In 1954, in an event that was part-literary pilgrimage and part-pub crawl, Envoy founder John Ryan and novelist Brian O'Nolan led writers Anthony Cronin and Patrick Kavanagh, James-Joyce-cousin Tom Joyce, and Registrar of Trinity College AJ Leventhal on a horse-drawn carriage ride through Dublin, Ireland, to recreate the day described in Ulysses now nicknamed "Bloomsday".
Fiftieth Anniversary of Joyce's Bad DateWritten expansively by James Joyce from shorter stories in 1907 to its full publication in 1922, the experimental novel broke new literary ground with its usage of stream of consciousness in narrative and, along with T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, stood as the pinnacle of Modernist literature in the English language.
Taking place in Dublin on June 16, 1904, the story details a number of point-of- view characters including young writer Stephen Dedalus (who appeared earlier in Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man), Leopold Bloom, his wife Molly, and various Dubliners. While including fantastical events and hallucinations, the narrative largely displays the lives of the average people, complete with difficulties and happiness. Over the course of the story, however, Joyce's overall despondency toward the world is displayed. Dedalus begins his day leaving his apartment over tension with his roommate and ends it accidentally beaten to blindness by an English soldier over a perceived anti-Royalist remark, which is covered up by police. Bloom, who witnessed the crime, determines to believe it never happened and instead continues his day, which he had spent meandering across Dublin, attending a mass, visiting the baths, going to a funeral, attempting to sell an ad, having lunch at a pub, ogling nude statues at the National Museum, dinner at a hotel, another visit to another pub, dropping by the maternity ward, and finally returning home, peeking at various women along the way.
Molly Bloom, however, proved through history as the most provocative character and perhaps the villain, though the protagonist-antagonist standard of literary theory hardly is followed in the piece. Joyce later wrote that he used elements of a girl he dated once (on June 16, 1904), but that the date had gone sour due to a spat over art versus life with him believing her thinking of him merely as a toy. The topic is explored in Ulysses as Molly has an ongoing affair with her manager, "Blazes" Boylan, who is not given a perspective but is displayed as something more pet-like than human. In the final episode of the novel, nicknamed "Molly Bloom's Soliloquy", her stream-of-consciousness is shown as she and her husband retire for the night, concluding with her reflection that he is furniture to their marriage, "a useful hat rack" or "a door".
Scholars to this day debate whether the work is pro- or anti-woman, featuring both vivid and humanistic portrayals of female thought in "Episode 13, Nausicaa" and the conclusion "Episode 18, Penelope" as well as jovial discussions of misogyny in "Episode 16, Eumaeus" and throughout. While on his self-exile to Europe, Joyce married a student from Trieste, Amalia Popper, but fled the marriage to Paris when he took up a week-long invitation from Ezra Pound that became a stay for a lifetime. He came under the patronage of feminist and publisher Harriet Shaw Weaver, who took his female characters as greatly human. After the success of Ulysses, Joyce wrote Finnegans Wake, which he began after a year break and continued unfinished until his death in 1941.
Joyce commented on Ulysses as being "immortal" and that he "put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant". However, what gave the work great notice was its perceived obscenity. It had been serialized in The Little Review in the US until 1918, when it came under legal accusation of obscenity due to vividly displaying human sexuality. In the resulting bans in both the US and Britain, the book gained notoriety, surging the readership. Molly Bloom was picked up as a champion among Flappers of the era, inspiring gold-digging and establishing oneself as the dominant role in relationships as a matter of philosophy. Literary minds disagreed whether the portrayal of Molly is negative or positive as a strong figure. Whatever the case, "Mollies" began organizing, disrupting social norms and causing reprisals among conservatives. The Bloomsday celebration in 1954 would soon be joined by numerous latter-generation Mollies, and the festival would spread to dozens of other cities.
In 1939, on this day the Nippon Kaigun and Kriegsmarine began a summer-long joint exercise that resulted in the German double aircraft carrier group being stranded in the Far East at the outbreak of war.
Flugzeugträger Part 3: Convergence of Operation Z & Plan ZNeedless to say, the internment was a source of huge frustration to Grand Admiral Erich Raeder. His Plan Z rearmament program had been explicitly authorized by the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, but then the real negotiations had begun in earnest - with the Fuehrer.
But then fate intervened, and the Grand Admiral was finally given a historic opportunity to demonstrate that the German Navy could make a real difference. Because in late 1941, Raeder's patience was finally rewarded by a private visit from Chuichi Nagumo. The Japanese Admiral wanted to discuss the feasibility of German carriers Graf Zeppelin and Peter Strasser supporting his Kido Butai in a pre-emptive attack on an undisclosed allied military base. The success of the joint exercises had demonstrated that such a mission was operationally possible, although matters of command needed to be delicately discussed. And yet a complete coincidence gave Raeder the assurance that needed. Because Nagumo had chosen the codename Operation Z. It was more than the fickle finger of fate, it was destiny. Because the strike from the Axis third wave force destroyed drydocks and fuel storage depots, putting the eventual US victory back by two whole years.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.
In 1968, on this day the twenty-one year old son of Michigan Governor George W. Romney died in a car crash.
Il Est MortWillard Mitt Romney had been in France serving as a missionary, a traditional Mormon duty that both his father and relatives had also performed. By nature it was a character-building experience because the message was met with such outright rejection. Not easily discouraged by these evangelical challenges, he had recently been promoted to the most senior position available to a missionary. As the Assistant to the Head of the Paris Mission, he had overseen the work of 175 fellow members.
Upon his return to the States he planned to enroll in the Future Leaders of America. Utilizing his articulate fluency in French he aspired to serve in a diplomatic capacity that might rebuild the troubled relationship with the Union's principal ally.
The family tragedy brought an abrupt end to Governor Romney's participation in the Presidential campaign. His role would be taken by fellow Michiganer Bob Griffin who was selected as Richard Nixon's running mate after a kickback scandal eliminated the disgraced Spiro T. Agnew.
In 1813, on this day Elbridge Gerry suffered a fatal stroke caused by the shock of James Madison succumbing to malaria and in the absence of a President Pro Tempore of the Senate thirty-six year old Speaker of the House Henry Clay (pictured) entered the Oval Office.
Fifth US President, 1813-Elected at the height of his powers, Clay was seen as a "hawk" due to his increasingly outspoken criticisms of the conduct of the war with Great Britain. Having dismissed Madison as "wholly unfit for the storms of War" he was now presented with the challenge of having his own leadership abilities put to the harshest of tests.
Over-confident but time-boxed by the outcome of the Congressional debate on the mandatory election clause, Clay was forced to take the boldest of short-term decisions. The Acting President ordered Andrew Jackson to march north and take Niagara..
In 1720, just two weeks after the benign alien race known as the Mlosh landed on earth a deadly alien superbug outbreak appeared to justify the initial panic caused by their arrival amongst humanity.
Deadly Mlosh Superbug OutbreakWhen the infection rate reached one hundred percent, humanity stood on the brink of extinction - until teleporting monstrous alien squids rescue mankind. After administering the species-saving vaccine, the squids exterminate the unwitting alien visitors before suppressing the superbug that they had secretly infected the Mlosh with.
For the next two centuries, mankind is the beneficiary of accelerated technology developments. Alternate ending to a story by Robbie TaylorThe Mlosh, realising that they and humanity have been duped, attempt a second landing in the middle of the twentieth century. But a global conflict is triggered when the nations are forced to choose between two species of alien benefactors.
Both alien combatents are ultimately forced to withdraw, although the squids retain their technology sharing alliance with mankind, enabling the two species to co-exist peacefully for almost sixty years.
Robbie Taylor's ingenius novel "Warp" is available for purchase on the Lulu web site.
In 1940, the Vichy France Regime moved quickly to end the war with Nazi Germany. General Maxime Weygand, in his very first act as Minister for National Defence arrested his predecessor Charles de Gaulle whilst the forty-nine year old General inauspiciously hid behind a column on the ground floor of the govenment building in Bordeaux, attempting to hail the British Ambassador, Ronald Campbell.
L'Homme du DestinSince the publication of his military ideas in the book "France and Her Army", de Gaulle had been on bad terms with the Head of the Vichy Government, Henri-Philippe Petain who had accused the author of taking credit for work done by the staff of the French War College. Inevitably, this peacetime rivalry about military doctrine led to a major fracture in wartime when disagreement over tactics suddenly became a matter of life-or-death.
On the outbreak of the Second World War de Gaulle took over command of the 5th Army's tank force in Alsace. He soon became frustrated with the military hierarchy who had failed to grasp the importance of using tanks in mass-attacks with air support.
When the German Army broke through at Sedan he was given command of the recently formed 4th Armoured Division. With 200 tanks, de Gaulle attacked the German panzers at Montcornet on 17th May, 1940. Lacking air support, de Gaulle made little impact on halting the German advance. De Gaulle was more successful at Caumont (28th May) when he became the only French commanding officer to force the Germans to retreat during the German Invasion of France.
As a result of the success of this action, on the 5th of June, the French prime minister, Paul Reynaud, sacked Edouard Daladier and appointed de Gaulle as his minister of war. De Gaulle also visited London but when he returned to France on 16th June he discovered that Henri-Philippe Petain had ousted Paul Reynaud as premier and was forming a government that would seek an armistice with Germany.
In 2009, on this day disgraced former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was ordered to return the Order of Canada pin by by Her Excellency, Governor General Michaelle Jean.
UnbelievableA law suit brought by the Government of Canada had established that the former Prime Minister had accepted cash from the German arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber and then failed to declare it to the Canadian Revenue Agency.
The award is the centre-piece of Canada's honour system, recognizing a lifetime of achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. President Nicholas Sarkozy immediately decided that to allow Mulroney to continue to wear the symbol of this award would mock the outstanding achievements of other Order recipients, as well as being an affront to the honour of Francophone America.
In 1984, on this day the anti-Marxist rebellion in East Germany ended with the surrender of the last remaining pro-Marxist army units in East Berlin.
Within a year of the surrender, Germany would be reunified under the Helmut Kohl administration that had taken office in Bonn in the last West German parliamentary election before World War III began; within six months after the reunification was finalized Kohl would move his headquarters to Berlin.
One of the first people Kohl recruited to his post-unification transition team was a University of Leipzig graduate named Angela Merkel who had been one of the top civilian leaders of the anti-Marxist uprising; during the mid-1990s Merkel would go on to succeed Kohl as chancellor of the reunified Germany, in which capacity she would oversee the late stages of the country's post-World War III reconstruction programs.
On this day in 1967, UN peacekeepers began returning to their former bases in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula as part of the terms of the peace accord ending the Sinai War.
In 2002, a sensational story in the Washington Post exposes President Gore's secret efforts to ready a military strike against the newly installed Islamic fundamentalist r?gime in Pakistan.
The President and Vice-President both publicly claim the story is false. Privately, Gore is furious at the leak, which has undermined security for the operation and may have made it impossible to go forward.
In 1934, uranium is smuggled into Germany by Nazi time-travelers even as the Greater Zionist Resistance is battering at its borders. Plans for nuclear weaponry follow in short order, but Zionist sympathizers among the German scientists funnel them to the GZR. There will soon be a mushroom cloud over Berlin.
In 4582, the first female Star Sailor, Yueh Chan Juan, achieves orbit over the earth. She would also become the first woman on the moon 19 years later, as Imperial Administrator of the colony there.
In 1776, Tlamsita, Ml'Astra's First Chancellor, begins her campaign to establish a meeting place for representatives of all governments on the planet. Mlosh-friendly populations in North America, Asia and southern Africa are all receptive to her invitation, but the old guard countries in Europe, north Africa and South America resist. Tlamsita dies before seeing the culmination of her dreams, the Congress of Nations, established in 1864.
In 1999, Prime Minister Kay Ector returns from his Greek 'vacation' brimming with confidence in Queen Gwen's anti-Illuminati initiative, and quickly touches base with every country in the world that could be housing the once-powerful organization. He finds a host of nations ready and willing to give up those who once ruled them, and sends the list to Sir Lance du Lac, so that his Round Table Corps can make quick work of them. In the London hospital holding King Arthur II, meanwhile, a strange old man pays a visit to the fallen monarch. None of the staff remembers why they let him in, nor do they remember him when he is gone. But, the king dreams within his coma, and stirs ever so slightly.
In 1891, George Nelson, a lifelong Topeka resident and former supporter of 'Sockless' Jerry Simpson, approaches the Kansan leader in the middle of siege preparations and shoots him twice in the face. 'That's for Kansas,' Nelson shouts at Simpson as the leader writhes in agony on the ground. Although many people look menacingly towards Nelson as he walks away from Simpson's corpse, no one lays a finger on him. The town's leaders seize the opportunity to raise a white flag over the capitol building and ask the Union soldiers their terms for surrender.
in 1775, rebel colonial forces were routed by the British at the Battle of Breed's Hill near Boston, Massachusetts.
Rebel commander George Washington was almost captured, and the rebel army was thrown into disarray. Virtually all colonials gave up the idea of freedom at that point, with only a few hardcore rebels failing to acknowledge that the fight was over. They manage to battle on another 4 years, but never win another engagement.
In 1579, Sir Francis Drake lands on the western coast of North America. The native people, at first welcoming to him, become hostile after one of his men rapes a young woman. In the ensuing battle, Drake and most of his men are killed. One ship barely makes it back to England.
In 2003, the tension is finally broken as the first Martian ship lands in Antarctica. It returns when all contact with the international bases there is lost.
In 1978, the film adaptation of the Broadway hit Grease, premieres in New York City. Reprising their stage roles, Jeff Conaway as Danny Zuko and John Travolta as Kenickie turn the show into the top-grossing movie musical of all time. Conaway's film career takes off, with dozens of star turns. Travolta, who had seemed promising in the TV series Welcome Back Kotter and the movie Saturday Night Fever, fades into obscurity, his career ending in the science fiction series Babylon 5.
In 2002, a month had passed since Universal Pictures released The Bourne Identity, a film loosely based on Robert Ludlum's novel of the same name. Starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, the central character is an amnesiac attempting to discover the truth of his identity amidst a CIA-involved conspiracy of which he is the center.
Damon opens his mail. Another joker has written to him with a letter addressed Jason Bourne. It had stopped being funny some time ago. Now it was just .. disturbing. How could anyone be sure they had their own identify?
In 1976, students in Soweto, South Africa, begin a rebellion that topples the white government in 4 months time. The nation formerly known for its racism becomes a shining beacon of tolerance as the newly-freed leader of the nation, Nelson Mandela, embraces his former captors.
In 1959, George Reeves, an actor best-known as Superman up to that point, attempted suicide. Rushed to hospital, he was saved from a nearly-fatal gunshot wound, and began a slow recovery, both mental and physical. This produced such a profound change on him that he left acting to become a minister to the poor in Los Angeles.
In the 43rd year of Hammurabi's reign, Babylonia was destroyed and the great Priest-King himself was killed when the Hittites took the country. The great laws of the king were shattered, never to be seen again.
In 1815, on this day at Ligny in Belgium Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the Prussians under Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher. Aware that the Duke of Wellington's forces were but two days march away, the Little Corporal chose not to send forces in pursuit of the retreating Prussians.
In 1940, Nazi Deputy Rudolph Hess received a highly irregular intelligence feed most bizarrely not from Heinrich Himmler. Superficially it was a back-channel diplomatic communication from the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon inviting Hess to a clandestine meeting at Aleister Crowley's residence on Loch Ness. It also included horoscopes suggesting a pro-German coup in Britain led by the Duke and 'the Beast'. The urgency was thus; a brokered peace settlement before Rommel could launch the D-Day landings on the South Coast.
In 1804, on this day passage of the proposed Twelfth Amendment was frustrated by the failure to achieve ratification from the required number of state legislatures.
No Twelfth AmendmentThe Constitution had provided for the runner-up to serve as Vice President. However the third and fourth elections had thrown a monkey wrench into the system. As a result, it was then proposed that the President could pick his own Vice President as long as the electoral college ratified that decision. But as events transpired, the States decided a more representative government was served by forcing the two rivals to work together.
The continued operation of Vice President as runner up certainly created some challenges at the heart of the Federal Government. But by the late twentieth century, the issue was critical. Because Nixon refused to resign in favour of a Democrat rival that would pursue criminal charges. And Bill Clinton was pushed out of office by his moralising VP Bob Dole.
In 1946, on this day Baruch Plan Determines Americans will give up The Bomb.
Baruch Plan Determines Americans will give up The BombWorld War II ended abruptly with the American use of the newly created atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After V-J Day, new issues arose in the world order dividing occupation zones between Anglo-American and Soviet influences. President Harry Truman of the United States set Under Secretary of State Dean Acheson onto the task of answering the question, "What to do with The Bomb?"
The idea of splitting an atom (once believed to be the indestructible unit of matter) arose in the early twentieth century as scientists such as Ernest Rutherford and Niels Bohr described a tightly packed, high-energy nucleus. In the discoveries of radioactivity by Henri Becquerel and Marie Curie, it was shown that the nucleus could break, giving off a powerful burst of energy. Scientists in Germany began forcibly breaking up nuclei by bombarding them with neutrons in the late 1930s. Jewish scientists fearing a Nazi atomic bomb, Leo Szilard and Albert Einstein, wrote to President Franklin Roosevelt about the possibility of a bomb and the necessity of beating Hitler to it. In 1940, Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls of the University of Birmingham wrote a memorandum calculating "the possibility of constructing a 'super-bomb' which utilizes the energy stored in atomic nuclei as a source of energy. The energy liberated in the explosion of such a super-bomb is about the same as that produced by the explosion of 1000 tons of dynamite". Atomic weapons, which had been largely science fiction, became terrifyingly plausible.
Committees were established, eventually leading to the creation of the Manhattan Engineering District in the Army Corps of Engineers. Secret laboratories at Oak Ridge, TN, and Los Alamos, NM, produced plutonium from uranium-fed reactors and developed it into an implosion-design device called "the gadget" that exploded at the Trinity test site July 16, 1945, with a yield of 20,000 tons of TNT. President Harry Truman approved the use of atomic weapons on Japan in hopes of avoiding a bloody invasion, and, on August 6, the gun-type uranium-235 "Little Boy" fell on Hiroshima with another plutonium device, "Fat Man", striking Nagasaki on August 9. Japan surrendered on August 15, citing not only the bomb but the declaration of war by the Soviet Union, which was now clearly a rival to the Anglo-Americans as a superpower.
To ensure global law following World War II, the victors created the United Nations in 1945. The organization would act as a forum in which nations could resolve their disputes and carry stronger action than the League of Nations, which had been organized along similar lines at the end of World War I but had proven ineffectual. The first resolution passed called for a UN Atomic Energies Commission "to deal with the problems raised by the discovery of atomic energy". It requested proposals, and Truman tapped Bernard Baruch to present one.
Baruch, who had made his fortune in the stock market before turning to politics and philanthropy, had served as an economic advisor since 1916. He was dubbed a "park bench statesman" due to his habit of sitting in Lafayette or Central Park and discussing government business with whoever happened to sit beside him. Baruch took the report created by Acheson and David Lilienthal, chairman of the TVA, upon advice from men such as General Leslie Groves and Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, as the groundwork for his proposal, dubbed "The Baruch Plan". In it, he outlined the sharing of scientific knowledge to all nations, international control of resources such as uranium, elimination of atomic weapons, and the need for inspection and punishment for those possessing or manufacturing illegal weapons. The UN would create the International Atomic Development Authority to guide research and police atomic affairs.
Controversially, Baruch announced that the United States had already begun to dismantle its weapons program after fighting hard with Truman to agree to it as Commander-in-Chief. The Soviets jumped at the measure, seeing an opportunity to pull America back from its lead. Many Americans balked at giving up the Bomb, which had cost nearly Ū billion to develop. However, through the urging of Baruch, Oppenheimer, and others, Congress passed legislation confirming the end of American atomic weapons, though it was believed to have cost Truman the '48 election. The IADA came into effect in 1947 and quickly established its facilities at all known uranium and thorium deposits guarded by the expanded United Nations Police, which had been a small institution created October 1945. Since 1945 and its expansion under the IADA, UNPol has swelled to include investigative teams working alongside Interpol and national agencies as well as peacekeeping forces against terrorism in some of the most dangerous warzones on Earth.
Although nuclear proliferation has been avoided, humanity still faces war. Numerous territorial and ethnic wars erupted after decolonization, and the West fought the spread of Communism in Greece, Korea, Egypt, Southeast Asia, Latin America, Africa, Israel/Egypt in 1973, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. In 1962, JFK?s blockade of Cuba due to construction of Soviet missile silos caused Khrushchev to threaten war, but intervention by IADA inspectors proved no nuclear weapons were present, and the bases were allowed as a match for NATO bases in Italy and Turkey. Eventually the Soviet Union collapsed, and Chinese Communism reinvented itself. Many historians speculate whether atomic weapons could have prevented bloodshed, echoing the words of English author Wilkie Collins, "I begin to believe in only one civilizing influence - the discovery one of these days of a destructive agent so terrible that War shall mean annihilation and men's fears will force them to keep the peace," written 1870 at the time of the Franco-Prussian War.
Meanwhile, nuclear energy has spread as a cheap source of power, primarily electricity, with nearly 200 plants worldwide. While many of these are in industrialized nations, several developing countries have been granted their own plants, spurring economic growth.
In 2014, an amateurish security breach at a secret military base threatened to usher in the long-dreaded Vampire Apocalypse.
Dark Gift of ImmortalityEver since the global elite had accidentally stumbled upon their existence, determined and highly secret efforts had been made to wrest the dark gift of immortality from the undead. Inevitably huge risks had also been taken even though it was by no means clear that immortality was a property that could be safely isolated.
But now that the product in its rawest form had quite literally hit the streets of America, the need to find an innovation solution had gained a priority. Much more than a bloodbath, it was nothing less than a species-level struggle for continued human existence.
In 1215, King John of England, having met with rebellious barons who objected to what they perceived as his abuse of his powers as their feudal lord and who had confronted him with armed force to demand that he sign a charter guaranteeing them various rights and limiting the authority of the crown over the feudal aristocracy and the church, arranged for the barons to be set upon and slain at the meeting at which the King was supposed to have signed the charter.
Magna CarterThe result was disaster. Already at the point of civil war, England exploded as news of the barons' slaughter by the king, with Prince Louis of France offering aid to the rebel forces. In May 1216, as England descended into anarchy, Louis's forces landed unopposed in Kent and marched for London.
John desperately struggled to marshal forces to fight off the revolutionaries and their French allies, but ironically his slaying of the barons at Runnymede had wiped out too much of the feudal authority structure under which levies could have been called forth in his name, and alienated the remainder. Adding to his troubles, in September 1216, while at the port town of King's Lynn, John developed persistent dysentery. On October 18 of that year, he would die of the disease.
A new story by Eric LippsThe barons' charter would disappear into the mists of history. Prince Louis, already in line to become King Louis VIII of France, would be crowned Louis I of England in March of 1217, inaugurating a century of renewed French domination of the British Isles which would be marked by frequent outbreaks of rebellion. Finally, in 1347, Louis IV, the last French king of England, would be dethroned by rebels. His attempt to regain his English possessions would be cut short gruesomely by the arrival, in 1348, of the Black Death, which would rage until the 1360s and kill an estimated one-quarter of the entire population of Europe.
Ironically, it would be that horror which would revive interest in a charter of rights in England. The shortage of manpower after the mass death meant that laborers were in a better position than previously to press for improved conditions, while the aristocracy wanted legal protection against the looting of their estates by the king, which had happened repeatedly as a monarchy impoverished by disease, famine and disorder among its subjects sought to maintain a luxurious lifestyle. In May of 1366, a conference of nobles, military officers and representatives of the newly powerful craft guilds presented a charter of rights to King Edward III, who reluctantly signed it. He had no alternative. The delegation had come with an army at its back; there would be no repetition of the massacre at Runnymede.
In 1894, on this day a mistaken entry in a civil register was corrected by a parish priest in the West Bosnian village of Obljaj. Quite inexplicably, the birth date for the son of the farmer Petar Princip had been forward dated to July 13th when of course it should have been June 13th.
Wrong TurnThat tiny correction would profoundly alter the consequences of a political assassination in a Balkan capital almost exactly two decades later because Austrian law expressly forebade execution for crimes committed by individuals less than twenty years old.
The crime itself was committed on June 28th 1914 when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the Archduchess Sophia unwisely chose the City of Sarajevo as the most appropriate location to celebrate their fourteenth wedding anniversary. In fact, the Habsburg heir was entertaining wild dreams of transforming Austrian-Hungary into a Triple Monarchy. The counter-intuitive logic of this delusional scheme was to add further diversity in order to suppress the ethnic tensions that were threatening to tear the Empire apart even before he could ascend to the throne. More impartial observers might have detected a greater risk of throwing further fuel onto an already burning fire.
The opportunity for a Triple Monarchy had arisen through the annexation of Bosnia-Hercegovina from the Ottoman Empire in 1908. Determined to prevent the Habsburg domination of the Slav people, the Government of Serbia created a secret society tasked with training resistance fighters in a region that they considered of vital national interest. It was members of this "Black Hand Gang" who were planning to turn the wedding anniversary into a lead jubilee.
But they bungled it, missing their first chance to shoot the Royal Couple. Dejected, Gavril Princip and Marko Barac slunk off to have a sandwich. By incredible fortune, the royal procession took a wrong turn, passing directly by the cafe on Franz Josef Street where they were eating, and this time Princip seized his moment and shot the Archduke dead.
Across the whole of Southern Europe the subsequent trial was watched with great interest. Presenting his own defence, Princip argued convincingly that "I do not feel like a criminal, because I put away the one who was doing evil. Austria as it is represents evil for our people and therefore should not exist .... The political union of the Yugoslavs was always before my eyes, and that was my basic idea. Therefore it was necessary in the first place to free the Yugoslavs ... from Austria".
Enraged that they could not establish a connection with the Serbian Government, the Habsburgs decided to treat Princip as a common murderer and summarily executed him. Inadvertently, they had created a martyr, and within weeks the Balkans was ablaze with sectarian violence that would overthrow the Habsburg Empire.
In 1861, under the command of Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon (pictured), the State Guard defeated a Union army, won the Battle of the Jefferson City and carried the State of Missouri into the Confederacy.
Missouri State Guard wins the Battle of Jefferson CityThree weeks before, Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson and Major General Sterling Price had taken the fateful decision to mobilize a force strong enough to challenge Federal authority. Because in the third week of May, they had the beginnings of an army, enough men and arms at Jefferson City to put an army of two to four thousand men in the field, with six 6-pounder cannons to support it. At Boonville, fifteen to eighteen hundred state volunteers were on hand, but few were armed.
Fortunately for the secessionists, Colonel Frank Blair's Union force of 1,700 men and two cannons was outnumbered and outgunned by Lyon's small army. It was their last real chance to carry Missouri into the Confederacy and the victory proved just enough to force a vote of secession to pass the State Convention.
The short-term, local struggle to retain the Capitol might have been won. But the unlikely long-term success of Jackson and Price's risky gamble would entirely depend on the support of the Confederate Government. And whether Richmond would defend Missouri from a Union drive of overwhelming forces led by the formidable General Ulysses S. Grant.
In 2010, on this day President Bobby Jindal revoked the deep-water drilling licenses that the Republic of Louisiana had granted to the Royal British Petroleum Company for the period 2001 through 2013.
PowerlessThe huge offshore oil spill caused by the Deepwater Horizon explosion on 20th April had created an environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. But the trouble was that the financial resources of the independent maritime American states were dwarfed by the Royal British Petroleum Company. And their British executives were less than willing to pay compensation, estimated at $20 billion and thus representing circa one year's turnover for the company. In fact the $69 million dollars spent so far by the Republic of Louisiana was directly comparable to the $50m spent on marketing by the Royal British Petroleum Company. And whilst the company focused on technical issues like how to ensure Internet Search Engines ranked their corporate web site first on deepwater keyword searches, the Republic's invoice for $69m was sitting unpaid in their accounting office in London.
The International Community had responded, with over thirteen donor countries offering assistance. Unfortunately, financial, but not technological support was on offer. Because the solution to the problem required the rapid deployment of the most advanced technology available to mankind. And that could only come from one place, the rump United States landlocked on the Eastern Seaboard and therefore largely unaffected by the crisis.
Accordingly, the President of the Republic of Florida Charles Crist had written a letter to Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell requesting safe passage for Lieutenant General Robert L. Van Antwerp and his US Army Corps of Engineers. Fearing a creeping loss of territorial integrity akin to the oil now leaking onto the shores of the Gulf States, the desire for Manifest Destiny began to enter the souls of many Americans for the first time in over two centuries.
In 1775, the British North American authorities decided to isolate "the troubles" to Massachusetts upon hearing the news that the Second Continental Congress had overlooked the Virginian George Washington and instead appointed John Hancock of Braintree as the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.
Milch CowDue to his unsavoury role in the Liberty Affair, the British authorities stigmatized Hancock as the "King of the Colonial Smugglers". This was unfortunate because as the wealthiest man in the Colony, he had been personally recommended by his early political mentor Samuel Adams who saw that Hancock could bankroll the formation of the Continental Army out of the militia units around Boston.
Warrants were now issued throughout the Royal Colony, stipulating that should colonials lay down their arms, they would receive a royal pardon - with the exception of the ring-leaders, Adams and his so-called "milch cow" Hancock.
When this failed, the British proceeded with a variant of a plan devised by Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson which would turn Boston into a police state. Incredibly, a series of letters which had advocated this supression of colonial liberty had fallen into patriot hands. But against his better judgement, Adams had unwisely agreed to the wishes of Benjamin Franklin that Hutchinon's letters remain private...
In 2005, writer-director's Darren Aronofsky's enormously popular noir movie, "Batman: Year One" premiered in 3,858 cinemas across North America, grossing $48 million in its opening weekend and eventually grossing $370 million worldwide.
"Batman: Year One" premieresThe film shares its title with the American DC Comics story arc written by Frank Miller in 1987 which recounts the beginning of Bruce Wayne's career as Batman and Jim Gordon's with the Gotham City Police Department. Aronofsky's genius was to shape a brutally realistic version that was nearly unrecognisable from either Miller's story or the previous Batman mythos, for example potraying Alfred as a mechanic called Big Al who helps Bruce Wayne.
Given the writer-directors limited commerical success in his career to date, the studio was taking on a huge risk. It was even rumoured in the press that the studio also considered a more mainstream project called "Batman Begins" to be directed by Christopher Nolan. And yet Joel Schumacher's dreadful 1997 movie Batman and Robin was a critical failure which appeared to have destroyed Warner Bros' franchise forever, and so the studio was reduced to truly desperate measures.
Christian Bale, fresh from the success of American Psycho, was rumoured to star. But at the last, both the studio and director fully committed to a non-derivative movie, and instead the role was given to the relatively unknown Australian television and film actor Heath Ledger. This inspired decision led to "Batman: Year One" becoming without question the most incredible summer movie of 2005.
In 1981, on this day the socialist government of Comrade President Ronald Reagan was shaken to its core by the worst airline disaster in American history. Ultimately, "the Gipper" would be forced to accept much of the blame for the tangled labour dispute that had made the catastrophe inevitable, resigning on August 5th, after less than six months in office.
The Turning Point - Air Traffic Controllers fire ReaganFrustrated with the government's empty promises to change the "overworked normal", the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) had threatened an illegal strike for some time. Trouble was, the twelve thousand strikers had endorsed Reagan's candidacy primarily because the Comrade President was a former union man himself. In fact, "Red Dutch" had once led a strike for the Screen Actors Guild.
Lacking any moral legitimacy to act, Reagan had sat on his hands whilst 50% of scheduled flights were operated by non-strikers and supervisors, ignoring apocalyptic warnings from the Union that there had been more than sixty potential crashes over Washington, D.C. Sympathetic air controllers in France, New Zealand and other socialist nations showed their support for PATCO, throwing the whole communist bloc into crisis.
Immediately after Reagan's resignation, his successor authorised 521 military air traffic controllers to take over. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) began accepting applications from new controllers, and the Federal Labor Relations Authority decertified PATCO.
The event marked a turning point in labor relations, with lasting repercussions that would eventually bring the United Socialist States of America to its knees before the decade was out.
In 2002, an extinction-level-event (E.L.E) was averted by the unexpected return of Doctor Manhattan. The American superman's timely intervention avoided a deep impact from the near earth asteroid 2002 MN.
Watch the Youtube Clip of Asteroid 2002 MN June 15, one of the closest Flyby on record
The Return of Doctor ManhattanIronically, Manhattan had left the planet in November 1985 due to his misunderstood involvement in another potential ELE, unfairly blamed for a series of events orchestrated by one of his Watchmen colleagues (pictured).
Because in a brilliant act of ruthless expediency, "the world's most intelligent man" Ozymandias had unleased nuclear forces with Manhattan's energy signature in order to destroy New York, an event so horrifying that it stopped the world in its tracks, deflecting a imminent atomic war with Russia. Watch the Youtube Trailer of the movie
US President George Bush welcomed the return of Manhattan by quoting from the famous political essay The Crisis by the American revolutionary Thomas Paine (pictured) ~
"Quitting this class of men, I turn with the warm ardor of a friend to those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out... "in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive" - Thomas Paine, The Crisis published December 23, 1776.Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but 'show your faith by your works,' that God may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy".
Sourcing the quotation from Thomas Paine was a masterful choice, striking the appropriate chord of irony. Because the decisive act of an unexpected friend was paralled; Paine was an Englishman.
In 1941, on this day the Wehrmacht launched Operation Barbarossa, its last major offensive in the war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
In 1987 after nearly six and a half years of fighting, the Russian civil war finally ended as representatives of the Patriotic Liberation Movement and the Romanov government met in Vienna to sign a cease-fire agreement.
Under the terms of the cease-fire pact one-party rule in the former Soviet Union was abolished and the domestic powers of the KGB were strongly curtailed; the pact also mandated the immediate release of all political prisoners from the Siberian gulags. Although nearly a year would pass before the USSR was formally dissolved, the Vienna agreement effectively marked the end of Communist rule in Russia.
On this day in 1940, British and French troops in Holland eliminated the last pockets of German resistance in Rotterdam and liberated Amsterdam after only token opposition by the Wehrmacht.
The loss of Amsterdam in particular enraged Adolf Hitler, who sacked four of his top generals on the spot and demoted two others for "incompetence". By contrast the leader of the British expeditionary force, Lieutenant General Bernard Law Montgomery (pictured), was elevated to the rank of field marshal for his skillful use of Allied ground forces against the Germans.
Montgomery would later serve as Allied commander-in-chief for land forces in the Mediterranean, where his victorious Libyan offensive would help hasten the overthrow of Italy's Fascist regime.
On this day in 2002, the object known as Asteroid 2002 MN 15 hit the earth less than a block from Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's presidential palace in Baghdad.
The event triggered chaos throughout Iraq, eventually leading to the final overthrow of the Saddam regime less than two months later.
In 2003, the UN attempted to contact the Martian fleet orbiting earth, but was met only with an eerie series of beeps and squeals.
In 1990, Pete Best's final album before his death was released. Fool In Love sold 1 million copies in its first week, proving the old man still had plenty of fans left.
In 1956, John Lennon asked Paul McCartney to join his band, The Quarrymen. They would have been another unremarkable teenage rock band, except that 4 years later, their drummer was international superstar, Pete Best.
In 1949, Oscar-winning tragic actor Jim Varney was born in Kentucky. He rose to national prominence playing Evan Earp, a descendant of Wyatt Earp?s on the dramatic TV series, The Rousters. This was followed by his first Oscar-worthy performance in the film Hey, Vern, It?s Ernest. He also won a Tony for his performance as King Lear the year of his death, in 2000.
In 4561, the first of many disastrous sorties was made by the rebels in Hanoi. The waiting Chinese army destroyed a thousand men before the rebels could make their way back within the city. On this day, also, a peace envoy was sent out to begin negotiating with the Chinese. Although they struggled heroically, they would ultimately prove unsuccessful.
In 1802, Virginian farmer George Washington is elected to serve as First Chancellor of the North American Confederation. He serves for two terms, and is succeeded by his Iroquois Second Chancellor, Onatah.
In 1225, Pope John of the Holy British Empire signed the Magna Carta, guaranteeing the rights of all British citizens. This move is universally opposed by his bishops and cardinals, leading to the first of many rebellions against his Holiness.
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac's Round Table Corps smashes through Cairo, the Central European Empire's former North African star possession, and the rest of Egypt quickly surrenders, throwing the Illuminati hiding within their borders to du Lac as sacrificial lambs. Queen Gwen goes on television and says to the world, 'If the former masters of the Central European Empire will simply give themselves up, we shall no longer prosecute this war. Any deaths from this point on are meaningless, and caused only by the intransigence of the CEE's holdouts. Any nation that cooperates with us in giving up their former masters shall be considered an ally, and under our full protection.' This is the final nail in the coffin for the Illuminati, as those they seek shelter from turn them into the British in order to receive the queen's amnesty.
In 1891, Union troops from the fort at Concordia start firing on Topeka, softening it up for the thrust from Kansas City to take out the relatively few defenders left. Although assured by 'Sockless' Jerry Simpson that help is on the way, the citizens of Topeka are growing weary of being the battleground for his war. A number of them start plotting to assassinate the 'Socrates of the plains'.
On this day in 1973, author Stephen King drove to the ruins of Jerusalem's Lot as part of his research for his book on the history of the infamous Boone family.
That same day, up in Gates Falls, Maine, the serial killer known as 'the Lawnmower Man' committed his second and third murders, killing mill worker John Hall and Hall's boss Henry Warwick. In King's book The Lawnmower Man the Hall and Warwick murders would be dealt with at length in a chapter titled (appropriately) 'Graveyard Shift'.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.