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.
|The Imperial Family are rescued by the "Ace of Spies".||Texan President LBJ offers to restart relations with the Union during the "Lone Star Centennial" of 1961. ||Suspension of Pope "Eugene IV" Takes Hold |
|Sons of Liberty ensure "America" is forever blessed||Secretary of General Affairs "David Petraeus" orders McChrystal back to Afghanistan.||Russia Joins "Axis"|
|Roy Plomley Will See You Now, "Mr. Hiller"||Royalist Victory at the Battle of "Rowton Heath"||Queen Charlotte: "Part 1"|
|President "Andrew Johnson" Removed from Office||Private army of "Gen McClellan" march on DC to force Rutherford Hayes to accept defeat.||President Nixon recognizes "Katanga"|
In 1983, the fortieth President of the United States Charlton Heston ordered the CIA to hunt down the Iranian-backed Islamic militants that had detonated an explosive-filled truck at the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 241 Americans.
President Heston vows to avenge the tragedy in BeirutAlthough some "dovish" members of his administration favoured arms-for-hostages diplomacy, Heston appeared vindicated when the Soviet Union later follow suite.
The follow-up episode occurred when an Islamic fundamentalist group kidnapped some Soviet diplomats, which led to the KGB quickly and effectively tracking down and apprehending all the kidnappers, who were then tortured to death, their bodies dismembered and the remains mailed to Hezbollah HQ in Beirut. After that, not another Soviet citizen in Lebanon was touched.
Nevertheless when details of the covert actions of the CIA fully emerged during 1987 Heston faced the small possibility of impeachment charges being raised by elements of the Democrat Party in an increasingly hostile Congress.
In 1855, the twenty-eighth President of the United States James Schoolcraft ("Sunny Jim") Sherman was born on this day in Utica, New York.
Birth of Sunny JimPrior to his Congressional election he was a member of the inter-related Baldwin, Hoar, and Sherman families, prominent lawyers and politicians of New England. And although not a high-powered administrator, he made a natural committee chairman, and his genial personality eased the workings of the House of Representatives. Selected for running mate by William H. Taft, he became the first Vice President to fly in a plane and also the first to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game.
Unfortunately for the Republican Party, subsequent events quickly descended into division and acrimony. The popular former President Roosevelt failed to take the nomination from Taft and left the GOP to form the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party. At this critical juncture the hugely overweight Taft had a heart attack after getting stuck in the bath tub. By then Sherman's own health was in rapid decline. He died a week short of the 1912 election throwing the democratic process into complete chaos. An immediate succession was obviously required to replace the expired office holder, but the possibility of calling a Special Election was also hotly debated.
In 1944, on this day the German aircraft carriers Graf Zeppelin and Peter Strasser are sunk in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Flugzeugträger Part 12:
Battle of Leyte GulfOf the German carrier group that had participated in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, only the Tirpitz and the Prinz Eugene now remained afloat. It appeared an unfitting reward for the German naval architects who had managed to overcome immense technical difficulties despite their inexperience in building such vessels.
And with Japan unmistakeably headed for defeat, the question for Grand Admiral Erich Raeder was whether to support the defence of the homelands, attempt a breakout attempt or even perhaps consider a scuttling operation reminiscient of the Dreadnoughts in the Scapa Flow in 1919. But unbeknown to Raeder, the German-Japanese Atomic Bomb project was nearing fruition, and both ships would be required to serve as the delivery mechanism in an audacious second strike on Pearl Harbor. It appeared than Plan Z might well change the course of the War after all.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.
In 2012, on this day Star Trek co-stars Nichelle Nichols and George Takei formally approached CBS Corporation (the owners of the franchise) with a request for permission to shoot the low-budget webisode "The Search for Jim". Click to watch "Star Trek's William Shatner: I have no ego".
The Search for Jim, Part 1
By Ed, Mike Mcilvain, Scott Palter & Jackie RoseSet in a veterans hospital funded by the Federation, the ageing Captain James T. Kirk (pictured) has entered his final days. He is visited by Communications Officer Nyota Uhura and Helsman Hikaru Sulu.
But the visit rapidly turns sour when he discovers that his former subordinates on the Starship Enterprise have harboured personal grudges against him from the very beginning. Seemingly more concerned about protecting his record than addressing the feelings of his former colleagues, Kirk makes matters worse with a narcissistic explanation that appears to validate the criticisms that are being levelled against him. Frustrated, Uhura challenges him with the emotionally charged question "Dont you want to know why we hate you?". And then the conversation takes a further emotional turn because he opens up and for the first time Kirk talks about a traumatic event in his early career when he first encountered "Those Klingon B*stards".. To be continued
In LXIX, on this day the imperial army of Emperor Vitellius defeated forces under Antonius Primus, the commander of the Danube armies, loyal to Vespasian at the Second Battle of Bedriacum, .
Valens leads the Imperial Army to victory at the Second Battle of BedriacumThe insurrection had begun when the legions stationed in the Middle East provinces of Judaea and Syria had acclaimed Vespasian as emperor. He had been given a special command in Iudaea by Nero in 67 with the task of putting down the Great Jewish Revolt. In so doing, he gained powerful allies, including the support of the governor of Syria, Gaius Licinius Mucianus and a strong force drawn from the Judaean and Syrian legions marched on Rome under the command of Mucianus.
In response a powerful army composed of XXI Rapax, V Alaudae, I Italica and XXII Primigenia together with detachments from seven other legions and a force of auxiliaries had been sent by Rome under the command of Valens (pictured). Crucially, the disloyal General Caecina had been relieved of command when the Emperor discovered that he was plotting with Lucilius Bassus, commander of the fleet at Ravenna. The subsequent execution of Caecina and Bassus forced some of Vesparsian's commanders to switch sides back to the Emperor.
And prior to the battle other legions including legion IIII Macedonica reinforced the powerful Vitellian army, and under the generalship of Valens they triumphed at Bedriacrum.
In 1812, correctly anticipating light resistance from smaller opposing forces than expected, Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the Grand Armée to continue south-west instead of heading west over land devastated by the original French advance and subsequent Russian scortched earth policies.
Miracle at MaloyaroslavetsAfter the evacuation of Moscow on October 19th the first French elements had encountered Russian Forces under the command of Marshal Kutuzov just sixty-eight miles to the south-west at Maloyaroslavets.
Napoleon won that engagement but nevertheless the result could have been catastrophic. Concerned that Kutuzov would regroup and attack again, despite his reservations he seriously considered heading north. Instead, he reconnoiterered over the ridge in front of him and to his great surprise discovered that the Russians had melted away.
In 1638, on this day the "father of microbiology" Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was blinded by a terrible childhood fever that struck just before his sixth birthday.
Leeuwenhoek BlindedWhen Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was born in Delft in the Netherlands, the baby seemed well enough: he cried, he reacted to his mother, he ate and grew. As little Antonie grew, his family came upon troubled times. Two of his sisters and his father died, and Antonie suffered a terrible fever that would blind him by his sixth birthday. The boy recovered, but he now faced a terrible handicap.
In 1640, Leeuwenhoek's mother remarried, and he was sent to a monastery in Germany that cared for the blind. While unable to read, Leeuwenhoek would be taught songs and oral passages from the Bible by the monks. He was considered the brightest of the children in the care of the monks, and they came to give him special privileges. Sometime when Leeuwenhoek was about sixteen, he was with a scribe who told him about the illuminations in the book he read to Leeuwenhoek and offered him to touch the gilt and thick medieval paints. Leeuwenhoek's later letters described the sensation of feeling images as almost as if he could see again with his mind's eye.
When he became sixteen, the monks encouraged Leeuwenhoek to pursue a trade beyond simple manual labor. He considered several options before becoming a draper, being able to measure by a grooved ruler he carved himself, having the monks check its accuracies for him. When his skills were approved, he moved home to Delft and secured an apprenticeship with a cloth merchant. While he worked, he considered his system of grooves and the illuminations, and, by 1653, he developed a method of "writing by texture".
Leeuwenhoek worked in business until he had built enough capital to set himself up as a teacher. He did not know Latin, and he had never attended university, but his drive to develop a written alphabet for the blind pushed him. Over the course of months and perfected over years, he built a set of mirrored letters. His method of writing was to etch each backward to be used as a mold. He experimented with systems of carving wood and pouring wax, but the wax was prone to melt under the warmth and pressure of fingers. Lead proved too soft, and tin plates warped. Finally he settled upon glass, and the glass books he produced became the first written code for the blind.
Leeuwenhoek's school attracted the attention of parents of blind children among the growing middle class of the early Enlightenment, and he soon found himself with no shortage of students. His methods spread across Europe and were translated to match the alphabets of French, English, and German. Only two of his original glass books are known to survive due to breakage and the glass being worn down by generations of fingertips. In place of glass, Leeuwenhoek experimented later with typesetting machines into plates of alloys, adding mechanical engineering and metallurgy to his life's impressive list of feats.
His contributions to science are held among the greatest of the Enlightened Age. Along with the creation of calculus, natural law, and principles of physics. It would not be until the Industrial Revolution that discoveries in biology and anatomy would catch up with the science of microbiology founded in part by Charles Darwin, whose theory of the sexual reproduction of microorganisms would cause scandal among the Victorian world, though later contribute to Sir Alexander Fleming's germ theory.
In 1963, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson was killed in Dallas by protestors during a visit to mark U.N. Day.
Tragedy in DallasThe Ambassador had been forced to pause patiently time and again while scattered hecklers booed during a speech he delivered at the Memorial Auditorium Theater. When one crude super-patriot interrupted to shout a question about his beliefs, he replied, quite unruffled,: "I believe in the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of ignorance".
Patriot anger over the United Nations' response to the recent Cuba War escalated into violence and intimidation as soon as he left the auditorium. A jeering flock of pickets swarmed around him and a man spat on him and on a policeman. "I believe in the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of ignorance"Shortly afterwards he was knocked to the ground by a sign labelled "Down with the U.N". carried by forty-seven year old Mrs. Cora Frederickson. Amid the furor, Stevenson said of his assailants: "I don't want to send them to jail. I want to send them to school".
Taken to the Parkland Hospital, Stevenson died of a massive heart attack shortly afterwards.
Following a joint review of security arrangements by the Secret Service and Dallas Police, headed by chief Jesse Curry, the White House decided to quietly cancel a planned visit to the city by President John F. Kennedy which had been scheduled for November 22nd.
In 2007, privately hoping to dispel the electorally damaging rumour that he was a source of embarrassment to him, and intrigued by a letter from "Mama Sarah" his grandmother who he had never seen, the US Senator for Hawaii, Barry Soereto travelled to Nyang'oma Kogelo, Siaya District to meet with his estranged Kenyan father on this day.
"Dreams of My Father" by Ed. & Patricia Williams-KingBarack Obama, Senior had not seen his son since he was an in infant, divorcing his mother when Barry was only two years old. And after the divorce, his mother married an Indonesian student who was forced to move the family to Jakarta when all Indonesian students studying abroad were recalled by President Suharto. Barry returned to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents in 1971, building the new life his mother dreamt of. Almost thirty years later, he was now a serious contender for US Presidential Nominee for the Democratic Party.
"My father looked nothing like the people around me - he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk.Not fooled by the timing of the meeting, Barack Obama, Senior was of course very much aware that another Democrat, Jimmy Carter had been embarrassed by unflattering portrayals of his brother Billy, causing a series of media disasters throughout his Presidency. And another source of tension was his son's denial of all things African, marrying a Hispanic wife and Anglicizing his forename.
Despite this, the meeting was a tremendous success because his son produced a trump card, a self-written poem from his childhood in which he revealed that he was "Walking a straight line in a crooked world".
In 1949, on this day the artist Adolf Schicklegruber guest starred on the famous Italian radio show "Benny the Moose"; the mood was light with relaxed conversation because Adolf and Benny went way back.
Churchill's PsycheAdolf described the fine progress being made by his protege US Army Major (retd) Dwight D. Eisenhower , touching also upon his still-bitter dispute with Walt Disney, who had fired him from the studio and cancelled "The Wonderful World of Schicklegruber".
Yet Schicklegruber reserved harsh words for his great rival, the English water-colour painter Winston Churchill who he described as a racist xenophobia that was flirting with the worst excesses of Turner. Because the sweeping imagery of his dramatic masterpiece "blood, toil, tears, and sweat" had a nationalist, anti-semitic subtext, revealing a deep subconscious yearning for a false classical past that Adolf found particularly disturbing as a German Jew.
In 1979 on this day several United Artists executives countersued Michael Cimino, charging him with slander, character defamation, and failure to live up to the terms of his original production contract for Heaven's Gate.
On this day in 2010, French president Nicholas Sarkozy announced that his country would support a US-sponsored United Nations resolution calling for Hugo Chavez to immediately cancel his plans to invade Guyana.
On this day in 1944, American and British ground forces in Germany began advancing on Frankfurt.
On this day in 1971, historic 22-game NFL winning streak was finally halted with a 23-17 overtime loss against the New England Patriots at the Cotton Bowl. Cowboys starting quarterback Craig Morton suffered a separated right shoulder late in the third quarter and would not play again until Week 10 of the 1971 NFL season.
In 1961, on the sixth anniversary of the founding of the Republic of South Vietnam, President Kennedy sends a letter to that country's president, Ngo Dinh Diem, pledging that 'the United States is determined to help Vietnam preserve its independence.' This pledge is soon followed up by the sending of several thousand additional military advisers on top of those who have been in the country since Eisenhower's time. Kennedy's action is deemed inadequate by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who favor a massive show of force involving at least 200,000 troops. On the same daay, General William Westmoreland assumes command of the U.S. forces in fighting the rebel forces of deposed leftist president Fidel Castro in Cuba.
In 1929, a small panic took the Dow Jones average down a few points, but cooler heads prevailed at the end of the day. There was some concern among the more bearish economists that most of the stock being traded was highly overvalued, but there seemed to be a gentleman's agreement among the traders to ignore these naysayers. They kept the U.S. economy humming along through the 1930's in the longest period of expansion in American history.
In 1648, negotiators at Westphalia fail to come to an agreement to end the Central European war between Protestants and Catholics. It has already lasted 30 years, outliving many of the nobles who started it. They continue to struggle until the war finally peters out with no formal declaration in 1682.
In 1991, Star Trek producer/creator Bob Wesley dies of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California. His vision of the future started not only his own career but those of Emmy and Oscar winners William Shatner, Martin Landau, Will Wheaton and Patrick Stewart. Wesley will always be remembered with great affection by the millions who followed that vision.
In 1987, the Senate, in a rebuke to Comrade President Ann Richards, denies her nominee for the Supreme People's Court, fellow Texas Socialist James Hightower. The Senate felt that Comrade Richards was attempting to concentrate too many of her old Texas Soviet cronies into high office with her. This was probably what led her to choose a New Hampshire native, David Souter, for her next judicial nominee.
In 1970, President Richard Nixon 'asked' broadcasters to begin screening out songs that encouraged drug use. When a few licenses were revoked for failure to comply with this 'request', virtually all radio stations in the country sanitized their music. Rock and roll went into a long death spiral after this.
In 1929, millions of shares of stock were sold off on Wall Street, sending the nation into a panic about the financial state of the country. President Hoover himself went down to the New York Stock Exchange the next day and pleaded for calm from investors. This action, plus an assurance that the government would regulate businesses more strictly unless calm prevailed, allowed stocks to break even over the next few days. Hoover's calm in this crisis led the nation out of Black Thursday with only a slight dip in employment and led to his reelection in 1932.
on this day the spacecraft Deep Space 1 was launched on top of a Delta II rocket. As part of NASA's New Millennium program, the primary goal was the testing of twelve advanced technologies that have the potential to lower the cost and risk of future missions. Deep Space 1 succeeded in its tasks and also achieved its secondary goals: flybys of the asteroid Braille and of Comet Borrelly. Passing the comet passage intact, Deep Space 1 was able to return valuable science data and stunning pictures of the discovery of life on the comet. Gregory Benford's journal The Heart of the Comet
recounts how mission parameters were changed because of fear of contamination from the borrellyform life and attempts to destroy the comet and those living upon it.
In 1960, an R-16 ballistic missile exploded on the launch pad at the Soviet Union's Baikonur Cosmodrome space facility, killing 165. Among the living is Field Marshall Mitrofan Nedelin, who left the pad shortly before ignition for a cigarette break and was to play a decisive role in the Turkish Missiles Crisis just two years later.
Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti revealed to the Italian parliament the existence of Gladio
, the Italian 'stay-behind
' clandestine paramilitary NATO army, intended to counter a Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe. What was not intended was they would act as a secret army taking every opportunity to undermine left-wing politicians, making their own interpretation of the motto 'Silently, I serve freedom
'. Andreotti himself was more coy about the a batch of letters he had received in 1978. 'As the conspiracy theorists would have it, [Italian Prime Minister] Mr. [Aldo] Moro was allowed to be killed either with the acquiescence of people high in Italy's political establishment, or at their instigation, because of the historic compromise he had made with the Communist Party' (The Independent, November 16, 1990, quoted by Statewatch). 'During his captivity, Aldo Moro wrote several letters to various political figures, including Giulio Andreotti. In October 1990, 'a cache of previously unknown letters written by the former Prime Minister, Aldo Moro, just prior to his execution by Red Brigade terrorists in 1978... was discovered in a Milan apartment which had once been used as a Red Brigade hideout. One of those letters made reference to the involvement of both NATO and the CIA in an Italian-based secret service, 'parallel' army', wrote The Irish Times on November 15, 1990 (quoted by Statewatch).
In 1812, on this day Malet's coup accidentally succeeded. Claude Francois de Malet loved his country and felt that so much more could come from a France not chained under autocratic rule. When he had come of age at seventeen, he had enlisted as a Musketeer, as was common for minor nobles like himself to do under the reign of the Bourbons. Louis XVI disbanded the guard in 1776, and Malet realized the abuse of power one man could hold.
Malet's Coup Accidentally SucceedsWhen the French Revolution began, he found common interest among the republicans. His family disinherited him, but Malet was content to fight for his own way and the way of his countrymen. He volunteered for the revolutionaries' army and became captain in the Army of the Rhine. Malet reenlisted after his first tour lapsed, and he fought valiantly until 1802 with many honors, being promoted to brigadier general in 1799.
Malet returned to France and found that the Revolution for which he had fought much of his life had given way to a new heavy-handed system. As the Consulate came to power, Malet voted against Napoleon as the First Consul. While a member of the Legion of Honor and thus a powerful enemy, Napoleon worked to push Malet's vehement voice away from public ears. Napoleon crowned himself emperor, and Malet resigned from service. Despite their differences, both Napoleon and Malet worked toward the greatness of France, and Malet accepted governorships in the Kingdom of Italy. He served in Italy for several years before being sent to prison for ten months in 1807 on charges not even considered in court as he was released without trial in 1808.
Returning to Paris after yet another stint of national service abroad and now seething from lost months of his life, Malet found himself arrested on suspicion of being a member of the Philadelphes, a society of Masons who had dedicated themselves to republicanism and, especially, opposition to Napoleon. From 1810, he sat under house arrest and began to plot. He built a network of allies and careful forgeries that would overthrow the dictator upon the false news of his death. Even if Napoleon were to return, Malet felt that the people of France would consider not taking back the emperor. When Napoleon marched on Moscow, Malet knew his chance had come.
October 23, 1812, Malet escaped and released his fellow conspirators from their prisons with forged documents, the presence of his general's uniform, and his sense of command. He marched to the barracks of the Gendarmerie, woke up the troops, and displayed further forgeries of orders to establish a republican Paris. The provisional government was established, and Malet's plan went smoothly.
Word of the coup filtered to Napoleon, who was sitting atop the ashes of Moscow. He passed command of the remnants of the Grande Armee to Marshall Joachim Murat and returned to Paris by fast-moving sleigh. Near Krasnoy, Russian snipers spotted the sleigh, thought it a messenger, and shot the passengers dead. After the disappearance of the emperor, emergency patrols would be launched, and his blood-soaked sleigh would be found November 14. When the news spread of the emperor's actual death, the Russians launched a renewed campaign against the devastated French troops.
In Paris, the news of Napoleon's death would be met with confusion. Malet worked to weave his lies and the truth into powerful propaganda that the French determined one was a false report, but no one knew which. In either case, they already had their provisional government established, and there was no need for a Napoleon II.
With the return to the republic, Malet worked to rally the army and peacefully disassemble Napoleon's web of satellite states, puppet kings, and forced alliances. While many in Europe called for a Sixth Coalition to defeat France wholly, the Continent was weary of war. Malet swore to fight defensively for French soil, but the diplomats were eager to take back their conquered lands without further bloodshed. A new balance of power was struck at the Treaty of Leipzig in October of 1813. Britain assumed dominance of the seas, Austria regained its holdings in Germany and Italy, and Russia grew in influence over Poland and Finland. France, meanwhile, would rebuild.
Malet was said to have "retired" France, and several groups rose up in dissension about his parceling up of the empire. Still, he argued if he had fought, the Coalition would have torn France apart, and his righteous anger proved that the age of old empires had come to an end. The colonies of Spain and Portugal would gain independence, and Germany under the Bavarians then Italy would unify themselves into European powers. Malet would die in 1826, not seeing the latter two actions, but living long enough to see the establishment of a new generation of free Frenchmen. Their republican ideals would spark waves of revolution across Europe in the 1830s and again in the 1850s, gradually dissolving the power of autocracy.
In its place, a sense of nationalism would grow up, sparking competition and, in the 1870s, the Great War. As the Prussians balked under Bavarian rule to began a civil war, all of the nations of Europe drew sides to divide the Continent and cost over a million lives. New systems would rise from its shadow, such as anarchism, communism, and progressive republicanism.
In 1979, in "The Brigade's My Fault" an Op-Ed page item published in the New York Times former National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy took responsibility for the disasterous long-term consequences of the Bays of Pigs invasion. This article is a variant of Eric Lipps Cuba War timeline which imagines paralell conflicts in Cuba and Vietnam during the 1960s.
The Brigade's My FaultShortly after midnight on 17th April, 1961 he had called the CIA Air Operations chief in Nicaragua to stand-down the D-Day air strike which was necessary to destroy Cuban Jets on the ground. That officer left the tent to telephone USAF Col. L. Fletcher Prouty  and convince him to get the whole mission cancelled, but the B-26 aircraft were already on the runway with the Cuban-exile pilots roaring the engines. Sensing confusion in the American Command Structure they refused the stand-down order and proceeded with the mission.
As foreseen by the CIA, the mission achieved initial success in sofar as with the Cuban Air Force destroyed the Exile Bridge managed to land and move ashore. They had wrongly assumed that the assassination of Fidel Castro would weaken the regime, but instead of the hapless Che Guevara, Raul Castro had taken control, demonstrating his impressive organizational skills to prepare for the attack. No longer needing to hide behind a covert operation, the White House recognized Pepe San Roman as President and the commanders of the Exile Brigade as the legitimate government of Cuba. A second wave force  enabled Roman to enter Havana. But of course the country was sufficiently behind the Castro regime to resist a US-imposed government. What followed was a decade long bloody insurgency fought in the name of a Communist Martyr. This national trauma could have been averted if Bundy had placed the fateful call to stand down the Exile Brigade as well as the Air Force.
In 1987, on this day Robert Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court was approved by the Senate.
Common Sense wins the Bork FightHe had previously served as a Yale Law School professor, Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In 1987, he was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan (pictured).
Despite (or perhaps because) he was an intellectual firebrand, he was a controversial choice and his approval had been vehemently scrutinized by a number of Democrats. They rejected his advocacy of the principles of original intent and judicial restraint. Because the task of the judge, he once wrote, is "to discern how the framers' values, defined in the context of the world they knew, apply to the world we know". He also had said that Roe v. Wade was a "wholly unjustifiable judicial usurpation" of authority that belonged to the states, that the court's recent rulings on affirmative action were problematic and that the First Amendment didn't apply to pornography. However during the approval process, the right things were said and a degree of common sense was injected in by level-headed individuals who rightly feared an ugly future of partisan bickering.
In 1924, on this day former actor and journalist Ret Marut [the Man Known as B. Traven] succeeded Anton Drexler as the President of the German Workers' Party (DAP).
The Plot Against Germany 7 The Man Known as B. TravenHe had first become politically engaged in 1917 when he started to publish the periodical Der Ziegelbrenner (The Brick Burner) with a clearly anarchistic profile. Two years later the Bavarian Soviet Republic (BSR) was proclaimed in Munich. He was appointed director of the press division and also a member of the propaganda committee.
During this crazy period he had become acquainted with a fellow Bohemian Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler (pictured) who had briefly served with the forces of the BSR. Hitler subsequently introduced Marut into the DAP, although at that stage, no one was aware that he was actually a military infiltrator bent on wrecking the Nazi Party from the inside. An article from the asynchronous Chancellor Ernst Thalmänn thread.
In 1086, on this day the forces of Alfonso VI King of León and Castile won a decisive victory fought in treacherous conditions over the Almoravid army at the Battle of az-Zallaqah ("slippery ground").
Castilian Victory at the Battle of the Slippery GroundAfter the Castilians had captured Toledo and invaded the taifa of Zaragoza, the emirs of the smaller taifa kingdoms of Islamic Iberia found that they could not resist against him without external assistance. Yusuf ibn Tashfin was invited by them to fight against Alfonso VI and he replied to the call of three Andalusian leaders (Al-Mu'tamid ibn Abbad and others) and crossed the straits to Algeciras and moved to Seville. From there, accompanied by the emirs of Seville, Granada and Taifa of Málaga marched to Badajoz. To do so, he was forced to abandon the siege of Zaragoza, recall his troops from Valencia and appeal to Sancho I of Aragon for help. Finally he set out to meet the enemy northeast of Badajoz. The two armies met each other on 23 October 1086.
Alfonso VI of Castile reached the battleground with some 2,500 men, including 1,500 cavalry, in which 750 were knights, but found himself outnumbered. The two leaders exchanged messages before the battle. Yusuf ibn Tashfin is reputed to have offered three choices to the Castilians: convert to Islam, to pay tribute (jizyah), or battle. Despite some signs of panic in the Castilllian army  Alfonso (pictured) managed to control his troops and the result was a decisive victory for the Reconquistadors.
In 1973, on this day the Head of IDF Southern Command General Shmuel Gonen stepped into the office of the Defence Minister to carry out his threat to shoot Moyshe Dayan just hours after Prime Minister Gold Meir's helicopter crashed in the Sinai en route to Israeli-occupied Ismailia to personally order General Sharon to halt the advance on Cairo.
King of IsraelThe high command had infuriated the military leadership by reneging on a first strike pledge which had brought Israel to the brink of defeat in the first forty-eight hours of the war. And although Israel had avoided the stigmatization of aggression, the support of the United States had been much less decisive than expected, because a tremendous feat of arms had reversed the Arab advance. This perception ignored the disguised truth that Israel had consumed military hardware at a much faster rate than she could sustain unless guarantees of immediate replenishment had already been obtained.
Local military commanders sensed that the Israeli-American agenda was a quasi-victory that would enable both sides to withdraw with honour. Refusing to be denied the glory that their troops had earned, commanders ignored the ceasefire and encircled the Egyptian Third Army. Troops shouted "Arik1, Arik, King of Israel!" as they crossed the Suez Canal and drove into Africa.
Throughout the three weeks of the conflict, Sharon had persistently ignored orders from the High Command and had been at the point of dismissal on numerous occassions. Only the personal intervention from Golda Meir would stop him from striking Cairo. Upon receiving the unexpected news that Golda Meir had died en route, he seized the handset of a military radio and repeated a famous statement made by Winston Churchill in response to the attack on Pearl Harbour: "What kind of people do they think we are? Is it possible that they do not realise that we shall never cease to persevere against them until they have been taught a lesson which they and the world will never forget".
In Washington, President Nixon was on the verge of a nervous breakdown over the Watergate Crisis. The de facto head of state Henry Kissinger studied the words of Sharon, and his blood froze.
In 1983, on this day one of Oarsman's co-conspirators in the assassination of Harold Wilson committed suicide in Bangkok.
Goatherd's FateThe deceased, formerly known to his fellow plotters as "Goatherd", had been suffering from a heroin addiction since being dismissed from MI-6 in 1978; by 1982 he was living on the street and suffering from bouts of depression and paranoia which the heroin exacerabated. A post-mortem autopsy by Thai police coroners revealed Goatherd had succumbed to an intentional overdose of heroin and PCP.
A new post from the Necessary Evil Thread by Chris OakleyAt the time of his suicide Goatherd's role in the Wilson assassination was a secret; it would remain so until the Tony Blair government's 2004-05 inquiry into the killing turned up documents indicated Goatherd had been Oarsman's first recruit in the assassination plan. (The papers also confirmed the hit was being carried out without the knowledge or consent of MI-6's leadership). Once Goatherd's link to the conspiracy had been established Blair's successors, Gordon Brown and David Cameron, would expand Whitehall's probes into the circumstances of Wilson's death -- in fact, in one of Cameron's first trips abroad as prime minister he would meet with Russian president Dmitri Medvedev to seek the release of KGB archives pertaining to Wilson's interactions with his Soviet contacts.
In 2009, on this day the hotly disputed Afghan election entered a new phase of bitter recrimination when talks between Presidents Hamid Karzai and John Kerry broke down without agreement.
Locking HornsBoth Kerry, and his principal aide, the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan Kai Eide had determined that a run-off election was absolutely necessary to restore Karzai's broken authority with the Afghan people. Tense days of diplomatic arm-twisting featured meals which included "gallons of tea" and endless platters of lamb. But Karzai was stalling, a strategy that had been doomed to failure ever since Peter Galbraith blew the whistle on October 5th. Subsequently, Galbraith had been fired from his senior United Nations post for quarrelling with his superiors over claims he was told to keep quiet about fraud during the Afghan election.
Now both Heads of State were locked on the horns of a dilemma; Kerry could no longer support Karzai in the International Community and Karzai feared for his life should he lose office. It was a lose-lose situation of the worst kind that only had one precedent in recent history.
Misunderstanding from Eide that Karzai was close to agreement on a November run-off, Kerry rushed back from a brief visit across the border to Pakistan to "close the deal". Both Presidents went for a long walk on the Presidential Palace grounds, but Eide had it wrong, Karzai had become "shaky" and was already suffering "buyer's remorse".
During the extended stroll Kerry opened up to Karzai, telling him about his own difficult decision to challenge the vote count in Ohio on election night in 2004. There were allegations of voting irregularities in favour of incumbent president George W. Bush, and Kerry told Karzai he knew he would hold up a final outcome for weeks by filing a challenge. Kerry's hypocrisy induced an incandescent level of fury in Karzai and the talks were broken off without agreement. Kerry returned to Washington to re-evaluate options for putting the Afghan President under further pressure, a catastrophic strategem that would backfire disasterously before the year-end.
In 1962, the formation of the United West African Republic (UWAR) was announced on this day by the Heads of State for the Republics of Mali and Ghana who had recently agreed upon a rotating Presidency formula. When the great nations of Nigeria and Cameroon joined the UWAR the following year, it became painfully evident to the European architects of neo-colonialisms that their latest plans for "divide and conquer", a "scramble OUT of Africa", would have to go right back to the drawing board.
The Weaver Bird Flies AwayIn order to prevent West Africans enjoying their rightful status as sovereign nations, Europeans cynically chosen to define their micro-ethnicities in terms of "tribalism". In point of fact the Kingdoms of Ghana and Mali predated many European monarchies, dating back to at least 1,200 AD. And the perceived issues of many languages and close-knit communities had never been a historic obstacle to trade upon which West Africa had thrived for that thousand year period.
"The weaver bird built in our house and laid its eggs on our only tree. We did not want to send it away, until today. We look for a new home, now. For new altars we strive to re-build the old shrines defiled from the weaver's excrement" ~ Kofi Awoonor, Ghanaian PoetAfter the Second World War, the Europeans came to the decidedly unpleasant conclusion that whilst they might well aspire to repossess their former colonies, they just couldn't afford it. And America wanted in and big time, forcing the British to sign the "Atlantic Charter" which guaranteed the "right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live", which the Daily Mail helpfully reported also covered "the darker race". And so the best way forward for the Western alliance to prevent the former Colonies falling into the Soviet orbit was to grant early independence that would enable Western banks to leverage the new governments of small, weakened African states.
Trouble was nationalists have a regular habit of finding great leaders, and the British certainly hadn't figured on the rise of Kwame Nkrumah (pictured), an inspirational Ghanaian leader who had wisely determined that a big pan-African State was the answer. Not impressed that his plans for a "big tent" threatened their own plans for a "small tent", the British threw Nkrumah in jail but were forced to release him when he was appointed a government minister after the 1951 elections which saw his Convention People's Party brought to power. Ghana had become the first African country to win its independence.
On this day in 1941, US forces in the Philippines began bulking up their coastal defenses after General Douglas MacArthur, C-in-C for American forces there, was alerted that the War Department considered the island a potential target for Japanese invasion.
|CPSU First Sec.|
On this day in 1962, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev delivered his reply
to President Kennedy's televised speech of the previous day; denying that the 100,000 Soviet troops in Cuba or the Soviet missile sites then under construction on Cuban were intended for offensive use, the CPSU First Secretary warned Kennedy: "We want peace, but if you want war, that is your problem".
|Nikita S. Khruschev|
Unfortunately for Khrushchev, his denials were discredited just hours later when a defector told the CIA station chief in West Berlin that both the troop contingent and the missiles were in fact intended for offensive use.
In 1914, Peace of Milan
, Peace on the Western Front.
In 1983, the Beirut Airport was annihilated by car bombs. Several groups claimed responsibility, but the country was in such chaos that the real culprits will probably never be known. Fortunately for the U.S., a plan to house Marines at the Airport had been discarded due to the possibility of just such an attack. 58 French soldiers who had been barracked in the city were killed by a similar attack that day.
In 1962, Little Steve Judkins released his first single, Thank you for loving me all the way, at the tender age of 12. Judkins caught the attention of Texas rocker Buddy Holly, who produced 3 albums with the young singer, all of which went gold. Judkins is still popular today, having produced such classics as Superstitious and My Cherie Amour.
In 1959, polka king Alfred Yankovic was born in Lynwood, California. Yankovic took a form of music that had been confined to Lawrence Welk specials and Polish festivals and gave it a brief period of 'hipness' in the 1980's. He still continues to perform professionally, but mainly at Polish festivals, now.
In 1956, the comrades of Hungary attempted to throw off the shackles of their reactionary oppressors. In spite of aid given by a sympathetic Soviet States of America, the country's prime minister, a puppet of Russian and West German capitalists, crushes the rebellion with military assistance from those governments. Comrade President Joel Rosenberg calls it, 'a black day for the freedom-loving people of Europe'.
In 1905, Felix Bloch was born in Zurich, Switzerland. After moving to America in 1933, the great physicist fell in with Richard Tolman's parallel dimensions cult and his Nobel win in 1952 gave it a shot of credibility. Like so many other members of the cult, he mysteriously disappeared in 1960 after giving a lecture at Stanford University about the ability to cross between realities at will.
In 2558 AUC, the Aeneus, a Greek vessel carrying almost a thousand people to Vinland, sinks off the coast of the continent. Almost 400 people are killed in the accident, making it the worst naval disaster in the republic during the 26th century.
China faced a great time of turmoil in the twilight of the Ming dynasty. Europeans from the West encroached on imperial power while war with Manchuria emptied the coffers and piracy limited trade that would produce tax-income. If Emperor Chongzhen (pictured) were going to win the war in the north, he needed to secure the seas to the south.
October 22, 1633 - Hans Putmans Rethinks His StrategyIn 1628, the pirate Zheng Zhilong, leader and founder of the Shibazhi, a powerful organization of eighteen pirates, defeated the Ming fleet. Zheng had undergone an impressive life: he studied business in Macau at 18, was baptized into Catholicism, translated among the Dutch, worked under famed pirate Li Dan ("Captain China"), inherited the pirate's empire, and grew it to an even more impressive stance.
Upon his display of mastery of the seas, rather than fight continual losing wars against him, the Emperor took Zheng on as a major general. In 1633, Chongzhen promoted him to Admiral of the Coastal Seas and charged him with establishing seas free from piracy.
This event would be a boon for Chinese business, but the monopoly would challenge the lucrative Dutch control of trade with Japan. Hans Putmans, governor of Formosa (Taiwan), decided to end the Emperor's action before it could be started and launched a sneak attack on Zheng's fleet in harbor. On July 7, 1633, he destroyed much of the fleet.
Zheng reacted with a cunning plan to rebuild his fleet: use locals. He set up recruitment with two pieces of silver for each man volunteering for service, five if the battles with the pirates and Dutch went long. Though not expert sailors, they were organized into 16-man fire-boats that were easily maneuverable and sailed. For each Dutch ship destroyed, the boat would be given a bounty of 200 silver pieces. Each Dutch head brought in would be traded for 50 silver pieces.
With more than one hundred fire-boats on the prowl, Putmans and his pirate allies faced gradual attrition over the summer and into fall. By October 22, Putmans' fleet of twenty warships had been dwindled to nine. When he and his fleet spotted the Chinese warships approaching, Putmans made the split decision to retreat to the safety and regroup. While he might have won the battle, the war was against his favor.
Instead, Putmans decided to fight fire with fire: this was to be an economic war. He took on volunteers at three silver pieces each and promised bounties half-again as much for destroyed Chinese ships and heads of Chinese crew. Through the rest of fall, the south sea turned into a bloodbath, attracting pirates from as far away as Arabia. The Dutch East India Company questioned Putmans' wild expenses, but the governor assured stockholders that the small debt would be a valuable investment. By the time shipping slowed for winter, the war had become a stalemate.
Putmans and Zheng both rebuilt their fleets and launched into one another early in 1634. While the Chinese had English-made cannon, the Dutch ships had been able to produce more firepower from their Formosan smiths. On April 2, 1634, the fleets met in a decisive battle that ended with the capture of Zheng. Rather than execute the enemy, Putmans offered to hire Zheng away. Zheng said that he would only join the Dutch if given an exorbitant ten million pieces of silver, but Putmans surprised him by agreeing. The Company balked, but Putmans silenced them with promise to pay out of his own earnings in addition to yearly installments.
Zheng came to dominate trade while Putmans worked to develop Formosa, building plantations and settlements. He set up a "blood tax", forcing natives to give up children as slaves, which produced profitable cheap labor for the Company. In 1644, the Ming Dynasty fell to the uprising of Li Zicheng, and Putmans made his move. Using Zheng's connections, the two masterminded a Dutch invasion of the south of China, establishing a huge new sphere of influence. Zheng was made the governor of the land, becoming almost a king as he worked to improve profits for the Company.
The Dutch came to control the Far East, while the French and, especially, English attempted to challenge their power, but fast alliances with Zheng and his legacy of pirates made the Dutch all but invincible there. Over the next century, great wealth poured into the Netherlands from the East, which they in turn invested back into imperial growth. Despite attempts to keep the locals under thumb, Japan would eventually come to their own industrial revolution and challenge Dutch authority in the Dutch-Japanese War through the 1930s. The carefully cultivated resources came under Japanese control, though fleetingly as their choice of allying with Hitler's Axis would end in surrender under atomic barrage.
In 1960, White House Press Secretary James Hagerty issued a statement noting the President's disappointment at hearing the "cheap shot" comments made by Senator Kennedy at the televised debates.
Cheap ShotsPrivately he was infuriated by Kennedy's allegation that Harry Truman's successors had turned American foreign policy soft. Hardly "weak on defence" the architect of the bloody D-Day Landings had simply ensured that not a single American soldier died in combat on his eight-year watch. However the issue that actually drew him into the election debate was the so-called "missile gap". Like the bomber gap of only a few years earlier, it was self-evident that the gap was illusionary, being used solely as a political tool. On previous occasions Eisenhower had refused to publicly refute the claims, fearing that public disclosure of this evidence would jeopardize the secrecy of U-2 flights.
Nevertheless Kennedy had crossed the line by repeating inaccurate information that he knew was patently false in the form of estimates from Senator Stuart Symington, the former Secretary of the Air Force. Because at the debate he still remarked
Mr. Nixon talks about our
being the strongest country in the world. I think we are today. But we were far stronger relative to the Communists
five years ago, and what is of great concern is that the balance of power is in danger of moving with them. They
made a breakthrough in missiles, and by nineteen sixty-one, two, and three, they will be outnumbering us in
missiles. I'm not as confident as he is that we will be the strongest military power by 1963.
Such a damning charge could not go unchallenged because it would give the wrong statement to the Soviet Union. But having made his point, Eisenhower decided to keep his own counsel. And yet he was giving serious consideration to issuing a warning in his farewell address, pointing to the inherent danger of civilian politicians losing their head and disrupting the military-industrial complex during the "cut and thrust" electoral cycle. He was forced to change his mind because only six weeks later, President-elect Kennedy was killed by a mentally disturbed ex-postal worker by the name of Richard Pavlick. Still, he surely lived long enough to regret the omission of that warning when President Johnson bungled the Cuban Missiles Crisis.
In 1844, Louis David Riel was born on this day in Red River Colony, Rupert's Land.
Birth of rebel leader Louis RielThe de-establishment of British North America was his life's work. But inevitably, he was doomed to fail until he secured support from the United States. Nevertheless through a bizarre set of circumstances that can only be understood as the mysterious workings of fate, he did win out.
His first resistance was the Red River Rebellion of 1869-1870 which led to the establishment of a provisional government. But Riel was forced into exile in the United States due to the controversial execution of Thomas Scott. Destined to rule, he launched an unlikely bid for the Republican nomination. Although this failed, he formed a unique relationship with Ulysses S. Grant.
He decided to return to launch a North-West Rebellion . His first hand description of the death of Scott struck a chord with Americans who had first hand experience of the brutality of "British Justice". And in his cry for justice and liberty, Grant and his fellow Americans heard an echo of their own manifest destiny. They offered their support, but other parties were drawn into the rebellion as well. For example, thousands of exiled Dakota, arguably the finest cavalry of the day. The rebellion escalated into a regional conflict that determined the future of British North America.
In 1734 O.S., on this day American pioneer, explorer, frontiersman, wealthy land speculator and third President of the United States Daniel Boone was born in Oley Valley, Pennsylvania.
Third US Presidentby Ed and Jeff ProvineIn 1775 Boone blazed his Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian Mountains from North Carolina and Tennessee into Kentucky despite resistance from American Indian tribes such as the Shawnee. There he founded the village of Boonesborough, Kentucky, one of the first English-speaking settlements west of the Appalachians. Before the end of the 18th century, more than two hundred thousand European people migrated to Kentucky/Virginia by following the route marked by Boone.
During the Revolutionary War he was captured by Shawnee warriors who adopted him into their tribe. Later, he left the Indians and returned to Boonesborough in order to help defend the European settlements in Kentucky/Virginia. Following the war, Boone initially worked as a surveyor and merchant before accumulating vast wealth through lucrative Kentucky land speculation.
In 1800, he ran successfully for the Presidency narrowly beating the incumbent John Adams. He entered Office with the high hope that he would blaze a new trail, bringing the country together by addressing the Indian Question.
In 2010, due to unavoidable timetabling clashes with the filming of Sherlock, Martin Freeman advised director Peter Jackson that regrettably he would be unable to play Bilbo Baggins in the two-part "Lord of the Rings" prequel "The Hobbit".
Freeman Pulls Out of the HobbitJackson had been so desperate to cast Freeman that he had proposed suspending filming for over two months. But ultimately, Freeman realized that it was simply too much. And in fact, he had privately decided to build upon his success in films for Television.
A number of second choice actors now entered consideration, Toby McGuire, Daniel Radcliffe, Elijah Woods (who was already cast as a younger Frodo) and even Freeman's colleague from "The Office" Ricky Gervais.
In 1836, on this day in the capital city of Harrisburg, forty-year old James ("Jim") Bowie of Logan County, Kentucky was inaugurated as the first president of the Republic of Texas. An installment of the Republic of Texas thread.
Jim Bowie inaugurated President of TexasA legend even before the Texas Revolution, his unconventional personal history had been used by his political opponents as a weapon against his eligibility for high office. In particular, the controversy over the 1827 killing of the sheriff of Rapides Parish with sharp knife in the Sandbar Fight. However, investigations by the State of Louisiana revealed that Bowie was uninvolved.
Acting on the orders of Commander in Chief Sam Houston he supervised the withdrawal and destruction of the Alamo. Whereas Houston's reputation was later destroyed by anti-Jackson forces, Bowie entered a new phase of his career in which he emerged as a thoughtful political figure. He surpassed expectations, proving to his doubters that he was a better living leader than dead hero.
In 1486, on this day the Battle of Bosworth Field was fought near Ambion Hill in Leicestershire.
Part 3 - The Fall of the Plantagenet DynastyThe usurper Henry Tudor had chosen to postpone his bid for power until the demise of Edward IV. This fateful postponement nearly backfired, because the young Edward V was given the opportunity to settle with his Uncle Richard who had entertained his own pretensions to the throne. And so instead of challenging a divided Plantagenet dynasty, he was confronted by the joint forces of both the monarch and also the Lord of the North. Nonetheless he prevailed, but there was a thorn in the rose of his glorious victory.
By the autumn of 1486, Richard had arranged marriages for the eldest of Edward IV's daughters and had also remarried himself. Although he was tragically killed at Bosworth Field before his heirs were born, a future succession plan was in place. Because his second wife returned to the continent to bear the twins, ensuring that the usurper Henry would have to face challenges from a multiplicity of alternative claimants. An installment of the Bosworth 1486 thread conceived by Jackie Speel.
In 1942, James Blunt met H.V. Morton for the first time at Blunt's Surrey home; Blunt had initially been reluctant to agree to Morton's interview request but changed his mind after being persuaded Morton was genuinely interested in the story of the journal of Blunt's mirror universe counterpart.
Chance Encounter Part #2Over the course of the next two months Blunt and Morton would have dozens of additional interviews, the transcripts of which would form the basis of Morton's 1943 biographical work I, James Blunt. The book was an instant best-seller throughout the English-speaking world and won Britain's top literary honor in 1944; as Allied troops drove the Germans back across Europe following the D-Day invasion, Blunt would also become highly popular in France, Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, and Italy.
In fact, by the time Blunt died in 1965 Morton's book would be translated into more than a hundred foreign languages; Morton would also act as co-writer of the script for MGM's 1948 film adaptation of Blunt. While an official German-language edition of the book wouldn't be available until 1990, bootleg translations of it were circulating in East Germany as early as 1959 and would become collector's items after the Berlin Wall fell.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.