In 2002, a football-pitch-sized asteroid code named 2002 MN detonated in the atmosphere creating a blast wave of ten megatonnes a force of six hundred times the Hiroshima bomb.
Dark Mlosh, Warp ReduxThe space rock had been cruising at 6.2 miles (10 km) per second, undetected by the world's astronomers. It was a wake-up call on many levels, but the main significance of the event was to throw human leadership into confusion.
Because elements of world religions prophesied 2002 MN as the harbinger of a near-future apocalypse. Whereas scientists saw an avoidable existential threat and raced against time to put in place a global protection system. And when the Trumpet 2 asteroid was inevitably detected, religious extremists cursed political leaders for using technology to fight the will of God. A partially successful counter-measure narrowly avoided human extinction. But the Trumpet 2 collision ignited a holy war between the two factions that would continue for decades. Until the Mlosh landed upon the ravaged Earth, the aliens who may or may not have directed the asteroids into colliding with the planet.
In 1801, the two decades of brutal military government euphemistically known as "the interregnum" finally ended with the death of the American tyrant, Benedict Arnold (pictured). Empowered with supreme authority by the Second Continental Congress he defeated the British Empire but then refused to disband the Continental Army which he used to rule the thirteen colonies with a rod of iron.
This post is an article from the Midshipman George Washington thread.
Midshipman George Washington #2His appointment to Commander-in-Chief was rightly earned by the capture of Quebec even if the city was retaken by Burgoyne as soon as he headed south. As a result, that ambitious, conniving opportunist Horatio Gates was overlooked for the command of the patriot forces at the decisive Battle of Saratoga and soon afterwards killed in the pursuit after Camden.
Faced with the ever present threat of mutiny Arnold had repeatedly made firm assurances to the officer corps of the Continental Army that he knew would never be honoured by the politicians in Philadelphia. The time of reckoning arrived sooner than expected because in 1781 the tide of war turned decisively in favour of the Americans. Because loyalist Admiral George Washington was defeated at Chesapeake Bay and a catastrophic British surrender forced at Yorktown.
Unwilling to accept the raw severance deal when it was finally presented in Philadelphia, General Arnold turned his troops on the Congress and emulated Cromwell's control of the Long Parliament. The destruction of America's democratic institutions caused a series of events to play out with a grim inevitability. Within six months he had established full-blown military rule and was forced to put down scattered rebellions for the next twenty years.
In 1645, on this day the hard-fought Royalist victory at the Battle of Naseby was credited to a late decision to recall General Goring's three thousand cavalry south.
Great Royalist Victory at the Battle of NasebySir Thomas Fairfax immediately grasped that outrageous good fortune alone had unexpectedly turned the tide of the English Civil War in the King's favour. Likewise his fellow commander Oliver Cromwell was seized by a great fit of maniacal laughter causing Fairfax to bitterly observe that "he [Charles Stuart] was a lucky fool".
But perhaps after all the King would succumb to his foolishness. Because the Parliamentarians had managed to capture the King's personal baggage with correspondence which showed he intended to seek support from the Irish Catholic Confederation through the Cessation Treaty, and Catholic nations in Europe. By publishing this correspondence, entitled The King's Cabinet Opened, Parliament gained fresh impetus to continue fighting the war.
In 1926, during his famous "Fourteen Points" speech in 1918, ten months before the Great War would reach its armistice, United States President Woodrow Wilson concluded with his fourteenth point about the terms needed for a peaceful and stable Europe: "A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike".
Brazil Remains in the League of Nations While the combined session of Congress applauded, genuine reception was cold. Many Americans felt that they had been needlessly involved in Europe's war despite the submarine warfare and that "return to normalcy" was preferred to making the United States an international figure. During the next year, Wilson began to realize the difficulties of his envisioned League of Nations and decided to refine its character before its institution during the Paris Peace Conference in January of 1919.
A new story by Jeff ProvineThe idea of a League of Nations was not new. It could be traced back to ancient ideals in Greek city-state confederations, Enlightenment writings of nations that openly welcome and talk with foreigners, and more overtly in the Concert of Europe opposing Napoleon. Formally, the international community began to come together with the Inter-Parliamentary Union in 1889 with a voluntary parliament collecting delegates from dozens of countries by the Great War. With millions dead across Europe, activism for peace amid the horrors of modern weapon technology grew powerful, and Wilson took advice from South African Prime Minister Jan Christiaan Smuts' The League of Nations: A Practical Suggestion to institute a central point for world diplomacy.
However, as the reluctance for admission to a voluntary League became obvious, Wilson determined that volunteerism, while idealistic, would not be enough. For a League of Nations to ensure that this was "the war to end all wars," nations needed to be encouraged, though not quite forced, into the league as a stern father would encourage a son into education. Warfare as diplomacy would be outlawed and treaties allowable only overtly to fellow member nations in the league. Rather than disarmament, the armies of the nations would be at the disposal of the league to punish violations. Nations might never come to such an agreement on their own volition, but the aftermath of the Great War was the precise timing for strong institution.
Thusly emboldened, the League of Nations met in Council on January 16, 1920, with its first General Assembly meeting five days later with the closing of the Paris Peace Conference. The United States notably did not join the league with its Senate refusing to ratify the Treaty of Versailles and President Wilson and his Democrats losing power. The nations of the world pointed out the stipulation that no new treaties could be made with America, and so the United States technically continued at war well into the Harding administration until combined economic and political pressures made the US join in 1923, shortly after Harding's death. Coolidge called the action Harding's "dying wish" and commented on the League's advances in labor, health, and technology, furthering rights to refugees, non-white races, and women, and working internationally to abolish trade in slaves and drugs. After several unsuccessful bids blocked primarily by the French, Esperanto was taken as one of the four official languages of the League (added to Spanish, which had joined the original French and English). The "artificial language" would soon become one of the world's major trade languages and commonly spoken by millions.
The test of the League of Nations came as famously libertarian Costa Rica decided to shed the restrictions and codes, announcing on December 24, 1924, that it would withdraw. The question of secession raised, but the Latin American state would be allowed to leave, though it would be severed from new treaties the nations within the league. Theorists noted that Costa Rica would thusly be open to imperialization by any country wishing to do so, and the United States was quick to speak up with its old Monroe Doctrine protecting the Western Hemisphere from interference. Costa Rica left the League, and in June of 1925, Brazil announced that it would do the same. Having been a founding member, the stakes were higher, and political pressure settled on the South American nation. When Italy spoke up about its opportunities for expansion and numerous trade partners giving up renewing treaties, Brazil determined to stay, deciding that the Soviet Union and remnants of Germany would not be suitable trade partners.
Germany soon joined the League, and its Fuhrer Hitler eagerly began building influence. However, the majority of the League moved to block him and other Fascists. Using the same militaristic speed that had solved the Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay, Italy was punished for its invasion of Ethiopia using illegal tactics (such as chemical warfare and water poisoning) by a naval blockade that would ultimately bring down Mussolini's government. The Spanish Civil War became a divisive matter that finally led Hitler, who had chafed in the League since 1933, to leave and propose his own "Axis" of nations. While Germany, Japan, and a few others left, the Soviet Union joined as an antagonist, Stalin having held out for years. The call for aid from China in the Second Sino-Japanese War would prompt a war almost as massive as the Great War as the League descended upon Japan and its German allies with the Soviet Union taking the brunt of the fighting.
Victory in the Axis War proved the League to be solid. It governed much of the decolonization period with plebiscites it had perfected in the Balkans and Middle East. Still, outside of the walls of the Palace of Nations in Geneva, countries work covertly and economically to one-up or hinder one another in what has been termed "Cold Warfare". Costa Rica, after its government being overthrown repeatedly by different factions, rejoined in desperate need of aid in 1960.
In 1789, the crashing failure of the Philadelphia delegates to "chain the dogs of war" was ruthlessly exposed when a long-running border dispute in the Wyoming Valley escalated into armed conflict between the Sovereign Republics of Virginia, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Uber Alles
Ed, Eric Lipps & Scott PalterWith the European monarchies locked in a cycle of violence that had spilled out onto the American continent itself, the delegates had feared the emergence of an over-powerful head of state who would draw the infant nation into unnecessary warfare with foreign powers. Instead of a belligerent European-style monarch, they dreamt of a Patriot King who would be a brilliant manager of military affairs, yet constrained by a Constitution that would expressly reserve the power to declare war for the Congress.
In seeking to contrive a compromise on this particular issue (as with so many others) the delegates were dividing themselves into two irreconciable parties. And as the summer drew on, visionaries such as George Mason concluded that a re-invigorated central government would undermine their hard-fought liberty. At the last, these so-called Anti-Federalists attempted to head off this threat by tabling a Bill of Rights, but the delegates were too exhausted to continue and the Convention broke-up with a fatally flawed Constitution. Appointed to represent the States, Mason et al. returned to their own "countries" as outspoken critics of the agreement, making sure that the ratification process miscarried.
Trouble was, time was running out for the Confederation. Throughout the 1780s it was apparent at least to the Federalists that a strong central authority was needed not just to regulate trade, but to ensure that commercial disputes did not lead to war. Frustrated, they were forced to watch the dogs of war unchained not by a Federal head of state, but by the new States Presidents that were taking office throughout the former colonies. Unprincipled politicians driven by short-term expediency who even now were reaching out to the European monarchies in the expectation of gaining lines of credit and military assistance.
All hopes now rested on the shoulders of the great man many had hoped would be that Patriot King. Who was now making camp with the Virginian Army on the bank of the Susquehanna River. Who now realised that a Federal State could only be established by a war of conquest.
On this day in 1970, the radical Palestinian faction Black September established a base camp in Syria with assistance from Syrian intelligence officers who wanted the group's aid in undermining Israeli control of the Golan Heights.
In 1999, film industry magazine Variety reports that comedian and television actor Jerry Seinfeld is trying to kick-start a feature film spin-off based on his popular sitcom, Seinfeld.
Seinfeld had previous off-handedly hinted at such a possibility in a Time magazine interview on the sitcom's series finale, which was broadcast over a year ago. However, he is disappointed to learn that cast member Michael Richards, who played wacky neighbour, Cosmo Kramer, has absoloutly no interest - saying he is trying to develop the television pilot for his own sitcom, The Michael Richards Show.
Seinfeld feels his owes viewers after the disappointing reaction to the series finale, but is willing to wait on Richards and see how his new show fares. Over a year ago. Seinfeld was quoted as saying off-handedly: "A movie? Maybe, I've never really thought about it... but it's definitely over for these characters in a sitcom. There's only so far you can go in that format".
In 1994, international sensation Pete Best died of a heart attack at his apartment in New York City. Fans the world over mourned.
In 1951, Pascal-Edison, Inc, introduces its first mini-Eddie, an electronic difference engine small enough to fit on top of a desk, rather than being the desk itself. This machine, the Univac, becomes an indispensible tool for the home and business, and millions of them are sold.
In 1931, the time-travelling Nazi backers of the Greater Zionist Resistance met with Astrid Pflaume to determine the best way to get their plans back on course. Unknown to them, her loyalties had switched after the hard fighting with her Zionists, and when the Nazis arrived, she had them all shot.
In 1603, Francis Bacon fired the actor who had been his cover in the years when he had assumed a nom de plume. William Shakespeare had rarely contributed anything to the company, anyway.
In 1999, Queen Gwen, the newly-christened 'Pillar of Britain', negotiates a surrender from Central European Imperial holdouts in Istanbul, freeing up Sir Lance du Lac's Round Table Corps to head off to Africa, where former vassal states of the CEE are attempting to stir up trouble for Great Britain's possessions there. The queen is hailed for her mastery of politics, and poll after poll shows that she is almost as beloved as King Arthur II, who lies near death in a coma.
In 1891, troops from Kansas City and Concordia, along with Kansas volunteers led by Thaddeus Elridge, march on Topeka, hoping to beat reinforcements heading there to shore up 'Sockless' Jerry Simpson. Simpson bustles about the capitol, getting the Kansans still loyal to him ready to endure a seige.
In 1985, Lebanese Hezbollah terrorists attempt to hijack a TWA flight from Athens to Rome. When the passengers learn that they are being diverted to Lebanon, a plan starts among them to rush the terrorists en masse and seize control back. The pilot assists in the plan by telling the terrorists that he is making the course change when he is still on course to Rome. Just before the Italian coastline will give the plan away, the passengers attack and capture all but one of the terrorists. The last one barricades himself in a bathroom and explodes the grenade he was carrying with him, opening a hole in the side of the plane. The pilots make an emergency landing on the Italian coast as the passengers hang on for dear life. Almost everyone was injured in the crash, but the only fatality ended up being the terrorist who blew himself up. The passengers and crew were greeted as heroes when they finally arrived in Rome, and Hollywood produced a movie about the ordeal, Flight 847, starring Sylvester Stallone.
In 1982, a car engine that runs on water - by breaking it down into hydrogen and oxygen - is developed and marketed by EcoMotors. This company is part of President Carter's energy initiative, a massive government program designed to wean the US from foreign oil. By the end of President Mondale's second term, US oil consumption has dropped 75%.
In 2003, NASA and the European Space Agency began detecting large numbers of ships coming into orbit over the earth. The Martians had arrived.
In 1982, Argentine Army regulars struck out from Port Stanley and crushed the British troops that had come to seize back the Malvinas. After suffering a horrifying 1200 casualties, Great Britain withdrew her troops, and ceded the islands to Argentina.
In 1954, President Adlai Stevenson vetoed the Republican attempt to add the words "under God" to the pledge of allegiance, declaring it against American values. "We can defeat the Soviets without recourse to petty jingoism or invoking the Almighty," Stevenson told a press conference.
In 1381, the Peasant's Revolt, led by Wat Tyler, climaxed when they took the Archbishop of Canterbury hostage and demanded to speak with the King. Richard II, after much negotiating, agreed to the peasant's terms; the nobility was abolished, except for the King's own line, and Wat Tyler was made Richard's Prime Minister. This immediately caused the Baron's Rebellion, which was put down in short order by huge armies of peasant volunteers. In his triumphant speech to his troops after the negotiations, Tyler said, 'We will be free forever, our heirs and our lands.'
In 2016, on this day the last American carrier strike group led by the USS Ron Paul was engaged by the Chinese Navy off the coast of Hawaii.
DownsizeThe long-running quarrel over American sovereignty had escalated in direct proportion to the down-sizing of the US military during his controversial one term Presidency. Remaining true to his word, the build down had not even been stopped by the naming of the last carrier in his honour. Soon enough an international crisis arose that sense checked his Libertarian dogma.
And now the last carrier battlegroup in the US Navy was facing doom. A resurgent China had recently announced that it did not recognize the illegal US seizure of the Hawaiian kingdom, dispatching a fleet of one hundred ships to re-install a Hawaiian monarch with a Chinese garrison as "support".
In 1981, in what some describe as a "misguided teenage prank gone terribly wrong" and others "the greatest tragedy of our time", Queen Elizabeth II of England died in a fall from her horse due to a starting pistol being fired by Marcus Sarjeant.
Queen Elizabeth II Killed in Accident Elizabeth had been queen since the death of her father, George VI, in 1952. Her reign would see a time of major changes as Britain adapted to the new world order after World War II. The Empire had shifted into the Commonwealth of Nations over the course of the past decades, and Elizabeth acted as head of only a portion of the lands once under Britain and queen of seven countries (six in 1972 when Ceylon became republican Sri Lanka). In the Fifties, Britain worked to rebuild after the war, leading to the Swinging Sixties when England underwent a Renaissance exporting fashion and music and Britain overall returned to economic prowess.
A new story by Jeff ProvineThe Seventies brought difficulty back to Britain. While foreign policies had been successful in peaceably breaking down the Empire into independent nations in the Commonwealth after the Churchill prime ministership, Britain had distanced itself from its allies in America by the Suez Canal crisis and opting out of the Vietnam War. Britain was becoming more isolationist, and its own problems were more than enough. Stagflation, energy crises, and union strikes began to cripple the British economy. Meanwhile, the Troubles continued to terrorize citizens as the IRA used bombing attacks not only in Northern Ireland, but on the mainland of England as well. The Labour government faltered under these pressures, bringing in a Conservative government with Margaret Thatcher as the first female prime minister.
During this time, Marcus Sarjeant grew up normally in Kent and attended Astor Secondary School in Dover, an accomplished Scout member and local patrol leader before joining the Air Training Corps at twelve. Marcus was an exceptional marksman, and he began training in the Royal Marines as well as the Army but seemed unable to fit into the discipline required of the armed services. Not even the police or fire department took him, and instead Marcus worked at a zoo, arts centre, and with children at a youth centre before ultimately being unemployed. In late 1980, he joined the Anti Royalist Movement and attempted to gain a gun license, but was unable to do more than take up a gun club and hold onto his father's Webley revolver (which had no ammunition).
Looking for more in life, Marcus became inspired by the assassination of John Lennon (December 8, 1980) and the assassination attempts on Ronald Reagan (March 30, 1981) and Pope John Paul II (May 13, 1981). The fame seemed to explode around the attackers, and Marcus wanted it, noting to a friend, "I would like to be the first to take a pot shot at the Queen". He wrote about becoming the most famous teenager in the world, but he did not seem to want to hurt Queen Elizabeth, only gain the fame, so he armed himself with a starting pistol and blanks. Marcus even sent a letter to Buckingham Palace (which arrived three days too late), warning, "Your Majesty. Don't go to the Trooping the Colour ceremony because there is an assassin set up to kill you, waiting just outside the palace". He also sent letters and photos to magazines, which he hoped would expedite the growth of his fame once it began.
During the Trooping of Colour, Marcus became another face in the crowds until the Queen passed, when he fired six shots in her direction. The Queen's horse, Burmese, became startled and reared, throwing the Queen, who would die in the fall. Marcus was seized out of the shocked crowd and apprehended by police while the Sovereign's Escort closed up around the fallen Queen. Sarjeant would be found innocent of regicide as the actual death had been accidental, but he would be found guilty of "firing with intent to alarm the queen" under the Treason Act of 1842. Many called for his execution, but the seventeen-year-old would be given a life sentence, outraging many Royalists and beginning the feeling of harsh conservatism that would come to dominate the United Kingdom under the time of Thatcher. Marcus Sarjeant gained his fame only as hatred, and he would disappear into the prison system.
Any anti-British sentiment quickly invoked the same spirit of vengeance that haunted many in the mourning of the Queen. When IRA members in prison attempted a hunger strike to regain status as political prisoners, they were force-fed, and the IRA became the target of an immense military crackdown. In 1982, Britain came upon an international war when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, and the UK counter-invaded to remove dictator Leopoldo Galtieri. Many commentators believed that Galtieri's government would have fallen apart on its own, but the government of Britain refused to take any chances.
As the occupation of Argentina dragged on and surviving Galtieri and, especially, anti-British cells carried out attacks, unemployment and taxes continued to climb in the recession of the 1980s. When the 1984 Miner's Strike began, the military force turned on Britons themselves, arresting strikers en masse and encouraging scabs. Bombings not just by the desperate IRA increased amid the oppressive government, such as the nearly successful attempt on Thatcher's life at the Grand Hotel in Brighton on October 12, 1984. Blaming the attacks on increasing leftist adversaries, the Conservative Government outlawed several smaller parties and instituted social control schemes not seen since the desperate days of the War. More controversial were the secret actions, such as the disappearance of Michael Heseltine in 1990.
The darker days lightened as the Nineties saw economic recovery and the social control lessened, though the Conservative Government continues in power with opponents disappearing seemingly before they can rise. Meanwhile, the Royal Family disintegrated amid scandal with separations and divorces as well as the death of Queen Diana while in Paris in 1997. Bright hope shines around William, Prince of Wales, who is never seen without his Conservative bodyguard.
In 1786, on this day the twelfth President of the United States Winfield Scott was born at Laurel Branch, the family plantation in Dinwiddie County, near Petersburg, Virginia.
12th President of the United States
March 4, 1849 - 1853Known as "Old Fuss and Feathers" many historians rate him the ablest American commander of his time leading to his appointment as Commanding General of the United States Army in 1841. Seven years later, he ran for Union President as a Whig Candidate, but ultimately he was unable to carry his heroic military reputation into political leadership.
During Scott's first term in the White House, his counterpart the Texan President Mirabeau Lamar delivered his famous "Empire Texas" speech which gave a small marginal victory to remain a Republic. The border disputes that soon arose directly led to the Mexican-Texan War (1847-1849) from which emerged the powerful independent republics of Texas and California. The war transformed the balance of power on the West Coast effectively ending the United States aspiration for "manifest destiny" of a continental power stretching from "sea to shining sea". And worse, Britain and France became natural partners for the new states who now sought financial support for the dispensation of their crippling war debts.
Needless to say, this shatteringly disappointing outcome was a massive setback for Scott. Losing support from many Whigs because of his perceived "cottling the Texan Republic" many Anti Scott supporters turned to Daniel Webster for the Whig nomination in 1852. Shortly after he left office, the United States suffered the ignominy of losing the race to open Japan when Californian Commodore Robert F. Stockton's CRS Sonoma sailed into the port city of Edo beating US Commodore Matthew Perry in the competitive journey to open the far eastern nation to Western trade. Within less than a decade, US expansion was off the national agenda, and the focus narrowed to national preservation of territorial integrity with the southern states now looking to the West Coast powers for their support in seceding from the Union.
In 1984, a joint U.S.-Egyptian assault force crossed the Libyan border to aid rebels fighting to topple the dictatorship of Muammar Khadafy, the former army colonel who had overthrown Libya's monarchy nearly fifteen years earlier.
Colonel Khadafy's "Line of Death"Among the U.S.-Egyptian contingent's immediate objectives was assisting the rebel forces in retaining control of Benghazi, a major seaport and oil production center and the heart of the rebel movement; their primary longtime goal was to deny the use of Libya to the Soviets as a staging area for attacking Egypt.
A Battlefield Alaska Installment from Chris OakleyAlthough Khadafy had bragged of establishing a "line of death" on the ground similar to the one he'd declared in the Gulf of Sidra three years earlier, in reality U.S. and Egyptian troops were able to enter Libya with only minimal opposition -- in some cases Libyan regular army units actually defected en masse to the U.S.- Egyptian side.
In 1986, on this day Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega stunned the world with two major announcements: first, that his Sandinista government had agreed to a cease-fire with the anti-Marxist counterrevolutionaries who had been fighting it for more than six years, and second, that he was resigning as president effective immediately.
Ortega ResignsHis retirement left Cuba's Fidel Castro as the sole remaining active Marxist head of state in the Western Hemisphere -- and by the late 1990s Castro would himself be confronted with a serious political crisis as millions of his fellow Cubans took to the streets to demand greater freedom of expression and an end to one-party rule in Cuba.
Ortega would spend the next quarter-century following his resignation serving as a consultant to left-wing activists around the world. One of his most famous proteges was a former Venezuelan air force officer named Hugo Chavez, who in 2002 would campaign for the presidency of Venezuela only to see his electoral bid collapse after evidence surfaced that the anti-American Chavez was receiving financial support from rogue states like Iran.
In 1865, on this day William Butler Yeats the voice of twentieth century Irish nationalism was born in Sandymount, County Dublin.
A Terrible Beauty is BornHe grew up as a member of the former Protestant Ascendancy which was at the time undergoing a crisis of identity. While his family was broadly supportive of the changes Ireland was experiencing, the nationalist revival of the late 19th century directly disadvantaged his heritage, and informed his outlook for the remainder of his life.
As as a member of the primitive IRA he was desperate to return to an independent Irish state. And despite his reluctance he was increasingly draw into the escalating tension of the political scene.
In the midst of the Easter Rising, his poetry and core political activism suddenly came together. Picking up a pen, he wrote the timeless lines "All changed, changed utterly / A terrible beauty is born".
In 1961, on this day the Taylor Commission's explosive conclusions on the Bay of Pigs Fiasco provided US President John F. Kennedy with the necessary justification to "splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds".
Intelligence Set-upThe announcement unleashed the fury of the agency who strongly disputed the Cuban Study Groups' report on the immediate causes of failure of the operation Zapata.
Only days later, the New York Times published the transcript of a telephone call placed by United States National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy to the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence General Cabel at 9:30 P.M. the evening before the landing of the Brigade in Cuba. Bundy had ordered cancellation of the crucial air strike from Nicaragua which was intended to destroy the Cuban Air Force on the ground. Instead, it raked the beach with gun fire, massacring the Cuban Brigade and shooting the slower B-26s that the agency had refitted for air support.
Eighteen years later, Bundy would publish a confessional article "The Brigade's My Fault" in which he would confirm that the political decision to make a last minute change to the mission plan was part of an orchestrated attempt to discredit the agency.
That imperative had become a pre-requisite to end the Cold War since Kenneday had discovered that the agency sabotaged Gary Powers's U-2 flight on the eve of Eisenhower's visit to Moscow. In the event, Khruschev had rescinded the invitation. More alarming still was the revelation that the New York Times had planned to publish full details of the mission three whole days before the launch, but had been firmly encouraged not to do so by the White House.
In 1920, the evacuation of Semyon Budionny's famous Cossack 1st Cavalry Army from the Ukrainian front on this day enabled the Commander of White Forces, Józef Pilsudski (pictuerd) to proclaim a new Confederation comprising Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic States.
Triumph at KievIn a broader sense, this incredible feat of arms prevented the Soviets from wrecking the Treaty of Versailles, a peace settlement from which the Russians were excluded. Which wasn't to say that the French were similarly excluded in the Ukraine, because Captain Charles de Gaulle led a military mission to advise the White Polish Forces on the Ukrainian Front. And yet the decisive contribution was from the Polish Cipher Division, who, in anticipating an assault on the southern front, had saved the day.
Lenin's dreams of building Marxist States in Poland and Germany had been shattered. And yet the establishment of a buffer state in eastern europe would have long term consequences for both the security of the region, and also the future of the Soviet Union itself. Maybe, just maybe, the system of security proposed by Treaty of Versailles would survive.
In 1944, on this day Great Britain was strucked by the first V-1 bomb-laden rockets; over eighteen thousand would be launched by September 8th, only half of which would be intercepted. Because ever since the cancellation of the Normandy invasion, the war had unexpectedly developed in a new and frightening direction.
Going BallisticThe pioneer of controlled, liquid-fueled rocketry, Robert H. Goddard had recently arrived in Britain. Despite being one of the foremost rocket experimenters of his day, his work had been largely derided in the United States. The US Army had incorrectly determined that it was of no military application at all.
But now an alarming capability gap had emerged through the successful delivery of the Nazi programme led by Wernher von Braun. In fact, the Nazis had benefitted from the actions of a German spy who had secretly reported Goddard's work back to von Braun. An accredited military attache to the US, Friedrich von Boetticher, sent a four-page report in 1936, and the spy Gustav Guellich sent a mixture of facts and made-up information, claiming to have witnessed a launch.
Worse still, the Soviet NKVD also had a spy in the U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics. In 1935 she gave them a report Goddard had written for the Navy in 1933. It contained results of tests and flights and suggestions for military uses of his rockets. The NKVD considered this to be very valuable information. It provided few design details, but gave the Soviets the direction and progress of Goddard's work.
That his work had been stolen became crystal clear to Goddard when he first saw the remnants of the German V-2 ballistic missile. The terrifying possibility of a new scenario emerged, in which the climax of the Second World War would be fought not be conventional armies, but by an exchange of superweapons developed by the likes of Goddard and Von Braun.
In 1972, South Dakota Sen. George McGovern receives the Democratic Party's nomination for president of the United States. In his acceptance speech, he ends weeks of speculation by naming his Massachusetts colleague Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy as his running-mate.
It is a controverial choice. Three years earlier, Kennedy had been involved in a car accident at Chappaquiddick in Martha's Vineyard in which a young female companion, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned when the car the senator was driving went off a bridge. Hostile rumors about the incident have plagued Kennedy ever since.
Kennedy for running mate by Eric LippsWatching from the convention floor is yet another senator, Thomas Eagleton of Missouri. An early favorite for the VP choice, Eagleton had seen his chances evaporate when it was revealed that he was the source of a quote in conservative columnist Bob Novak's April 27 column labeling McGovern, who had just won the Massachusetts primary, the candidate of "amnesty, abortion and legalization of pot".
The choice of Kennedy proves to be a strategic blunder. Popular as he is in the Northeast, in California and in parts of the upper Midwest, Kennedy is despised with visceral fury throughout the South, where it is not uncommon to hear he charge that he had deliberately "murdered" the unfortunate Ms. Kopechne because she had, so the claim goes, been carrying his illegitimate child".
That November, McGovern loses 42 out of 50 states. Tbhe day after the election, the still-bitter Sen. Eagleton tells reporters he is confident that the Democrats would have done "much better" with him on the ticket. It will be discovered in 1975 that Eagleton had been concealing a scandal of his own: he had checked himself into the hospital theree times for "physical and mental exhaaustion", had received shock therapy twice, at the time of the 1972 election was on the powerful antipsychotic drug Thorazine. Publicly, Sen. McGovern is gracious about the revelations. Privately, he complains to intimates, "This would have been better for the party than Chappaquiddick?". McGovern will admit to this comment only many years later, in an interview on Meet the Press during his final run for the presidency in 1984
In 1964, on this day the Chairman of the World Campaign for the Relief of South African Prisoners Mr Humphrey Berkeley, accompanied by forty-eight Members of Parliament marched down Whitehall to the the wrought iron gates of South Africa House.
Rivonia Trial Protests in LondonFinding no letter box in which to post the appeal, Mr Fenner Brockway, Labour MP for Eton and Slough, led the march to a side entrance. The door was opened, and quickly slammed in his face, and he dropped the appeal into the letter box. It called for the release of the prisoners "in the name of human rights and racial equality".
British Members of Parliament call for the release of Nelson Mandela and his companions "in the name of human rights and racial equality".Because the previous day, Judge-President of the Transvaal Mr Justice de Wet had found Nelson Mandela and seven other men found guilty of sabotage and plotting the overthrow of the South Africa Government. Mandela (46), the former leader of the banned African National Congress, Walter Sisulu (52), former secretary-general of the ANC; Dennis Goldberg (33), a white man who was formerly an executive member of the banned Congress of Democrats; Govan Mbeki, a former African teacher and journalist; Raymond Mahlaba (44), son of an African police constable; Elias Motsoaledi (39), chairman of non-European trade unions; and Andre Mlangeni (38), ANC branch secretary, were all sentenced to death.
For his own act of defiance, Berkeley, the only Conservative member of the delegation would be expelled from the party the following day by the British Prime Minister Enoch Powell.
In 1987, addressing the American people during an historic Presidential address on this day, Jesse Jackson presented unambigous evidence of the South African Government's complicity in the tragic death of forty-five year old singer Paul Simon.
The death of a role modelSimon's confrontation with the apartheid authorities had begun two years before. Because after listening to a cassette of the Boyoyo Boy's instrumental "Gumboots" in his car during 1985, Simon had incorporated pop, a cappella, isicathamiya, rock, and mbaqanga into his next musical project.
Recorded with South African musicians and groups, particularly Ladysmith Black Mambazo, "Graceland" became Simon's most successful album. Watch "Call Me Al"
"What if I die here, who'll be my role-model, now that my role-model is gone gone" ~ Call Me Al by Paul SimonYet Simon's multiracial musical achievements would become deeply politicised by his brave decision to take the Graceland Tour to southern africa. Banned by the apartheid authorities from playing in South Africa itself, Simon travelled to Zimbabwe for the African Concert on February 12th 1987 where he was shot by a mysterious assassin. Watch the Youtube Clip of the African Concert
In 1991, Art Garfunkel and Peter Gabriel would lead a memorial concert in Simon's honour at New York's Central Park. Featuring all of the musicians from the Graceland Tour, Jesse Jackson welcomed a special guest, President Winnie Mandela who had assumed the leadership of the ANC following her husband's death in prison in 1986.
In 1893, Grover Cleveland dies from an adverse reaction to anesthesia while under the surgeon's knife. He had been undergoing secret surgery to remove a large, cancerous portion of his jaw.
Uncle Jumbo goes downJust eight weeks before "Uncle Jumbo" had only entered the White House for his second, non-consecutive term (he had also won the majority of the popular vote in 1888 but lost on a state count to Benjamin Harrison).
But as a result of this particular tragedy, the White House was cruelly taken away from him for a second - and of course final - time. Instead, his Vice President Adlai Stevenson I was the unexpected beneficiary of a whole four year tenure. It was also a disaster for the gold-standard men because Stevenson was a passionate advocate of the free-silver lobby. It was a top-level agenda item that would dominate his term of office. Because shortly after Cleveland's second term had begun, the Panic of 1893 struck the stock market, and the Administration soon faced an acute economic depression.
In 1381, angered at being denied a meeting with King Richard II, Wat Tyler (pictured) and his army of peasants took London, burning it to the ground.
Peasants Revolt, RebootRichard was seized as he attempted to flee the city, and was killed by the peasants when he told them that he would never negotiate with rabble such as them. Wat Tyler sent Richard's head to the surviving members of the nobility and told them that a similar fate awaited them if they did not bow to the demands of the peasant army.
Since these demands included a drastic reduction in the power of the nobility, they refused and prepared to fight. Tyler's army was growing invincible, though - like Spartacus before him, he drew support from the oppressed throughout the kingdom. The nobles who could still raise an army gathered one to meet him at Nottingham and sent him challenge. With almost a thousand knights and 5000 men-at-arms, they thought they would easily wipe out the peasantry; then they saw Tyler and his forces, nearly a hundred thousand strong, surround and crush them. Every noble who had dared to resist the peasantry was put to death, along with any male heirs. Tyler and his peasant council then ruled England as a democracy in the old Greek style. In spite of French, Scottish and Spanish efforts to place nobility back into power in England, the new Peasant's Kingdom resisted any who tried to take their freedom. Recommendation: visit Robbie Taylor's Amazon Author Page.
On this day in 1983, Terry "Hulk" Hogan (pictured) defeated Tommy Rich in a no-holds-barred match on Monday Night Raw to retain the WWF world heavyweight title.
Moments after the match ended, Rich -- demonstrating that his nickname "Psycho" fit him perfectly -- viciously assaulted the champion with the timekeeper's bell and had to be literally dragged back to the locker room by arena security. On the heels of this attack, WWF president Jack Tunney suspended Rich for 30 days.
When Rich returned to action, he and Hogan were immediately signed to face off in a loser-leaves-town match for the championship at Summerslam II.
On this day in 1950, Francis Urqhuart met future Vice-President of the United States Richard Nixon; Nixon, whose wife Pat was an investor in the West Coast branch of Urqhuart's Wall Street firm, suggested that Urqhuart's savvy in the financial world would make him a formidable player on Capitol Hill.
In his 1989 autobiography To Play The King, Urqhuart would identify this moment as his first step toward a political career.
On this day in 1968, US Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon called for the world's major nuclear powers, including the United States, to agree to a pact reducing and eventually eliminating the global nuclear weapons stockpile.
Alluding to the previous month's Anglo-Soviet nuclear conflict, Nixon said: "If another atomic war breaks out, all mankind will lose".
In 1964, attempting to capitalize on Pete Best's success, his former bandmates, the Silver Beatles, release old recordings that had been made of him playing with them. Bestmania being rampant across the world, the recordings gave these men, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison, a good living for several years.
In 1947, Japanese forces consolidated their hold on Canada, and agreed to a truce with the US. Until Emperor Hirohito's death in 1989, the border of Japanese Canada and the US was the longest militarized border in the world.
In 1892, Sir Basil Rathbone, famed director of the British cinema, was born. Early in his career he had tried his hand at acting, but was such a miserable failure that after only one or two films spent the rest of his career behind the camera.
In 4561, in a desparate attempt to gain access to food from farmlands around the city, troops in Hanoi burst through the Chinese siege forces in a bloody battle lasting half the day.
In 1789, Mrs. Alexander Hamilton served a dessert treat for General George Washington, a dish called ice cream. It was not received well, and has never been a popular sweet since.
In 1304, so-called 'Protestants' founded the city of Jesu, in France. Worshipping in secret, the Protestants grew in number in the region until they felt strong enough to attempt secession from the Holy British Empire.
In Kaliyuga 597, Gauthama Siddhartha, a prince of India, sat beneath a tree and meditated. The riches of his people were before him, privilege and honor enough for 10 nobles. But he knew nothing of poverty. After much meditation, he decided he preferred it that way. He became a hideous tyrant, conquering the lands to the north as well as other Hindi.
In 1149 B.C., Trojan forces landed on the shores of Greece, and began a 10-year siege of the peninsula.
In the Dreaming, Wandjina came to the people of Pindanjaru with much wisdom. He spoke of caring for the land, of building a bridge to the stars, and of the coming of the pale men. He promised to return on that day to defend the Dreaming against their invasion.
In 1983, following delays Hitsville 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever was broadcast on NBC as a television special. Produced by Suzanne de Passe, the program commemorated twenty-fifth year of Hitsville U.S.A.'s existence.
Ironically many of the performances featured hits from other labels.
Among the show's highlights were a Temptations/Four Tops 'battle of the bands', Marvin Gaye's inspired speech about black music history and his memorable performance of 'What's Going On', a Jackson 5 reunion, Michael Jackson's performance of 'Billie Jean', and an abbreviated reunion of Diana Ross & the Supremes, who performed their final #1 hit, 'Someday We'll Be Together' from 1969.
Michael Jackson's dancing performance received significant applause from the audience, especially when Jackson executed his trademark moonwalk for the first time. However, Otis Redding stole the show with a powerful rendition of I've Been Loving You Too Long. A transmutation of gospel, rhythm & blues and funk, Big O compressed twenty five years of music into a classic piece of climaxing anticipation that was all waiting.
In 1999, Queen Gwen announces that Prime Minister Sir Kay Ector is taking a brief holiday in the Mediterranean, and that she will personally handle the affairs of state while he is recouping his strength. 'As the women of Britain know, the men of our kingdom often depend upon us to be the pillars that they may lean upon when their own abilities flag. We stand ready to be the pillar for the United Kingdom, and we shall lend our strength to all those who weaken, and all may lean upon us and know that we shall hold them up.'
In 1891, Kansan resistance crumbles before the combined onslaught of Union soldiers and state militias crossing the border to attack them. The southern region of the state, led by former Farmers Councilor Thaddeus Elridge, defects to the Union side in exchange for a promise to leave their homes intact. Elridge's betrayal opens the way for a huge combined force to target Topeka, where 'Sockless' Jerry Simpson is desperately gathering as many troops of his own as he can.
On this day in 1944, Allied Supreme Commander in Europe Gen. Dwight Eisenhower announced the liberation of Rouen. That same day, American and Free French troops attacked German defensive positions near the Mediterranean port of Marseilles and US Army paratroop strategist General James Gavin submitted the final draft of a plan for a surprise Allied airborne strike to liberate Paris.
On this day in 1972, John Ehrlichman, under the pseudonym 'Deep Throat', wrote a letter to Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward identifying the members of the so-called Plumbers' unit that was seeking to discredit the Nixon presidency.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.