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

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Todayinah EditorEditor says, for subscription users please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Disqus or Google Plus. History runs along a different line in Today In Alternate History, a site which chronicles "important events in history that never occurred today". Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.

 Editor's Pick
In 1956 on this day, UN resolutions affirmed the separation of Egypt into the Egyptian Republic and the Sudan and the UN-takeover of the canal as international territory. While ruling its own ancient empires for millennia, Egypt became a prize in modern times that rarely had its own independence.  Centuries of rule by the Ottomans ended with occupation by the French under Napoleon in 1798. 1956, "Egypt" Formally DividedAfter a <a href=http://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=265451>brief struggle</a> and token exchange of ordinance North Korea seized the USS Pueblo, claiming that the Navy intelligence ship had violated its territorial waters while spying. <span class=EditorText>An article from the <a href=http://www.todayinah.co.uk/index.php?thread=AuH20>AuH20</a> thread.</span> "Pueblo crisis" leads to warIn 1934 in a move that in some ways continued their murderous lives of crime and in others returned the air of Robin Hood with which they had surrounded themselves, notorious gangsters Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker joined the strike at the Auto-Lite factory in Toledo, Ohio. "Bonnie & Clyde" Join Battle of Toledo
In 1993 on this day WordPerfect 5.2 went on general release. And by porting the application to OS/2 Warp the author Satellite Software had taken a breathtakingly risky decision to "bet the farm" on IBM holding the enterprise workstation space."OS/2 Warp" seizes the enterprise marketIn 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 GauguinIn 1836 on this day the "Napoleon of the West" General Antonio López de Santa Anna launched the invasion of Louisiana by crossing the Sabine River and defeating a Federal army under the command of General Pendleton Gaines."Santa Anna", Napoleon of the West
In 1934 disregarding the mistaken advice of his postmaster general James A. Farley who had recommended the cancellation of all domestic air mail contracts, President Roosevelt requested a consultative meeting with Charles Lindbergh (a former Air Mail pilot become world-famous aviator, Lindbergh was now acting as a consultant to two of the airlines).<span class=EditorText>An article from the <a href=http://www.todayinah.co.uk/index.php?thread=Happy_Endings>Happy Endings</a> thread</span> "Lindbergh" helps Roosevelt prepare America for WarIn 534 BC Thespis insulted the Gods. Since the dawn of language, and perhaps before with simple hand gestures, mankind had performed the art of storytelling. Great hunts, tragic tales of lovers, and, most importantly, the epics of the gods all served as material to be related to one another and the younger generations for entertainment and moral instruction. "Thespis Insults the Gods "In 1641 after having spent three years trading with Spanish colonies, the Merchant Royal and her sister ship, the Dover Merchant, returned to Europe laden with cargo. The long voyage had made her weathered and leaky, but she safely made port in Cadiz in Spain. England and Spain were at peace, and the English were welcome to trade their goods. "Merchant Royal" Puts in for Repairs
In 1812 on this day Malets coup accidentally succeeded. Claude Francois de Malet loved his country and felt that so much more could come from a France not chained under autocratic rule. When he had come of age at seventeen, he had enlisted as a Musketeer, as was common for minor nobles like himself to do under the reign of the Bourbons. Louis XVI disbanded the guard in 1776, and Malet realized the abuse of power one man could hold. "Malet's Coup Accidentally Succeeds"In 1755 John Marshall, American jurist, 4th Chief Justice of the United States was born on this day in Germantown, Virginia. "Marshall" Forced to Recuse HimselfIn 1904 enroute to the Far East the Russian Baltic Fleet mistook  British trawlers at <a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogger_bank_incident>Dogger Bank</a> for an Imperial Japanese Navy force. In the confusion they opened fire killing three British fishermen and also a Russian Sailor and Priest. Within weeks, this incident had created further confusion and tragedy by escalating into a general European conflict."Dogger Bank" Incident leads to War

October 23

In 1979, in "The Brigade's My Fault" an Op-Ed page item published in the New York Times former National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy took responsibility for the disasterous long-term consequences of the Bays of Pigs invasion. This article is a variant of Eric Lipps Cuba War timeline which imagines paralell conflicts in Cuba and Vietnam during the 1960s.

The Brigade's My FaultShortly after midnight on 17th April, 1961 he had called the CIA Air Operations chief in Nicaragua to stand-down the D-Day air strike which was necessary to destroy Cuban Jets on the ground. That officer left the tent to telephone USAF Col. L. Fletcher Prouty [1] and convince him to get the whole mission cancelled, but the B-26 aircraft were already on the runway with the Cuban-exile pilots roaring the engines. Sensing confusion in the American Command Structure they refused the stand-down order and proceeded with the mission.

As foreseen by the CIA, the mission achieved initial success in sofar as with the Cuban Air Force destroyed the Exile Bridge managed to land and move ashore. They had wrongly assumed that the assassination of Fidel Castro would weaken the regime, but instead of the hapless Che Guevara, Raul Castro had taken control, demonstrating his impressive organizational skills to prepare for the attack. No longer needing to hide behind a covert operation, the White House recognized Pepe San Roman as President and the commanders of the Exile Brigade as the legitimate government of Cuba. A second wave force [2] enabled Roman to enter Havana. But of course the country was sufficiently behind the Castro regime to resist a US-imposed government. What followed was a decade long bloody insurgency fought in the name of a Communist Martyr. This national trauma could have been averted if Bundy had placed the fateful call to stand down the Exile Brigade as well as the Air Force.

In 1987, on this day Robert Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court was approved by the Senate.

Common Sense wins the Bork FightHe had previously served as a Yale Law School professor, Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In 1987, he was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan (pictured).

Despite (or perhaps because) he was an intellectual firebrand, he was a controversial choice and his approval had been vehemently scrutinized by a number of Democrats. They rejected his advocacy of the principles of original intent and judicial restraint. Because the task of the judge, he once wrote, is "to discern how the framers' values, defined in the context of the world they knew, apply to the world we know". He also had said that Roe v. Wade was a "wholly unjustifiable judicial usurpation" of authority that belonged to the states, that the court's recent rulings on affirmative action were problematic and that the First Amendment didn't apply to pornography. However during the approval process, the right things were said and a degree of common sense was injected in by level-headed individuals who rightly feared an ugly future of partisan bickering.

In 1924, on this day former actor and journalist Ret Marut [the Man Known as B. Traven] succeeded Anton Drexler as the President of the German Workers' Party (DAP).

The Plot Against Germany 7 The Man Known as B. TravenHe had first become politically engaged in 1917 when he started to publish the periodical Der Ziegelbrenner (The Brick Burner) with a clearly anarchistic profile. Two years later the Bavarian Soviet Republic (BSR) was proclaimed in Munich. He was appointed director of the press division and also a member of the propaganda committee.

During this crazy period he had become acquainted with a fellow Bohemian Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler (pictured) who had briefly served with the forces of the BSR. Hitler subsequently introduced Marut into the DAP, although at that stage, no one was aware that he was actually a military infiltrator bent on wrecking the Nazi Party from the inside. An article from the asynchronous Chancellor Ernst Thalmänn thread.

In 1086, on this day the forces of Alfonso VI King of León and Castile won a decisive victory fought in treacherous conditions over the Almoravid army at the Battle of az-Zallaqah ("slippery ground").

Castilian Victory at the Battle of the Slippery GroundAfter the Castilians had captured Toledo and invaded the taifa of Zaragoza, the emirs of the smaller taifa kingdoms of Islamic Iberia found that they could not resist against him without external assistance. Yusuf ibn Tashfin was invited by them to fight against Alfonso VI and he replied to the call of three Andalusian leaders (Al-Mu'tamid ibn Abbad and others) and crossed the straits to Algeciras and moved to Seville. From there, accompanied by the emirs of Seville, Granada and Taifa of Málaga marched to Badajoz. To do so, he was forced to abandon the siege of Zaragoza, recall his troops from Valencia and appeal to Sancho I of Aragon for help. Finally he set out to meet the enemy northeast of Badajoz. The two armies met each other on 23 October 1086.

Alfonso VI of Castile reached the battleground with some 2,500 men, including 1,500 cavalry, in which 750 were knights, but found himself outnumbered. The two leaders exchanged messages before the battle. Yusuf ibn Tashfin is reputed to have offered three choices to the Castilians: convert to Islam, to pay tribute (jizyah), or battle. Despite some signs of panic in the Castilllian army [1] Alfonso (pictured) managed to control his troops and the result was a decisive victory for the Reconquistadors.

In 1973, on this day the Head of IDF Southern Command General Shmuel Gonen stepped into the office of the Defence Minister to carry out his threat to shoot Moyshe Dayan just hours after Prime Minister Gold Meir's helicopter crashed in the Sinai en route to Israeli-occupied Ismailia to personally order General Sharon to halt the advance on Cairo.

King of IsraelThe high command had infuriated the military leadership by reneging on a first strike pledge which had brought Israel to the brink of defeat in the first forty-eight hours of the war. And although Israel had avoided the stigmatization of aggression, the support of the United States had been much less decisive than expected, because a tremendous feat of arms had reversed the Arab advance. This perception ignored the disguised truth that Israel had consumed military hardware at a much faster rate than she could sustain unless guarantees of immediate replenishment had already been obtained.

Local military commanders sensed that the Israeli-American agenda was a quasi-victory that would enable both sides to withdraw with honour. Refusing to be denied the glory that their troops had earned, commanders ignored the ceasefire and encircled the Egyptian Third Army. Troops shouted "Arik1, Arik, King of Israel!" as they crossed the Suez Canal and drove into Africa.

Throughout the three weeks of the conflict, Sharon had persistently ignored orders from the High Command and had been at the point of dismissal on numerous occassions. Only the personal intervention from Golda Meir would stop him from striking Cairo. Upon receiving the unexpected news that Golda Meir had died en route, he seized the handset of a military radio and repeated a famous statement made by Winston Churchill in response to the attack on Pearl Harbour: "What kind of people do they think we are? Is it possible that they do not realise that we shall never cease to persevere against them until they have been taught a lesson which they and the world will never forget".

In Washington, President Nixon was on the verge of a nervous breakdown over the Watergate Crisis. The de facto head of state Henry Kissinger studied the words of Sharon, and his blood froze.

In 1983, on this day one of Oarsman's co-conspirators in the assassination of Harold Wilson committed suicide in Bangkok.

Goatherd's FateThe deceased, formerly known to his fellow plotters as "Goatherd", had been suffering from a heroin addiction since being dismissed from MI-6 in 1978; by 1982 he was living on the street and suffering from bouts of depression and paranoia which the heroin exacerabated. A post-mortem autopsy by Thai police coroners revealed Goatherd had succumbed to an intentional overdose of heroin and PCP.

A new post from the Necessary Evil Thread by Chris OakleyAt the time of his suicide Goatherd's role in the Wilson assassination was a secret; it would remain so until the Tony Blair government's 2004-05 inquiry into the killing turned up documents indicated Goatherd had been Oarsman's first recruit in the assassination plan. (The papers also confirmed the hit was being carried out without the knowledge or consent of MI-6's leadership). Once Goatherd's link to the conspiracy had been established Blair's successors, Gordon Brown and David Cameron, would expand Whitehall's probes into the circumstances of Wilson's death -- in fact, in one of Cameron's first trips abroad as prime minister he would meet with Russian president Dmitri Medvedev to seek the release of KGB archives pertaining to Wilson's interactions with his Soviet contacts.

In 1812, on this day Malet's coup accidentally succeeded. Claude Francois de Malet loved his country and felt that so much more could come from a France not chained under autocratic rule. When he had come of age at seventeen, he had enlisted as a Musketeer, as was common for minor nobles like himself to do under the reign of the Bourbons. Louis XVI disbanded the guard in 1776, and Malet realized the abuse of power one man could hold.

Malet's Coup Accidentally SucceedsWhen the French Revolution began, he found common interest among the republicans. His family disinherited him, but Malet was content to fight for his own way and the way of his countrymen. He volunteered for the revolutionaries' army and became captain in the Army of the Rhine. Malet reenlisted after his first tour lapsed, and he fought valiantly until 1802 with many honors, being promoted to brigadier general in 1799.

Malet returned to France and found that the Revolution for which he had fought much of his life had given way to a new heavy-handed system. As the Consulate came to power, Malet voted against Napoleon as the First Consul. While a member of the Legion of Honor and thus a powerful enemy, Napoleon worked to push Malet's vehement voice away from public ears. Napoleon crowned himself emperor, and Malet resigned from service. Despite their differences, both Napoleon and Malet worked toward the greatness of France, and Malet accepted governorships in the Kingdom of Italy. He served in Italy for several years before being sent to prison for ten months in 1807 on charges not even considered in court as he was released without trial in 1808.

Returning to Paris after yet another stint of national service abroad and now seething from lost months of his life, Malet found himself arrested on suspicion of being a member of the Philadelphes, a society of Masons who had dedicated themselves to republicanism and, especially, opposition to Napoleon. From 1810, he sat under house arrest and began to plot. He built a network of allies and careful forgeries that would overthrow the dictator upon the false news of his death. Even if Napoleon were to return, Malet felt that the people of France would consider not taking back the emperor. When Napoleon marched on Moscow, Malet knew his chance had come.

October 23, 1812, Malet escaped and released his fellow conspirators from their prisons with forged documents, the presence of his general's uniform, and his sense of command. He marched to the barracks of the Gendarmerie, woke up the troops, and displayed further forgeries of orders to establish a republican Paris. The provisional government was established, and Malet's plan went smoothly.

Word of the coup filtered to Napoleon, who was sitting atop the ashes of Moscow. He passed command of the remnants of the Grande Armee to Marshall Joachim Murat and returned to Paris by fast-moving sleigh. Near Krasnoy, Russian snipers spotted the sleigh, thought it a messenger, and shot the passengers dead. After the disappearance of the emperor, emergency patrols would be launched, and his blood-soaked sleigh would be found November 14. When the news spread of the emperor's actual death, the Russians launched a renewed campaign against the devastated French troops.

In Paris, the news of Napoleon's death would be met with confusion. Malet worked to weave his lies and the truth into powerful propaganda that the French determined one was a false report, but no one knew which. In either case, they already had their provisional government established, and there was no need for a Napoleon II.

With the return to the republic, Malet worked to rally the army and peacefully disassemble Napoleon's web of satellite states, puppet kings, and forced alliances. While many in Europe called for a Sixth Coalition to defeat France wholly, the Continent was weary of war. Malet swore to fight defensively for French soil, but the diplomats were eager to take back their conquered lands without further bloodshed. A new balance of power was struck at the Treaty of Leipzig in October of 1813. Britain assumed dominance of the seas, Austria regained its holdings in Germany and Italy, and Russia grew in influence over Poland and Finland. France, meanwhile, would rebuild.

Malet was said to have "retired" France, and several groups rose up in dissension about his parceling up of the empire. Still, he argued if he had fought, the Coalition would have torn France apart, and his righteous anger proved that the age of old empires had come to an end. The colonies of Spain and Portugal would gain independence, and Germany under the Bavarians then Italy would unify themselves into European powers. Malet would die in 1826, not seeing the latter two actions, but living long enough to see the establishment of a new generation of free Frenchmen. Their republican ideals would spark waves of revolution across Europe in the 1830s and again in the 1850s, gradually dissolving the power of autocracy.

In its place, a sense of nationalism would grow up, sparking competition and, in the 1870s, the Great War. As the Prussians balked under Bavarian rule to began a civil war, all of the nations of Europe drew sides to divide the Continent and cost over a million lives. New systems would rise from its shadow, such as anarchism, communism, and progressive republicanism.

In 2009, on this day the hotly disputed Afghan election entered a new phase of bitter recrimination when talks between Presidents Hamid Karzai and John Kerry broke down without agreement.

Locking HornsBoth Kerry, and his principal aide, the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan Kai Eide had determined that a run-off election was absolutely necessary to restore Karzai's broken authority with the Afghan people. Tense days of diplomatic arm-twisting featured meals which included "gallons of tea" and endless platters of lamb. But Karzai was stalling, a strategy that had been doomed to failure ever since Peter Galbraith blew the whistle on October 5th. Subsequently, Galbraith had been fired from his senior United Nations post for quarrelling with his superiors over claims he was told to keep quiet about fraud during the Afghan election.

Now both Heads of State were locked on the horns of a dilemma; Kerry could no longer support Karzai in the International Community and Karzai feared for his life should he lose office. It was a lose-lose situation of the worst kind that only had one precedent in recent history.

Misunderstanding from Eide that Karzai was close to agreement on a November run-off, Kerry rushed back from a brief visit across the border to Pakistan to "close the deal". Both Presidents went for a long walk on the Presidential Palace grounds, but Eide had it wrong, Karzai had become "shaky" and was already suffering "buyer's remorse".

During the extended stroll Kerry opened up to Karzai, telling him about his own difficult decision to challenge the vote count in Ohio on election night in 2004. There were allegations of voting irregularities in favour of incumbent president George W. Bush, and Kerry told Karzai he knew he would hold up a final outcome for weeks by filing a challenge. Kerry's hypocrisy induced an incandescent level of fury in Karzai and the talks were broken off without agreement. Kerry returned to Washington to re-evaluate options for putting the Afghan President under further pressure, a catastrophic strategem that would backfire disasterously before the year-end.

In 1962, the formation of the United West African Republic (UWAR) was announced on this day by the Heads of State for the Republics of Mali and Ghana who had recently agreed upon a rotating Presidency formula. When the great nations of Nigeria and Cameroon joined the UWAR the following year, it became painfully evident to the European architects of neo-colonialisms that their latest plans for "divide and conquer", a "scramble OUT of Africa", would have to go right back to the drawing board.

The Weaver Bird Flies AwayIn order to prevent West Africans enjoying their rightful status as sovereign nations, Europeans cynically chosen to define their micro-ethnicities in terms of "tribalism". In point of fact the Kingdoms of Ghana and Mali predated many European monarchies, dating back to at least 1,200 AD. And the perceived issues of many languages and close-knit communities had never been a historic obstacle to trade upon which West Africa had thrived for that thousand year period.

"The weaver bird built in our house and laid its eggs on our only tree. We did not want to send it away, until today. We look for a new home, now. For new altars we strive to re-build the old shrines defiled from the weaver's excrement" ~ Kofi Awoonor, Ghanaian PoetAfter the Second World War, the Europeans came to the decidedly unpleasant conclusion that whilst they might well aspire to repossess their former colonies, they just couldn't afford it. And America wanted in and big time, forcing the British to sign the "Atlantic Charter" which guaranteed the "right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live", which the Daily Mail helpfully reported also covered "the darker race". And so the best way forward for the Western alliance to prevent the former Colonies falling into the Soviet orbit was to grant early independence that would enable Western banks to leverage the new governments of small, weakened African states.

Trouble was nationalists have a regular habit of finding great leaders, and the British certainly hadn't figured on the rise of Kwame Nkrumah (pictured), an inspirational Ghanaian leader who had wisely determined that a big pan-African State was the answer. Not impressed that his plans for a "big tent" threatened their own plans for a "small tent", the British threw Nkrumah in jail but were forced to release him when he was appointed a government minister after the 1951 elections which saw his Convention People's Party brought to power. Ghana had become the first African country to win its independence.

On this day in 1941, US forces in the Philippines began bulking up their coastal defenses after General Douglas MacArthur, C-in-C for American forces there, was alerted that the War Department considered the island a potential target for Japanese invasion.

 - Douglas McArthur
Douglas McArthur

On this day in 1962, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev delivered his reply to President Kennedy's televised speech of the previous day; denying that the 100,000 Soviet troops in Cuba or the Soviet missile sites then under construction on Cuban were intended for offensive use, the CPSU First Secretary warned Kennedy: "We want peace, but if you want war, that is your problem".

CPSU First Sec.
CPSU First Sec. - Nikita S. Khruschev
Nikita S. Khruschev

Unfortunately for Khrushchev, his denials were discredited just hours later when a defector told the CIA station chief in West Berlin that both the troop contingent and the missiles were in fact intended for offensive use.

In 1914, Peace of Milan, Peace on the Western Front.
In 1983, the Beirut Airport was annihilated by car bombs. Several groups claimed responsibility, but the country was in such chaos that the real culprits will probably never be known. Fortunately for the U.S., a plan to house Marines at the Airport had been discarded due to the possibility of just such an attack. 58 French soldiers who had been barracked in the city were killed by a similar attack that day.
In 1962, Little Steve Judkins released his first single, Thank you for loving me all the way, at the tender age of 12. Judkins caught the attention of Texas rocker Buddy Holly, who produced 3 albums with the young singer, all of which went gold. Judkins is still popular today, having produced such classics as Superstitious and My Cherie Amour.
In 1959, polka king Alfred Yankovic was born in Lynwood, California. Yankovic took a form of music that had been confined to Lawrence Welk specials and Polish festivals and gave it a brief period of 'hipness' in the 1980's. He still continues to perform professionally, but mainly at Polish festivals, now.
In 1956, the comrades of Hungary attempted to throw off the shackles of their reactionary oppressors. In spite of aid given by a sympathetic Soviet States of America, the country's prime minister, a puppet of Russian and West German capitalists, crushes the rebellion with military assistance from those governments. Comrade President Joel Rosenberg calls it, 'a black day for the freedom-loving people of Europe'.
In 1905, Felix Bloch was born in Zurich, Switzerland. After moving to America in 1933, the great physicist fell in with Richard Tolman's parallel dimensions cult and his Nobel win in 1952 gave it a shot of credibility. Like so many other members of the cult, he mysteriously disappeared in 1960 after giving a lecture at Stanford University about the ability to cross between realities at will.
In 2558 AUC, the Aeneus, a Greek vessel carrying almost a thousand people to Vinland, sinks off the coast of the continent. Almost 400 people are killed in the accident, making it the worst naval disaster in the republic during the 26th century.

October 22

China faced a great time of turmoil in the twilight of the Ming dynasty. Europeans from the West encroached on imperial power while war with Manchuria emptied the coffers and piracy limited trade that would produce tax-income. If Emperor Chongzhen (pictured) were going to win the war in the north, he needed to secure the seas to the south.

October 22, 1633 - Hans Putmans Rethinks His StrategyIn 1628, the pirate Zheng Zhilong, leader and founder of the Shibazhi, a powerful organization of eighteen pirates, defeated the Ming fleet. Zheng had undergone an impressive life: he studied business in Macau at 18, was baptized into Catholicism, translated among the Dutch, worked under famed pirate Li Dan ("Captain China"), inherited the pirate's empire, and grew it to an even more impressive stance.

Upon his display of mastery of the seas, rather than fight continual losing wars against him, the Emperor took Zheng on as a major general. In 1633, Chongzhen promoted him to Admiral of the Coastal Seas and charged him with establishing seas free from piracy.

This event would be a boon for Chinese business, but the monopoly would challenge the lucrative Dutch control of trade with Japan. Hans Putmans, governor of Formosa (Taiwan), decided to end the Emperor's action before it could be started and launched a sneak attack on Zheng's fleet in harbor. On July 7, 1633, he destroyed much of the fleet.

Zheng reacted with a cunning plan to rebuild his fleet: use locals. He set up recruitment with two pieces of silver for each man volunteering for service, five if the battles with the pirates and Dutch went long. Though not expert sailors, they were organized into 16-man fire-boats that were easily maneuverable and sailed. For each Dutch ship destroyed, the boat would be given a bounty of 200 silver pieces. Each Dutch head brought in would be traded for 50 silver pieces.

With more than one hundred fire-boats on the prowl, Putmans and his pirate allies faced gradual attrition over the summer and into fall. By October 22, Putmans' fleet of twenty warships had been dwindled to nine. When he and his fleet spotted the Chinese warships approaching, Putmans made the split decision to retreat to the safety and regroup. While he might have won the battle, the war was against his favor.

Instead, Putmans decided to fight fire with fire: this was to be an economic war. He took on volunteers at three silver pieces each and promised bounties half-again as much for destroyed Chinese ships and heads of Chinese crew. Through the rest of fall, the south sea turned into a bloodbath, attracting pirates from as far away as Arabia. The Dutch East India Company questioned Putmans' wild expenses, but the governor assured stockholders that the small debt would be a valuable investment. By the time shipping slowed for winter, the war had become a stalemate.

Putmans and Zheng both rebuilt their fleets and launched into one another early in 1634. While the Chinese had English-made cannon, the Dutch ships had been able to produce more firepower from their Formosan smiths. On April 2, 1634, the fleets met in a decisive battle that ended with the capture of Zheng. Rather than execute the enemy, Putmans offered to hire Zheng away. Zheng said that he would only join the Dutch if given an exorbitant ten million pieces of silver, but Putmans surprised him by agreeing. The Company balked, but Putmans silenced them with promise to pay out of his own earnings in addition to yearly installments.

Zheng came to dominate trade while Putmans worked to develop Formosa, building plantations and settlements. He set up a "blood tax", forcing natives to give up children as slaves, which produced profitable cheap labor for the Company. In 1644, the Ming Dynasty fell to the uprising of Li Zicheng, and Putmans made his move. Using Zheng's connections, the two masterminded a Dutch invasion of the south of China, establishing a huge new sphere of influence. Zheng was made the governor of the land, becoming almost a king as he worked to improve profits for the Company.

The Dutch came to control the Far East, while the French and, especially, English attempted to challenge their power, but fast alliances with Zheng and his legacy of pirates made the Dutch all but invincible there. Over the next century, great wealth poured into the Netherlands from the East, which they in turn invested back into imperial growth. Despite attempts to keep the locals under thumb, Japan would eventually come to their own industrial revolution and challenge Dutch authority in the Dutch-Japanese War through the 1930s. The carefully cultivated resources came under Japanese control, though fleetingly as their choice of allying with Hitler's Axis would end in surrender under atomic barrage.

In 1960, White House Press Secretary James Hagerty issued a statement noting the President's disappointment at hearing the "cheap shot" comments made by Senator Kennedy at the televised debates.

Cheap ShotsPrivately he was infuriated by Kennedy's allegation that Harry Truman's successors had turned American foreign policy soft. Hardly "weak on defence" the architect of the bloody D-Day Landings had simply ensured that not a single American soldier died in combat on his eight-year watch. However the issue that actually drew him into the election debate was the so-called "missile gap". Like the bomber gap of only a few years earlier, it was self-evident that the gap was illusionary, being used solely as a political tool. On previous occasions Eisenhower had refused to publicly refute the claims, fearing that public disclosure of this evidence would jeopardize the secrecy of U-2 flights.

Nevertheless Kennedy had crossed the line by repeating inaccurate information that he knew was patently false in the form of estimates from Senator Stuart Symington, the former Secretary of the Air Force. Because at the debate he still remarked

Mr. Nixon talks about our being the strongest country in the world. I think we are today. But we were far stronger relative to the Communists five years ago, and what is of great concern is that the balance of power is in danger of moving with them. They made a breakthrough in missiles, and by nineteen sixty-one, two, and three, they will be outnumbering us in missiles. I'm not as confident as he is that we will be the strongest military power by 1963.
Such a damning charge could not go unchallenged because it would give the wrong statement to the Soviet Union. But having made his point, Eisenhower decided to keep his own counsel. And yet he was giving serious consideration to issuing a warning in his farewell address, pointing to the inherent danger of civilian politicians losing their head and disrupting the military-industrial complex during the "cut and thrust" electoral cycle. He was forced to change his mind because only six weeks later, President-elect Kennedy was killed by a mentally disturbed ex-postal worker by the name of Richard Pavlick. Still, he surely lived long enough to regret the omission of that warning when President Johnson bungled the Cuban Missiles Crisis.

In 1844, Louis David Riel was born on this day in Red River Colony, Rupert's Land.

Birth of rebel leader Louis RielThe de-establishment of British North America was his life's work. But inevitably, he was doomed to fail until he secured support from the United States. Nevertheless through a bizarre set of circumstances that can only be understood as the mysterious workings of fate, he did win out.

His first resistance was the Red River Rebellion of 1869-1870 which led to the establishment of a provisional government. But Riel was forced into exile in the United States due to the controversial execution of Thomas Scott. Destined to rule, he launched an unlikely bid for the Republican nomination. Although this failed, he formed a unique relationship with Ulysses S. Grant.

He decided to return to launch a North-West Rebellion [1]. His first hand description of the death of Scott struck a chord with Americans who had first hand experience of the brutality of "British Justice". And in his cry for justice and liberty, Grant and his fellow Americans heard an echo of their own manifest destiny. They offered their support, but other parties were drawn into the rebellion as well. For example, thousands of exiled Dakota, arguably the finest cavalry of the day. The rebellion escalated into a regional conflict that determined the future of British North America.

In 1734 O.S., on this day American pioneer, explorer, frontiersman, wealthy land speculator and third President of the United States Daniel Boone was born in Oley Valley, Pennsylvania.

Daniel Boone
Third US President
by Ed and Jeff Provine
In 1775 Boone blazed his Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian Mountains from North Carolina and Tennessee into Kentucky despite resistance from American Indian tribes such as the Shawnee. There he founded the village of Boonesborough, Kentucky, one of the first English-speaking settlements west of the Appalachians. Before the end of the 18th century, more than two hundred thousand European people migrated to Kentucky/Virginia by following the route marked by Boone.

During the Revolutionary War he was captured by Shawnee warriors who adopted him into their tribe. Later, he left the Indians and returned to Boonesborough in order to help defend the European settlements in Kentucky/Virginia. Following the war, Boone initially worked as a surveyor and merchant before accumulating vast wealth through lucrative Kentucky land speculation.

In 1800, he ran successfully for the Presidency narrowly beating the incumbent John Adams. He entered Office with the high hope that he would blaze a new trail, bringing the country together by addressing the Indian Question.

In 2010, due to unavoidable timetabling clashes with the filming of Sherlock, Martin Freeman advised director Peter Jackson that regrettably he would be unable to play Bilbo Baggins in the two-part "Lord of the Rings" prequel "The Hobbit".

Freeman Pulls Out of the HobbitJackson had been so desperate to cast Freeman that he had proposed suspending filming for over two months. But ultimately, Freeman realized that it was simply too much. And in fact, he had privately decided to build upon his success in films for Television.

A number of second choice actors now entered consideration, Toby McGuire, Daniel Radcliffe, Elijah Woods (who was already cast as a younger Frodo) and even Freeman's colleague from "The Office" Ricky Gervais.

In 1836, on this day in the capital city of Harrisburg, forty-year old James ("Jim") Bowie of Logan County, Kentucky was inaugurated as the first president of the Republic of Texas. An installment of the Republic of Texas thread.

Jim Bowie inaugurated President of TexasA legend even before the Texas Revolution, his unconventional personal history had been used by his political opponents as a weapon against his eligibility for high office. In particular, the controversy over the 1827 killing of the sheriff of Rapides Parish with sharp knife in the Sandbar Fight. However, investigations by the State of Louisiana revealed that Bowie was uninvolved.

Acting on the orders of Commander in Chief Sam Houston he supervised the withdrawal and destruction of the Alamo. Whereas Houston's reputation was later destroyed by anti-Jackson forces, Bowie entered a new phase of his career in which he emerged as a thoughtful political figure. He surpassed expectations, proving to his doubters that he was a better living leader than dead hero.

In 1486, on this day the Battle of Bosworth Field was fought near Ambion Hill in Leicestershire.

Bosworth, 1486
Part 3 - The Fall of the Plantagenet Dynasty
The usurper Henry Tudor had chosen to postpone his bid for power until the demise of Edward IV. This fateful postponement nearly backfired, because the young Edward V was given the opportunity to settle with his Uncle Richard who had entertained his own pretensions to the throne. And so instead of challenging a divided Plantagenet dynasty, he was confronted by the joint forces of both the monarch and also the Lord of the North. Nonetheless he prevailed, but there was a thorn in the rose of his glorious victory.

By the autumn of 1486, Richard had arranged marriages for the eldest of Edward IV's daughters and had also remarried himself. Although he was tragically killed at Bosworth Field before his heirs were born, a future succession plan was in place. Because his second wife returned to the continent to bear the twins, ensuring that the usurper Henry would have to face challenges from a multiplicity of alternative claimants. An installment of the Bosworth 1486 thread conceived by Jackie Speel.

In 1942, James Blunt met H.V. Morton for the first time at Blunt's Surrey home; Blunt had initially been reluctant to agree to Morton's interview request but changed his mind after being persuaded Morton was genuinely interested in the story of the journal of Blunt's mirror universe counterpart.

Chance Encounter Part #2Over the course of the next two months Blunt and Morton would have dozens of additional interviews, the transcripts of which would form the basis of Morton's 1943 biographical work I, James Blunt. The book was an instant best-seller throughout the English-speaking world and won Britain's top literary honor in 1944; as Allied troops drove the Germans back across Europe following the D-Day invasion, Blunt would also become highly popular in France, Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, and Italy.

In fact, by the time Blunt died in 1965 Morton's book would be translated into more than a hundred foreign languages; Morton would also act as co-writer of the script for MGM's 1948 film adaptation of Blunt. While an official German-language edition of the book wouldn't be available until 1990, bootleg translations of it were circulating in East Germany as early as 1959 and would become collector's items after the Berlin Wall fell.

In 1979, denying medical treatment to the dying Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi would have been fundamentally un-American as well as contrary to the revolutionary principles the country shared with the great nation of Iran, said President Paul Simon on this day.

American TuneAgonising foreign policy decisions which threatened to tear apart the finely knit fabric of American democracy were nothing new, in fact they had come along with frightening regularity every decade. But this choice was worst than most confronted by Samuel Adams' successors over the previous hundred years. Because the kleptocracy of the Shahanshah made the excesses of King George III look like very small change indeed. Only eight years before the King of Kings had spent the incredible sum of $100 million celebrating the twenty-five-hundredth anniversary of the House of Pahlavi.

At face value permitting the Shahanshah to check into the New York-Weill Cornell Medical Hospital was nothing other than a Christianly act. Other than the fact that the Pope had condemned the decision outright because he was terrified about the next move of the Ayatollah Khomeini who was even now creating a Vatican-like state in Qom at the behest of Iranian Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar. The President dismissed this Papal outburst, declaring that he would not let the American dream be driven to its knees by cynicism. "Still, tomorrow's gonna be another working day" he said, ending the press conference with his trademark republican flourish.
Listen to Paul Simon's American Tune

In 2001, in order to prevent a Zombie invasion of the safety area west of the Prairies, the United States Military were forced to plan for the detonation of Hydrogen bombs in a territory they had never before considered as a potential target: the dense population centres of the Eastern Seaboard.

Operation American Freedom by Ed, Eric Lipps, Steve Schaper & Christopher FinkleUS President George W. Bush justified the action, characteristically using broadly sweeping terms for liberty and freedom; he also paid tribute to the ruthless decisiveness of these military planners ~

"My administration has a job to do and we're going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil-doers. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Today, our nation sees evil, the very worst of human nature. Our nation, this generation, will lift the dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail.

And we respond with the best of America - with the daring of our armed forces, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could".

The consequences of the ill-planned decision were of course nothing short of catastrophic. Fallout from the hydrogen bombs is sucked into the winds of a mega-hurricane along the coast of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. The megahurricane then moves south, raining on the gulf, the midatlantic, and the Caribbean, polluting all of them with lethal radiation...

In 1979, on this day movie director Michael Cimino (pictured) filed a breach-of-contract suit against United Artists after UA decided to withhold part of his promised $500,000 salary for making the never-completed Western saga Heaven's Gate. Shooting on the troubled film had been terminated a month earlier due to cost overruns and seemingly endless production delays; the salary withholding decision was made in an effort to recoup some of UA's losses on the movie.

Heaven's Gate by Chris OakleyThe lengthy fight between Cimino and United Artists derailed Cimino's once-promising filmmaking career; by the time the parties finally settled out of court in 1983, Cimino had become an industry joke, his name synonymous with high profile failure and the acclaim received by his debut movie The Deer Hunter all but forgotten. His lone post-Gate filmmaking venture, the 1987 gangland drama Year of the Dragon, was a box office disaster that effectively killed what was left of his professional reputation.

Ironically UA, who some movie industry analysts had feared might go bankrupt as a result of the Gate fiasco, emerged from the ordeal stronger than ever-- by 1984 the studio was riding a new wave of success thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator franchise and prestige projects like the Tom Hanks World War II drama Saving Corporal Ryan. In 1993 UA formed a distribution and production partnership with MGM that reaped huge dividends for both companies.

By 2008 UA and MGM were tied for second on the list of the ten most profitable entertainment companies in America.

The Gate fiasco and its aftermath would be chronicled at length in former UA executive Steven Bach's tell-all book Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster In The Making Of Heaven's Gate.

In 2007, given the surprising box office success of The Seinfeld Movie, comedian Jerry Seinfeld finally ends months of speculation by announcing the development of The Seinfeld Sequel.

However, beyond a pitch to Dreamworks Studio, the project is put on hold until after the resolution of the 2007-08 Writer's Guild Strike that engulfs Hollywood.

 - Seinfeld

On this day in 2010, Russian leader Dmitri Medvedev condemned the McCain Administration's stance on Guyana.

 - Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Medvedev

On this day in 1972, the Dallas Cowboys snapped their four-game losing streak with a 24-20 comeback victory over the Washington Redskins.                                                        

US President

On this day in 1962, President John F. Kennedy made his first televised address on the situation in Cuba.

In his speech, he stated point-blank that any Soviet attempt to land troops in southern Florida would be considered an act of war by the United States and answered accordingly; the same policy would also apply to Soviet missile activity on Cuban soil.

US President - John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy

In 1979, Shah Reza Pahlevi arrives in New York City accompanied by an entourage and presenting himself as if he were still a head of state. Senator Edward Kennedy issues a statement repeating his opposition to the Rockefeller administration's decision to allow the Shah into the U.S. Kennedy warns that this action risks signaling to Tehran that Washington still considers Pahlevi the legitimate ruler of Iran. The Senator's statement is immediately attacked by administration spokesmen and conservative political pundits.

In 1979, the United States refused entrance to the former Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Even though many in Congress growled that the Shah had been an ally of good standing, President Carter felt that allowing him entrance might endanger Americans in Iran. He proved right; when Canada allowed him to receive medical treatment there, Iranian students stormed the Canadian embassy and took it hostage for almost a month before negotiations allowed Canada to extract all its people.
In 1964, the rock band High Numbers won a record deal with EMI after a blistering audition. Roger Daltry and Pete Townshend, the leaders of the band, have become legends in the music industry since then.
In 1937, King Edward VII of Great Britain meets with German Underground leader Adolf Hitler and pledges his nation's support against the Greater Zionist Resistance. It is the first national alliance that Hitler and his time-traveling neo-Nazi allies are able to secure, and it brings in many others who had been waiting for another nation to take the first step.
In 1887, Comrade John Reed, journalist and politician, is born in Portland, Oregon. Although his family was filled with reactionaries, Reed embraced the Marxist-Thoreauvian mindset of the 19th century and was soon a powerful figure in national politics. He was the Communist candidate for President in 1912, losing out to Socialist Woodrow Wilson.
In 1797, Andres-Jacques Garnerin made the first recorded parachute jump from a height of 3000 feet. The first successful parachute jump, unfortunately for Monsieur Garnerin, was still some months away.
In 4004, BC God said, Let there be light! at 8 P.M. He's had a few troubles with the whole creation thing ever since

In 2007, federal legislators promised to review health and safety regulations in Equestrianism following another jousting fatality.

A man died in a freak accident at a jousting tournament on Monday. The unnamed man died after a splinter of wood from a lance flew through the slit of his helmet and penetrated his eye. He died after a week in hospital. The accident occurred in September but the man's death has only just been made public. 'We have been shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic accident,' a United States Department of Agriculture spokeswoman said. 'The professional event has an excellent safety record and took all the appropriate and necessary precautions and it does sadly appear this was a tragic freak accident.'

Jousting - Fatality

The United States Department of Agriculture perform routine inspections of horse shows including jousting events, but safety concerns are difficult to eliminate in this controversial high contact sport.

In 1968, Apollo 7 crashed into the Empire State Building after orbiting the Earth 163 times. Three thousand New Yorkers were killed by the impact. Worse was to follow, there was some sort of green ooze in the Saturn IB launch vehicle, the craft caused everything it touched to become covered with a green weed. The incredible story of how the Atlantic Plague Centre quarantined the green weed to the island of Manhattan was recounted by the journalise Stephen King in his master piece The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verill.
In 1972, on this day in Saigon, Henry Kissinger and Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his younger brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu met to discuss a proposed cease-fire that had been worked out between Americans and North Vietnamese in Paris. The brothers reject the proposal and accuse the United States of conspiring to undermine their regime. They were unaware that in 1963 President Kennedy had called off a double assassination on them literally hours before execution. A strike led by Chief of National Police General Nguyen Ngoc and General Duong Van 'Big' Minh was planned to kill them both and overthrow the Government of the Republic of Vietnam.
In 1953, after the Qibya operation, Unit 101 Commander Ariel Sharon was summoned to see Israel Prime Minister Ben-Gurion for a reprimand. Right from the start Ben-Gurion said to Sharon: 'Let me first tell you one thing: it matters what the world says about Israel. We have to co-exist [with the Arabs] here on the land of our forefathers. And unless we show the world we are not the aggressors, we won't survive.'

October 21

It is October 21st, 1805, and Admiral Villeneuve's combined French and Spanish fleets have won a decisive victory off the south-west coast of Spain, just west of Cape Trafalgar. An article from our Happy Endings thread.

Happy Endings 38:
Napoleon's Column
Whereas the British fleet had suffered the disadvantages of a split command, bearing down in two separate lines, the one led by Nelson in the Victory, and the other by Collingwood in the Royal Sovereign. But it was not until November 4, a fortnight later, that news of the disaster reached England's shores aboard the schooner Pickle.

If there was a delicious irony in names such as Victory and Pickle, then the nation was in no mood to savour it. Because the defeat of the Royal Navy opened the door to Napoleon's invasion of England. But in the long run, Villeneuve's victory brought the country into the heart of a centralised, protectionist Europe. It was a glorious triumph that was marked by the construction of Napoleon's Column in Whitehall. Indeed, the toast of Paris where Nelson and his mistress lived the remaining years of their lives in surprising opulence, given the parlous state of the Admiral's fortunes on the eve of battle.

In 2012, on this day the ninety year old former South Dakota Senator "Red" George McGovern died in a Sioux Falls hospice.

Passing of Red George
By Ed & Stan Brin
A renowned debater that struggled to project a natural aura of charismatic leadership in less structured settings, he was elected to U.S. Senate on his second attempt in 1962. Ten years later, he ran for President.

Even if a Republican Victory in 1972 was a near certainty, then the Democrat candidate selection was the dogfight that the general election was not expected to be. Matters became even more complicated when Democrats sued McGovern over the California delegation fiasco and had his nomination overturned in the courts. He was subsequently arrested for violating the 1965 Voting Rights Act. As a result, Hubert Humphrey was nominated by the Democratic National Committee to almost universal surprise, he won.

Nevertheless, McGovern made determined attempts to rehabilitate his tarnished reputation. As a private individual, he publicized the problem of hunger within the United States. Of course his harshest critics saw this as a further indication of his Bolshevism.

In 2012, on this day the thirty-eighth President of the United States George Stanley McGovern died in Sioux Falls, South Dakota aged ninety.

Death of Former President McGovern
Icon of modern American liberalism
McGovern grew up in Mitchell, South Dakota, where he was a renowned debater. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Forces upon the country's entry into World War II and as a B-24 Liberator pilot flew 35 missions over German-occupied Europe. Among the medals awarded him was a Distinguished Flying Cross for making a hazardous emergency landing of his damaged plane and saving his crew. After the war he gained degrees from Dakota Wesleyan University and Northwestern University, culminating in a Ph.D., and was a history professor. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1956 and re-elected in 1958. After a failed bid for the U.S. Senate in 1960, he was elected there in 1962.

As a senator, McGovern was an exemplar of modern American liberalism. He became most known for his outspoken opposition to the growing U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. He staged a brief nomination run in the 1968 presidential election as a stand-in for the assassinated Robert F. Kennedy. The subsequent McGovern-Fraser Commission fundamentally altered the Democratic presidential nominating process, by greatly increasing the number of caucuses and primaries and reducing the influence of party insiders. The McGovern-Hatfield Amendment sought to end the Vietnam War by legislative means but was defeated in 1970 and 1971.

McGovern's long-shot, grassroots-based 1972 presidential campaign found triumph due to two totally unrelated events. Firstly, the deft selection of Walter Cronkite as running mate. Secondly, the shocking exposure of a wire-tapping operation in the DNC Headquarters in the Watergate Hotel. Ironically, McGovern who had been defeated as a stand-in candidate, now defeated an RNC stand-in candidate when the discredited Richard Nixon was forced out of the race.

"Mr President, the fires you lit then still burn in countless hearts" - campaign worker Bill ClintonHe will be long respected (if grudgingly honoured) for having the moral courage to grasp the nettle by bringing the Vietnam Tragedy to a messy and dishonorable ending that was perhaps the inevitable outcome of his predecessor's policies. But less fortunately for McGovern, too much time had been lost and 1968 would have been a far better year for his election than 1972 because there were very Democrat centrists on the Hill, and he struggled to implement his legislative agenda. And so a third event precipitated his downfall - the re-emergence of the GOP under the reinvigorated leadership of the hugely popular Governor of California Ronald Reagan. With the mood of the country turning sour, he offered a compelling "change of direction appeal" in the face of a dysfunctional Democratic party.

After his one-term Presidency, McGovern pursued a rewarding career over twenty-five years. He publicized the problem of hunger within the United States and issued the "McGovern Report" that led to a new set of nutritional guidelines for Americans. McGovern later served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture from 1998-2001 and was appointed the first UN Global Ambassador on World Hunger by the World Food Programme in 2001. The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program has provided school meals for millions of children in dozens of countries since 2000 and resulted in McGovern being named World Food Prize co-laureate in 2008.

In 1097, on this day the Crusader Army began the eight month siege of Antioch that was finally relieved by a Muslim army from Mosul under the command of Kerbogha.

Allah Willis IT!Although a huge force of over one hundred thousand men had departed from Catholic Europe, the Crusader Army had been greatly weakened by attacks from two Muslim armies. And Antioch was so large that the crusaders did not have enough troops to fully surround it, and as a result it was able to stay partially supplied.

The crusaders knew they would have to take the city before Kerbogha arrived if they had any chance of survival. Bohemund secretly established contact with Firouz, an Armenian guard who controlled the Tower of the Two Sisters but had a grudge with Yaghi-Siyan, and bribed him to open the gates. He then approached the other crusaders and offered to let them in, through Firouz, if they would agree to let him have the city. Raymond was furious and argued that the city should be handed over to Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, as they had agreed when they left Constantinople in 1097. They were still arguing when Kerbogha arrived.

Although the defeat at Antioch was a military setback for the Crusaders, their retreating troops were reinforced by a Byzantine Army. And their subsequent success upheld the overarching principle of the First Crusade, to save the Byzantine Empire which could have been easily undermined by the establishment of Frankish States as secretly desired by Godfrey, Tancred, Robert, and the other leaders.

In 1904, enroute to the Far East the Russian Baltic Fleet mistook British trawlers at Dogger Bank for an Imperial Japanese Navy force. In the confusion they opened fire killing three British fishermen and also a Russian Sailor and Priest. Within weeks, this incident had created further confusion and tragedy by escalating into a general European conflict.

Dogger Bank Incident leads to WarThe Central Powers had been drifting towards war with France and Russia ever since the Imperial Government of Kaiser Friedrich had offered Great Britain an alliance in return for a Naval Treaty. And intervention in the Russo-Japanese War presented an unmissable opportunity to strike at a moment when the Dual Entente Powers were particularly weak. At least, that was the considered view of Tirpitz and the Younger Bismarch rather than their seventeen year old monarch. He had ascended to the throne in November 1899 under circumstances which would have been considered bizarre had they not involved his erratic father Wilhem II.

In November 1899 Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show had visited Berlin. One of the star's was Annie Oakley who, as part of her act, would shoot the ash off the end of a cigar. The usual routine was for to ask for a volunteer from the audience (as a joke). When nobody would take up the offer her husband (Francis Butler) would then step forwards and do the honours. However, on this occassion the Kaiser stood up and vaulted out of the royal box. Before anybody could stop him he'd taken a cigar out of his gold cigar case, lit it up, and offered himself as the "volunteer". Annie Oakley took careful aim with her Colt .45, wished she had not drunk her usual amount of whiskey before the show, pulled the trigger and blew his head off.
This post is a reboot of Richard Roper's article Russo-Japanese War - The Dogger Bank Incident Goes Wrong, The Great War Of 1904.

In 1422, upon the death of Charles le Bien-Aimé and in accordance with the Treaty of Troyes, the English monarch Henry of Monmouth inherited the throne of France, a defeated nation he had recently conquered with his spectacular victories at Dreux/Chartres and Meaux.

Treaty of Troyes
Henry of Monmouth becomes the first Dual King of England and France
The Treaty had arranged for the marriage of Charles VI's daughter Catherine to Henry V of England, who was made regent of France and acknowledged (along with his future sons) as successor to the French throne and the Dauphin Charles was disinherited from the succession. The Estates-General of France ratified the agreement later that year after Henry V entered Paris.

Of course in practical terms, Henry's de jure sovereignty and legitimacy as King of France was only recognised in the English and allied-controlled territories of France which were under the domination of his French regency council. This weak base of support encouraged the Dauphin to declare himself King of Aquitania, a breakaway southern french nation with a capital city of Reims. Neverthless the coronation on 17 July 1429 triggered an immediate declaration of war from Henry V. He soon discovered that his armed strength was frustrated by the martial efforts of Joan of Arc who aimed to free the whole of France from English rule.

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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.