Editor says, for subscription users please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Disqus or Google Plus. History runs along a different line in Today In Alternate History, a site which chronicles "important events in history that never occurred today". Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.
In 1927, one of the first and most glamorous attempts at crossing the Atlantic in a nonstop solo flight ended in tragedy when the plane of Charles "Slim" Lindbergh never arrived at Le Bourget Aerodrome near Paris.
Lindbergh Plane Found off Coast of Ireland In the midmorning of May 21, the plane, crashed but half-buoyant on empty fuel tanks, was discovered by Irish fishermen. They brought it ashore and pulled the body of Lindbergh from it, soon dispatching sorrowful telegrams to Paris and New York. The pioneering aviator had missed his bid to be the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean by airplane, though he would forever live on in mystery.
A new story by Jeff ProvineSon of Congressman and Swedish immigrant Charles Lindbergh of Minnesota, young Charles spent much of his childhood on the move after his parents separated. He attended more than a dozen schools and gained a sense of travel, most significantly tied to the newest form of transportation: the airplane. He dropped out of the University of Wisconsin to enroll in Nebraska Aircraft Corporation's flying school and first flew as a passenger aboard a Lincoln-Standard biplane. Lindberg could not afford the deposit required for a solo flight while at school, and he spent months as a barnstormer performing wing-walking and parachuting, but it would not be until 1923 that he flew alone, aboard a Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" WWI surplus plane he scrounged enough money to purchase.
Lindbergh continued his barnstorming career, performing as "Daredevil Lindberg" and eventually joined the Air Service Reserve Corps, graduating top of his class from flight training. In 1925, he made his career more formal, taking a position with the Robertson Aircraft Corporation to plot and fly an airmail route. While in the service on two occasions, Lindbergh lost control of his plane, parachuting out to safety and hurrying to retrieve the mail from the wreck for delivery. Both incidents took place at night, which would seem to be his curse on the next stage of his life's pursuit of the skies.
In May of 1919, a US Navy hydroplane commanded by Albert Read flew across the Atlantic over the course of twenty-three days from Rockaway, NY, to Lisbon with multiple stops for rest, repair, and refueling. Once the feat seemed doable (an attempt by a pair of Australian aviators ended in a crash at sea and rescue), pilots raced to set records crossing the Atlantic nonstop. That June, British pilots John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown became the first to make a nonstop flight, going from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Clifden, Ireland. The fame and press spurred Parisian hotelier Raymond Orteig to name a prize of $25,000 for anyone who could fly from New York to Paris or vice-versa, a route twice as long as Alcock and Brown's that would tie together two of the world's centers with a single historical flight.
The prize went unclaimed for his five-year offer as aviation technology simply did not yet seem up to the task. Orteig offered it for another five years in 1924, and, in 1927, Lindbergh would make his attempt. Funded with $15,000 by the St. Louis, Missouri, Chamber of Commerce, Lindbergh would do the flight solo, halving the weight needed for two pilots to switch off. With a customized plane from the Ryan Airlines Corporation dubbed "The Spirit of St. Louis", Lindberg set out of New York on Friday, May 20, 1927, in good weather on a task that had already claimed six lives. Veteran aviators Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli had disappeared over the Atlantic in their attempt from Paris only two weeks before. Lindbergh would be its seventh.
What happened to Lindberg is for the most part unknown. Many say he simply fell into a deep sleep (possibly because of a rowdy poker game in his hotel held by a journalist, who would later be brought up on dismissed charges of manslaughter). Others say sudden weather must have caught him. Still others offer ideas of mechanical failure, fuel decompression, or even UFO interference. The well publicized death would send a bad image into the public mind, prompting Orteig to revoke his prize offer as a death-wish (though he would later grant it to the successful attempt a month later when Clarence D. Chamberlin and Charles A. Levine arrived safely in Paris.)
Lindberg's fame would live on with the posthumous publication of his memoirs, WE, and political bolstering of his son's belief in air mail from Congressman Lindbergh. Meanwhile, attempts at solo flights across the Atlantic at night carried much superstition. Five years later, and eerily to the day, female aviator Amelia Earhart would also disappear over the Atlantic when she flew secretly without her co-pilot in a bid to set records
When the Second World War began, flying overnight across the Atlantic became commonplace, and soon it would lose its stigma. However, thanks to the nervousness of the public after Lindberg and reinforced by Earhart, Canadian engineer Edward Robert Armstrong successfully proposed the construction of a refueling seadrome, the Atlantica, which floats anchored midway between Europe and North America. While only marginally economical in the 1930s, the artificial island became crucial to the war effort and had a golden age of tourism in the 1950s as a quiet resort. Long-range aircraft eventually surpassed Atlantica, but it remains a fascinating relic routinely topping the list of World Heritage Sites.
In 1836, on this day the "Napoleon of the West" General Antonio López de Santa Anna launched the invasion of Louisiana by crossing the Sabine River and defeating a Federal army under the command of General Pendleton Gaines.
Napoleon of the WestThe chapter in history known as the "Texas Revolution" was already over. Early Texian Army successes at La Bahia and San Antonio were soon met with crushing defeats at the same locations as Santa Anna's brilliant and ruthless command decisions produced an unbroken sequence of Mexican victories which would climax with the sacking of New Orleans.
The architect of the failed Texian strategy was General Sam Houston who sought to emulate the Duke of Wellington by luring the enemy into a Waterloo. Repeatedly ignoring orders to engage from Texian President David G. Burnet, he continued to retreat in the hope that Santa Anna would make a command error. Unfortunately for the Texians, he never put a foot wrong throughout the whole campaign.
- At a military conference on March 5th he abandoned plans for a costly frontal assault on the Alamo, instead he accepted General Castrillion's suggestion to wait for the arrival of their twelve pound cannon in order to breach the weak north wall.
- By carefully posting sentries and skirmishers on April 20th, he foiled General Sam Houston's surprise attack. His professional soldiers were able to fight in ranks, decimating the Texian charge across open ground.
- And the brilliant capture of the provisional government of the Republic of Texas included the seizure of damning correspondence between Burnet and US President Andrew Jackson. Santa Anna decided to strike immediately by crushing the Federal Army defending the border with Louisiana
For Santa Anna, the campaign had always been about the territorial integrity of Mexico. Like the merciless execution of Davy Crockett, this objective was to be retained by a ruthless stamp of authority that would terminate further settlements by the Anglos who he dismissed as "bandits" and "pirates". With the Texas Revolution now over, he therefore set about reversing the US annexation of Spanish Louisiana which had caused this trouble in the first place.
Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, Sam Houston were heroic legends who had failed to stop him. Now he set his sights on "Old Hickory" and where better to land the blow than New Orleans, the city where President Andrew Jackson had achieved his epoch making victory in the war of 1812. Because Santa Anna understood the psyche of his opponents: crush the Anglos by killing their heroes.
In 1927, on this day the single-engine monoplane, The Spirit of St. Louis landed at Le Bourget Field in Paris, completing the first ever nonstop transatlantic flight.
Lindbergh lands in a stormControversially, the US pilot would be warmly greeted in Paris by Kaiser Wilhem II, official recognition of a man still considered a war criminal by a generation of Americans. And in the 33½ hours since he lifted off from Roosevelt Field in New York the American press fiercely criticized Charles A. Lindbergh for his choice of destination - occupied France.
Photographs of the arrival appeared to reinforce this perception of apparent German sympathies. Weary from his 3,600-mile journey (he had not slept for 55 hours), Lindbergh was cheered and lifted above the heads of Prussian Soldiers. Two German aviators saved Lindbergh from the boisterous crowd, whisking him away in an automobile. Intended or not, Lindburgh was an immediate international celebrity throughout the German Reich.
In 1941, on this day off the coast of Freetown, Sierra Leone a German submarine, the U-69 sank the SS Robin Moor (pictured), a merchant steamship sailing under the American flag, causing the United States to declare war on Nazi Germany.
Sinking of SS Robin Moor leads to war by Ed. & David AtwellThe Robin Moor had recently been refitted as a hospital ship1 and was transporting a thousand injured allied servicemen from the British Eight Army to South Africa without a protective convoy. The ship was stopped by U-69 and although the Robin Moor was flying the flag of a neutral country, her mate was told by the U-boat crew that they had decided to "let us have it". because she was carrying supplies to Germany's enemy.
President Franklin D Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war by describing Germany's decision to sink the ship as "a disclosure of policy as well as an example of method". His message concluded: "In brief, we must take the sinking of the Robin Moor as a warning to the United States not to resist the Nazi movement of world conquest. It is a warning that the United States may use the high seas of the world only with Nazi consent. Were we to yield on this we would inevitably submit to world domination at the hands of the present leaders of the German Reich. We are not yielding and we do not propose to yield".
In 2015, on this day the French government bought the Channel islands of Jersey and Guernsey from England.
On this day in 1967, Israeli air force jets launched pre-emptive strikes against military targets throughout Egypt just as the Egyptian navy was preparing to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping.
Within hours of those pre-emptive strikes 90% of the Egyptian air force and 65% of the Egyptian navy had been destroyed.
On this day in 1938, Charlotte Maguire's father Michael, a detective with the Norfolk Police, was shot and killed while foiling a bank holdup attempt downtown.
Years later, Charlotte would confide to West German police officer Xavier March that a subconscious desire to avenge her father's demise was one of her motives for pursuing her own law enforcement career.
In 2005, after what has felt like the longest spring break she has ever been through, Chelsea Perkins resumes her study of witchcraft in the Great Tree, with lessons from Debra Morris and her father, Terrence, who has been restored to life after his housemates made a change in the past. Chelsea, although she still enjoys using magic, is having some serious second thoughts about witchcraft in practice.
In 1813, Andrew Jackson is chosen as spokesman for the growing number of settlers in Tennessee and dispatched to Fort Coxeboro, the de facto capital of the newly incorporated colony, to present a list of the settlers' grievances to the authorities there. The settlement had been founded in 1791 by Tench Coxe, the Loyalist scion of a wealthy Philadelphia family, who had made a name for himself under General Sir William Howe during the American colonial rebellion of the mid-1770s.
Unfortunately, the only real 'authorities' yet established there are the officers of the military garrison. Those officers, mostly British, take a dim view of being presented with demands by someone they see as an inferior colonial ruffian, and forcibly expel him from the settlement, threatening to imprison him if he dares return.
Jackson, a proud man, is humiliated and enraged. On his return home, he informs the settlers' council which had sent him to Coxeboro of his treatment and demands that the British be made to realize that, "By God, we are as much men as they, and as much deserving of respect!".
In 1971, Pete Best released Scapegoat, a musical stab at his former bandmates The Silver Beatles, who had been talking to tabloids about him. The album mocked their bitterness at their lack of success without him.
In 1924, reactionaries Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were arrested by Chicago police after attempting to assassinate Comrade Judge Clarence Darrow. The pair were the children of industrialists who fled the country soon after; it was thought the young men acted as part of a larger conspiracy against Chicago's Communist Party.
In 1910, Q'B'Ton'ra is executed by his former military leaders in an effort to quell his supporters in the civil war raging in the Mlosh home system. Their leader's death does take the wind out of their sails, and mass surrenders begin across the system.
In 1758, ten-year old Pennsylvanian Mary Campbell is kidnapped by the Lenape tribe and brought to live with them. In her adulthood, Campbell left the Lenape and joined the Canadian revolution, teaching Lenape fighting techniques to the rebels. According to all reports, Campbell cut quite the figure, always dressing herself as a Lenape warrior.
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac's return to the war in Hungary heartens the British troops, and the Hungarians seem to melt before the withering attacks of the Brits. King Arthur II, back home in England, tells Queen Gwen, "You know, I think we should decorate Lance. Perhaps we could make him a lord". Queen Gwen is very enthusiastic about this idea, saying, "After all he's done for us, that's the least that we could do for him". Arthur is still a little awkward around his queen, and says, "My lady - Gwen - I hope that you have forgiven me for my actions against you. The loss of Merl; it affected my mind. He was my mentor, practically my father. I suppose what I'm saying is that I went temporarily insane". Gwen bows her head and graciously forgives him. "Arthur, you've always done what you felt was right for the kingdom, and I know that you would never have moved against me if, well, if you had been in a right frame of mind". Arthur nods, and she goes on. "My lord, perhaps you need to speak with someone about your grief. A professional. I know someone who is discrete". Arthur is hesitant, but eventually agrees to meet with the psychiatrist that the queen suggests to him.
In 1891, 5000 Union soldiers reinforce the fort at Concordia, Kansas, and Colonel Theodore Monteith receives word from Washington that he has been promoted to General. He has a brief ceremony where Major Wainwright pins his new insignia on his uniform. "I hope this won't make you start acting like the last general I followed on this campaign, sir," Wainwright says to him, laughing.General Monteith replies, "I trust that you will keep me honest, Mr. Wainwright". Wainwright smiles and shakes his head. "I'll do my best, sir". As Wainwright turns to leave Monteith's office, the general says, "That's all I'll ever ask of you, Major". Once alone, General Monteith opens the orders that came from Washington with his promotion. These orders detail the 25,000 men who are being moved under his command, who are to be used in the general assault on Topeka planned for June 1st.
In 1991, in New Delhi, Rajiv Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India gave a news conference in which he explained how he had survived an exploding bomb hidden in a bouquet of flowers. The secret was in brahmacharya, meaning 'control of the senses in thought, word and deed'. He had after all seen Bapu survive a similiar attempt on his life in 1948. And his mother of course, very much alive after surviving a hail of bullets from her Sikh bodyguards in 1984.
In 1991, Rajiv Gandhi barely escaped an assassination attempt when he dropped a bouquet that had been handed to him while being pressed by a crowd of supporters. A bomb hidden in the bouquet exploded, killing a young girl and wounding several people in the crowd; the scene of Gandhi holding the young girl as she died propelled him back into the Prime Minister's position, where he led a renewed Indian assault against domestic terrorism.
In 1988, in an attempt to strengthen his own position, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev dismissed the Communist Party leaders in Armenia and Azerbaijan. This triggers a rebellion within the Soviet Union's Communists, and Gorbachev is ousted from power in a military coup the next year.
In 1945, noted surgeon and New York socialite Humphrey Bogart wed the much younger Betty Perske, a dancer with the New York Ballet. 46-year-old Bogart and his 23-year-old bride were the subject of many scandalous reports in the Big Apple's gossip columns, but they seemed to be truly in love - they remained married until Bogart's death from lung cancer in 1957.
In 1927, French aviation fans waiting for American Charles Lindbergh at Le Bourget Field in Paris are thrown into mourning when news reaches them that young Mr. Lindbergh has ditched in the Atlantic. He had fallen asleep at the controls, and since weight restrictions had forced him to fly without a parachute, he died in the crash.
In Hellenic Year 3334, distinguished Athenian statesman Aristocles was born in Athens. Under his leadership, Athens regained a portion of the glory it had lost in the Peloponnesian War, and extended the democratic ideal to several smaller city-states.
In 2000, ending their search for adult supervision of the fledgling search giant Google, co-founders Larry Page and Serge Brin appointed Steve Jobs as CEO. Other candidates such as Intel's Andry Grove and Amazon's Jeff Bezos had been rejected by Venture capitalist John Doerr.
Apple Buys Be Inc. Part 2Only four years before, the former Macintosh Guru had almost re-joined Apple. But the acquisition of his company NeXSTEP fell through and the Board decided to purchase Be Inc from another former Apple executive, Jean-Louis Gassée.
Over the next dozen years, Apple would release innovative computers that dazzled the loyal followers of their niche customer market. Whereas Google would be transformed into a global retail giant. Impossibly long lines of consumers queuing up all night outside their chain of stores waiting to buy the next Google hand-held device.
In 1217, on this fateful day the forces of His Majesty Louis I King of England and France triumphed at the Second Battle of Lincoln.
Plantagenets lose Baron's WarA dispute over the Magna Carta had escalated into a Baron's War and then a full-blown War of Succession with the untimely demise of King John (pictured). But even before he died, Prince Louis of France had entered London to be proclaimed King of England.
John's nine year old son Henry III was crowned but fortunately for the House of Plantagenet, he was supported by a famous knight and excellent tournament fighter named William Marshal who had the power of the king's command. Marshal ordered all nobles with a Castle in England to a muster in Newark. Approximately four hundred Knights, two hundred fifty crossbowmen, and a larger auxiliary force of both mounted and foot soldiers were assembled. From there they would march to break a long siege by an army of Prince Louis at the city of Lincoln.
At the time of the battle, the city of Lincoln had been taken by Louis' forces. However, the castle remained intact. Its garrison-loyal to King Henry-continued to defend the important fortification from forces loyal to Prince Louis, led by the Count of Perche . He took the fortuitous decision to abandon the siege, and adopting an offensive strategy went out to meet the loyalist opposition to fight in an open field. It paid off immediately because at the outset of the battle, William charging headlong into the forces of de La Perche and was unhorsed by spearmen. His death encouraged loyalist barons of the Midlands to switch sides and the day was lost.
It is 1865, and the Civil War has just ended.
Happy Endings Part 16
Death of a War CriminalThe world is outraged to hear of the atrocities committed by the Confederate general named Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Indeed, some of his own men were so horrified that they revealed how he had ordered them to execute Negro prisoners of war. His attitudes might have been shaped by the fact that he himself had been a slave trader before the war, but of course that was no excuse.
Needless to say, he was tried and hanged as a war criminal. While he had been helping the form the Ku Klux Klan after the Confederate surrender, its sympathizers were now afraid of suffering the same penalty, so the new organization never got started. And thank goodness for that!
By 212 BC, the Siege of Syracuse had dragged on for two years as the Romans worked to dislodge a key ally of their nemesis, the Carthaginians. While the Romans held advantages at land and sea, Syracuse was defended by the genius of Archimedes, credited as the greatest mathematician and inventor of the Classical Age.
Archimedes Taken Captive by the Romans His siege engines had kept the powerful Roman navy from successful attacks despite their sambuca, floating siege towers with hooks that would allow troops to easily scale any seawall. The genius of Archimedes, however, allowed the Syracusans to fight back with the famed Claw of Archimedes, a large crane using a hook to lift, capsize, or break up enemy ships. Psychologically devastating was the legendary heat ray powered by carefully arranged mirrors and good weather, allowing the Syracusans to scorch any Roman ship in line of sight.
A new story by Jeff ProvineUnable to take the city by direct assault or even establish a tight enough blockade to keep supplies from coming in, the Roman siege became a humbling stalemate. The populace waited for reinforcements from Carthage, who were already stressed with a shortage of troops for the fighting in Spain. There seemed no great hurry as the Romans were held at sea and the land stiffly defended, so the Syracusans simply went about their business. As the second year dragged on, the city carried out its annual Mounikhia festival of the goddess Artemis. After stuffing themselves on moon-round, open-faced tortillas and spring wine, the city settled to slumber, and the Romans made a cunning attack. A small band managed to scale the wall at night, kill the remaining guards, and open the gates for a full Roman invasion. The outer city quickly fell, and the rest of the Syracusans escaped to the center citadel, where they prepared to hold out again.
Marcus Claudius Marcellus, commander of the Roman forces, ordered that Archimedes be found and brought to him unhurt. While the Romans rampaged the city, Archimedes is said to have scarcely noticed, instead focusing on his mathematical work. A soldier found an old man and demanded he come with him to Marcellus, but Archimedes replied, "Do not disturb my circles!? Just before the enraged soldier struck down the old man, his centurion stopped him and told Archimedes they would wait. They sat for hours while the septuagenarian worked until he finally exclaimed another famous "Eureka!" and went with the soldiers to Marcellus, one of the few willing to listen to the prattling geometry of a mathematician.
Archimedes' work at the end of his life is credited with the creation of calculus. The famous story of his discovery of buoyancy by placing a phony golden crown into water while comparing its mass to a solid block of gold created a roundabout solution to the matter of density calculation for complex solids, but Archimedes wanted to do it purely through numbers. Using the Method of Exhaustion as he had while calculating pi, he found it applicable to any physical system, a mathematical groundwork that would make possible the coming age of technology. It would be his last great contribution to mankind as the inventor would die two years later under house arrest in Rome, designing weapons to counter the Carthaginian invasion of Italy. In fact, the defeat and capture of Hannibal at Herdonia in 210 BC would be credited to Archimedes' harpoon-ballistae disrupting Hannibal's tactically advantaged position.
Calculus would be the greatest in a list of incredible inventions from Archimedes. Born in Syracuse, young Archimedes traveled to Alexandria, the center of knowledge of the Classical world. There, he studied with the greatest mathematicians of the day and even went a step further to applying the mathematics toward engineering. He invented the Archimedes Screw, a tilted, rotating plane that could easily raise liquids or grains. His work with the lever caused him to point out the effectiveness of a fulcrum with, "Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth". Other works included block-and-tackle, differential gears, and an odometer.
Though Archimedes had passed, the Romans knew how to adapt captured culture. The Scipio family, famous and wealthy with Scipio Africanus' victory at Zama, funded the Archimedium, believed to be the first engineering school in the Western world. There, applications for Archimedes' math would be studied, advancing sciences such as optics, metallurgy, physics, chemistry, navigation, and astrology. Over the course of the next two centuries, Rome would grow in leaps through devices such as the compass, telescope, and water pump, which revolutionized the mining industry and enabled the development of the steam engine. As with all science, the Romans sought out its military applications, and soon Roman steam-powered armored carts would be seen on patrol from the coal fields of Britain to the forests of the Rus to the hills of Persia and across the sands of the Sahara.
In 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh set out on the first solo nonstop trans-Atlantic airplane flight, from New York to Paris.
Lucky Lindy, Part OneUpon his successful landing the next day, Lindbergh became an instant world hero. His celebrity would be compounded by the tragic kidnapping of his son and by his collaboration with physician-inventor Alexis Carrel in developing a perfusion pump which could keep organs alive outside the body.
In the late 1930s, Lindbergh became convinced that Nazi Germany possessed unbeatable air superiority and began speaking out in favor of U.S. isolationism in the face of the threat of another war in Europe. By 1939, however, he had begun distancing himself from groups such as the America First Committee, which had sought to recruit him as a spokesman and even a third-party presidential candidate. Instead, Lindbergh explored a presidential run as either a Democrat or a Republican. When it became clear that President Franklin Roosevelt planned to run for an unprecedented third term, Lindbergh chose the Republicans - who were more than happy to have him, given the colorlessness of such leading GOP contenders as Thomas E. Dewey and Wendell Willkie. Lindbergh easily captured the GOP presidential nomination, choosing Willkie as his running mate in a ticket-balancing effort.
The fall campaign was brutal. FDR's partisans did not shy away from hinting that Lindbergh, who in addition to his vocal isolationism had paid a high-profile visit to Germany in 1938 and received the Commander Cross of the Order of the German Eagle from Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering. Lindbergh's partisans retaliated with stories of alleged marital infidelity on the part of the President, insinuations that his health was deteriorating and bitter attacks on his political program. Lindbergh himself made several speeches suggesting that FDR wanted to involve America in what, by then, had gone from a mere threat of war to an actual conflict in which the famed aviator's concerns about German air power seemed to have been borne out.
To be continued in Part Two.
In 1940, on this day Guderian will not get his halt order. He will take the Channel ports before the BEF can retreat through them. The British will save the brigade they lost defending Calais but lose everyone else. There will be no air battle over Dunkirk to give the UK a small victory as happened in OTL.
A Very Different Eastern Front by Scott PalterFrance will live another week as it will take an extra week to refit Guderian's panzers for the second offensive. However the political rot and disparity of forces will be just as bad. This gives Italy an extra week of war. Add some more poor dead Italians in the Alps. However, I am going to pull a divergence here. I will let Balbo talk Il Duce into making an air-sea push for Malta in that final week. The French are no longer cooperating with the British. The British Med commander, Cunningham, will be preoccupied with the French warships in Alexandria harbor. Malta falls.
Two small changes have now occurred. From this I will have Il Duce use his influence with Hitler to get German air support for an Italian drive into Egypt. He gets Richtoffen's close support folks [VIIIth Air Corps - Stukas with fighters], the transport planes, the few surviving airborne [Holland had cut Student's boys up quite badly], and a rump Panzer Corps [Rommel's 7th, the Greater Germany Motor Infantry Regiment and Dietrich's LAH Motorized Troops under the command of Hitler's favorite and the hero of the western campaign, Erwin Rommel]. I will give them 60 days to redeploy to the Egyptian border so that by August 30th they are in position.
The air battles over England would have by this time been initiated, but would have been going as poorly as in OTL. The Germans would be suffering major losses with no clearly visible gains. The propaganda edge from the fall of Paris would be starting to rub off. Also Stalin would be making difficulties in the East over Finland, Rumania, and Bulgaria. Again right on schedule. Finally with Balbo as overall commander, let him bring in Messe to command the Italian fast troops in Libya [only a few brigades but we need an Italian component that can keep up with Rommel].
The Italo-German offensive jumps off on September 1st and runs into O'Conner's prepared ambush battle position. The 7th Armored and 4th Indian were crack units. However complete air superiority plus Rommel plus enough German air transports to keep the advance moving wins a five day dog fight of a battle. By the middle of the month, Rommel and Messe are up to the line of the Suez Canal and Balbo is following Il Duce on a victory parade through the streets of Cairo.
This leads Adolph to one of his intuitive leaps. The whole Sea Lion / Battle of Britain thing is allowed to wind down to minor air skirmishes over the Channel. Hitler has a major victory in which Germany played a key role. Victories are wonderful for his prestige. Air units and armor start shifting south and east.
We will dispense with a rewrite of an ATL I did here before. Rommel takes Basra by late spring of 1941. Balbo relieves Italian East Africa. Churchill is dumped by the Tory caucus in Commons. The UK makes peace, keeping the balance of the Empire. As part of the peace terms, the UK, Germany and Italy all take chunks out of Belgium's and France's African empires. Let Hitler also dump on the British his unwanted Jews and Romani [settle them in the Congo for the sake of amusement]. Our change will be no Barbarossa. Over the winter we will have Hitler begin fortifying the eastern boundaries of his dominions. Beyond that he lets Goring build a New Order in Europe while Hitler does architecture with Speer. Two years pass in which Stalin readies his armies. Without a continuing war in Europe, America has gone back into Depression. The UK is rebuilding its strength but has no mind to oppose a united Europe. Japan has patched up its old alliance with the UK as a joint mutual defense pact against Stalin. The Anglo-Saxons have left Chiang to his fate. He hangs on in Chunking, sustained by Russian aid through Sinkiang. India is being readied for independence, but in the meantime the India army has occupied Tibet, part of Afghanistan and part of Iran as a strategic buffer. Stalin has occupied the rest.
What follows is taken from the concept that Stalin saw the Hitler pact as a truce behind which he could buildup his forces for a showdown. I have been told by ex-Soviets that this is common knowledge there. If so, it has only made it into the fringe histories here. However, presume that this happens. Six million Soviet soldiers open a bombardment from the Arctic circle to Basra. The game commences.
It is highly doubtful that the Russians could achieve strategic surprise. So we will have some four million Europeans [2/3rd's Germans] facing them. The Soviets will have better tanks [absent the pressure of an actual Eastern front German dithering on a successor to the Mark IV would probably have continued]. The Germans will have better planes. They will also be Germans.
Presume that Stalin's first attacks take most of Iraq, most of Finland and half of Turkey. It looks very pretty on the map. However, except for Iraqi oil, none of it is of military signifigance. On the main front, the defects in Soviet battlecraft would probably have repeated themselves. It is doubtful the Soviet armies would be as bad as 41-42 in OTL. Our war caught them with a major reorganization in progress. This time they are ready. However, they would still not have recovered from the purges. It would be an army overcontrolled from the top, displaying little operational initiative. What is likely is a succession of Kharkov 1942 type battles. So the summer is spent with major Soviet penetrations sealed off by German counterattacks into one lost cauldron after another. By the late autumn thaw, Stalin has lost 3 million men to Hitler's million. Europe is mobilizing its industry for arms production. The rebuilding of the German cities is put aside as Speer is shifted to become Hitler's Europe wide armaments trouble shooter. Stalin has not been able to get beyond Ankara in Turkey and has lost Iraq to a skillful Italian counterattack. Finland is reduced to a bridgehead around Helsinki, but the Scandinavians aided by Germans have blocked the Russian advance in Lapland at Narvik.
The winter of 1943-44 sees the European armies push into Soviet territory, liberating Bessarabia, Bukovina, Galacia, western Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia. Stalin's no retreat orders leave his troops under the German hammer far too long in each case. However, the Soviet armies fight hard. A Soviet soldier's family is hostage for his behavior.
The campaign year of 1944 sees the Europeans retake Finland, Lapland, most of Turkey and part of Iran. On the main front the line has reached Odessa - Kiev - Smolensk - Vladi Hills - Leningrad [which is besieged]. Four million Europeans and ten million Soviets have fallen
European and Soviet war orders have revived the economies of the US and UK. The moveable assets of a continent are flowing to the Anglo-Saxons for food, raw materials and weapons. The economic revival comes too late to save FDR's political life. Rather than endure defeat, he has not asked for the Democratic nomination. The Republicans under Taft and Warren take the White House and both houses of Congress, defeating a Democratic ticket of Byrnes and Barkley.
The Tories finally consent to a general election and are routed by a Liberal-Labor-National coalition. Churchill has won his own seat as an Empire independent. Without him to lead it, the Tory party of this TL will be very different than the one we know. It will be a party of a particular class and a particular period. British politics will remain multisided.
It will take the Europeans two years [1945-46] to take Moscow and two more to reach the Volga [1947-48]. By now ten million Europeans and twenty million Soviets will have fallen. The war essentially burns itself out there. Another three years [1948-50], four million Europeans and six million Soviets will be spent proving that neither side can attain a decisive superiority.
So Germany will create a Europe from the Volga to the Atlantic, but a Europe that has seen 14 million casualties and spent its moveable wealth on the most expensive conventional war in history. The Soviets will lose almost all of European Russia and twenty six million men. Their 'gains' will be Afghanistan north of the Salang Pass, Sinkiang, Chiang's small slice of West China and Mao's of Northwest China. However the total population of the USSR will be higher than when the war began from Chinese moved into the old Soviet lands as war workers, farmers and soldiers. Japan will be choking on the 'empire' it has swallowed in China and Indochina. With the end of hostilities some tens of millions of Chinese and Indochinese will be allowed / forced from the Japanese zones into the Soviet ones.
The heart of Europe will be spared the destruction of our WW2. However in lost production and lost men it will be a more costly war for Europe than in OTL. Japan will be victorious but bankrupt. The two Anglo-Saxon states will have the moveable wealth of the world and have avoided war. Indian independence will have happened [make it 1945 if you choose] without partition and with enough troops from Britain to prevent communal rioting on a major scale. Some five million Indian Communists and left Congress types have relocated to the USSR. Some ten million of the more devout and militant Muslims have relocated to Turkey and the Axis Middle East. The British still hold Malaya and Borneo. The Dutch still rule the East Indies. There is no atomic bomb, no nuclear arms race, and no Israel [but no Holocaust or death camps]. A very different world from a few simple switches.
In 1498, on this day the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama (pictured) became the first European to reach India via the Atlantic Ocean when he arrived at Calicut on the Malabar Coast.
Vasco De Gama Reaches IndiaDa Gama had sailed from Lisbon, Portugal and in July 1497 rounded the Cape of Good Hope, anchoring at Malindi on the east coast of Africa. With the aid of an Indian merchant he met there, he then set off across the Indian Ocean.
The Portuguese explorer was not greeted warmly by the Muslim merchants of Calicut, and in 1499 he had to fight his way out of the harbor on his return trip home. In 1502, he led a squadron of ships to Calicut to avenge the massacre of Portuguese explorers there and succeeded in subduing the inhabitants. In 1524, he was sent as viceroy to India, a position that would be finally abolished in 1974 by the collapse of the Portugese empire following the death of the dictator Salazar.
In 2008, Thursday, 9:08 AM from the National staff at The Boston Globe ~
Kennedy Family Tragedy by Eric LippsFormer President Edward M. Kennedy has been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, his doctors said Tuesday, and the prognosis appears uncertain at best for the last surviving brother of the famed Kennedy clan, who has been an enormous force in American politics for nearly half a century.
The announcement was made three days after Kennedy, 76, was stricken at the family's Hyannis Port compound. Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a battery of tests, including a biopsy, and identified a cancerous mass on the top left portion of his brain as the cause of his seizure.
The news sent shockwaves across Massachusetts, which he represented in the Senate after winning the 1962 election to fill the seat of his brother John, the first President Kennedy, until his victory in the 1976 presidential election, and across Washington, where he is held in high esteem by Democrats and Republicans alike. "The usual course of treatment includes combinations of various forms of radiation and chemotherapy," said a statement by Dr. Lee Schwamm, a neurologist, and Dr. Larry Ronan, Kennedy's primary care physician.
But the two Mass. General physicians added that decisions about the best course of treatment would be made after more tests and analysis. They described the senator as "in good overall condition ... up and walking around the hospital ... in good spirits and full of energy".
While his doctors said he will remain at Mass. General "for the next couple of days," Kennedy associates said they expected him to push for his discharge as early as Wednesday.
The prognosis is highly variable at best, ominous at worst, and it raises the possibility that the workhorse lawmaker will be unable to complete the final years of his eighth full term.
Despite the bad news, a Kennedy associate said that the senator shows no symptoms, remains upbeat, and has warned small groups of aides that he wants them back at work.
The associate, who requested anonymity, said Kennedy is plotting his course of treatment as if he were mapping strategy to promote a major piece of legislation, peppering his doctors with questions and planning to reach out to other specialists before determining a course of action.
Kennedy's type of cancer, known as a malignant glioma, is the most common kind of brain tumor in his age group. About 9,000 such malignancies are diagnosed each year in the United States.
Dr. Patrick Wen, clinical director for neuro-oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, called a malignant glioma, in general, "a really serious tumor," usually Grade 3 or 4 on a scale where 4 is most severe.
"The average survival for a Grade 4 tumor is 14 or 15 months," Wen said. "For a Grade 3 tumor, it's two to three years. Unfortunately, the older you are, the worse it is. The biology of the tumor is worse, it's more aggressive".
The senator and his wife, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, were given the diagnosis late Monday by his doctors.
His wife arrived yesterday at Mass. General at 6:20 a.m., stepping out of a black sport utility vehicle and walking briskly inside. His sons, Edward M. Kennedy Jr. and US Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, arrived at 9:45 a.m. Kara Kennedy, his daughter, also spent yesterday at the hospital, as did Kennedy's two stepchildren, Curran and Caroline Raclin.
None of the Kennedys talked to the reporters standing watch outside. Neither the family nor Kennedy's office issued public statements, but late in the day they allowed photographers from the Globe and Associated Press to shoot pictures of Kennedy and members of his family.
Once the announcement was made, in the form of an e-mail to reporters, reaction was broad, swift, and solemn. Dana Perino, Bush's spokeswoman, said the president "was deeply saddened and would keep Senator Kennedy in his prayers".
Kennedy's hospitalization Saturday triggered alarm in the political world and drew an outpouring of support from around the nation. The concern abated when friends and associates said later that day that he was talking and joking with family, watching the Red Sox on television, and getting takeout from Legal Sea Foods.
But as word of the new diagnosis traveled quickly yesterday, his constituents expressed sadness upon hearing the news.
"Oh, my God," said Lisa Rappoli, 55, of Belmont. "It's a shock, just a shock".
I just felt sorrow, but I'm praying, wishing that he has at least a good chance," said Angelo Vespa, 43, of Newton. "All that he's gone through, it's really said".
As Senator and later President, Kennedy made a career of championing the causes of the least fortunate in American society. After leaving the White House at the conclusion of his second term in January 1985, he continued those efforts, acting as an elder statesman of the Democratic Party. His ability to forge bipartisan agreement has brought sweeping changes to entire sections of federal law dealing with healthcare, mental health, the disabled, early childhood education, labor, civil and voting rights, and immigration. His first major speech on the Senate floor was in support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
To Massachusetts, Kennedy has helped bring enormous sums of money for funding medical and other scientific research, infrastructure, historic preservation, and aid for the state's older cities.
A summary of Kennedy's political achievements, compiled by his staff, is 50 single-spaced pages long.
"That's the trimmed-down version," an aide said recently.
Kennedy is the only one of the four brothers to live through middle age. His three brothers all died prematurely: Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., killed in 1944 on a World War II bombing mission; John F. Kennedy, assassinated in Dallas in 1963; and Robert F. Kennedy, assassinated while campaigning in Los Angeles in 1968.
Political success and personal tragedy have marked the epic story of one of the nation's most famous families. Edward Kennedy's son, Patrick, and nephew Joseph P. Kennedy II became congressmen, and a niece, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, served as lieutenant governor of Maryland.
Three other nephews died tragically - John F. Kennedy Jr. in a plane crash, Michael Kennedy in a skiing accident, and David Kennedy from a drug overdose. Two of Edward Kennedy's children, Edward Jr. and Kara, are cancer survivors.
Kennedy has suffered through his own misfortune and failure. In 1964, he suffered a broken back in a small plane crash in Western Massachusetts that resulted in the death of the pilot and one of Kennedy's aides. His marriage to his first wife, Joan, ended in divorce in 1985, shortly after the couple's departure from the White House, and as the third Kennedy brother to seek the presidency, he lost the 1972 election to Richard Nixon in a hard-fought contest some Kennedy partisans, with Watergate in mind, still insist was stolen.
Ironically, however, the Watergate scandal would help make possible Kennedy's successful second run for the White House four years later, in which he and running-mate Sen. Henry M. 'Scoop' Jackson would defeat President Gerald R. Ford and Vice-President Nelson A. Rockefeller. Kennedy's win in that election left his Senate seat open; then-governor Michael S. Dukakis appointed Lieutenant Governor Thomas P. 'Tip' O'Neill to fill the vacancy. O'Neill would remain in that seat until his retirement in 1987.
Kennedy had suffered from what insiders describe as a "serious" drinking problem in the 1960s, apparently exacerbated by the personal tragedies he suffered during that decade. However, after nearly driving his car off a bridge while returning with a female companion from a party in Chappaquiddick, Martha's Vineyard in July of 1969, a close call he blamed on his having been intoxicated, the Senator sought counseling and has apparently remained sober since that time. His passenger in the near-accident, Mary Jo Kopechne, would work for all three of his presidential campaigns and would eventually seek office herself, winning election to the House of Representatives in 1986. Kennedy and his first wife Joan, who remained on good terms following the breakup of their marriage, founded the Kennedy Center for Substance Abuse Treatment in 1988.
In 1937, on this day in Huesca, the English socialist Eric Arthur Blair wrote the following entry in his Spanish Civil War Diary ~ "There seemed to be a loud bang and a blinding flash of light all around me, and I felt a tremendous shock - no pain, only a violent shock, such as you get from an electric terminal; with it a sense of utter weakness, a feeling of being stricken and shriveled up to nothing.
The Death of OrwellI have been about ten days at the front when it happened. The whole experience of being hit by a bullet is very interesting and I think it is worth describing in detail.
It was at the corner of the parapet, at five o'clock in the morning. This was always a dangerous time, because we had the dawn at our backs, and if you stuck your head above the parapet it was clearly outlined against the sky. I was talking to the sentries preparatory to changing the guard. Suddenly, in the very middle of saying something, I felt -- it is very hard to describe what I felt, though I remember it with the utmost vividness.
Roughly speaking it was the sensation of being at the center of an explosion. There seemed to be a loud bang and a blinding flash of light all around me, and I felt a tremendous shock - no pain, only a violent shock, such as you get from an electric terminal; with it a sense of utter weakness, a feeling of being stricken and shriveled up to nothing. The sandbags in front of me receded into immense distance. I fancy you would feel much the same if you were struck by lightning. I knew immediately that I was hit, but because of the seeming bang and flash I thought it was a rifle nearby that had gone off accidentally and shot me. All this happened in a space of time much less than a second. The next moment my knees crumpled up and I was falling, my head hitting the ground with a violent bang which, to my relief, did not hurt. I had a numb, dazed feeling, a consciousness of being very badly hurt, but no pain in the ordinary sense.
The American sentry I had been talking to had started forward. 'Gosh! Are you hit!' People gathered round. There was the usual fuss - 'Lift him up! Where's he hit? Get his shirt open!' etc., etc. The American called for a knife to cut my shirt open. I knew that there was one in my pocket and tried to get it open, but discovered that my right arm was paralyzed. Not being in pain, I felt a vague satisfaction. This ought to please my wife, I thought; she had always wanted me to be wounded, which would save me from being killed when the great battle came. It was only now that it occurred to me to wonder where I was hit, and how badly; I could feel nothing, but I was conscious that the bullet had struck me somewhere in the front of my body. When I tried to speak I found that I had no voice, only a faint squeak, but at the second attempt I managed to ask where I was hit. In the throat, they said, Harry Webb, our stretcher-bearer, had brought a bandage and one of the little bottles they gave us for field-dressings. As they lifted me up a lot of blood poured out of my mouth, and I heard a Spaniard behind me say that the bullet had gone clear through my neck. I felt the alcohol, which at ordinary times would sting like the devil, splash on the wound as a pleasant coolness.
Jackboot stamping on the face of humanityThey laid me down again while somebody fetched a stretcher. As soon as I knew that the bullet had gone clean through my neck I took it for granted I was done for. I had never heard of a man an animal getting a bullet through the middle of the neck and surviving it. The blood was dribbling out of the corner of my mouth. 'The artery's gone,' I thought. I wondered how long you last when your carotid artery is cut; not many minutes, presumably. Everything was very blurry. There must have been about two minutes during which I assumed I was killed. And that too was interesting -- I mean it is interesting to know what your thoughts would be at such a time. My first thought, conventionally enough, was for my wife. My second was violent resentment at having to leave this world which, when all is said and done, s me so well. I had time to feel this very vividly. The stupid mischance infuriated me. The meaninglessness of it! To be bumped off, not even in battle, but in this stale corner of the trenches, thanks to a moment's carelessness! I thought, too, of the man who had shot me -- wondered what he was like, whether he was a Spaniard or foreigner, whether he knew he had got me, and so forth. I could not feel any resentment against him. I reflected that as he was a Fascist I would have killed him if I could, but that if he had been taken prisioner and brought before me at this moment I would merely have congratulated him on his good shooting. It may be, though, that if you were really dying your thoughts would be quite different.
They had just got me on to the stretcher when my paralyzed right arm came to life and began hurting damnably. At the time I imagined that I must have broken it in falling; but the pain reassured me, for I knew that your sensations do not become more acute when you are dying. I began to feel more normal and to be sorry for the four poor devils who were sweating and slithering with the stretcher on their shoulders. It was a mile and a half to the ambulance, and vile going, over lumpy, slippery tracks. I knew what a sweat it was, having helped to carry a wounded man down a day or two earlier. The leaves of the silver poplars which, in places, finger our trenches brushed against my face; I thought what a good thing it was to be alive in a world where silver poplars grow.
But all the while the pain in my arm was diabolical, making me swear and then try not to swear, because every time I breathed too hard the blood bubbled out of my mouth". ~ Wounded by a Fascist Sniper in The Spanish Civil War, near Huesca 20 May 1937 by George Orwell
Orwell later died of his injuries whilst escaping from Spain. In his delirium, an image of fascism siezed his imagination, a "jackboot stamping on the face of humanity". Click to listen to excerpt
In 1984, on this day Yuri Andropov was hospitalized after suffering a stroke; he would die just twelve days later.
In 2009, on this day Mexico attempts to close its northern border. Mexicans are pouring over the border at a astonishing rate thru all the underground caves.
On this day in 1983, Bad News Allen defeated second-generation grappler Greg Gagne in the main event of a live AWA card in St. Paul, Minnesota; among the crowd that night University of Minnesota graduate and former Pittsburgh resident Eric Bischoff, who would later become an AWA TV commentator and subsequently play a major roll in the 1994 AWA-NWA merger.
On this day in 1968, the Soviet Union agreed to a cease-fire with Great Britain, ending the brief but horrific Anglo-Soviet nuclear conflict.
On this day in 1940, the German army launched a counterattack against the Royal Marines beachhead near Tillburg.
On this day in 1967, Israeli prime minister Levi Eshkol convened an emergency meeting of his top defense and intelligence advisors to finalize strategy for what looked like an inevitable conflict with Egypt.
Within hours of that meeting, Eshkol made a speech broadcast by radio from the Knesset floor which asserted that the Egyptian assault on the UN peacekeepers indirectly constituted an act of war against Israel.
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac is freed from the Hungarian prison camp he had been held in exchange for a promise from the British troops not to bomb Budapest. Sir Lance forcefully prosecutes the war against the Hungarians regardless, and they regret letting him go. However, Queen Gwen is quite happy that he is free, as are the non-Hungarian elite of the Illuminati. King Arthur II brings du Lac back to England for a ceremony celebrating his freedom, and Queen Gwen uses his brief stay in Great Britain to rekindle the affair between them. For some reason, Sir Lance is far more compliant this time, and spends the night in the queen's chambers before returning to the Hungarian front. Queen Gwen sends word to her illuminated brethren that, 'Lance is now completely under our control. Let us use this weapon as subtly as our art can allow us; for, should his true purposes be revealed, his usefulness will cease.'
In 1993, a 10 kilometer wide meteor strikes the Pacific Ocean, sending huge waves across Asia, the Americas and Australia. While the destruction is massive, with tens of millions dead and hundreds of cities wiped out, the world is thankful that it wasn't worse, and struggles to rebuild what was lost in the devastation.
In 1978, the film The Buddy Holly Story premiered in the music legend's hometown of Lubbock, Texas. It documented Holly's life up through 1975, when he reconciled with The Crickets and started touring with them again. Holly himself showed up for the premiere, which drew crowds from across America and snarled traffic in Lubbock for days.
In 1959, enigmatic inventor R.D. Strawn was born in Alexandria, Virginia. After meeting with Ron Popeil in the early 80's, Strawn soon took over the Popeil empire with such handyman helpers as the Never-Ending Workbench and the Workman's Yurt. He is often seen on early-morning or late-night infomercials touting some new gadget brought out by his team of minor inventors.
In 1946, English poet W.H. Auden became a citizen of the Soviet States of America, defecting from his native Britain because of persecution against his leftist sympathies. He was never able to return to England, and died in America in 1973. He composed many of the greatest works of Soviet poetry, among them The Age of Socialism, which won the Pulitzer Prize.
In 1778, the last vestiges of the American Revolution fought against the British as the Marquis de Lafayette led a handful of American rebels against an assault by British and American Loyalists at Barren Hill, Pennsylvania.Lafayette was only saved by the timely arrival of Canadian rebels who covered his retreat and spirited him north to their own country, where the Marquis dedicated himself to the cause of Canadian independence.
In 1774, in yet another rebuke to King George, Parliament refuses to pass his Coercive Acts to punish the American colonists. Their efforts at reconciliation, although constantly being sabotaged by the King's efforts, are effective at appeasing the colonists and keeping them within the empire rather than attempting a revolution.
In 1520, Hernando Cortes declared himself the new Emperor of the Aztecs after using them as shock troops to defeat Spanish soldiers sent to capture him. His New Aztec Empire became a thorn in the side of Spanish expansion in the New World, bringing in allies from the native population who preferred conquest by people of their own continent to European domination.
In 1506, crackpot sailor Cristobal Colon died in Valladolid, Spain. For over a decade, he had scoured Europe seeking financial backing for a planned trip across the Atlantic to India, rather than over land or south around Africa. He thought that Asia was a short distance across the Atlantic, but no one of any importance believed him.
In 1343 A.H., Malik al-Hajj al-Shabazz was born on this day.
Birth of Malik al-Hajj al-ShabazzHe rises to lead the people of Africa to independence from Islam. While professing adoration of the Prophet and Allah, al-Shabazz says that subservience to other men is not the destiny of the African. His message resonates with oppressed people throughout Islam.
Only two years later he is brutally slain as he speaks to a meeting of his followers. The assassins are nearly killed before the Caliph's men arrive to arrest them; they confess that they did it in order to still the stirrings of rebellion against Islam that al-Shabazz was causing. While the Caliph is sympathetic, he knows that he would have riots on his hands if he let them go, and so he has them executed.
In 1848, Mexico ratifies the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo thus ceding all territory north of Tampico to the United States for US$15 million.
An installment from 39th Parallel thread.
39th Parallel Part 3:
Treaty of Guadalupe HidalgoAs a result, California was split into two, with the creation of a new state of Colorado below the 37th. Chihuahua, Sonora, Coahuilia and Tamaulipas also entered the Union.
Victory in the US-Mexico War was a mixed blessing for the Union. Because the Wilmot Proviso sought to ban the extension of slavery into the new occupied states. Although the motion was defeated, the vote was taken on sectional (rather than party lines) and destroyed the unity of the Democratic Party. The Whig Party had already imploded over the slavery issue, and some senior political leaders formed the new Republican Party. They found success in 1856 when Frémont was elected to the Presidency. But by then America was completely unrecognizable from the country of 1847.
In 1980, on this day the business-oriented personal computer code-named "Sara" was first announced and released as the Apple III (pictured).
Launch of Apple III Captures Business Computing MarketShipping as standard with the true typewriter-style upper/lowercase keyboard and eighty column display feature set demanded by business users, the Information Analyst bundle also included expansion drives and a choice of thermal printers for a complete solution to IT requirements of a modern office. Because the Apple III was the first product launch since the incorporation of the company (the Apple II predated the formation of the company) the success was all the more remarkable. And the chance discovery of a complex design flaw had even triggered a tumultuous power struggle inside the organization that firmly positioned the company in the business, rather than the consumer, market space.
The Head of the Macintosh division was a twenty-five year old College drop-out called Steve Jobs. Without undertaking any due diligence, he pursued the dream of minutarization by insisting that the unit was fitted with a heat sink instead of a CPU fan and air vents. However this challenging design failed to expel all the heat from the unit and case designer Jerry Manock unfairly took the blame. However he managed to demonstrate that under prolonged testing solder began to melt and run across the cramped "fineline" technology motherboard (this motherboard was itself a largely unproven component and also selected by Jobs to fit the case size on the untested assumption that it would be fully tested by the supplier). But rogue connections were created and of course the result was unexpected malfunction. Fortunately, this design flaw was detected before the launch and a daughterboard introduced for the secondary components. But of course the issue highlighted the reckless decisions taken by Jobs. He was forced out of managerial duties and although he remained a co-owner he was replaced by Manock.
In 1935, on the nineteenth anniversary of the conclusion of the infamous Sykes-Picot Agreement talks, famed arabophile Theodore Edward Lawrence began his tour of the independent states of the Middle East.
Lawrence of Arabia Begins Tour of Independent Middle East The fate of the Middle East had always seemed to be wrapped in incursion from outside powers. As it acted as the central point between Asia, Africa, and Europe, the region had constantly been crucial to human development, trade, and warfare. Waves of conquests by Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, and Turks flowed over the region as millennia passed. As the Great War pitted the Allies against the "Dying Man" of the Ottoman Empire, the question came to France, Britain, and Russia as to what would come of the region when the Ottomans had collapsed.
A new story by Jeff ProvineIn the first of a series of secret agreements, Russia and Britain agreed that Russia was to gain Constantinople and the Dardanelles while Britain gained southerly lands. Russia began to fade from the war as revolution broke out, and Fran?ois Georges-Picot met with Sir Mark Sykes of Britain to guarantee a French mandate in Syria. The British agreed, though only secretly as the war effort had been working to invoke the Arab populace under the Ottoman Empire to revolt. Spoils might be divided only if the war was won, and using Arabs to fight the Ottomans for the Allies would aid in the victory.
Crucial to the war effort in the Middle East was a young archaeologist named T.E. Lawrence. He had been born illegitimately to Sir Thomas Chapman, who left his wife to live with Theodore?s mother, Sarah Junner. The family moved to Oxford, where Lawrence attended Jesus College, graduating with firsts and moving to Egypt to work on excavations with the likes of Hogarth, Woolley, and Petrie. By the outbreak of the World War I, Lawrence had traveled extensively in the Middle East and established a name for himself, prompting a position in the Intelligence Staff in Cairo. Meanwhile, the Arab Bureau of the Foreign Office had concocted a scheme of draining Ottoman resources by supporting an Arab revolt in their territories. Lawrence was sent as advisor, but he soon joined the Arab cause himself.
Told through sensationalistic journalism by American war correspondent Lowell Thomas, Lawrence fought alongside Arab irregulars under Emir Faisal, son of Sherif Hussein of Mecca. They made a surprise overland attack on Aqaba, the success of which caused Lawrence to be promoted to major and given a "free hand" by Sir Edmund Allenby, commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. During the ending days of the war, Lawrence aided in the fall of Damascus, which would soon be capital of Syria, but not the independent state that Lawrence and his Arabic allies were promised. After the war, the Bolsheviks of Russia leaked the secret of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which outraged the Arabs and embarrassed the British.
In a bold push, Lawrence and others demanded the promised liberation of the Middle East from British administration. Finally in 1922, using the resources of Winston Churchill and threatening a war, the Middle East was divided diplomatically into states with self-rule. France refused to give up its hold on Syria, and Lawrence made good on his promise to fight. Guerilla warfare through the 1920s and early ?30s finally destroyed French interest in the region, and Syria was freed, taking its place as an independent state alongside those of Kurdistan, Sunnistan, Shia-Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine.
Lawrence, wealthy through the publications of his memoirs in Seven Pillars of Faith, Revolt in the Desert, and Rains Fell, became a hobbyist pilot and continued his lifelong enjoyment of motorcycles. He returned to Britain, hated by some and applauded by many, and he planned to retire in Dorset. However, just before a daily motorcycle ride, he received a telegram from Ghazi I, son of his old friend Faisal who had become King of Iraq, asking him to join the work continuing his father?s dream of a pan-Arabic confederation. Lawrence agreed and arrived in Bagdad shortly thereafter, flying between Arabic centers until an untimely sand storm swallowed his plane, leaving him as a martyr for the cause.
While certain aspects of confederation have formed over the decades, the Middle East was once again torn between the influences of world powers as the Cold War pitted the Soviet Union against the United States. Discovery of significant oil deposits there have prompted further interest from the outside world, as has a minor but mentionable Zionist movement from Jews, particularly from their home state of Malta, given to refugees of the Holocaust.
In 1983, an expression of deviationalist thought ruined the political career of Mikhail Gorbachev after he unwisely conducted an impromptu one-to-one meeting on this day with a radical free thinker, the so-called "godfather of glasnost" Alexander Yakovlev.
Too much fresh air at Whelan's Farm by Stan Brin, Eric Oppen & EdGorbachev had flown to Ottawa ostensibly in his role as the Minister of Agriculture for bilateral discussions with his Canadian counterpart Eugene Whelan. But as a rising star in the politburo, Gorbachev had conducted a rather more high profile meeting with the Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Also present was Yakolev; formerly the Soviet Propaganda Minister he had been sidelined into his current role as the Ambassador to Ottawa.
Matters of protocol became somewhat confused after an invitation to Whelan's family farm overlooking the Detroit River in Amherstburg, Southern Ontario. Whelan was running very late, leaving the Soviet delegation alone with his wife Elizabeth.
To the great displeasure of both the KGB and RCMP, Gorbachev and Yakolev chose to go for a three hour walk. The fresh air encouraged them to conduct a brutally frank discussion about the parlous state of the Soviet Union. They also reached some rather startling conclusions on the main points of a plan to change the face of Euope.
But due to KGB eavesdropping, those plans came to nought. And on his return to Moscow, Gorbachev would be discreetly advised that he had received a new appointment as the Soviet Ambassador to Finland. His seat in the politburo would be occupied by another rising star in the Communist Party known as Boris Yeltsin.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.