A Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

Quick Links


Selected threads


Archive Navigator

January February March
April May June
July August September
October November December

Editor's Postbag     |     Feed


Site Meter


Todayinah EditorEditor 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.


 Editor's Pick
In 1451 Jeanne dArc Takes Vows. Against the backdrop of the bitter Hundred Years War, Saint Joan of Arc completed her novitiate and took her first vows to become a nun. "Jeanne d'Arc" Takes Vows By 1955 ninety years after the Civil War had been won, maintaining the Union and also securing rights to Black slaves, the African Americans had left behind unwilling servitude but still suffered as second-class citizens throughout the United States. "Rosa Parks" Riot BeginsIn 1676 on this day Nathaniel Bacon issues the "Declaration of the People of Virginia", beginning Bacons Rebellion against the rule of Governor William Berkeley. "Bacon" rebels but refuses to torch Jamestown
In 1867 on this day Great Britain <a href=http://wwww.alternatehistory.net/discussion/showthread.php?t=144041>purchased Alaska</a> from the Tsar. Long delayed by negotiating posturing, it was nevertheless a move that had been almost inevitable ever since the Russian-American Company entered into an agreement with the Hudsons Bay Company to grant British rights to sail through Russian territory."Alaska" Ice Crystal of the British EmpireIn 1979 on this day Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, chief of the Soviet general staff, abruptly resigned his post just after returning from an inspection tour of Red Army military bases in East Germany. His official reason for stepping down was declining health; unofficially, however, there were rumors he was afraid of being arrested, exiled, or even killed as so many other Soviet political and military officials had been in the half-decade since Yuri Andropov was dismissed as head of the KGB."Ogarkov"'s FateIn 2009 on this day the World Health Organisation (WHO) raised the alert level to six ("Global pandemic under way") after US President Barack Obama fell ill with fever and chills (this being very simular to the swine flu, all schools, and public events were cancelled).A global pandemic gets underway in "2009 Swine Flu Outbreak".
In 1735 on this day the mile-a-minute talking American revolutionary John Adams was born in the north precinct of Braintree, Massachusetts. An antagonist whose favourite form of conversation was an argument, it was a matter of historic inevitability that he would join the patriot cause and then develop a fearsome reputation that would preclude him from executive office better suited to his tight-lipped contemporaries. <span class=EditorText>Part of our <a href=http://www.todayinah.co.uk/index.php?thread=Traitor_to_the_King>Traitor to the King</a> thread.</span>A Traitor to the King "Part 1"In 1946 on this day after the <a href=http://www.todayinah.co.uk/index.php?story=39686-N>final ultimatum</a> was ignored, the Secret Nazi base in New Swabia, Antarctica was destroyed by an atomic bomb dropped from the B-29 "Sally Jupiter" of the 509th Composite Group.Admiral Byrd drops the "Snow Ball"In 1867 Tsarist Russia found itself in a difficult position with the massive peninsula of Russian America (what would later become known as Alaska).  Alaska Purchase Excludes "Kodiak"
In 1800 vindicated by a principled yet desperately unpopular "do nothing" decision that had destroyed his own re-election prospects John Adams seized the opportunity to call for a Constitutional Amendment that would restrict the office of the US Presidency to just a single term.American Heroes: "John Adams"In 2009 on this day President John McCain nominated his former opponent Barack Obama to serve as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, a position he also upgraded to Cabinet Status.Ambassador "Obama", RebootIn 1815 on this day anarchists detonated a huge bomb that destroyed a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens Wenzel von Metternich.Anarchists blow up the "Congress of Vienna"


October 30

In 1735, on this day the mile-a-minute talking American revolutionary John Adams was born in the north precinct of Braintree, Massachusetts. An antagonist whose favourite form of conversation was an argument, it was a matter of historic inevitability that he would join the patriot cause and then develop a fearsome reputation that would preclude him from executive office better suited to his tight-lipped contemporaries. Part of our Traitor to the King thread.

A Traitor to the King Part 1A combustible trial lawyer and forceful public figure in the bustling port of Boston, he came to prominence short of popularity in the early stages of the American Revolution (during the aftermath of the Massacre it took the appearance of his wife with a meat cleaver to spare him from the clutches of the angry local mob). As a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, he played a leading role in persuading Congress to declare independence vehemently opposing any suggestion of seeking reconciliation with the Crown. Instead, he assisted Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and was its primary advocate in the Congress. Later, he was sent to Europe as a diplomat but his ship was intercepted by the Royal Navy. In his private diaries, Benjamin Franklin barely lamented the loss of the argumentative Adams who always looking for a fight might well have failed to understand the delicate nuances of the Bourbon Court.

Instead, while Franklin enjoyed Parisian Society, Adams was held as a traitor to the King in the Tower of London until the end of the war. He returned to the new nation in desperately poor health with his combative nature raised to a new level of angered rage. Re-united with his beloved wife, he recovered his health (if not his frayed temper) and was subsequently named as one of Massachusetts' delegates to the Federal Convention. And in Philadelphia he presented a more than vigorous challenge to the Federalist dreams of James Madison and Alexander Hamilton who might have been forgotten for wishing that Adams was still locked up in the Tower of London. However, his framed picture was hung in the Oval Office by a sympathetic admirer, the 44th US President John McCain who understood having also spent many years imprisoned by a belligerent foreign government.

It is a month, since the government shutdown started at midnight Sept. 30, and the Army still has not been paid. Making matters worse, they are about to be deployed to Syria, to aid the United Nations mission. An article from our Happy Endings thread devised by Jackie Rose.

Happy Endings 33:
A general happy ending
Following a time-honored tradition, they revolt against the government which is failing to pay them. Their generals lead the way ... partly because that will let them rule the country, and partly because they haven't been paid either.

When the soldiers storm the White House and Capitol, the security guards rush to embrace them .. because they have also gone without pay. Taking the President and Congress captive, they exile them to the traditional place of exile .. Paris.

The media are also shut down briefly, with the exception of Fox News ... until the Army realizes that the public is on their side, having tired of all the government shenanigans. So it is a happy ending for the generals, if no one else.

In 1987, on this day the first 16-bit (fourth generation) video game console, the PC Engine is released in Japan.

NEC wins the Bit WarsAnd despite a mad last minute rush to add the Hitachi 6309 (a 16-bit CPU) and a second player control port, NEC engineers also manage to export the console under the name TurboGrafx-16 and get the product shipping before Christmas in the US at a price point just below $100.

Having stolen a march on Nintendo Entertainment and Sega Master Systems, NEC then began to develop TurboGrafx-CD, a better-than cartridge release mechanism for shipping feature rich games into the US market while dramatically increasing audio and visual power. The battle for video game supremacy had begun in earnest.

In 1922, on this day King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy invited thirty-nine year old Benito Mussolini to form a new government. An ill-disguised megalomaniac who dreamt of re-establishing the Roman Empire, he had the strategic genius to wait two full decades before making his power movie.

Rome wasn't built in a dayNeedless to say, Adolf Hitler wanted to move events forward at a much faster pace. And although Mussolini was among the founders of fascism, he was forced by military necessity to slow down the pace of the Fascist advance. Because Italy needed to delay a major war in Europe until at least 1942 for the following reasons: The army needed to substitute its outdated medium and large caliber guns with modern ones; Italian East Africa needed to be pacified so that a colonial army could be drafted there; the navy needed time to complete construction or refurbishing of six battleships; the 1942 planned world exposition in Rome had to be held in order raise foreign currency reserves; the Italians emigrants in France had to be repatriated for "military and ethical reasons".

Up until 1935, he maintained the pretense that the Italian Government was absolutely committed to resisting any future attempt by the Germans to change the Treaty of Versailles. And during the Polish Crisis of August 1939, he had still maintained sufficient distance from the Nazis in order to broker a last minute deal that avoided conflict with the Western European allies.

Of course the sending of Italian Foreign Minister Count Ciano to Warsaw was a brilliant feint; although Britain and France reluctantly agreed to return the Polish Corridor and the city of Danzig to Germany, the continent was braced for war. All sides accelerated the process of re-armament. But when war finally came in 1942, Herr Hitler was allied with an altogether more powerful military partner than he would have had three years before.

In 1975, on this day Star Wars creator George Lucas cast fifteen year old Tom Cruise in the role of Luke Skywalker of Tatooine (pictured).

Michael Douglas plays Han Solo, Part 2Completely overshadowed by Michael Douglas and his dazzling portrayal of the Corellian smuggler, Lucas was forced to slightly re-position the character of Han Solo as the main protagonist. Perhaps the most significant plot change would occur later on in Empire Strikes Back where their roles where reversed, such that Luke was frozen in a block of carbonite requiring Han to rescue him. [1]

But of course the chief imbalance was caused by the marked absence of Alec Guinness who had refused to star in the second movie, in fact only agreeing to the first on the condition that his character Obiwan Kenobe perished during the movie. To fill that gap, Lucas took a bold gamble and turned to a giant of science fiction genre, none other than Leonard Nimoy. [2]

In 1735, on this day John Adams, second President of the United States was born in Braintree, Massachusetts.

American Hero 2b
Birth of John Adams
Once in office, he seized the opportunity to call for a Constitutional Amendment that would restrict the office of the US Presidency to just a single six year term. The occasion was Adams' finest moment of statesmanship, the signing of the Treaty of Mortefontaine which concluded a "quasi-war" waged by the United States and France primarily in the Caribbean.

Under huge pressure to seek a declaration of outright war from the Congress, Adams remained true to the principles of Washington's Farewell Address which called for his successors to avoid American involvement in conflicts with the European powers. Both the first and second Presidents shared the view that real patriots ignored popular opinion and resisted the influence of friendly nations to seek what was best for their own country

The address also warned of the broader dangers of sectionalism, a concept utterly alien to both Founding Fathers who believed that statesmen should act in the broader interests of the Republic rather than in accordance with the narrow agenda of party.

The Treaty signing might have come too late for Adams to win in 1800 yet with the full support of his predecessor, Adams took a bold step that might remove future Presidents from the short term pressures to act unwisely that either party or public opinion could bring to bear. So he crafted his own farewell address, drawing upon the experience of the quasi-war to justify a single term, six year term limit that would keep future Presidents honest. However he made a critical error by failing to address the issue of succession for a future President who died in office. Or how to avoid Congress pursuing a deselection policy with the blunt instrument of impeachment.

Worse was to follow. Because unfortunately for Washington and Adams, opposition forces (principally Jefferson and Madison) sought to take the proposal off the table by recommending even more comprehensive changes. Their counter-proposal was a Roman style political succession which would require politicans to progress from State Legislatures through to Capitol Hill prior to running for the highest office. The implication of such a change was obvious. A barbed weapon aimed at Adams himself, because such a proposal would rule out dynastic succession, almost certainly preventing his ambitious son John Quincy Adams from ever running for President in the future.

But the real consequence was the departure of "men of ambition" [1] who rushed to join the rebel Colonel Burr in his hinterland nation of Gloriana [2].

In 1988, and four weeks behind schedule at Pinewood Studios, Director Tim Burton finally began filming the superhero movie "Batman".

The Demon becomes the JokerJack Nicholson's near fatal traffic accident in Los Angeles was the original cause of the delay. However, a further complication was that during recasting his replacement, the KISS rock star Gene Simmons convinced Burton to replace Mick Jagger's long-term partner Jerry Hall with his own girlfriend, Shannon Tweed.

Had Burton stuck with his original choice of Michael Keaton in the lead role, then it is possible that such a combination of three crazed expressive actors/actresses would have confused the balance of good and evil between the main characters. But in the event, he had chosen another different Beetlejuice castmember, Alec Baldwin whose stylish portrayal of Batman/Bruce Wayne created the perfect balance, transforming a potential epic movie into a true Hollywood blockbuster.

By 1340, for some seven hundred years, the Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula, descended from the old Visigoths who had wrested it from the dying Roman Empire, had attempted to reconquer territory from the Muslims. Originating in the Middle East, the Muslim Caliphate had swept across North Africa, taking up lands as the Byzantine Empire declined.

Moroccans Rout Would-be Crusaders in Spain Originating in the Middle East, the Muslim Caliphate had swept across North Africa, taking up lands as the Byzantine Empire declined. Under the Umayyad Emirates, the Muslims had moved across the Strait of Gibraltar and onto mainland Europe, taking over all but the most northern reaches of Hispania. An expedition even marched far into what would become France, though they would be turned about by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732.

From that peak, the Muslim influence on Europe would begin to decline as the Christians counterattacked. The northern march had been stopped on the peninsula in 722 at the Battle of Covadonga, and the next 510 years would be spent pushing against Muslim strength. Feudal Christian kingdoms began with the aid of other nations, such as the Frankish liberation of Barcelona making way for the Catalonia, which would later be absorbed by Aragon. Eventually the realms of Portugal, Leon, Aragon, Navarre, and Castille would stand in a loose confederation with the Emirate of Granada as the last bastion of the Muslim Al-Andalus that had once dominated the peninsula. Infighting among the Christians slowed the last piece of conquest, and finally Castille turned Granada into a tributary state in 1238.

For the next century, Granada hung onto its lands on the southeastern edge of Spain and made tribute payments with gold that had been brought across the Sahara by merchants on camelback. The Nasrid people there worked in an uneasy alliance with Castile, fighting alongside in Spain and against the Muslim Kingdom of Fez and its ally Aragon in the early 1300s. Gradually, however, the peace began to crack. In 1325, King Alfonso XI of Castile declared war on Granada and set out to conquer while giving an invitation to other Christian kings to join his crusade. While his call went largely unanswered in the first campaign, the second was answered by Portugal and a contingent of Scottish knights bearing Robert the Bruce's heart in 1330. They attacked and took Teba, a key castle Granada, which prompted King Yusuf I to call for aid from the Marinid sultan of Morocco, Abu al-Hasan 'Ali.

Abu Hasan sent a small force in 1333, conquering Gibraltar and securing a foothold for his larger army to land. In late summer of 1340, Abu Hasan's fleet wiped out the Castilian ships, outnumbered three-to-one, and then he move moved his vast new army onto the Spanish mainland. King Alfonso hurried to put together an army to face him and, most importantly, rebuild his fleet. In October, Alfonso's new fast-built fleet of 27 ships joined 15 hired from Genoa and secured the Strait for Castile. Cut off from his supply-lines, Abu Hasan moved onto a siege of the castle at Tarifa. In mid-October, Alfonso marched with his army and joined up with his father-in-law, the King of Portugal, to create a force some 20,000 strong. Abu Hasan moved back from his siege and onto a defensive hill with the Granadan army of Yusuf on a hill nearby.

Upon the night of his arrival, Alfonso sent a force of 1,000 cavalry and 4,000 infantry to reinforce Tarifa. They met with Abu Hasan's light cavalry on patrol, who pinned them with skirmishes until finally driving them back to Alfonso's main army. The cavalry officer reported proudly to Abu Hasan that no Christian had managed to enter the city. This would become instrumental in keeping the Tarifa garrison unable to aid the Castilian forces as they faced the sultan while the Portuguese and Leonese attacked Yusuf the next morning across the Rio Salado.

Initially, the battle seemed to go to Castilians, whose right flank took a bridge and center crossed to smash through the Moroccan's line and be caught fighting with the militia as it raided the Muslim camp. In the chaos, Abu Hasan ordered an all-out attack, which came at the same time Alfonso found himself isolated from the main army. Though he tried to escape, both Alfonso and the Archbishop of Toledo would be cut down. The Castilian rearguard arrived too late; the drop in morale gave Abu Hasan the chance to push and break the Christian army. Yusuf's forces were overrun, but Abu Hasan managed to turn about his army and defeat the remaining Christians while driving the attackers from their attempt to take his camp before resuming a successful siege against Tarifa.

The tide of power would change to give Muslims a stronger grip on southern Spain as the war with Castile ended in a stern treaty. Granada became a Moroccan vassal, and Abu Hasan would work to increase his navy to firmly establish control of the Strait of Gibraltar, having learned his lesson about maintaining supply lines. The coming of the Black Death suspended ideas of further warfare, and afterward the Ottomans would absorb the Moroccan wealth under Suleiman the Magnificent with aid from the Franco-Ottoman alliance that promised France conquest of the small kingdoms in northern Spain.

While the Mediterranean saw more concrete Islamic dominance, an Italian with an Anglicanized name of Christopher Columbus approached the English court of Henry VII to back an expedition westward, and his resulting discoveries would be the focus of much of the later Henry VIII's rule, establishing an English Empire across the New World.

In 1938, on this day farmers and police at the New Jersey town of Grover's Mill gathered near the crash site of what was initially thought to be a meteor.

Part One of Parley Closer inspection of the object, however, revealed it was actually an extraterrestrial spacecraft; even more astonishing, when the craft's occupants emerged they identified themselves as the advance party of a diplomatic mission from the planet Mars sent to establish what one of the Martians called "an alliance between the royal house of our planet and the free peoples of Earth against the tyrants who would seek to oppress both our worlds".

Under heavy police and military escort the Martian ambassadors were driven to a US Army Air Corps base on Long Island; from there they were subsequently flown to Washington for an emergency meeting with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. A new thread by Chris OakleyWhat Roosevelt heard at that meeting alarmed him: a group of Martian militarists seeking to overthrow their homeworld's monarch had sent its own emissaries to Earth to make pacts with Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, Mussolini's Italy, and the generals' clique that was increasingly dominating the Japanese government. There were even disquieting hints one such emissary had made preliminary overtures to Spanish Falangist warlord Francisco Franco.

In 1963, on this day, Douglas Harkness confronted Dieffenbaker directly at a Cabinet session. Ostensibly, the question was whether BOMARC ought to be acquired if it did not have nuclear warheads. Within minutes, Dieffenbaker was shouting at Harkess that this matter was really a vote of confidence in his leadership.

Canadian Cabinet in Turmoil 2 by Raymond Speer"It is more like a referendum on your sanity," a long-frustrated Harkness shouted back. "Are you crazy or simply a backstabbing bastard?"

Diieffenbaker announced that he had total confidence in the people of Canada. "I''ll be awarded the greatest majority ever when they get the chance to repudiate you and your friend Pearson". Shaking his fist at Harkness, the PM said he would see the Governor General by lunch and resign. Thereupon half the Cabinet said they would join their chief in resignations.

When the Cabinet meeting broke up into small groups, a secretary noted that (if verbal assertions of quitting were enough) three quarters of the Cabinet (including all major officers) had quit office. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister was on the phone and in meeings all that day, trying to hold a majority together in the House of Commons.

AMERICAN DELEGATION TO OTTAWA

A dozen members of the North Plains Agricultural Association visited Ottawa today, asking Parliament to work with willing American allies as partners for the reconstruction of the continent.

They had an audience with Liberal leader Lester Pearson, who told them that the Liberals acknowledged American independence and would work closely with President Rusk in any policy that would be followed.

News filtered through the capitol that controversy had rocked a Cabinet meeting on the BOMARC issue and that the Government had split on it. Tomorrow would be the test on whether the Government would fall.

In 1963, newspaper report ~ TURMOIL IN CABINET. PEARSON & LIBERALS PLEDGE CO-OPERATION WITH AMERICANS.

Canadian Cabinet in Turmoil by Raymond SpeerIn the Cabinet of Prime Minister Dieffenbaker, dissent has focused on Defense Minister Douglas Harkness since October 22, 1962. Then, two days before the launches of the missles, President Kennedy had approved an escalation of the NORAD measurement from two (peace) to three (enhanced awareness) on the way to five (war). Not that anybody noticed in Washington DC, but the Prime Minister was infuriated that Canada was supposedly an equall partner to America in NORAD but no one consulted Ottawa.

Canada's Defense Minister, Colonel Douglas Harkness, thought the issue was too trivial to deserve a major debate on the eve of atomic war. Accordingly, the Minister did not make a fuss and even persuaded Dieffenbaker to consent to upping the NORAD scale to two (imminent war) on October 24, 1962,

The Prime Minister would remember that Harkness did not obey him immediately previous to World War Three, but hesitated from dismissing Harkness for fear of the support that man had among Tory backbenchers. In Dieffenbaker's opinion, an unwillingness to follow their leader was surely the most dysfunctional trait of Canadian Conservatives.

Harkness and other Cabinet members had been consulted by the Prime Minister some what. Dieffenbaker had mused that "an expansion of authority" was necessary to kickstart "the reconstruction of the continent and the rehabilitation of the populace". But before October 15, 1963, the Prime Minister had not stated that his plans involved Canadian mastery over the USA.

Dieffenbaker had run a General Election only four months before the Third World War and attained a slight edge over rivals (116 Con., 100 Lib., 30 Social Credit, 19 New Democrats and 1 Independent). Although the world had changed dramatically since June 1962, the Prime Minister had felt no need to hold a new General Election.

Before the Third World War, Canada had thought of building a jet interceptor for its defense, but the Arrow was estimated to cost nine million American dollars apiece, ten times the cost of a competing American jet, the F-104. The Liberals and later the Conservatives had agreed the Arrow was too expensive and ordered from the US contractor, Boeing, the BOMARC, an unmanned missle supposed to be cheap enough to scatter profusely over Canada.

No one ever accused "Dieff the Chief" of proceeding carefully with a master plan. The PM's style was to announce a great project all by itself and fail to consider whether his new ambition might have side effects on other matters.

In BOMARC's case, the system was not promised to be effective unless the missiles were capped with nuclear warheads. The problem was that another Dieffenbaker enthusiasm was that Canada would lead the world in refusing to put atomic warheads on BOMARCs. Defense Minister Douglas Harkness thought any expenditure on non nuclear BOMARCS would be a wasteful absurdity. Unfortunately, the shadow defense minister for the Liberals made the same observation, rousing suspicion in the Prime Minister that Harkness was in treacherous contact with the Opposition.

In 1944, on this day Group Leader Fritz von Scholz (pictured) was decorated with the US Legion of Merit for his outstanding leadership of the Waffen-SS Latvian Legion in the performance of outstanding services and achievements against Soviet Forces in the Baltic theatre of operations.

Torn to ShredsBecause in the months since the death of both Hitler and Roosevelt, Truman desperately needed to refocus the exhausted Western Allies, and especially the Wehrmacht - re-activated under a new, unified Allied Command Structure - on the titanic struggle with the Soviet Union. And he wisely determined that the ferocious conflict now underway inside Latvia was a "fight to the death" heavy with the appropriate heroic symbolism, continuing the struggle for self-determination as codified in the Atlantic Charter - after the Fall of the Third Reich.

Because the Second World War tore Latvia to shreds: annexed by the Soviet Union, occupied by Germany, then occupied again by the Red Army, brutalised, degraded and devastated, Latvia suffered dictatorship, colonisation and mass murder. One third of Latvia's prewar population, perhaps 630,000 people, was lost between 1940 and 1954. Almost the entire Jewish population of 80,000 was wiped out. Both Soviet and German occupiers conscripted Latvians into their armies. Brother fought brother.

Ironically, even as the Western allies finally made good on their security pledges to Poland, military expediency required a series of utterly ruthless decisions that would create controversy for decades to come. Because not longer after the Peace of Danzig was signed with the Soviet Union, the British Journalist George Orwell revealed that the mass murder of Latvian Jews in 1942 was ordered and directed by the Nazis, but Latvian extermination gangs - including members of the Latvian Legion - enthusiastically participated in the genocide.

In 2004, a new AP-Ipsos poll showed the McCain/Watts and Gore/Lieberman tickets in a statistical dead heat with less than a week remaining before Election Day, with the Democrats holding only a one point lead, 49% to 48%. McCain's Change for America Part 1 by Zach Timmons
For the majority of the campaign, Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (pictured) had been running slightly behind President Gore.
However, after solid debate performances by McCain and his VP nominee, former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts, independent voters began trending Republican, perhaps being won over by the McCain campaign promise of 'Change for America'.

In 1958, in the conclusion to the plagiarism case of Garrett vs. Rand the verdict was found in favour of the estate of diseased author, Edward Peter Garrett.Garrett vs. Rand

It was an open and shut case, really. At issue were the unmistakeable similarities between Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged published in 1957, and The Driver, written by Garet Garrett in 1922.

In both novels, the protagonist is a transcontinental railway owner named Galt who is trying to improve the world but fighting against government and socialism. At one point in The Driver the central character asks "Who is Henry Galt?". This scene is repeated in Atlas Shrugged with the minor change that the character is simply named John Galt. Whilst Rand considered the novel to be her magnus opus, it was always unlikely that Atlas Shrugged would be a success being over a thousand pages in length, and ending in a fifty page speech from Galt.

Rand subsequently withdrew the novel, and refocused her writing exclusively on the philosophy of objectivism. By the time of her death in 1982, American leaders really were experiencing a "strike of the mind" and a real life idealist had arrived on the scene, determined to "stop the motor of the world" single-handedly.

Constitutionalist leader Ralph Shephard promised to end the dishonor that had gripped the nation since the loss of the Vietnam War. During his 1985 inauguration speech, Shephard paid tribute to Rand by quoting from Grant's speech, "To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason, Purpose, Self-esteem".

In 1972, as night falls, the bear cultists come for the police officers and the academics trapped in the Montignac police station's jail. Sondra Laval leads them to the cell, chanting softly in the Sanskrit-derived language that is keeping the people of Montignac under the cult's spell. When the cell door is opened and the cultists seize the four outsiders, Professor Karl Ainsworth begins a counter-chant of his own, which is picked up by the other three. Mademoiselle Laval is confused, and halts her own chanting to listen to Ainsworth; the cultists take up the chant from Ainsworth and crew, and soon, the priest's niece is also chanting with them. After several minutes of this, Ainsworth halts the chant and Laval and the other cultists seem to come out of the trance they've been in. "Now, Mademoiselle," Professor Ainsworth says, "we have a special job for you".
In 1938, radio personality Orson Welles produces a radio show to provide cover for the arrival of his unearthly masters. Although millions of Americans see and struggle with the aliens that night, in the light of the morning, it is all proclaimed a simple hoax, with the simple-minded falling under the spell of Welles' dramatic talents. The aliens make contact with their other ally on the planet, a German by the name of Adolf Hitler, and supply him with power until the rebels among their own people find a way to bring him and his alien forces down.
In 2002, safely back in their stolen vessels, Dr. Courtney, Professor Thomas and their Air Force escort find themselves being approached by dozens of ships. They take off in a hurry, and advise the pilots in the other craft to stop for nothing. "We have to get back to earth with this," Dr. Courtney says of the globe they have stolen. The desperate humans begin a prolonged chase through the Pleiades to escape from the aliens.
In 1975, King Juan Carlos begins his formal reign as ruler of Spain. True to his word to former dictator Francisco Franco, he maintains the fascist government, ignoring the entreaties of other governments and exiled Spaniards to transition Spain to a more democratic society.
In 1953, President Eisenhower approves National Security Council Action 162/4, which formally grants the power to [CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED], thus ending American democracy.
In 1915, H.G. Wells opens his second Little Warriors role-playing convention, with a special scenario to be run by himself on Halloween night. Over 15,000 attendees flood the hall in London where the convention is being held, and even members of high society can't resist joining in. At this convention, the American company called Parker Brothers announces that they will be producing a role-playing game of their own based on the legends of King Arthur, called Knights & Castles. It sells like hotcakes at the convention.
In 4646, Star Sailor Yang LiWei was born on the moon colony, the first child born there since it was repopulated after contact with the Chdo. Yang was the first human being to see the galactic core, traveling there in the experimental Chdo-Human hybrid vessel, the Black Swan.
In 1902, an encrypted message was broadcast from the old Mlosh colony ship in the Sahara Desert towards the center of the galaxy. Many human radio astronomers were able to intercept the message, but no one was able to break the code on it. By this point, the Sahara was teeming with the alien race, since the colony ship wasn't large enough to hold them all. Human messengers sent to the site were rebuffed politely but firmly, and the Mlosh refused to respond to vidcoms.
In 1485, the Papal Guards, popularly known as Beefeaters, were created by Pope Henry VII. They have guarded Buckingham Cathedral and all the Popes of the Holy British Empire since then.

On this day in 1941, Soviet premier Ivan Konev gave the Red Army the go-ahead to mount an amphibious assault on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Code-named "Operation Citadel", the assault's objective was to force the Imperial Japanese Army to divert men and resources from its faltering Siberian campaign.

 - Ivan Konev
Ivan Konev

On this day in 2010, US Secretary of Defense David Petraeus held a press conference at the Pentagon to report that US forces were engaging the Venezuelan army near Angel Falls.

Defense Secretary
Defense Secretary - David Petraeus
David Petraeus

On this day in 1944, Allied ground troops in Germany reached Frankfurt.

 -

On this day in 1972, the Dallas Cowboys notched their third win of the 1972 NFL season, beating the Detroit Lions 28-24 at the Cotton Bowl.                                                    

 -
In 1981, the secretary of the UK's pro-euthanasia group Exit was cleared of charges for aiding and abetting suicide. Nicholas Reed was found innocent on three counts of aiding and abetting suicide and one of conspiracy to aid and abet. Mark Lyons, 70, Mr Reed's co-accused and the man who helped people commit suicide by providing pills and alcohol was also acquitted. "I have great sympathy for your assisted death of a multiple sclerosis sufferer. However, f you get into trouble in the next two years you are going to cop it," the judge told him.
In 1938, the Mercury Theater was interrupted by breaking news from New Jersey of an invasion from Mars. After the hideous takeover of our government, the news program was passed off as a "hoax" by radio actor Orson Welles; the truth wasn't revealed until decades later, when the Red Planet's influence was finally eradicated from our government.
In 1650, the murderous cult that called itself The Society of Friends first gained its popular name of Quakers when founder George Fox told them that "the unbelievers will quake and tremble at our approach".
In 2004, five days after the fall of Saddam f British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared "Iraq will be better, better for the region, better for the world, better, above all, for the Iraqi people". Three later BBC journalist John Ware reported in the first of five articles explaining just who Blair and Bush had achieved a stable Iraq in such a short space of time. 3) Sir David Manning, recently retired ambassador to Washington, says neither he nor Blair 'had any sense that the Department of Defence was going to ruthlessly take over the running of the country'.
In 2001, President Al Gore threw out the 1st pitch at game 3 of the World Series between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Republicans denounced his action roundly; as trivial showboating when America was at war with terrorism; as dangerous to the nation, since he didn't wear a bullet-proof vest while on the mound; and as wimpy, since his pitch didn't strike out the batter. Just as he had during his campaign, President Gore laughed off the Republican complaints; a winning strategy - he seems to be on his way to reelection.
In 1995, the Canadian province of Quebec narrowly approves a referendum on secession from Canada. After intense negotiations, it becomes the sovereign nation of Quebec in 1997, followed by New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland/Labrador. In 1999, British Columbia and Yukon Territories join the United States by treaty, and by the end of the century, Canada is only the center of the former great nation.
In 2002, the GCSE History examination paper included two contemporary questions. Students were asked whether Lawrence's Arab Revolt had ever ended. Also, to compare and constrast the flashpoints for the Third World Wars, Sarajevo, Versailles and Pristina Airport.
In 1958, after convincing the Soviet government to allow him to travel to Sweden for the Nobel Prize Awards so that he could refuse his, Arthur Miller officially requested political asylum from the Swedish government. In his request, he denounced the state of free speech within the Soviet States of America, and likened the influence of America to 'an iron curtain that has descended across all of North America, squelching artistic and political expression in subservience to the state.' Needless to say, Comrade President Joel Rosenberg lost no time denouncing Miller as a reactionary counter-revolutionary, no friend of the common people.
In 1953, US President Douglas MacArthur formally approved the top secret document National Security Council Paper No. 162/2, which states that the United States' arsenal of nuclear weapons must be maintained and expanded to counter the communist threat. Shortly afterwards, former US President Harry S Truman began to organise a national resistance movement, convinced that MacArthur had failed to grasp the once-only opportunity that the Bomb had offered in Japan.


October 29

In 1914, on this day King William VI and his Liberal Cabinet Ministers secretly arrived in Austria-Hungary for a military conference with senior officers of the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.). Thie article is a part of the Good Old Willie thread.

Good Old Willie #7
Don't shoot the King, you will get the Prince of Wales in his place!
The primary outcome was a re-organization that created the First and Second Armies (a third, fourth and fifth being created later in the conflict) however the B.E.F. remained the official name of the British Army throughout the Great War. This development had been coming anyway, nevertheless the Generals needed to show some form of reluctant co-operation or even willingness to engage with the meddlesome monarch.

Erratic at the best of times, only two months earlier his beloved parents had been gunned down in cold blood by Slav nationalists on the streets of Vienna. It was a challenge that the German elite of Europe simply could not tolerate, and now British forces were fighting in Southern Europe alongside the Habsburgs and the Princes of German Confederation. The royal assassination was of course a nose-thumbing provocation that had needlessly triggered a preventative war to hold Austria-Hungary together. Perhaps "Good Old Willie" might have avoided the entanglement (one could never be too sure with the Hohenzollerns), but worse, William VI was the most hated man in Europe. His coronation as King of England had only whipped up a fresh wave of anti-Germanic feeling and disastrously had brought Tsarist Russia into the war as a belligerent power.

In 1974, on this day the 37th President of the United States underwent surgery at Memorial Hospital Centre, Long Beach, CA to remove a worsening blood condition from the phlebitis he had suffered in his left leg. Fortunately, he made a full recovery and saw out the remainder of his second term.

Mr Nixon receives hospital treatmentRichard Nixon is, and may always be, the most controversial of American presidents. He is the Cold Warrior who went to China, the staunch conservative who instituted price controls, established the EPA, and pressed for universal health care. He came into office at a time of great racial strife in America, and could say that he left the country better than he found it. (What the civil-rights movement would say of Nixon's record is another matter).

His record is not spotless, especially in his troubled second term. Vice-President Spiro Agnew resigned in 1973 and was replaced by Gerald Ford, after being tainted by allegations of corruption in his previous office as Governor of Maryland. (Corruption charges would dog many of Nixon's staffers after he left office, as well.) He had entered the White House promising to end the Vietnam War, to bring America "peace with honor". The grim footage of the fall of Saigon in 1975, a few short years after American withdrawal, gave the lie to that promise. His Comprehensive Health Insurance bill floundered in the Senate, where Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts killed it for being too timid for his tastes. And he confounded many of his conservative friends by lending support to New York City, that bastion of godless liberalism, during its bankruptcy crisis in 1975.

Beginning in 1974, inflation began to run rampant, defying the economists' maxim that recessions were necessarily deflationary in nature. And it is of course during his term that America's conflict with OPEC began, following the US's strong support for Israel during the Yom Kippur War. Luckily for Nixon he would be out of the White House by the time this "war" reached its climax.

Few American Presidents have reached such heights and such lows, and have so curiously straddled the liberal-conservative divide. Historians will debate his legacy into the 21st century, and it is unlikely that they will find a consensus any time soon. As American's bicentennial year of 1976 began to draw to a close, all anybody could say for sure was that they finally didn't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore.

In 1901, the Polish anarchist Leon Czolgosz was executed by electrocution eight weeks after he shot William McKinley in the stomach at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. Fortunately, the President's life had been saved by a brilliant counter-intuitive medical decision taken by the most renowned surgeon of the day, Dr. Roswell Park.

Buffalo Bill McKinley Based on a comment from John BraungartTaken to a nearby hospital on the fairground, he was attended to by Dr Matthew Derbyshire Mann, a former dean of Buffalo Medical School and a respected surgeon.

Unknown to Mann, the professor of surgery at the University of Buffalo Medical School and a surgeon at Buffalo General Hospital Dr Roswell Park WAS in town but only by chance due to the cancellation of an schedule appointment to perform a neck dissection at Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital. Hastening to the scene, Park learnt that based upon an incorrect diagnosis offered in good faith by Mann, McKinley had already agreed to exploratory surgery.

Park overruled this decision and instead placed drains on McKinley's stomach even though there was no evidence of excess fluid or blood. With hindsight it is clear that this brilliant medical decision prevented the onset on an infection that could have taken his life.

The Republican Party also had good reason to cheer because McKinley's demise would have elevated a self-promoting cowboy to the Presidency. Because Vice President Teddy Roosevelt judgement on matters of statecraft was more impaired than Dr Mann's judgement on abdominal surgery even if both would have had the same effect of ripping the guts out of the living victim.

TR had established a bogus reputation by falsely claiming that his leadership of the misnamed "Rough Riders" (they actually had no horses) had won the Battle of San Juan Hill in fact a hard fought victory for African-American troops which he had only watched in a deeply inebriated state. Peter Finley Dunne suggested that TR's account of the war might best be renamed to the more appropriately titled "Alone in Cuba".

In 1879, on this day German nobleman, General Staff officer and right-wing politician Franz von Papen was born into a wealthy and noble Catholic famil in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The Plot Against Germany 8 Birth of Franz Von PapenElected Chancellor of Germany in 1932, he belonged to the group of close advisers to President Paul von Hindenburg in the late Weimar Republic. And for the final two crazy years of his leadership, he had no choice but to rule the country by Emergency Presidential Decree. Of course this suspension of democratic processes was forced upon him by the actions of one of his predecessors, Gustav Streseman. His intervention in the Lippe-Detmold state election fatally underminined the Nazi Party, preventing the rise of a right-wing coalition Government.

But when von Hindenburg finally passed away in August 1934, his time was up. von Papen was then forced to call fresh elections in which nationalist parties were comprehensively beaten by the Communist Party of Germany. Ernst Thälmann then took office as Chancellor in the city shortly to be known as "Red Star Berlin". Although he declared an end to the State of Emergency, the internal state of the country was becoming rapidly overshadowed by the build-up of Soviet Forces threatening to invade Eastern Germany. Germany was close to gaining a new stability but of course the price was loss of sovereignty to the Kremlin. An article from the asynchronous Chancellor Ernst Thalmänn thread.

In 1974, on this day Richard Nixon died at Memorial Hospital Centre, Long Beach, CA. Exhausted and weak, he passed away during emergency surgery to remove a worsening blood condition from the phlebitis he had suffered in his left leg.

Nixon dies before pardonSince his resignation in August, Nixon and his successor Gerald Ford had been negotiating terms for a pardon with Ford insisting upon a statement of contrition. However from the unrepentant tone of his resignation speech (more than half of which described his accomplishments) it always seemed improbable that a form of words could be agreed that satisfied both men. Evidencing the deep divisions in the country, the Press had responded surprisingly well to Nixon's address, only Roger Mudd had spoken out against him. This reaction even tempted Ford to consider a "full, free, and absolute pardon" but Nixon's declining health had overtaken events.

In a televised speech from the Oval Office that evening, Ford announced that with the passing of the former President, our national nightmare was over. He might have been addressing his fellow Republicans, because although the party suffered horribly in the mid-terms, they managed to recover and Ford sneaked over the line by narrowly winning re-election in 1976. But of course the next bad dream is never far away in the Oval Office - especially if you manage our affairs through closed communication - and so it proved. Because three years later, Ford secretly instructed the Iranian officer corps to get their troops out of their bases and suppress the Revolutionary forces sweeping the country [1].

In 1268, on this day of triumph the inseparable Conradin and Frederick of Baden (pictured) led a victory march in Rome to celebrate their glorious victory at Tagliacozzo.

All Hail the Heroes of TagliacozzoTheir multi-national Hohenstaufen army of Italian, Spanish, Roman, Arab and German troops had encountered that of Charles at Tagliacozzo, in a hilly area of central Italy.

The boldness of Conradin's Spanish knights under Infante Henry of Castile fired a dramatic first charge that won the Battle. But Conradin had to stamp his authority when the same troops were set to commit the error of obtaining plunder in the enemy's camp after that momentary victorious assault. It was the firmness of this command decision that saved the day and made the victory march possible for the sixteen year old Duke of Swabia and claimant to the throne of Sicily.

In 1897, on this day the left-wing journalist and movie critic German emigré "Clubfoot" Joey Goebbels was born in Rheydt, an industrial town south of Mönchengladbach on the edge of the Ruhr district.

The Führer's Antagonist
by Ed, Scott Palter & Steve Kudlak
He wrote a doctoral thesis on nineteenth century romantic drama earning a Ph.D. from Heidelberg University in 1921, he then went on to work as a journalist securing a position at the Berlin Daily. From this platform he emerged as a leading and very vocal critic of the Nazi Regime. Inevitably, he was forced to leave Germany but only when a professional escape route appeared early in the nineteen thirties.

Even though his novels and plays had been rejected in Germany, he managed to attract the interest of a British publisher. A brief sojourn to London was extended, and he happened to fall in with Oswald Mosley's set, even though the relationship would be ruined by the Englishman's drift to Fascism. Building upon these relationships, he became a man of advant guard letters with a day job working for The Sun newspaper. By the eve of World War Two, Goebbels was London's most famous movie critic.

During the War he formed a Free Germany movement broadcasting from the UK a mix of good pop music, movie gossip and sex/corruption gossip on the higher Nazis sources were actors and the like. Allied listeners preferred this form of "Tokyo Rose" sort of pop entertainment because it had better music and better humor than the official stations.

While doing broadway theater and Hollywood jobs for the Sun newspaper he and Glenn Miller had become buddies because Joey was quite the party person and could be charming when it suited him, which was usually with theater or movie people. As a result of their friendship, Miller invited Goebbels to accompany him on his flight to Paris in September 1944. The true nature of the mission would later emerge. Because Miller (who was a fluent German speaker) had been enlisted by Eisenhower to covertly attempt to convince some German officers to end the war early. We can imagine that Goebbels would have enjoyed played a leading role in de-Nazifying German Arts, but unfortunately the rookie pilot allowed their Noorduyn Norseman bush plane to wander into a bomb drop area.

In 2012, on this day Hurricane Sandy made landfall at the mouth of New York Harbor.

Hurricane Sandy makes landfall by Ed & Scott PalterThe tropical cyclone had already devastated portions of the Caribbean and Mid-Atlantic. But the near full submersion of the Statue of Liberty (pictured) was an indication of the terrible disaster that befell the Eastern Seaboard.

And yet the defining television moment finally came when the President and Mayor Bloomberg[1] conducted a helicopter tour of the devastated area. Although not his fault, it was a damning picture that ensured Obama became a political victim of the tragedy in no small part because of his non-emotional response in which he once again appeared "too small" a figure on the national canvas.

In 1929, the wild financial speculation of the Roaring Twenties came to a sudden halt in October when the stock market began to slide.

Banker's Committee Stops Panic of '29 Worries spread through the economic community about the passing of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. Tariffs had always been a point of contention among Americans, even spurring South Carolina to threaten secession over the Tariff Act of 1828. Producers such as farmers and manufacturers called for protective tariffs while merchants and consumers demanded low prices. The American economy soared while post-war Europe rebuilt in the '20s, and the Tariff Act of 1922 skimmed valuable revenue from the nation's income that would otherwise have been needed as taxes. The country barely noticed, and the economy surged forward as new technological luxuries became available as well as new disposable income.

Meanwhile, however, the nation faced an increasingly difficult drought while food prices continued to drop during Europe's recovery. Farmers were stretched thinner and thinner, prompting calls for protective agricultural tariffs and cheaper manufactured goods. In his 1928 presidential campaign, Herbert Hoover promised just that, and as the legislature met in 1929, talks on a new tariff began. Led by Senator Reed Smoot (R-Utah) and Representative Willis C. Hawley (R-Oregon), the bill quickly became more than Hoover and the farmers had bargained for as rates would increase to a level exceeding 1828 for industrial products as well as agricultural. The revenue would be a great boon, but it unnerved economists, who wondered if it could kill the economic growth already slowing by a dipping real estate market.

The weakened nerves shifted from economists to investors, who took the heated debate in the Senate as a clue that times may become rough and decided to get out of the stock market while they could. Prices had skyrocketed over the course of the '20s as the middle class blossomed and minor investors came into being. Another hallmark of the '20s, credit, enabled people to buy stock on margin, borrowing money they could invest at what they hoped would be a higher percentage. The idea of a "money-making machine" spread, and August of 1929 showed more than $8.5 billion in loans, more than all of the money in circulation in the United States. The market peaked on September 3 at 381.17 and then began a downward correction. At the rebound in late October, panicked selling began. On October 24, what became known as "Black Thursday", the market fell more than ten percent. On Friday, it did the same, and the initial outlook for the next week was dire.

Amid the early selling in October, financiers noted that a crash was coming and met on October 24 while the market plummeted. The heads of firms and banks such as Chase, Morgan, and the National City Bank of New York collaborated and finally placed vice-president of the New York Stock Exchange Richard Whitney in charge of stopping the disaster. Forty-one-year-old Whitney was a successful financier with an American family dating back to 1630 and numerous connections in the banking world who had purchased a seat on the NYSE Board of Governors only two years after starting his own firm. Whitney's initial strategy was to replicate the cure for the Panic of 1907: purchasing large amounts of valuable stock above market price, starting with the "blue chip" favorite U.S. Steel, the world's first billion-dollar corporation.

On his way to make the purchase, however, Whitney bumped into a junior who was analyzing the banking futures based on the increase of failing mortgages from failing farms and a weakening real estate market. He suggested that the problems of the new market were caused from the bottom-up, and a top-down solution would only put off the inevitable. Instead of his ostentatious show of purchasing to show the public money was still to be had, Whitney decided to use the massive banking resources behind him to support the falling. He made key purchases late on the 24th, and then his staff worked through the night determining what stocks were needlessly inflated, what were solid, and what could be salvaged (perhaps even at a profit). Stocks continued to tumble that Friday, but by Monday thanks to word-of-mouth and glowing press from newspapers and the new radio broadcasts, Tuesday ended with a slight upturn in the market of .02 percent. Numerically unimportant, the recovery of public support was the key success.

With the initial battle won, Whitney spearheaded a plan to salvage the rest of the crisis as real estate continued to fall and banks (which were quickly running out of funds as they seized more and more of the market) would soon have piles of worthless mortgaged homes and farms. Banks organized themselves around the Federal Reserve, founded in 1913 after a series of smaller panics and determined rules that would keep banks afloat. Further money came from lucrative deals with the wealthiest men in the country such as John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, and the Mellons of Pittsburgh. Businesses managed to continue work despite down-turning sales through loans, though the unemployment rate did increase from 3 to 5 percent over the winter.

The final matter was the question of international trade. As the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act continued in the Senate, economists predicted retaliatory tariffs from other countries to kill American exports, but Washington turned a deaf ear. Whitney decided to protect his investments in propping up the economy by investing with campaign contributions. Democrats took the majority as the Republicans fell to Whitney's use of the press to blame the woes of the economy on Congressional "airheads". Representative Hawley himself lost his seat in the House, which he had held since 1907, to Democrat William Delzell. President Hoover, a millionaire businessman before entering politics, noted the shift, but remained quiet and dutifully vetoed the new tariff.

By 1931, it became steadily obvious that America had shifted to an oligarchy. The banks propped up the market and were propped up themselves by a handful of millionaires. If Rockefeller wanted, he could single-handedly pull his money and collapse the whole of the American nation. Whitney took greater power as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, whose new role controlled indirectly everything of economic and political worth. As the Thirties dragged on, the havoc of the Dust Bowl made food prices increase while simultaneously weakening the farming class, and Whitney gained further power by ousting Secretary of Agriculture Arthur Hyde and installing his own man as a condition for Hoover's reelection in '32.

Chairman Whitney would "rule" the United States, wielding public relations power and charisma to give Americans a strong sense of national emergency and patriotism during times like the Japanese War in '35 (which secured new markets in East Asia) and the European Expedition in '39. He employed the Red Scare to keep down ideas of insurrection and used the FBI as a secret police, but his ultimate power would be that, at any point, he could tamper with interest rates or stock and property value, and the country would spiral into rampant unemployment and depression, dragging the rest of the world with it.

In 1935, on this day the Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce, popularly known as the "Hoover Committee" or the "Hoover hearings" recommended that the US Government grant a one-off tax amnesty to regularise revenue collection from organized crime.

Out of the ShadowsFollowing the passage of the "Volstead" Act, the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol was banned for thirteen years. Even though Prohibition was successful in reducing the amount of liquor consumed it had the adverse consequence of stimulating the proliferation of rampant underground, organized and widespread criminal activity. Because the Federal Government did little to enforce prohibition and by 1925, in New York City alone, there were anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 speakeasy clubs serving alcohol.

A new story by Steve PayneNew and terrifying levels of violence entered American cities. Something had to be done. And then on February 14, 1929 a South Side Italian gang led by Al Capone - dressed as police officers - executed seven members of the North Side Irish gang led by Bugs Moran. It was a watershed.

To mitigate such wild excesses, a transnational grouping of highly centralized enterprises was formed under which Organized crime created its own chamber of commerce. An early indication of the opportunity for self-regulation was the ordering of Bugsy's Siegels' execution by his boyhood friend Meyer Lansky who had him murdered to eliminate a conflict in the criminal underworld.

In addition to the Justice Systems desire for structure, the on-set of the Depression meant that the US Government was desperate to generate further income. A petition to Congress for a deal on a tax amnesty was welcomed. And the result was a one time tax payment, whereby organized criminals could get a pardon and come out of the shadows.

In 1864, on this day the first (and last) CSA President Jefferson Davis (pictured) resigned his post immediately after a meeting of Southern State's representatives approved the dissolution of the Confederacy.

A More Perfect UnionThe attempt to build a "more perfect union" had begun shortly after the founding of the States back in 1798, when the father of Federalism himself, Thomas Jefferson co-authored a resolution for the legislatures of Virginia and Kentucky that affirmed the states' right to resist federal encroachments on their powers. The intention was that through the principle of "nullification" that would later be codified into the Tenth Amendment, the States could locally override unconstitutional federal laws.

But as is so often the case, good intention was over-taken by political expediency. Ten years later, the General Government was struggling with more practical problems such as the quasi-war on the high seas with the British in league with America's former allies, the French. Now in the White House, expediency required Jefferson to compromise his own principles. He imposed an embargo under which no American ship could depart for any foreign port anywhere in the world, hoping that this economic warfare would hurt British and French prosperity, forcing their governments to change tack. But the decision would have dire consequences for the trading economies on the eastern seaboard who were prevented from asserting nullification due to the "national interest".

In seceding from the Union in 1860, the Southern States sought to build the Confederacy that had been envisaged sixty years before. And with the British and French supporting the new state, the prospects of success had initially seemed good. Trouble was the secession happened very quickly, and the US Constitution - and many of the federal governments instruments and controls - were adopted at short notice through lack of any other choice in order to prepare for impending war with the Union. Almost immediately, the Capital at Richmond started to centralise powers and act in a high-handed manner indistinguisable from Washington. And now that the peace treaty had been signed at the Hampton Roads Conference, the southern states looked to a new model, the Republic of Texas which stood undefeated yet still enjoying the freedom and liberty promised by the Founding Fathers.

In 1928, on this day the United States stock market crashed, ushering in the worldwide economic collapse known as the Great Depression.

Cometh the hour, cometh the manThere had been a scare on October 24th, but the events of the 29th were catastrophic. Yet only twelve days before, America's foremost economist, Yale Professor Irving Fisher had commented that "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau".

During March 1929, the new president Al Smith took the drastic step of closing all the banks temporarily. Stocks had by then lost 80% of their value since " Red Friday"1, the day when capitalism ended in the United States, and the American Dream of Socialism began.

Historians speculate that without Red Friday, Smith would have been easily beaten by Herbert Hoover who had served as Commerce Secretary throughout the Coolidge Administration. Yet the "October Surprise" could only have one benefactor. Because in his political career, Smith traded on his working-class beginnings, identified himself with immigrants, and campaigned as a man of the people.

In 1863, Swiss "philanthropist" Henri Dunant founds the International Order of the Red Cross, which, in its public face, was dedicated to aiding the wounded and ill from war and disaster around the globe. Its hidden agenda, of course, was to advance the cause of the Swiss Illuminati, and bring even more power to its secret leaders.
In 1972, the Montignac police officers, as well as Professor Karl Ainsworth and Dr. Yvette Montclair, attend Sunday Mass at the church in the village. To their surprise, Father Vincent Laval is there, conducting the service. Ainsworth and Montclair restrain the officers from arresting the mad priest, and they listen to his sermon attentively. Halfway through, his niece, Sondra Laval, appears in the doorway of the church with a large cave bear - and that bear has several cubs following in tow. Before the townsfolk can react to the unusual sight, Father Laval speaks a few sentences in Sanskrit, and the villagers calm down. Looking around them, the police and the academics get the feeling that the people of Montignac are in a receptive trance. "My children," Father Laval says in French, "our god is now calling us. His mate has grown full with the souls of our sacrifices, but she still needs to feast before she goes back to the long sleep. There are those among us who would deny her," he says, pointing in the direction of Montclair, Ainsworth, and Officers Hortefeux and Orleans, "and they must be dealt with. Seize them". Before the 4 outsiders can resist, the villagers surround and restrain them. "Don't worry," Father Laval says to them, "You shall be a special feast for the Great Bear Himself, not for His mate, nor even His cubs. You shall be sacrificed on the Day of Sleep, to sustain Him while He rests again, and the outside world forgets us". The villagers drag the protesting outsiders to the police station and lock them up in a cell, after disarming them and taking away their keys. "Don't worry," Professor Ainsworth tells the two policemen, "this is all part of the plan".


Older Posts 




© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.