans were unable to defeat the military might of the British Navy, featuring its new massive Dreadnaught class of destroyer. Peace was mediated by American president Theodore Roosevelt in 1907.

With great gains seized from the French, whose republic evolved into a fascist supremacist socialism, and Russia, which became a loose confederation ruled by the Duma of Boyars, Germany took its place as the principle power of Europe, continuing the grand tradition of European emperors controlling vast lands across the world.

A host of international statesmen including of course former President Jack Kennedy gathered in Havana to attend the wake for the incomparable Cuban Strongman Jorge De Valera who had passed away the previous week at the ripe old age of ninety-two.

And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be wellBorn in New York City as an infant he was abandoned by his Irish mother Catherine Coll and returned to Cuba with his beloved father Juan Vivion de Valera. A brilliant mathematics student at the University of Havana, he entered the murky world of Cuban politics and later challenged fellow Catholic Batista for the Presidency.

The country he inherited was an American State in all but name and he might have been abandoned to a grisly fate if destiny had not intervened. Because in 1960 another fellow Catholic was elected US President and together they set about saving the island from Fidel Castro's insurgency. But their fates were joined closer than they could ever have imagined. Most frighteningly of all, Castro's men attempted to assassinate Kennedy in Dallas in order to usher in a a whole new form of government. Fortunately he survived and both men continued their friendship long after they had left high office.

After the Master crossed the lake to Gerasenes a man possessed by a horde of demons emerged from the caves to meet him.

1st September, AD27 - the Restoration of the Gerasene demoniac transforms the parameters of forgivenessEven if they had wanted to his fellow Gentiles could not subdue him because of his superhuman strength. And the fishermen - who also feared the unclean spirits that lingered in the tombs - were powerless also. Because during the crossing when they had been so afraid their Master had subdued the storm, demonstrating his indisputable power and authority over all the elements of the Earth.

And yet the flesh was weak and the only being free of any doubt was the demon; he recognized the Son of God and bowed to him knowing that the Kingdom was at hand. Fearing the fire of the Abyss he begged to be cast into a herd of pigs but instead the Master restored this fallen angel to his former state of grace.

Author's Note: we suggest that such an unlikely outcome would have redefined a demon from a damned evil spirit into a collection of temptation and sin. Needless to say by permitting a demon to be saved and enter the Kingdom, the parameters of forgiveness were completely redefined.

In 1980, the first of five episodes of the blockbuster American television miniseries Anjin Miura was broadcast by NBC.

Anjin MiuraThe screen play was based upon the novel of the same name by the Australian-born British (later naturalized American) novelist James Clavell itself based upon the adventures of English navigator William Adams.

Set in the year 1600 Adams is the pilot of the Miura a vessel which is wrecked along the coast of Feudal Japan. This disaster brings him into conflict with Portuguese and the Jesuits who are pursuing their own strategies for opening (read "exploiting") Japan. He and his crew are put on trial as pirates using a Jesuit priest to interpret for them. But when they lose the trial, Adams attacks at the Jesuit, rips off his crucifix, and stamps it into the dust to show the daimyo (Lord) that the priest is his enemy.

Respected as the Anjin Miura (the pilot of Miura) for subsequently saving the life of the daimyo, he soon discovers to his horror that a Portuguese "Black Ship" is taking vast profits from the silk trade back to Europe. Having recognized that the Europeans in Japan are filthy, vulgar, and ignorant by comparison, he gains the permission of the daimyo to intercept and then sink the "Black Ship" and in so doing terminates the cause of the internal conflict in Feudal Japan. However the joy of his return to England is overshadowed by his separation from his lover, Mariko (pictured).

In 1939, before France mobilized or Great Britain could dispatch an Expeditionary Force Nazi Germany launched a preemptive strike in the West. An episode from our series of Alternate World War Two outcomes.

England Fights OnHitler had been forced into this dramatic change of strategy when Foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop had returned empty handed from Moscow. The Fuhrer had planned to partition Poland with the Soviets, but because that was not possible, it made much more sense to strike in the West and leave Poland completely isolated. Moreover, an Anglo-French attempt to starve out the Germans had a far greater prospect of success now that Russia had decided not to supply Nazi Germany with raw materials.

A decision in France was reached very quickly, and as expected the Polish Government entered into a crisis. By early 1940, Finland had joined the Axis Powers, Poland had allied with the Soviet Union and the Battle of Norway was about to begin. This would feature the first active engagement of Great Britain who had played a very minor part in the Fall of France, but who was determined to fight on still remaining hopeful of forging an alliance with the Soviets. Events would take a further change of course when Russia was simultaneously invaded by Germany and Japan.

In 330 BC, the Macedonian Army crossed the border into neighboroughing Scythia in pursuit of the defeated Persian Emperor Darius III.

King Alexander III of Macedon perishes in his Scythian MisadventureIt was a deadly trap set by Darius who knew fulll well that the overbold Alexander (pictured) would encounter precisely the same difficulties that made Scythia so problematic for his own army. Because the Macedonian's limited mounted forces were quite simply no match for a fully mobile nation. Rather they were unable to pull off the same flanking movements that they had in sedentary near eastern battles, and their highly trained Macedonian and Greek foot soldiers were massacred by the Scythians.

Darius then returned and set about raising a fresh Army to retake Persia, however his authority had been broken at Gaugamela. Instead he was succeeded by a relative, the prominent satrap of Bactria known as Bessus who would rule as Artaxerxes V, King of Asia.

In 1939, in a declaration from Buckingham Palace on this day, the Commander in Chief of the British Armed Forces King Edward VIII announced that the German invasion of Poland would not trigger a military response.

Buckingham Palace DeclarationEven though he had been drafting a declaration of war, the Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was forced to back down because the armed forces of Britain and its Empire swear their loyalty to the Crown and not the Government.

From an amoral operational perspective, it was a moot point because of course intervention would have been hopeless; Poland fell in a matter of weeks, and the Germans began their plan their invasion of the common enemy, Russia. With their foreign policies finally in broad alignment - and perhaps more importantly the Nazi Military Machine pointing in the opposite direction - the British and German Governments began engineering collaboration first on jet engines, and then atomic bomb. This initiative was complemented by a very generous lend lease programme under which the German Government purchased heavy bombers built in England. Despite this support Victory in Russia Day was not declared until 1950, by which time the Axis Powers were of course massively in debt to London.

In 2004, U.S. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, responding to questions posed to him at a West Coast campaign stop earlier that afternoon, told the New York Times one of his first official acts if he were elected president would be to sign an executive order instructing the Central Intelligence Agency to declassify and release all pertinent files regarding alleged ties between the agency's Eastern European branch and the rogue MI-6 operatives responsible for the assassination of British prime minister Harold Wilson thirty years earlier.

Wilson InquiryBut two days after the Times interview Kerry's opponent, incumbent president George W. Bush, beat him to the punch by directing CIA chief George Tenet to make the agency's Wilson assassination files public and launch an internal inquiry to determine just how closely the CIA's Eastern European branch had been working with Oarsman and the other conspirators in the Wilson assassination plot. That inquiry would later lead to the arrest of dozens of active and retired CIA personnel who would be prosecuted by the Justice Department under the administration of Bush's successor, Barack Obama.

In 2006, Mark Almond wrote in the Daily Mail ~ Held up by a Secret Service bodyguard in his dying moments after being shot in the stomach, this is President Bush being assassinated.

The Assassination of George W. BushThe American leader is surrounded by a crowd of panicking onlookers just seconds after being gunned down by a Syrian-born U.S. citizen outside a Chicago hotel.

But this shocking image, created by putting the President's face onto an actor with digital wizardry, is part of a new British drama for Channel Four about the War on Terror.

In Death Of A President, which has caused outrage in America and will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival this month, the shooting is a starting point for a fictional documentary about what happened next. So what would happen if President Bush was assassinated?

An article by Mark AlmondHere, a historian looks to the future ? and imagines the terrifying consequences. BEFORE that fateful day ? November 9, 2006 ? historians liked to say the world could never again lurch into global crisis because of one man's death, as it had in 1914 when Austria's Archduke Franz Ferdinand was murdered in Sarajevo, sparking World War I.

The assassination of John Kennedy at the height of the Cold War hadn't led to Armageddon in 1963, so why should things spiral out of control now if a president was murdered? That confident view was shattered as global communications networks froze from overload while transmitting round the world the picture of the 43rd President of the United States slumping forward after being fatally shot in the stomach.

The murder of George W. Bush set off a global crisis with which we still live today, ten years after he was killed.

Of course, in retrospect, we historians could see it all coming. In the summer of 2006, there had been the "proxy war" between America and Iran fought out in Lebanon between their two regional allies, Israel and Hezbollah. That war ended badly for Israel and emboldened Iran to defy the United Nations and, more to the point, the United States over its nuclear ambitions.

George W. Bush's hopes of bringing "peace through democracy" to the Middle East after his invasion of Iraq had already worn thin by autumn 2006. Anti-war demonstrations had become more numerous and security tightened everywhere.

The crude dum-dum bullet fired into the President's stomach that November day caused fatal bleeding and the media were reporting the suspected assassin's details within minutes.

Few people in America needed to know more than that the suspected killer of their President was Syrian-born. As the spotlight of blame focused on Syria, regarded by Americans as Iran's poodle, the Iranian Foreign Ministry didn't help its cause by issuing a perfunctory statement expressing regret that the President had "died in a violent manner" and hoping that the American people would soon choose a new one who would be more peace-loving.

It outraged Americans and George W's mother Barbara was overheard at the state funeral telling Cherie Blair: "It was like what you say to the maid when her dog gets run over. Get a new one, dear, you'll get over it".

The American public wasn't interested in the formal regrets from Damascus and Tehran. Television coverage showed scenes of jubilation on the streets of Syrian and Iranian cities.

The new President, speaking from a secure location" soon nicknamed Bunker One, announced that 'those who celebrate death will learn to taste it soon enough'. Dick Cheney appeared unfazed by the day's gruesome events.

While America closed ranks and mourned, across the Islamic world Bush's death was greeted with outpourings of joy. American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan got into firefights with local militias shooting in the air. Saddam's trial was suspended as the defendants hugged each other in the dock.

But what hurt Americans most was the Europeans' lack of grief. Officially, Europe, from Brussels to Berlin and Paris, expressed sorrow and outrage, and President Chirac led the EU mourners in Washington.

But there was nothing like the sadness which greeted Kennedy's murder four decades earlier.

Despite Britain's own experience of Islamic terrorism, the public response to the murder of the American president here was muted, at best ? and in some quarters, not all Muslim, it was joyful.

The Independent newspaper published its obituary with a front-page collage under the headline "Latest victim of war on terror".

A passport-style photograph of the late President was put in alphabetical order between a Marine sergeant, George Urban Bush, killed in Iraq the day before and an Air Force pilot, Ryan Caldwell, killed in a helicopter crash near Kabul on the same day the President was shot.

The BBC played a montage of Bush's malapropisms from 'Don't mis-underestimate me' to 'The nostalgia for my administration will only begin after it's over'.

The book of condolence at the U.S. embassy in London was thin, though the ambassador diplomatically put the short queue waiting to sign down to "fear of a terrorist attack".

At home and abroad, the gloating over Bush's death soon gave way to a sober realisation that he had actually been a check on Dick Cheney's ruthless way of defending America from enemies at home or abroad.

Executive orders authorising detention without trial of citizens as well as aliens suspected of "terrorist affiliations" and closing America's borders were signed off with astonishing alacrity, as were military plans to strike regimes that had celebrated Bush's death.

Syria was attacked, but Iran bore the brunt. Mass strikes by bombers and cruise missiles knocked out any capacity Iran had for making modern weapons, let alone nuclear bombs, but at a huge price. A country of 70million cowered under the shadow of burning oil wells and the pollution from devastated petro-chemical plants.

Fighting Iran turned out to be much bloodier than the blitzkrieg against Saddam's Iraq.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards had learned the lessons of Hezbollah's war with Israel. They avoided head-on confrontation with the U.S. Army's armoured columns. Ambush and sabotage were their weapons.

A grim war went on year after year in the lunar landscape which was much of Iran. As America struggled to find a replacement for the Ayatollahs' regime, even the willing support of Iranian ?migr?s from America wanting to wipe away the stain of the assassin's crime could not build a stable pro-U.S. government in Tehran.

In Britain, America's strike against Iran set off protests from East London to Yorkshire. Islamic radicals declared emirates in Blackburn and Bradford. Petrol bombs flew as the police tried to restore order.

Tony Blair decided he couldn't retire in a crisis. Instead David Cameron's Tories joined him in a National Government as endemic disorder in some urban areas was compounded by a dramatic increase in attacks on British troops in Basra and in parts of Afghanistan.

When Tony Blair stepped down in 2009 to join President Cheney's Anti-Assassination Commission, it was David Cameron who won the election, attacking Gordon Brown as out of touch with a world in crisis.

Oil prices went on climbing steadily, and no one needs reminding that petrol today is still ?3 a litre here and that David Cameron's 'green is the colour of national security' government only lets you buy 30 litres a week.

But for America, it was crises closer to home following George Bush's murder that shaped events.

Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon 'Those who celebrate death will learn to taste it soon enough' A grim war went on year after year in Iran seemed rejuvenated.

Even as U.S. planes and cruise missiles struck at targets across Iran, American naval power went into action against Iran's ally Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela. A wave of protests swept Latin America. Chaos engulfed much of Mexico, sending waves of refugees north to the American border.

US troops tried to keep them out and 'suspect types' were shipped to Guantanamo Bay for screening.

The Guantanamo Bay camp was enlarged to accommodate the internees. Castro's regime protested. The ailing Fidel wasn't really in charge any more and his brother, Raul, tried to boost his own public image by organising a mass march to the U.S. base.

Whatever the younger Castro meant to happen, the carefully orchestrated crowds began to pull at the fences around the camp and then to try to climb it.

What happened next is disputed. The U.S. Marines guarding the camp claimed Cuban secret policemen shot at the people trying to climb into the base to stop them escaping from communism. The Cuban authorities said their security forces opened fire to defend the protesters, who were being attacked by the Yankee soldiers. Soon 113 people, including women and children, were dead.

The "Guantanamo Massacre" provoked outrage in Havana. Cheney told Rumsfeld to "swat" Castro's regime once and for all. Another war of liberation broke out.

The backlash from these attempts to resolve America's foreign problems with decisive military strikes overshadowed the domestic impact of Bush's death. Iranian and Arab Americans weathered the wave of revenge pogroms set off by the assassination, but the bureaucracy of Homeland Security extended its surveillance over them, and pretty well anyone else.

Cheney's re-election campaign in 2008 was conducted in a virtual state of emergency, with him addressing the Republican convention by 3D video link from a secure location. The mood of ongoing crisis, combined with the choice of Jeb Bush as his Vice President, widely seen in America as a tribute to the slain President, ensured him a landslide.

For a man with a history of heart problems, Cheney's survival for almost ten years as president during what the New York Times called "Our Time of Troubles" was remarkable.

"I thrive on crisis," Cheney explained, "it was peace that got me tense". Occasionally he was short of breath, but Cheney even turned this to his advantage. Images of President Cheney in a wheelchair at Thanksgiving 2010 were carefully choreographed to recall Franklin Roosevelt in charge of the war effort 70 years earlier.

Despite the mayhem since Bush's murder, most Americans had preferred to stick by Dick Cheney. His no-nonsense manner reassured, even as crises kept recurring.

For an embattled America and its allies, this endless war, with its relentless suicide bombings, anarchy in countries all over the globe and brutal reprisals, became known as a "clash of civilisations". But how much worthy of the name civilisation remained to be defended?

In 1980, on this dark day in Northern Ontario, brother Terry Fox entered the final phase in the "Marathon of Hope", his cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. The road in Thunder Bay was lined with people shouting, "Don't give up, you can make it!" words that spurred him and lifted his spirits.

A meteor shining in the darkest nightWhilst he was suffering terribly, he knew how to cope with pain, running through it as he always had before; he had simply keep going until the pain went away. For three and a half thousand miles, from St John's, Newfoundland, Canada's eastern most city on the shore of the Atlantic, he had run through six provinces and now was two-thirds of the way home. He had run close to a marathon a day, for one hundred forty-three days. No mean achievement for an able-bodied runner, an extraordinary feat for an amputee. Terry's left leg was strong and muscular. His right was a mere stump fitted with an artificial limb made of fibreglass and steel. He had lost the leg to cancer when he was eighteen.

The next Terry Fox Run was held the following September. More than three hundred thousand people walked or ran or cycled, raising $3.5 million for cancer research. And three years later, he ran the marathon at the seventh Paralympic Games in New York City. "Terry Fox embodies what we hope to achieve. He's an incredible athlete, he's a hero"During the Gold Medal award ceremony, he announced plans for a new cross-America run in 1985.

Reading of Terry's goals, Four Seasons' President, Isadore Sharp, was also caught up in the dream of the "Marathon of Hope". He pledged $10,000 to the marathon and challenged 999 other Canadian corporations to do the same. "Terry Fox is like a meteor passing in the sky, one whose light travels beyond our view, yet still shines in the darkest night" said Sharp.

The thirtieth annual run is set for September 19, 2010. Since 1981, $550 million has been raised by 35 million participants in more than 40 countries around the world who have laced up for the event.

In 1969, an attempted coup in Libya failed to unseat the monarchy of King Idris I. Many of the coup plotters and their supporters were killed or imprisoned. One who was not was Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, who escaped into exile in Syria, where he was sheltered by the Baathist regime of Hafez el-Assad.

Failed Coup in LibyaFrom his sanctuary in Damascus, the exiled Qaddafi would gradually establish a network of terrorist connections extending from the Palestinian Liberation Organization to the IRA. This network would become infamous for attacks on civilian targets, including the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am 747, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, with the loss of all on board, and a similar attack on French UTA DC-10 over Niger in which 170 people died. U.S. attempts to pressure the Assad regime to surrender Qaddafi for trial met with no success; neither did repeated attempts at the terrorist leader's assassination by Israel's Mossad.

A new story by Eric LippsQaddafi was finally captured while trying to flee during the U.S. invasion of Syria which followed that nation's 1999 attack on Israel, which has featured an unsuccessful attempt to use a nuclear device purchased from Pakistan. The device failed to achieve a nuclear explosion, but its conventional explosive trigger scattered lethal plutonium over a small area along the Israeli border. It was Qaddafi's attempt at a nuclear attack rather than a purely conventional one which would produce the firestorm of public outrage which would force President Clinton to take military action.

At Qaddafi's trial before the international Court of Justice in The Hague, it would be revealed that the Libyan had been instrumental in persuading Assad to obtain the nuclear device and carry out the attack. Assad himself would not be tried, having disappeared during the invasion; persistent rumors had him locked away in some secret U.S. or Israeli prison, but no proof of this would emerge.

In 1969, military forces in Libya loyal to the nation's ruler, King Idris I (pictured), thwarted an attempted coup by a cabal of army officers driven by a stridently anti-Western ideology mixing Islam, nationalism and socialism.
Libyan Coup Foiled by Eric LippsAmong the officers involved in the coup was a colonel named Muammar al-Qaddafi. Col. Qaddafi would never face trial, however, having been shot and fatally wounded in the final confrontation between the would-be revolutionaries and the King's forces. Following his death, a minor personality cult would grow up around him among student leftists, just as had happened with Cuba's Che Guevara.

In 1928, the first man to achieve Nirvana in recorded history is born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Robert Pirsig studied the classical Greek works for many years before turning to the east and studying the works of the Zen masters. In 1960, he spent several days in a meditative state that his wife mistook for catatonia - she even went so far as to try to have him committed to a mental institution.

Church of Quality Founded by Robbie TaylorWhen the police came for him, he roused himself and spoke to them in perfectly lucid speech, convincing them that he was all right. He then spoke for several hours to his wife, who had been on the verge of divorcing him, and she saw that something special had happened to him. Pirsig soon began lecturing on Nirvana to the student body at the University of Chicago, where he was a graduate student at the time. His lectures drew dozens, then hundreds of students, teachers and curious onlookers, and had to be moved outside because U of C had no rooms large enough to contain all those who wished to hear Pirsig. As those who heard him speak spread news of his philosophy around the country, Pirsig was asked to speak at other places, and soon was in demand everywhere. His invocations of a life based on Quality stirred the American soul, and by 1970, his followers numbered in the millions. He was assassinated that year by a fanatical follower of the Reverend Billy Graham, who felt that Pirsig was the Anti-Christ. His movement lives on, though, and the Church of Quality is one of the largest in the country today.

In 1807, former US Vice-President Aaron Burr flees the young country he helped to found in order to escape conviction on charges of treason. Burr, along with a few hundred followers, establishes his own republic in the former French protectorate of Louisiana. He names himself president, but acts much more like a king. Many Americans who had been on the Tory side of the revolution, on hearing of Burr's new Gloriana, immigrated.

Gloriana by Robbie TaylorAlthough never large, Gloriana proved to be a thorn in the underside of the American nation as it tried to spread west, constantly harassing the Americans who attempted to settle in the Louisiana Purchase or move through it to Mexico and parts west. In 1823, President James Monroe decided that he could not leave office without handling "this minuscule king, this traitor, Aaron Burr," and asked for a declaration of war against Gloriana from Congress. The declaration passed swiftly, and Americans across the east coast signed up for the attack on Gloriana. Burr, seeing what was coming, tried to ask Mexico and the native nations around him for aid, but they all refused. The summer of 1823 saw the first border clash between Glorianans and Americans, and the Americans won handily. They pushed on swiftly, and the warm weather of south Louisiana allowed them to keep moving through winter and seize Burr's capitol of New Orleans. Burr himself fled and tried to rally what few Glorianans remained loyal to him at Natchitoches, but a disaffected Glorianan shot him on the way, putting an end to the small nation forever. By the time spring arrived in Louisiana, all the Glorianans had been repatriated into the US, and Burr's legacy was utterly destroyed.

In 1981, the first architect of the Third Reich, Albert Speer died on this day in London, England. In close collaboration with his confidant and architect of choice, Adolf Hitler cast his megalomania in concrete by radically reshaping the Berlin citys center.Architect of World Capital Germania, Albert Speer, dies in London
His dystopian World Capital Germania, in the Fuehrer's own words, would "Only be comparable with ancient Egypt, Babylon or Rome.
What is London, what is Paris by comparison!"
Speer's plans included the construction of two main boulevards, 120 meters (131 yards) wide and running cross-shaped through the city, lined with a number of gigantic buildings, halls, squares and triumphal arcs.
Critics have argued that Berlin's historical center was forever destroyed. The building that best illustrates Hitler's megalomania is the so-called Volkshalle (People's Hall). Around 320 meters (350 yards) in height and covered with a giant dome, it is the largest domed building in the world - able to accommodate 180,000 people at once. The Brandenburg Gate and even the Parliamentary Building look insignificantly tiny next to the enormous proportions of the People's Hall. The building's size has actually led to certain problems: With all 180,000 seats occupied, the condensed breath of the people accumulates in the dome and causes a rainfall.

In 2004, world-wide riots break out as news of the possible Elder presence in China spreads around the globe. Many governments are simply overwhelmed by the unrest; Thailand, The Philippines, much of northern Africa, large sections of the American west and most of Central Europe fall victim to the chaos.
In 1959, Li Huang-Sen spends a restless day aboard the ship carrying himself and his lover, Huan Yue to Canada. He spots something in the water several times, but is unable to determine what it is. He throws open his mind and tells it to let him be; he is then mentally attacked and falls into a coma.
In 1928, Robert Pirsig was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The first Westerner to achieve Nirvana, Pirsig's accomplishment was noted in the Zen journal Snowflake, but western doctors merely thought that Pirsig was mad, and killed his body with electro-shock treatments. His spirit, already gone, remained at peace.
In 1995, Dr. Melvin Courtney's expedition enters the Chimanimani National Park in Zimbabwe. The expedition is looking for evidence of ancient human settlements in the area. In the middle of the day, a rare earthquake shakes the area and uproots several ancient trees.
In 1941, people of Semitic ancestry in German Underground controlled areas of Europe were forced into labor camps, even if they had not been members of the Greater Zionist Resistance. This policy is continued as the Underground gains territory, making allies of everyone who is not quite Aryan in appearance.
Am I Not a Man

In 1832, the Sovereignty Crisis erupts in South Carolina over fears that abolitionists are gaining ground in Parliament and may finally succeed in outlawing slavery.

Riots rip through the colony, but are subdued by British troops. No other colony has followed South Carolina's lead, but the British response, which results in the burning of Charleston and the death of several hundred people, many of them women and children, stirs sentiment in favor of 'American sovereignty' throughout the South.

Am I Not a Man  - and a Brother?
and a Brother?

On this day in 1941, German troops in Russia captured the Moscow suburb of Strogino.


In 1958, the U.S. successfully launches a satellite bearing a chimpanzee named Jeff into orbit. Jeff will be retrieved alive when his capsule comes down three days later, and exhaustive testing will show no signs of any physiological damage from his time in space. The findings will strengthen the hand of those who favor an accelerated effort to place an American astronaut in orbit. "If a monkey can do it, why not a man?" one naval officer by the name of Alan Shepard will say (ignoring the fact that Jeff is an ape, not a monkey). Shepard is known to be angling for the opportunity himself, and his eagerness has made him both friends and foes within the space-program bureaucracy.

Cosmonaut - Alan Shepard
Alan Shepard
US President

In 1990, Saddam Hussein has still not released any of the hostages being held in Kuwait, and additional Iraqi troops have crossed the border. Atrocity stories are emerging from the occupied country, and there are growing demands in the U.S. that Kemp use force to "liberate" the Emirate. In fact, the President has begun building up forces in the region, along with NATO allies Britain and France and the Arab countries which have allied with them against Baghdad.

US President - Jack Kemp
Jack Kemp

On this day in 1979, Charles Barkley joined the freshman football squad at Leeds, Alabama's main public high school.                                                                                                

 - Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley

In 1970, reports reach Washington that the North Vietnamese Army is withdrawing troops across the border with South Vietnam to combat growing unrest in the North Vietnamese countryside resulting from the food and fuel shortages caused by the Operation Linebacker dike bombings. The intel also mentions that the contamination of water supplies by debris, human and animal waste, and vast numbers of human bodies has led to outbreaks of typhus.


United Nations Secretary General U Thant calls for immediate UN aid to the stricken country. At the urging of President Nixon, however, U.S. ambassador Charles W. Yost demands that Hanoi first agree to 'end all hostilities against the legitimate government of South Vietnam and withdraw its support for anti-government insurgents attempting top overthrow that government.' Otherwise, Yost continues, relaying his boss's thinking, 'the United Nations will simply be providing Communist aggressors with the means to continue their aggression against the free people of South Vietnam.' Ambassador Yost makes clear that the United States will 'vigorously oppose' any United Nations disaster relief to North Vietnam unless the Nixon Administration's conditions are met.

In 1983, Vice-President Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson dies suddenly of an aortic aneurysm. His death shakes up U.S. politics: not only must EMK now choose a replacement, but, with the demise of the presumptive front-runner, the race for the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination has opened up as well.

In 1807, former U.S. Vice-President Aaron Burr flees into the independent republic he has created out of parts of Louisiana and Mexico in order to escape charges of treason. As High Minister of Louisia, Burr was a thorn in the side of both the United States and Mexico for a couple of decades to come.
In 1347, chieftain Moammar Qaddafi rose to the Caliphate of Libya by defeating Caliph Ibn Rashid in battle. Qaddafi set the tone for his rule by beheading all survivors of Rashid's government.
In 1939, Physical Review, a scientific publication, prints a paper on a phenomenon they call 'black holes', a possible source of en[REST OF ENTRY DELETED]
In 1933, Ann Richards was born in Lakeview, Texas. After her governership of the Soviet of Texas, Comrade Richards became the first woman elected to the Vice-Presidency alongside Comrade President John Anderson of the Socialist Party in 1972.
In 4619, an earthquake struck the Japanese province of the Empire, in Kanto. The death toll was in the thousands, and Emperor Chengzu's treasury was emptied of billions of yuan in repairing the damage. Chengzu ordered his Ministry of Science to begin work on predicting earthquakes, a task they began with enthusiasm; many in the ministry were themselves Japanese.
In 822 AUC, the rebellious residents of the Judean province were put down, but Vespasian chose mercy over retribution, and allowed the Hebrews full citizenship in the Empire after a 5 year period of suppression.
In 1945, Harry S. Truman declared A-J Day - "As President of the United States, I proclaim Sunday, September the second, 1945, to be A-J Day -- the day of armistace with the Empire of Japan. It is not yet the day for the formal proclamation of the end of the war nor of the cessation of hostilities. But it is a day which we Americans shall always remember as a day of peace and reconciliation".
In 1870, the first Franco-Prussian War reached a decision as Napoleon III's forces prevailed at the Battle of Sedan. Kaiser Wilhelm I and 150,000 of his soldiers were taken prisoner as the German nation was strangled at birth. It was described as "no end of a lesson" by Habsburg Chanceller Adolf Schicklegruber during his bid for the mastery of the continent.
In 1914, German diplomats start negotiations with the Flemish mayor of Antwerp, who is risen quickly in the hearts of the Flemish as the leader.
In 1939, in Harry Turtledove counter-history masterpiece, the Guns of the East the Border Defence Corps is supplied with AK-47's by early-21st century Polish time-travellers. In this far-fetched alternative history, Polish Forces repulse the initial Wehrmacht attach, but face a two front war with both the Russians and Germans, ending in their ultimate defeat.
In 1939, the opening strike of the Second Great War occurred on this day as German soldiers destroyed Polish border checkpoint in Sopot. Molotov's failure to agree a neutrality pact with the Russian Government ensured that Sopot was viewed as an act of war, provoking the Red Army into entering Eastern Poland to preserve the buffer state. The Wehrmatch had to face the brilliance of Marshal of the Soviet Union Mikhail Tukhachevsky. Appointed by Trotsky to the Bolshevik Defence Commissar, Leon Trotsky gave Tukhachevsky command of the 5th Army in 1919, and he led the campaign to capture Siberia from the White forces of Aleksandr Kolchak. He also helped defeat General Anton Denikin in the Crimea in 1920. Both the Kronstadt rebellion and the Tambov peasant revolt were crushed by forces under Tukhachevsky's command. And by early 1940, he would enter Berlin at the Head of the Red Army crushing the Third Reich.

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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.