Editor says, for subscription users please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Disqus or Google Plus. History runs along a different line in Today In Alternate History, a site which chronicles "important events in history that never occurred today". Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.
In 1812, on this day William Harris Crawford of Georgia (pictured) was sworn in as the sixth US President after his predecessor the New Yorker George Clinton died from a heart attack.
President William H. Crawford
Sixth US PresidentClinton was the second President to die in office; he had succeeded the frail figure of James Madison who weighing less than one hundred pounds, had a history of poor health and succumbed to a bilious fever during his first term. Both men had struggled with the House Speaker Henry Clay, a powerful political figure who led the predominant faction of "War Hawks". Having passed the minimum age of thirty-five just a week before Clinton's heart attack, Clay was eligible for the Vice Presidency, and therefore Crawford (himself only forty) took the expedient action of selecting an even younger man to restore vigour to the Executive branch of the Federal Government.
However this correction to the recent problem of continuity in the White House backfired spectacularly because it fuelled the already overwhelming Federal Support for prosecuting war with Great Britain. Without the guiding light of a Founding Father, the Republic appeared to be rushing headlong into an uncertain future. The result was the Hartford Convention which triggered the secession of New England.
In 1916, on this day the hard core Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) attempted to seize strongpoints in Dublin City Centre as the precursor to the formation of a Provisional Government of the Irish Republic. But they only succeed in occupying the General Post Office (GPO) where they ceremoniously hoist the flag of the thirty-two county Irish Republic (pictured) as a Sovereign Independent State.
Irish Home Rule in 1914: Part #4Holed up inside were Patrick Pearse, Tom Clarke, Seán Mac Dermott and Joseph Plunkett. When Pearsae read a Proclamation of the Republic1 to the bemused and disinterested Dubliners on Sackville Street2, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland John Redmond responded in a measured way by mobilizing the small Irish Citizen Army formed by James Connolly as an emergency militia to starve them out.
After their detention was complete, one of the commanders, American-born Éamonn de Valera was given passage to Boston. At least for now, Ireland would remain part of the United Kingdom under Home Rule. And the future of an Irish Free State would be nurtured by the Clann na Gael in Boston, that great bastion of Republicanism.
This article concludes the Irish Home Rule 1914 collaborative thread.
In 1961, in a dramatic televised address from the Oval Office, President Kennedy announced that a new Cuban Prime Minister, Professor Jose Miro Cardona had established a provisional government in Havana.
Watch the Youtube Clip
Fait AccompliExplaining why the United States had unilaterally intervened in Cuba, the President stated that "this is not the first time in either ancient or recent history that a small band of freedom fighters has engaged the armor of totalitarianism".
In reality the elite Special Activities Division of the CIA had equipped, trained and lead fourteen hundred Cuban exiles in an amphibious invasion of Cuba to overthrow the new Cuban government of Fidel Castro.
"We felt that when the chips were down, when the crisis arose in reality, any action required for success would be authorized rather than permit the enterprise to fail" ~ Allen DullesYet CIA Director Allen Dulles, CIA Deputy Director Charles Cabell, and Deputy Director for Plans Richard Bissell had been refused overt conventional military support by the President, who feared a Cold War confrontation. Not understanding that the CIA had rated the chances of success at only 30%, the Agency took matters into their own hands. Bissell turned for assistance to the Mafia who were angry with Castro for closing down their profitable brothels and casinos in Cuba. The Mafia funded a diversionary force in the Escambray Mountains which succeeded in distracting Castro's army for long enough to prevent the initial invasion from turning into a catastrophe as the CIA had warned.
Enraged, and threatening to "smash the Agency into a thousand pieces", Kennedy fired Dulles, Cabell and Bissell. And to ensure executive oversight, Kennedy appointed his brother Robert as the new CIA Director.
In 2009, on this day the Austrian city of Linz held a week-long festival to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the birth of its most famous son, Adolf Hitler.
Linz - Capital of Culture 2009 by Chris OakleyThe controversial history of the city was showcased in a large canvass showcased by the artist Werner Horvath. Born and living in Linz, Horvath painted a number of well known figures from the world of fairy tales known as the "Grottenbahn".
The artist refused to comment on which historic figures were represented by the dwarf and king of frogs.
Yet many viewers would draw perhaps the correct conclusion. Which was that king of frogs was the historical figure of Adolf Hitler set in the current day but looking back on a world of unimaginable change.
Because the celebration was extremely controversial outside of Austria, where a neo-fascist government had been in power since 1993; inside Austria, however, it was seen as a proper show of national pride for a man who had dedicated his life to uniting all the German-speaking peoples of Europe.
In 1889, on this day Walt Disney's favourite cartoonist Adolf Schicklgruber was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary. A good student in elementary school, he quarrelled with his parents over his career plans. Young Schicklegruber dreamt of being a painter, instead of following in his father's steps as a custom's official. From 1905 on, he lived a bohemian life in Vienna. He was rejected twice by the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (1907-1908) who cited "unfitness for painting," and was told his abilities lay instead in the field of architecture.
The Wonderful World of SchicklegruberOn 21 December 1907, Schicklegruber's mother died of breast cancer at age 47. When he was 21, he inherited money from an aunt and used the money to emigrate to the United States. It has been suggested that Schicklegruber and Disney shared a white supremacist perspective that formed the basis of their life-long partnership, however there is no evidence of this. Whether the artwork is indicative of a utopian mindset or not is of no importance to the millions of children who enjoyed the fruits of their collaborative work.
Yet one mystery remains unsolved. On February 23rd 2008, William Hakvaag, the director of a war museum in northern Norway, said he found drawings hidden in a painting signed 'A. Hitler' that he bought at an auction in Germany. He found coloured cartoons of the characters Bashful and Doc from the 1937 Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which were signed A.H., and an unsigned sketch of Pinocchio as he appeared in the 1940 Disney film. Clearly drawn by Schicklegruber, it is considered probable that Hitler was a pen-name used by the artist, but the discovery of the canvasses in the Weimar Republic is completely inexplicable.
In 1889, on this day future German Chancellor Adolf (translation "noble wolf" from the Germanic name Adalwolf) Hitler was born in Braunau, Austria.
AshesDuring the 1920s Hitler became self aware of a medical condition which he presumed to be linked to the advancement of combat stress disorder suffered intermittently since hospitalization at the close of World War I. The condition caused his arm to shake uncontrollably, forcing him to conceal it behind his back. The condition worsened and became impossible to conceal following the June 21, 1941 move to the major Eastern Front military headquarters known as Fuhrerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze ("Wolf's Lair"). Surprisingly, no leadership connection was drawn to the Kaiser's withered hand, known to the world as a birth injury caused by incompetent surgeons.
Doctors prescribed a cocktail of drugs for Hitler and recommended a vegetarian diet. Deputy Martin Bormann actually constructed a large greenhouse close to the Berghof (near Berchtesgaden) in order to ensure a steady supply of fresh fruits and vegetables for Hitler throughout the war.
Bormann was also responsible for the destruction of Hitler's ashes in the Reich Chancellery Gardens following the Fuhrer's death in Berlin in April 1945. Having concealed his master's lycanthropy for over twenty years, he then used his own shape-shifting techniques to flee the burning city by moonlight, avoid detection by incoming Russian soldiers and return to Bavaria.
In 2008, President Bush ordered the stationing of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the Mozambique Channel in an effort to deter the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe from persecuting Zimbabwean opposition political leaders.
On this day in 1982, World Wrestling Federation CEO Vincent K. McMahon, seeing the success the NWA had enjoyed with its Great American Bash pay-per-view event the year before, announced that the WWF would hold its own PPV card in August at Boston Garden.
The show, to be known as 'Summerslam', would feature as its main event a title defense by then-WWF world heavyweight champion Bob Backlund against an opponent to be named later.
On this day in 1996, Tom Brady pitched his first collegiate no-hitter, earning a 2-0 win against Bowling Green.
In 2005, Chelsea Perkins and her mother are assaulted by four young skinheads who target them because Mrs. Perkins is Hispanic. Chelsea is able to dispatch them with a little magic she had carried with her, but is unable to completely conceal her spell from her mother, who becomes quite frightened for - and of - her.
In 1996, Bartholomew Thompson meets his ancestor, Mikhail von Heflin, when the two attend the second day of Aggiecon, a science fiction convention in Texas. The Baron is there investigating a kidnapping; Thompson has fallen in love with the kidnappee. The two join forces to rescue her, and Thompson is given a glimpse of his destiny.
In 1957, Dr. Eliot Ross and adventurer Jake Robinson find Hitler's hidden tomb in the Antarctic just as the dark forces he had invoked at his death reanimate his hideous corpse. In the ensuing struggle, McMurdo Station is destroyed and Ross and Robinson are chased halfway around the world before they manage to send the Fuhrer back to the underworld with a spell they discover in Rome.
In 1940, Ralph Shephard, future leader of the right-wing Constitutionalist Party and President of the United States, was born in Oahu, Hawaii. Shephard made his political career by ridiculing American leaders to his left after the defeat of America in the Vietnam War. His rise to power through election as Speaker of the House, followed by the suspicious resignations of President Reagan and Vice-President Bush, gave him the trappings of electoral victory without ever having to have actually won a national election.
In 1889, future Austrian Human Leaguer Adolf Schicklegruber was born in Braunau, Austria. When the anti-Mlosh organization was revived following the ecological disasters at the turn of the century, young Schicklegruber joined the organization and proved one of its most enthusiastic recruiters. He was killed when a bomb he was helping to plant near a Mlosh day-care center went off accidentally in 1918.
In 1889, Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau, Austria. Placed at the head of the German Underground by neo-Nazi time travelers from the future, he proved completely inept in strategy and was made a powerless figurehead in the 1930's. He continued in this position until his death in the 1980's, reveling in successes that he was never able to achieve through his own efforts.
In 1889, Adolf Schicklegruber was born in Braunau, Austria. Schicklegruber was at the forefront of post-Great War comics who lampooned the democracies that emerged in Central Europe. Although racist by today's standards, Schicklegruber was considered somewhat tame in his own time.
In 1972, Margaret Thatcher led a series of workshop sessions to conclude the Conference in Admiralty House. Her plan was breathtakingly simple. The Empire bankrupted us and now it was payback time. Britain would offer the new nations of the Commonwealth unlimited military assistance in return for highly preferential trading agreements. This had to be done swiftly, whilst the generation of dictators in power had links to Britain. Many had been educated at public schools and Universities and were thus approachable by 'old boys'. More importantly, it had to be done whilst British military forces were still strong enough to be credible. 'The toast', says Thatcher, ' the empire strikes back!' to loud cheers.
In 1998, Arthur Pendrake and his main force of Welsh troops advance within sight of London. They take over a small television station and Arthur broadcasts a message to the citizens of the capitol: 'People of London, I am Arthur Pendrake. I am the true King of all the Britons, and I am come to claim my crown. Today, I shall hold this fair city. I do not wish to harm my subjects, so I ask that those of you who are in the armed forces stand down when we advance. I shall not hold your service to the Windsors against you. Lay down your arms, and join me in restoring Britain to her former glory. You shall have a day to consider this offer.? Brigadier Major-General Charles Fortescue issues orders to shoot anyone who deserts to Arthur's side.
In 1968, the British Conservative Prime Minister Enoch Powell, has made a hard-hitting speech justifying the government's immigration policy. Addressing a Conservative association meeting in Birmingham, Mr Powell said Britain had been mad to allow in 50,000 dependents of immigrants each year. He compared it to watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre. 'Like the Roman, I seem to see the river Tiber foaming with much blood' he said.
In 1889, German fascist leader Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau, Austria. Although his Nazi party came close to seizing power in the 1932 elections, he was never able to push them to majority status, and with President Hindenburg's surprise naming of Ernst Thaelmann as Chancellor, Hitler faded into obscurity.
In 1914, comrades in Ludlow, Colorado go perhaps a step too far when they kill the management and owners of the coal mines in the community. The local militia, mostly good communists, joined with the striking coal miners and slaughtered the mine's elite because of their refusal to agree to the reasonable requests of the miners. It set an example for other owners across the United States, and the local DA, a communist himself, refused to prosecute anyone for the murders.
In 2642 AUC the fanatical Germanic rabble-rouser Adolfus was born in the hinterlands of Germania. He spent most of his life dodging Roman justice as he attempted to resurrect a mythical German nation-state in the center of the Roman Republic. Although he had some followers and fellow-travelers, he was never anything more than a nuisance to the Republic.
In 1889, artist Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau, Austria. Hitler started a style he called Aryan Classical, which presented an idealized view of the German peasantry and past in its work. His personal charisma, rather than mediocre talent, made the style dominant in German art in the 30's and 40's.
In 1891, General Anthony Franklin appoints Major Mark Wainwright as his staff chief, and has him send a telegram back to Washington describing the loss in Topeka. 'Make sure they know we need more troops,? he tells Wainwright. The depressed major takes a couple of men to help him get through to the telegraph office; a smart move, as it turns out, because, as he is leaving, 'Sockless' Simpson's volunteers cross the border and begin taking over the Missouri side of Kansas City. Wainwright and his men fight their way back to the general, assemble the remainder of their troops, and flee the city. 'I will take that man,? General Franklin vows to Wainwright.
In 1917, Father Georgi Apollonovich Gapon confronted the master, Grigory Rasputin at the Yusopov Palace in a final, titantic struggle for the mastery of Russia. American journalist Stephen King described the scene, writing in his epic work 'Reds'.
Rasputins seized Tsarevich Alexei. 'What now? ' Father Gappon said. and his voice was not his own at all. He was looking at Rasputin's fingers, those long, sensitive fingers which lay against the boy's throat. There were small blue blotches on them. Softly, almost purring Rasputin said 'Then you will throw away your cross and face me on even terms-your faith against mine?'. Yes, Gapon said, but a trifle less firmly. 'Then do it'. Rasputin's full lips became pursed, anticipatory.
in 1953, the CIA mind control program had a change of name from Project Bluebird to Project MKUltra. Four of the most successful graduates of the program were Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan B. Sirhan, James Earl Ray and Yigal Amir, all of whom could remember absolutely nothing about the assassinations they had committed on John F Kennedy, Robert F Kennedy, Dr Martin Luther King and Yitzhak Rabin respectively.
In 1865, following the Night of Terror brought by the Booth Conspiracy Abraham Lincoln summoned the US Congress into session on this the first Monday after Easter.
Booth Conspiracy brings Night of Terror, Part 2 by Ed, Allen W. McDonnell & Jeff ProvineIn a solemn address he paid his dutiful respects to the two dead national leaders, Vice-President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward. Also his gratitude to the military policeman who had intercepted John Wilkes Booth at the Ford Theatre.
Having reflected on the events of April 14th, and after holding several rounds of intense discussions with the Cabinet, Lincoln had developed a robust set of proposals that would safeguard the Federal Government from a re-occurrence of such a future conspiracy. Accordingly, he was asking for a Constitutional Amendment that would make the post of Vice President equal to those of the Cabinet, a person appointed by the President to serve at his pleasure as the President of the Senate (the official title of the Vice President).
The Amendment easily passes the joint session of Congress by the necessary margin and was also passed quickly by the States of the Union making it part of the Constitution. From the election of 1868 onward people only elect the President, the Vice President and Cabinet Secretaries are appointed by the President with the Advice and Consent of the Senate. However in his auto-biography, Lincoln would reveal that an even more far-reaching proposal that was considered - the President to also appoint a new position, President of the House  as a second Vice President.
By 1647, things looked quite bleak for the settlements of the Dutch West India Company's settlements in North America. New Amsterdam, the company's most important trade centre, was lost to the English in 1665 and it was a bold stroke that the Dutch naval captain Jurriaen Aernoutsz captured the French settlements of Acadia along the Kennebec River during the Franco-Dutch War of 1674.
This post was written by Dirk Puehl the highly recommended author of #onthisday #history Google+ posts.
The Foundation of Nieuw Zwolle and the Republic of New HollandNaming the place New Holland, Aernoutsz appointed a governor and went to the Dutch West Indies to find willing colonists for the WIC's latest acquisition. Returning with a shipload of them, the experienced skipper managed to slip behind three English men-of-war out of Boston who tried to intercept him and land in what was to become the capital Nieuw Zwolle at the mouth of the Kennebec in Penobscot Bay. This day, April 19th 1674, marks the actual beginning of New Holland.
Settling various differences with His Majesty's Colony of Massachusetts and the English, Aernoutsz and his new governor Cornelius van Steenwyk pushed northwards towards New France and the St Lawrence River valley. Without resources to speak of from the mother country, Aernoutsz rose above himself in diplomatic skill, managed to form an alliance with Massachusetts' governor Josiah Winslow and the Iroquois Confederation and his colony of New Holland and captured Montreal in 1678 and Quebec early in 1679.
Teeth-gnashing, the French had to accept a major loss of their New France territory with the Treaty of Nijmegen. The Dutch Republic was with one stroke one of the players in the round of North American colonial powers again.
Grown rich on the fur trade, New Holland participated actively in the War of the Spanish Succession and gained the French territory of New Brunswick under the Treaty of Utrecht and the Seven Years' War saw them expand to the Eastern shores of the Great Lakes.
The relationship between the New Hollanders and the English in Rupert's Land on the Hudson Bay and the East Coast was never easy and took a while to heal after the colony joined the mother country in declaring war on the British during the American War of Independence, ending with a territorial status quo of the colonies after the Peace of Paris in 1783.
New Holland almost faced Civil War, when Napoleon occupied the Netherlands in 1795 between the pro-Napoleonic faction and the Onafhankelijkheid party who wanted their own, independent North American Republic. The later President of the Republic of New Holland, Willem van Steenwyk, a descendant of Cornelius, won the relatively bloodless conflict and the country was proclaimed a republic on June 21st 1796 in Nieuw Zwolle.
An article from the multi-author American Mini-states thread.
In response to unrestricted submarine warfare by the Germans, American President Woodrow Wilson delivered on April 18, 1916, an ultimatum that continued attack on American ships would provoke war. The next day, Neiu Nederlander President Theodoor van Rosevelt traveled to Washington to show his agreement. If the US went to war, the American Dutch would bravely join them.
An article from the multi-author American Mini-states thread.
Neiu Nederlanders back AmericansThe two nations had grown up alongside one another as Europeans colonized North America. The English threatened to eliminate the Dutch from their holdings of New Amsterdam when four frigates occupied the harbor. Director-General Peter Stuyvesant, after considering ceding the land in hopes of retaking it, decided to head off a Second Anglo-Dutch War and refused. After firing on the city, the frigates were rebuffed and returned to England empty-handed.
Since that time, New Amsterdam quickly expanded. Jews ousted from Brazil as Portugal retook Dutch conquests flooded into the city, and immigrants from all over the world were accepted. The economy flourished as pelts were harvested from the upper Hudson and established shipping. When the twin states of New England and Great Virginia declared independence from Britain, the Dutch granted support first financially and then through its impressive navy. When Napoleon conquered the Netherlands in Europe, Neiu Nederlands announced its own independence.
Relations between Neiu Nederlanders and Americans were amicable. They were particularly close with New England due to ties in shipping and manufacturing, although relations were at times strained while the United States to the south determining water rights of Lake Erie. When New England broke off trade with the US over slavery, the Nederlanders maintained a lucrative neutrality. The sudden surge of trade brought about a new golden age, which led to a great deal of corruption that responded in a powerful Progressive Movement, headed by the young Theodoor van Rosevelt.
Rosevelt was part of the wealthy and politically influential family that had begun with Claes Maartenszen van Rosevelt, who purchased a large farm on Manhattan Island that would translate into enormous wealth as the city grew. Theodoor was born in 1858 and struggled through his childhood suffering from asthma. He overcame the disease by determination and exercise with seeming limitless energy, features that would define his life. After his education, Theodoor traveled extensively to the American West as well as Dutch holdings in the Caribbean and South America. He returned and entered civil service, soon becoming Director of the Navy where he built a canal through Panama and led the Great White Fleet on its tour around the world. By 1910, he was elected President.
When war erupted in Europe, Rosevelt hoped to join quickly and use the impressive New Dutch fleet, but business was too good trading through the neutral Netherlands. Despite his extensive campaigning, it wasn't until the Americans threatened Germany that he finally gained the agreement of shipping interests who disapproved of attacks by uboats. In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare resumed, and a joint declaration of war was announced. Thanks to Rosevelt's anticipation, New Dutch troops joined the front almost immediately.
Since 1949, with independence the status of New Guinea had been a bone of contention between the Netherlands and Indonesia. Shortly before the independence the Dutch government had unilaterally decided that New (West) Guinea would remain Dutch even after the official recognition of Indonesian independence.
War in New GuineaIn the decade that followed Indonesian president Sukarno would repeatedly call for annexation of New Guinea, and in 1958 the tensions started to boil over. A more conservative Dutch government, backed by guarantees from American minister of Foreign affairs John Foster Dulles, started reinforcing the Dutch military presence and created a law that would allow Dutch soldiers to be stationed overseas.
The Indonesian government also upped the stakes, parachutists were landed on New Guinea and leaflets dropped. Although direct confrontation was avoided for now the Indonesian military was clearly flexing it's muscles.
The first combat action happened in january 1962, when three Indonesian motor torpedo boats loaded with infiltrators were intercepted by the Dutch navy. One MTB was sunk by a Dutch frigate another ran aground and the third was damaged by Dutch fire.
In the intervening years Indonesia had gotten closer to the Soviet Union and the Soviets started sending troops to Indonesia started sending alongside the weapons that were already being sold to that country.
The Dutch government decided to up it's military presence in the region with extra soldiers and an anti-aircraft battalion to bolsters it's . While tensions mount the US tries to pressure both parties into a diplomatic solution, but in early august negotiations break down as Indonesia demands the transfer of New Guinea on 1 january of the next year.
On 15 August the invasion fleet takes to the sea, and a Soviet submarines slips into the harbour while 5 others take up position to block any seagoing vessel entering or exiting the waters around New Guinea.
Although the Dutch forces were in a state of readiness the attack still takes them by surprise. The fuel tanks in Mankovari harbour go up in flames, followed shortly by the frigate anchored there, in the chaos the Soviet submarine escapes unnoticed.
One of the other two frigates is badly damaged by a torpedo attack as it sails to Mankovari and barely manages to limp into port.
The third frigate attempts to intercept the Indonesian invasion fleet, but is itself intercepted by the Soviet submarines and turned back. Meanwhile thousands of Indonesian and Soviet soldiers start disembarking.
Although US president John F. Kennedy sharply denounces the Indonesian actions no military aid will be forthcoming, and any mention of the Soviet forces is studiously avoided.
With the Americans tied up in Vietnam the Dutch soldiers conduct a valiant but vain defence of the Island. Within two weeks the main Dutch positions have all been taken and the threat of Soviet submarines is preventing reinforcements. Even the Dutch aircraft carrier Karel Doorman which has hastily steamed towards the East is kept at bay by the submarine threat.
Back in the Netherlands the government unilaterally declares a ceasefire as it's last act before resigning. Although Indonesia now holds all of New Guinea it will take months before this is officially recognized, the parliamentary elections fail to create a stable coalition. It is not until 19 april 1963 that a peace agreement is signed, and even then the agreement is little more than a recognition of the status quo in exchange for repatriation of all Dutch prisoners of war.
In 1913, on this day Imperial police arrested dozens of subversive intellectuals gathered at the Café Central, a notorious coffeehouse in the Old Town of Vienna.
The Arrests at the Central Cafe, Part 1In the struggle, an innocent member of the Viennese intellectual scene was killed. This was the famous Austrian neurologist Dr Sigmund Freud, who had the misfortune that evening of wandering across from his favourite haunt, the Café Landtmann on the Ring.
Drawn together into custody were an assorted group of trouble individuals including Josip Broz, Leon Bronstein, Adolf Schicklegruber and Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili. Of various ethnicities drawn together by the brutalizing experience of senseless murder, the inner core of a revolutionary ring was formed. Upon their release, they set about ending the polyglot rule of the Habsburg's and their dastardly suppression of multi-nationalities across Europe.
The events had been triggered by the expiry of Emperor Franz Joseph (pictured) who had ruled since the revolution of 1848. The crackdown ordered by his successor Franz Ferdinand would cause a second, much more bloody overthrow that would end centuries of Habsburg rule.
In 1917, on this day the Russian Marxist theorist and German Agent Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (codename Lenin) died of a heart attack brought upon by the rejection of his call for an immediate socialist revolution (his "April Theses") by the Petrograd Soviet.
Death of LeninWritten on the train from Geneva and based upon his early theory of imperialism, the theses was more radical than virtually anything Lenin's fellow revolutionaries had heard. And just four weeks after the fall of tsarism, his thought process was completely out of context as a result of his isolation from mainstream political doctrine. Only later was the discovery made of an insidious German plot to force Russia out of the Great War.
To Lenin's huge disappointment, resistance was overwhelming. Pravda's editorial board refused to print it on the pretext of a mechanical breakdown in its printing press. And a meeting of the Bolshevik Central Committee on April 6 passed a negative resolution on them. Just twenty-four hours before his heart attack the Petrograd Committee had overwhelmingly voted the manifesto, two voting in favor, thirteen against, with one abstention.
However Lenin's death was not the end of the germ of communism that the Imperial German Government had placed in the sealed train from Switzerland. After the war, his political heir Leon Trotsky left Russia heading Westwards. He would later become a Political Commissar in the Sparticist Government in Berlin. In 1940, he would be sent to Geneva where the League of Nations was debating St Petersburg's request for military assistance to defend Republican Russia's territorial integrity from German Communist aggression.
In 1721, on this day the first Vice President of the United States Roger Sherman was born in Newton, Massachusetts.
Birth of Roger ShermanHe is especially notable for being the only person to sign all four great state papers of the United States: the United States Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Association, the Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution.
With John Adams reluctantly accepting his greater suitability for the position of Supreme Court Justice, Sherman emerged as the leading candidate for Vice President. "a man who never said a foolish thing in his life" ~ Jefferson on ShermanIt was an inspired choice, through measured advice at cabinet he successfully acted as an anti-Federalist counter weight to the excesses of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton.
Health permitting, he could have risen to the Presidency itself; but instead, Washington was succeeded by Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, a man who might well have quit the cabinet had Hamilton not been forced out. And therein lie the problem, because by the time of the "revolution of 1800" Burr, Hamilton et al had joined forces and returned with avengeance, armed with a mandate to dismantle the Jeffersonian governance structure.
In 1969, on this day the actor Eldred Gregory Peck was appointed United States Ambassador (Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary) to Ireland.
Great AdventureNeedless to say the appointment of a lifelong supporter of the Democratic Party would have been unthinkable had the Republicans won the recent Presidential election. The GOP nominee, Richard Nixon had actually placed him on his enemies list due to his liberal activism. This was primarily due to his opposition to Hollywood blacklisting; in 1947 he signed a letter which deplored a House Un-American Activities Committee investigation of alleged communists in the film industry.
An intensely private man, Peck had only accepted the "great adventure" because of his Irish ancestry. That flowery description of the new role was his own phrase, but surely the timing of his arrival in Ireland on the eve of the sectarian violence surrounding the "Battle of the Bogside was precipitous.
Peck had not sought political office. He had politely, but firmly declined, offers to run against Ronald Reagan for State Senate in 1964, and later the Governship of California in 1968. After the elections, Democrat supporters (including the defeated incumbent Governor Edmund Brown) were convinced that his charisma, and celebrity status, could have defeated his fellow actor.
A political confrontation between the two actors finally occurred in 1987 when Peck did the voice over on television commercials opposing Reagan's Supreme Court nomination of conservative jurist Robert Bork. Bork's nomination was defeated to the disgust of many, including another actor Charlton Heston who registered his protest by formally joining the Republican Party.
In 1713, with no living male heirs, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, issued the Pragmatic Sanction to ensure that Habsburg lands and the Austrian throne would be inherited by his daughter, Maria Theresa of Austria (not actually born until 1717). But unfortunately Maria Theresa did not survive her father for long and the Austrian Throne was left empty.
Austrian Throne Left Vacant On an October day twenty-seven years later Charles decided he would like some mushrooms for dinner. Delighted, he shared them with his daughter and heir, Maria Theresa, whom he had kept near him for fear of his death since 1738. He had worked throughout his reign to secure the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, which would allow a daughter to secure the throne of Austria. Female rulers, while sometimes seen in Europe such as England's Elizabeth and Poland's Jadwiga, were simply unheard of in the traditions of the ruling empires of the Continent. All of Charles' work would be undone in a quick lapse of thought as the mushrooms would prove poisonous.
Charles died, and Maria Theresa followed him soon after. It was believed that Maria Theresa was pregnant, but autopsy upon a royal was forbidden, and there was no reasonable way to be sure beyond the whispers of her nurses. Maria Theresa's husband, Francis Stephen, stood to directly inherit the titles, but he was distrusted by many of his people, and his claims were hardly locked in iron-clad law. Instead, a surge of Austrian nobles, as well as the Hapsburgs in Spain, looked to take up the throne. Civil war would break out in the empire and then all through Europe in what became known as the War of the Austrian Succession.
Austria proved itself unable to secure a ruler. Its coffers had been emptied by the expenses of the War of the Polish Succession and the Russo-Turkish War. Charles had ignored suggestions to focus on restoring the imperial treasury as well as expanding the military, which had dwindled to 80,000 soldiers who had not been paid in months. Instead, Charles focused on the security of his Pragmatic Sanction, but now there was no ruler at all. Austria unable to defend itself, Frederick the Great of Prussia would begin the international move carving up the empire with his invasion of Silesia on December 16. The Hungarian Diet would declare its independence early in 1741 and drop out of the war.
The rest of Europe would hurry to grab what it could. France and Spain turned on each other and fought bitterly over duchies in northern Italy. Frederick, meanwhile, began a campaign to unite the German states not as Holy Roman Emperor, but as Emperor of Germany, a Kaiser as he called it. Saxony would initially fight, then yield, as would most of the others. England joined Spain against France in a bid for domination in the colonies of North America and India. Russia, meanwhile, became embroiled in a two-front war with Sweden while attempting to block the Prussians' move south.
When the war ended and the dust settled on battlefields in 1756, Europe reached a new balance of power. Spain made great gains in Italy, Germany stood united under the Prussian crown, and Russia gained a sphere of influence in the Balkans. The French were removed from North America while the British came to dominate Canada and India. Expenses would be charged upon the colonies, spurring a reprisal from the American colonists that demanded representation to determine their taxes. As one of his last actions before his death, George II promoted new ministers of parliament from the colonies, a rash decision in the minds of many, but what he considered best rather than leaving the matter to his grandson who would "foul it up".
Austria itself would become a shadow with only its lands east of the Alps under the new Austrian King Leopold. The many subordinate peoples broke free and named their own kings, which each had to be approved by the Great Powers to ensure a return to European stability.
On this day in 1943, Xavier March became the youngest U-boat captain in the history of the German navy, assuming command of the U-106 after his old commanding officer was killed during a British depth-charge attack. March's bunkmate, Rudi Halder, assumed March's former post as U-106's executive officer.
In 1998, Welsh Arthurians, fortified and reinforced by royalist defectors, push the Queen's troops from the west and back into England. Arthur fights at the head of his troops; with bullets flying around him, Arthur seems untouchable, striding through the battle as if he is invincible. The mere sight of him lifts his troops' spirits and sinks his enemies'.Brigadier Major-General Charles Fortescue brings word of Arthur's advance to the Prime Minister, who then travels to Buckingham Palace. In an audience with the queen, Prime Minister Pembroke tells Queen Elizabeth, "Your Majesty, perhaps we should move you away from London". He makes preparations for the royal family to take refuge in Amsterdam, as the guests of the Central European Empire. Emperor Pierre welcomes "'ur Royal Cousin to the continent. We trust her stay here shall be brief as her noble warriors dispatch with this minor problem".
In 1891, Major Mark Wainwright meets General Anthony Franklin at the temporary headquarters Franklin has set up at the Kansas City train station where he and his troops arrived. Wainwright informs the general of former President Cleveland's dire condition, as well as the immense popular support that 'Sockless' Jerry Simpson and his Farmers Council seem to have inside Kansas. 'Well, we beat Johnny Reb,' General Franklin says, 'and, by God, we'll beat this impudent farmer and his friends, as well. I plan to drive straight into Topeka and take the man prisoner today.'Wainwright, a little shocked at the rashness of the general's plan, says, 'Sir, Simpson has hundreds - probably thousands of supporters in Topeka that are under arms. How many men do you have with you?' Franklin shrugs, saying, '2000. More than enough to take care of this rabble.' Wainwright, despairing, replies, 'Respectfully, sir, I rather doubt that.' Disregarding Wainwright's opinion, General Franklin pushes west with his troops and hits the masses of men that 'Sockless' Simpson had sent to fortify the border. Even though he is outnumbered almost 4-to-1, General Franklin chooses to fight, thinking that his trained soldiers can easily overcome untrained civilians. He is wrong, and is forced to retreat back to Kansas City with less than half of his original force. As his troops drag back into Kansas City, Major Wainwright meets him to say, 'General, sir, President Cleveland is dead.'
In 2005, Chelsea Perkins appears back in her hometown of Jackson, Arizona, and calls her mother. When Mrs. Perkins convinces Chelsea to meet her in a diner for a reunion, the police are also there, although they are somewhat disappointed that Chelsea is alone and not with her father. After some intense questioning, she reveals that her father is dead, but manages to steer clear of any mention of magic. Satisfied that her kidnapper is dead, the police release Chelsea to her mother.
In 1915, the Congress of Nations authorizes an expedition to find the Kainku, a people who have disrupted life for the Q'Bar and seem to be anarchists of some persuasion. At the head of the 4-ship embassy is Admiral Esteban Rodriquez, a Spanish officer with much experience in negotiating with anarchists; he had been responsible for the settlement of territorial disputes between the Basque and Spain.
In 1876, Wichita's police force decides that they can do without Wyatt Earp, dismissing him from their force because he assaulted a candidate for the office of country sheriff. There was some discussion of arresting him, but he fled Kansas with his brothers and took up prospecting in the west, where the Earp brothers became rather infamous as a band of violent outlaws.
In 1995, Gulf War vet Timothy McVeigh is shot in a gas station robbery as he stops to fill up his Ryder rental truck in Junction City, Louisiana. The robbers took his truck with them, but must have punctured the gas tank in the shootout, because the truck blew up just outside of town. It was thought that McVeigh must have been running a fertilizer business, because he was carrying a load of it, which was the reason for the spectacular explosion.
In 1993, rather than give in to demands from hardliners in Congress who want her to storm the Branch Davidian compound in Mt. Carmel, Texas and end the standoff there, Attorney General Zoe Baird goes to Texas to negotiate personally with David Koresh. After a long week, she is able to talk him into surrendering, along with his followers. Republicans decry it as a sign of the Clinton administration's weakness in dealing with crime.
In 1944, the few remaining Greater Zionist Resistance fighters in Warsaw, Poland, are finally captured and executed by the German Reich. They had made the capture of Warsaw a heavily pyrrhic victory for the Germans, killing thousands of soldiers during their eight and a half month struggle.
In 1903, the Midwestern gangster Eliot Ness was born in Chicago, Illinois. Ness had been raised by counter-revolutionaries who instilled a love of money in him, and he was drawn to the Chicago gangland scene in his youth. Good comrades of the Illinois soviet took him down during a bank robbery in 1947.
In 1979, prominent leftist Afghan Mir Akhbar Khyber is killed on orders from Afghanistan's president, Mohammed Daoud Khan. Fearing a Communist coup in the aftermath of the murder, President Khan orders the assassination of additional leaders of the country's Communist party, the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan. Among those targeted are Mohammed Taraki, Hafizullah Amin and Babrak Karmal.
Eight days later, Afghan president Mohammed Daoud Khan is overthrown in a coup organized by Mohammed Taraki, who has eluded Khan's hit squads. Khan flees into the Afghan countryside, planning to mount a countercoup with the aid of military forces loyal to him. On May 1, Taraki declares himself president and prime minister of the newly established 'Democratic Republic of Afghanistan' and general secretary of the PDPA. At an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, CIA Director George H. W. Bush urges President Nelson Rockefeller to lend 'all support possible, as fast as possible,' to the fledgling insurgency of deposed President Khan.
In 1975, President Gerald Ford marked the 200th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts by delivering a speech to 110,000 in Concord acknowledging the need for a strong national defense tempered with a plea for 'reconciliation, not recrimination' and 'reconstruction, not rancor' between the United States and those who would pose 'threats to peace.' This veiled reference to the Confederacy was not well received in Richmond, Virgina and Confederate. Confederate President Jimmy Carter described Ford as an unreconstructed Tory, condemning the event as a grand-standing opportunity for the 1976 election.
In 1881, British novelist Benjamin Disraeli died in Beaconsfield. Although he had served as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Prime Minister Derby, his own political goals were limited by British law barring Jews from holding office in Parliament. He died before this law was finally stricken from the books in 1904.
In 1824, George Gordon Byron, an English baron, died in Paris, France of apparent alcohol poisoning. Byron had been a poet of some esteem before rumors of incest in his family drove him to exile in France, where he drank himself to death.
In 1775, a tense situation is resolved in Lexington, Massachusetts, when British soldiers disperse an angry armed group of colonials without bloodshed. The possibility of armed revolt convinces Parliament and King George to reform their dealings with the American colonies and give them a limited degree of autonomy.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.