In 1529, on this day the army of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent arrived at the gates of Vienna.
Ottomans Besiege ViennaThree years before, Suleiman had smashed the army of King Louis II of Hungary, conquering much of the land. Following the momentum, he raised an enlarged army and pressed toward Vienna and the Austrians. They set out in May, first reestablishing conquest in Hungary by seizing fortresses lost in the interim to Archduke Ferdinand I of Austria, who had been named king of Hungary after Louis's death under the might of Suleiman.
Most effective were Suleiman's large-caliber cannons, which he brought over miles of mountain roads. The rains were light, making for easy travel and minimal loss of men and camels from illness in soggy conditions. Buda, which had been softened by attack in 1526, was taken, and the army mopped up various defenders before turning to the Austrian border. It was a difficult march, but the soldiers looked forward to the great wealth to be plundered from the Habsburgs. The siege was laid, and the artillery gradually wore down the walls. Suleiman made attempts at mining and tunnels to break in sooner, but the defenders were ever-vigilant for the sound of rhythmic digging through the soil. Article continues Ottomans Storm Vienna
In 1605, the invading army of Charles IX of Sweden (supported by German, Scottish and Dutch mercenaries) won a decisive victory over Polish-Lithuanian forces at the Battle of Kircholm.
Swedish Victory at KircholmBecause the Polish Crown had refused to fund the defence, the indigenous forces had been mobilized by Jan Karol Chodkiewicz, Grand Hetman of Lithuania. He had mobilized a smaller force (approximately a 1:3 disadvantage) comprising the superbly trained Winged Hussars (pictured, heavy cavalry armed with lances) plus a small number of Tatars and Polish-Lithuanian Cossack horse.
Fortunately, for the Swedes, Charles realized that a devastating attack by Commonwealth cavalry was the only option available to Chodkiewicz, and he anticipate the threat, managing to organize a disciplined defence that enabled his superiority in numbers to overcome that onslaught. The hard-fought victory was a turning point in the Polish-Swedish War, quickly leading to the fall of Riga and the establishment of Swedish hegemony over northern Latvia and Estonia.
In 1963, on this day an American plot to assassinate Fidel Castro was foiled by Senor Eusebio Azcue the Cuban consul in Mexico City.
Saving Fidel CastroA short, blond impostor claiming to be former US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald visited both Cuban and Soviet embassies.
But a suspicious consulate employee Sylvia Duran had raised concerns with Azcue because of the unusual nature of an application for an "in-transit" visa to travel through Cuba to the Soviet Union. Under US Regulations, Cuba was not permitted as a final destination and moreover Oswald had only recently returned from the Soviet Union after defecting in 1959.
The CIA's Mexico City Station sent cables to headquarters in early October, reporting the visit. Investigators soon discovered that the visitor was an underworld hitman who on April 10th had assassinated U.S. Major General Edwin Walker, an outspoken anti-communist, segregationist, and member of the John Birch Society. But the trail continued, leading eventually all the way up to President Nixon who was still smarting over the Bay of Pigs Fiasco, the bungled CIA operation that would eventually lead to his impeachment.
In 1722, on this day statesman, political philosopher and Founding Father Samuel Adams was born in Boston in the British colony of Massachusetts.
Ah, le fameux Adams?A graduate of Harvard College he was an unsuccessful businessman and tax collector before concentrating on politics. As an influential official of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Boston Town Meeting in the 1760s, Adams was a part of a movement opposed to the British Parliament's efforts to tax the British American colonies without their consent. His 1768 circular letter calling for colonial cooperation prompted the occupation of Boston by British soldiers, eventually resulting in the Boston Massacre of 1770.
To help coordinate resistance to what he saw as the British government's attempts to violate the British Constitution at the expense of the colonies, in 1772 Adams and his colleagues devised a committee of correspondence system, which linked like-minded Patriots throughout the Thirteen Colonies. Continued resistance to British policy resulted in the 1773 Boston Tea Party and the coming of the American Revolution.
After Parliament passed the Coercive Acts in 1774, Adams attended the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, which was convened to coordinate a colonial response. He helped guide Congress towards issuing the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and helped draft the Articles of Confederation and the Massachusetts Constitution. Adams returned to Massachusetts after the American Revolution, where he served in the state senate and was eventually elected President after the collapse of the Confederation. In this executive capacity, and alongside Benjamin Franklin, he played a key mediation role in bringing to a close the War of the States.
His lesser well known second cousin John also played a role in the American Revolution. Arriving in France to support the American Ministery he was mistaken in the Bourbon Court as "Le fameux Adams!". A man of great humility, Samuel dismissed his own contribution as "small beer".
In 2000, having been forced to revive the National Progressive (Bull Moose) Party by a smear campaign from establishment Republicans who had hand-picked Dubya, John McCain announced his candidacy for president in Nashua, New Hampshire, saying he was staging "a fight to take our government back from the power brokers and special interests, and return it to the people and the noble cause of freedom it was created to serve".
Bull Moose ReduxThe following is the beginning of Teddy Roosevelt's Address at the Convention of the National Progressive Party in 1912.
A new post by Dom"To you, men and women who have come here to this great city of this great State formally to launch a new party, a party of the people of the whole Union, the National Progressive Party, I extend my hearty greeting. You are taking a bold and a greatly needed step for the service of our beloved country. The old parties are husks, with no real soul within either, divided on artificial lines, boss-ridden and privilege-controlled, each a jumble of incongruous elements, and neither daring to speak out wisely and fearlessly what should be said on the vital issues of the day.
This new movement is a movement of truth, sincerity, and wisdom, a movement which proposes to put at the service of all our people the collective power of the people, through their Governmental agencies, alike in the Nation and in the several States. We propose boldly to face the real and great questions of the day, and not skillfully to evade them as do the old parties. We propose to raise aloft a standard to which all honest men can repair, and under which all can fight, no matter what their past political differences, if they are content to face the future and no longer to dwell among the dead issues of the past.
We propose to put forth a platform which shall not be a platform of the ordinary and insincere kind, but shall be a contract with the people; and, if the people accept this contract by putting us in power, we shall hold ourselves under honorable obligation to fulfill every promise it contains as loyally as if it were actually enforceable under the penalties of the law".
By 1331, the Teutonic Order stood at a threshold of a new golden age as Europe changed around them from the High Middle Ages. The monastic knights had been formed in 1190 to protect pilgrims and fought valiantly through the Crusades.
Prince Casimir Felled at Battle of Plowce Upon the request of Duke Konrad I of Masovia in northeastern Poland, the knights went to war with the pagan Old Prussians in 1226. Rather than simply killing enough of the pagans to end the threat, the knights set forth conquest and Christianization of the land. Novgorod and Lithuania followed, establishing something of a monastic empire on the Baltic controlled by the knights. In 1306, they acted again, working to solve the disputed succession of the Duchy of Pomerelia, which led to war with Poland. Tying with the Holy Roman Empire through Teutonic Pomerania, the supply lines led to a powerful flow of crusaders at ready.
A new story by Jeff ProvinePoland, however, made for strong defense. While the knights were able to fight their way to the conquest of Danzig in 1308, the Polish grew up a generation of defenders. Diplomatic ministers also began to work against the Teutons, leading to legal disruptions and an investigation by the Pope of war crimes. Lithuania began uprisings, spreading the knights thinly through their lands. Even with so many proverbial fires, the knights were able to reorganize themselves, moving their headquarters from secular influence in Venice to Marienburg where they would be free to rule and fight with only God to judge them.
On a renewed campaign in 1331, the knights invaded Poland and were counterattacked at Plowce by an army commanded by Prince Casimir III (pictured). The prince led a frontal charge, reinforced by attacks from the flank by Poles hiding in the forest. Shortly after beginning the battle, a messenger was sent to recall the prince, but the fierce fighting killed him before the order could go through. Minutes later, the prince was slain on a lance. Though the battle was heading toward a Polish tactical victory, the morale of the Poles collapsed as news of the prince's death spread. German reinforcements broke the Poles, and the rout would continue to the gates of Brzell Kujawski. The rest of the campaign would be impressive victories for the knights as Poland descended into civil war over succession. Finally, in 1343, the Treaty of Kalisz would end the war with Poland as a protectorate of growing Teutonic power.
In 1337, Holy Roman Emperor granted the Order the privilege of conquest of Lithuania and Russia. Campaigns throughout the next century would push the knights ever eastward in addition to military contributions to friendly nations, such as the conquest of the pirate haven Gotland at the request of King Albert of Sweden. As Mongol influence fell from the Rus, the Teutons took its place, creating a massive new land swearing loyalty to the Pope. Russian peasantry was slow to change their ways from orthodoxy, and the Teutonic Inquisition spent decades persuading the populous to the unquestionable right. The Russian-born Teuton Ivan the Beholden led further expeditions to the central Asian steppes in the mid-sixteenth century.
By 1618, the Teutons had slowed expansion in the business of ruling their empire and maintaining uprisings among the Poles, Lithuanians, and Rus. When the Bavarian Revolt began against the wishes of the chosen successor of the Holy Roman Emperor, the Teutons were quick to give aid to their long ally. Swedish armies joined the growing Protestant influence, which the Teutons abhorred, and war between the two great powers broke out. France, Denmark, and much of southeastern Europe joined against the Knights and their allies, who soon gained Spain, though much of Italy remained neutral and divided. The war, which was to become known as the Fifty Years' War, spread throughout Europe until it finally ended with Catholic victory.
Because of their great effort, the Knights were granted the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, solving the issue that had begun the war. Their influence expanded geometrically across Europe, establishing a fierce, disciplined, Christian union of nations. Inquisitions routinely cleared illegal beliefs like those of Calvin or Locke while expeditions of conquest began in North America as well as against Christendom's eternal enemy, the Ottomans.
Eventually, the Teutonic Empire would find itself ungainly. Revolutions began at the fringes with demands of freedom of religion from conquered Turks, Scandinavians, French, and, especially, settlers across the Atlantic. These demands would expand to independence, and the end of the eighteenth century would see the shattering of the empire into dozens of new republics and kingdoms. The Second Renaissance would cause a new age of learning, bringing up old ideas of heliocentric solar systems and rights of the individual that had long been suppressed.
In 2010, with the expiration of Michaëlle Jean's five year term of office as Governor General of Canada, the position of Her Majesty the Queen's viceregal representative ceased to exist in Canada. Jean (pictured), a career CBC journalist who mainly fulfilled ceremonial functions, had failed to act as a constitutional check on the powers of the prime minister, Stephen Harper. As a result, the Canadian Government determined that the $25m cost of re-appointment was wasteful, because this ineffective, costly office had become more of an embarrassment than a safeguard for democracy.
Brushed under the red carpetThe creation of the role dates back to the formation of modern Canada in 1867. At that time, Great Britain required an official to perform duties such as the giving of royal assent to bills passed by Parliament, reading the speech from the throne and "summoning, closing and dissolving Parliament on the advice of the prime minister". The governor general also served as the commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces.
"summoning, closing and dissolving Parliament on the advice of the prime minister"During Jean's term of office, Stephen Harper had twice prorogued Parliament to extend the longevity of his government. Due to the fundamentally weak base of her authority, the Governor General had been forced to accept this announcement without consultation, even though their official residences were across the street from each other in Ottawa. On the second occassion, Canadians held demonstrations in twenty cities to protest Harper's unchecked abuse of power. Because the Parliamentary dispute concerned the mistreatment of Afghan Prisoners of War, an issue that required immediate redress as a matter of national honour.
Jean, a refugee from Haiti in 1968, was raised in Quebec as a French citizen. The British Crown had hoped that her origins and media skills would translate into national popularity. Despite her charm, there was a greater desire for Canada to move forward independently as a middle-power nation on global issues such as the sovereignty of the North Pole, the military mission to Afghanistan etc.
As a result of the protests, it was decided that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would take over the legal and constitutional duties, such as swearing in cabinet ministers and dissolving Parliament. Going forward, the Speaker of the House would read the speech setting out the government agenda.
In 2010, on this day the Mars rover Opportunity completed an epic two-year trek to reach a crater called Endeavour. Search for Life by Robbie Taylor, Eric Lipps & Ed.
Opportunity had arrived on Mars six and a half long years before on a mission scheduled initially to last just three months.
In September 2008, the robot began a journey of eleven kilometres to get to its new target - a distance that would double what it has already achieved on the planet.
The performance of the rover - like that of its twin, Spirit - had greatly exceeded what anyone had dared hope.
The US space agency (Nasa) had anticipated that the Endeavour assignment would be an extremely tough one. We may not get there, but it is scientifically the right direction to go anyway, had said Steve Squyres of Cornell University, principal investigator for the science instruments on Opportunity and Spirit. This crater is staggeringly large compared to anything we've seen before. .
Staggeringly. Two years later, it would transpire that staggeringly was an excellent choice of word.
For at Endeavour, Opportunity made a remarkable discovery - a fused glass crater floor showing signs of radioactivity, indicating that the crater was formed by a nuclear explosion or meltdown.
The French physicist Francis Perrin had anticipated such a scenario in 1972, declaring that nature had beaten humans to the punch by creating the world's first nuclear reactors. Indeed, he argued, nature had a two-billion-year head start. Fifteen natural fission reactors have been found on Earth in three different ore deposits at the Oklo mine in Gabon, West Africa. These are collectively known as the Oklo Fossil Reactors.
Doubtless both scientists - Perrin and Squyres - would have welcomed the opportunity to analyze the information being transmitted back to Earth by Opportunity.
The trouble was that whilst the robot pursued its determined search for life, life itself had been extirpated on the planet Earth.
Because the Mars mission had been overtaken by other missile launches. Launches initiated not by men of peace like Squyres or Perrin, but by angry, foolish men. Launches targeted initially at the great nation of Iran, later without any form of sane restraint, until finally the exchange had descended into an apocalyptic madness.
And perhaps one final, bitter irony. For even as Opportunity's signals transmitted uselessly into space, seeking a life that was no longer, could not a small tear be discerned in the corner of the eye of the Cydonian Mensae?
On this day in 1968, North Vietnam opened its first-ever diplomatic outpost in South Vietnam as the new North Vietnamese embassy was established in Saigon under the terms of the cease-fire pact signed between the North and South a month earlier.
The next day, South Vietnam's embassy in Hanoi would be officially opened; by early October a North Vietnamese consulate would be up and running in Da Nang while a South Vietnamese counsulate was founded in Haiphong.
In 1951, Egypt's King Farouk, who'd been experiencing serious health problems for weeks as the result of the stress of trying to keep his country together in the aftermath of the Bellus-Zyra disaster, was hospitalized with a severe heart condition; within three days he would slip into a coma, and a month after that he died of a pulmonary embolism.
Shortly after Farouk's hospitalization, a provisional military government assumed power in Cairo and began dramatically restructuring the Egyptian political landscape. By August of 1952, an executive decree would officially abolish Egypt's monarchy.
One of the provisional government's younger members, an army officer named Anwar Sadat, would eventually become president of Egypt and lead his country through two brutal but victorious wars with its neighbor Libya in the 1960s. Another provisional government member, air force veteran Hosni Mubarak, would be posthumously declared a national hero in the early '70s when he thwarted an assassination attempt on Sadat by taking a bullet meant for Sadat's head.
In 1960, post-hurricane reconstruction efforts at Manhattan's Chrysler Building were dealt a major setback when an electrical fire broke out on the building's third floor, killing eleven construction workers and leaving six more hospitalized. The Chrysler, which had been slated to reopen in early November, would remain closed until March of 1961.
On this day in 1941, the Red Army recaptured Kotlovka from the Germans. This marked a crucial turning point in the war on the Eastern Front and gave a much-needed boost to Soviet morale.
On this day in 1970, the Dallas Cowboys improved to 2-0 with a 28-10 road victory against the New York Giants.
In 2001, Friedrich Leibacher entered the state parliament building in Zug, Switzerland, and killed 14 people, wounding a dozen others, with a high-powered automatic rifle and small explosives. This incident led to the nation, once the most gun-friendly nation in Europe, to adopt harder gun laws, such as the banning of private ownership for assault rifles.
In 1988, tests on the infamous Shroud of Turin show that blood is indeed part of the image that is faintly painted on the cloth. That blood does not test as human; indeed, it matches no known animal type on earth. This mixed message is met with confusion by the religious community, and the Catholic Church allows a larger sampling of the cloth to be used by the scientists. After months of testing, the blood is announced to be extraterrestrial in origin. The results are immediately denounced by all Christian organizations.
In 1962, Robert Zimmerman's career took a nose-dive when, after a performance at Carnegie Hall, the Rolling Stone declared him, 'a folk stylist indistinguishable from the rest.' Zimmerman's next album failed to sell more than 1000 copies, and he was dropped from his label. In spite of his early promise, he ended up, like so many other folk singers, returning to life outside of music.
In 1960, Comrade Sylvia Pankhurst died in Walla Walla, Washington. Comrade Pankhurst was a strong advocate of socialism and women's suffrage in her native England, but the reactionaries in that country forced her into exile in the Soviet States of America, where she was welcomed as a comrade-in-arms of the revolution.
In 1869, the sheriff of Hays City, Kansas, sparked a riot by shooting the instigator of a bar brawl in the head. Friends of the brawler attacked the sheriff, James Hickok, and his deputy, who barely escaped with their lives. Most of Hays City was burned to the ground before Hickok, with the aid of several hastily-deputized assistants, could restore order. 'Wild Bill' Hickok was never allowed to occupy another public office after that disaster.
In 1821, Mexico asks for admittance into the North American Confederation. After making a few concessions such as allowing democratic government, they are brought in, doubling the size of the Confederation.
In 3986, an earthquake in the Gulf of Chili is the source of a new set of regulations from the Emperor about housing construction. 100,000 died during that earthquake because so many houses were not built well. After the lesson of this earthquake, fewer buildings collapsed in subsequent ones, saving countless lives.
In 1964, the Warren Commission released its report. As widely predicted, the Commission's conclusion was a re-affirmation of the lone gunman theory that Snake Eyes, acting alone, had shot President John F. Kennedy. There were, however, too many unresolved issues for America. Most intriguingly, who was the mysterious stranger on Dealey Plaza who held the placard Snake Eyes watching you? prompting Kennedy to duck, whereupon the assassins bullets thudded harmlessly into the upholstery of the 1961 Lincoln Continental. That question had to wait fifteen years until the Final Report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. That piece of sensational evidence came from a Dicta belt recording from a police officer's motorcycle that was escorting Kennedy's motorcade. Listening to an incomprehensible string of guttural noises, it would be hard to image a more alien sounding conversation.
the movie version of Yoshiaki Hiyama's classic The Decisive Battle on the American Mainland
is released. Subtitled The Battle of Seattle: Zeros vs. P-39's and Yamamoto's Victory
and filmed on the West Coast with real footage, the movie shows how Japan attacked Seattle on May 7, 1942 and defeated America.
In 1918, Colonel T.E. Lawrence wrote the words that would form a dedication to 'DA' in the Seven Pillars of Wisdom
'I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands and wrote my will across the sky in stars
To gain you Freedom, the seven-pillared worthy house, that your eyes might be shining for me When I came.'.
In 1983, on this day the Utahian State Capital was miraculously spared by the malfunctioning of a Soviet Nuclear Missile which landed harmlessly in the Great Salt Lake. A variant installment of the fabulous 1983: Doomsday thread published on Althistory Wikia.
Doomsday Spares DeseretUnder the leadership of President Spencer W. Kimball and his successors, the Commonwealth of Deseret was established as a pre-eminent survivor nation in the Mountain West of the former United States of America.
Due to the intervention of the Godhead Elohim, the Latter Day Saints made sure that Deseret became a vibrant theocracy. Because rather than simply rehabilitate the land "back to a standard of civilization" they expanded Zion Park, aiming to build an earthly paradise based upon Planet Kolob as described in the Book of Abraham (the heavenly body nearest to the throne of God).
In 1789, on this day the Massachusian John Adams (pictured) was appointed US Secretary of State.
John Adams appointed US Secretary of StateThe returning Ambassasor to France, Thomas Jefferson, had been the preferred candidate, but an exploratory meeting with George Washington had exposed some sharp differences of opinion on the role of the Federal Government. Adams was offered the position, and to geographically balance the presidential ticket, an alternate New Englander, Henry Knox became VP instead.
Eight years later Adams moved on to the Supreme Court where he served with great distinction for two decades. Meanwhile, Knox succeeded Washington, and with Alexander Hamilton as de facto Prime Minister, declared war on France in 1798 and captured Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Cuba.
It is 1955, and the monarchies have been abolished in both Britain and Greece, leaving both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip out of a job.
Princess Gloria, Happy at Last Lizzie Windsor RebootThe resourceful Lizzie Windsor has launched a new career as a TV newscaster...but Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark has higher ambitions in mind. Like so many British noblemen before him, he has decided to trade his royal fame for an American girl's fortune.
The girl he has chosen is the equally famous Gloria Vanderbilt, who was the subject of a notorious custody battle, leading to a best-selling book with the title of "Little Gloria, Happy at Last". With her $4 million estate, he is willing to overlook her divorces from Pat di Cicco, a brutal Hollywood hood, and Leopold Stowkowski, a celebrated British orchestra conductor almost 40 years her senior.
Leopold and Gloria are divorced in 1955..and she throws herself into the British social scene. There she meets the handsome and dashing prince, who is even more alluring in his Royal Navy officer's uniform.
Soon she is Princess Gloria Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg...but, once again, her happiness is very short lived. One of the reporters assigned to cover their wedding is none other than Lizzie Windsor..and the bridegroom sees in her the truly aristocratic creature that his own bride could never be.
They both fight off their feelings as long as they can...but as fate would have it, Lizzie is assigned to cover Princess Gloria's ship launching, with her royal husband at her side. The newshen and the nabob are re-united there.
A whispered assignation leads Philip and Lizzie to a seedy hotel room...where another enterprising reporter abruptly ends their romance, by photographing them sneaking into the lobby. The ensuing scandal engulfs them both, as she loses her job and he forfeits his income in his divorce. After a hasty wedding, they flee to a life of seclusion at her one remaining property, the palatial Essex House.
A Hollywood screenwriter named Wyatt Cooper is assigned to tell Gloria's story in 1963...and during the interviews, they soon fall in love. This third time proves to be the charm, and they remain happily married until his death in 1978..having left a son named Anderson Cooper, who will become America's most famous newscaster. Gloria will also distinguish herself in the journalistic field, with a series of tell-all autobiographies including "Black Knight, Black Prince"..the story of her marriages to Pat and Philip.
In 1960, what would have been the first-ever televised debate among presidential candidates came under technical difficulties that cut out the visual transmission, leaving only the audio and a test pattern, leading many Americans to turn off their televisions.
Nixon-Kennedy Debate Faces Technical Difficulties Television was fast becoming the dominant medium for mass communication. By 1960, the inclusion of televisions in American households had increased some tenfold to 88%. There had been presidential debates broadcast by radio for some time, but this would be the first live coverage of presidential candidates in what would prove to be one of the closest races of the twentieth century. It was estimated that some 70 million people had tuned in for the debate, though they would be disappointed and would have to wait another week to see their candidates.
The Republicans had dominated the White House since former general Dwight Eisenhower had taken over for Truman in '53. Eisenhower's two-time vice-president Richard Nixon was now up to bat, having practically clawed his way up to the top of politics from a childhood of poverty. An economic recession had come into play, weakening the Republican grip and turning the attention to the Democratic Party's new poster boy, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He was son of Joseph Kennedy, Ambassador to Britain before World War II and millionaire spirits-importer. Kennedy was Catholic, which proved to make many Protestants wary of a potential Vatican-dominated Washington but also bolstered the polls with many Catholics who had not participated in politics much before. Both men were young and had served in the Navy, but Kennedy had the advantage of being obviously more physically attractive.
A new story by Jeff ProvineNixon, however, proved to carry the more powerful voice. At the time of what would have been the first televised debate, Nixon had just recovered from a hospital stay due to illness while campaigning and was pale, skinny, and still looked very exhausted. Attendees took great notice at the difference between the healthy, tanned playboy of Kennedy and the frail Nixon, but when the camera transmission failed, Nixon won handily. He would continue his luck when the second debate successfully went on the air (by this time he would be plumper from his famous "milkshake diet", well rested, and use professional stage makeup) as well as the third, though Kennedy would make up ground and cause the fourth to be pronounced a draw.
The election itself would be fraught with supposed corruption. Mob influence may have pushed Cook County in Chicago to be taken by Kennedy, which nearly tilted the whole of Illinois into his favor. Further questions were raised in Texas, the home of Kennedy's would-be vice-president, Senator Lyndon Johnson. Nixon reportedly refused to point fingers, which many believed would only lead to scandal on even his own end if investigations began about election fraud, such as the conspiracy that his aides had sabotaged the televised debate that September. Key Democratic votes were taken away from Kennedy by electors calling for conservative Democrat Senator Harry Byrd, and it would be enough for Nixon to take the White House the next year.
Nixon's term would be one of international turmoil. He would grant the order for air support at the Cuban exiles' victory at the Bay of Pigs, which would begin the Cuban War that lasted for almost two years before Castro's regime fell. Tensions with the Soviet Union would be constantly high, but the fighter in Nixon refused to ever back down. He poured resources into the American space program, paving the way for a Moon landing by the end of the decade. The Berlin Wall went up, strengthening the Iron Curtain, but Nixon would be instrumental in opening relations with the People's Republic of China, tilting the balance of world power into a wider mix than simply NATO against the Warsaw Pact.
While people debated his "soft on communism" approach, Nixon would continue to be popular and ever more so after his sudden assassination in Dallas while campaigning in November of 1963 with hopes of securing Texas for his next election. His vice-president Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr, would fill out his term and continue Nixon's international diplomacy with East Asia after his own election in 1964. Nixon is routinely ranked among the most loved of American presidents.
In 1983, the correct identification of an American First Strike by a Soviet orbital Missile Early Warning System was transmitted to the Serpukhov-15 bunker near Moscow where it was dismissed as a computer error by duty officer Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov.
Ruse of WarNATO had been set to launch a ten-day command post exercise known as "Able Archer 83" which was to incorporate a new, unique format of coded communication, radio silences, participation by heads of state, and a simulated DEFCON 1 nuclear alert.
On the eve of the exercise, the Soviet Union committed an unmistakeable act of war by shooting down South Korean civilian airliner Korean Air Lines Flight 007 over the Sea of Japan, killing all 269 passengers and crew aboard including Lawrence McDonald, a sitting member of the United States Congress.
As a result, President Reagan decided to use the exercise to obscure preparations for a genuine nuclear first strike. Ironically, KGB director Yuri Andropov had anticipated this move by creating Operation RYAN, a Soviet intelligence operation that monitored the likelihood of an American-led nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union. However the Ryan Planners had failed to anticipate that a duty officer would disregard two early warnings and compound the error by failing to report the matter to his superiors.
In 1777, acting upon the orders of General Howe, British regulars and Hessians mercenaries burned the City of Philadelphia to the ground before marching to the support of John Burgoynes forces to crush the Continental Army at Saratoga and effectively end the American revolution.
Let Freedom RingThe ruthless decision to destroy, rather than occupy was sound from a military perspective given that it mirrored the revolutionary's strategy of rapid movement. However there was another factor in the decision and that was the complete breakdown of the very structure of colonial society in the city. His horror at the gross misbehaviour he witnessed was shared in equal measure by the revolutionary leaders who had set up the Continental Congress, the de fact Republican Government in Philadelphia. James Warren spoke of "degenerate days", Alexander Hamilton labelled American behaviour "vile" and "vicious", Samuel Adams saw a "a torrent of vice [running through our new country".
"I mean the corruption which prevalent in so many American hears, a depravity that is more inconsistent with our republican government than light is with darkness" ~ John AdamsThe republican leaders had not anticipated that the rebellion would shatter deference to authority. "The Apppetites, Passions and Habits were a more dangerous army to American Liberty than Mr Howe's" proclaimed John Adams. But the renegades who had held the upper hand in Philadelphia had a very different concept of freedom that involved adultery, binge drinking, all night partying, racial integration, wild dancing and loud music. Howe's army entered a city in which there was an alcohol-serving tavern for every one hundred citizens. This "astonishing libertinism" was growing like wildfire in the American cities of New York, Charleston and Boston, encouraged by the pirates who frequented the port city.
Of course burning Philadelphia did not solve the problem, because the Revolution had taken its own direction by now and messrs Howe, Burgoyne, Adams, Hamilton, Washington et al could only watch in horror as American society embarked upon a new future that they could never have imagined in their small dispute over colonials rights to the historic privileges of Englishmen.
By 1983, the Cold War stood as the United States and Soviet Union armed each with far more missiles than needed to wipe out all life on the surface of the Earth. There would be no winner in World War 3.
Petrov Pushes The Button Both sides knew that the best they could hope was to destroy the other as brutally as they themselves were destroyed. Key to this idea of "mutual assured destruction" was finding out as quickly as possible that the other side had launched, thus enabling missiles to fire back before being destroyed in their silos.
While the US had its own systems, the Soviet Union developed the Oko satellite system to give early warning about missile launches. In 1982, the project was unveiled and declared ready. Detection happened within thirty seconds, leaving ample time for counterstrike, provided crews and leaders were ready at any time for launch.
A new story by Jeff ProvineIn the fall of 1983, political intelligence was on edge. The Soviets had shot down a South Korean airliner that had violated their airspace, killing 269 civilians, many of them American, including U.S. Congressman Larry McDonald. Although the diplomatic fires had been nearly put out, both sides were anxious, especially the Soviet Union with the seemingly gun-happy American President Reagan. Soon after, NATO began exercises in Able Archer 83, which simulated escalating conflict and a first-strike nuclear release. The matter was not strictly related, but the KGB did not want to risk the exercise being a cover for preparation to attack the Soviet Union.
Just after midnight on September 26, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov (pictured) was on duty when the Oko system's computers reported a launch from the United States headed toward the Soviet Union. It was a single missile, and a nuclear attack would certainly be all-out, so Petrov noted the alarm but decided to declare it false. When more launches began to be detected, Petrov became nervous. Five missiles were now headed at the Soviet Union, and it was his duty to report. In a hurried decision, he called his superiors with the news.
Moscow immediately surged into activity. Panicked, sleepless people began to question the fallibility of the new system as well as their own lives, which very well could be at their ends. Land-based radar would not pick up incoming missiles until minutes before they arrived, leaving scant time to launch the counterstrike. With only slight information, the order to attack was given.
In reality, the missiles were glitches within the Oko system. This would not be determined until the next morning, long after the strike on the United States. In what had been the evening hours, the Americans were hit in major cities and military bases. Millions were vaporized as they sat down to dinner. The American systems had detected the launches, and so their own counter-assault began, slaughtering millions more in Russia. Electromagnetic interference destroyed most communications, leaving the rest of the world in frozen wonder at what had happened. As news came to light over the day, it was obvious that the worst had come.
Trade winds picked up the fallout, spreading it through the northern hemisphere. Europeans tried to flee en masse, which turned the entire continent into a war zone. For months, survivors would suffer radiation poisoning and widespread destruction simply trying to escape. Nothing remained of the vast continents of North America, Europe, and north Asia except deadly wastelands filled with wreckage that could not be harvested for years or centuries.
The southern hemisphere fared better, but fear, material shortages, and famines during the long Nuclear Winters would cause the deaths of billions more. Australia and South Africa led the nations of the British Commonwealth in restoring something of world order around the Indian Ocean. Much of their resources would be spent harboring refugees and helping to end the trauma of the millions poisoned in India. Meanwhile, Argentina stepped up as leader of South America, uniting the countries around it in fascist extremism. Enemies of the state were banished to northern Brazil, where the edge of livability was a horrid fringe of disease, famine, and death.
On this day in 1971, entertainment legend Elvis Presley was shot and killed defending his Graceland mansion against looters.
In 1970, newly installed Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston blasts antiwar congressional candidate Father Robert Drinan for 'overstepping the proper boundaries of his calling as a priest of the Catholic Church' by running for the House seat of Rep. Philip J. Philbin. The cardinal makes clear that he regards Drinan's opposition to the conflicts in Cuba and Southeast Asia 'contrary to the clear teachings of the Church in regard to the threat posed by atheistic Communism' and, while stopping short of demanding that Drinan abandon the race, urges 'all loyal sons and daughters of the Church' to vote for his opponent.
|Sean O Malley|
Cardinal O'Malley's comments inspire a sharp editorial rebuke in the next day's Boston Globe. 'Ten years ago,' it reads in part, 'a Catholic political candidate was forced to defend himself against charges that, if elected, he would take orders from his church. John F. Kennedy succeeded in defusing the issue, and went on to become president of the United States. Cardinal O'Malley's intrusion into the political contest between Father Drinan and Rep. Philbin threatens to reignite this controversy by suggesting that high officials of his church feel that politicians of his faith should in fact take orders from Rome. This, in our opinion, serves the interests neither of American democracy nor of the Catholic Church.'
In 1914, Germany wins battle along the Vitula River against Russia and starts talks with Polish nationalist for establishment of a Polish nation after the war.
In 1975, the gender-bending sendup of 1950's B-Movies, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, rocketed into American theaters. The outrageous farce blew away American cultural mores and made fish-net stockings very popular. In spite of (or perhaps because of) numerous protests by religious groups across the country, the film made $90 million at the box office.
In 1960, Comrade President Joel Rosenberg and Socialist candidate Lyndon Johnson of Texas engage in the first televised presidential debate. Johnson appeared distinctly uncomfortable with the cameras, where the Comrade President, who had been in front of cameras for years, appeared very relaxed. On substance, they were evenly matched, but on appearance, Comrade Rosenberg scored an easy win, just as when he carried the polls in November.
In 1889, German philosopher Martin Heidegger was born in Messkirch, Germany. Heidegger was one of the most vocal of Richard Tolman's followers, and wrote many papers on the subject of parallel universes crossing over into our own. Heidegger disappeared mysteriously in 1941.
In 1235, Isvar Chandra Vidyasagar, one of the most beautiful writers in the Hindi language, was born in Birsingha in the Caliphate of Midnapore. Although his writings skirted blasphemy of the Prophet, his work was so beautiful that he was not only allowed to keep his head, but the Caliph made him a court poet.
In 1774, Jonathan Chapman, known by the popular name Johnny Appleseed, was born in Leominster, Massachusetts. Even as a young man, Chapman had a love for growing things, and this served him in good stead when he was made the longest-serving Minister of Agriculture for the North American Confederation. He served from 1811-1836.
In 2007, the Musee du Luxembourg in Paris has withdrawn a major exhibit of work by the Mannerist Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1525-1593), famous in modern times for his brilliant paintings of people. The surreal imagery was seriously distressing a very large percentage of the visitors, who complained of super-amplified nightmares for weeks afterwards.
In 1907, New Zealand and Newfoundland each became an integrated part of metropolitan France within the French Union. The significance of the loss of these territories from France to Britain was revealed upon the surrender of France in 1940. Suddenly, both Australia and the United States had borders with satellite states of Vichy France, forcing those nations to make urgent engagement decisions. Had they not, Britain would have faced Hitler alone and thus the early loss of Colonies was in the famous words of Winston Churchill 'a cloud with a silver lining'.
Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe, establishing himself as the sixteenth century role model for the Draka
, an aggressive militaristic slave-owning society. As described by historian S. M. Stirling, during the American Revolutionary War, the Netherlands declared war on Great Britain, resulting in the loss of its Cape Colony. After defeat in Revolutionary War, the Loyalists settled in the new Crown Colony of Drakia (later, the Dominion of Draka) in South Africa.
a paperback version of What If Booth's Bullet Had Killed Lincoln?
was published. In Fern Bryant Fadness dystopian world, the process in U.S. history known as Reconstruction goes awry. When both the Confederacy and slavery were destroyed, attempts to resolve the issues of the American Civil War are largely reversed by Lincoln's heirs. In this dramatic short story the Civil Rights movement is delayed by forty years to the 1960s, and Jesse Jackson never gains the White House.
Colonel T.E. Lawrence wrote in his diary - 'The people of England have been led in Palestine into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information.'. Some of that information had been withheld from Lawrence himself. Ned could remember very little of the Battle of Meggido. This was partly as a result of unfortunate resonances from revisiting Deraa
a week before to launch an irregular attack on the Turkish Eighth Army's supply lines.
In 1396, on this day the Danubian fortress of Nicopolis fell to an allied army of Hungarian, Wallachian, French, Burgundian, German and assorted troops (assisted by the Venetian navy).
Crusade of Nicopolis ends in TriumphThree years earlier the the Bulgarian tsar Ivan Shishman had lost his temporary capital, while his brother, Ivan Stratsimir, still held the Danubian port town of Vidin but had been reduced to an Ottoman vassal. A lurid description of how forty-thousand Turks despoiling and imperiling Christian lands was enough to secure the support of Charles VI. Acting in the self-appointed role of "chief of the Christian kings" he rallied the French nobility, filling the gap in Papal authority that had arisen from the schism in the church.
But of course he was only able to make such a commitment because of favourable timing, having recently secured a peace with England through the marriage of his daughter. And even more fortunately, the French nobility were able to persuade him to take siege equipment with them. Because Charles VI and his advisors had wildly underestimated the determination of the defenders, foolishly believe that siege ladders would be sufficient to complete the task. Perhaps he was overconsumed by the spirit of a chivalrous adventure, but the pride and vanity of the French King could have fatally undermined the glorious Crusade of Nicopolis.
In 1897, on this day writer and Nobel Prize laureate William Cuthbert Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi.
Texan FaulknerHis father Murry had hoped to inherit and then run the family railroad business, but when that was sold, he became demoralized and sought1 a new start for his family by moving to Texas and becoming a rancher. They arrived in the Lone Star State four days before his fifth birthday, and he resided there on and off for the remainder of his life.
During his childhood, his mother introduced him to the classics, and he focused almost exclusively on poetry writing until 1925 when he started to write his eponymous classic novel Under a Texan Sky. Based in the fictional town of Jefferson, the declining fortunes of the Sartorious Family are a reflection of the Southern character in the difficult years following the Civil War. In particular, he explored the sense of nostalgia for the refinements of aristocratic lifestyle that the Faulkners had once enjoyed in Mississippi. Of course the book is the inspirational source for the 1939 blockbuster movie starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland and Hattie McDaniel.
Elected a member of the American Academy of Arts in Letter, then in 1949, he received the Nobel Prize. One year later he received the Howell's medal for the best work of fiction, and then the Pulitzer Prize in 1955. Faulker died in 1962, aged sixty-four.
In 1775, on this day an invasion force led by Colonel Ethan Allen crossed the St Lawrence River and forced the Governor-General of Canada Sir Guy Cartleon to abandon British Montreal.
The Fall of Montreal
Ethan Allen's Big AdventureThe British Force in Montreal was pitiful, comprising only thirty-four regulars and a handful of Mohawk Indians. But more tellingly, over one-third of the population were merchants and their employees originally from New England. Carleton's approach to gaining the support of the merchants was to threaten to burn down their warehouses full of furs and wheat if they refused to defend Montreal.
This clumsy attempt to encourage the townspeople to join the militia as "shirtmen" was caused by his own deployment misjudgements. He had started the war with just seven hundred regulars in the combined 26th Cameronian Regiment of Foot and the 7th Royal Fusiliers. But Allen's victories at Ticonderoga and Crown Point had reduced this force, which was then divided to defend Fort St John in the south-east.
Allen commanded the largest paramilitary force in British North America. But in truth only the eight-nine soldiers of the Green Mountain Boys from Vermont were the equals of the King's troops. This fact was unknown to Carleton, who was panicked by the size of the invading force which numbered in the hundreds. And last minute negotiations (including a desperate final offer to pay volunteers half a Portugese silver Johanna a day) were interrupted with the news that Allen's force had reached the suburbs of Longue-Pointe, less than two miles away.
In retrospect, we can see that Carleton was bluffed by the boldness of Allen's plan. His decision to bypass the Forts of St. John and Chambly accelerated the invasion by as much as two months, just enough time to capture Quebec before a northern winter could ruin General Washington's pincer movement.
This article is part of the American Heroes thread.
In 1066, on this day an invading Norwegian force led by King Harald Hardrada of Norway defeated an English army under King Harold Godwinson at the village of Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire.
Battle of Stamford BridgeThe Anglo-Saxon Advisory Council known as the Witenagemot had no choice but to offer the English throne to Harold's estranged brother Tostig. He had only arrived in the country nineteen days before, landing in northern Yorkshire to fight the Earls of Mercia and Northumbria alongside Harald III Hardrada. At their meeting in Winchester, the wisemen foresaw that the worst case scenario was that England would be partitioned into areas of Anglo-Saxon and Viking interest with territory north of Leicestershire would be governed by the Danelaw.
But just three weeks later, the Normans landed unchallenged at Hastings in East Sussex and started marching northwards towards London. Their leader was William Duke of the Normans, a military genius who made imaginative use of the arrow, crossbowmen and light horse and he swept all before him. It was a bold tactic that neither the Anglo-Saxons nor the Vikings had an answer to because their common shield wall tactic proved ineffectual. It soon became clear that England would have a third monarch from a different ethnicity in the space of just one month.
In 1901, on this day General Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, GCMG, CB died at the age of sixty-five in the Squadron's headquarters in Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight.
Death of a TouristHe was a British soldier, a member of Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards, and a notable British witness to the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Whilst holding the rank of "Captain and Lieutenant Colonel" he served as an official representative of the United Kingdom.
His death (caused by complications arising from asthma) led to the publication of a secret diary which included a report of his birdseye view of the Lee-Longstreet dispute which appeared to settle the the postwar Gettysburg controversy.
In the event Fremantle supported the Longstreet account of meetings with Lee that he had presented in published writing. He asserted that he had opposed the offensive movement but accepted it once Lee assented to fight a defensive battle when the two armies collided. "All that I could ask was that the policy of the campaign should be one of defensive tactics", Longstreet stated in his memoirs, "that we would work so as to force the enemy to attack us, in such a good position as we might find in his own country, so well adapted to that purpose - which might assure us of a grand triumph".
The revelation was a vindication to the family of the late Confederate President James Longstreet.
In 1971, following the stroke he suffered two days before, twelfth Confederate President Hugo LaFayette Black died at the age of eighty-five.
Hugo L. Black
12th Confederate President
March 4, 1927- 1933He was the youngest of the eight children of William Lafayette Black and Martha Toland Black. He was born on February 27, 1886, in a small wooden farmhouse in Ashland, Alabama, a poor, isolated rural Clay County town in the Appalachian foothills. Because his brother Orlando had become a medical doctor, Hugo decided at first to follow in his footsteps. At age seventeen, he left school and enrolled at Birmingham Medical School. However, it was Orlando who suggested that Hugo should enroll at the University of Alabama School of Law. After graduating in June 1906, he moved back to Ashland and established a legal practice. His legal practice was not a success, so Black moved to Birmingham in 1907 to continue his law practice, and came to specialize in labor law and personal injury cases.
A new article from the "Two Americas" thread on Althistory WikiaHe was elected to the Birmingham City Commission in 1911, serving as a police court judge, an experience that would be his only judicial experience prior to the Supreme Court. In 1912, Black resigned that seat in order to return to practicing law full-time. He was not done with public service; in 1914, he began a four-year term as the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney.
Three years later, during World War I, he resigned in order to join the Confederate Army, eventually reaching the rank of captain. In 1921, Black would gain popular attention by defending E. R. Stephenson in the trial for the murder of Fr. James E. Coyle.
Black would first serve as the twelfth president of the CSA before going on to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the CSA. As in our time line, he would be a textualist when it came to the CS Constitution. For this reason, full civil rights of black Confederates was not possible until after his death in 1971.
In 1690, on this day the oldest multi-page newspaper in North America, Publick Occurrences both Forreign and Domestick, began its life as a humble four pages of six inch by ten inch paper (one page blank for readers to write their own news and hand around).
Publick Occurrences begins its Eternal Publication Printed by Richard Pierce, the newspaper was published by Benjamin Harris, a well known publisher who had also done a paper in London but England in 1686 with the uprising of the Catholics under James II. Shortly after settling in America, Harris opened a coffeehouse and published the New England Primer, the Colonies' first textbook.
Single-sided newspapers had been printed for some time in Massachusetts, and Harris decided a new business venture in newspapers would be profitable. He would publish monthly, commenting on the significant happenings i.e., the news, though the early journalism was nearly gossip. One news article told of atrocities performed by Indians who were political allies of Britain, which became treated as seditious libel despite its truth. Shortly after its first edition, the government stepped in with a proclamation:
A new story by Jeff Provine"Whereas some have lately presumed to Print and Disperse a Pamphlet, Entitled, Publick Occurrences, both Forreign and Domestick: Boston, Thursday, Septemb. 25th, 1690. Without the least Privity and Countenace of Authority. The Governour and Council having had the perusal of said Pamphlet, and finding that therein contained Reflections of a very high nature: As also sundry doubtful and uncertain Reports, do hereby manifest and declare their high Resentment and Disallowance of said Pamphlet, and Order that the same be Suppressed and called in; strickly forbidden any person or persons for the future to Set forth any thing in Print without License first obtained from those that are or shall be appointed by the Government to grant the same".
Harris was shut down and briefly jailed. Everyone that knew him assumed he would turn back to the safer business of textbooks, but something had pushed Harris too far. He had fled England fearing government, and yet government had found him in Boston as well. If he backed down his whole life, he may be outwardly successful, but he could not call it a life well lived. Overtly, he continued his publication of the Primer and maintained a good life. Covertly, he prepared the second edition of Publick Occurrences.
Printed in late October and handed out on the street, the paper contained editorials as well as selections from John Locke's Two Treatises of Government, emphasizing the social contract and stating that men gave rights to the government and not the government to men. Further pages quoted John Milton's Aeropagitica, a tract against censorship written in 1644, with lines like "as good almost kill a man as kill a good book. Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye". The newspaper ended with another blank page excepting a line at the top from Milton, "Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties".
Though Harris had printed secretly and at a loss, the paper spread quickly through Boston and spilled into the rest of Massachusetts Colony. Furor arose from the liberty-minded colonists, especially as Publick Occurrences became known in Rhode Island where religious suppression had hurt many. The government hurried to destroy what copies they could find and jailed Harris again, though they had no proof that it was his paper.
Harris was acquitted when a third edition of Publick Occurrences was printed in November, quoting John 8:32, "The truth will set you free". The press had gone underground, as Harris had planned knowing that he would be arrested again, where it funded by donations from colonists who picked up the free copies. Unable to stop the paper, the government cracked down upon those who hated it, which caused uproar from even those who did not approve of printing without a license. After years of investigations and fruitless arrests, the colony finally removed its requirement for license in 1694.
Having won freedom of the press, Massachusetts went through a newspaper boom and bust. Harris made and lost a great fortune, returning to comfortable income with his coffee shop, textbooks, almanacs, and Publick Occurrences. He decided to stay in Boston, where he died in 1716. While most of his estate went to his son, he purchased a farm that he bequeathed to what would become the Publick Occurrences Foundation to maintain printing the newspaper for "aeternal publickation" with its harvests.
Publick Occurrences continued to report on all of the news of the day, helping to spark the American Revolution in 1775. It remained something of a "subversive" newspaper, speaking out against the War of 1812 as well as the Mexican War as outright imperialism. A new golden age broke out for the paper during and after the Civil War, but then it became largely drowned out by papers during the turn-of-the-century wars between Pulitzer and Hearst. The paper nearly folded during the 1930s, printing only a handful of copies per month. However, as American mood changed to oppose the Nazis, the strong words of Publick Occurrences began the war cry. Its popularity would fade again as the radicalism of the Sixties subsided.
In 1990, to celebrate the beginning of its fourth century, Publick Occurrences launched online the developing Information Superhighway. The re-branded PO quickly added electronic forums to its digital publication, allowing for the voice of all. Other newspapers and websites emulated the system, soon beginning a craze for individuals "pubbing" short articles with observations, opinions, and links to sites, photos, and video.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.