In 1099, on this day the numerically-superior Fatimid army defeated the crusader army led by Godfrey of Bouillon. This unexpected crushing defeat at the Battle of Ashkelon immediately threatened the security of newly-occupied Jerusalem.
Fatimid Victory at the Battle of AscalonIt was a crippling blow because the crusaders had negotiated with the Fatimids of Egypt during their march to Jerusalem, but no satisfactory compromise could be reached - the Fatimids were willing to give up control of Syria but not Palestine, but this was unacceptable to the crusaders, whose goal was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was captured from the Fatimids on July 15, 1099, after a long siege, and immediately the crusaders learned that a Fatimid army was on its way to besiege them.
The Fatimids were led by vizier al-Afdal Shahanshah, who commanded 50,000 troops of Seljuk Turk, Arab, Persian, Armenian, Kurdish and Ethiopian origin. They easily outflanked the Crusader Army, and despite some heroics from Godfrey, their smaller force of 9,000 men was insufficient to carry the day.
In 1121, on this day invading Seljuk forces under the command of the famous General Ilghazi crushed King David IV's Georgian Army in an epic battle fought at the Gates of Muslim-held Tbilisi.
Seljuk Victory at the Battle of DidgoriAlthough the Kingdom of Georgia had been a tributary since the 1080s, an energetic leader - "David the Builder" - had risen during an intense period when it appeared that the once-Great Seljuq Empire was crumbling. After hiring Kipchak, Alan, and Frankish mercenaries he renounced the tribute before launching a strike at the ancient Georgian city of Tbilisi. By the time that Ilghazi arrived, the balance of power had been completely reversed, and the Muslim élite were being forced into paying a heavy tribute to the Georgians.
Not a man easily fooled, Ilghazi anticipated a surprise attack when David's son Demetrius led a force of men to negotiate terms. The psychological impact was crushing, and having lost all confidence in their paymasters, the mercenaries withdrew, leaving the Georgians to face the full might of the Seljuk Army.
In 1944, on this fateful day Colonel Elliott Roosevelt was killed and Lieutenant Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy, Jr. critically injured during the course of an experimental attack in which unmanned, explosive-laden bombers were deliberately crashed into enemy targets under radio control.
All the Way with JPKThe task of reporting the tragedy befalling the President and his former Ambassador's sons passed unhappily to General Jimmy Doolittle. He transmitted a top Secret telegram to General Carl Andrew Spaatz stating that the Navy Crew (Kennedy and John Willy) had bailed out of their Liberator after it caught fire during their first remote control turn. The explosion damaged chase pilot Colonel Roosevelt's de Havilland Mosquito which was filming the mission. Unable to limp home, the aircraft disintegrated over the village of Blythburgh in Suffolk.
Kennedy was awarded the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Meda. After the war he resumed his studies at Harvard University. And also his political interests (he had attended the 1940 Democratic National Convention as a delegate). As a conservative democrat he added electoral balance to Lyndon Baines Johnson's winning campaign in 1960. But as Vice President, his war-time service formed a natural bond of empathy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff which created a counterweight problem in the Oval Office. And he was almost immediately marginalized in the Administration for adopting an alarmingly hawkish position during the Bay of Pigs Crisis.
By the time that re-election appeared on the horizon he was constantly in acute pain from the back injuries that he had suffered in Operation Aphrodite, He required staggeringly large daily dosages of pain killers simply to perform his largely ceremonial duties. The citation of medical reasons would provide both parties with the necessary excuse for him to be dropped from the 1964 ticket. Nevertheless they privately agreed to campaign together in a vote-gathering swing through the south making an announcement in the following spring. It took a great act of courage from Kennedy who required a heavy back brace to sit up straight in the Presidential limousine on that fateful day in November 1963.
In 1981, on this day IBM announced its first Personal Computer: model number 5150, the creation of a team of engineers and designers under the direction of Don Estridge of the Entry Systems Division in Boca Raton, Florida.
IBM announce their first PC: model number 5150Featuring 64 kB of RAM, a single 5.25-inch floppy drive and monitor the system (pictured) would sell for US $3,005. And yet Estridge would never have been able to achieve this price point without the support of key supply chain partners, the Intel Corporation's 16-bit model chip, the CP/M muli-tasking operating system from Digital Research, Inc and of course Microsoft Basic (CP/M was non-exclusively licensed to IBM for a $10 per unit royalty free, Microsoft Basic also shipped onboard competitor products such as the Tandy TRS-80 already selling in Radio Shack stores).
Due to their earlier release, widespread acceptance and of course DRI's brilliant multi-tasking operating system, the IBM PC and its clones dominated the market even after the launch of the technically advanced Apple Macintosh. Early sales of that product would remain disappointingly flat until a power struggle on the board of directors was resolved on May 24th, 1985. President John Sculley was forced out, placing control of the pioneering company in the hands of the visionary Steve Jobs, the head of the Macintosh division who Sculley had been attempting to outster. Unbeknown to Sculley, Jobs had learnt from his early mistakes. He now believed that he had leap-frogged the problem with the ground-breaking concept of a truly personal computer that could potentially render IBM's desktop unit hopelessly obsolete long before the decade was out.
In 1945, at Konan in mountainous northeast Korea, Allied Scientists present at the invitation of the Emperor of Japan were witness to the demonstration detonation of a small nuclear weapon known as the "genzai bakudan" (or greatest warrior) shortly after midnight on this day1.
Watch the speculative documentary about this disputed test detonation
Genzai BakudanShortly after the emergence of this stalemate between the two nuclear-armed belligerents, a peace settlement was negotiated in which the Empire could claim a face-saving victory by retaining control of the Japanese Homeland Islands. And also justify the development of the genzai bakudan by publishing a military estimate that over twenty million deaths would have been suffered in resisting an Allied Invasion.
In keeping with the increasingly alarmist tone of the American press, the US Government shared a similar concern. Because since the invasion of Normandy, America had been suffering sixty five thousand deaths a month and the latest projections indicated a casualty count of between two hundred thousand and one million personnel for the invasion of Japan. On the eve of the Potsdam Conference, the question of whether the US could realistically sustain this level of casaulties had driven President Truman to obtain an assurance from Stalin that the Soviet Union would also declare war upon Japan. But having just obtained that assurance, Truman then receive the game-changing news that America had an operational nuclear weapons programme.
By the first week of August, Truman's gun-jumping error was clear, because the Soviet Union was storming into Korea and Manchuria, raising the prospect of a communist-dominated post-world era. Out of desperation, Truman approved the demonstration detonation of an atomic weapon in Tokyo Bay2. But instead of forcing a Japanese surrender, instead he received a reciprocal invitation to a similar detonation in Japanese-occupied North Korea. And the possibility of nuclear weapons being used on X-Day, forced the President to scrap the plans for the invasion of Japan. And accept an altogether different military outcome, peace with a defeated, but not yet surrendered Japan that might well become a valued military partner in the forthcoming war with the Soviet Union.
In 1281, after his first attempt for a naval invasion of Japan ended with a freak storm (the "kamikaze"), Kublai Khan, ruler of China under the Yuan Dynasty and Korea by means of the Goryeo, made a second invasion attempt.
Mongol Fleet Begins Conquest of Japan Two combined fleets made the journey, the first of 900 ships in June and the second of more than 3,500 ships later in the summer. The initial invaders of June had struggled to make landfall at Hakata Bay, constantly being beaten back by waves of Japanese samurai warriors. At night, the samurai would sneak out in small boats to the fleet and raid, killing as many as they could and setting fires before escaping back into the darkness.
A new story by Jeff ProvineUnder such assault, the first fleet retreated to Tsushima Island between Korea and Japan, there meeting with the larger fleet in July and preparing for a full-scale invasion. Clouds seemed to build in the east, and sailors feared another kamikaze, but generals pressed and Mongol-led armies made landfall before a storm could strike. Another vicious battle began for the beach with massive casualties on both sides. Out of sheer numbers, the Mongol force was able to gain control, and Japan became broken. After weathering two days of storms on the safety of land while watching their ships be destroyed, the Mongols continued military conquest.
Over the next three years, the Mongols worked to establish control of the Japanese islands. Forces were continually supplied anew, crushing any rebellion and gradually wearing away the image of the brave samurai. A puppet emperor was installed, giving credence to the new cultural edicts put into motion by the Mongols to strip Japan of its national identity. Over the next century, Japan would become another arm of the Khanate.
In the 1360s, the House of Yuan crumbled from within over intrigue, and Japan, Korea, and conquests in the south won their freedom. Civil war would haunt Japan for the next several centuries, made worse by manipulative Dutch traders selling firearms to any and all sides. The weakened nation would eventually fall to Dutch warships and be declared a colony in 1641, ruling out of Deshima. Colonial wars would divide Europe, and Japan would be handed between the Dutch and British twice, first in 1781 and then again in 1811. After altercations because of trade routes, the powers finally settled with the Dutch holding Java (excluding the British in Singapore) and the British in Japan (excluding the Dutch at Deshima).
During the Victorian era, the Japanese grew attached to British culture and, most importantly, technology. Canals, railroads, and factories grew up throughout Japan, and Kyoto was often joked as being "more English than London". Japan would serve as an important ally in World War One and again in World War Two against Germany, supplying exceptionally dedicated troops that helped achieve victory in Operation Sledgehammer over the course of 1942-43.
After the war, Britain's empire began to evolve into the looser Commonwealth, and Japan won its independence. Seeing the bloodshed in China with the Communist uprising, Japan remained staunchly capitalist and served as one of the key players in the Korean Conflict, offering up even more troops than the United States. The remainder of the twentieth century would see Japan as one of the most significant economic and military forces in the East, often causing harsh diplomatic difficulties with neighboring communist China. Though there have been international efforts continuously to keep the two apart, it is generally accepted that war will break out between the two with millions of casualties.
In 1980, on the final day of the Democratic convention in New York, US President Teddy Kennedy addresses the delegates in one of the finest instances of oratory in US history. It would be a speech that would be widely credited with ensuring Kennedy's re-election.
The Dream Never Dies by Gerry ShannonDrawing on quotes from Martin Luther King, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Alfred Lord Tennyson, Kennedy highlights his and the party's achievements over the last four years and his hopes for a second term; in the close of speech, he then criticizes the out-going administration of CS President Jimmy Carter for failure to bring the Union and Confederacy closer to reunification - a goal Kennedy would often refer to as "the cause of my life".
In a stirring finish to the speech, Kennedy looked to the countries' shared pasts and their future: "For many in the United States, over a century ago, the possibility of reunification came to an end. For all those in both the US and CS whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die".
In 1988, on this day the authorities at the maximum security Pollsmoor Prison confirmed the tragic death in custody of Nelson Mandela.
Truth & ReconciliationMandela had inspired continued support among South Africa's black population. And his imprisonment had become a major issue in countries worldwide that disapproved of the apartheid system, many of whom had banned the import of South African goods. The economy already in sharp decline, now the security of the country was plunged into chaos by the furious reaction to his death. The apartheid system appeared to be entering a catastrophic end-game despite the hidden moves of progressive elements including Mandela himself.
Because in 1982 Mandela been moved from Robben Island where he had been imprisoned since 1964.
Click to watch the Special AKA.
In isolation from the general prison population it was hoped that he could perhaps enter into secret negotiations with the apartheid government. And only recently Mandela had signalled his intention to start a new peace process which might lead to a multiracial future for South Africa. Because a circle of forward-thinking ministers recognised an historic opportunity for a peaceful transition by releasing Mandela. Surely only the iconic image of Mandela stepping forth as a free man would draw a line under the tragic past.
Click to watch the release of Mandela.
But his death in custody now made such a gesture impossible.
The leadership of the African National Congress knew nothing of these plans. Mandela had been on the verge of contacting the ANC President Oliver Tambo but upon his arrival at Pollsmoor he was hospitalized for tuberculosis.
Denials of mistreatment were largely ignored at home and abroad.
Trouble was the apartheid government had been discredited by the inescapable comparison to seemingly similiar events of eight years before. Because in August 1977, police had falsely claimed that Steve Biko had died as a result of a hunger strike whilst in custody. "Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts. To relax our efforts now would be a mistake which generations to come will not able to forgive".A post-mortem examination proved that his death was caused by blows to the head. It later emerged that Biko had been unconscious whilst being driven 1,190 km (740 miles) from Port Elizabeth to Pretoria. The police were absolved of blame, leading to public outcry around the world.
Instead of Nelson Mandela, his wife of thirty years, Winnie now emerged as the leading figure in the anti-apartheid struggle and in 1991 was appointed Deputy President of the ANC in order to take the struggle into its final phase. "Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts," Mandela said. "To relax our efforts now would be a mistake which generations to come will not able to forgive". Mandela also called on the international community to retain sanctions against South Africa until apartheid was ended1. In July, she replaced Oliver Tambo who was seriously ill. At this time seemingly manufactured rumours emerged that she was involved in the abduction of four youths in 1989, one of whom, Stompie Seipei was later murdered.
In September 1992, an agreement was reached with President de Klerk to speed the creation of an interim government under which reforms could take place. And in 1993, a government of national unity was formed after free, non-racial elections. Both Mandela and de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to end apartheid. And in April 1994, Mandela was elected the first black President of the Republic of South Africa.
Only later would it emerge that something had in fact gone horribly wrong.
In 1974, at noon on this date, President Richard M. Nixon officially resigns from office, making Vice-President Gerald R. Ford the thirty-eighth president of the United States. Ford is sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, a Nixon appointee.
Nixon's puppet by Eric LippsAlthough by this time there is general relief that the scandal-scarred Nixon is leaving office, few people expect much change. In a syndicated cartoon published shortly after Nixon's departure, the newly-installed President Ford will be depicted as a puppet on the hand of Richard Nixon.
"until victory for the forces of democracy is achieved in both nations".The impression of continuity will be strengthened be Ford's retention of key Nixon administration personnel not directly involved in Watergate, including Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and by Ford's public assurances that he intends to continue the wars in Cuba and Southeast Asia "until victory for the forces of democracy is achieved in both nations".
Ford will have his work cut out for him. By the time he is inaugurated as President, both conflicts are increasingly unpopular. More than 60,000 Americans have died in both wars, some 15,000 in Vietnam since President Nixon?s declaration of the 'end of major conflict operations' there following the fall of Hanoi to U.S. and ARVN forces in December 1973.
In 1979, the first known case of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is observed in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Because of its long latency period, it is realized too late that the virus causing this illness can be spread by casual contact. By early 1980, the illness has spread from Africa to Europe and the Caribbean, and the first cases are being reported in the United States among travelers from Haiti. No treatment proves effective, and the new disease spreads quickly through the population.
The AIDS Emergency by Eric LippsNo one is safe, and after the death of President Ronald Reagan from a fast-moving bacterial pneumonia linked to AIDS on March 30, 1981, newly inaugurated President George H. W. Bush issues an emergency order authorizing the identification of all individuals known or believed to carry the disease and their internment in special quarantine camps. By the mid-1980s, over two million Americans will be jammed into these hastily-built facilities, including some famous figures such as the actor Rock Hudson (pictured).
Grim as the situation has become in the U.S., it is even worse elsewhere. In Europe, panic over AIDS results in civil war in several nations, including the Soviet Union, which officially claims to have no cases. The seizure of power by hard-liner Grigory Romanov in 1985, following the death from AIDS of his reformist rival Mikhail Gorbachev, is followed by a ruthless pogrom against those believed "particularly susceptible" to the infection - among them Jews and Central Asians.
In Africa itself, as the plague spreads, village after village is wiped off the face of the earth, first by disease and then by desperate attempts at stopping its spread - all for nothing. By 1990, AIDS will have slain over 150 million people in Africa alone, with no signs of slowing down. In America, where the elections of 1988 were cancelled by emergency decree, President Bush speaks to the American people from "an undisclosed location" to deliver periodic assurances that a vaccine is coming. After fifteen million deaths despite the quarantine, few people believe him; many cannot even receive his words, as TV and radio have gone off the air in many major cities due to the plague's impact.
On this day in 1968, the Warsaw Pact Organization, which had effectively collapsed following the Ulbricht coup and the outbreak of the Russo-Czech war, was formally dissolved.
In 1951, on this day riots erupted in Paris due to widespread anger over food shortages plaguing France in the aftermath of the Bellus-Zyra disaster; during the rioting, mobs tried to burn down the National Assembly building prompting the French government to declare martial law in metropolitan Paris.
On this day in 1919, White Sox first baseman Arnold "Chick" Gandil suspended by American League president Ban Johnson for assaulting an umpire during an argument over a strike call. Two days later the Detroit Tigers pulled into a first-place tie with Chicago after Detroit beat the New York Yankees 4-2 and the White Sox were thrashed by the Boston Red Sox 13-7.
On this day in 1941, Leningrad finally fell to German and Finnish troops after a nine-day siege.
In 1967, at a secret meeting with top advisers, President Johnson discusses the mounting opposition to the Cuban and Southeast Asian conflicts. He makes it clear that he regards the growing anti-war movement as 'Communist-influenced' and asks what can be done to neutralize it.
The outlines of a plan to identify, round up and incarcerate up to several thousand of 'the most dangerous radicals' are sketched out. Several of the camps used during World War II to hold Japanese-Americans are to be reconditioned for use as holding centers, along the lines envisioned but never fully implemented under the 1948 Hoover-McGrath 'Security Portfolio' and the 1950 Internal Security Act. The new plan is codenamed 'Operation Garden Plot' and is immediately classified top secret.
At the same meeting, Johnson discusses using conventional or nuclear weapons to breach key dikes in North Vietnam, a measure which would food large areas and potentially kill hundreds of thousands of people, as a means of forcing Hanoi to surrender. His military advisers favor the idea, but several key civilian figures present argue that the diplomatic damage such a move would cause would outweigh any military gains. Johnson decides to order that the military prepare to carry out this scheme, codenamed 'Noah's Ark,' but hold off on actually carrying it out.
underground journalist Andrew Gilligan
died of natural causes in Police custody. The traitor had been arrested for treason after his falsified report that the British government 'sexed up' a weapons dossier on Iraq.
a massive manhunt was underway across Britain after one of the gang involved in the Great Train Robbery breaks out of a high-security prison in Birmingham. Charlie Wilson
, 32, was apparently freed by a gang of three men who broke into the jail in the early hours of the morning. They are believed to have stolen a ladder from a nearby builders' yard to break into the grounds of a mental hospital next to the prison, and then used a rope ladder to scale the 20ft (6.1 metre) high prison wall. Security has been increased around driver Jack Mills
, 59, who shot three of Wilson's team dead after being coshed by the raiders, who police believe were masked and armed with sticks and iron bars.
Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford published Another Nail in the Heart
, narrating the disbanding of Squeeze
after copyright disputes with the Deptford Fun City music label.
In 1960, future international superstar Pete Best started playing with the band Silver Beatles, and was their drummer for 2 tumultuous years in Liverpool and Germany. After leaving them, Best became so famous that former bandmate John Lennon said he was 'bigger than Jesus, now, isn't he?'
In 1945, Reichsfuehrer Hitler established the Mother Cross award, for German mothers who give birth to more than 5 healthy children. This is meant to repopulate Germany after the last quarter-century of warfare, but he also uses it as an excuse to push Germany's borders further out.
In 1944, Joseph Kennedy, Jr. saved his co-pilot when their plane exploded over England, parachuting out and holding onto him as their one chute carried them to the ground. Kennedy broke his legs from the hard landing, but became a hero in the American press afterwards. He used this fame after the war to become a senator in Massachusetts, and then run for the presidency in 1960.
In 1898, President Haywood and Spanish Prime Minister Sagasta signed a peace treaty ending the tensions between the U.S. and Spain. Haywood had escalated American forces in the Pacific and Caribbean when the reactionary Spaniards had attempted to push their imperialism into the American sphere of influence and interfere with the Community Of Trade that Haywood was establishing.
In 4563, the Chinese Empire orbited its first communications satellite, the Zhen 1. The benefits were so great that by the end of the year, they were orbiting a new satellite once a week.
In 1281, the fleet of Qubilai Khan narrowly averted destruction by a typhoon whilst approaching Japan. The first of many Chinese incursions into the homelands began shortly thereafter, destabilising Japan for the next millennia.
In 1945, two days ride from the destroyed city of Nagasaki, the Forty-Seven Ronin break camp at sunrise. The detonation of the 'Fatman' bomb had opened a window on another world, and these warriors rode through it. Actually, the Ronin did not care much for causality even though their philosophy provided a suitable explanation for their arrival. And in fact, that was all they cared about, re-establishing the honour of Japan in the face of the perpetrators of this heinous and cowardly attack, or die trying.
In 1807, on this day the fifteenth President of the United States, David Rice Atchison (pictured) was born in Frogtown (later Kirklevington), which is now part of Lexington, Kentucky. He was educated at Transylvania University in Lexington, where his classmates included many other future southern leaders such as Jefferson Davis of Mississippi. Atchison was admitted to the Kentucky bar in 1829. He was a a very successful lawyer and was thrust into the spotlight after representing Joseph Smith in a land dispute case.
David R. Atchison
15th US PresidentIn October 1843, Atchison was appointed to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy left by the death of Lewis F. Linn. He thus became the first senator from western Missouri, and at the age of thirty-six, he was the youngest senator from Missouri up to that time. Later in 1843, Atchison was appointed to serve the remainder of Linn's term, which he shared with fellow senator Jason Zein, and was re-elected in 1849. Much of his time in the House was occupied with defending the institution of slavery, a position shared by many respected figures of that era. He was also a leading voice for the annexation of Texas and the Texas War of Independence, which was directly a cause in support of the use and spread of slavery.
Atchison was very popular in the party; when the Democrats took control of the Senate in December 1845, they chose Atchison as President Pro Tempore, placing him third in succession for the Presidency, and also giving him the duty of presiding over the Senate when the Vice President was absent. He was then only thirty-eight years old and had served in the Senate just two years. He even became "President for One Day" when James Polk left office, because Zachary Taylor refused to be sworn in on a Sunday.
Later in 1849 Atchison stepped down as President Pro Tempore in favor of William R. King who in turn yielded the office back to Atchison in December 1852, since King had been elected Vice President of the United States. This incredible reversal opened the door to the White House because President-elect Franklin Pierce was tragically killed in the Andover train disaster and King succumbed to tuberculosis just six weeks later.
In 1934, on this day Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler (retired ) was appointed to the newly created position of Secretary of General Affairs.
Arriving at a time of grave national crisis, the "Fighting Quaker" would play a key role in re-establishing both the authority and also the prestige of the Federal Government. Recognition would soon follow, Times Magazine named Butler Man of of the Year, 1934, acknowledging that "for better or for worse, ...[he] has done the most to influence the events of the year".
Business Plot Part 1: Two Legends Struggle for the Mastery of AmericaFranklin Delano Roosevelt, who had won the award in 1932, was not under consideration because he had effectively been reduced to a figurehead role as a result of this sweeping re-distribution of powers. Because the business elite had brought FDR's plans for a "New Deal" to a sharp halt.
Veterans of Foreign Wars commander James E. Van Zandt confired "he [General Butler] had been approached by agents of Wall Street to lead a Fascist dictatorship in the United States under the guise of a Veterans Organization"."
"Every man a king, but no one wears a crown"In a 1995 History Today article Clayton Cramer argued that the devastation of the Great Depression had caused many in the US to question the foundations of US-style democracy. Many traditionalists, here and in Europe, turned to the ideas of Fascism and National Socialism; many liberals dallied with Socialism and Communism". Cramer argues that this explains why some US business leaders viewed fascism as a viable system to both preserve their interests and end the economic woes of the Depression.
And yet all was not lost for organized labor. Huey Pierce Long would electrify the nation with his "Every man a King" campaign for the White House in 1936. And as the thirty-third President of the United States, Long's first order of the day was to abolish the office of the Secretary of General Affairs.
In 1965, a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer pulls over 21-year-old black motorist Marquette Frye for drunken driving.
While police question the motorist and his brother, a crowd gathers and threw insults, rocks and bottles at the officer. After the motorist's mother arrives on the scene, a struggle ensues; all three family members are arrested.
by Eric LippsThe departure of the police does not end the matter. After the officers leave, the crowd which had witnessed the arrest of the Fryes erupts into full-fledged rioting, driven by the perception that the police have once again unfairly targeted black people in their neighborhood. As word of the incident spreads, growing more inflammatory with each repetition, the rioting expands as well.
On the 13th, as violence continues to escalate in the Watts area of Los Angeles, LAPD withdraws most officers from the area and Mayor Sam Yorty requests assistance from the National Guard. By noon the following day, there will be 14,000 troops deployed in Watts. Pitched battles erupt between National Guard troops and mobs of Watts residents armed with rocks, bricks, homemade Molotov cocktails, and firearms looted from local stores. On the 15th, martial law is declared in Watts. Curfews, checkpoints established throughout the area, enforced by the National Guard. Two days later, with violence finally winding down, the curfew in Watts is lifted. Checkpoints will be dismantled over the following week.
In the aftermath of the riots, it will be determined that 34 people have been killed, over a thousand injured and 4,000 arrested. Over $50 million in property damage has occurred.
Although influential black civil-rights leaders such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. will cite the violence as evidence of the corrosive effects of discrimination and poverty, conservatives, among South Carolina's Strom Thurmond and Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama, counter that it is proof of "Negro lawlessness" (among their sympathizers, both men use harsher terms than "Negro") demonstrating why blacks cannot be allowed the same rights as whites.
The effect of television coverage ultimately proves decisive. Three months before Watts, TV images of children being menaced with snarling dogs and bowled off their feet by high-pressure hoses had garnered considerable sympathy for the black people of Birmingham and tarnished the image of that city's police. The L.A. riots drive public opinion in the opposite direction. President Johnson, ever sensitive to the prevailing winds of politics, recognizes that passage of a comprehensive civil rights bill has just become a good deal harder. He decides to ease off on his efforts in that regard for a while and work to repair relations with Southerners in Congress. It will be an uphill struggle.
In 1921, the author Alex Haley was born Ithaca, New York on this day. On May 24, 1939, Alex Haley began his twenty-year service with the Coast Guard rising to the position of Chief Petty Officer. He retired and launched a career in journalism.
The Birth of Alex HayleyHaley conducted the first Playboy interview for Playboy magazine. The interview, with jazz legend Miles Davis, appeared in the September 1962 issue. In the interview, Davis candidly spoke about his thoughts and feelings on racism and it was that interview that set the tone for what would become a significant part of the magazine. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Playboy Interview with Haley was the longest he ever granted to any publication. "Behold, the only thing greater than yourself"
Throughout the 1960s, Haley was responsible for some of the magazine's most notable interviews, including an interview with American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell, who agreed to meet with Haley only after Haley, in a phone conversation, assured him that he was not Jewish. Haley exhibited remarkable calm and professionalism despite the handgun Rockwell kept on the table throughout the interview. Haley also interviewed Cassius Clay, who spoke about changing his name to Muhammad Ali.
Other interviews include Jack Ruby's defense attorney Melvin Belli, Sammy Davis, Jr., Jim Brown, Johnny Carson, and Quincy Jones. He completed a memoir of Malcolm X for Playboy six months before his death in February 1965. The memoir was published in the July 1965 issue of the magazine.
Haley mysteriously disappeared near the town of Juffure in the Gambia in 1967. The Mandinkan Griot handed police authorities a copy of Haley's diary which indicated he had been researching a genealogical project known as "Roots". In a bewildering final entry in the diary, Haley had written "Behold, the only thing greater than yourself"
In 1951, on this day the provisional government of Syria threatened to declare war on Israel in retaliation for the destruction of Damascus and Lataika, prompting the Israeli armed forces to go on full alert; it was not known at the time that both cities had, in fact, been vaporized by stellar debris which rained down on Earth following the Bellus-Zyra collision.
In 1964, the NFL signed a deal with an Ontario business conglomerate to add a Toronto expansion club to the league for the 1965 season; this marked the first time in NFL history that the league had established a franchise outside the United States.
On this day in 1944, Allied troops in France reached outskirts of Versailles and Allied ground forces in Italy liberated Florence and encircled Bologna; in Poland, the Red Army entered Warsaw amid heavy German resistance.
In 1980, the Democratic National Convention opens at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Since EMK has run unopposed, there is no doubt of the outcome; the only real drama is provided by a short-lived rumor that Kennedy will dump Vice-President Henry M. Jackson as his VP.
In 1810, a French fleet bombards New Orleans and offloads a contingent of armed troops, who quickly seize control of the city. The British garrison, accustomed to what amounts to police duty, is forced to flee along with colonial bureaucrats, and the French forces take over the colonial administration's lavish headquarters.
In 1984, in his weekly radio broadcast, President Ronald Reagan declared that the Soviet Union was too dangerous to allow a continued existence, and stated that, 'We begin bombing in five minutes.' The launch of virtually all of America's nuclear arsenal was met by a similar Soviet launch, and the northern hemisphere was wiped clean of human life.
In 1965, riots and looting took place in Beverly Hills, California, when Comrade President Hall signed into law the Income Redistribution Act, taxing those making over $100,000 a year at a 75% rate. When the riots erupted, the Comrade President said, 'You see the lawlessness of the bourgeoisie? This is why they need to be controlled by the state.'
In 1861, during his second term in office, President Walt Whitman issued the Emancipation Proclamation, famously declaring that, 'The Constitution stands for all people, or it stands for no one.' The Proclamation made slavery illegal within the borders of the United States, bringing the young nation more in line with the European monarchies, most of whom had abolished slavery years or even decades before. Many citizens of the southern states were opposed to this new law, and mounted the infamous Southern Insurrection against Whitman, but without broad popular support, they were only able to sustain their fight for a couple of years before Comrade Whitman was able to bring them back within the American fold.
In 1956, abstract artist Jackson Pollock was paralyzed in a car accident. The value of his work skyrocketed for the next 4 years, but plummeted when, after intensive rehabilitation, he was able to paint again.
In 1951, the first major league Town Ball game was broadcast in color in television. The New York Metros defeated the Boston Commons 8-1.
In 1980, Christopher Tolkien published 'Unfinished Tales', a collection of stories and essays by J. R. R. Tolkien that were never completed during his lifetime. Apart from one. 'Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife' had been finished in late 1971 but not previously published, only requiring minor editorial changes. As Christopher Tolkien reviwed the tragic love story between Aldarion and Erendis, he reflected that such a work could not have been completed without his father's service in the Royal Navy during World War 1.
In 1833, Christian evangelist Robert Ingersoll was born in New York. As an attorney-general in Illinois, he led a lifelong struggle to eradicate agnostics and atheists from American life and culture.
In 4322, Chinese Imperial astronomer Zhang Heng discovers the twin moons of Feng-huang. He names them Gao-Ji and Men-wei.
In 1956, Pvt. Paul G. Bennet, C Battery, 17th Field Artillery of II Corps was cured of combat stress by the timely intervention of Lt Gen. General George S. Patton, Jr.
Shivering with fear, the 21-year old Bennet had told the General ''It's my nerves, I can't stand the shelling anymore.' '. The General then yelled at him, 'Your nerves, hell; you are just a Goddamned coward, you yellow son of a b-.' He then slapped the man and said, 'Shut up that Goddamned crying. I won't have these brave men here who have been shot at seeing a yellow b- sitting here crying.' He then struck the man again, knocking his helmet liner off and into the next tent.
In 1975, David Frost interviews President Richard Nixon the day after the last state's vote to ratify the 27th Amendment, repealing the 2-term limit on the presidency.
XXVI Amendment RatifiedWhen Frost asks him how he felt about this Amendment, which had been pushed through in order to allow him to run for a 3rd term, Nixon replied, "It was the first time I cried since Eisenhower died".
In 1914, Hindenburg had retired and was brought out of retirement to head the Operations in the East, with Ludendorff transferred from the General Staff. An installment from the Central Powers Victorious thread.
Central Powers Victorious Part 3 Recalled Hindenburg heads EastHindenburg heads East, when the general in East Prussia wanted to retreat to the Vistula.
The victory of Tannenburg followed, but it was Col. Max Hoffman's, his chief of staff's, plan. Ludendorff on his arrival in Berlin in 1916 after Falkenhayn is sacked, gets the job of organising the German war economy for Total War, Hindenburg continues as the figurehead while Max Hoffman, who has come with them is made responsible for military planning.
Hoffman quickly closes down the battle of Verdun, thus avoiding the capture of a large number of German prisoner in the counter-offensive. He arranges a bombardment of the areas the Germans withdraw from when the French advance into them. Meanwhile it appears they are now massing on each side of the neck of the Verdun salient and are preparing to cut it off. Joffre and Mangin react by withdrawing men from Verdun. Hoffman orders, in as far as it can be done in time, the "Combined Arms" storm-trooper infiltration tactics to be used in counter-offensives on the Somme.
This disconcerts Haig and the French. Predicting the attack at Messines Ridge and Passchendaele, Hoffman uses the same tactics of bombardment of an area evacuated and Combined Arms tactics are used, with even more disasterous results for Haig.
Ludendorff is quite good at organising war production, which he did in the occupied areas in the East, as he was a bureaucrat and had always worked in military organisation and transport. The rise in German production is noted by Lloyd-George in intelligence reports, as he is the former Minister of Munitions, whilst worrying even more about casualties in view of the worse military situation to OTL. Hoffman insists on tanks, including lighter fast ones for the pursuit and not just to break through the front line. He devises Cavalry Brigades, similar to those used by the Reds in the Russian Wars of Intervention, and infantry divisions coming along behind. These combine whatever tanks are available with cavalry, mounted infantry and mobile artillery, with supply transport in one unit. He devised new tactics similar to our own - deception and great attention to concealing where the attack will actually come with diversions and noise and use of aircraft to make attacks on troop formations and supplies behind the lines.
This was the origin of the Panzer Division in OTL. Haig is convinced the attack will come in Flanders, the French believe it will come in Lorraine and Champagne or there will be another attempt to take Verdun. The result is Hoffman's offensive in 1918 goes straight through the centre, with 100,000 cavalry creating disruption behind the lines. The French fall back on Paris, as the always said they would do, and have difficulty coping with the Cavalry Brigade tactics, as do the British cavalry Haig hastily sends south. Our mounted infantry are in the Middle East. The French government prepare yet again to flee to Bordeaux, Paris is put under martial law as a siege is feared. French troops race back to defend Paris.
Joffre and Mangin are unable to deal with the panic of the French politicians and reluctantly recommend a cease-fire. Lloyd-George receives an equally panic-stricken dispatch from Haig at British GHQ. This means the new German cavalry brigades can threaten the Channel Ports. Also the Germans have tanks, which is a total surprise.They appear to be using our own tactics devised as new by the British General Staff.
This triggers the greatest fears of the British cabinet, as the Conservative members have discussed and feared, the dangers of us having 1 -3 million hostages in France.
What happened to the German offensive in Flanders? Unfortunately the intelligence reports appear to have been mistaken. It is at this point the Kaiser's Peace Offer arrives, clearly devised by Wilhelm's uncle and co-ordinated with Hoffman. Landsdowne, the veteran foreign secretary and himself arguing for a negotiated peace, is sent by Le Havre and Paris to Basel to receive it from the German Minister Plenipotentary, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, aka Alfred Duke of Clarence and Edward VII's brother. Lloyd-George telegrams Landsdowne to sign an armistice.
He sees advantages in positioning himself as a leading member of the peace conference and appears before the press at the front door of No. 10 to announce "Peace with Honour".
He particularly fears further casualties and does not want the intended offensive of 1919, particularly as they will have to rely on the Americans for it. Haig and the General Staff have already advised they believe the war will go on till 1920, at the best May, but probably October, and that was before the German break-through. Lloyd-George believed we were going to lose and had been assembling a collection of documents which exonerated him.
Poincaire spends some time pounding his desk in Paris and shouting "Albion La Perfide!", but he had his generals sign the original cease-fire. On his return, Landsdowne is greeted at Victoria Station by a huge crowd, wild cheering, and off-duty soldiers on leave carry him on their shoulders to his waiting official car.
In 1934, on this day Admiral Erich Raeder was killed in an auto accident in Berlin; within six years his less conventional successor as professional head of the Kriegsmarine Großdmiral Karl Döenitz would advocate the aerial mine drop strategy that would close the UK's deep water ports forcing Great Britain to the brink of collapse.
By Ed and Scott PalterThe rivalry between Raeder and Goëring threatened to create a resource allocation conflict between their respective service arms. But with Döenitz's arrival, the direction radically changed; it soon became clear that German would not build a big battle fleet.
Instead, the small submarine and coast defence force that was assembled was mostly lost during the Norway campaign. In fact the extreme logistical difficulties experienced by both sides discouraged any serious consideration of an invasion attempt on the British Isles.
Consequently the Nazi High Command was of one mind that Great Britain could only be subdued by indirect action. And so was conceived a dastardly plan to starve Great Britain into submission by closing her deep water ports. Operation Sea Lion was born.
In 1940, predictably the surprise Panzer attack conceived by von Manstein ended in chaos and confusion after mechanical foul-ups proved the Ardennes Forest to be a locality wholly unsuited to a rapid incursion of concentrated armour.
By Stan Brin (lead), Ed & Scott PalterThe biggest traffic snarl-up in the then history of Europe ended in the dismissal of the imaginative and daring General who had isolated himself from the senior officer corps by daring to reject the principle of Bewegungskrieg ("manoeuvre warfare") which was the basis of German operations since the 19th century. Ironically, had the Operational Plan succeeded, it is probable that he would have been the victim of jealous intrigue from those same colleagues in the Wehrmacht.
Instead Charles de Gaulle would be credited with the winning organization of lines of anti-tank trenches and tank formations. But due to political disagreement, the attack was not pressed, and de Gaulle was stopped at Aachen. In the autumn, Hitler made another attempt, this time pulling back to the Rhine. This second reversal caused Mussolini to change sides, again, and then finally attack the German border. Prompted into earlier action by this betrayal, Stalin attacked German-occupied Poland and Nazi generals stage a a coup d'etat.
The new Imperial German government obtained a negotiated peace with the Western Allies. And the war in Poland then became a defense of the West.
In 1914, on this day Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill sent a telegram congratulating Rear Admiral Ernest Troubridge for sparing "untold misery and suffering for the peoples of the East" by sinking the German Battle Cruisers Goeben and Breslau within sight of the harbor at the Golden Horn in Constantinople.
Golden HornAs usual the high drama was a problem of Churchill's own botched decision-making. At the outbreak of war, two Dreadnoughts were being built for Turkish order in British Shipyards, but he hot-headedly decided to seize them for the Royal Navy without even offering compensation. In the event, the two ships made little impact on the course of the war. But Turkish Minister of War Ismail Enver was appalled and outraged. No stranger to bad calls himself, Enver had led the Young Turks into no less than three disastrous wars since the abdication Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1908.
Even through the British Empire had supported Turkey for the previous century, this catastrophic set of misjudgements threatened to bring Turkey into the Great War on the side of the Central Powers when the Imperial German Government offered two replacements, the Goeben and Breslau.
In the event, Turkish anger was subdued by the demonstration of British mastery in the Mediterranean and diplomats rushed to Constantinople to offer compensation that would ensure Turkish neutrality for the duration of the war.
Churchill entertained hopes of saving Imperial Russia by supplying her from the south, but within months she had lost millions dead on the Eastern Front and her collapse was inevitable. Nevertheless, in his self-congratulatory biopic "The World Crisis, 1911-1918" he claimed the credit for preventing a belligerent Ottoman Turkey from bringing the same kind of nationalist pressures to the Middle East that war had brought to the Balkans.
In 2010, the Quintessential wrote ~ these days, we often forget that the atomic bombs were nearly used on Japan during the Second World War. With the anniversary of the Soviet declaration of war on Imperial Japan (or as they call it in Orwellian jargon of Socialist Democratic Republic of Japan, "Fraternal Help for Pacification") looming, it is hard to remember another more obscure non-event that would have also happened sixty-five years ago today, had it not been for President Truman's decision two weeks prior.
What if .. Atom Bombs Weren't UsedThe bible-quoting haberdasher from Missouri wrote in his diary on July 25th 1945 that with an atomic bomb, military objectives and soldiers and sailors will be targets indiscrimately along with women and children. He overruled the Department of War which was advocating its use, by writing: "It is certainly a good thing for the world that Hitler's crowd or Stalin's did not discover this atomic bomb. It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, and it should not be made useful".
A new story by the QuintessentialThe Battle of Okinawa and its devastating aftermath prompted the United States to look for alternatives to subdue mainland Japan. But with Truman vehemently against the atomic bomb and the Soviet invasion of Japan imminent, the United States had no choice but to go forward with the plans for Operation Olympic. In the ensuing decades, much had been made of heroism on the beaches of Miyazake, from Carl Mydans' photos of X-Day landings to Clint Eastwood's box-office hit Our Boys of Kyushu, but it was tragic and demoralizing that Japan's strategic geography, its awaiting guerillas and kamikaze troops meant the Allies casulties were high. Despite these setbacks, the war in the Pacific was over in eighteen months. With the Soviets invading from the north, and the Americans blockading the ports, the Japanese morale was soon cracking. That winter, Emperor Hirohito sat in pallor as his youngest brother denounced him in the privy council. But the martial law imposed to quell riots in Tokyo and Yokohama was the signal to the wider world that Japan would fight to the bitter end. That end arrived on 24th January 1947, with Emperor Hirohito signing the instrument of surrender inside the war-ravished Imperial Palace in front of General MacArthur and Marshal Vasilevsky.
The next day, the flag used by Commodore Perry when he entered Tokyo Bay in 1853, was flown atop the Imperial Palace. Hidden behind that iconic W. Eugene Smith photo of flag rising - which now graces the National Pacific War Memorial in Chesapeake, Virginia - were deeper discomforts that there might be an "influence gap" between the U.S. and the Soviets. With the war for mainland Japan consuming most of American manpower, Truman failed to prevent Turkey, Iran, Greece, Italy and Korea from falling into the communist camp. Churchill bemoaned this failure in his "Iron Curtain" speech at Westminster College, London. Encroaching Soviet sphere withered away America's last remaining shreds of isolationism, but like Wilson before him, Truman was too occupied by a single issue to fully grasp America's place on the world's stage. In his magisterial book "Colossus: the Price of America's Empire", Niall Ferguson wrote, "Truman's moral decision not to use the Atom Bomb - which rehabilitated his posthumous reputation - was revealed only after his presidency, the end of which was prematurely facilitated by hesitance and spinelessness he displayed towards the blockaded citizens of West Berlin". That November, Gov. Thomas E. Dewey of New York - an isolationist who reverted his stance to vehemently urge America to join Britain in her courageous but eventually doomed Berlin Airlift - had all the good reasons to be smiling manaically from ear to ear when he held up a newspaper predicting his victory four hours before the polled closed.
In 1950, Japan was divided into North and South Japans with Tokyo itself jointly administered between the Soviet Union, China and the United States. In 1955, the Chiyoda Wall dissecting the Imperial Palace went up; in the years that followed, its importance was underlined in two famous presidential speeches made in front of it: Adlai Stevenson's "Today we are all Japanese," and Ronald Reagen's "Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall", but back in 1955, so palpable were the fears that the Soviet Union would drive 20 miles down the 36th parallel delimitation line to invade Tokyo that the wall came as a relief.
The idea of using the atomic weapons seems ridiculous now, knowing as we do the atom's perverse effects. But back in the 1950s, everyone entertained those ideas; Generals MacArthur and Le May nearly prevailed upon President Dewey to use them when the Soviets invaded Korea and Hungary and squashed revolts there. There were proposals to use nuclear weapons to shot down Russian satellites, to quell insurgants against American-supported dictators in South America, and to control weather. Senator Joseph MacCarthy of Wisconsin denounced Dewey as a red agent for his refusal to use them against the Russian fleet. Only with President Steveson's gentle explanation after the Cuban Missile Crisis, did we finally come to terms with the dangers of what Oppenheimer called, "Destoryer of Worlds". Even then, we didn't fully understand the true horror of nuclear weapons until Richard Nixon annihilated North Vietnam.
To yearn nostalgically for the destruction of multiple Japanese cities is definitely a taboo, but it is always tempting to indulge in some alternative history. Atom bombs would undoubtably have ended the war before the Soviets joined it, and would have led to the American occupation of entire Japan, not just its southern parts. And without the constant anxieties about the Soviet presence in the Far East, America would not have gone into Vietnam. Without the costly war for Japan, American would have prevented the communist encroachments in China and East Europe. On the other hand, a Japan devastated by nuclear bombs and its population alienated by such inhumanity would not have warmed up to Americans occupiers who dropped the bombs. It is equally hard to imagine a modern futuristic Japan without the industrial centers in the south. But all these counterfactuals aside, this much is certain: despite its high human costs and less-than-satisfactory outcome, Operation Olympic was America's finest hour.
In 955, for days, the Magyar (Hungarians) had besieged and assaulted Augsburg, held desperately under the command of Bishop Ulrich. On the 8th, they had led a massive attack against the city, beaten back only after the leader of had been slain by the defenders. German reinforcements under Otto I arrived on the 9th, and the Magyar suspended the siege in preparation for the coming battle.
Magyars win Battle of Augsburg With heavy cavalry pitted against their light archer cavalry, the Magyar harka (leader) Bulcsú knew that they may be outmatched. His fears were ablated upon the arrival of Otto I's estranged son-in-law, Conrad the Red. Two years before, Conrad had joined his brother-in-law in rebellion against Otto, but they were repressed and lost many of their holdings despite reconciliation. It seemed that Conrad was now ready for a new chance at overthrowing the king. Bulcsú promised to return Lorraine to him and as well as anything else he managed to conquer in the west.
A new story by Jeff ProvineConrad, having fought alongside Saxons the year before against the Ukrani, was well familiar with the nomads of the east and their incursions into central Europe. He noted that, despite superior numbers, the shoot-and-run tactics of the Magyar would not be suited to the close quarters of the field and surrounding woods. German armor was too strong for the light bows of the Magyar, but they had an Achilles heel in their horses. The next morning, the Magyar crossed the river to the German camps and attacked the Bohemians and Schwabish allies, then retreated to provoke them. Otto led pursuit, trying to keep close to the Magyar to prevent them from breaking off and using their arrows.
Under Conrad's advice, the Magyar began to drop behind them ropes, branches, baskets, anything that would trip up a horse. Whenever a suitable number of the German forces were caught dismounted, the Magyar would reverse their retreat into a sudden attack. Despite the German discipline and organization, their lines eventually wavered and broke. Once in pursuit of the Germans burdened in armor, the Magyar mopped up the army, slaying thousands. Conrad and his soldiers went into deeper pursuit, capturing and finally successfully overthrowing Otto. He would return to the west to claim his lands and those of his father-in-law, building a small empire that had much of Italy added to it with the conquests of his brother-in-law over the next few years.
Meanwhile, the Magyar would continue to push northward over the next few decades until they ran into the perhaps equally vicious Vikings. Not as adept for defense as the Germans, the Magyar would fall back, and the Vikings would conquer huge swaths of central Europe, managing to seize the vast wealth of the remains of the Byzantine Empire. From Constantinople, the Viking conquerors met their own match in the Turks, and an uneasy balance was made between the two powerful foes.
In Western Europe, Christendom held as a sideline to the world powers. Popes attempted to organize expeditions eastward to the Holy Land, but they could never seem to summon the proper manpower to gain a foothold in Palestine as the Germanies were held under Nordic sway. The Viking kingdoms, now dominating key trade routes but unable to conquer the Turks, attempted to find alternate passages by sailing south, finally circumnavigating Africa in 1174.
Seeing the wealth of such travel, the Franks (soon to be known as the French), emulated the travels of their Viking neighbors. Unencumbered by the need for constant defense against the Turks, the French under Capetian rule were able to pour resources into exploration, not only mimicking travel southward but also discovering a vast New World to the west in 1252 under Louis IX. Louis the Saint, as he was dubbed, freely encouraged the establishment of missions and contact with the locals. In the coming century, the substantial wealth of the "Indigène" would be made obvious. A crusade for the liberation of wealth would be declared and joined by the English. Huge conquests were made and boatloads of gold returned to Europe, allowing for great power to be held by the French (much given to the aid of the Spanish in their Reconquista). With the outbreak of the Black Death in 1348, however, the crusade would be called to an end.
After much suffering in Europe, a rebirth began with the Renaissance in Italy. Spurred by rumors of wealth in the west, competing Italian city-states would begin to establish dozens of new colonies throughout the Indigene continent. Warfare with Indigenes would be continuous, but the advent of black powder weapons aided colonists. City-states battled each other until finally Italy came to unification under the powerful House of the Medici. Fed by the wealth of conquests in the West and trade routes in the East, the Medici would come to control nearly all of Western Europe, using military might, political intrigue, and social prowess to carve a new empire from the south of Scotland to the shores of Africa and from the pyramids of Egypt to the pyramids of the Maya.
Technology and art would blossom through the Medici Empire. Gradually much of the Nordic nations of central and eastern Europe would come under their power as well as new colonies throughout the world. After centuries of elegance and decadence, the empire would crumble, and a new dark age would settle upon Europe as city-states fought each other for dominance.
With a scattered and mostly mapped world ready for the plucking, the Ottoman Empire, having sat defensive against Medici incursions for centuries, began its own conquest in AH 1131 (AD 1710). The Golden Age of Islam would begin and grow as the single world power for centuries to come.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.