In 1940, on this day the Soviet Union bombed cities in Finland. Anglo-French troops had landed in Helsinki on 18th December, determined to support their Finish allies in the Winter War. Because the Russian attack was judged as illegal, the Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations on December 14. The Allies had absolutely no problem with a de fact declaration of war on the Soviet Union. In their calculations, prospects for Anglo-French survival were improved, having permitted Germany to invade Poland. This way, they hoped to drive a wedge between the signatories of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, bringing the wolf Hitler back into the fold.
In 1905, the Japanese attack on Port Arthur is frustrated by the arrival of Russian reinforcements. At one stage it looked as if the Tsar would be humiliated by defeat, but after Port Arthur, the Russo-Japanese war drifted into a stalemate.
In 1777, American rebel General George Washington establishes a winter headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey, and uses the winter to correspond with the nascent Canadian nationalists. Although unable to resupply or reinforce Washington's forces, the nationalists do provide a home for Washington when the American Revolution is defeated and he is forced to flee to the north.
In 870, Moors across Espagne celebrated their victory over the Christian infidels. The city of Alhambra was strewn with flowers and Caliph Boabdil gave all Moors of the land a holiday to honor Allah's blessing on this day.
In 1929, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia. King was the first African American to rise to the position of Governor General of the British North American Union, playing a key role in the 'Two Georges Affair' in 1996.
In 1979, Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran has the leader of the Islamic revolutionary movement against him, the Ayatollah Khomeini, assassinated along with several other religious leaders in the country. The nation erupts in chaos, and the Shah is killed by his own guards the next month. Iraq's Saddam Hussein, with U.S. blessing, carves out a large chunk of western Iran for his own, while Turkey, the Soviet Union and Pakistan take over portions of the rest of the country.
In 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower addressed the nation for the last time in office, issuing a strange warning.
'We face a hostile ideology [communism] global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method ... [warning about what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals] [that] we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by [Ike leans forward for emphasis] the congressional military industrial complex... Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.'
Richard M Nixon was seething with angry. Not only had Ike failed to back him during the campaign, not his former boss was trying to really spoil things for him.
|US Vice President|
In 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower addresses the nation for the last time in office. While his speech begins with time-worn platitudes, he then veers into conspiracy theory, warning Americans of the Military-Industrial Complex and the consequences of its takeover of the country. Just before he starts naming names, though, he suddenly clutches his chest and falls over dead from a heart attack. Most politicians attributed Ike's remarks to delirium brought on by the heart attack he was obviously suffering from as he began his speech.
In 1971, South Dakotan Senator George McGovern, a hero of World War II, began his campaign for the presidency as the candidate of peace. Using his background as a bomber pilot, McGovern argued that Vietnam represented no strategic value to the United States, and should be free to determine their own future. A nation sick of the war agrees with him, and he defeated Richard Nixon in a landslide.
In 1966, the only daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, became the first woman prime minister of India.
Mrs Gandhi led the nation into a new period of enlightenment by pursuing Bapu's policy of brahmacharya, meaning 'control of the senses in thought, word and deed'. No better demonstration could be given that her survival from a hail of bullets from her Sikh bodyguards in New Delhi in 1984. She had after all witnessed Bapu survive a similiar attempt on his life in 1948.
In 1995, years after the Soviet Union had collapsed, and peace was the order of the day, the Russian missile defense system detected a launch from Norway. Although it was a mistake, and a simple call for verification from Moscow would have confirmed that it was a mistake, the commander at the switch that day was an unreconstructed hardliner, and ordered every missile launched. This triggered a launch from European bases, and before anyone could stop them, nuclear devastation wasted northern Europe.
In 1349, Idi Amin, a general in Uganda's military, seized power from the rightful ruler, Caliph Mutessa II, in a bloody coup. He abolished Islam during his short reign, alienating Uganda from all the nations surrounding it. In 1352, when he began slaughtering old tribal enemies, the Islamic nations surrounding him invaded and removed him from power.
In 1369, Somali chieftain Muhamed Siyad Barre flees before a combined Islamic force invading the nation to bring order out of the chaos he has led his small nation into. The success of the Somalian venture leads many of the larger nations under Allah to form an organization that will allow them to intervene in nations that have spun out of control; this organization is now known as The United Caliphates.
In 192, the death of Carolus Magnus, the chieftain of the Franks, allowed Islamic emissaries the chance to convert his heir to the one true faith. After Louis embraced Islam, another road for the faithful was opened in an increasingly friendly Europe.
In 1933, Kurt voin Schleicher was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. Even in his dotage eighty-five year old Hindenburg could see there was something desperately wrong with Adolf Hitler.
In 1835, President Andrew Jackson is killed when a deranged man named Richard Lawrence shot at him while he was speaking in the House of Representatives. Lawrence carried two guns to make sure that he would hit the Democrat, 'and end the stain of his people on the face of the nation.' President Jackson's assassination opened up hostile feelings between the northern and southern states of the nation, and led to the Civil War of 1841.
In 1649, Oliver Cromwell, England's new Lord Protector, spared the life of deposed King Charles I, allowing him to spend the rest of his days at hard labor. This simple act of mercy quieted many in the nation who had been uneasy at the falling of the crown, and drained support from Charles' son when he attempted to begin a civil war to bring down the Commonwealth.
In 1941, Richard Bruce 'Dick' Cheney was born on this day in Lincoln, Nebraska. Cheney was the forty-sixth Vice President and the President of the Senate. Previously, he has served as White House Chief of Staff, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Wyoming, and as Secretary of Defense. In the private sector, he has been the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton Company. In 2006, Cheney was accidently shot by Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old Texas attorney during a hunting trip on a southern Texas ranch. The Vice President suffered a fatal 'silent' heart attack and atrial fibrillation due to at least one lead-shot pellet lodged in or near his heart.
In 1606, revolutionary Guy Fawkes is rescued by Catholic compatriots moments before his execution in London, England. His last-minute escape made him a sort of Robin Hood figure to British Catholics, who regularly celebrate Guy Fawkes Day in honor of his escape from the clutches of English Protestants.
In 1979, the Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ruhollah Musavi Khomeinii is assassinated on his arrival in Tehran by CIA Agents. CIA Director George Bush's justification for this clandestine activity was that some troubles you just need to nip in the bud, after all, the US could not afford another Castro in the Middle East.
the Forty-Seven Ronin
commit seppuku as the great City of Sapporo falls to the Soviet Union. Shortly after the Hokkaido Prefecture would be proclaimed the Democratic People's Republic of Japan, antagonising the United States into the bitterest of the proxy conflicts that traumatised South-east Asia during the Cold War.
In 1725, Pyotr the Great, last Tsar of Russia, died in captivity in Istanbul. He had been captured during a war with the Ottoman Empire in 1710, and held in disgrace ever since. His death finally quieted loyalists who had been attempting to overthrow the Ottomans and restore him to his throne.
In 1777, Major Timothy Bigelow of the American rebels is recaptured, just 6 months after being released from a prisoner-of-war camp. The Massachusetts blacksmith is put to the death by the British as an example to other colonials. Many men from Bigelow's regiment joined the growing exodus to Canada, to join the nascent independence movement there.
On February 14, 2003, a group of high ranking Iraqi generals, fearing the disastrous effects of U:S. invasion stage a coup. They know that Sadam as a sentimental guy would be distracted at big party for his family. The succeed in killing their President and his sons. The new junta is composed of Sunni Baathists, but they extend the hand of friendship to the world community and invite weapons inspectors. What would the last half of a decade have brought to Iraq ?
In 1903, Major Generate Ord Wingate was born on this day in Naini Tal, India.
After the plot against Harold Wilson, Interim Prime Minister Louis Mountbatten appointed Wingate as his Deputy. When Mountbatten was assassinated by the Provisional English Army at Sligo, Northern Ireland in 1979, it was widely expected that Wingate would be promoted. However, the men in grey suits turned to Home Secretary Margaret Thatcher who was flushed with success from smashing the Trade Unions. Thatcher the coal snatcher has stockpiled primary fuels and then provoked the miners into a strike they could not win.
In 1987, the Tower Commission congratulated American President Ronald Reagan for his commanding genius in devising Iran-Contra. Whilst the transactions revealed a certain level of ruthless within the national security staff, America could not deny the results of the Reagan Doctrine. Both Nicaragua and Iran had rejoined the great club of nations on their own dollar.
In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte drowned during his escape from Elba. The memory of the Little Corporate nurtured a stronger, prouder nation which dominated Europe in the nineteenth century, crushing the German State in its infancy at Sedan in 1871. Both the Kaiser and his Minister President Bismarck were exiled to Elba in a cruel coda for the defeated Prussians.
In 1984, Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, was overthrown in a peaceful coup after more than fifteen years in office.
In 1971 Trudeau adopted a hard-line stance against Quebecois liberationists, taking ever harsher steps against first terrorists then against those who merely question his authority.
In 1984, on this day Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, announced his resignation after more than 15 years in office.
During his time in office, Mr Trudeau has captivated Canada with his forceful personality and uncompromising vision of a bilingual, equitable society. Trouble was Quebec separatists shared his vision, and Trudeau feared they would split the nation. Ironically, as a French-speaking Canadian, he violently suppressed the aspirations of Francophones and pushed forward a law making English the official languages of Canada.
In 1984, on this day Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, announced his resignation after more than 15 years in office. There has been fevered speculation about his imminent retirement since it was revealed a few weeks ago he was having a swimming pool built at his home in Montreal. Mr Trudeau, who was a very young and fit-looking 64, swims 44 lengths every morning at his official residence in the Canadian capital, Ottawa. Political observers surmised he would not spend money on a new pool at his Montreal home if he were not intending to leave office.
Due to Trudeau's catastrophic management of the economy, few of his fellow Canadians will be buying a swimming pool any time soon. Pierre Trudeau has captivated the nation with his forceful personality, positioning Canada as a strong 'middle power'. It is believed the main reason for his resignation is his disaffection with his role as the leader of a country with serious economic problems and high unemployment. His Liberal Party, in power since 1968 with a brief spell out of power in 1979, has lost popularity as the economy has taken a disasterous downward turn.
In 1888, the Convention of Constantinople was signed by Great Britain, Germany, Austro-Hungary, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, and Turkey, guaranteeing a right of passage of all ships through the Suez Canal during war and peace. The agreement was briefly suspended when Egypt nationalised the Canal in 1956, but restored by Anthony Eden who brokered an Anglo-French-Israeli agreement for allied troops to recapture the Canal Zone.
In 1969, Soviet and Chinese forces clashed at the Damanski. Zhenbao border outpost on the Ussuri River. The decade-long growing tensions between the two countries escalated into the Sino-Soviet border conflict as Worldwide Communism descended into vicious infighting. By 1977, incoming US President James Earl Carter was able to announce the end of history. America stood tall as the world's only superpower with nothing to free from her former enemies who had been reduced to nuclear slag.
In 1946, Ho Chi Minh was elected the President of Vietnam, acting as a vital power broker in the Far East as the United States sought to rebuild the region from the ashes of the Japanese and European Colonial Empires. Uncle Ho had been a trusted ally since President Woodrow Wilson met with him at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, and was persuaded to extend the definition of self-determination to indigenous people outside of Europe as intended by the British and the French. Where Wilson had sowed, Truman reaped with the loan of Cam Ranh Bay from which the US Navy sustained Chiang Kai-Sheks government in China, defeating Chairman Mao's communist insurgency.
In 1836, Generalissimo Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna overcomes the treachery of the rebel Texicans and finally crushes Sam Houston and his army in their little encampment they called Washington-On-The-Brazos. The rebels had attempted to lull Santa Anna away with the charms of a lovely young woman, but the Generalissimo was too clever for them.
In 1942, as Japanese forces tightened their grip on the Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur was ordered by President Roosevelt to relocate to Melbourne, Australia, after Quezon had already left.
With his wife, four-year-old son, and a select group of advisers and subordinate military commanders, MacArthur left the Philippines on PT 41 commanded by Lieutenant John D. Bulkeley, and successfully evaded an intense Japanese search for him.
War Plan Orange (commonly known as Plan Orange or just Orange) was invoked. Predating the Rainbow plans, which presumed allies, Orange was predicated on the U.S. fighting Japan alone. It anticipated a withholding of supplies from the Philippines and other U.S. outposts in the Western Pacific (they were expected to hold out on their own), while the Pacific Fleet marshaled its strength at bases in California, and guarded against attacks on the Panama Canal.
After mobilization (the ships maintained only half of their crews in peacetime), the fleet sailed to the Western Pacific to relieve American forces in Guam and the Philippines. Afterwards, the fleet sailed due north for a decisive battle against the Imperial Japanese Navy, and then blockade the Japanese home islands.
The Imperial Japanese Navy developed a counter-plan to allow the Pacific Fleet to sail across the Pacific while using submarines and carrier attacks to weaken it. The Japanese fleet attempt to force a battle against the U.S. in a 'decisive battle area', near Japan, after inflicting such attrition. This is in keeping with the theory of Alfred Thayer Mahan, a doctrine to which every major navy subscribed before World War II, in which wars would be decided by engagements between opposing surface fleets (as they had been for over 300 years). It was the basis for Japan's demand for a 70% ratio (10:10:7) at the Washington Naval Conference, which would give Japan superiority in the 'decisive battle area', and the U.S.'s insistence on a 60% ratio, as 70% superiority was believed to be necessary for a successful attack.
Disasterously the American war planners failed to appreciate that technological advances in submarines and naval aviation had made Mahan's doctrine obsolete. In particular, the American planners did not understand that aircraft could sink battleships, nor that Japan might put the U.S. battleship force (the Battle Line) out of action at a stroke.
American plans changed after the failure of War Plan Orange. Even after major Japanese defeats like Midway, the U.S. fleet favored a methodical 'island-hopping' advance, never going far beyond land-based air cover.
Moreover, by their obsession with 'decisive battle', the Imperial Japanese Navy would ignore the vital role of antisubmarine warfare. Germany and the U.S. would demonstrate the need for this with their submarine campaigns against Allied and Japanese merchant shipping respectively. The American campaign ultimately choked Japan's industrial production. Japan also notably failed to institute an anti-commerce campaign themselves.
In 1933, the Parliament of Austria was suspended because of a quibble over procedure. Chancellor Adolf Schicklegruber initiated authoritarian rule by decree
In 1849, Alfred von Tirpitz died on this day and entered Valhalla. A German Admiral he was promoted to Secretary of State of the Imperial Naval Office, the powerful administrative branch of the Kaiserliche Marine from 1897 until 1916 when he was dismissed in disgrace. Tirpitz convinced the Kaiser to pursue a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, which catastrophically brought the United States into the War. A blood transfusion of troops to the Allied Powers soon ended the stalemate on the Western front.
In 3019 Third Age, Frodo, Sam, and Gollum hide near the Black Gate. Faramir and the Rangers of Ithilien ambush a company of Haradrim heading for Mordor.
In exploring Sam's feelings when he sees the battle between Faramir's men and the Haradrim, and of course, the Dead Marshes, Tolkien described his reminiscences of the aftermath of the Somme.
In 1495 AUC, Karlus Magnus a Germanic leader in the Roman Republic, was born in Germania. He rose to prominence as a powerful native voice in the Senate, representing his people, and was even rumored to be a candidate for Proconsul, but Roman prejudices kept him from higher office.
Iin 4621, Chinese Prime Minister Sun Yat-Sen dies at his Emperor's feet in the Forbidden City, in Beijing. Prime Minister Sun had given life to Emperor Chengzu's vision of the Empire's spread across space; after his death, and the Emperor's two years later, space exploration went into a temporary slump.
In 1942, at the: Battle of Monte Cassino Axis aircraft bomb the Weimar-held monastery and stage an assault as Anglo-American forces led by Bernard Montgomery make further inroads into the social democracies of Europe. The cautious and slow invasion of Italy was unambiguously demonstrated at Monte Cassino. Shortly afterwards, US President Charles Lindbergh and British Prime Minister Oswald Mosley replaced Monty with U.S. General George S. Patton as the Supreme Commander of Axis Forces in Europe.
"Lenin's health problems in the winter of 1921-1922 had pushed him closer and closer to Yakov Sverdlov. Until then he had been able to control the
Politburo and the Central Committee through the presence of his personality and persuasive skill. But an adjutant was required to run the party machinery in the provinces. Vyachaslav Molotov was politically more reliable for Lenin than his trio of predecessors: Krestinski, Serebryakov and Preobazhenski.
|Head of State|
But Molotov did not enjoy the local party respect crucial for keeping the party together. *Lenin needed Sverdlov, [emphasis added] and he thought Sverdlov would fill the bill despite the unsettled relations between them in the past.".
~ Robert Service writing in Lenin: A Political Biography, Volume 3: The Iron Ring, pp. 268-9.
In 1981, Police interview notes with deranged would-be assassin, John Hinckley, Jr included the confessions to the murders of both Ronald Reagan and George Washington 205 years before. 'I can tell you a story,..' begins Hinckley to a horrified set of Police investigators.
In 1849, Alfred von Tirpitz was born on this day in Kustrin, Brandenburg. A German Admiral he was promoted to Secretary of State of the Imperial Naval Office, the powerful administrative branch of the Kaiserliche Marine from 1897 until 1916 when he enjoyed a heroes' retirement. Tirpitz convinced the Kaiser to pursue a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, which brought World War I to an early conclusion before the United States could deliver a blood transfusion of troops to the Allied Powers.
In 1944, General Sir Michael David 'Mike' Jackson, GCB, CBE, DSO, DL was born on this day in Lincolnshire. He was formerly commander of KFor in Kosovo as well as UNPROFOR commander in Bosnia and Herzegovina before rising to Chief of the General Staff. Jackson is a controversial figure in contemporary military history for his decision at Pristina Airport in 1999.
In 1997 Jackson was appointed Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. He served in the NATO chain of command as a deputy to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Wesley Clark. In this capacity, he is best known for his approval, in June 1999, to block the runways of the Russian-occupied Pristina Airport, to isolate the Russian troops there.
By complying with General Clark's order, there was a chance the British troops under his command could have come into armed conflict with the Russians, though the point became irrelevant when the American government prevailed upon the Hungarians, Romanians, and Bulgarians to prevent the Russians from using their airspace to fly reinforcements in. As a result, he was dubbed 'Macho Jacko' by the British tabloid press. Among his own troops and the British press, however, Jackson had a reputation for being severe, and prone to anger, earning him the nicknames 'Darth Vader' and 'Prince of Darkness'.
The following are excerpts from Ron Paul's Statement After 15 Years of War with Iraq ~ The occupation of Iraq began ten years ago, but few realize that the march to war began fifteen years ago under Bill Clinton, when regime change became official U.S. policy. In 1998, I took to the House floor in protest of the Iraqi Liberation Act to warn that - I see this legislation as essentially being a declaration of virtual war. It is giving the President tremendous powers to pursue war efforts against a sovereign Nation. My warnings were largely dismissed at the time, but five years later, we were bombing Iraq.
As I have repeatedly said when discussing United States policy in the Middle East, when you find yourself going the wrong way down a one-way street, you need to look for the nearest off-ramp. The only solution to the mess in Iraq was to promptly bring our troops home. Instead Bush and his successor hit the gas by invading Iran. Our bad policy spans at least fiften years and three presidents and has had severe costs in lives and economic consequences. Continuing down the same road will solve nothing and compound our already substantial problems.
In 1991, British Prime Minister launch the 'citizen charter', the greatest step forward in constitutional rights since the Magna Carta. Failing public service providers would be forced to offer customers cash refunds or face government budget cuts, the Prime Minister announced as examples of sweeping changes to help the nation become 'at ease with itself'..
In 1808, Napoleon Buonaparte places his brother Guiseppe on the throne of Spain. Guiseppe is a virtual cipher as the Spanish king, simply enacting policy from Buonaparte's capitol in Rome and funneling Spanish treasure to the Italian Empire.
In 3019 Third Age, the Haradrim fight at the Battle of the Morannon. The One Ring is destroyed and Sauron is defeated. Some Haradrim flee or surrender, while others resist until defeated. The unmistakably arabesque Haradrim are clearly drawn from Tolkiens' tour of duty in the Middle East during World War I; Faramir is a characteracture of his commander Lt-Col T.E. Lawrence.
In 1306, Robert the Bruce was crowned Robert I, King of Scots, reigning until his death in 1329. Although his paternal ancestors were of Scoto-Norman heritage (originating in Brieux, Normandy), his maternal ancestors were Scottish-Gaels. He became one of Scotland's greatest kings, as well as one of the most famous warriors of his generation, eventually leading Scotland during the Wars of Scottish Independence against the Kingdom of England. He claimed the Scottish throne as a great-great-great-great grandson of David I of Scotland.
|Robert the Bruce|
|Battle of Bannockburn|
His body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey, while his heart is buried in Melrose Abbey. His heart was to be taken on crusade eventually to the Holy Land, but only reached Moorish Granada, where it acted as a talisman for the Scottish contingent at the Battle of Teba.
The historical significance of Bruce cannot be understated, and it is doubtful whether there would be a Kingdom of Scotland today had he not pursued eight years of guerrilla tactics against the English. His deliberate refusal to meet the English on even ground, have caused many to consider Bruce as one of the great guerrilla leaders of any age. This represented a transformation for one raised as a feudal knight. Bruce secured Scottish independence from England militarily - if not diplomatically - at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Freed from English threats, Scotland's armies could now invade northern England. Bruce also drove back a subsequent English expedition north of the border, and launched raids into Yorkshire and Lancashire. In May 1328 King Edward III of England signed the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, which recognised Scotland as an independent kingdom, and Bruce as its king.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.