In 1801, on this day the sixteenth President of the United States William Henry Seward was born in Florida, New York.
President Seward bornHe served as the twelfth Governor of New York before entering the United States Senator where he become an increasingly ardent opponent of slavery (the Seward family opened their Auburn home as a safe-house to fugitive slaves). A member of the Whig Party, he joined the Republican Party when the New York Whigs merged with the Anti-Nebraskans. And so in 1860 he became the stand-out Republican Candidate even though a semi-obscure Illinois Representative very nearly stole the Nomination from him.
He entered office with the Union in crisis.
Fearing that a proclamation of Rebellion would result in the Border States seceding, Seward drew both Great Britain and Russia into the gathering conflict. He hoped that the undesirable re-involvement of European Powers would re-unite Americans, but it didn't quite work out like that.
In 1905, on this day the thirty-eighth President of the United States Henry Jaynes Fonda was born in Grand Island, Nebraska.
The Troubled Presidency of Henry FondaHe pursued a hugely successful career in acting until the making of his final movie, Mister Roberts. Aged fifty, he decided to take a brief furlough from movies and theater, at first only intending it to be a year.
But as fate would have it, he got involved in a high profile way in the 1956 election. Two years later he ran for office. Elected Governor of California and then re-elected in 1962, beating former Vice President Richard M. Nixon.
After two failed bids for the Democratic nomination for President in 1960 and 1968, Fonda was elected President in 1972. Serving as a liberal, he nurtured nuclear abolitionist sympathies at the dawn of detente brokered by his old rival from the 1962 election, Richard Nixon. But of course his term of office was troubled by the controversial actions of an ultra-liberal with even more left-field ideas about reconciliation, his daughter "Hanoi" Jane.
In 2009, on this day President John McCain nominated his former opponent Barack Obama to serve as the United States Ambassador to the People's Republic of China.
Ambassador ObamaA gregarious, charismatic individual with roots in the region, he was gifted by extraordinary character attributes that under normal circumstances should have set him up for success. But US-China relations were strained by a whole range of issues ranging from global warming, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and humanitarian crises.
The Republican Party strongly rebuked Obama for his consultative approach, arguing that a stronger hand was required to remind the Chinese who was the junior partner in the relationship.
During the mid terms, McCain announced that a new Ambassador was required to restart the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue that had begun under President Bush and had clearly now lost its way. Combined with separation from his family in Chicago, it had been a miserable period in Obama's life. The only real positive was a reconciliation with his half-brother Mark Obama Ndesandjo who was married to a Chinese woman from Henan and lived in Shenzhen. That joyful episode was recorded in his semi-autobiographical novel "From Chicago to Beijing".
In 1966, since the domination of China by Chinese Communist Party over the Kuomintang (KMT, Chinese Nationalist Party), Mao Zedong and his comrades had worked to turn the backward, post-imperial China into a modern industrial titan.
May 16 Notification Ousts Mao After China's recovery from the Civil War, Mao's first action had been the first Five-Year Plan (1953-57), emulating the programs of Josef Stalin to improve the USSR. Through socializing private firms and encouraging industrial and agricultural growth, as well as taking advantage of Soviet technological aid, China increased its economic output by an average of 19 percent per year.
A new story by Jeff ProvineWhile the industry of China flourished, agriculture seemed to lag behind the lofty goals set by Communist leaders. With the close of the first Five-Year Plan, Mao called for a second, which would be dubbed the "Great Leap Forward". While continuing ideals of widening industry and improving living standards, one of the main focal points of the plan was a spread of socialism, shifting private land to public domain, especially among the common farmers. Income and industry surged forward as in the first plan, but the mismanagement of social agriculture proved devastating.
With common land farmed in a cooperative manner, planners hoped for an increase of food production by 270 percent. However, local managers struggled to keep up with such demand and saw overstating production on paper as the only way keep up. Based on fraudulent numbers as well as excessive hopes, millions of agricultural workers were shifted to the growing industry, causing the production to fall further behind. Overall through the plan, production would increase by 35 percent, still an impressive amount, but not enough to keep twenty million people from starving to death while government documents said they were well fed.
Unexpectedly, one of the worst agricultural devastations came from an unlikely source: Mao's hygiene program known as the "Four Pests". He used his impressive propaganda to model a campaign at eliminating rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows, the last of which was noted as a grain-stealer. The Eurasian Tree Sparrow became the focus of the assault with people tearing down nests, shooting them from the sky, and scaring them to exhaustion by banging pots or drums. Contests led to competition among schools and agencies as to who could kill the most sparrows. Such mass attack nearly wiped out the bird from China. By 1960, however, people realized that the sparrows ate more insects than grain as bug populations had soared. Mao put an end to the campaign against the sparrow, but the damage had been done: massive locust swarms devoured crops across the country. Misuse of pesticides and deforestation compounded the problems, and even more people died from ecological fallout.
The Great Leap Forward ended in 1962, the last part being referred to as the "Three Bitter Years" by many Chinese. While domestic problems abounded, Mao's government also fell out with the Soviet leadership that before had been a source of inspiration. Mao called Khruschev's policies "revisionist", stepping away from the pure ideals of Marxism-Leninism, eventually condemning them publically after promises of endorsing China in the United Nations and delivering nuclear weapons fell through. Without foreign allies, Mao worked increasingly to purge any dissidence within China.
The first moves in 1965 involved criticism of the play Hai Rui Dismissed from Office by Wu Han, Deputy Mayor of Beijing. It had at first been praised, but now Mao took the "corrupt emperor" in the play as an attack on himself. Wu Han was defended by Mayor Peng Zhen, and a propaganda battle erupted between him and Mao's aide Yao Wenyuan. With the mayor under fire, Mao moved against Yang Shangkun, director of the Party's General Office with accusations of conspiracy.
Rather than take his firing or even attempting to question it, Yang Shangkun decided to rally the anti-Mao members of the Party. It was a political gamble, but the revolutionary movement had always been just that. Allied with Peng Zhen as well as fellow economic moderates Head of State Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping as well as Premier Zhou Enlai, they built up their own propaganda machine capable of defeating Mao's. Articles and photos showed Mao's eccentric and especially decadent lifestyle. The people of China became outraged, and Mao attempted to strike back with false criminal charges, but even the People's Liberation Army had lost support for him.
Finally, in May of 1966, the Politburo of the Communist Party of China released the May 16 Notification, a public announcement condemning Mao's "imperialism". Mao fled China, escaping secretly into exile in communist Albania. China, meanwhile, followed the increasingly capitalist economic ideals of Peng and Zhou, what many hard communists deplored as "reactionary" and "bourgeois". Arguments for the programs of limited free market and open trade showed that China had built an impressive economic base and now needed innovation to flourish.
By the time American President Richard Nixon visited China in 1972, it had lost much of its red tone, even extending invitations for inclusion to Hong Kong and Taiwan as Special Market Areas, creating a balance with capitalism as had been seen in the ceasefire between North and South Vietnam that led to peace agreements in 1973, for which Nixon would win his Peace Prize.
In 1868, on this day the impeachment process gripping the Federal Government ended with the conviction of President Andrew Johnson by just a single vote in the US Senate.
18th President of the United States 1868-9The Event: Another former Vice President who had become ostracized from his supposed party, the technically Republican, but actually Democratic, Johnson spent three years sparring with the Republican congress as to just how the South should be rebuilt in the aftermath of the Civil War. Hoping to oust him from office, congressional Republicans impeached the president on what was essentially a technicality. His conviction failed by a single vote, the result of seven Republican senators breaking party lines. But .. what if they hadn't?
A new article from Io9The Successor: President of the Senate pro tempore Benjamin Wade (pictured) of Ohio.
Why the alternate history novel should be written now:
One of the leaders of the so-called "radical" Republicans, Wade so alienated moderates that the seven dissenting Republican senators didn't as much vote for Johnson as they did against Wade. Considering the also radical (but ethically challenged) Grant administration came into power only ten months later, it's hard to know what President Wade could really have done all that differently policy-wise.
Still, this would have basically destroyed the power of the presidency, asserting Congress as the real head of government and the president as an obedient servant who served at its pleasure and who could be removed based on little more than personal dislike.
In any event, the U.S. could have morphed into a de facto parliamentary democracy, and considering how gloriously, deliriously corrupt Congress was in the Gilded Age without wielding absolute power, their exploits in such a hypothetical world would be the stuff of legend. Or at least a pretty decent first novel.
To be continued
In 1967, on this day the Egyptian government ordered the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) out of the Sinai Peninsula, effective immediately.
Plan BIn order to secure an end to the 1956 Suez Crisis, a multi-national force - the first UN military force of its kind - had been deployed along the 1949 armistice demarcation line (pictured). Troops had been contributed by the governments of Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, India, Indonesia, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Yugoslavia. Support was also provided by United States, Italy, and Switzerland.
The original proposal had been devised by the Canadian minister of external affairs Lester Pearson, and implemented with the consent of the Egyptian Government largely as a result of efforts by UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarsköld. However, that consent had now been withdrawn, unmistakeably revealing the intention of President Gamel Abdul Nasser to launch a Third Arab-Israeli War.
The UN Secretary-General U Thant now sought to station UNEF forces on the eastern side of the 1949 armistice lines, an offer that was readily accepted by the State of Israel. With a buffer force of six thousand men from fourteen different countries stationed between the two countries, an Egyptian Strike became untenable. Instead, Nasser was forced to consider a more radical, alternative plan, a Syrian-Jordanian strike through the Golan Heights, to be assisted if necessary by six Soviet airbourne divisions.
In 1993, on this day planning begins on the fourth Star Trek series, "Star Trek: Voyager". Centering on the Federation starship USS Voyager and its attempt to return to the Alpha Quadrant after being displaced 70,000 light years away in the Delta Quadrant, the series will star Harrison Ford as Captain John Patrick "JP" Nelson, Kate Mulgrew as First Officer Kathryn Janeway, and Robert Duncan McNeill as Lt. Tom Paris.
Harrison Ford stars in Star Trek: VoyagerIn its seven year run, Voyager earns much critical acclaim, as does Ford for his portrayal of Captain Nelson, haunted by his past run-ins with the Borg. First introduced in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Best of Both Worlds pt. 1" as a starship commander who goes rogue following the Borg-caused deaths of his family, Nelson is eventually captured and assimilated himself, only being rescued and cured by his Academy classmate Jean-Luc Picard (who at one point, with tears in his eyes, is forced to order the Enterprise to fire upon his old friend). The episode consistently ranks as one of the best of any Star Trek series.
In 1868, President Andrew Johnson was convicted by the U.S. Senate in his impeachment trial, becoming the first president of the United States to be removed from office.
Andrew Johnson Removed from OfficeThe outcome hinged on a single vote, that of Sen. Edmund Ross of Kansas, who had said nothing through the entire trial up to that point. Ross had been subjected to intense pressure by both sides as the importance of his swing vote became clear; it would be claimed, in fact, that pro-Johnson forces had actually tried to buy his vote along with those of other wavering senators.
Forced to step down, Johnson was publicly gracious. "The Senate has spoken, in accordance with the Constitution," he said in his farewell address the following day. "Although I continue to maintain myself to have been in the right and to have acted within the bounds of my lawful powers throughout, I must honor its decision in the name of that principle, that ours is a nation of laws and not of men, upon which the legitimacy of that government depends". Privately, he was far less temperate, raging to family and friends that he had been "overthrown" by a "bloody cabal of radical Republicans seeking to stamp upon the throats of our vanquished Southern brethren in the name of their foolish dreams of Negro equality with the white race".
"[I have been] overthrown by a bloody cabal of radical Republicans seeking to stamp upon the throats of our vanquished Southern brethren in the name of their foolish dreams of Negro equality with the white race". ~ Andrew JohnsonAs Johnson had never named a vice-president to fill the slot from which President Abraham Lincoln's assassination had elevated him in April 1865, Sen. Ross's fellow Kansan, Sen. Benjamin Wade, then serving as president pro tem of the Senate, was next in line to assume the presidency-much to the distress of Southerners, for Wade was a hard-line Reconstructionist who favored much tougher policies toward the defeated South than had President Johnson. The Wade-Davis bill he had cosponsored with Maryland Sen. Henry W. Davis had called for a Southern state to be readmitted to the Union only when a majority of that state's citizens took a so-called "ironclad oath" that they had never supported the Confederacy-a far more stringent requirement than that favored by Lincoln, who had vetoed the bill and had preferred a ten-percent threshold, or Johnson, who had followed his slain predecessor's lead. With Johnson out of office in disgrace, Wade, as president, convinced Davis to reintroduce the bill, which passed both houses of Congress just as it had the first time.
As a practical matter, the new law excluded the former Confederate states from the Union and legitimized their continued military occupation for a full generation, for it would take at least that long for enough of those states' old populations to die off and be replaced to make it possible to meet the majority standard without winking at mass perjury. This was not lost on either Democrats or Southerners.
The Democrats quickly began calling for Wade to follow in Johnson's footsteps, and demanding sanctions against Senator Davis as well. The Southern response was a fresh wave of terrorism under the leadership of former Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, to which President Wade responded with thousands of additional federal troops and a presidential order demanding the arrest and execution (nothing was said of trial) of Forrest and "any and all persons found to be aiding this individual in his attempt at a new insurrection".
Rather than suppressing the violence, Wade's actions made matters worse-and as the bloodshed escalated, the President's popularity plunged. The extraordinary manner in which he had assumed the office had made Wade vulnerable form the start, in ways he seemed not to recognize, and there were plenty of opportunistic figures eager to exploit that fact-among them Gen. George McClellan, the defeated 1864 Democratic presidential nominee, who saw in Wade's travails an opportunity to promote himself. McClellan, who during the war had come to favor a negotiated settlement even while serving as commander of the Army of the Potomac, now began calling loudly for "true peace," by which he appeared to mean what amounted to the readmission of the ex-Confederate states into the Union on terms which effectively recreated an independent CSA within the USA.
And watching from the sidelines was England, which had covertly aided the Confederate cause during the war and saw an opportunity to use the renewed bloodshed and political turmoil to take back territory in Maine, the upper Midwest and the Northwest which it had bargained away in prior treaties. British-backed subversion would play a significant role in subsequent developments of the long, bloody struggle for Reconstruction.
In 1943, on this day Wing Commander Guy Gibson's dog N-gger was hit and killed by a military staff vehicle at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, Scotland. Watch the 1964 Movie Scene It was a bad omen for Royal Air Force No. 1 617 Squadron. The squadron's mascot was buried at midnight after the dog's owner set off on Operation Chastise, the ill-fated attack on the Mohne and Eder dams in the Ruhr. Because in the early hours of May 17th, Gibson (pictured) would be lost over the Dutch coast.
Dambusters' Failure condemns Great Britain to defeatBy striking these strategic targets code-named N-gger (after Gibson's dog) and Dinghy with Barnes Wallace Bouncing Bomb, the RAF sought to flood the Ruhr Valley, damaging German's industrial heartland.
"For some men of great courage and adventure, inactivity was a slow death. Would a man like Gibson ever have adjusted back to peacetime life?" ~ Barnes Wallace on GibsonEven though the squadron suffered a 40% casaulty rate, with the catastrophic waste of these talented airmen, the failure of the mission would have even more grave consequences for the British and their racist empire.
In fact Churchill had been forced to take such a huge risk with irreplaceable resources. Because the Prime Minister had exagerrated Britain's capability to keep drawing the Nazi's defensive effort back into Germany and away from actual and potential theatres of ground war. Worse, he had now failed to persuade Stalin that Britain was capable of being an effective ally. And although Churchill had the sympathetic ear of Roosevelt, many of the US military staff were less persuaded of the value of British experience and capabilities.
America would now concentrate resources in the Pacific Theatre. And by the time the US had defeated Japan, a second front was no longer required because Stalin had turned the tables on the Eastern Front. But it was too late for Great Britain, which was starved into defeat in 1944.
Which perhaps was for the best, because American Foreign Policy could now set forth with the Atlantic Charter principles (the "right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live" including - added the Daily Mail - "the darker races") unhindered by the anachronism of a British Empire that Americans themselves had fought and defeated in 1776. And British Socialists could build the modern economy that would regularise trading links and diplomatic relations with those newly liberated nations. A world of egalitarianism unimaginable to the Daily Mail, Gibson and Churchill. Which was kind of what defeating the Axis powers was all about.
In 1918, on this day criticism of the government briefly became an imprisonable offense with the passage of the Sedition Act by the U.S. Congress.
Deeply concerned that dissent would be a threat to his war effort, President Woodrow Wilson had urged an amendment to the Espionage Act of 1917, forbidding "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the United States government, flag, or armed forces.
Socialism saves the American DreamYet Wilson's unlawful attempt to subvert civil liberties would end in dismal failure in the first major test case - thanks to the far-sightedness of the Founding Fathers of the Nation. In framing the constitution they had enshrined Lincoln's principle of government "of the people, by the people, for the people".
Because future Comrade President Eugene V. Deb (pictured, left) was charged in Ohio under the Act immediately after delivering an anti-war protest speech on June 16th. The United States Supreme Court upheld Deb's right Freedom of speech which of course is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution ("Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or the press").
"Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or the press". ~ First Amendment of the US ConstitutionNow armed with the Supreme Court's decision, Debs could justify his assertion that capitalism was the cause of the war and the entrance into it "was instigated by the predatory capitalists in the United States".
In 1920 Debs would ride a wave of anti-war sentiment into the White House.
With the exception of the 1950s "White Scare" led by the reactionary Senator Joseph McCarthy (pictured, right), domestic politics in the twentieth century would be dominated by the Socialist Party as America enjoyed an unprecented era of peace. Play the Red Flag
In 1941, on this day Red Army advance units crossed the Polish-German border.
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In 2015, on this day Wales declared its independence.
On this day in 1983, Rick Steamboat successfully defended the NWA world heavyweight title on World Championship Wrestling against Japanese ring legend Antonio Inoki. However, Steamboat's win turned sour when former champion Roddy Piper attacked him after the bell and broke three of his ribs.
In 2009, on this day the Gulf Cartel stated that it did indeed order the hit and demand the release of Osiel Cardenas whom has been held in a houston prison since he was extradited to the US in 2007.
On this day in 1940, the German army in Holland trapped two British divisions near Tilburg.
former child actor Adam Rich was sentenced to 20 years in prison
for killing a police officer in a drug-induced car accident. Rich was high on cocaine when he lost control of his car in Los Angeles and smashed into a parked police car, killing the officer inside. Although the D.A. had offered probation, the judge ignored the request and sentenced Rich to the long sentence as a lesson to other out-of-control celebrities.
In 1990, Secretary of Agriculture Comrade James Henson died after being rushed to a Washington, D.C. area hospital with advanced symptoms of pneumonia. Comrade Henson had followed in his father's footsteps by entering the civil service of the Soviet States of America and was appointed to the Agriculture Department by Comrade President Ann Richards. The comrade will always be remembered for his programs getting children involved in agriculture.
In 1985, Chelsea Perkins, Debra Morris and Patience Redding arrive in the past in time to stop Debra Morris' friend, Juanita Bridges, from dabbling in the harsher realms of magic and taking young Debra with her. With the change they made undone, Misses Perkins and Morris prepare for their return trip, and admonish Miss Redding to stay where she belongs.
In 4671, Nipponese citizen Junko Tabei becomes the first woman to scale Chomo-Lungma, the tallest mountain in the world. Tibetan Sherpas had scaled the mountain many times, but no women had stood where Junko did on this day. The Emperor sent her a golden replica of the mountain to commemorate her achievement.
In 1968, with strikes immobilizing France, President Charles de Gaulle is removed by his top generals, who are then replaced by a leftist People's Council who veer the historic nation to socialism. Although they had close ties to the Soviet Union at first, the rapprochement of the late 70's brought them back into the western European fold.
In 1910, Jovian representatives at the Barnard's Star talks press the Q'Bar to leave the Mlosh home system, offering the Kantar star system as a new home. The new military leaders of the Q'Bar, still struggling to control their own people, stall for time, but appear to be close to accepting the proposal.
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac awakes in the queen's private chambers at Buckingham Palace. He is instantly stricken with remorse for what he and the queen have done, and hurriedly dresses. Just as he is reaching for the door, Queen Gwen says to him, 'Will you leave so ungallantly, Sir Lance? No kiss goodbye?' Arthur's best knight turns to her and says, 'My lady, forgive me my rudeness.But, the battle in Hungary waits for me, and I must be off - to win it for your husband.' As he turns again to leave, she says, 'You're twice the man he is, Lance. You should be ruling this country, not him.' Surprised, du Lac turns on her and says, 'He is the king, anointed by God.' Gwen snorts derisively. 'Mystical hogwash we all spread about to make it easier for him to seize the throne. What would he be without you, Lance? You've won his wars for him, here and abroad. He wouldn't have that throne if it weren't for you. The troops are all loyal to you.' She walked up behind him and stroked his shoulders. 'Take the country, Lance. Take it from this little man who is nothing without you, and set it right again.' He seems to be on the verge of acquiescing for a moment, but then opens the door. 'The country has already been set right, my queen.' He hurries off to Hungary, and Queen Gwen ponders her next move.
In 1891, the exhausted Union soldiers repulse the Kansans surrounding the fort at Concordia, but are reduced to half their number by the day-long assault. Major Mark Wainwright examines the defenses, and is certain they will not survive another day. 'It's like the damn Alamo,' he says to his second-in-command, Captain Jeffrey Taylor. He orders Taylor to find the best scout left in their command. He intends to send this man north to Nebraska, slipping through the Kansan lines, to get help. The captain brings him young Allan Duggan, a 17-year old volunteer from Nebraska who says he knows the surrounding countryside like the back of his hand. 'Godspeed, Allan. Our only hopes lie with you.' Duggan takes off from the fort in the dead of night, threading his way through the Kansans.
In 1905, newsman Henry Fonda was born in Omaha, Nebraska. Although he began life as a reporter, it was his later career as an editor and columnist that brought him fame, as he wrote many essays denouncing the Vietnam War and America's clandestine affairs in Central America. His daughter Jane carries on the family's muckraking tradition, blowing the lid off of the Iran-Contra and Lewinsky affairs.
In 1868, the U.S. Senate convicted and removed President Andrew Johnson at the end of his impeachment trial. The conviction was passed by a single vote, reflecting the partisan nature of the entire proceedings. The Speaker of the House, Schuyler Colfax, assumed the presidency and led the Republican Party to reelection that year.
In 1770, Prince Louis and Princess Marie Antoinette were married at Versailles, France. Their marriage became a bond between France and Austria that tied the two countries together tighter than they had hoped - when the Austrian emperor, Marie's cousin, died unexpectedly a few years after Louis assumed the French throne, the new French King became monarch of Austria, as well, extending French control of central Europe farther than it had been since the days of the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1717, lawyer Francois-Marie Arouet is imprisoned in the Bastille for defending a commoner against one of King Louis's favorite courtesans. Arouet became a cause celebre among the French middle-class and lesser nobles, and pressure from them led to Arouet's release the following year.
In Hellenic Year 2561, Trojan soldiers fire burning arrows into the large wooden horse that the Greeks have left outside their city walls, burning the Greek warriors hiding inside to death. The Trojans weren't fooled by the desperate Hellenic ploy; after all, what kind of idiots would be taken in by such a ruse? The conflict dragged on for 2 more years before infighting among the Greek forces led to their withdrawal.
In 1937, on this day sixty-fourth United States Secretary of State Madeleine Korbelová Albright born in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
Blank CzechAfter serving as 20th United States Ambassador to the United Nations, she became the first woman to become the United States Secretary of State. A gifted if somewhat idealistic foreign affairs person conversant into six languages, she was routinely re-appointed following Bill Clinton's third-term re-election in 2000. But as events would transpire, continuity carried with it a heavy cost.
Clinton had listened to his Intelligence Services through his second term, closely monitoring the rise of al-Qaeda. Although follow-up actions were taken after the bombing of the USS Cole, the Administration failed to prevent the September 11th attack. In the aftermath, Albright played a leading role in building an international consensus, contextualizing the War on Terror as a global threat requiring co-ordinated actions.
But unfortunately trust was a double-edge sword and she was undone by events on the Korean peninsula. Having advocated food for disarming agreements, her credibility was destroyed by the jaw-dropping revelation that North Korea had developed nuclear weapons.
In 1968,  on this day Alabama Governor George Wallace was assassinated by Arthur Bremer in the Confederate State of East Maryland while campaigning to become President. Running as a Nationalist, he was hoping to succeed 19th POTCS Lyndon Baines Johnson whose single six-year term was due to end on March 4, 1969. An installment of the Federal's Lost Cause thread.
Federal Lost Cause Part 10: Assassination of the Fighting Little JudgeThe shooting occurred in the city of Laurel in northern Prince George's County. But the assassin had been seen earlier that day at another Wallace rally. The tragedy was the latest episode in a long series of disasters that had struck the Chesapeake Bay State over the course of a century and a half.
- During the War of 1812, British redcoats had marched through the county by way of Bladensburg to burn the White House. On their return, they kidnapped a prominent doctor, William Beanes. Lawyer, Francis Scott Key was asked to negotiate for his release, which resulted in his writing the Star Spangled Banner.
- With sympathies between the Union and the Confederacy following an East/West boundary, the ham-fisted policies of Acting President Hannibal Hamlin caused the geographical splitting of the State at the outside of the Civil War.
- In April 1865, a Marylander John Wilkes Booth had made his escape through Prince George's County after shooting President Hamlin in the Ford's Theatre (by then the Federal Government had returned to Washington, D.C having spent much of the war in Philadelphia). Booth was on his way to the Confederate Capital, Virginia.
However it appeared that Bremer was an apolitical crazy and yet ironically his intervention ended the career of one the South's most segregationist politicians. Without knowing it, Bremer had turned the page of history.
In 1902, on this day Richard Joseph Daley was born in Bridgeport, a working-class neighborhood of America's Second City, Chicago. He was the only child of Michael and Lillian (Dunne) Daley, whose families had both arrived from the Old Parish area, near Dungarvan, County Waterford, Ireland during the Great Famine.
Birth of Richard J. Daley, Chicago Mayor for LifeVery much a political expression of the aggressive tendencies of Chicagoans, he was the Mayor for twenty-one years and chairman of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee for twenty-three years, holding both positions until his death in office in 1976. During this period he would govern a mega-city sprawling out into much of Cook County. And because he invested all of his political capital in launching a long-term policy of suburban annexation  he will be forever associated with never-ending highway construction on I-94 through the Windy City and its suburbs .
Ten years before he took office,the National League Chicago Cubs beat the American League Detroit Tigers  in the 1945 World Series. Even back then, many doom-cryers were predicted the decline of Chicago that other "rust belt" cities like Cleveland, Buffalo and Detroit were beginning to experience. However events conspired to transition the blue collar "City of Broad Shoulders" to the modern day white collar mecca "Chi-Town", an economic powerhouse in the snow belt. Firstly, the earthquake of 1964  held back the development of its rival city of Los Angeles. And secondly, the expansion into the suburbs. Neverthless, by the late nineteen eighties Los Angeles was fast re-emerging with the the rise of the Sun Belt, and Chicagoans began to look nervously at the relative decline of St. Louis. Of course Detroit had only been saved from haunting ruin by the action of local advocates who had lobbied the United Nations into basing their head-quarters on Belle-Isle.
His three sons followed him into politics. His son Richard M. Daley became mayor of Chicago in 1989 and served until 2011, breaking his father's record for longest serving mayor of Chicago. Son William M. Daley is a former United States Secretary of Commerce and White House Chief of Staff. Son John P. Daley is a member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners and served in the Illinois State Legislature. It was a political dynasty that transformed the cynical perception of Chicago politicians, as corrupt officials giving hand outs to the Mafia, a hangover from the bad old days of Al Capone.
In 334 BC, on this day King Alexander III of Macedon was killed in a battle with the forces of the Persian satraps of Asia Minor at the crossing of the Granicus River.
Battle of the GranicusHis own Companion Cavalry had charged headlong into the River to attack Memnon of Rhodes' Anatolian and Greek Mercenary forces which were arrayed against him on the other side. Leading from the front as always, Alexander ploughed into the first ranks of the enemy and along with a small group of his bodyguards burst into rear ranks where the Persian Commander Spithridates was pushing his own men into some order.
The Persian's first blow knocked Alexanders white plumed helmet sideways. Then he raised his large two-handed axe above his head and dispatched the young Macedon King just before his kinsmen "Cleitus the Black" could thrust his spear into Spithridates' neck.
With the battle lost, the Macedonian killing machine was halted and his unruly generals fell to squabbling about who would now lead the Army.
In 326 AD, with absolutely nothing to lose, Fausta Flavia Maxima confronted her husband Emperor Constantine I with the truth about the filthy lies being spread by his mother Helena. Rid of a delusion intended to unravel his well laid succession plans, he recovered his senses by instantly revoking the orders to execute her and his heir Crispus, the son born to his first wife Minervina. Although Helena was spared executed she was sent into internal exile.
Constantine future-proofs the DominateOf course this reversion to the original plan had the side effect of disinheriting the beneficiaries of the plot, his three surviving sons Constantine II, Constantius II and Constans, and his two nephews Delmatius and Hannibalianus. And so, for the eleven remaining years of his reign, he had to hastily re-engineer the power structure of the Dominate. Of course what emerged was a modified form of the Hexarchy with senior "collegiate" leadership positions for all of the five siblings. But although this new order had the outward similiarities with the Diocletian System that Constantine I had helped destroy, it was robust because in practice it was even more totalitarian in nature. By accident rather than design, he had installed a future-proofed governance structure which substituted rivalry for nepotism. Needless to say, at the cost the memory of freedom and liberty in the minds of the Roman citizens.
In 1567, finally Mary, Queen of Scots found enduring happiness with her third husband James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell who she married on this historic day at the Holyrood Palace in the great city of Edinburgh. In fact, the Queen was so madly in love with Bothwell that she now appeared to give up even her Catholicism for him because the wedding was conducted according to the Protestant rites.
Happy Endings Part 4
The Wedding at HolyroodTo be sure the groom's elevation to Duke of Orkney fostered resentment in some quarters of Scottish society. And some Catholics even considered the marriage unlawful, since they did not recognise Bothwell's divorce or the validity of the Protestant service Also during the early months of their rule, murmurings of a rebellion were heard amongs the Scottish nobility who required little encourage to revert to lawlessness, violence, feuds and rapacity.
However the arrest and conviction of Mary's treacherous half-brother, the Earl of Moray, removed a mischievous key individual who could have siezed the thrown given the slightest opportunity. Another conspirator removed from the scene was the Queen's second husband, Lord Darney; it took a seven-hour murder trial to prove Bothwell's innocence. At last, Mary was able to put down a stable governance platform to build upon for the future. They never looked back; the royal couple were able to move the political situation forward, diminishing the power of the nobles and thus properly immersing Stuart Rule in the fabric of the still-Independent Kingdom of Scotland.
In 2012, on this day the fortieth anniversary of Operation Duck Hook was observed in both Vietnamese Capital Cities. Public reaction to this decisive act in the long civil war highlighted the increasing momentum for re-unification. Because the younger generation of citizens in the Republic of Vietnam openly questioned President Nixons's punitive nuclear bombing of the northern port of Haiphong.
A Savage, Decisive BlowThe origination of Duck Hook was the 1968 President election; to cynically exploit political expediency Nixon promised that "new leadership will end the war" in Vietnam. And so after assuming the presidency in January 1969, one of Nixon's top priorities was to end the War as quickly as possible on terms favorable to his administration.
The "secret plan" architected by National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger had become clear by the summer - a combination of international diplomacy with threats and acts of force would induce North Vietnam to bend to their will. A memo from Henry Kissinger to Nixon asked, "Should we be prepared to use nuclear weapons?" The memo warned that "Since we cannot confidently predict the exact point at which Hanoi could be likely to respond positively, we must be prepared to play out whatever string necessary". Kissinger's memo also stated that "To achieve its full effect on Hanoi's thinking, the action must be brutal".
To evaluate the secret plan prepared by members of the Joint Staff in Washington and military planners in Saigon, Kissinger set up a special NSC staff planning committee dubbed the "September Group". "I refuse to believe that a little fourth-rate power like North Vietnam does not have a breaking point," Kissinger stated. "It shall be the assignment of the [September] group to examine the option of a savage, decisive blow against North Vietnam. You start without any preconceptions at all". The president, he told them, wanted a "military plan designed for maximum impact on the enemy's military capability" in order to "force a rapid conclusion" to the war.
Nixon subsequently announced that if by November 1 the North Vietnamese did not agree to compromise on American terms, Nixon would "take measures of great consequence and force". Should these threats fail to move Moscow to persuade Hanoi to compromise, then the second phase of the military escalation option would begin: dramatic, sudden military pressure.
November 1st 1969 came and went, and matters did not come to a head until April 25 1972 at a meeting in the Executive Office Building - long after Kissinger had discarded the secret plan. Because the nuclear option was still on President Nixon's mind as he agonized about how to respond to the North Vietnamese Easter Offensive. Kissinger has started the meeting by laying out a variety of options for stepping up the war effort, such as attacking power plants and docks. "I'd rather use the nuclear bomb," Nixon responded. "That, I think, would just be too much," Kissinger replied. "The nuclear bomb. Does that bother you?" Nixon asked. "I just want you to think big".
The following month, the biggest escalation of the war since 1968 - Operation Duck Hook was announced. And political expediency triumphed again because Nixon really needed a "big trophy" to prevent certain defeat at the polls. During the re-election campaign, Nixon could tell voters that "America's long national nightmare was over".
In 1837, the U.S. Senate finally chooses a new President of the United States, and it is not any of the candidates who had contested the issue in the House.
Compromise Candidate by Eric LippsIn the weeks since the Senate convened for the first time in history to choose a president, acting under the provision of the U.S. Constitution that it perform this task if the House of Representatives proves unable to reach a majority decision on the issue, it has become clear that neither Acting President Andrew Jackson nor his remaining opponent, South Carolina's John Calhoun, can receive a majority vote, since too many supporters of former candidate Daniel Webster are unwilling to vote for either man.
"Only in these United States have we so refined democracy that the people's will as to who should occupy the Chief Magistracy may be divined by their elected representatives"Therefore, leaders of the Whigs, Federalists, and Democratic-Republican parties have worked out a compromise, agreeing on the famously nonpartisan Gen. Winfield Scott for president. Scott is deemed an expedient choice with the nation at war once more with Great Britain.
Jackson bows to this bargain and urges his supporters to accept it gracefully, stating, "Better that someone, even though not myself, be given the tenure, than that matters remain as they have been, with the highest office occupied on an ad hoc basis". Southerners, however, are furious when their favorite Calhoun is not awarded even the vice-presidency, which goes instead to the 64-year-old Gov. William Henry Harrison of Indiana. In a subsequent deal, therefore, Gen. Scott is persuaded to make Calhoun his Secretary of War upon assuming the presidency. Left unstated is that Scott's age opens the possibility that his lifetime tenure will be a short one, and that once the office of the president is again vacant Calhoun can seek it again.
Among the populace, reaction to Scott's election is mixed. The General is an authentic military hero of the War of 1812, but his selection seemingly from nowhere rankles. An editorial in the New York Sun tabloid newspaper will state: "Only in these United States have we so refined democracy that the people's will as to who should occupy the Chief Magistracy may be divined by their elected representatives not merely without consulting the people but without regard to the existing list of candidates among whom those representatives had formerly been selecting. "In the South, the "disrespect" allegedly shown Calhoun fuels secessionist sentiment, never quite extinguished following the so-called "nullification crisis " of 1832, in which the then-Senator had played a prominent role.
In 1984, U.S. combat troops in Cuba accepted the surrender of Havana.
In 2009, on this day the Department of Homeland Security verified that the Cuban Goverment provided very accurate information about who ordered the hit on the late US President and it is cartel leader Osiel Cardenas of the Mexican drug Gulf Cartel.
In 1919, this day is marked by great unrest in Germany, as the Freikorps fight against leftist rebels.
The Russian Civil War grinds on. The Hungarian communist government is destroyed, to be replaced by a 'monarchy without a monarch' under Admiral Horthy.
In 1980, President Nelson A. Rockefeller returns to the Oval Office following presentation of a formal letter to Congress asserting that he is now fit to carry out the duties of the presidency.
The letter is accompanied by medical documentation from the physicians who treated him at Walter Reed Hospital following his near-fatal heart attack a month earlier.
Although he has returned to work, a number of Republican Party insiders, among them supporters of insurgent candidate Ronald Reagan, are suggesting that Rockefeller should abandon his re-election campaign. They point out that his April hospitalization is just the latest and most serious of a series of recent health crises, and suggest that if he were re-elected he might die or be incapacitated during a time of national crisis.
On this day in 2006, the British soccer team West Ham United defeated Liverpool 4-3 on penalty kicks to win the 125th annual FA Cup final.
On this day in 1922, West German police officer Xavier March was born in Hamburg, Germany. March, who before joining the police had been a U-boat commander in the Kriegsmarine and was captured by the Allies near the end of the Second World War, would play a crucial role in foiling a rogue KGB operative's plot to assassinate President Lyndon Johnson during a state visit by Johnson to West Germany in April of 1964 to meet with West German chancellor Konrad Adenauer.
In 2005, Debra Morris, Chelsea Perkins and Patience Redding steal the ingredients they need in order to perform the spell that will take them back in time. It's risky roaming about London, because even though witches are nominally in charge, they are not liked by the general populace. As the clock strikes midnight, they begin their spell, and feel time warping around them.
In 1972, a loyal but overzealous comrade shot reactionary firebrand George Wallace as he campaigned in the Alabama Soviet for the governorship. Although Wallace stood no chance of winning, Comrade Arthur Bremer didn't want to risk it, and shot Wallace through the neck and head, killing him. A sympathetic jury found Comrade Bremer incompetent to stand trial, and the People's Judge sentenced him to a mere 5 years in a psychiatric ward.
In 1948, soldiers of the German Reich began a multi-pronged attack on Syria, Egypt and Lebanon after accusations that they had been acting as a staging ground for attacks from the Greater Zionist Resistance. The G.Z.R. put all of the resources it could into defending these Arabic nations, but they were unable to withstand the German onslaught.
In 1910, Q'Barian representatives come back to the Barnard's Star talks. They are unwilling to leave the Mlosh homeworld, but are more than ready to give in to every other Jovian demand. The new leadership of the Q'Bar is attempting to consolidate its power, and doesn't want to be fighting the Jovians as well as Q'B'Ton'ra's supporters.
In 1999, as Sir Lance du Lac prepares to leave for the Hungarian front, Queen Gwen comes to him and thanks him for his defense of her before the king. "You are the most gallant of knights, Sir Lance," she says. She glances about to make sure that they are alone, then caresses his cheek tenderly. Sir Lance is startled by this display of affection, and draws away.The queen drops her hand and looks away, saying, "Forgive me, sir. I was overcome by my gratitude; you saved my life, and I just want to..". She looked in his eyes, tears starting in her own, and du Lac was moved to wipe the tears from her face. She caught his hand in her own, and brought it to her lips. "You leave for the Hungarian front, sir?" He nodded, dumbly. "Then, let me send you off with love".
In 1891, Major Mark Wainwright desperately attacks the fort at Concordia, Kansas, hoping to overcome the men inside and use its defenses to protect his forces against the Kansan reinforcements moving to surround them. That night, just as Wainwright sees the lanterns of the approaching soldiers, the fort falls and the major hurries his surviving men to shore up the holes in the fort's walls before the Kansans reached them. "It's going to be a hard day tomorrow, boys," he says to his men.
In 1972, Arthur Bremer fired five shots at Presidential Candidate George Corley Wallace Sr while campaigning in Laurel, Maryland on May 15. Three others wounded in the shooting also survived. Bremer's diary, published after his arrest as An Assassin's Diary, showed that Bremer's assassination attempt was not motivated by politics, but by a desire for fame, and that President Nixon had been a possible target. Following the shooting, Wallace won sufficient primaries to carry the nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Miami on July 11, 1972. Wallace would be defeated by President Nixon in a landslide, with Nixon carrying 49 of the 50 states, losing only in Massachusetts.
While Wallace was recovering in Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland, he was out of the state for more than 20 days, so the state constitution required the lieutenant governor, Jere Beasley, to serve as acting governor from June 5 until Wallace's return to Alabama on July 7. After which, he never returned to Maryland.
Bremer was sentenced to 53 years in prison for the shooting. He served 35 years of the sentence and was released on parole on November 9, 2007.
In 1957, Elvis Presley choked to death while traveling in Los Angeles, California. The autopsy showed that a cap on one of his teeth had come loose and blocked his airway; his teeny-bopper fans mourned him as if a god, and not a man, had died. The legend surrounding the rocker became larger than his limited repertoire could ever have built if he had lived.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.