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

July 28

In 1943, on this day the forty-fourth Vice President of the United States William Warren ("Bill") Bradley was born in Crystal City, Missouri. An unusually active office holder selected for regional balance, ironically his executive candidacy was sharply diminished by his service in the White House. He was unfortunate to lose credibility and popularity because of the perceived failure of his bold initiatives that stirred up a hornet's nest of hostile opposition from an unusual alliance of political forces.
An article from the No Chappaquiddick by Eric Lipps in which EMK's car only almost went off that bridge on July 18, 1969.

Bill Bradley the best President we never hadAn American Hall of Fame basketball player, Rhodes scholar, and former Democratic U.S. Senator from New Jersey he campaigned for President in two separate general elections. During 1992, he challenged the Republican incumbent Jack Kemp by praising the President for his victory in the Gulf War, but expressing the view that his economic program was a "well-intentioned disaster in the making". This fired the campaign race but also meant that he had locked horns particularly with conservatives.

Ultimately he had to settle for the consolation price of the Vice Presidency which in previous years had meant a big fat zero. However Sam Nunn saw him very much as a partner, and asked him to drive forward many of the vote-winning ideas that he had campaigned for hard during the race. And so immediately after the inauguration as a "100 days" quick win, he was appointed Chair of a working group on the subject of universal health care, one of Bradley's interests while in the Senate. Appearing before a conservative group in his home state of New York, ex-President Jack Kemp denounced the idea as threatening to substitute "a social-welfare mentality" for the "free market" in health care, branding it "another tax-and-spend scheme from people who think they can run your life better than you can".

Nevertheless, Bradley's healthcare working group released its report, which called for the establishment of a so-called "single-payer" national health care system, AmeriCare, loosely modelled on that of Canada. The program was intended to cover everyone not already eligible for care under either Medicaid or Medicare. Reaction was immediate, and, from the GOP, bitterly hostile. The Bradley group's plan was denounced as "socialist medicine" before anyone among its critics had read anything but a thumbnail summary of it.

As the millennium approach a desire for change began to grow. Tennessee Senator Al Gore looked set to replace Bradley as the Democratic Party nominee, but unfortunately for him he lost a powerful backer at a vital moment. In the Senate he and former President Ted Kennedy had fallen out over the Internal Defense Administration bill proposed by Nunn-Bradley. Having seen off Gore's weakened challenge, Bradley had to face-off Arizona Senator John McCain in the general election. His maverick appeal and promise of transformative change disguised a desperate need for the GOP to succeed, forcing the boldest candidate selection choice since Barry Goldwater. After Nixon's resignation, they had only managed to occupy the White House for a single term by Jack Kemp, and that largely due to the Donna Rice Scandal destroying the Hart Administration. Observers wondered whether McCain and his straight-talking express could stir up an even more impressive hornet net's that would make Bradley's opposition look very tame indeed.

In 2015, on this day Paradise the sixth installment of the Alien movie series premiered in cinemas across North America.

Movie Premier of ParadiseChristian archeologist Dr Elizabeth Shaw and the android David arrive on the seemingly abandoned home world of the Engineers (pictured, left). They find evidence of a larger, full-scale version of the two-thousand year old genocide that they had discovered outside the "head-room" in Prometheus (pictured, right). Because after transporting the alien Jesus to Earth, the proto-Christians had returned to destroy the magicians workshop on LV-223. But the Xenomorph worshippers of pain and death had fought back leaving only a handful of infected survivors that managed to escape as far as the planetoid LV-426 (the discovery in Alien 1). And of course a single space jockey programmed to return to Earth to destroy the alien Jesus, only he was locked in statis by proto-Christians, and once awoken by the android David was killed by a Xenomorph.

The conflicting actions explained the schizophrenic behavior of creation and destruction that had so confused viewers in the fifth movie installment. Because the humanoid beings devoid of humanity were evil Magicians playing with fire rather than the benign Engineers imagined by the idealistic Shaw, Weyland and Holloway.

The result was a new and even more destructive species war which had broken out between the Magicians's creations, mankind and the Xenomorphs. But this was only the un-intentional result of morphing on LV-223 that had created the deacon, a proto-queen who was able to generate life on her own terms. Yet at the climax of the movie, Shaw discovers remaining survivors. She symbolically abandons science in favour of religion, deciding to remain with the proto-Christians on their Paradise. And leaving the fight against the deacon to her indefatigable successor, Lieutenant Ellen L. Ripley.

In 1932, on this day the tensions arising from the unresolved conflict over long overdue payments to Great War Veterans escalated into horrifying violence when the so-called Bonus Army counterattacked the US Government.

Bonus Army Counterattacks The Great Depression had ground on for years. While President Herbert Hoover had enacted breadlines and other minor alleviations for the out-of-work populace, the country as a whole continued to suffer unemployment and lack of cash. The people themselves began to call for direct aid, and none more vigorously than the veterans of the World War. In 1924, Congress had voted a bonus for each soldier in recognition of their service, giving one dollar for every day of domestic time ($1.25 for each day abroad) to a maximum of $500 ($625 abroad). The bonuses were paid via certificates and a trust fund, giving percentages until full payment was achieved in 1945.

By the troubled year of 1932, one-third of the payments had been made, and now Congress hoped to aid out-of-work veterans by advancing the payment to full. Hoover and his Republican allies were opposed to the idea, saying that it would strain the budget of the Federal government and take away funds needed for other relief programs. Veterans, however, pressed their representatives for the payment, and the House passed the Patman Bonus Bill to accelerate the giving of the money.

In June of 1932, the bill went before the Senate, and veterans marched on Washington to show their support for it. Seventeen thousand veterans came to the capital, bringing their families with them to total nearly 43,000 people. Most of them lived in Hooverville camps outside Washington proper, the biggest one being across the Anacostia River. Rather than disease-ridden slums, the camps were well organized with streets, clean water, sanitation facilities, and even parades. Despite the public support, the Senate blocked the bill, and now the "'Bonus Army,"' as they called themselves, began to protest in earnest for the funds that were rightfully theirs.

By July 28, the government had taken their fill. Protesters had marched on the White House, leading to a scuffle that resulted in police brutalizing several of them. Attorney General William D. Mitchell ordered the removal of all protesters from government property on grounds of trespassing. Police tried to clear a camp, but the veterans resisted. Shots were fired, and two veterans were left dead.

When he heard of the violence, Hoover decided to clear the district before things turned worse. He called General Douglas MacArthur from Fort Howard in Maryland with infantry and tanks from Fort Myer, Virginia, commanded by Major George S. Patton. The Bonus Army was in the midst of a march when the army arrived and took the appearance of the troops as a show of support. Instead, the cavalry and infantry charged, bayonets affixed.

Washingtonians who had come out to watch were horrified, crying "'Shame!"' at the army, but the soldiers took little notice. The veterans were chased back to the Anacostia Flats on the other side of the river, and Hoover ordered the troops to stop. MacArthur, however, ignored the President and took it upon himself to clean out the "'communists."' Gas attacks, fire, and violent soldiers chased the veterans and their families out of the camp.

Before midnight, however, the veterans began to regroup. Making sure their families were safe in Maryland where the Federal troops did not have jurisdiction, they collected weapons and covertly marched back into Washington. As the army and police were busy breaking down the camp, the veterans organized their mob into ranks on the Washington Mall. Just as locals began to become suspicious of the nighttime activity, they charged into the Capitol and seized the building. Securing all exits, they advised the clerks, officials, and congressmen working late that they were not hostages and were free to go at any time.

MacArthur returned to Washington and began an assault up the main steps with his infantry. With shotguns, hunting rifles, and sheer moxie, the veterans held the doors and finally forced back the infantry, injuring many. As MacArthur began to call for artillery to blast open the Capitol, Hoover stopped him and removed him from command for disobeying orders. The infamous general would never serve with the United States Armed Forces again.

Major Patton offered to force entry with his tanks, but Hoover declined. Instead, a day-long standoff began as Washington police and Federal soldiers circled the building, but could not get close. Government workers, however, were allowed in, and the Senate was finally called to order. The block on the Bonus Bill was lifted, and the veterans collected their money and left peacefully. As soon as they were outside, they allowed themselves to be arrested.

National outrage over the incident poured into Washington. Some called for execution of the rebellious soldiers as traitors, but most were angry with the president and army for being so callous toward the veterans. Hoover would save face by shifting blame, dismissing Attorney General Mitchell and turning his whole campaign into the "'cleansing"' of the federal government. While his budget suffered greatly from the two-billion-dollar shortfall, he refused to go over-budget more than absolutely necessary. Touting thriftiness and earning wherever possible, as well as gaining a great deal of support from veterans, Hoover would narrowly win the 1932 election over New York Governor Franklin Roosevelt.

Hoover's next term would be four more years of struggle for the country. Prohibition would be overturned by Congress in 1933, but the economic issues would not be solvable by mere tenacity. Relief efforts struggled to keep up with unemployment. In the elections of 1934, people had had enough, and Democrats were voted into power in Congress. The Great Depression did nothing but worsen.

In 1936, FDR came into office overwhelmingly, and he brought his New Deal into full swing. Ignoring budget constraints, FDR started enormous works projects to employ as many of the unemployed as possible. The changes were radical, which was just as well since radical groups became increasingly powerful over the country. By 1940, people said that the US was all but socialist in name with resources in food, oil, electricity, public water, and health insurance all regulated by the government.

While the populace was suspicious of such control in the Land of the Free, World War II would solidify FDR's political maneuvers. Through the second half of the twentieth century, so much of the basics of American life would be guaranteed that LBJ's New Society would create a welfare state of nearly one-half government employees (or, as many social critics would call them, "'government slaves"').

In 2002, President Albert Gore would even expand American human rights to guarantee Internet service.

In 1981, on this day the "Great Mystery" Wakan Tanka took Terry Fox home to glory in a burst of holy light as he entered the outskirts of Thanksgiving Township in the province of Wampanoag.
Marathon of HopeAfter losing a leg to osteosarcoma, Terry Fox had run across the entire Turtle Island in the "Marathon of Hope" to raise awareness of the disease. To recognise this stunning achievement, and also to mark his twenty-third birthday, multi-faith representatives of the Governing Council had assembled in the great square where the Pilgrims celebrated the first deliverance day with the Pokanoket in 1621.

In 1983, the nuclear-powered submarine USS Seaview, then under the command of Admiral Harriman Nelson, was dispatched to the North Atlantic to oversee experiments related to Project Spindrift

Giant Surprise Part 8For the men and women of Seaview, at the time the world's largest nuclear sub, this marked the second time in a decade they'd been involved in a scientific project of global importance; the first came in 1973, when they spent six weeks in the Arctic Circle monitoring the Van Allen belt.

In 1940, the cancellation of wildy ambitious Italian plans to invade Greece in the Autumn convinced Gen. Franco of the discipline of the Axis Alliance and encouraged him to authorise Operation Felix the passage of twenty German Divisions through Spanish territory in order strike at the British base on Gibraltar.

FelixThe British garrison of thirty thousand soon capitulated and in return the Vichy Government ceded a portion of French Morocco to Spain. Mistakenly sensing that a British collapse was imminent, Franco ordered the crack Blue Division to join the Afrika Corps. Hitler was delighted, referring to the division as "equal to the best German ones".

But even with the western Mediterranean closed to the Royal Navy, British forces in the Middle East were supplied via the Suez Canal. When the weak Spanish navy was annihilated Spain could no long reinforce or resupply the garrisons on the Canary and Balaeric Islands. Anti Franco Guerilla movements in Catalonia, parts of Andalucia, Valencia and other pro Republican areas began to stir. And worse, a lack of integrated command led to a disappointing performances from German, Italian and Spanish Forces and a breakthrough in the Middle Eastern theatre was not forthcoming.

As German reversals began to mount on the Eastern Front, Franco decided to pull out of the Axis Alliance. Hitler contemplated an invasion of Spain to remove Franco and replace him with Agustin Munoz Grandes fearing that "The Spaniards are the only tough Latins. I will have a guerrilla war in my rear".

In 1940, on this day Prime Minister David Lloyd George delivered a key foreign policy speech in the House of Commons.DLG '40 - Part 2: Heads Held High
Having struck an aggresive and belligerent tone during the Battle of Britain, Lloyd George stated that now that it had been proven to Hitler that Britain could not be defeated with ease, the time had come to "discuss terms with him".
In fact, he was restating a belief that had been expressed as early as September in a letter to the Duke of Bedford (who wanted an immediate peace) that the time would come when Britain had faced down an invasion attempt "our prestige will be higher than ever, and we should enter a Conference with our heads held high".
Lloyd George outlined a compelling case for his policy. Britain was isolated on the Continent, in a way she had never been before. In order to defeat Germany, she would need to equip, raid and land a massive army on the Continent and wage war for years; by that time she would be bankrupt and most of her Empire would be in other hands, including those of the Americans. Lloyd George's expectations of the Americans were guarded. "She will, no doubt help us in all ways short of War" but he did not see her sending another 'huge army' to Europe; even if she did, it would take at least two years for it to become anything like an effective fighting force ..(the story continues).

Seaside Resort

In 1940, on this day German paratroops were sent to seize the British resort town of Blackpool (pictured) in a covert operation aimed at forcing the Churchill government to sue for peace.

The raid was a disaster: half the men involved in the operation died when their transport planes were shot down over the English coast, and the troops who did make it quickly found themselves encircled by a division of Canadian infantry.

Seaside Resort - of Blackpool
of Blackpool

On this day in 1944, Nazi judge Roland Friesler convened the first session of his infamous People's Tribunal, a rigged special court intended to provide legal justification for the execution of German citizens alleged to have been involved with the July 5th assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler.

Nazi Judge
Nazi Judge - Roland Friesler
Roland Friesler

In truth, most of those convicted and sentenced by the court had little connection to the assassination plot and were being imprisoned or executed largely because of Hitler's insane need for vengeance.

The bazaar smelled terribly, just as it always did. Sonja's nose crinkled for a second, then her filters kicked in, and most of the smell went away. Not all, of course, because some of those smells were capable of bypassing her filters, but at least the worst ones were subdued.
Most of the booths had pheromone attractors, and some of those were bypassing her filters, too. She was glad she had disabled her sex drive before coming. There were bombardment streams at some of the more pushy booths that tried to break into her main interest centers, but she had neural assistants to take care of those.
'This is what you want.' The thought popped in, and she felt a great desire to stop at the booth that had supplied it. A second later, that thought was joined by, 'This is what you will buy.' A second after that, her assistants cleared all trace of that stream from her head. She raised an eyebrow at the expectant storekeep, smirked, then strode away. Several uglier thoughts followed after, which she didn't have to bother killing.
The booth she was heading towards had no need of the flashy ads the others employed. Its owner was an artist known by everyone who needed his talents. He did not wish to attract new customers by artificial means.
Sonja pushed through the beads surrounding his booth and sat on the cushion that faced a man-sized rectangular block. As she sat, the temperature and lighting in the area bounded by the beads instantly changed to what she enjoyed most. Light music began playing, a small piece from the last century that was one of her favorites. He hadn't read her mind to discern it - the booth worked on a thousand subtle clues she dropped as soon as she broke through the beads. Drac never read people's minds unless they asked him to. But the fact that he didn't need to made people respect him all the more.
It also showed that he respected the privacy of others. Whatever happened in Drac's booth was left in Drac's booth. Another great factor in his reputation.
The block began glowing, then slowly warped itself into the shape of a tall man, long and lean, with skin the color of mahogany. The attraction Sonja felt for him had nothing to do with pheromones. 'Hi, Sonja. What can I do for you?'
'I've got something pretty hot to trade, Drac.' She pulled a thin vial out of her shirt pocket. It was filled with a couple of milliliters of yellowish fluid. 'This is Oregon's finest. Militia security culture. Know of anyone with a need to bypass Militia security systems?'
Drac smiled, revealing his fangs. 'I can think of a person or two. Is it reproductive?'
She sighed and shook her head. 'Unfortunately, this is it. But, this is enough to treat about a thousand kilos of total mass.'
'Until they change cultures.'
She nodded, a little disappointed that he caught on that fast. 'Right, but they don't do that more than once a month. And they just made the change three days ago, so this culture's going to be good for at least three and a half more weeks.' 'Have you got the antidote culture to it?'
'No, you'll have to find some way to clear it out. But, someone of your skills should be able to do that with no problem,' she smiled, 'right, Drac?'
'Of course, dear. I just needed to know whether I had to knock that off of whatever you want to trade that for.' He leaned over to her. 'What do you want to trade it for, Sonja?'
'I need a new body.'
He looked her up and down. 'I've always liked the one you currently have. It would be a real shame to get rid of it.'
'I don't have much choice.'
He frowned. 'No, they never do. Why do you need a body from me? That's a very common function; practically anybody can supply you with culture that'll do that.'
'Because I need your skill in creating it.'
He snickered. 'Why all the flattery, Sonja? Are you in that much trouble?'
'Yes.'
He raised an eyebrow. He seemed to be wavering in his decision not to read minds. 'Am I going to need that Militia culture myself after this?'
She didn't meet his gaze. 'It's possible.'
'Well, you've been very bad, indeed, little Sonja.' He gestured below him, and a hole opened up. 'Let's continue our discussion someplace a little more secure.'
Her cushion rose into the air, and she held herself as steady as she could on it. It floated to the hole and dropped through, followed by Drac. As the shopkeep passed the hole, it closed, and they floated in darkness for a moment. Then, Sonja felt her cushion land, and a light came on around them.
They were in a cavernous office, filled with tasteful furniture that was at least two and probably three centuries old. Drac strode over to the desk that filled up half of one wall and seated himself in the throne-like chair behind it. He gestured, and the cushion placed itself and Sonja on an impossibly comfortable chair opposite him.
'You have such wonderful taste, Drac. How much does all of this cost?'
He looked around and ran a few numbers in his head. 'More than you will see in your life.'
'I don't know about that.'
He settled himself down to business. 'Why do you need a body from me, Sonja? And what sort of modifications is that body going to have?'
She pursed her lips. She had been working out the particulars for several hours, but had yet to hit on any that worked for her. 'Well, I'm going to need a reader screen and at least temporary camouflage cultures.' She held up her palm and an image of a woman popped up out of it. The face was angular, with blue eyes and high cheekbones. The hair was short and black. The body was a stylish hourglass, with high definition on the muscles of the legs and arms. 'This is what I'll need to look like. She's 1.847 meters tall and weighs 61.013 kilos.' An image of fingerprints popped up, followed by a retinal pattern. 'This is her ID, and I've got a DNA sample for you to culture that you'll have to match.'
'You know, I've always liked you as a blond. I don't know if you'd exhibit the same charm as a brunette.' He looked her in the eye. 'Who is she?'
'Do you really need to know?'
'I do if it's going to mean trouble for me. I don't like to move my shop; my clientelle know where I am, and the furniture gets scratched in transit.' She felt a small pressure at her temples, a warning that he was holding a mental probe ready to use on her. 'Tell me.'
At least he warned her. Most of the other craftsmen she had considered for this job would have probed her the second she walked into their booths. 'She's Ben Harrison's daughter, Melissa. Mr. Harrison is the president of Tyr Weapons Systems in Redmond.'

On this day in 1941, the Luftwaffe bombed the Ukrainian provincial capital of Kiev into rubble.

That same day the last pockets of Red Army resistance in Minsk surrendered to German and Lithuanian troops.

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On this day in 1947, country singer Hank Williams held a concert in Nashville to raise funds for a memorial to the victims of the Roswell asteroid strike and former British prime minister Winston Churchill departed London for a visit to the United States to see the Roswell crater for himself.

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In 2001, the team working on translating the signal from Lalande 25372 cracks the encryption and finds that the Lalandians were broadcasting in English, as well as 6 other languages. The signal contains a history of the Lalandian civilization as well as their knowledge of other cultures in galaxy; the scientists are particularly alarmed by the Elders mentioned throughout the broadcast.
In 1991, Dennis Martinez of the Montreal Quebecois pitched the 13th perfect game in professional Town Ball history. 3 years later to the day, Kenny Rogers of the Texas Sheriffs pitched the 14th.
In 1987, famed philosopher James Burnham, author of The Coming Defeat Of Capitalism died at the age of 82. He did not live to see the fulfillment of his philosophy, but died confident that it would happen.
In 1586, Thomas Harriot introduces the American root, the potato, to Europe. It fails to grow in the European soil, and is never more than a curiosity in the Eastern Hemisphere.
In 1809, Sir Arthur Wellesley's British army defeats a much larger French force under Joseph Bonaparte at the Battle of Yorktown. Wellington had arrived in North America to set the clock back to 1776, and he meant business.
In 1942, USSR leader Joseph Stalin issued Order No. 227 in response to alarming German advances into Russia. Under the order all Soviet forces retreated behind the armistice line. Comrade Stalin had intended to organise a series of hit and run strikes from Siberia, however his politburo colleagues executed him for betraying the revolution due to his cowardly decision to quit Moscow.


July 27

In 1214, the French King Philippe-Auguste fell at a critical point in the bloody battle of Bouvines when it had begun to look like he might actually prevail. Unfortunately for the French he like many of his knights was un-horsed by English foot-soldiers using a pike with a hook, then helplessly dispatched on the marshy ground (despite the best efforts of his bodyguard [1]).

Glorious Angevin-Welf Victory at BouvinesDue to the absence of archery five long hours of butchery had preceded this decisive moment and the commanders had been in the very thick of the action. Also notably absent however was the Angevin King John Lackland (his defeat at Roche-au-Moine preventing him from linking up with Otto and the Germans).

Having lost the support of his unruly barony, John had been forced to find other allies on the continent. Also he had already lost control of Normandy and Anjou and had taken the unpopular and hugely risky measure of raising taxes for his overseas military adventure. It was a huge gamble but ultimately it paid off, at least in the short term.

Author's Note: [1] in OTL his bodyguard managed to save him. The BBC Article The most important battle you've probably never heard of author Hugh Schofield states that Bouvines was a turning point for Europe, and above all for France and England. England withdrew to its insular priorities and began adapting its institutions to the new internal balance of power. The French monarchy emerged enormously enhanced and Paris became the centre of a national life. In the words of the French 19th Century historian Ernest Lavisse: "The two nations set off in different directions. England headed towards liberty; France towards absolutism". He adds that King John was not at the battle. He was still in the south. But his dreams of reconquest were dashed. He returned to England, humiliated and impoverished. Less than a year later - his barons increasingly belligerent and the French now revealing their own designs on the English crown - he was forced to sign the Magna Carta, which limited his power and formed the basis of English democracy.

In 1794, at the height of the Reign of Terror, the French Revolution held its climax as forces loyal to the ideals of Maximelien Robespierre overwhelmed the Convention army arranged by men such as Billaud, Barras, Barère. They had been rallied by the overnight and secret publication of Robespierre's speech defending himself from charges of tyranny. Instead, he attempted to warn France of a conspiracy to seize power in the Republic, which caused his enemies to leap to action and call for Robespierre's execution.

Robespierre's Defense PublishedIt was a harried time in the chaos that seemed to dominate Paris since the storming of the Bastille in 1789. Through the next five years, the National Assembly would attempt to create constitutions, women would march on Paris, property of the Church was publicly seized, the king fled, was captured, and eventually executed, and nearly every king in Europe declared war on the new Republic. Meanwhile, even the forces of revolution began to splinter, forming political clubs such as the Feuillants and the Girondins. Many of them encouraged the wars, hoping for war to be declared against Austria, but lawyer and political leader Robespierre said in 1792, " such a war could only favour the forces of counter-revolution, since it would play into the hands of those who opposed the sovereignty of the people. The risks of Caesarism were clear, for in wartime the powers of the generals would grow at the expense of ordinary soldiers, and the power of the king and court at the expense of the Assembly".

The war began anyway after the death of Leopold II of Austria, but France took major victories in Belgium and the Rhineland, seeming to cement the position of the Republic on the continent. Then the fledgeling government turned inward to its problems of food shortages, insurrections, and outright treason. The Tribunal was established in 1793, leading to a Committee of Public Safety, and Robespierre was one of the nine elected. Here began a "Reign of Terror" during which Robespierre wrote, "...the spring of that government during a revolution is virtue combined with terror: virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible". The report of enemies of the state became a major part of clearing up the factionalism and counter-revolutionaries of the time, and it grew further with the Law of 22 Prairial on June 10, 1794. By it, the Tribunal could condemn an enemy of the state through direct order and without witnesses. Through the next eight weeks, nearly 1300 people would be guillotined.

Robespierre's system of purification nearly ricochetted back at him when he was called before the Convention, accused of treason. That July, Robespierre had recalled several envoys who had been accused of extravagance with their positions to Paris to account for their actions. One of them, Joseph Fouché, evaded arrest and sneaked from house to house of Convention members, explaining that Robespierre would come for them too. With the groundwork set for a coup d'état, the Convention called in Robespierre, who delivered a two-hour speech and giving already his knowledge of the conspiracy. The guilty members (though unnamed) hurried to act. The next day, during a speech by Robespierre's ally Saint-Just (whom Robespierre had been before sent to the front to garner support from the army), he was shouted down. Robespierre also attempted to speak, but the chaos and outright mockery closed him off. At the conclusion, the Convention ordered the arrest of Robespierre and many of his allies.

Commune soldiers under General Coffinhal marched in to defend Robespierre, aiming for the Convention itself, who ordered up soldiers of their own. The soldiers of the Commune began to falter, and it was then that copies of Robespierre's speech was delivered to them, printed in secret after the debate in the Convention had attempted to censor them. Instead, the soldiers realized that they must continue to fight for the good of the revolution against conspiracy and were joined by many free Parisians from the mob. The Battle of Paris raged for only a few hours initially, but when the conspirator's army broke in the early morning, the rioting spread to follow them. Barras, who led the Convention soldiers, was killed in the fighting, Jacques Nicolas Billaud-Varenne was captured and executed, and Bertrand Barère (who had already come under suspicion of treason) managed to escape, eventually ending up in England before disappearing into the Caribbean as an adventurer.

After the Battle of Paris, Robespierre succeeded in his plans of settling the counter-revolutionary movements. By winter, the Law of 22 Prairial came to an end and the Terror expired. Instead, Robespierre continued his place maintaining the Committee of Public Safety and keeping the political elements of pure to his ideal of republic. Meanwhile, the wars with Europe (and even the Quasi-War with the United States until the matter of privateering was settled) continued until the Treaty of Lunéville with Austria in 1801 and the Treaty of Amiens with Britain in 1802. The war was finished by General Moreau as the great Corsican general Napoleon Bonaparte was dispatched to the West Indies as a "punishment" for his lateness in returning from Egypt in 1799 due to poor communication, but also to get a potential tyrant away from the young republic as well as to organize the former slaves who had been freed under the Rights of Man. Robespierre himself would retire from political office in 1815, but he would continue to lead the Jacobin political party and encourage the spread of Republicanism to other countries. After the success of the Society of United Irishmen liberating the Republic of Ireland and later the Republic of Australia, Robespierre was instrumental creating a Republican Bloc of nations such as Batavia and Saint Domingue that spurred conservatism in the royal houses of Europe. In 1821, Robespierre left to observe and later join General Simón Bolívar in his carving out of republics from the old Spanish Empire in the Americas, which rejected Robespierre's Cult of the Supreme Being. Elsewhere, primarily in Europe and then in French republican dependencies, the deist Le culte de l'Être suprême remains the state religion with its festival on June 8 as the largest holiday of the year. Robespierre himself led the festivities in Paris until his death in 1836.

In 1890, on this fateful day the troubled life of thirty-seven year old Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh finally took an upward turn.

The miracle at Auvers-sur-Oise saves the Dutch masterHe had been staying at the Auberge Ravoux inn in Auvers-sur-Oise, France from where he would walk to local wheat fields to paint. Two local boys in cowboy outfits were playing drunkenly with a gun that malfunctioned, firing a bullet through his canvass, narrowly missing his abdomen.

Although he might have willingly embraced death it would have been a travesty because his work was then known to only a handful of people and appreciated by fewer still. And not long after this miraculous event he met a young German doctor Sigmund Freud to whom he admitted that he would have welcomed death in the corn field. Of itself, his therapy didn't really help him overcome his severe depression, but as a result of his escape from death and his move to Vienna he came out of the whole experience greatly inspired.

Author's Note: in the biography Van Gogh: The Life author Steven Naifeh states it was "very clear to us that he did not go into the wheat fields with the intention of shooting himself. The accepted understanding of what happened in Auvers among the people who knew him was that he was killed accidentally by a couple of boys and he decided to protect them by accepting the blame".

In 1945, in his first day in Downing Street, Clement Attlee confirmed that Winston Churchill would remain in his post of Minister of Defence, a position that he had concurrently held as War-time Prime Minister.

Attlee and Churchill win the Khaki Election of 1945
by Ed & Scott Palter
During that time he had also been Leader of the Tories, but ironically, having crossed the aisle to switch parties twice before, this time "Winnie" had been unceremoniously dumped by own party. Having muscled into Downing Street only because Lord Halifax's peerage barred him from occupying the Prime Minister's office, Churchill still did not become Leader for six months until ill health forced Neville Chamberlain's retirement in October 1940.

Fortunately for Churchill's career, if the Tories hated him for supplanting Chamberlain, then the British electorate hated the Tories even more. Twenty Members of Parliament left the Conservative Party as well; these Churchill loyalists ran as National Commonwealth Party Candidates in districts where the Labour Party agreed not to field a candidate, much like the post World War agreement between the Liberal David Lloyd George and the majority Conservative Party. Crucially, they agreed to embrace the Beveridge Report and the result was a landslide victory for a new-style Government of National Unity. The Leader of the Opposition Anthony Eden had his work cut out to recover Tory fortunes before Churchill could destroy the Coalition from the inside.

In 1214, on this day John Lackland King of England brought the twelve year old Angevin-Flanders War to a decision with a glorious victory against his rival Philip II of France at the Battle of Bouvines.

Battle of BouvinesWhich was fortunate for the House of Plantagenet, because the treasury had been exhausted despite the unprecented levels of taxation revenue that had been raised from the barony. Sensing that their simmering resentment could easily lead to civil war, John recalled the army to march through the capital and stamp his authority on the country.

And in a meadow by the River Thames, he forced the reluctant barons to sign a great charter. Due to its broad definition of the "free man" this historic document is generally considered to be the cornerstone of modern English government.

In 1943, Great Britain defeated Nazi Germany by dropping the atomic bomb on Hamburg but when Soviet occupation quickly followed Winston Churchill enraged President Frank Lloyd-Wright by blaming US isolationism for permitting "an iron curtain to descend across Europe".

FirestormBoth the manner of the victory and its direct consequences was the result of the periphery war that Great Britain had been forced to fight since Dunkirk. Undefeated only because of the strength of the Royal Navy and Air Force, the flipside of the victory was that the lack of a comparative land army prevented Great Britain from either re-entering the theatre or mounting an invasion after the bombing of Hamburg.

Or honouring the guarantee of Poland that had sparked the war. Most embittered of all was Lieutenant-General Wladyslaw Anders who demanded the release of the Polish Army in Exile. But Churcill had other plans for these hardened Polish veterans who would be desperately needed in the coming war with the Soviet Union.

In 2004, Chicago's Archbishop Barack Obama was arrested in Boston at a conference of the North American archbishops of the Anglican Church, which was attended by the highest officials of the British Empire's established church from every province of the United Commonwealths of America, and detained pending questioning as to suspected leanings toward the Muslim faith of Britain's arch-enemy, the Ottoman Empire.

Secret MuslimObama was the son of a North American-born mother and a native of British East Africa who had emigrated to the Sandwich Islands. The elder Obama and his wife, née Ann Stanley Dunham, separated in 1960 and divorced in 1964. A new story by Eric LippsThe younger Obama then spent years with his mother in Indonesia, where he encountered Muslims for the first time at school. Under the policies of Britain's colonial authorities, Muslims in Indonesia were permitted education alongside Anglicans, as were Catholics and Jews, a practice considered dangerously radical by many old-line conservatives faithful to the spirit of England's first Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. That exposure would form much of the basis for the charges of religious disloyalty brought against the younger Obama at his trial before the Inquiry in November of 2004.

Although formally acquitted of the charge of secret Muslimhood, Obama would be stripped of his office and placed on the Inquiry's index of suspect persons, subject to routine surveillance. In 2008, the surveillance would be lifted and Obama would be removed from the Inquiry's watch list, allowing him to apply for a position as a theology professor at Chicago's prestigious King Henry University. An appeal to ecclesiastical authorities to restore his clerical rank was ongoing as of September 2010.

In 1694, on this day the new King of England William III dismissed the idea of a "Bank of England".

King William III Dismisses Idea of a "Bank of England"William, Prince of Orange and the new King of England after the Glorious Revolution ousted James II, ran a government in desperate need of money. Elections in 1690 had weakened his Whig supporters, and the Tories were happy with his domestic policies but not his continuation in the Nine Years' War with France. With his preference for the minority Whig Junto, William was able to direct the country, but it was difficult to enact taxes from a resistant Parliament.

In order to get around the ancient laws of Parliament controlling English taxation, William and his Whigs turned to an idea that made his native Netherlands famous and powerful: banking. Plans were put forth to enact a Royal Charter for a Bank of England, much to suspicion of Parliament. William had been very generous to the people, who had been very generous to him with their invitation for his invasion to rout James II, encouraging legislation such as the Bill of Rights and the Act of Toleration.

However, the Tories spoke out against his idea of a bank, seeing it as a potential downfall of the balance between Parliament and King. If the King could borrow money from another source, the powers of Parliament would slip. After much politicking and even threat of turning back to the Jacobites who still clamored for William's blood, it finally fell to a body of Tories to stop the bank by agreeing to raise funds for the war with France. Thus, on July 27, William publicly dismissed the potential charter.

Maintaining the tradition of government mints and treasuries, England and its allies would be victorious against France by 1697. After the war, the Dutch continued their place as the bankers of Europe, guaranteeing economic and military strength for the small country. After decades of marginal peace, Europe would again be torn asunder in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763). While Britain would be the greatest winner of the war, the Dutch would secure their economic mastery of the world for a century until manufacturing outpaced banking in capitalism.

As fallout from the Seven Years' War, the American colonists rebelled against England due to rising taxes and lack of self-government. Already in dire economic straits due to empty coffers from the Seven Years' War, King George III had very little money for mercenaries and so dispatched only what he could of his armies. The war ground on until 1781 when English soldiers began to desert en mass from lack of pay. In 1782, the Dutch granted the fledgling United States with a loan of five million guilders, enough to solve many of the Americans' financial problems. Britain, however, was bankrupt.

Heavy taxation to solve the problem resulted in a much angered populace, and, in 1787, revolution would break out. Dethroning the king, Parliament would become the highest law of the land, though many new additions to the Bill of Rights would keep the country from the darker days of Cromwell's reign. The new republican government would soon restore relations with the United States and quickly recognize the French Republic when it came along in 1792 after beginning its own revolution in '89. Alliances among these republics as well as the wealthy Dutch would build up until France fell back under dictatorial rule with Napoleon's crowning of himself.

Faced with new military requirements, the British Republic would bring up the idea of a national bank it had left behind over a century before. The Bank of Britain secured financing for the lengthy Napoleonic Wars and served to aid the exiled Dutch bankers when their lands fell. When Napoleon was finally defeated, the republics found themselves again at odds with the rest of Europe. Britain wished France a return to its republic while the rest of Europe established Louis XVII.

Instead of igniting another war over Europe, Britain turned to expand its republican ideals into the rest of its empire. The wealthy Netherlands, too, continued its empire by maintaining the Belgians despite a rebellion in 1830 and expanding into Africa and the Pacific. Economies worldwide would spread like wildfire, but the growing sense of nationalism would also spread.

In the eruption of the World War, much of the world leaders' forces would be stuck in trenches in Europe, but a competition began provoking colonial rebellion as Germany successfully organized revolt in Ireland. Soon empires based on hollow republican ideals would fall as natives rose up with their own notions of self-rule. India, the Congo, Egypt, Arabia, Syria, Tanzania and many other countries would spring up independent over the coming years. Even after the war was over, De-Colonization would continue through the 1920s and '30s, creating over two hundred countries over the globe. The resulting economic downturn would cause a Great Depression like the world had never seen, giving way to a rise of strong Fascist governments ruling these new countries. Not only would former colonies would gain fascist governments, but also European nations like the Nazis of Germany, the Blackshirts of Italy, and the British Union.

As with all strong governments, they would eventually clash. The German invasion of France in 1941 would give way to a series of campaigns that would carve up the world into factions battling one another over four continents. In the end in 1962, the United States would assume supremacy with its Hydrogen Bomb, and a new world empire would begin under the popular Grand Marshall Kennedy, sadly murdered a year later, but succeeded by LBJ, who would rule the world for the next decade.

In 1939, representatives of the French and British Government received a technical briefing from the Polish Cipher Bureau at a secret meeting in Warsaw on this day. Poland's Enigma-decryption techniques and equipment were outlined. And to the astonishment of the western allies, it was revealed that the nightmarish task of code-breaking the growing structural and operating complexities of the plugboard-equipped Enigma had required seven long years of dedication from the Polish General Staff agency's best cryptographers. Polish military planners estimated that within seven weeks, Adolf Hitler would issue orders to invade. And so the timing of the decryption of Nazi German secret communications (Ultra) was none too soon. In exchange for two cracked Engima devices, massive military assistance was required by the Wojsko Polskie, the Polish Army, and to arrive during the month of August.

Enigma CodesA British Expeditory Force (BEF) commanded by Field Marshal John Vereker (Lord Gort) was dispatched to Poland, with the first elements arriving on August 19th.

When the German attack began, the BEF consisted of ten infantry divisions in three corps (I, II, and III), 1st Army Tank Brigade and a RAF detachment of about 500 aircraft, the BEF Air Component. Although constituting only a tenth of the defending Allied force the BEF sustained heavy losses during the German advance and after a desperate retreat through the "Polish Corridor" a bare fraction of the remainder (roughly 30,000 men) were evacuated from the Port of Danzig between September 26th and October 4th. The Royal Navy was unable to pull off a "miracle at Danzig" due in no small part to the activities of the German population who succeeded in causing havoc for the evacuation plan.

"I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest" ~ Winston ChurchillDespite this dreadful military disaster, the western allies had succeeded in preventing Germany from signing a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union.

And the startling success of the Blitzkrieg had accelerated German plans for the conquest of Western Russia, which would now proceed with terrifying ferocity. And as the Second World War approached a decision on the Eastern Front, the Western Allies would be locked in an unfought "Phoney War" with the Germans, contributing nothing further to the bloodbath other than to supply the Red Army with the Enigma Codes.

In 1948, Obersturmbannfuhrer Otto Skorzeny escaped from an Allied Prisoner of War Camp. Scorzeny EscapesWith the defeat of Nazi Germany inevitable, Skorzeny had trained, until March 1945, recruits for the stay-behind Nazi organisation, the Werwolves, which engaged in guerrilla warfare against the Allies.

However, Skorzeny quickly realized that the Werwolves were too few in number to become an effective fighting force. Instead of this, they were used for the Nazi 'ratlines', a secret 'Underground railroad' which helped Nazi war criminals escape trial after Germany's surrender. Beside this organisation of the 'ratlines,' which would form the basis of the supposed ODESSA network after the war, Skorzeny had been employed since August 1944 by high-ranking Nazis and German industrialists to hide money and to loot property, documents, etc., some of which were buried in the mountains of Bavaria, and others shipped overseas.

Skorzeny finally decided to surrender to the Allies in May 1945, feeling that he could potentially be of use to the Americans in the forthcoming Cold War. On May 16, 1945, he emerged from the Austrian woods near Salzburg and surrendered to a lieutenant of the US Thirtieth Infantry Regiment. He was held as a prisoner of war for more than two years before being tried as a war criminal at the Dachau Trials for his false flag actions in the Battle of the Bulge. However, he was acquitted when Wing Commander Yeo-Thomas G.C. of the SOE testified in his defence that Allied forces had also fought in enemy uniform. But he was held until he escaped from a prison camp on July 27, 1948.

There was one item of property that Skorzeny took with him in his flight to South America. Some documents actually. Letters written by Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, posing as his Uncle, to John Bruce between 1931 and 1934. And also the five missing pages from Lawrence's War Diary, ripped in shame by the author describing his capture in Deraa during November 1917. Documents that would create a spectacular reaction when they surfaced in 1960 during the premiere of the movie Lawrence of Arabia on 16th December 1962.

In 1908, Imperial soldiers of the Russian First Army arrive at the Podkamennaya (Lower Stony) Tunguska River. Nikola Tesla realises immediately that his June 30th experiment has gone even worse than horribly wrong. Not only has a large area of Siberia been laid waste, but the transmission from his Tesla Tower has clearly interfered with the navigation of an alien spacecraft, causing the ship to crash. And then there was the fungus .. Uncomplicated by the wider issues of the downed spacecraft, General Pavel Karlovich Rennenkampf does not hesitate to do his duty to the Tsar of all the Russias.Tesla Experiment downs the Grayboys

The ship, an enormous gray plate nearly a quarter of a mile across, had torn through the dead trees at the center of the river, exploding them and casting the splintery fragments in every direction. The Blue Boy (it was not blue at all, not a bit blue) had come to rest at the swamp's far end, where a rocky ridge rose at a steep angle. A long arc of its curved edge had disappeared into the watery, unstable earth. Dirt and bits of broken trees had sprayed up and littered the ship's smooth hull.

The surviving grayboys were standing around it, most on snow-covered hummocks under the upward-tilted end of their ship; if the sun had been shining, they would have been standing in the crashed ship's shadow. Well . . . Rennenkampf thought it was more Trojan Horse than crashed ship, but the surviving grayboys, naked and unarmed, didn't look like much of a threat. About a hundred, Rennenkampf had said, but there were fewer than that now; Tesla put the number at sixty. He saw at least a dozen corpses, in greater or lesser states of red-tinged decay,lying on the snow-covered hummocks. Some were facedown in the shallow black water. Here and there, startlingly bright against the snow, were reddish-gold patches of the fungus . . . except not all of the patches were bright, Tesla realized as he raised his binoculars and looked through them.

Several had begun to gray out, victims of the cold or the atmosphere or both. No, they didn't survive well here not the grayboys, not the fungus they had brought with them. ~ Stephen King, Dreamcatcher Chapter 5

In 1961, on this day the NYPD, PAPD, and FDNY held their first joint post-Jamaica Bay hurricane disaster drill. The exercise was carried out at the directive of New York City mayor John Lindsay, who wanted to be sure the city's first responders weren't caught off guard by future hurricanes as they had been by the Jamaica Bay disaster.

 -

One of the NYPD officers involved in the drill, a rookie patrolman named Raymond Kelly (pictured), would later serve two terms as the city's police commissioner.

On this day in 2002, a group of Iraqi regular army generals alarmed by the looming threat of civil war in their homeland secretly met to begin planning the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

 - Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Post-1968 flag of

On this day in 1968, the East German government signed a pact with West Germany under whose terms Germany would be reunified effective October 1st. Shortly after the agreement was signed, Erich Honecker issued a directive ordering all Warsaw Pact-tasked Soviet military forces to withdraw from German territory within fifteen days.

Post-1968 flag of - Germany
Germany

On this day in 1973, vacationers Burt and Vicky Stanton were murdered in the town of Gatlin, Nebraska by the Lawnmower Man. Their deaths would later be the subject of a Stephen King-narrated documentary, "Children of the Corn".

 - Stephen King
Stephen King
In 2006, a series of high-level resignations continued in the Justice Department and at the FBI following the revelations of James Anthony Traficant, Jr. at a press conference in Washington. A former Democratic Representative in the United States Congress from Ohio, Traficant, Jr. had been recently released from prison after compelling evidence emerged that he was the victim of a government set-up. This included false allegations of taking bribes, filing false tax returns, racketeering, and forcing his aides to perform chores at his farm in Ohio and on his houseboat in Washington, D.C. All of which were dismissed at the re-trial.
I went back in time the other day. It was quite an interesting experience. I almost prevented the birth of Hitler, and was an inch away from saving Martin Luther King. And, by the way, it was Oswald, and he was the only gunman. I can say that without fear of contradiction.
I'm not supposed to interfere, but you can't help yourself, really. After all, what's the point of going back if you're not going to try to change things? Time travel is the ultimate wish fulfillment. If you go back far enough, and you know enough, you can be a god.
Marcus had wanted to do that; be a god. He told me that he could bring a few gadgets with him, set up shop in Mesopotamia or someplace like that, and he would never have to worry about anything ever again. I reminded him that modern conveniences like hologames, running water and vaccinations might be missed by someone playing the god for the primitive locals, but he says that he could tough it out. I doubt it.
But, he's been gone for a while now, and I don't think he's coming back. The world hasn't come crashing down around us, so whatever changes he's made, I assume that they've already been taken into account in the time stream. I hope.
That's what we all hope, really. Everybody involved in the project has got to hope that we can't really change the past, at least not in a way that will destroy the present. If we can, then somebody's going to screw us all up any day now.
Maybe they already have.
There are a lot of paradoxes in this line of work, and you really just have to get used to them. I mean, if you try to grasp each set of contradictions that you bring up just by appearing in the past, you'd spend all your time sitting around confused instead of doing something. And that's not very productive.
My main area of focus is on historical accuracy in textbooks. I was the one who got to correct all the assassination buffs who?ve been living on JFK rumors for decades. That was my masterpiece; seventeen cameras along a one mile patch of road in old Dallas. Conclusive proof that the only shots came from the book depository, there was nobody on the grassy knoll, and I got a really good close-up of Lee Harvey himself squeezing the trigger. How they howled. I've now been labeled part of the conspiracy.
In 1940, the fleeing British Royal Family reached their safest haven. That being the capital of New Britain established by Arthur Wellesley in 1814, Windsor, Ontario. Nowhere other than this Anglophone pocket in North America would have accepted these desperate refugees. Head of the British Government in Exile, Winston Churchill summoned up the situation on their arrival: "Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was our darkest hour".
In 2003, the BBC reported that their scientific exploration of Loch Ness in Scotland had found a colony of huge monsters living in the lake. Tourism in Scotland increased by a factor of 1000.
In 1999, the 17 madmen of Mt. Didicas arrive back at the undersea ruins. They kill a scuba shop owner and steal all of his equipment, then steal a boat to sail back out to the ruins. A voice is calling them all; a voice that many fisherman also can hear on the sea; a voice that sends the sane back to the shore.
In 1974, acid rocker John Denver hit the top of the charts with Annie's Song, a ballad about his wife's drug addiction. Denver also had a hit with downers like I'm Sorry, and often opened for acts like Kiss and Alice Cooper. After a decade of inactivity in the 80's, he experienced a brief revival in popularity when Marilyn Manson covered Annie's Song.
In 1925, Enrico Caruso releases an album of arias on the Maggie format. When he dies days after the recording session, the album cannot be kept on store shelves, and this has the side effect of driving sales of Maggie-players through the roof. It seems as if every home in America has one by Christmas.
In 1974, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted 27 to 11 to recommend the first article of impeachment against President Robert F Kennedy: obstruction of justice. Americans were waking up to the fact that RFK's Special Investigations Unit ('the Plumbers') had burgled their own Democratic National Committee Headquarters in an attempt to besmirch Richard M Nixon's reputation. Still, it was just too late for Honest Dick. At sixty years old, he had made two bids for Presidency, and one for the Governorship of California. Even if he had been tricked by the Kennedys, he still had a record of losing.
In 1930, Henry Ross Perot was born in Texarkana, Texas. Following a successful business career, an intention to run in the 1992 U.S. presidential election was announced on CNN's Larry King Live. Perot's common-sense platform was based on a promise to get under the hood and fix the engine. When US votes found out the extent of incompetence and waste in Washington, they were simply shocked, and today Perot is recognised as the Father of Small Government in the United States.
In 1953, following a six-month "surge" US President Douglas MacArthur proclaimed victory in the Korean War. In Seoul, anti-communist Syngman Rhee was declared president of the newly unified Republic of Korea. Rhee's legacy has been in considerable dispute. In general, conserVative circles regard Rhee as the patriarch of the nation, while liberals tend to be critical of him. Shortly before the 1988 Olympic Games it was discovered that Rhee had embezzled over $20m from the government and tributes to the former head of state were cancelled.
In 1969, Whatever had been U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts fell outward into the night, going backwards with its hands thrown out above its head, like a diver going off a high board. The pallid body gleamed like marble.

Joseph Gargan (Kennedy's cousin) let out a crazed, terrified scream and rushed to the window and peered out. There was nothing to be seen but the moon-gilded night - and suspended in the air below the window and above the spillof light that marked the living room, a dancing pattern of motes that might have been dust. ~ The Emperor of Ice Cream
In 1941, Japanese troops occupied French Indo-China. Meanwhile, Mountbatten, Wingate et al. were poised to quit the Far East altogether, taking with them the Indian Divisions of the British Army. These troops were desperately needed in Jerusalem by Bernard Montgomery of British Central Command. Caught in the Middle East between the German and Japanese pincer movement, the British Army prepared for Churchill's Last Stand.
In 1759, British General James Wolfe started the siege of Quebec.

Two French traitors told Wolfe and his men about a secret cove used for riverside unloading, at the base of the cliffs west of Quebec along the St. Lawrence River. After an extensive yet unsuccessful shelling of the city, Wolfe then led 200 ships with 9000 soldiers and 18 000 sailors on a very bold and risky amphibious landing. Wolfe had been betrayed, his men were met by French under the command of the Marquis de Montcalm. Wolfe was shot in the chest and died just as the battle was lost. He reportedly heard cries of 'We run,' and thus died miserable that the British had been defeated. The Battle of the Cove is notable for causing the deaths of the top military commander on each side: Montcalm died the next day from his wounds. Montcalm's victory at Quebec prevented an assault on the French at Montreal the following year. With the cancellation of that plan, French rule in North America continued uninterrupted by British belligerance.


July 26

In 1993, United States Army general Matthew Bunker Ridgway passed away in Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania aged ninety-eight. Brought up in the military he joined the service himself in 1917. But assigned to West Point as an instructor in Spanish he was disappointed that he was not assigned to combat duty in World War I, feeling that "the soldier who had had no share in this last great victory of good over evil would be ruined".

Passing of Old Iron T*tsA second chance did come along. Having served in the European theatre after VE Day he was promoted to lieutenant general and given an assignment in the Pacific under General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, with whom he had served while a captain at the United States Military Academy at West Point. After the outbreak of the Korean War he took command of the US 8th Army. He planned on going back on the offensive as soon as was possible to push the Chinese People's Volunteers back. However, other events thwarted his plans. President Truman fired General MacArthur in January 1951 for insubordination. This caused an unfortunate stream of events.

In reaction to this move and the poor state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula, there were rumblings out of Congress calling for the impeachment of the president. Also, Seoul fell to the Chicoms. As a result of these events, support for the effort in Europe collapsed. The Commonwealth and other European nations pulled their soldiers out of the front line and took steps to pull the out of North-east Asia. General Ridgway (who replaced General MacArthur) received orders in mid-February 1951 to hold in place.

Ridgway placed his counter-offensive "Operation Killer" on the shelf. It was never executed. By the end of 1951, all US military forces are off the peninsula. The Yi Sygman (Syghman Rhee) tried to maintain a presense on the Asian mainland, but failed. By March 1952, the Republic of Korea controlled only Cheju Do and assorted islands off the Korean peninsula.

Author's Note: in reality several historians have credited Ridgway for turning the war around in favoor of the UN side. His long and prestigious military career was recognized by the award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on May 12, 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, who stated that "Heroes come when they're needed; great men step forward when courage seems in short supply".

In 1861, on this day US President Abraham Lincoln promoted the Commander of the Department of the West John C. Frémont to the upgraded position of the General-in-Chief of Union Army.

Frémont named General-in-Chief of Union Army The American Civil War had raged for several months, and the northern nation needed a commander for its armies. General Winfield Scott was capable, but far too old to keep command over what he understood would be a years-long war. Irvin McDowell's defeat at Bull Run showed that he was incapable. Many believed George McClellan, commander of the Department of Ohio, would be given the command, but his plans about an invasion of Virginia from the west and a campaign along the Ohio River were the source of much derision. Not even the political squawking of his acquaintance Salmon P. Chase could push him for general.

Instead, President Lincoln named commander of the Department of the West, John C. Frémont, to be his commander. Frémont had been a noted explorer through the 1840s and California's first senator, not to mention being the Republicans' first candidate for the presidency. Despite being a Southerner from Atlanta, Frémont remained staunchly loyal to his country. He seemed impetuous, and there had been controversy about what may have been mutiny of his mounted rifles in the Mexican-American War, but Frémont vowed to end the war as soon as possible.

General Frémont would piece together his Union Army for a fast invasion of Virginia. Instead of waiting for spring, Frémont set out in September of 1861. He would prove ruthless against the rebels, as many of his policies in Missouri had shown. Warnings came from General Henry Wagner Halleck (Frémont's replacement in the west) of the mess the general left behind, but these were ignored as simple backroom military gossip.

Frémont's campaign would be an initial success out of his impetuousness. General Joseph E. Johnston, commander of the Southern Army of the Potomac, would fall back, drawing Frémont deeper into Southern territory, where his armies would wreak havoc. Newspapers from both the North and, especially, the South decried the horrors of war. Finally, only five miles from Richmond, at the Battle of Seven Pines (or of Fair Oaks to the Union) on November 30, 1861, Johnston would counterattack. The battle was bloody and inconclusive, except that Johnston had stopped the approach of Frémont.

Rather than beginning a siege for the winter, Frémont regrouped for another attack and assaulted the Richmond defenses. A more stalwart general may have waited, but Frémont meant to end the war and end slavery. Just as Confederate President Jefferson Davis pulled Johnston from command and replaced him with his adviser Robert E. Lee, Frémont threw his soldiers against the defensive works. It was a gamble that could have won the Civil War for the Union.

Instead, the attack proved to be a disaster. Dead piled up as Frémont's troops were unable to crack the defenses. Lee held the city with everything he could scrounge, and reinforcements poured in from all over Virginia in the Southern counterattack, most notably General Jackson and his Stonewall Brigade as well as the cavalry of JEB. Finally, on December 3, Frémont would die from wounds incurred the day before and the remnants of the Union forces would retreat to Fort Monroe, where they had landed months before.

Despite the terrible setback, Lincoln would refuse to allow the South to secede. The retired Winfield Scott's "Anaconda Plan" called for the conquest of the Mississippi, which would be initially a tactical success in 1862. But, the bloodthirsty General Ulysses S. Grant would prove the undoing of the United States as his losses during battles proved unacceptable. Numerous battles began to turn potential victories into defeats from shortages of men and materiel supplied. With logistics failing in both the western and eastern theaters, Union troops would fail to catch up with Lee's Army of the North before it took Harrisburg, PA. The Southern victory would cut off Maryland and Washington D.C. from the rest of the Union. The subsequent revolt in Maryland would cause another wave of secession, and European nations would begin to recognize diplomatically the Confederate States of America.

George McClellan would win narrowly the election of 1864, ousting Lincoln. While the war would drag on for another three years, eventually McClellan would organize the Treaty of Washington of 1868. Peace would settle over America for a time until border disputes in the coming decades again caused friction between the two nations.

In 1903, thirty-fourth President of the United States Carey Estes Kefauver was born on this day in Madisonville, Tennessee.

Birth of President KefauverA member of the Democratic Party, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1939 to 1949 and in the Senate from 1949 to his Presidential election in 1952.

However it was a controversial event in 1950 for which he would be remember. Heading a U.S. Senate committee investigating organized crime, he discovered information that compromised the twelve-year Senate career of Democratic Majority Leader Scott Lucas [1]. This information was quietly suppressed, a cynical decision for which the under pressure Kefauver was rewarded with the nomination. However during his single term of office the scandal blew up and forced his early resignation. The remainder of his term was served out by William Averell Harriman who was crushed at the 1956 polls by Governor Christian Herter of Massachusetts.

In 1941, quite by chance Her Majesty's Government (HMG) discovered that the secret collection of occult artifacts of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II had fallen into the hands of the Nazis.

Voynich Manuscrupt Finally Decoded, Part 1Using techniques developed by their counter-parts in Poland, expert decoders at the Bletchley Park Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) had unraveled the mysteries of the German Enigma Programme. This enabled HMG to study traffic between Nazi High Command and in particular, allowed GC&CS to present the keys to victory in the Battle of the Atlantic where U-Boats were travelling in packs and threatening to starve the country into submission by sinking British shipping.

By way of out-of-hours recreation, the team had amused themselves by attempting to decode the undecipherable Voynich Manuscript. Not only had this task defeated all previous such attempts, but it was widely considered to be gibberish created by the incorrigible medieval forgers John Dee and his assistant Edward Kelley who perhaps sought to separate the foolish monarch Rudolf II from his money. This conclusion was inferred because there was no character repetition that would permit a one-to-one translation. And yet some members of GC&CS believed that the manuscript was actually legitimate and that rogue characters had been introduced to obscure the translation. Perhaps, they imagined, a overlaying decoding device might be placed on top of the manuscript, blocking certain characters and thereby permitting non-gibberish translation. Or so they speculated.

In the most insidious development of the war, Military Intelligence intercepted a document sent by Heinrich Himmler to Adolf Hitler .. written in the Voynich Dialect. The implication was that Himmler must have obtained a overlaying decoding device. Or something even more powerful, because Dee and Kelley had claimed to have been using a scrying glass to communicate with angels using the so-called Enochian Code. It appeared that such a device might enable the conversion Enochian Code into Voynich Dialect. Impulsive war-leader Winston Churchill demanded a series of options ranging from a commando assault on Himmler's headquarters through to the counter-forgery of a message that might expose the underlying decyphering mechanism. Accordingly, master spy Ian Fleming was recalled from Washington, and a project team quickly assembled with the orders to "expect the unexpected".
To be continued in this thread.



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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.