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

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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
The negotiation of a formalized Agreement of Mutual Assistance between the United Kingdom and Poland was quietly abandoned only two days after the signing of the Communazi Pact.25th August, 1939 - Poles walk away from "Anglo-Polish" military allianceIn 1804 on this day former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton shot dead the good Colonel Aaron Burr at a duel in Weehawken, New Jersey thus concluding a thirteen year conflict of jealousy that had begun when the third Vice President had captured a Senate seat from Philip Schuyler, Hamiltons father-in-law."Aaron Burr" dies at WeehawkenIn 1787 in the economic turmoil after the American Revolution, many of the most valiant fighters for freedom suffered long after the war ended. Daniel Shays was a laborer who had joined the Continental Army, fighting at battles such as Bunker Hill and victory at Saratoga.  "Daniel Shays Waits" to take Springfield Armory
In 1903 the Great Russian émigré Vladimir Ulyanov died suddenly of an exacerbation of Erysipelas. Since his recent arrival in London, he had become infected by the flesh-eating red bug which had quickly spread into deeper tissue causing his demise."Lenin" dies of a flesh-eating red bugIn 644 (65 AH) on this day Caliph Omar was stabbed five times. The Muslim Caliphate had grown by leaps since its creation twelve years before at the Prophets death. Omar, a Muhajir (Emigrant), had helped create the political structure after the funeral of Muhammad. "Caliph Omar" Stabbed Five TimesIn 1955 U.S. Customs agent Jack Powell missed a shipment of Alan Ginsbergs Howl and other Poems, which he was supposed to impound for obscenity charges."Howl" and Other Poems
In 1915 on this day the Battle of Gallipoli began with the invasion of the Turkish Peninsula by Australian, British, French and New Zealand troops landing at Anzac Cove and Cape Helles. "Gallipoli Campaign" Ends with Occupation of IstanbulIn AD 33 on this day the one hundred and twenty men and women who had followed Christ to Jerusalem departed the City to embark upon their own ministries."Fishers of Men"In 1962 a Soviet surveillance aircraft was shot down over Turkish airspace and the pilot Major Yuri Gagarin taken into custody."Turkish" Missiles Crisis
In 1947 on this day Oxford Police arrested the University Scholar Clive Staples ("Jack") Lewis for the suspected murder of Jane King Moore."Prince Rilian" finally rips off the maskIn 1971 the United Nations General Assembly voted to admit the Peoples Republic of China while allowing the Taiwan-based Republic of China to remain a member. This "two Chinas" decision represented a short-term triumph for the foreign policy apparatus of the United States, which had found itself forced to lobby vigorously to prevent the General Assembly from expelling Taiwan in favor of the Peoples Republic."Two Chinas" triumphs and Taiwan remains in the UN.In 1975 on this day Michael Douglas quit The Streets of San Francisco to play the supporting role of Corellian smuggler, Han Solo in George Lucas new movie Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope."Michael Douglas" plays Han Solo


October 25

In 1945, Allied theatre commander Matthew B. Ridgeway accepted the formal surrender of Japanese military forces in Taihoku from General Rikichi Andō as part of General Order No. 1 for temporary military occupation. The long-suffering Han Chinese population of the island summarized this historical event with the derisive observation that "the dogs have left, but the pigs have arrived".

Taiwan as OkinawaViewed from a Western perspective the struggle for sovereignty was a direct consequence of the long-term decline of Chinese influence. The military situation on the mainland had deteriorated sharply during the few short months since Douglas MacArthur had been dismissed for refusing to attend a meeting at the White House. And therefore plans to ferry ROC troops across the Strait had been quietly shelved because those soldiers were fighting for their lives on the outskirts of Peking. Instead, through lack of any other sensible option the island of Taiwan was to become an American protectorate even though formally the territory remained part of Japan.

The confusing issue of sovereignty had first started in 1683 when the fleeing Chengs had raced to Taiwan which had then been captured by the Qing Dynasty and made into a Province of China. Over the following centuries, either by ancestry or by assimilation, the population became largely Han Chinese even though both the British and Dutch had made various attempts to seize the islands. During the 1860s there had even been talk of the US buying the island but it came to naught. Instead Japan was ceded the territory for fifty years after the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty of 8th May, 1895.

Following hard on the footsteps of the Chengs was Syngman Rhee, the ill-fated President of the Korean Government in Exile. Ridgeway had been given strict orders by President Truman to withdraw if North Korea invaded the southern portion of the peninsula. This event, provoked by Syngman Rhee's own belligerence, resulted in both men arriving together in Taihoku.

In 1921, on this day Michael King of the Romanians was born in Sinaia, a mountain resort in Prahova County.

Birth of Michael, King of the RomaniansHis reign began on 20 July 1927 but was threatened with forced abdication at the closing days of World War II which saw the Russian occupation of Eastern Europe.

Michael returned to Romania and immediately felt the pressures of Soviet take-over. But, he was the same Michael that, at a mere 26 years old, had rallied with the pro-Allied leaders of Romania and overthrown the Nazi camp's stranglehold. The coup had invited in the Soviets, and now it was time for Michael to rebel again. He found his capitalist supporters, locked down the palace, and, on December 30, sent out by radio and telegram an appeal to the United Nations and individual governments of the United States, Britain, France, and others for support against what he called an invasion from the roots.

The diplomatic gamble would pay off as Stalinists overreacted. Prime Minister Groza had threatened to murder 1,000 students who had been arrested for speaking out against the Soviet Union. The massacre began and rallied the Romanian people against Soviet supporters. Declaring a state of unrest, the Prime Minister called for Soviet military aid, and an invasion began that sparked action from Western nations in early 1948. Dwight Eisenhower, again Supreme Commander in Europe, led his generals in the heaviest fighting in eastern Germany, then joining up with the Polish Resistance and sparking revolutions in the rest of the Eastern Bloc. Romania itself would be filled with guerrilla warfare against a vastly superior force until Allied tanks led the liberation of Bucharest in 1949. Michael, who had been spirited out of the country just after the Soviet invasion, returned from his government-in-exile in London shortly thereafter.

Meanwhile, Italy invaded the Julian March in 1948, which was ceded by Yugoslavia, and Tito sued for a separate peace. Mao Zedong in China was defeated by Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Army, who made certain that Communism was stamped out in the East. Socialist upstarts in India had been put down by Britain's agreement of independence, though French Indochina would see much bloodshed before native Vietnamese were given self-rule.

The Allies pressed into Russia through liberating Ukraine. From experience, they knew Stalin would never give up, despite the use of atomic weapons on his bases. The Cold War portion continued as the stalemated Allies waited until Stalin was finally assassinated and Moscow fell into civil war. Russia was Balkanized, and the exhausted Allies fell into retirement, letting loose their colonies over the '50s and '60s and settling into a new era of capitalistic rule under the American superpower.

In 1888, on this day the commander of the final engagement of World War 2, Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, Jr. was born in Winchester, Virginia.

Birth of Rear Admiral Richard E. ByrdHe was a naval officer who specialized in feats of exploration being a pioneering American aviator, polar explorer, and organizer of polar logistics. Aircraft flights, in which he served as a navigator and expedition leader, crossed the Atlantic Ocean, a segment of the Arctic Ocean, and a segment of the Antarctic Plateau. His expeditions [1] had been the first to reach the North Pole and the South Pole by air.

In 1946 he was selected by US Navy Secretary James Forrestal as the operational command for Task Force 68. His mission was to end the Second World War by destroying the Secret Nazi Base in New Swabia, Antarctica. [2]

At the climax of the Battle of Antarctica he secretly met with the Fuhrer. No details of that meeting have ever emerged, apart from a fragment from Byrd's Missing Diary ~ "There comes a time when the rationality of men must fade into insignificance and one must accept the inevitability of the Truth! I am not at liberty to disclose the following documentation at this writing .. perhaps it shall never see the light of public scrutiny, but I must do my duty and record here for all to read one day. In a world of greed and exploitation of certain of mankind can no longer suppress that which is truth". This article is taken from the NaziUFO thread.

In 1147, on this day German crusaders under Conrad III managed to fight off Mesud I's army of Seljuk Turks at the Second Battle of Dorylaeum.

Crusader Victory at the Second Battle of DorylaeumRunning short of provisions, the Germans had been forced to stop there and his army of twenty thousand men were attacked by forces loyal to the Sultanate of Rum.

The narrow-fought victory enabled the Second Crusade to continue after linking up with a force led by Louis VII of France (the armies of the two kings had marched separately across Europe, and planned to converge after crossing Byzantine territory into Anatolia).

In 1975, on this day Michael Douglas quit The Streets of San Francisco to play the supporting role of Corellian smuggler, Han Solo in George Lucas new movie Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

Michael Douglas plays Han Solo By Ed & Scott PalterDuring the audition, Lucas had been assisted by Harrison Ford, an actor that he had previously worked with on American Graffiti. For context, Ford read lines and also explained the concepts and history behind the scenes that they were reading. This orientation began with the eye-brow raising introductory statement "Starring in a science fiction film doesn't mean you have to act science fiction".

When Douglas had left, Ford sensed that Lucas - who had considered a host of actors ranging from Sylvester Stallone (pictured) through to Burt Reynolds - had finally found his man. And perhaps there was just a hint of jealously when he half-jokingly said "George, you can type this sh*t, but you sure as hell can't say it". Lucas only chuckled and replied that Stallone could neither type, say or act it [1].

In 1994, on this day the first televised debate of the US Senate election in Massachusetts was held at Faneuil Hall in Boston.

UpstagedFive term Senator Ted Kennedy faced the biggest challenge of his long political career. In a dirty race which contrasted both ends of the political spectrum, his millionaire tycoon opponent, a venture capitalist called Mitt Romney fully exploited the issue of high unemployment. Most witheringly, he even suggested that Kennedy's high profile on the Hill had done absolutely nothing for the local economy apart from raise taxes and create pork. Romney claimed that ten thousand jobs were created because of his work at Bain, but private detectives hired by Kennedy found a factory bought by Bain Capital that had suffered a 350-worker strike after Bain had cut worker pay and benefits.

Although polls showed a close run race, Romney crashed to defeat 41-58 percent on election day. However he took some pride in forcing Kennedy to raise a mortage on his house in order to obtain the campaign fees necessary for victory.

Eighteen years later unemployment stood at an incredible ten percent, and this time Romney (who had been more or less campaigning since the nineties) was running against Barack Obama for the Presidency. But the decision to call upon Kennedy to introduce Obama, and create an association with the victory in Massachusetts, would backfire. Because former President Bill Clinton had hoped to give the introductory speech, and given Kennedy's failed run in 1980, felt that he could have created a more resonant association from the success of his own two term of office. Of course there had been some rivalry between Clinton and Obama, with the former appearing at times to be running a shadow Presidency through his private office.

Still the social liberal he was in 1994, Romney had been forced to quit the GOP to run as the Reform Party candidate for President in a three party system.

In 1415, on St Crispin's Day the numerically superior forces of King Charles VI of France crushed the army of King Henry V of England at the decisive Battle of Agincourt which ended the dynastic struggle between the Royal Houses of Valois and Plantagenet.

Battle of AgincourtThe victorious army was inspired by the talismanic personal command of the French King who had long suffered from severe, repeating illnesses and moderate mental incapacitation. His crucial leadershp of Constable Charles d'Albret and various prominent French noblemen of the Armagnac party added a cutting edge to the Battle which saw Henry V and two brothers, Bedford and Gloucester all perish (surprisingly, the English King was on foot in the thick of the battle and killed by one of the Burgundian knights who had sworn to kill him).

The Lancastrian dynasty was finished, but the consequences of victory would profoundly affect France too. Soon after Agincourt, the fragile truce between the Armagnac and Burgundian factions broke down. The brunt of the battle had fallen upon the Armagnacs and in their weakened state, the Burgundians seized the opportunity to re-establish their own Kingdom.

In 1979, on this day the former Governor of Texas, Secretary of both the Navy and Treasury John Bowden Connally, Jr. declared his candidacy for President of the United States fast becoming the GOP's front-running "Beat Carter" nominee.

Hot on the TrailA former Democrat who crossed the aisle in 1972, Connally's shot at the White House had been fired by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme. Because four year before, she had assassinated US President Gerald Ford in Sacramento, California. Ironically, Connally had gained national prominence because he was a passenger in the car in which President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

In the 1976 race, the "Georgia Giant" Jimmy Carter had narrowly defeated the former Governor of California Ronald Reagan, a candidate who had decided too late to run in 1968. Unwilling to run for a third time in 1980, the field was left open to Connally with the expectation that he could garner votes from both parties.

Two further events would ultimately steer Connally into the White House. The death of an alternative Republican Candidate, former President Nelson Rockefeller, and the Iranian Hostage Crisis.

In 1400, on this day Geoffrey Chaucer was freed from prison and composes "Croun Retorned" ("Crown Returned").

Chaucer Freed from Prison and Composes "Croun Retorned" ("Crown Returned") Middle English writer Geoffrey Chaucer is known as the first to show the potential for literature in his native tongue, but he was also very active in his political life.

Born in a family of comfortable wealth with land in Ipswich and dozens of shops in London, Chaucer gained his first foothold into politics as page to Elizabeth de Burgh, Countess of Ulster. For the rest of his professional life, he would work as a diplomat, civil servant, and member of influential courts.

After being captured and ransomed as a young man during the Caroline War, he traveled extensively, especially in Italy, where he would be introduced to poetry in the Italian vernacular. While English poetry was predominately in French and Latin at the time, Chaucer brought back the idea of a poetry of the people. He created works such as "The Book of the Duchess" and most famously his Canterbury Tales (completed in 1408 with its 116 stories). Edward III granted Chaucer "a gallon of wine daily for the rest of his life" on St. George's Day, 1374, believed to be royal endorsement of his artistic advancements.

While writing, Chaucer continued his political career. His children by his wife Phillipa Roet, lady-in-waiting to the queen, did well in society, such as his son Thomas serving as chief butler to kings throughout Europe and Speaker of the House of Commons and daughter Alice marrying the Duke of Suffolk. Chaucer himself climbed upward through the hierarchy of public service, gaining positions as envoy, Comptroller for Customs in London, and clerk of king's works. Toward the end of Chaucer's career, childless Richard II once again came to troubles maintaining his hold on the throne. While campaigning in Ireland, Richard was overthrown by Henry of Bolingbroke, who easily marched his army through England in 1399 while Richard's knights were away. Richard eventually surrendered at Flint Castle to be spared his life for imprisonment in the Tower of London.

Amid the turmoil, Chaucer lost his pay. With creditors in constant pursuit, Chaucer was eager to get renewed grants from the new king, Henry IV, who was distantly his step-nephew by his wife's sister's third marriage. Chaucer wrote his poem "The Complaint of Chaucer to his Purse" in hopes of making his plight known in a clever manner. In its final stanza, he set about a challenge to Henry in what notes suggest was more daring from the original draft.

"Are ye our newe Brutes Albyoun
Who stand fore from line and battle
Our verray king? This song to yow I sende,
Be ye that mowen alle oure harmes amende
Have minde upon my questiun".

Henry responded to the poem with a heavy hand, firing Chaucer from his positions and having him arrested on grounds of debt-evasion. While he contained the potential political stink, the action was enough to convince the young Edward of Norwich to permit his fellow earls Salisbury, Huntingdon, and Kent to go forth with their Epiphany Rising and capture Henry at a tournament in Windsor. In the chaos, Henry's supporters deserted the man who proved not to be heir to Brutus. Richard II was returned to the throne while Henry was executed and his son Henry relegated to positions in Cornwall and Ireland. Upon his return to command, Richard praised Chaucer for questioning the usurper and paid the poet's debts as well as promising a handsome pension, provided he continued to write for the good of England, first producing a long poem praising Richard.

Until his death in 1411, Chaucer produced numerous works highly regarded in English literature. Richard worked to hold onto his throne, struggling against an increasingly independent Northumberland and the Liberation in Wales circa 1415. He finally managed somewhat stable peace with France, despite encouragement from Henry and others that victory could be pressed through Calais.

Richard was succeeded by the next in line for the throne in 1424 by Edmund Mortimer, who became Edmund III and led the merging of the Lancaster and Plantagenet houses through his grandmothers. England continued on a path of stability over the rest of the Middle Ages, producing great works of art and literature but proving politically unambitious.

In 1974, the publication on this day of the novel "Natty Dread" marked the emergence of a new and powerful father of the Beat Generation, the celebrated Anglo-Jamaican author Nesta Robert ("Bob") Marley.

Marley's genius was to imbue the "Spontaneous Prose" of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" with the raw vibrance of the Jamaican patois language, necessary to fully articulate a nostalgic remembrance of growing up in the ghetto in Kingston and the happiness brought by the company of friends.
Watch No Woman, No Cry

A Shining Torch of Hope is passedThis breaktaking novel credits "Vincent Ford" (nicknamed "Tartar"), a close friend of the author's who ran a soup kitchen on the streets of Trenchtown; the royalty checks received by Ford ensured the survival and continual running of his soup kitchen. And this social activism highlighted something new for this literary genre, the replacement of hopelessness with Marley's spiritually charged political and social statement to "Lively Up Yourself". Because Marley claimed he would have starved to death on several occasions as a child if not for the aid of Tartar.

"Georgie would make the fire lights, as it was logwood burnin' through the nights. Then we would cook cornmeal porridge, of which I'll share with you"During the late twentieth century, Marley would become a key driving force in the African diaspora, seeking to usher in a golden age of peace, righteousness, and prosperity. As a member of a Commonwealth mediation effort, the Eminent Persons Group, Marley visited Nelson Mandela three times in Pollsmoor prison outside Cape Town in 1986.

"My feet is my only carriage, so I've got to push on through".On the final prison visit, Marley discovered that Mandela was dying from tuberculosis caused by the damp prison cells of Robben Island. Mandela ordered Marley to play a leading role in the transition to a new Rainbow nation in South Africa, a task he was uniquely well qualified for by being of dual heritage.

Because Marley had explained to Mandela that "I don't have prejudice against meself. My father was a white and my mother was black. Them call me half-caste or whatever. Me don't dip on nobody's side. Me don't dip on the black man's side nor the white man's side. Me dip on God's side, the one who create me and cause me to come from black and white".

In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly voted to admit the People's Republic of China while allowing the Taiwan-based Republic of China to remain a member. This "two Chinas" decision represented a short-term triumph for the foreign policy apparatus of the United States, which had found itself forced to lobby vigorously to prevent the General Assembly from expelling Taiwan in favor of the People's Republic.

Two Chinas Policy
by Eric Lipps
Then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger played a prominent role in negotiations with the General Assembly on this issue, supporting the position of the US ambassador to the UN, George H. W. Bush.

The retention of Taiwan in the General Assembly would, however, complicate relations between Washington and Peking for years. Following the death of Mao Zedong in September 1976, however, the issue would be largely laid to rest by diplomatic outreach to his successors by the incoming administration of President Jimmy Carter, whose UN ambassador, Andrew Young, and Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, were aided by not having been associated with the earlier episode. Despite their non-involvement with the Nixon administration's "two Chinas" lobby, Young and Vance would insist that Taiwan's UN membership was non-negotiable, and Beijing would presently conclude that it would gain little by pursuing the matter further.

The long-term effect of Taiwan's remaining in the UN was mixed at best. While the symbolic value of membership was real, Taiwan's vote on issues tended to be drowned out. It was unable to make any material difference, for example, in the March 22, 1975 vote on UN Resolution 3379 which equated Zionism with racism. Moreover, despite furious lobbying, it was unable to win a permanent seat on the UN Security Council alongside its mainland adversary.

In 1672, on this day at the High Court of Justice King Charles II of England was found guilty of high treason and other crimes, the identical charge sheet also carrying the same sentence as his father, death by beheading in front of the Banqueting House at Whitehall Palace.

Shadow of a KingThe disgraced Stuart monarch had warm memories of Whitehall; after his decade-and-a-half in exile he led a procession towards the Palace on the morning of his thirtieth birthday. Accompanying him was a cheering crowd over fifty thousand strong, including the ranked companies of the army which had been raised during the English Civil War to fight his father.

" ... addicted beyond measure to sensual indulgence, fond of sauntering and of frivolous amusements ... without desire of renown and without sensibility to reproach ... honour and shame were scarcely more to him than light and darkness to the blind" ~ Macaulay.Yet only twelve years later, his popular support had collapsed after a colourful love-life had produced no less than twelve illegitimate children. But his fate was sealed by the relevation that in 1671 he had signed a Secret Treaty in Dover. To the shock of the English people, it was revealed that their King would receive a pension from Louis XIV in return for a secret undertaking to return England to the Catholic church.

The night before the beheading, his death-bed conversion to Catholicism provided convincing evidence of the King's moral and personal weakness. Because it was also revealed that his period of exile was spent without direction or purpose, that he learned the idleness, the informality and the moral flexibility that would come to define his reign after the Restoration.

In 1964, on this day the deadliest act of terrorism on American soil to date occured with the mortar bombing of the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C.Hajj Part 7 - That Party Bombed by Eric Oppen
Mr and Mrs John F. Kennedy, guests to a reception held in their honour, were ushered away to safety, narrowly escaping a second attempt on their lives in less than twelve months. A number of prominent members of the US Cabinet were not so lucky; by dawn the bodycount was twenty-five dead Americans. Representatives from the Kingdom plus foreign diplomats featured in a very long casualty as well.
Immense pressure for early arrests was exerted on the intelligence agencies by US and Foreign Governments. In fact, early assessments indicated that four terrorists had mounted the assault with mobile weapons, leaving no clues as to the origin of the assault.
In a private call from the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jnr. the President indicated that both the Nation of Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood were considered suspects. FBI informants had been placed in both organisations, and Kennedy was not alone in wondering if double agents had created a two-directional intelligence feed. Whilst unspoken, it was of course a given that the assault would have profound consequences for the passage of Civil Rights Legislation through the nearby US Congress in 1965.
To be continued..

UN Ambassasor

On this day in 1962, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution censuring the Soviet Union for deploying offensive nuclear weapons and a U.S.-targeted invasion force in Cuba; the resolution was introduced and passed after US ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson presented evidence of Soviet war plans, including an armored vehicles and munitions cargo manifest confiscated from the Soviet freighter Bucharest the previous day.

In protest, Stevenson's Soviet counterpart Valery Zorin walked out of the session, taking the entire Soviet UN delegation with him.

UN Ambassasor - Adlai Stevenson
Adlai Stevenson

On this day in 1982, NWA World Championship Wrestling broadcast a three-hour special edition titled 'Halloween Havoc'.

In the main event, Bret Hart-- now dubbed 'the Hit Man' because of his relentlessly aggressive ring style --ended Tommy Rich's NWA reign of terror by defeating him in a 'loser- leaves-town' match under whose stipulations Rich was contractually obligated to leave the organization; on the undercard the Fabulous Freebirds beat Terry Funk & Barry Windham to win the NWA United States tag team titles.

Bret Hart
Bret Hart - Hit Man
Hit Man

On this day in 1970, the Dallas Cowboys won improved their 1970 season record to 6-0 with a 23-17 overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs.

 -
In 1954, a presidential cabinet meeting was televised for the first time. The meeting broke into chaos when John Foster Dulles revealed his hid[CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED]
In 1990, Buster Douglas successfully defended his World Heavyweight Championship against Evander Holyfield. Although floored by a devastating blow in the 3rd round, Douglas managed to make it back to his feet and recover the strength to take the fight 4 more rounds, when he knocked Holyfield to the mat with a shattering right to the jaw. Holyfield didn't come back up.
In 1415, the English and the French clashed at Picardy. The Battle of Agincourt, though hard fought by the English under King Henry V, was carried by the French cavalry. The French endured heavy losses against the English bowmen, but managed to break them, anyway. It paved the way for French domination of Europe for the next century.
In 1917, the assault on the Winter Palace led by Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko was launched at 9:45 p.m. signalled by a blank shot from the cruiser Aurora. The republican mutiny spreads like wildfire to the German, British and French bases at Heligoland Bight, Scapa Flow and Mers El-Kebir. Years later, Trotsky confesses that Socialism in One Country would never have succeeded. Bolshevik High Command was committed to World Communism, and as Karl Marx had foreseen, Capitalism would destroy itself from within.
In 2008, hardman actor Jason Statham was chosen as the character of the new 'Hard nut' Mitchell brother for British soap opera Eastenders. Statham sailed through the screen test. It wasnt too challenging. Some grunting. Throwing a few 'sauceys' up against the wall and telling them to 'shut it' and 'stay sorted'. That kind of thing.
In 1943, the Governor General of Canada, Major General Alexander Augustus Frederick William Alfred George Cambridge, 1st Earl of Athlone, KG, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, DSO, PC, FRS, born Prince Alexander of Teck warmly welcomed Allied leaders to the Quebec Citadel.Earl Athlone was joined for a series of strategy meetings by Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and American President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The agenda was to decide the strategies of the Western Allies that would lead to victory over Nazi Germany and Japan.

Closing the conference, Athlone thanked the Allied leaders for their attendance. Of course, only Roosevelt was leaving the country. Churchill and the British Royal Family were amongst the other members of the British Government in Exile, staying at the Governor's residence at Rideau Hall, Ottawa.
In 2003, on this day the Cedar Fire is reported at 5:37 pm. It becomes the second largest wildfire in California history. Most significantly, it forced sasquatch to leave their native habitat. Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin had captured sasquatch on film at Bluff Creek, California in 1967 and the authenticity of that event was now unambiguously verified thirty-six years later.
In 1956, a week after his 17th birthday Lee Harvey Oswald enlisted in the US Marine Corps. His shyness and Soviet sympathies alienated him to his fellow Marines. Ostracism only seemed to provoke him into being a more staunch and outspoken communist. For his steadfast beliefs his nickname ultimately became Oswaldskovich. The Marine had subscribed to The Worker and taught himself rudimentary Russian. During his otherwise undistinguished military career, Oswald earned the Sharpshooter weapons qualification badge with a score of 212 out of 250 targets, average or slightly above average for a Marine, and far above average judged by civilian standards. Initially the KGB considered Oswald to be a potential deep sleeper agency. He proved unreliable after his arrival Minsk, and to protect their investment, the KGB eliminated Oswald and substituted him with a Soviet double named Alek. Impersonating Oswald, Alek was ordered by Khrushchev to 'return' to the United States and eliminate Kennedy before he could win the Cold War for America.
In 1962, at an emergency session of the UN Security Council Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko showed photographs proving American missiles were installed in Izmir. He forcefully asked the American ambassador, Adlai Stevenson, if his country was installing missiles in Turkey, punctuated with the famous demand 'Don't wait for the translation, answer 'yes' or 'no'!' in demanding an immediate answer. Following Stevenson's refusal to answer the abrupt question, Gromyko retorted, 'I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over.' In a diplomatic coup, Gromyko then showed photographs that proved the existence of missiles in Turkey, just after the American ambassador had said they did not exist.


October 24

When Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was born in Delft in the Netherlands, the baby seemed well enough: he cried, he reacted to his mother, he ate and grew. As little Antonie grew, his family came upon troubled times. Two of his sisters and his father died, and Antonie suffered a terrible fever that would blind him by his sixth birthday. The boy recovered, but he now faced a terrible handicap.

October 24, 1638 - Leeuwenhoek BlindedIn 1640, Leeuwenhoek's mother remarried, and he was sent to a monastery in Germany that cared for the blind. While unable to read, Leeuwenhoek would be taught songs and oral passages from the Bible by the monks. He was considered the brightest of the children in the care of the monks, and they came to give him special privileges. Sometime when Leeuwenhoek was about sixteen, he was with a scribe who told him about the illuminations in the book he read to Leeuwenhoek and offered him to touch the gilt and thick medieval paints. Leeuwenhoek's later letters described the sensation of feeling images as almost as if he could see again with his mind's eye.

When he became sixteen, the monks encouraged Leeuwenhoek to pursue a trade beyond simple manual labor. He considered several options before becoming a draper, being able to measure by a grooved ruler he carved himself, having the monks check its accuracies for him. When his skills were approved, he moved home to Delft and secured an apprenticeship with a cloth merchant. While he worked, he considered his system of grooves and the illuminations, and, by 1653, he developed a method of "writing by texture".

Leeuwenhoek worked in business until he had built enough capital to set himself up as a teacher. He did not know Latin, and he had never attended university, but his drive to develop a written alphabet for the blind pushed him. Over the course of months and perfected over years, he built a set of mirrored letters. His method of writing was to etch each backward to be used as a mold. He experimented with systems of carving wood and pouring wax, but the wax was prone to melt under the warmth and pressure of fingers. Lead proved too soft, and tin plates warped. Finally he settled upon glass, and the glass books he produced became the first written code for the blind.

Leeuwenhoek's school attracted the attention of parents of blind children among the growing middle class of the early Enlightenment, and he soon found himself with no shortage of students. His methods spread across Europe and were translated to match the alphabets of French, English, and German. Only two of his original glass books are known to survive due to breakage and the glass being worn down by generations of fingertips. In place of glass, Leeuwenhoek experimented later with typesetting machines into plates of alloys, adding mechanical engineering and metallurgy to his life's impressive list of feats.

His contributions to science are held among the greatest of the Enlightened Age. Along with the creation of calculus, natural law, and principles of physics. It would not be until the Industrial Revolution that discoveries in biology and anatomy would catch up with the science of microbiology founded in part by Charles Darwin, whose theory of the sexual reproduction of microorganisms would cause scandal among the Victorian world, though later contribute to Sir Alexander Fleming's germ theory.

In 1983, the fortieth President of the United States Charlton Heston ordered the CIA to hunt down the Iranian-backed Islamic militants that had detonated an explosive-filled truck at the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 241 Americans.

President Heston vows to avenge the tragedy in BeirutAlthough some "dovish" members of his administration favoured arms-for-hostages diplomacy, Heston appeared vindicated when the Soviet Union later follow suite.

The follow-up episode occurred when an Islamic fundamentalist group kidnapped some Soviet diplomats, which led to the KGB quickly and effectively tracking down and apprehending all the kidnappers, who were then tortured to death, their bodies dismembered and the remains mailed to Hezbollah HQ in Beirut. After that, not another Soviet citizen in Lebanon was touched.

Nevertheless when details of the covert actions of the CIA fully emerged during 1987 Heston faced the small possibility of impeachment charges being raised by elements of the Democrat Party in an increasingly hostile Congress.

The incomparable Christian Scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was born in Delft in the Dutch Republic on this day.

October 24, 1638 - Leeuwenhoek's vision gives Christian science an unblinded view of realityHis interest in microscopes and a familiarity with glass processing led to one of the most significant, and simultaneously well-hidden, technical insights in the history of science. By placing the middle of a small rod of soda lime glass in a hot flame, Leeuwenhoek could pull the hot section apart to create two long whiskers of glass. Then, by reinserting the end of one whisker into the flame, he could create a very small, high-quality glass sphere. These spheres became the lenses of his microscopes, with the smallest spheres providing the highest magnifications.

Even dignitaries such as Leibniz, William III of Orange and Peter the Great were only permitted to see his average-quality lenses. Being a shrewd businessman, Leeuwenhoek maintained throughout his life that there were aspects of microscope construction "which I only keep for myself", in particular his most critical secret of how he created lenses. And so when he was elected to the Royal Society on the nomination of William Croone, a then-prominent physician, it was a huge surprise that he chose to travel for his induction with a promise to deliver a speech on the inner secret of the lens.

A Dutch Reformed Calvinist, he often referred with reverence to the wonders God designed in making creatures great and small. He believed that his amazing discoveries were merely further proof of the great wonder of God's creation. But Leeuwenhoek's discovery that smaller organisms procreate similarly to larger organisms challenged the contemporary belief, generally held by the seventeenth-century scientific community, that such organisms generated spontaneously. The position of the Church on the exact nature of the spontaneous generation of smaller organisms was ambivalent. And so his speech created an uproar at the Royal Society because he revealed a great truth that might reconcile science with religion. Eventually, The Royal Society subsequently arranged for Alexander Petrie, minister to the English Reformed Church in Delft, Benedict Haan, at that time Lutheran minister at Delft, and Henrik Cordes, then Lutheran minister at the Hague, accompanied by Sir Robert Gordon and four others to determine whether it was in fact Leeuwenhoek's ability to observe and reason clearly, or perhaps the Royal Society's theories of life itself that might require reform. Finally in 1677 were fully vindicated by the Society.

Author's Note: in reality Leeuwenhoek was elected to the Royal Society in February 1680 on the nomination of William Croone, a then-prominent physician. Leeuwenhoek was "taken aback" at the nomination, which he considered a high honour, although he did not attend the induction ceremony in London, nor did he ever attend a Royal Society meeting. This article re-purposes significant amounts of content from Wikipedia. The painting The Geographer

In 1855, the twenty-eighth President of the United States James Schoolcraft ("Sunny Jim") Sherman was born on this day in Utica, New York.

Birth of Sunny JimPrior to his Congressional election he was a member of the inter-related Baldwin, Hoar, and Sherman families, prominent lawyers and politicians of New England. And although not a high-powered administrator, he made a natural committee chairman, and his genial personality eased the workings of the House of Representatives. Selected for running mate by William H. Taft, he became the first Vice President to fly in a plane and also the first to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game.

Unfortunately for the Republican Party, subsequent events quickly descended into division and acrimony. The popular former President Roosevelt failed to take the nomination from Taft and left the GOP to form the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party. At this critical juncture the hugely overweight Taft had a heart attack after getting stuck in the bath tub. By then Sherman's own health was in rapid decline. He died a week short of the 1912 election throwing the democratic process into complete chaos. An immediate succession was obviously required to replace the expired office holder, but the possibility of calling a Special Election was also hotly debated.

In 1944, on this day the German aircraft carriers Graf Zeppelin and Peter Strasser are sunk in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Flugzeugträger Part 12:
Battle of Leyte Gulf
Of the German carrier group that had participated in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, only the Tirpitz and the Prinz Eugene now remained afloat. It appeared an unfitting reward for the German naval architects who had managed to overcome immense technical difficulties despite their inexperience in building such vessels.

And with Japan unmistakeably headed for defeat, the question for Grand Admiral Erich Raeder was whether to support the defence of the homelands, attempt a breakout attempt or even perhaps consider a scuttling operation reminiscient of the Dreadnoughts in the Scapa Flow in 1919. But unbeknown to Raeder, the German-Japanese Atomic Bomb project was nearing fruition, and both ships would be required to serve as the delivery mechanism in an audacious second strike on Pearl Harbor. It appeared than Plan Z might well change the course of the War after all.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.

In 2012, on this day Star Trek co-stars Nichelle Nichols and George Takei formally approached CBS Corporation (the owners of the franchise) with a request for permission to shoot the low-budget webisode "The Search for Jim". Click to watch "Star Trek's William Shatner: I have no ego".

The Search for Jim, Part 1
By Ed, Mike Mcilvain, Scott Palter & Jackie Rose
Set in a veterans hospital funded by the Federation, the ageing Captain James T. Kirk (pictured) has entered his final days. He is visited by Communications Officer Nyota Uhura and Helsman Hikaru Sulu.

But the visit rapidly turns sour when he discovers that his former subordinates on the Starship Enterprise have harboured personal grudges against him from the very beginning. Seemingly more concerned about protecting his record than addressing the feelings of his former colleagues, Kirk makes matters worse with a narcissistic explanation that appears to validate the criticisms that are being levelled against him. Frustrated, Uhura challenges him with the emotionally charged question "Dont you want to know why we hate you?". And then the conversation takes a further emotional turn because he opens up and for the first time Kirk talks about a traumatic event in his early career when he first encountered "Those Klingon B*stards".. To be continued

In LXIX, on this day the imperial army of Emperor Vitellius defeated forces under Antonius Primus, the commander of the Danube armies, loyal to Vespasian at the Second Battle of Bedriacum, .

Valens leads the Imperial Army to victory at the Second Battle of BedriacumThe insurrection had begun when the legions stationed in the Middle East provinces of Judaea and Syria had acclaimed Vespasian as emperor. He had been given a special command in Iudaea by Nero in 67 with the task of putting down the Great Jewish Revolt. In so doing, he gained powerful allies, including the support of the governor of Syria, Gaius Licinius Mucianus and a strong force drawn from the Judaean and Syrian legions marched on Rome under the command of Mucianus.

In response a powerful army composed of XXI Rapax, V Alaudae, I Italica and XXII Primigenia together with detachments from seven other legions and a force of auxiliaries had been sent by Rome under the command of Valens (pictured). Crucially, the disloyal General Caecina had been relieved of command when the Emperor discovered that he was plotting with Lucilius Bassus, commander of the fleet at Ravenna. The subsequent execution of Caecina and Bassus forced some of Vesparsian's commanders to switch sides back to the Emperor.

And prior to the battle other legions including legion IIII Macedonica reinforced the powerful Vitellian army, and under the generalship of Valens they triumphed at Bedriacrum.

In 1812, correctly anticipating light resistance from smaller opposing forces than expected, Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the Grand Armée to continue south-west instead of heading west over land devastated by the original French advance and subsequent Russian scortched earth policies.

Miracle at MaloyaroslavetsAfter the evacuation of Moscow on October 19th the first French elements had encountered Russian Forces under the command of Marshal Kutuzov just sixty-eight miles to the south-west at Maloyaroslavets.

Napoleon won that engagement but nevertheless the result could have been catastrophic. Concerned that Kutuzov would regroup and attack again, despite his reservations he seriously considered heading north. Instead, he reconnoiterered over the ridge in front of him and to his great surprise discovered that the Russians had melted away.

In 1963, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson was killed in Dallas by protestors during a visit to mark U.N. Day.

Tragedy in DallasThe Ambassador had been forced to pause patiently time and again while scattered hecklers booed during a speech he delivered at the Memorial Auditorium Theater. When one crude super-patriot interrupted to shout a question about his beliefs, he replied, quite unruffled,: "I believe in the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of ignorance".

Patriot anger over the United Nations' response to the recent Cuba War escalated into violence and intimidation as soon as he left the auditorium. A jeering flock of pickets swarmed around him and a man spat on him and on a policeman. "I believe in the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of ignorance"Shortly afterwards he was knocked to the ground by a sign labelled "Down with the U.N". carried by forty-seven year old Mrs. Cora Frederickson. Amid the furor, Stevenson said of his assailants: "I don't want to send them to jail. I want to send them to school".

Taken to the Parkland Hospital, Stevenson died of a massive heart attack shortly afterwards.

Following a joint review of security arrangements by the Secret Service and Dallas Police, headed by chief Jesse Curry, the White House decided to quietly cancel a planned visit to the city by President John F. Kennedy which had been scheduled for November 22nd.

In 2007, privately hoping to dispel the electorally damaging rumour that he was a source of embarrassment to him, and intrigued by a letter from "Mama Sarah" his grandmother who he had never seen, the US Senator for Hawaii, Barry Soereto travelled to Nyang'oma Kogelo, Siaya District to meet with his estranged Kenyan father on this day.

"Dreams of My Father" by Ed. & Patricia Williams-KingBarack Obama, Senior had not seen his son since he was an in infant, divorcing his mother when Barry was only two years old. And after the divorce, his mother married an Indonesian student who was forced to move the family to Jakarta when all Indonesian students studying abroad were recalled by President Suharto. Barry returned to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents in 1971, building the new life his mother dreamt of. Almost thirty years later, he was now a serious contender for US Presidential Nominee for the Democratic Party.

"My father looked nothing like the people around me - he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk.Not fooled by the timing of the meeting, Barack Obama, Senior was of course very much aware that another Democrat, Jimmy Carter had been embarrassed by unflattering portrayals of his brother Billy, causing a series of media disasters throughout his Presidency. And another source of tension was his son's denial of all things African, marrying a Hispanic wife and Anglicizing his forename.

Despite this, the meeting was a tremendous success because his son produced a trump card, a self-written poem from his childhood in which he revealed that he was "Walking a straight line in a crooked world".

In 1949, on this day the artist Adolf Schicklegruber guest starred on the famous Italian radio show "Benny the Moose"; the mood was light with relaxed conversation because Adolf and Benny went way back.

Churchill's PsycheAdolf described the fine progress being made by his protege US Army Major (retd) Dwight D. Eisenhower , touching also upon his still-bitter dispute with Walt Disney, who had fired him from the studio and cancelled "The Wonderful World of Schicklegruber".

Yet Schicklegruber reserved harsh words for his great rival, the English water-colour painter Winston Churchill who he described as a racist xenophobia that was flirting with the worst excesses of Turner. Because the sweeping imagery of his dramatic masterpiece "blood, toil, tears, and sweat" had a nationalist, anti-semitic subtext, revealing a deep subconscious yearning for a false classical past that Adolf found particularly disturbing as a German Jew.

In 1979 on this day several United Artists executives countersued Michael Cimino, charging him with slander, character defamation, and failure to live up to the terms of his original production contract for Heaven's Gate.

 - United Artists
United Artists
French President

On this day in 2010, French president Nicholas Sarkozy announced that his country would support a US-sponsored United Nations resolution calling for Hugo Chavez to immediately cancel his plans to invade Guyana.

French President - Nikolas Sarkozy
Nikolas Sarkozy

On this day in 1944, American and British ground forces in Germany began advancing on Frankfurt.

 -

On this day in 1971, historic 22-game NFL winning streak was finally halted with a 23-17 overtime loss against the New England Patriots at the Cotton Bowl. Cowboys starting quarterback Craig Morton suffered a separated right shoulder late in the third quarter and would not play again until Week 10 of the 1971 NFL season.

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In 1961, on the sixth anniversary of the founding of the Republic of South Vietnam, President Kennedy sends a letter to that country's president, Ngo Dinh Diem, pledging that 'the United States is determined to help Vietnam preserve its independence.' This pledge is soon followed up by the sending of several thousand additional military advisers on top of those who have been in the country since Eisenhower's time. Kennedy's action is deemed inadequate by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who favor a massive show of force involving at least 200,000 troops. On the same daay, General William Westmoreland assumes command of the U.S. forces in fighting the rebel forces of deposed leftist president Fidel Castro in Cuba.

 - Gen. Westmoreland
Gen. Westmoreland
In 1929, a small panic took the Dow Jones average down a few points, but cooler heads prevailed at the end of the day. There was some concern among the more bearish economists that most of the stock being traded was highly overvalued, but there seemed to be a gentleman's agreement among the traders to ignore these naysayers. They kept the U.S. economy humming along through the 1930's in the longest period of expansion in American history.
In 1648, negotiators at Westphalia fail to come to an agreement to end the Central European war between Protestants and Catholics. It has already lasted 30 years, outliving many of the nobles who started it. They continue to struggle until the war finally peters out with no formal declaration in 1682.
In 1991, Star Trek producer/creator Bob Wesley dies of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California. His vision of the future started not only his own career but those of Emmy and Oscar winners William Shatner, Martin Landau, Will Wheaton and Patrick Stewart. Wesley will always be remembered with great affection by the millions who followed that vision.
In 1987, the Senate, in a rebuke to Comrade President Ann Richards, denies her nominee for the Supreme People's Court, fellow Texas Socialist James Hightower. The Senate felt that Comrade Richards was attempting to concentrate too many of her old Texas Soviet cronies into high office with her. This was probably what led her to choose a New Hampshire native, David Souter, for her next judicial nominee.
In 1970, President Richard Nixon 'asked' broadcasters to begin screening out songs that encouraged drug use. When a few licenses were revoked for failure to comply with this 'request', virtually all radio stations in the country sanitized their music. Rock and roll went into a long death spiral after this.
In 1929, millions of shares of stock were sold off on Wall Street, sending the nation into a panic about the financial state of the country. President Hoover himself went down to the New York Stock Exchange the next day and pleaded for calm from investors. This action, plus an assurance that the government would regulate businesses more strictly unless calm prevailed, allowed stocks to break even over the next few days. Hoover's calm in this crisis led the nation out of Black Thursday with only a slight dip in employment and led to his reelection in 1932.
In 1998, on this day the spacecraft Deep Space 1 was launched on top of a Delta II rocket. As part of NASA's New Millennium program, the primary goal was the testing of twelve advanced technologies that have the potential to lower the cost and risk of future missions. Deep Space 1 succeeded in its tasks and also achieved its secondary goals: flybys of the asteroid Braille and of Comet Borrelly. Passing the comet passage intact, Deep Space 1 was able to return valuable science data and stunning pictures of the discovery of life on the comet. Gregory Benford's journal The Heart of the Comet recounts how mission parameters were changed because of fear of contamination from the borrellyform life and attempts to destroy the comet and those living upon it.
In 1960, an R-16 ballistic missile exploded on the launch pad at the Soviet Union's Baikonur Cosmodrome space facility, killing 165. Among the living is Field Marshall Mitrofan Nedelin, who left the pad shortly before ignition for a cigarette break and was to play a decisive role in the Turkish Missiles Crisis just two years later.
In 1990, Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti revealed to the Italian parliament the existence of Gladio, the Italian 'stay-behind' clandestine paramilitary NATO army, intended to counter a Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe. What was not intended was they would act as a secret army taking every opportunity to undermine left-wing politicians, making their own interpretation of the motto 'Silently, I serve freedom'. Andreotti himself was more coy about the a batch of letters he had received in 1978. 'As the conspiracy theorists would have it, [Italian Prime Minister] Mr. [Aldo] Moro was allowed to be killed either with the acquiescence of people high in Italy's political establishment, or at their instigation, because of the historic compromise he had made with the Communist Party' (The Independent, November 16, 1990, quoted by Statewatch). 'During his captivity, Aldo Moro wrote several letters to various political figures, including Giulio Andreotti. In October 1990, 'a cache of previously unknown letters written by the former Prime Minister, Aldo Moro, just prior to his execution by Red Brigade terrorists in 1978... was discovered in a Milan apartment which had once been used as a Red Brigade hideout. One of those letters made reference to the involvement of both NATO and the CIA in an Italian-based secret service, 'parallel' army', wrote The Irish Times on November 15, 1990 (quoted by Statewatch).


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