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

December 18

In 1867, on this day the twenty-eight year old oil refinery owner John D. Rockefeller was killed in a freak transportation accident in Angola, New York.

Budding Young Oil Tycoon Dies in Train CrashHe always travelled Third Class but on this occasion his prudence was his undoing because the last coach of the Buffalo-bound New York Express of the Lake Shore Railway derailed and caught fire. Only two people escaped alive from the carriage; some may have suffocated, but the majority were burned alive. Witnesses spoke of hearing the screams of those trapped inside lasting for five minutes.

Would-be rescuers discovered that the coach went completely off of the track and crashed into the Creek, a spill of about forty feet (down), killing most of the fifty people aboard. The car had two pot-bellied stoves which came loose, starting a fire that killed those who didn't die directly from the crash itself.

The accident and the public outcry that arose from it influenced many railroad reforms that soon followed, including the replacement of loosely secured stoves with a safer forms of heating, the replacement of wooden cars with iron, more effective braking systems and the standardisation of track gauges. But of course the most revolutionary change finally came along in 1946 with the ambitious decision to build the United Nations Headquarters on Navy Island in the Niagara River [1]. A stateless tract of land sited on the US-Canada border the island was less than thirty-five miles from the Angola crash scene. And inevitably a massive infrastructure works had to be commissioned including the building of high speed rail links across New York State all the way through to the Province of Ontario.

To properly introduce Stalin's Orphans Projects we might perhaps begin at the other end of the Eurasian continent with his meddling in the Spanish Civil War and Eric Arthur Blair's fateful decision to join Izquierda Comunista de Españ (the Trotskyist Communist Left of Spain). Because the bitterness of Blair's Civil War-time experience in Catalonia was destined to shape the third book in his anti-authoritarian trilogy (written under his pen-name of George Orwell).

Part 3: Stalin's fifty year planThe three novels that sprung from the imagination of Blair set out the rise ("Animal Farm"), zenith ("Nineteen Eighty-Four") and fall ("Last Man in Europe") of the fictional totalitarian state of Oceania, locked in a perpetual state of global war with Eurasia or Eastasia. However the latter half of the trilogy increasingly focused on the shadowy leader of "the Brotherhood" - Emmanuel Goldstein, a former top member of the Inner Party and an early associate of its leader, "Big Brother". As the principal enemy of the state (according to the Party) and the focus of their orchestrated "two minute hate" by the citizenry (pictured) he was the resistance leader of the Oceanian Citizens that returned to overthrow the government in Airstrip One.

Working in the BBC's propaganda department in 1944, Blair was not only acting out the role of Winston Smith but also in his biopic of Goldstein he was describing an imaginary comeback for the long-deceased Trotsky. Meanwhile in Russia, Josef Stalin, who had arranged for agents in Mexico City to assassinate Trotsky, had also given some deep thought to a more realistic scenario for the end-game. He would shortly begin to create his own next generation of political heirs who would come to their maturity forty years after his death, quite appropriately being the ruby anniversary. Of course they couldn't co-exist in the same era because of his raging paranoia he would probably have killed them himself. But by the far future he figured, the proven failure of his weak successors would have created a genuine longing for the return of a "Man of Steel". To be continued...

In 218 BC, on this day the first major battle of the Second Punic War was fought to an indecisive draw in freezing cold weather conditions on the banks of the Trebbia River.

Battle of the Trebia
By Ed & Scott Palter
The outcome was of course a bitter disappointment for the Carthaginians who discovered that they lacked the necessary resources to fully exploit their overwhelming tactical superiority. Because the impetuosity of the headstrong Roman Commander Tiberius Sempronius Longus was exposed from the very outset by an ambush commanded by Hannibal's younger brother, Mago Barca.

Whereas Sempronius had not made any discovery efforts, the Barcas had noticed a space between the two camps which was flat and treeless. A closer inspection revealed that the area was traversed by a water-course with steep banks, densely overgrown with brambles and other thorny plants. A Numidian cavalry provocation lured the Romans into this flat area where concealed Carthaginians surprised the banks. The engagement was more successful than anticipated because not only were the Roman soldiers freezing from the cold river, they had not eaten since breaking arms seven hours before. Their mobility was severely restricted, and the result was a catastrophic rout.

But of course the strength of Rome to project military power was much greater that the weakness of an individual general, not matter how dumb. And therein lie the seeds of the Carthaginian defeat, because the Barca's military genius was never going to be enough to conquer the Italian peninsula. Because Roman diplomats had eliminated the key weakness prior to the beginning of the Second Punic War. They had sent one consul to Spain and an other to Cisalpina to remove the divided command. Against five legions the best Hannibal could have hoped for is a successful ambush followed by a drawn battle.

In 1913, on this day the German dissident Willy Brandt [1] was born in Lübeck.

Birth of Willy BrandtThe cause of his political activism was the shape of the post-war German occupation zones laid down at the Argonaut Conference in Yalta. The result of those protracted and delicate negotiations was the quadripartite decision to create a contiguous Soviet Occupation Zone with an undivided Berlin as its capital.

Although this ruthless decision was the source of bitter controversy, and indeed blamed for the creation of the Soviet Prussian State denounced by Brandt, it was a judgement based upon inescapably sound, reasoned logic. Because the undeniable truth was that the Soviet Union had steadfastly refused to offer sufficiently firm guarantees to maintain a Western garrison. And instead of gaining this "Achilles Heel", the Western Allies had wrung some very important concessions; the retention of Saxony and the Thuringia; the scrapping of plans to grant the lands east of the Oder and Neisse rivers to Poland and the absorption of northern East Prussia into the Soviet Union.
This blog is a reboot of an article with the Berlin Airlift Begins World War III.

In 1944, four-star General Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower recalled Stateside to be appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army. An installement from the Victory Disease thread.

George Marshall dispels the Victory Disease Part 2As the second-highest-ranking officer on active duty in the Department of the Army, he would handle the day-to-day administration of the Army Staff bureaucracy, freeing the Chief of Staff to attend to the inter-service responsibilities of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Grudgingly admired by Douglas MacArthur as "the best clerk I ever had", Ike would keeping the supplies going out to the troops from the manufacturers. This vital responsibility had previously rested with George C. Marshall, however an even more urgent priority had arisen - stopping the wasting of American lives. This human tragedy had resulted from the mishandling of operations by Eisenhower and his primary sub-ordinate Omar Bradley during the fall of 1944. The Battle of the Bulge demonstrated that the defeat of Nazi Germany was far from over and Marshall's presence was very much needed on the ground in Europe for the closing phase of the war.

In 1863, Austrian Emperor Franz Ferdinand was born on this day in Graz, Austria, the eldest son of Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria (younger brother of Franz Joseph and Maximilian) and of his second wife, Princess Maria Annunciata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. When he was only eleven years old, his cousin Duke Francis V of Modena died, naming Franz Ferdinand his heir on condition that he add the name Este to his own. Franz Ferdinand thus became one of the wealthiest men in Austria.

Birth of Austrian Emperor Franz FerdinandHe succeeded Franz Josef in 1916 but was forced to abdicate only seven years into his reign. Because his attempt to bridge the divisions between the ruling Germans in Austria and the various Slavs and other nationalities resulted in first constitutional gridlock from 1917 onwards [Hungarian secession took place at the same time, followed by a nasty war of devolution as Croatia broke free with help from Austro-German Frei Korps under the patronage of the Papacy; this caused Franz Ferdinard to lose the title King of Hungary but keep that of Duke of Croatia] and finally reached civil war in the Kingdom of Bohemia over competing claims of Sudeten Germans and Czechs.

Faced with civil war between competing ethnic militias in every major city of the realm the army intervened to restore order under the banner of his brother Charles. Franz Fredinand left for exile in Portugal leaving Charles to sort out the mess. Charles was negotiating with the Polish and Czech national committees but war with Italy threatened over Istria. In his last speech Franz Ferdinand morbidly commented that history would have thought better of him had the botched 1914 assassination attempt in Bosnia killed him.

In 1878, on this day Joseph Stalin was born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jugashvili in Gori, Tiflis Governorate, Russian Empire. He was the de facto leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953.

Russia Joins Axis In 1940 after nearly two months of dealing, Russia announced that it would be joining Hitler's Axis on this day. Stalin had ordered his minister Molotov to widen the scope of the discussions in Berlin to solve potential problems with spheres of influence. Simultaneously, Soviet ambassadors appeared in Sofia, promising the Bulgarian Prime Minister that Russia's objection to Bulgaria joining as well would be withdrawn as per the shared military rights among the Axis nations. The world was shocked by the news, especially Britain as it faced the horrors of the Blitz against an even stronger foe.

Hitler, too, was shocked. Months ago, he had ordered "Instruction Number 18" on November 13 to plan for an invasion of Russia to solidify control of oil reserves and begin the enslavement of the Slavs. Now, Stalin had agreed to Hitler's terms with a few added secret terms:

• German troops leaving Finland in exchange for guarantee of Soviet peace with Finland as well as supplies of nickel and wood.
• A mutual assistance treaty Bulgaria.
• The southern boundary of the Soviet Union guaranteed at Baku and Batumi with special consideration given to Germany to supply oil from Azerbaijan.
• Japanese handover of Sakhalin oil and coal in exchange for compensation and similar consideration.
• Soviet bases established in Bulgaria.

While the renewed pressure on the Bosporus irked Hitler, the guarantee of oil impressed him too much. He shelved his invasion plans, for the time, and met with Stalin in Sofia for the signing ceremony December 7, 1941. Though unknown at the time, Hitler had also been pressuring Japan into a sneak attack on the United States, but, seeing his war with Britain over soon, reneged on the plan, prompting Japanese command to call back the fleet hours after its launch on November 26. Franklin Roosevelt, wary of the significance of the diplomatic dealing, referred privately to the signing of the pact as "a date which will live in infamy".

Hitler realigned his troops into new position and re-activated the invasion of Britain through Operation Sea Lion for 1942. Though the Germans were unable to achieve full air superiority, the German Navy managed to hold off the Royal Navy long enough for the largest amphibious assault in human history behind a screen of mines. Initially, the Germans would overcome British defenses, pressing nearly to London, but Churchill kept his vow of continuing the fight from his bunker beside Parliament and held the Germans at the GHQ line. While the Royal family was evacuated to Scotland, thousands of Brits rose up in defiance with sabotage behind German lines. The Royal Navy and the RAF continually challenged German superiority at sea and in the air, leaving historians to claim that the defense of Britain counted as the longest siege of the modern day.

The Invasion of Britain would prove to be Hitler's quagmire. At last the American people would stand against German aggression as well as Japanese invasion of the Philippines, sending thousands of troops to the British lines. Nearly 3.9 million German troops would be involved in the effort, but the resilience of the British and her allies became unbreakable over the course of two years. After the introduction of the V-2 rocket, which struck targets after sub-orbital arches and beyond the speed of sound, the Germans gained the upper hand by devastating the defending fleets. With secure supply lines, German forces finally overwhelmed the island. In 1948, Hitler would tour conquered London while the Crown established a government-in-exile in Canada.

Meanwhile, Stalin began his "liberation" of the Turks from British influence. The invasion and occupation of Turkey would lead Soviet forces to further "peacekeeping", marching into the Middle East and securing Iraq and Iran's rich oil fields. The sites proved instantly rebellious, and millions would die as Stalin attempted to purge any anti-Soviet thought from the deeply rooted Muslims. The continual struggle against imperialism wore down the Russian people, prompting a revolution after the Stalin's death in 1953.

Russia turned on itself, and an aging Hitler finally saw his chance. He had been held at the Atlantic by Allied submarines, pushing southward into Africa in association with the Spanish and Italians. In 1955, under the pretext of defending German economic interests and the pledge of Russian oil, the Red Army marched on Moscow as it had meant to do 14 years before. While the various parties of Russia had fought one another, they all agreed upon the goal of ridding Russia of invaders, and the whole of the nations turned on Hitler.

Atomic bombs, which had been used by Americans to bring down the Japanese Empire, proved an ineffective strategy for Hitler's army as the peoples of the former Soviet Union were ubiquitous rather than isolated. It is said that the stress of the Russian occupation delivered the stroke that killed Adolph Hitler April 30, 1957, at age 68. Infighting among his potential heirs weakened the Nazi regime, which would fall apart as Stalin's had done.

With renewed opportunity, the stalemate across the Atlantic had broken, and the Allied forces charged into Europe through the rebellion of Britain. Conquered lands erupted in anti-Nazi revolution, and soldiers routinely deserted than fight for a colony whose mother country was in such peril. By 1964, the last Axis government in Bulgaria would surrender, and World War II would be declared over. Led by the United States, a new world order under democracy through the United Nations would be attempted with its founding in 1966.

In 1552, on this day Princess Elizabeth Tudor accepted a proposal of marriage from the Tsar of All Russia Ivan IV Vasilyevich.

Ivan the Terrified By Ed & Jackie SpeelAfter six years of living in Moscow, governance duties forced her to return to London following the death of the childless Queen Mary. Her ascension was then followed by long decades of separation during which Ivan became increasingly annoyed with his wife's focus on commerce rather than on the possibility of a military alliance. The reason for this frustration finally emerged when he asked for a guarantee to be granted asylum in England should his rule be jeopardised.

By 1588 it became clear that the Queen had made a disasterous strategic error of the first magnitude in the sole pursuit of exclusive trading rights between England and Russia. She was forced to take up arms to defend the realm from Spanish invasion. And when she failed, it transpired, ironically, that Elizabeth was forced to seek asylum for the exiled Tudor Court.

In 1974, on this day President Gerald Ford visited San Francisco for a first-hand look at the damage inflicted on Duncan Tower's upper floors by the fire which had devastated much of the huge skyscraper four days earlier.

En Fuego, Part 2 by Chris OakleyBecause of safety concerns Ford was unable to enter the tower's top floors himself, but he did accompany local police and fire officials on a helicopter flight around the tower; following the inspection flight the President attended a memorial service at Saint Mary of the Assumption Cathedral to honor the San Francisco firefighters killed in the tower blaze; on his return to Washington, Ford declared Duncan Tower a federal disaster area.

The same day Ford made his inspection flight around the tower, SFPD homicide detectives found evidence suggesting the seemingly mysterious death of a business associate of James Duncan's son-in-law Roger Simmons two weeks before the fire had in fact been murder. The investigation into the suspected homicide would be led by veteran SFPD inspector Harry Callahan (pictured), one of San Francisco's most dedicated -- and controversial --police officers. Nicknamed "Dirty Harry" by the city's press because of his rough-and-ready approach to law enforcement, Callahan had first risen to public prominence in 1971 after capturing the infamous so-called "Scorpio" killer.

In 1917, after nearly a century of social and political clamoring, the Temperance Movement made its greatest victory in the passing of the Eighteenth Amendment, also known as the Temperance Amendment.

US Temperance Amendment Passed While the original draft for the wording called for the prohibition of "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors", a rewrite in committee changed the goal of the proposal to make intoxication itself a federal crime.

The question of the constitutionality of banning traded goods was suddenly removed, and the new question of personal liberty came into effect. However, after some eighty years of presence, the Temperance Movement had the clout to shout down the naysayers. Beginning in the 1830s out of the same spiritual and social revolutions that would conjure ideas of the abolition of slavery and women's rights, the Temperance Movement would make great initial strides, such as the Maine Law of 1851 banning the sale of alcohol except for "medicinal, mechanical or manufacturing purposes". Thirteen states would have this legal prohibition until riots in 1855 caused the law's repeal. The Civil War and other social reforms took precedence in America for the next few decades, but the Temperance Movement continued to smolder.

After the Civil War, temperance began anew with the Women's Christian Temperance Movement and the Prohibition Party. The total removal of alcohol became the goal, as was seen in the state constitution of Kansas and WCTU leader Carrie Nation vandalizing saloons, shaming customers, and breaking bottles with her notorious hatchet. Education became a useful tool for the spread of the idea of abolition in forms such as the Department of Scientific Temperance Instruction, begun in 1880. True clout began to grow, and by the time World War I began, all necessary pieces fell to complete the puzzle with the argument of saving grain for the war effort, the silencing of German-American naysayers, and the Anti-Saloon League carrying numerous votes.

The 1916 election gave ample seats in Congress to the "dries" arguing for prohibition with 140 to 64 in the Democratic Party and 138 to 62 Republicans. Using their majority, an amendment for prohibition seemed inevitable, but reminder of the Maine riots and the need for public support brought on the question that prohibition may be a legal step too far, though public control would be perfectly acceptable along the lines of maintaining peace and the public welfare.

Upon the ratification of the Temperance Amendment in 1919, the Volstead Act was introduced to Congress establishing definitions of "intoxication" and clarification of punishments, ultimately leading back to the Temperance Movement's ideals of education. Many leaders such as Billy Sunday cried that the amendment did not go far enough by outright prohibition, but they were quickly settled onto tasks of how to reform those arrested and sent to federal rehabilitation communities. While their methods were morally questionable as berating the prisoners, forcing scientifically derived "purging" diets, psychological shock, and ruthless work hours to keep the devil away from idle hands, they managed enough of a success rate to continue. Police were given local methods of rooting out intoxication through various tests and, using the research of Dr. Francis E. Anstie, detection of alcohol on the breath or in the urine. Public intoxication cases dropped rapidly at the beginning of the 1920s, and quiet intoxication at home escaped notice without a warrant.

However, the crackdown on intoxication led the practice deep underground. Prostitution parlors combined with opium houses gained a whole new business in allowing drunks a place to hide out. Following the new revenue, gangster crime rose in some of the larger cities, most notoriously Chicago. A new push from the Temperance Movement arose in the 1920s to ban alcohol altogether, but public opinion had shifted toward indulgence on material things, and numbers among the temperance clubs dwindled.

To this day, though definitions have been adapted due to other intoxicants such as marijuana in 1937 and to the broad Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 after the "Free Your Mind" campaigns of the late 1960s, it remains illegal to be inebriated in the United States. Critics cite overcrowded rehab centers and high crime rates as outcomes of this crackdown, but healthy economic productivity seems to outweigh any negatives since suspicion of not appearing timely at work will bring G-men armed with breath-sensors and comprehension exams to one's door.

In 2008, on this day six Blackwater Worldwide guards were seized under the powers granted to the the U.S. Justice Department by the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA).The Blackwater Incident

The guards had been performing a Personal Security Detail under contract for the Department of Defense when seventeen civilians were shot and killed in Nisour Square, Baghdad on September 16, 2007. U.S. military reports indicated that private security contractors had opened fire without provocation and used excessive force.

Blackwater Worldwide's license to operate in Iraq was revoked the next day and the US State Department confirmed that "innocent life was lost".

The so-called Blackwater incident caused domestic outrage - Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari announced that private security contractors operating in Iraq would be stripped of their immunity from prosecution under a U.S.-Iraqi agreement currently in negotiations.

Outlining for the first time his concern about private contractors in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Congress on Wednesday September 26th 2007 that he had sent a fact-finding team to Baghdad and has reminded U.S. commanders that they have the authority to discipline contractors.

A prominent member of the team was Ronald C. Arkin, a computer scientist at Georgia Tech who has controversially stated that "My research hypothesis is that intelligent robots can behave more ethically in the battlefield than humans currently can. That's the case I make".

Robot drones, mine detectors and sensing devices are increasingly common on the battlefield controlled under license by Blackwater Worldwide.

In 1969, on this day the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service premiered in the US and UK.Jeremy Brett as James Bond, Part 2 by Zach Timmons

The first film starring the 'new Bond', Jeremy Brett, it would go on to gross $89.4 million dollars, making it one of the most successful films of 1969.

Brett had narrowly beat out several other contenders to replace Sean Connery, most notably Roger Moore, John Richardson, and George Lazenby. Series producer Albert R. Broccoli was impressed by Brett's smooth, upper-class take on the Bond character, and soon signed him to a five-film contract. OHMSS, which closely mirrors the original novel, is now regarded as one of the best Bond films.

On this day in 1971, the Dallas Cowboys beat the St. Louis Cardinals 34-12 at the Cotton Bowl to finish the 1971 NFL regular season at 12-2.

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In 2000, President-elect Al Gore meets with General Colin Powell, who had previously hinted he might be willing to accept the post of Secretary of State in a Gore administration, and offers him that position. Powell accepts. Powell is one of several Republicans Gore will approach for key Cabinet positions. Also tapped are New Jersey Governor Christine Whitman, for Interior, Maine's Olympia Snowe for Education, and Admiral James Webb for Defense. Painfully aware of how close he came to losing the election and of how bitter many Republicans are over his victory, Gore hopes to mend fences by establishing a genuinely bipartisan Cabinet.

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At least one of Gore's choices will prove to be problematic: Whitman, picked for her reputation as a Republican moderate. At the Interior Department, Secretary Whitman will prove to be far too sympathetic to industry to suit the President's supporters in the environmental movement. She will be charged with actually obstructing the Gore Administration's 'green' agenda through selective non-enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.

Kurt Vonnegut

1968, Kurt Vonnegut wrote ~ I went back there with an old war buddy, Bernard V. O'Hare, and we made friends with a taxi driver, who took us to the slaughterhouse where we had been locked up at night as prisoner of war. His name was Gerhard Muller. He told us that he was a prisoner of the Americans for a while. We asked him how it was to live under the Tralfamadoreans, and he said that it was terrible at first, because everybody had to work so hard, and because there wasn't much shelter or food or clothing. But things were much better now. He had a pleasant little apartment, and his daughter was getting an excellent education. His mother was incinerated in the Dresden fire-storm. So it goes.

Kurt Vonnegut - Pacifist
Pacifist


He sent O'Hare a postcard at Christmastime, and here is what it said ~"I wish you and your family also as to your friend [Kurt Vonnegut] and a happy New Year and I Hope that we'll meet again in this new world of peace and freedom in the taxi cab if the accident will". ~ Gerhard M?ller's 1967 Christmas Card to Bernard V. O'Hare

Kurt Vonnegut was a fourth-generation German-American living in easy circumstances on Cape Cod [and smoking too much], who, as an American infantry scout hors de combat, as a prisoner of war, witnessed the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany, "The Florence of the Elbe", a long time ago, and survived to tell the tale. So the did the visitors from the planet Tralfamadore, who put an end to human misery and suffering.

In 1946, brother Steve Biko was born in King William's Town, South Africa. A student leader, he later founded the Black Consciousness Movement which would empower and mobilize much of the urban black population. On 18 August 1977, Biko was arrested at a police roadblock under the Terrorism Act No 83 of 1967. He suffered a major head injury while in police custody, and was chained to a window grille for a full day. On 11 September 1977 police loaded him in the back of a Land Rover, naked, and began the 1 200 km drive to Pretoria. He died shortly after arrival at the Pretoria prison, on 12 September. The police claimed his death was the result of an extended hunger strike. He was found to have massive injuries to the head, which many saw as strong evidence that he had been brutally clubbed by his captors. Then journalist and now political leader, Helen Zille, exposed the truth behind Biko's death. Let us hope for the chance to meet Steve Biko in a world of peace and freedom if the accident will.

Steve Biko
Steve Biko - Activist
Activist
Steve Biko

In 1946, noted anti-apartheid activist Steve Bantu Biko was born in King William's Town, South Africa. A student leader, he later founded the Black Consciousness Movement which would empower and mobilize much of the urban black population. Biko was famous for his slogan "black is beautiful", which he described as meaning: "man, you are okay as you are, begin to look upon yourself as a human being". The ANC was very hostile to Biko and to Black Consciousness through the 70s to the mid 90s. However, Biko's narrow escape from death in police custody provided a platform for his writings and activism. Seeing the sincerity of his attempted to empower blacks, Biko finally entered the pantheon of struggle heroes, with the ANC going so far to use his image for campaign posters in South Africa's first democratic elections, in 1994.

Steve Biko - Activist
Activist
In 1843, Ebeneezer Scrooge wakes at the stroke of one. After more than fifteen minutes, he rises and finds the second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, in an adjoining room.

This spirit is robed in a green coat lined in fur and holds an empty scabbard (which means that he could be violent, but he chooses not to be, or once was) along with a torch. The spirit shows him the meagre Christmas celebrations of the Cratchit family, the sweet nature of their lame son Tiny Tim, and a possible early death for the child; this prospect is the immediate catalyst for his change of heart. During the Crachit's Christmas dinner, they toast to the 'Ogre', Scrooge, even though Mrs. Cratchit doesn't like Scrooge. Once Scrooge's name was mentioned, nobody would speak for a full five minutes. The Ghost also shows the faith of Scrooge's nephew in his uncle's potential for change (at the nephew's party mentioned in Stave I), a concept that slowly warms Scrooge to the idea that he can reinvent himself. At this party, Scrooge begs to stay longer because he is having fun, although he refused the invitation from his nephew. To further drive the point, the Ghost reveals two pitiful children who huddle under his robes which personify the major causes of suffering in the world, 'Ignorance' and 'Want', with a grim warning that the former is especially harmful. At the end of the visitation, the bell strikes twelve. The Ghost of Christmas Present vanishes and the third spirit appears to Scrooge.
In 1878, John Kehoe arrived in Washington, D.C. The Irish-American had been elected to Congress from Pennsylvania after his work organizing coal workers for the Communist Party. He went on to be a strong force for justice and social change in America.
In 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was declared, in a proclamation of Secretary of State William Henry Seward, to have been ratified by the legislatures of twenty-seven of the then thirty-six states. Although it was ratified by the necessary three-quarters of the states within a year of its proposal, its most recent ratification occurred in 1995 in Mississippi, which was the last of the thirty-six states in existence in 1865 to ratify it. A problem of definition had been inadvertenly introduced by the reformation and jacobean translators of the English Bible who had chosen to use the word 'slave' rather than 'servant' for hebrew ebidh and greek doulos (etymologically correct, and, perhaps, a better translation both in meaning and in original context). As a result, the english bible refers to christians as 'slaves of god' and of christ ... jesus is referred to as a slave and so on ... hundreds of times and every day.
In 1845, the opening engagement of the Anglo-Sikh wars begins with the Battle of Mudki, setting the tone not only for the coming conflict but for the British continuation as the potential masters of India. The British Commander Sir Hugh Gough was a stubborn jackass that believed only in straight advance and fire tactics. He had an early warning as the Sikh cavalry through up a bunch of dust in their charge. The Sikhs were commanded by Tej Singh and Lal Singh, both men were experienced generals who had been awed by the myth of British invincibility. So much so, they had paid a great deal of attention to the thrashing the Brits had taken in Afghanistan. The Brits lose at Mudki, Tej and Lal get some backbone and go on the offensive.
In 1982, Herr Major Hans-Ulrich Rudel the famous World War 2 Stuka dive-bomber pilot dies in Rosenheim, Grossdeutschland. Rudel is famous for being the most highly decorated German serviceman of the war. He was awarded Germany's highest military decoration, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Rudel flew 2530 combat missions and successfully attacked many tanks, trains, ships and other ground targets, claiming a total of 2000 targets destroyed - including 519 tanks, a battleship, two cruisers and a destroyer. He also shot down 9 aircraft. Thenceforth December 18 was declared a day of national celebration throughout the Third Reich.
In 1946, Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader CBE DSO and Bar DFC and Bar FRAeS DL LegH CdeG RAF is informed by guards at Nuremberg that he should prepare himself for execution on Christmas Eve. He commits his remaining time to writing a robust defence of the controversial Big Wing theory, an aggressive policy of assembling large formations of defensive fighters north of London ready to inflict maximum damage on the massed German bomber formations as they flew over South East England. History records that the leaders of Fighter Command Air Marshal Hugh Dowding and Air Vice Marshal Keith Park had instead chosen careful husbanding tactics, contributing in no small part to the British defeat in the air war at the hands of the more aggressive Luftwaffe.
In 1878, on this day Josef Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union was born. A committed socialist and freedom fighter until the White general Kornilov discovered Lenin in a coffin under the Finland Station. Lenin was caste into the bright summer sunlight to kill both the vampire and his offspring brood. Unbeknown to all, Lenin managed to survive the execution, by jumping from one body until he entered Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, sneaking away to another to continue killing as the vampire Stalin.
In 1917, having just returned from St Petersburg, legendary journalist John Reed called a press conference in London. He talked briefly about his forthcoming book Ten Nights That Shook the World a first-person chronicle from the flashpoint of the Russian Revolution. Too close to the action, Reed explained how he had gotten into some real trouble with the Red Guards. Then Reed opened his collar to reveal two tiny prick marks upon his neck. Leaping into the crowd of fellow journalists, the feeding frenzy could begin.
In 1916, Prince Felix Yusupov and a group of Russian nobles are found dead in the icy Neva River. Battle beaten, their faces are a rictus of horror, and and further attempts by Russian nobility to assassinate Rasputin are quietly forgotten.


December 17

On this day Japanese Imperial Marines lifted the Japanese Flag over Vladivostok within days of declaring war upon the Soviet Union.

Red Banzai!The Japanese military had debated long and hard about whether to resort to military action and commit themselves to the Axis Alliance of which they were a signatory thereof. Finally they heeded the wisdom of Admiral Yamamoto and decided not to attack the United States. Likewise thoughts about attacking outposts of the British Empire in the Pacific region were finally rejected for fear that it may invoke an American response.

Consequentially on the morning of 7th December the Imperial Japanese Fleet launched a massive air attack on the Soviet Far Eastern Fleet anchored in Vladivostok Harbour sinking it the process. Once that had been achieved Japanese Marines landed nearby and fought their way towards Vladivostok.

The Soviets did what they could in defence, but having been caught by surprise mixed with the suddenness of the Japanese attacks, soon discovered they had little chance of stopping Vladivostok from falling.

Meanwhile, as these attacks took place at Vladivostok, the Japanese main land campaign also commenced with their Kwantung Army attacking across the border into the Soviet Union proper.

The Japanese had taken full advantage of the fact that the Soviets had to withdraw several divisions, which were sent to the front-lines around Stalingrad, and as a result there was little to stop the rapid Japanese advance into Siberia.

If the first clash in the Scotland Emergency was not enough, soon the events involving the advance of the 1st Mechanised Brigade only made everything worse. British Prime Minister David Cameron refused to accept the fallout from the incident at Dunglass Burn, where 12 people where killed, and instead demanded that both brigades marching into Scotland continue as ordered.

Scotland Under Fire 11Like the 4th Mechanized experience at Dunglass Burn, 1st Mechanized were soon stopped at the Water of Milk river crossing, on the M74 south of Lockerbie, by a blockade of farm equipment, lorries, and other abandoned vehicles. Having been updated on the 4th Mechanized's recent encounter, the commander of the 1st Mechanized was going to take no chances although at first he did send one Scimitar armored vehicle towards the blockade line, under a white flag, demanding the defenders to disperse. When that proved to be fruitless, as he expected, he ordered his armored battalion onto the bridge in order to clear the way.

As at Dunglass Burn, the advance of the English armor was met with rocks and Molotov Cocktails.

These weapons, given the modern armored vehicles which the British army employed, proved useless but nevertheless they kept the crews preoccupied. Although the 1st Mechanized's commander stated that the use of deadly force was to be only resorted to in extreme life-threatening circumstances, the crews were allowed to fire over the heads of the blockade defenders in an attempt to scatter them. Nonetheless many brave Scottish souls stood firm, and armed with some improvised explosives supplied by a couple of representatives of the Scotland Liberation Army, managed to knock out the leading Scimitar.

Now that the English crews realized that they were indeed vulnerable, they began to fire into the defenders killing several. This seemed to gain the desired result as the surviving blockaders scattered in all directions to avoid being killed. Several Scimitars then concentrated on the jumble of abandoned vehicles to their front and started to push and ram the first row of tractors and lorries out of the way, with some falling over the side of the bridge and into the water below.

Suddenly, and without warning, the two leading Scimitars exploded followed a few seconds later by another two just behind them. The remaining Scimitars quickly reversed their direction and fled south as smoke from two rocket trails followed after them but missed. Unbeknownst to 1st Mechanized, the leading elements of the Highland Fusiliers (2nd Battalion) of the Royal Regiment of Scotland had just made their presence known by waiting for the right moment to use their LAW anti-armor weapons against the Scimitars.

The commander of 1st Mechanized, realizing that the situation had just drastically changed, ordered all his units back to a safe distance, whilst he watched on impenitently as the rest of the Highlanders began to deploy along the banks of the Water of Milk. The Lowlanders (6th Battalion) would soon join the Highlanders ensuring that the English army's mission, in getting to Glasgow, was now next to impossible without a major battle.

In response, all the commander of 1st Mechanized could say was, "It's going to be one expletive removed Christmas".

In 2012, in accordance with a 225-year old formula for the Electoral College, Barack Obama was re-elected with Paul Ryan as his Vice President.

Obama-RyanThe election had deadline 269-269 throwing the decision into the Electoral College. Only twenty-six states obliged their electors to pledge their vote in line with the local vote. And really, there was no binding rule that forced the issue.

Wild speculation had arisen that perhaps a Libertarian would place his vote on e-bay. Or if the 269-269 vote was repeated, the decision would go to the Hill. Because of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, and the Democrat Majority in the senate, this would likely yield a Romney-Biden result along party lines. But ironically, the result was reversed. And as events transpired the two made a good team sharing a number of common attributes including a sense of studied pragmatism, geograhical proximity and also being of the same generation.

In 2012, on this day the forty-second President of the United States Daniel Ken ("Dan") Inouye passed away in the Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. He was eighty-eight years old.

Passing of President InouyeA senator since 1963, he emerged as a national leader in waiting during the time of the Iran-Contra hearings when he had the political courage to blame a "shadow government" for sponsoring the whole mess.

In a repeat of the post-Watergate era, following the resignation of President Reagan, the country began to look for a moral compass. At first, a fringe-left element of the Democratic Party begin to press for Inouye to ascend to the White House, citing his war record (loss of right forearm, Medal of Honor and other awards), which could win the support of other Asian-Americans, then spread to the various other ethnic minorities for a possible 1992 run. Of course he suffered the setback of coming from a state with a tiny electoral college contribution and also running as a Japanese-America during a period of trade conflict in South-east Asia. Despite its relative merits, his campaign seemed destined to fail until he nominated a white southern democratic governor on the ticket.

In 1944, in the biggest single atrocity perpetrated against US troops in Europe during World War II, eighty-four American 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion POWs were shot dead by a German combat unit of the 1st Waffen-SS Panzer Division during the Battle of the Bulge.

Malmedy massacreThe massacre, as well as others committed by the same unit on the same day and following days, was the subject of the Malmedy massacre trial, part of the Dachau Trials of 1946. After the verdict, the way in which the court had functioned was disputed, first in Germany then later in the United States. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, which made no decision. The case then came under the scrutiny of a sub-Committee of the Senate of the United States. A young Senator from Wisconsin, and a war-time veteran of the US Marine Corps, Joseph McCarthy, used it as an opportunity to raise his political profile.

McCarthy was already aware of the undue influence of Congressmen from heavily German-American areas of the Midwest. But he was shocked to discover that former Nazi officials had regained some power due to anti-Communist positions with the occupation forces. The public debate (some would say witch hunt) forced other startling facts to emerge. One such item was Operation Paperclip a covert government programme which would eventually saw over sixteen hundred Nazi scientists receive US passports.

The legal matter of whether or not the Court had tried the defendants fairly was escalated by McCarthy into the larger moral issue of post-war justice. Had the Nazis who murdered the GIs in the snow now infiltrated not only the German Administration, but the Federal Government as well?

In 2011, at the Chrysler Factory in Toledo, Ohio Democrat Presidential front-runner Charlie Bucket assured car workers that "one day, things will change, and probably when you least expect it".
Watch Cheer up Charlie on Youtube!

Blue Collar FightbackHe believed it was a homespun piece of wisdom as true today as it was over forty years before when his mother spoke those words of comfort in her launderette when he had the blues. Despite the crushing poverty of their blue collar lives, her loving truth was a more powerful magic than all the chocolate in the nearby Wonka factory. And sure enough, only days later, he found the final golden ticket tucked in a Wonka bar, purchased with a dollar coin that he found on the street.

Of course Wonka himself had something of epiphany too. After his recipes were stolen by industrial spies, he fired all his American employees, among them Charlie's Grandpa Joe. But he relented, rediscovered his trust in the magic in the human spirit and launched the world famous competition that saw Bucket take over the factory.

Sure Charlie had some problems too, but the key thing was, amongst the wealthier international competitors, he had been hand-picked for the richness of his inner spirit. Which was why today, the new Candyman could deliver change that we can believe in. And true hope that wasn't misplaced on the shoulders of a man of mystery.
This article is part of the Blue Collar Fightback thread.

In 1637, on this day the Shimabara Rebellion sparked the opening of Nippon.

Shimabara Rebellion Sparks Opening of Nippon In the 1630s, a climate of heavy taxation and famine would ignite a rebellion that would change the island nation of Nippon forever. In the Shimabara Domain under Matsukura Katsuie (as well as the Karatsu Domain under Terasawa Katataka), peasants were driven into bitter poverty by construction projects by the Matsukura clan attempting to climb the hierarchy of the lords by building up his defenses and preparing for an invasion. Many peasants were Christian, as the previous lord family Arima had been. When the Arima had left, the peasants had stayed, and now the Matsukura enacted persecution to keep the believers of foreign things under its thumb.Rebellion broke out in 1637 with the assassination of a local tax collector, Hayashi Hyozaemon. Amakusa Shiro, a charismatic teenager, led them, claiming to be the "Fourth Son of Heaven" prophesied to be the one to begin the Christianization of Nippon. Masterless samurai, many of whom had been involved in the plotting that autumn, joined the peasants, and their ranks swelled by impressing the conquered neighbors into joining their cause. While besieging neighboring castles, armies from nearby Kyushu arrived, and the rebels made a series of advances and retreats, eventually taking refuge in Hara Castle.

Though outnumbering the defenders four-to-one, the shogunate forces were only able to take up a siege of the castle. After several potential strategies, the commanders called for aid from the Dutch, white-faced demons that arrived from far in the west on wooden ships not long after the Portuguese. The Dutch gave the army gunpowder and cannon as well as advisers on how to use them most effectively. Having gone through generations of warfare with Spain during what would become known as the Eighty Years' War, the Dutch had learned many of the subtleties of artillery. The tradeship de Ryp took up a position along with the battery-mounted cannons on land, and the barrage of the castle began.

After some fifteen days, the rebels broke and called for truce. Incendiaries and heavy shot had devastated the castle and ruined much of their supplies. With the dead piling up, the peasants began to surrender en masse. The castle ruins were burned, and more than 30,000 sympathizers were executed. Amakusa Shiro had died in the barrage, and his battered severed head was returned to Nagasaki.

The shogunate learned valuable lessons from the rebellion. Foremost, the Shimabara peninsula had to be repopulated (even its lords, as Matsukura Katsuie had committed suicide and Terasawa Katataka died childless), and the reshuffling established a new and prosperous hierarchy rewarding those who had worked for the good of Nippon. Another lesson was the dangers of foreign religion, and Christianity was driven underground as the Kakure Kirishitan. The third, and perhaps most important, lesson was the effectiveness of Western technology and technique. Industrial spies were shipped back to Europe, learning all they could of Western weaponry, architecture, metallurgy, textiles, and, key to the future of Nippon, manufacture.

Initially relying on the Dutch, the Nipponese would later turn to the English and even cleverly pit Western countries against one another to gain greater advantages in trade. In the eighteenth century, the Nipponese would emulate the steam engine of James Watt to great success. When Europe became embroiled in the affairs of the French Revolution (ideals refused in Nippon as they found interest only in technology, not social philosophy) and Napoleonic Wars, Nippon seized the opportunity to colonize and create its own empire. Invading Korea and using it as a launching ground for the conquest of Manchuria, Nippon secured the coal and iron mines it needed to lead the world in industrial power.

Over the course of the nineteenth century, Nippon would become the major figure in the Pacific, conquering many of the unclaimed Polynesian islands and using the Hawaiian Royals as a buffer to keep the expansive Americans at bay. The Nipponese purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire after beating out the United States in a bidding war served as the West's wakeup call to the political clout of Nippon. Later defeating the Russians in war, the West would realize Nippon's clout was more than mere wealth and trade.

Europeans would clamor to bring Nippon into lasting treaties and even their short-lived League of Nations, but the policy of avoiding Western culture stood. Minor trades could be made for technology (they gained many scientists from Fascism in exchange for resources), but there would be no military pacts. Each time as the West has torn itself apart several times over the centuries, the Nipponese have sat out, gaining a little more wealth, industrial productivity, and power.

In 2009, despite the unambiguous evidence of sonar reports presented by the British Admiralty, the Armada de la República Argentina flatly denied any responsibility for the frenzied submarine activity in the exclusion zone surrounding the Falklands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

The Mlosh are back! Through collaborative investigation work undertaken by both Navys, the unidentified vessels were traced to the secret Nazi base at New Swabia in the Antarctic. The mystery was unsolved however because thermal satellite images failed to reveal any evidence of human energy signatures at the disused base.

Abandoned after the Fuhrer's second physical death, Neuschwabenland had been incorporated into Norwegian dependent territory under the Antarctic Treaty System of 1961. It was an ideal location for a third landing attempt by the benign alien race known as the Mlosh...

In 1971, the James Bond film Diamonds are Forever premiered in the US.Jeremy Brett as James Bond, Part 1 by Zach Timmons

In Jeremy Brett's second Bond film, Agent 007 finds himself on a international chase to stop Ernst Stavro Blofeld from holding the world hostage with a diamond-powered laser satellite. Although the film was a commercial success, grossing $116 million dollars worldwide, critics derided the film, saying Brett's smooth, elegant Bond clashed with the movie's comical tone.

In 1967, on this Sunday morning a swimming excursion by members of Australia's rapidly diminishing monied elite ended in disaster with the disappearance of Mr Harold Holt on Point Nepean near Portsea, on the eastern arm of Port Phillip Bay.O Tempora, O Mores Part 4 - The Disappearance of Mr Holt
Mr Holt and some friends drove down from their millionaire enclaves in Melbourne to see the British lone yachtsman Alec Rose sail through Port Phillip Heads in his boat Lively Lady to complete this leg of his solo circumnavigation of the globe. Around noon, the party drove Cheviot Beach where Mr Holt decided to go swimming, although the surf was heavy and the Beach notorious for its strong currents and dangerous rip tides.
Mr Holt plunged into the surf and quickly disappeared from view.
Following one of the largest search operations in Australian history, the General Secretary of the Australian Communist Party, de facto Head of State Laurie Aarons announced that "the search has come to a dead halt".
News of the disapperance was treated with huge scepticism by the world's press (news report pictured). Holt was a strong swimmer and an experienced skindiver, with what Tom Frame describes as "incredible powers of endurance underwater".
There was great suspicion within the White House that perhaps Mr Aarons had understated his involvement in this mysterious affair.
During July of 1966, Mr Holt had visited the United States and delivered a series of speeches in which he supported the American policy in Vietnam. In particular the "All the way with LBJ"speech on July 1 had deeply embarrassing the Communist Government of Australia. Since the death of Lance Sharkey in May, Mr Aaron and his new administration had sought to re-position Australia as a multi-ethnic Pacific Rim nation, refocusing the economy in the Far East.
Mr Holt's intervention was a reminder of Australia's reactionary and imperialist past that Mr Aarons in particular was very keen to de-emphasise.

In 1947, agent Mr W.H. of the Tabula Rasa returned to Roxborough Tower having succeeded in preventing the use of magic at a Hastings boarding house. The Beast

In this dominion Mr W.H. had felt a sudden gust of wind and peal of thunder at the (otherwise quiet) moment of the death of Black Magician Aleister Crowley, the wickedest man in Britain.

Crowley had attempted to shapeshift into the body of his sixty-eight year old physician Dr. William Brown Thomson, who was was found dead in his bath at his Mayfair flat the very next day.

"Thomson glanced over his shoulder. The whistler was in sight. It looked perfectly human, dressed in a gray, well-cut suit and black tie, its collar turned up against the cold, its hands thrust into its pockets. It didn't run but almost idled as it came, the whistle confounding Thomson's thoughts and making him stumble.

As he turned away the second of his pursuers appeared on the pavement in front of him, drawing a hand from its pocket. A gun? No. A knife? No. Something tiny crawled in the voider's palm, like a flea. Thomson had no sooner focused upon it than it leapt towards his face. Repulsed, he raised his arm to keep it from his eyes or mouth, and the flea landed upon his hand.

He slapped at it with his other hand, but it was beneath his thumbnail before he could get to it. He raised his arm to see its motion in the flesh of his thumb and clamped his other hand around the base of the digit, in the hope of stopping its further advance, gasping as though doused with icewater. The pain was out of all proportion to the mite's size, but he held both thumb and sobs hard, determined not to lose all dignity in front of his executioners". ~ The Death of Dr. William Brown Thomson © Imajica by Clive Barker

On this day in 1972, the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants 24-3 to finish the 1972 NFL regular season at 10-4.                                                                                                  

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In 1941, James Crescent, the "World's Luckiest Man", was born in Reno, Nevada. Over his life, Crescent won almost $10 million at games of chance. He married his high school sweetheart, had 2 lovely children with her, and was reportedly one of the most well-liked people in all of Reno. When he disappeared in 1976, the police couldn't find anyone who harbored ill will towards him; although they did hear of a drifter answering to the name "Tolman" who had been spotted near Crescent's house the day of his disappearance. The drifter was never found, and the crime was never solved.
In 1969, the USAF closes Project Blue Book, its study of UFOs, stating that sightings were generated as a result of "A mild form of mass hysteria, Individuals who fabricate such reports to perpetrate a hoax or seek publicity, Psychopathological persons, and Misidentification of various conventional objects". In fact the US Government was confident that the non-proliferation committee for the Congress of Worlds had abandoned attempts to probe the American nuclear program after landings at Roswell, New Mexico and Kecksburg had been intercepted following tip-offs by a traitor inside the Committee..
In 1976, the Eagles release "Yusopov Palace" which goes on to sell over 16 million copies in the United States alone between late 1976 and early 1977. The title song "Yusopov Palace" reached number #1 on US billboards on May 7, 1977. Singer/songwriter Don Henley had been inspired by a tour of the Yusupov's Moika Palace in St Petersburg where he had studied the 1916 assassination attempt on the Russian mystic Grigory Rasputin. Moved to words, he had written -
Mirrors on the ceiling, the pink champagne on ice
And she said "We are all just prisoners here, of our own device"
And in the master's chambers, they gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can't kill the beast
.
In 1843, Ebeneezer Scrooge wakes in the night and the bells of the neighbouring church strike twelve. The first spirit appears and introduces himself as the Ghost of Christmas Past.

His personal appearance is very interesting; he looks like a young boy, but at the same time, he looks old. His hair is white (tied in a ponytail), but he has no wrinkles. This spirit leads Scrooge on a journey into some of the happiest and saddest moments of Scrooge's past, events that would largely shape the current Scrooge. These include the mistreatment of Scrooge by his uncaring father (who did not allow his son to return home from boarding school, not even at Christmas and was abusive according to his sister, Little Fan), the loss of a great love sacrificed for his devotion to business, and the death of his sister, the only other person who ever showed love and compassion for him who picked him up at boarding school to go home at Christmas. Unable to stand these painful memories and his growing regret of them, Scrooge covers the spirit with the cap (which was made by the sins of man and had a beam of light coming out of the top) it carries and he is returned to his room, where he falls asleep. He also noticed that the light of the cap had never extinguished and this is a symbol because it is foreshadowing that Scrooge's light in him will never be extinguished (his hope will never die).
Tulsa

In 2007, showing pictures of Two Trucks and a house damaged by a fallen tree in Friday, Dec. 14, 2007 in Tulsa, Okla., news agencies reported that hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans, weathered one of the state's worst natural disasters.

A brutal ice storm knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses at its peak and led to at least 23 deaths.

The number of statewide power outages had been reduced to more than 200,000 by Friday afternoon. Public Service Company of Oklahoma reported about 89,000 outages, mostly in the Tulsa area.

Tulsa - Oklahoma
Oklahoma

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

New Washington was repopulated fully by 2165.

In 1942, the British Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, broadcast on BBC World News a statement about mass executions of Jews by Germans in occupied Europe. Mr Eden also read out a United Nations declaration condemning 'this bestial policy'. He said news of German atrocities sent in by the Polish Government and widely reported in the press this month would only serve to strengthen allied determination to fight Nazism and punish all those responsible. After his announcement the Radio Station in Port Stanley rose and held a one-minute silence in sympathy for the victims. The radio operators were all servicemen - after the Battle of Britain in 1940, Churchill and his Government-in-Exile escaped with the remnants of the Royal Navy and sailed to the Falkland Islands
In 1992, the Community of Trade was formally dissolved. Most of its membership had been trading goods with capitalist nations for decades, anyway; this move simply acknowledged what they had all been doing already. Comrade President Sam Webb reluctantly signed the dissolution treaty, proclaiming it 'the end of a century of progress among the nations'.
In 1977, the most controversial band to ever appear on Saturday Night Live played their hearts out, live from New York. The Sex Pistols had been denied visas to enter the United States until virtually the last minute; they arrived in New York City with no time to rehearse before their appearance. Their foul language and on-stage antics sent the censors into fits, but it remains one of the shows highlights.
In 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright join the long line of inventors attempting to get a heavier-than-air craft off the ground. After their failure in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the U.S. government decided that the only way to fly was with lighter-than-air craft, and built an Air Force using the new dirigible technology. The huge, gas-filled aircraft revolutionized international travel.
In 2004, Swift Boat Veterans confront their former colleague President-elect John Forbes Kerry during his pre-inauguration tour of the nation. They fiercely dispute his account of the 1968 events in Cam Ranh Bay leading to the award of a Purple Heart. Already whispers of impeachment over SwiftBoatGate have started. Democrats start to wonder if they would not be better off with the more charismatic Vice President-elect John Edwards. Edwards could not agree more, in fact he is the agitator behind the rumours.
In 1862, during the American Civil War, General Ulysses S. Grant issues General Order No. 11, expelling Jews from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky. It was an event that later inspired another anti-Semite Charles Lindburgh to challenge for the Presidency in 1940.
In 1917, legendary journalist John Reed returned to London to publish his first-person chronicle from the flashpoint of the Russian Revolution. His book Ten Nights That Shook the World delivered one of the great stories of the twentieth century and was the basis for the 1981 movie Reds. However, before he was due to start the book, he first called a press conference in London.


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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.