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

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Todayinah EditorEditor says, for subscription users please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Disqus or Google Plus. History runs along a different line in Today In Alternate History, a site which chronicles "important events in history that never occurred today". Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.

 Editor's Pick
In 1975 Otto von Habsburg was declared Head of State in accordance with <a href=http://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=258061>the wishes</a> of the late Francisco Franco."Otto von Habsburg", King of SpainIn 1940 warned of the impending German invasion of Denmark the cadet branch of the House of Glücksburg fled to Reykjavík.AlÞing proclaims a "Kingdom of Iceland"In 1762 on this day Robert Wedderburn was born in Jamaica, the son of a slave Rosanna. His father James Wedderburn was a respected member of Edinburgh society who made a very handsome fortune from the Jamaican slavery trade. Never acknowledged by his father, Robert is rarely spoken of in relation to the famous Scottish Wedderburn family.  Abolitionist Robert Wedderburn arrives in London to lay the "Axe to the Root".
In 1897 on this day "Respected Leader" Subhas Chandra Bose was born in Cuttack, Orissa British India.Birth of Respected Leader "Subhas Chandra Bose"In 1870 on this day Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov was born to a wealthy middle-class family in Simbirsk, located approximately one thousand miles east of Moscow on the Volga River.Birth of "Comrade Lenin"In 1951 on the direct orders of U.S. President Douglas MacArthur, General Matthew Ridgway led U.S. and allied troops across the Yalu River into the Peoples Republic of China.Brass Hat has it all to do (again) in "Pacific War Redux".
In 1486 on this day the Battle of Bosworth Field was fought near Ambion Hill in Leicestershire.Bosworth, 1486, Part 3: "Fall of the Plantagenet Dynasty"In 1969 on this sad day CBS Evening News anchor Arnold Zenker reported the tragic passing of brother Malcolm Little. <a href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=844oPFWG6Lg>Watch the YouTube</a> <span class=EditorText>An article from the <a href=http://www.todayinah.co.uk/index.php?thread=Arnold_Zenker>Arnold Zenker Reports</a> thread.</span>By any "means" necessaryIn 1804 on this day Franklin Pierce (pictured) was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire.Birth of President-elect "Franklin Pierce"
In 1765 it might have been pure ignorance paired with a certain amount of overconfidence that made the British general Jeffrey Amherst act like he had an army of 10.000 behind him when he triggered the Great Indian War, because, actually, Amherst had no army to speak of. <span class=EditorText>This post was written by Dirk Puehl the highly recommended author of <a href=https://plus.google.com/u/0/101959956375064214309/posts>#onthisday #history</a> Google+ posts.</span>British general Jeffrey Amherst triggers "Great Indian War"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. 

Birth of "Daniel Boone" Third US PresidentIn 1745 Prince Charles Edward Stuart stared wildly around the oak-paneled drawing room of Exeter House,wondering how he could be hearing such madness spoken in the most elegant mansion in Derby.Charles Edward Stuart Receives Aid from an "Unexpected Source"

October 22

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 [1]. 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.

Daniel Boone
Third US President
by Ed and Jeff Provine
In 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.

Bosworth, 1486
Part 3 - The Fall of the Plantagenet Dynasty
The 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.

In 1979, denying medical treatment to the dying Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi would have been fundamentally un-American as well as contrary to the revolutionary principles the country shared with the great nation of Iran, said President Paul Simon on this day.

American TuneAgonising foreign policy decisions which threatened to tear apart the finely knit fabric of American democracy were nothing new, in fact they had come along with frightening regularity every decade. But this choice was worst than most confronted by Samuel Adams' successors over the previous hundred years. Because the kleptocracy of the Shahanshah made the excesses of King George III look like very small change indeed. Only eight years before the King of Kings had spent the incredible sum of $100 million celebrating the twenty-five-hundredth anniversary of the House of Pahlavi.

At face value permitting the Shahanshah to check into the New York-Weill Cornell Medical Hospital was nothing other than a Christianly act. Other than the fact that the Pope had condemned the decision outright because he was terrified about the next move of the Ayatollah Khomeini who was even now creating a Vatican-like state in Qom at the behest of Iranian Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar. The President dismissed this Papal outburst, declaring that he would not let the American dream be driven to its knees by cynicism. "Still, tomorrow's gonna be another working day" he said, ending the press conference with his trademark republican flourish.
Listen to Paul Simon's American Tune

In 2001, in order to prevent a Zombie invasion of the safety area west of the Prairies, the United States Military were forced to plan for the detonation of Hydrogen bombs in a territory they had never before considered as a potential target: the dense population centres of the Eastern Seaboard.

Operation American Freedom by Ed, Eric Lipps, Steve Schaper & Christopher FinkleUS President George W. Bush justified the action, characteristically using broadly sweeping terms for liberty and freedom; he also paid tribute to the ruthless decisiveness of these military planners ~

"My administration has a job to do and we're going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil-doers. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Today, our nation sees evil, the very worst of human nature. Our nation, this generation, will lift the dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail.

And we respond with the best of America - with the daring of our armed forces, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could".

The consequences of the ill-planned decision were of course nothing short of catastrophic. Fallout from the hydrogen bombs is sucked into the winds of a mega-hurricane along the coast of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. The megahurricane then moves south, raining on the gulf, the midatlantic, and the Caribbean, polluting all of them with lethal radiation...

In 1979, on this day movie director Michael Cimino (pictured) filed a breach-of-contract suit against United Artists after UA decided to withhold part of his promised $500,000 salary for making the never-completed Western saga Heaven's Gate. Shooting on the troubled film had been terminated a month earlier due to cost overruns and seemingly endless production delays; the salary withholding decision was made in an effort to recoup some of UA's losses on the movie.

Heaven's Gate by Chris OakleyThe lengthy fight between Cimino and United Artists derailed Cimino's once-promising filmmaking career; by the time the parties finally settled out of court in 1983, Cimino had become an industry joke, his name synonymous with high profile failure and the acclaim received by his debut movie The Deer Hunter all but forgotten. His lone post-Gate filmmaking venture, the 1987 gangland drama Year of the Dragon, was a box office disaster that effectively killed what was left of his professional reputation.

Ironically UA, who some movie industry analysts had feared might go bankrupt as a result of the Gate fiasco, emerged from the ordeal stronger than ever-- by 1984 the studio was riding a new wave of success thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator franchise and prestige projects like the Tom Hanks World War II drama Saving Corporal Ryan. In 1993 UA formed a distribution and production partnership with MGM that reaped huge dividends for both companies.

By 2008 UA and MGM were tied for second on the list of the ten most profitable entertainment companies in America.

The Gate fiasco and its aftermath would be chronicled at length in former UA executive Steven Bach's tell-all book Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster In The Making Of Heaven's Gate.

In 2007, given the surprising box office success of The Seinfeld Movie, comedian Jerry Seinfeld finally ends months of speculation by announcing the development of The Seinfeld Sequel.

However, beyond a pitch to Dreamworks Studio, the project is put on hold until after the resolution of the 2007-08 Writer's Guild Strike that engulfs Hollywood.

 - Seinfeld

On this day in 2010, Russian leader Dmitri Medvedev condemned the McCain Administration's stance on Guyana.

 - Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Medvedev

On this day in 1972, the Dallas Cowboys snapped their four-game losing streak with a 24-20 comeback victory over the Washington Redskins.                                                        

US President

On this day in 1962, President John F. Kennedy made his first televised address on the situation in Cuba.

In his speech, he stated point-blank that any Soviet attempt to land troops in southern Florida would be considered an act of war by the United States and answered accordingly; the same policy would also apply to Soviet missile activity on Cuban soil.

US President - John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy

In 1979, Shah Reza Pahlevi arrives in New York City accompanied by an entourage and presenting himself as if he were still a head of state. Senator Edward Kennedy issues a statement repeating his opposition to the Rockefeller administration's decision to allow the Shah into the U.S. Kennedy warns that this action risks signaling to Tehran that Washington still considers Pahlevi the legitimate ruler of Iran. The Senator's statement is immediately attacked by administration spokesmen and conservative political pundits.

In 1979, the United States refused entrance to the former Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Even though many in Congress growled that the Shah had been an ally of good standing, President Carter felt that allowing him entrance might endanger Americans in Iran. He proved right; when Canada allowed him to receive medical treatment there, Iranian students stormed the Canadian embassy and took it hostage for almost a month before negotiations allowed Canada to extract all its people.
In 1964, the rock band High Numbers won a record deal with EMI after a blistering audition. Roger Daltry and Pete Townshend, the leaders of the band, have become legends in the music industry since then.
In 1937, King Edward VII of Great Britain meets with German Underground leader Adolf Hitler and pledges his nation's support against the Greater Zionist Resistance. It is the first national alliance that Hitler and his time-traveling neo-Nazi allies are able to secure, and it brings in many others who had been waiting for another nation to take the first step.
In 1887, Comrade John Reed, journalist and politician, is born in Portland, Oregon. Although his family was filled with reactionaries, Reed embraced the Marxist-Thoreauvian mindset of the 19th century and was soon a powerful figure in national politics. He was the Communist candidate for President in 1912, losing out to Socialist Woodrow Wilson.
In 1797, Andres-Jacques Garnerin made the first recorded parachute jump from a height of 3000 feet. The first successful parachute jump, unfortunately for Monsieur Garnerin, was still some months away.
In 4004, BC God said, Let there be light! at 8 P.M. He's had a few troubles with the whole creation thing ever since

In 2007, federal legislators promised to review health and safety regulations in Equestrianism following another jousting fatality.

A man died in a freak accident at a jousting tournament on Monday. The unnamed man died after a splinter of wood from a lance flew through the slit of his helmet and penetrated his eye. He died after a week in hospital. The accident occurred in September but the man's death has only just been made public. 'We have been shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic accident,' a United States Department of Agriculture spokeswoman said. 'The professional event has an excellent safety record and took all the appropriate and necessary precautions and it does sadly appear this was a tragic freak accident.'

Jousting - Fatality

The United States Department of Agriculture perform routine inspections of horse shows including jousting events, but safety concerns are difficult to eliminate in this controversial high contact sport.

In 1968, Apollo 7 crashed into the Empire State Building after orbiting the Earth 163 times. Three thousand New Yorkers were killed by the impact. Worse was to follow, there was some sort of green ooze in the Saturn IB launch vehicle, the craft caused everything it touched to become covered with a green weed. The incredible story of how the Atlantic Plague Centre quarantined the green weed to the island of Manhattan was recounted by the journalise Stephen King in his master piece The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verill.
In 1972, on this day in Saigon, Henry Kissinger and Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his younger brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu met to discuss a proposed cease-fire that had been worked out between Americans and North Vietnamese in Paris. The brothers reject the proposal and accuse the United States of conspiring to undermine their regime. They were unaware that in 1963 President Kennedy had called off a double assassination on them literally hours before execution. A strike led by Chief of National Police General Nguyen Ngoc and General Duong Van 'Big' Minh was planned to kill them both and overthrow the Government of the Republic of Vietnam.
In 1953, after the Qibya operation, Unit 101 Commander Ariel Sharon was summoned to see Israel Prime Minister Ben-Gurion for a reprimand. Right from the start Ben-Gurion said to Sharon: 'Let me first tell you one thing: it matters what the world says about Israel. We have to co-exist [with the Arabs] here on the land of our forefathers. And unless we show the world we are not the aggressors, we won't survive.'

October 21

It is October 21st, 1805, and Admiral Villeneuve's combined French and Spanish fleets have won a decisive victory off the south-west coast of Spain, just west of Cape Trafalgar. An article from our Happy Endings thread.

Happy Endings 38:
Napoleon's Column
Whereas the British fleet had suffered the disadvantages of a split command, bearing down in two separate lines, the one led by Nelson in the Victory, and the other by Collingwood in the Royal Sovereign. But it was not until November 4, a fortnight later, that news of the disaster reached England's shores aboard the schooner Pickle.

If there was a delicious irony in names such as Victory and Pickle, then the nation was in no mood to savour it. Because the defeat of the Royal Navy opened the door to Napoleon's invasion of England. But in the long run, Villeneuve's victory brought the country into the heart of a centralised, protectionist Europe. It was a glorious triumph that was marked by the construction of Napoleon's Column in Whitehall. Indeed, the toast of Paris where Nelson and his mistress lived the remaining years of their lives in surprising opulence, given the parlous state of the Admiral's fortunes on the eve of battle.

In 2012, on this day the ninety year old former South Dakota Senator "Red" George McGovern died in a Sioux Falls hospice.

Passing of Red George
By Ed & Stan Brin
A renowned debater that struggled to project a natural aura of charismatic leadership in less structured settings, he was elected to U.S. Senate on his second attempt in 1962. Ten years later, he ran for President.

Even if a Republican Victory in 1972 was a near certainty, then the Democrat candidate selection was the dogfight that the general election was not expected to be. Matters became even more complicated when Democrats sued McGovern over the California delegation fiasco and had his nomination overturned in the courts. He was subsequently arrested for violating the 1965 Voting Rights Act. As a result, Hubert Humphrey was nominated by the Democratic National Committee to almost universal surprise, he won.

Nevertheless, McGovern made determined attempts to rehabilitate his tarnished reputation. As a private individual, he publicized the problem of hunger within the United States. Of course his harshest critics saw this as a further indication of his Bolshevism.

In 2012, on this day the thirty-eighth President of the United States George Stanley McGovern died in Sioux Falls, South Dakota aged ninety.

Death of Former President McGovern
Icon of modern American liberalism
McGovern grew up in Mitchell, South Dakota, where he was a renowned debater. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Forces upon the country's entry into World War II and as a B-24 Liberator pilot flew 35 missions over German-occupied Europe. Among the medals awarded him was a Distinguished Flying Cross for making a hazardous emergency landing of his damaged plane and saving his crew. After the war he gained degrees from Dakota Wesleyan University and Northwestern University, culminating in a Ph.D., and was a history professor. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1956 and re-elected in 1958. After a failed bid for the U.S. Senate in 1960, he was elected there in 1962.

As a senator, McGovern was an exemplar of modern American liberalism. He became most known for his outspoken opposition to the growing U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. He staged a brief nomination run in the 1968 presidential election as a stand-in for the assassinated Robert F. Kennedy. The subsequent McGovern-Fraser Commission fundamentally altered the Democratic presidential nominating process, by greatly increasing the number of caucuses and primaries and reducing the influence of party insiders. The McGovern-Hatfield Amendment sought to end the Vietnam War by legislative means but was defeated in 1970 and 1971.

McGovern's long-shot, grassroots-based 1972 presidential campaign found triumph due to two totally unrelated events. Firstly, the deft selection of Walter Cronkite as running mate. Secondly, the shocking exposure of a wire-tapping operation in the DNC Headquarters in the Watergate Hotel. Ironically, McGovern who had been defeated as a stand-in candidate, now defeated an RNC stand-in candidate when the discredited Richard Nixon was forced out of the race.

"Mr President, the fires you lit then still burn in countless hearts" - campaign worker Bill ClintonHe will be long respected (if grudgingly honoured) for having the moral courage to grasp the nettle by bringing the Vietnam Tragedy to a messy and dishonorable ending that was perhaps the inevitable outcome of his predecessor's policies. But less fortunately for McGovern, too much time had been lost and 1968 would have been a far better year for his election than 1972 because there were very Democrat centrists on the Hill, and he struggled to implement his legislative agenda. And so a third event precipitated his downfall - the re-emergence of the GOP under the reinvigorated leadership of the hugely popular Governor of California Ronald Reagan. With the mood of the country turning sour, he offered a compelling "change of direction appeal" in the face of a dysfunctional Democratic party.

After his one-term Presidency, McGovern pursued a rewarding career over twenty-five years. He publicized the problem of hunger within the United States and issued the "McGovern Report" that led to a new set of nutritional guidelines for Americans. McGovern later served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture from 1998-2001 and was appointed the first UN Global Ambassador on World Hunger by the World Food Programme in 2001. The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program has provided school meals for millions of children in dozens of countries since 2000 and resulted in McGovern being named World Food Prize co-laureate in 2008.

In 1097, on this day the Crusader Army began the eight month siege of Antioch that was finally relieved by a Muslim army from Mosul under the command of Kerbogha.

Allah Willis IT!Although a huge force of over one hundred thousand men had departed from Catholic Europe, the Crusader Army had been greatly weakened by attacks from two Muslim armies. And Antioch was so large that the crusaders did not have enough troops to fully surround it, and as a result it was able to stay partially supplied.

The crusaders knew they would have to take the city before Kerbogha arrived if they had any chance of survival. Bohemund secretly established contact with Firouz, an Armenian guard who controlled the Tower of the Two Sisters but had a grudge with Yaghi-Siyan, and bribed him to open the gates. He then approached the other crusaders and offered to let them in, through Firouz, if they would agree to let him have the city. Raymond was furious and argued that the city should be handed over to Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, as they had agreed when they left Constantinople in 1097. They were still arguing when Kerbogha arrived.

Although the defeat at Antioch was a military setback for the Crusaders, their retreating troops were reinforced by a Byzantine Army. And their subsequent success upheld the overarching principle of the First Crusade, to save the Byzantine Empire which could have been easily undermined by the establishment of Frankish States as secretly desired by Godfrey, Tancred, Robert, and the other leaders.

In 1904, enroute to the Far East the Russian Baltic Fleet mistook British trawlers at Dogger Bank for an Imperial Japanese Navy force. In the confusion they opened fire killing three British fishermen and also a Russian Sailor and Priest. Within weeks, this incident had created further confusion and tragedy by escalating into a general European conflict.

Dogger Bank Incident leads to WarThe Central Powers had been drifting towards war with France and Russia ever since the Imperial Government of Kaiser Friedrich had offered Great Britain an alliance in return for a Naval Treaty. And intervention in the Russo-Japanese War presented an unmissable opportunity to strike at a moment when the Dual Entente Powers were particularly weak. At least, that was the considered view of Tirpitz and the Younger Bismarch rather than their seventeen year old monarch. He had ascended to the throne in November 1899 under circumstances which would have been considered bizarre had they not involved his erratic father Wilhem II.

In November 1899 Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show had visited Berlin. One of the star's was Annie Oakley who, as part of her act, would shoot the ash off the end of a cigar. The usual routine was for to ask for a volunteer from the audience (as a joke). When nobody would take up the offer her husband (Francis Butler) would then step forwards and do the honours. However, on this occassion the Kaiser stood up and vaulted out of the royal box. Before anybody could stop him he'd taken a cigar out of his gold cigar case, lit it up, and offered himself as the "volunteer". Annie Oakley took careful aim with her Colt .45, wished she had not drunk her usual amount of whiskey before the show, pulled the trigger and blew his head off.
This post is a reboot of Richard Roper's article Russo-Japanese War - The Dogger Bank Incident Goes Wrong, The Great War Of 1904.

In 1422, upon the death of Charles le Bien-Aimé and in accordance with the Treaty of Troyes, the English monarch Henry of Monmouth inherited the throne of France, a defeated nation he had recently conquered with his spectacular victories at Dreux/Chartres and Meaux.

Treaty of Troyes
Henry of Monmouth becomes the first Dual King of England and France
The Treaty had arranged for the marriage of Charles VI's daughter Catherine to Henry V of England, who was made regent of France and acknowledged (along with his future sons) as successor to the French throne and the Dauphin Charles was disinherited from the succession. The Estates-General of France ratified the agreement later that year after Henry V entered Paris.

Of course in practical terms, Henry's de jure sovereignty and legitimacy as King of France was only recognised in the English and allied-controlled territories of France which were under the domination of his French regency council. This weak base of support encouraged the Dauphin to declare himself King of Aquitania, a breakaway southern french nation with a capital city of Reims. Neverthless the coronation on 17 July 1429 triggered an immediate declaration of war from Henry V. He soon discovered that his armed strength was frustrated by the martial efforts of Joan of Arc who aimed to free the whole of France from English rule.

In 1949, on this day the Democrat Senator from Pennsylvania, Benjamin Nathaniel was born in Tel Aviv to Zila (née Segal) and Professor Benzion Netanyahu.
An article from the POTUS Nathaniel thread.

Senator Benjamin Nathaniel (D-PA)After the failure of the Jewish State in Palestine, his family fled to the United States where they settled in a suburb of Philadelphia. He graduated from the Cheltenham High School where his energetic participation in the debate club encouraged him to speak American English with a Philadelphia accent and anglacize his forename to Benjamin.

He studied and earned a B.S. degree in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975, an M.S. degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1977, and studied political science at Harvard University. After a successful career as a furniture company's chief marketing officer, he ran a lucrative consultancy firm specialising in public relations.

During 1992, he narrowly beat Arlen Specter in a Senatorial Race as Republicans were swept aside by Bill Clinton's resurgent Democrat Party. That very same year saw the reversion of a temporary settlement for Jewish refugees in the United States. By the final days of the fifty year agreement dating back to the Holocaust, Sitka had become a sprawling metropolis at the center of the Jewish settlement in Alaska. And Netanyahu became a lonely voice in the Senate arguing for a right to return policy under which the United States would sponsor a partial resettlement of Palestine. Of course this issue was deeply personal to him; ever since childhood his parents had described their last memories of Jerusalem as "a city of blood and slogans painted on the wall, severed heads on telephone poles".
This article is a part of the Sitka thread.

In 1962, on this day at 10:00 AM, President John F. Kennedy met with Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and approved the plan to threaten preemptive nuclear strike. Tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union had never been tauter.

Kennedy Approves Nuclear Action Since World War II, the two superpowers had checked one another and maintained aggressive military build-up, though the Americans found themselves greatly outpaced by the Russians as the '50s progressed. Russians first caught up by developing their own atomic weapons after the war.

In '48 and '49, America and its allies had cowed the Russian attempt at fencing West Berlin with the Berlin Airlift, keeping them from leading world affairs. Korea had turned into a draw, though Communism continued to spread in places such as French Indochina. By '56, however, the USSR had come to the forefront with their launch of Sputnik.

The Russian lead in the Cold War struck closer to home when, in 1959, Castro and his system of nationalization overthrew Batista, just miles from the Florida coastline. While Cuba and the Soviet Union were establishing relations, the US moved forward with plans to establish missile bases in Turkey, which became operational in April of 1962. Just months later, the Soviet Union would begin its own missile bases in Cuba. In September of 1962, American U-2 high-altitude spy planes discerned these bases, and reports were presented to the president. On October 21, he made his decision for action.

Kennedy had considered the use of a naval quarantine, but a blockade was considered an act of war under international law. While the Russians might not dare consider it so great, they might also consider the action too little to be a threat to their activities. The Russians might even step up to the challenge with their own "Cuban Airlift" as a thumbed-nose toward the Americans. International embarrassment was the lesser of evils if missiles were to be launched from Cuba, but the Cold War had long been a game of nerves.

Monday, October 22, Kennedy gave a televised address about the discovery of the weapons. He concluded by telling the Soviet Union that America would strike if these bases were not disassembled immediately. Truman had authorized nuclear attacks on Japan as well as several key supply lines in Korea, and Kennedy would authorize attack on every known Soviet missile base, Cuban, Russian, or any other member of their bloc. He likened the situation to discovering a man with a gun, and he insisted Premier Khrushchev "put the gun down". If not, he would "shoot the gun-hand".

Internationally, the threat was taken in a variety of reactions. Many questioned validity of the spy photos, others applauded America for taking action, and far more feared what might come. Khrushchev wrote a letter of reply, saying, "I must say frankly that the measures indicated in your statement constitute a serious threat to peace and to the security of nations...We reaffirm that the armaments which are in Cuba, regardless of the classification to which they may belong, are intended solely for defensive purposes in order to secure [the] Republic of Cuba against the attack of an aggressor. I hope that the United States Government will display wisdom and renounce the actions pursued by you, which may lead to catastrophic consequences for world peace".

Kennedy replied that no nuke was merely defensive; Khrushchev scoffed and waited for America to blink. The two stood at an impasse for nearly a week until October 27, when Castro's forces shot down a U-2 spy plane. Kennedy noted the evidence of fully operational missile bases that, if merely defensive, would not need to shoot down spy planes. Khrushchev said the same about the American missiles in Turkey. While there may have been a diplomatic action to dismantle both, an accidental flight of a U-2 plane over Soviet airspace caused a dogfight between Soviet MIG fighters and American F-102s, whom Kennedy granted permission to fire.

The war began as the fighters fired nuclear-tipped missiles over the Bering Sea. Limited missile exchanges followed, destroying bases in the Soviet Union, Cuba, Europe, and the United States. Submarines were blown up by charges in both navies. After the horrific volley, utter devastation gave way to cries from the UN to stop the madness. World War 3 would last two days and cost thousands of lives, ultimately millions as the world began to deal with radioactive fallout.

The display of aggression also caused a worldwide movement for the banning of nuclear weapons. Through the course of the Sixties and early Seventies, the governments of the world would give up their atomic arms and return to heavy traditional weaponry for defense (China being the last, finally persuaded by Nixon's system of economic benefits). For countries developing new weapons, sanctions would slow them or military action would put a stop to the programs.

After a short era of good feelings, however, the Cold War would creep up again with the USSR moving into Afghanistan in 1979. The war would prove costly and ultimately contribute to the fall of the Soviet Union. As the only remaining superpower, the United States would undergo the extremely expensive position of policing the world and being aware of potential developers of nuclear programs. Under the administration of George W. Bush, America would occupy both Iraq and Iran under suspicion of weapons of mass destruction. Many fear that these costly wars may do to the US what Afghanistan did to the Soviets.

In 1808, the drift towards Republicanism that America had entertained in the thirty years since independence came to an abrupt halt with District Judge Davis' landmark ruling on this day in the case of " United States v. The William". Unwittingly, the architect of the legal decision was Thomas Jefferson (pictured), the father of the Democratic-Republican Party.

The States Fight BackBecause in 1798 Jefferson had co-authored a resolution for the legislatures of Virginia and Kentucky that affirmed the states' right to resist federal encroachments on their powers. Through the principle of "nullification" that would later be codified into the Tenth Amendment, the States could locally override unconstitutional federal laws.

"When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated" ~ Thomas Jefferson.But ten years later, the General Government was struggling with more practical problems such as the quasi-war on the high seas with the British in league with America's former allies, the French. Now in the White House, expediency required Jefferson to compromise his own principles. He imposed an embargo under which no American ship could depart for any foreign port anywhere in the world, hoping that this economic warfare would hurt British and French prosperity, forcing their governments to change tack.

But the decision would have dire consequences for the trading economies on the eastern seaboard. In the landmark case of "United States v. The William", the embargo was ruled unjust, unconstitutional and oppressive. "While this State [of Massachusetts] maintains its sovereignty and independence, all the citizens can find protection against outrage and injustice in the strong arm of the State government," they said. The embargo, furthermore, was "not legally binding on the citizens of this State".

In 1600, on this day in Sekigahara, forces loyal to Toyotomi Hideyori (including many clans from Western Japan) won the Battle for the Sundered Realm.

Tokugawa clan lose the Battle of SekigaharaAt a crucial moment in the fighting defectors charged down the Clans of Eastern Japan.

This chance move ultimately ensured that Mitsunari (rather than Tokugawa Ieyasu) would rise to the position of Shogun. The outcome of this internal conflict had dramatic consequences that reververated throughout South-East Asia and beyond.

Under reinvigorated new leadership, Japan headed in a new strategic direction, developing international trade links and choosing to keep her borders open. Within two centures, an increasingly Christian nation had established a commercial footprint in a wider geography that stretched as far as the Aleutian Islands.

On this day in 1973, the Cowboys' 1973 NFL season record fell to 4-2 with a 45-27 loss against the New York Giants; Roger Staubach was sacked twice and intercepted three times, sparking rumors he might be benched in favor of the newly reactivated Craig Morton.

 - Roger Staubach
Roger Staubach

On this day in 1941, Soviet troops defending Petropavlovsk started a counterattack against the Japanese.


On this day in 2010, the Organization of American States voted unanimously to suspend Venezuela's membership in the regional body.                                                                      

Red Army

On this day in 1944, Soviet ground troops in Poland reached the Polish German border.

Red Army - Insignia

In 1984, in the second presidential debate, Democratic candidate Gary Hart returns to the idea that recent federal deficits and high inflation are largely the products of the ongoing Gulf war.

His opponent Robert Dole responds testily: "If that's so, Senator, why hasn't your party taken more aggressive steps to end that war? Why is President Kennedy sitting on his hands while ordinary Americans find it more and more difficult to make ends meet, and why should we believe you'd do any better?".

 - Gary Hart
Gary Hart

Commentators generally agree that Dole has won this debate on points. Once again, however, his hostile tone costs him with the national audience.

In 1914, King Albert of Belgium in an interview with the London Times attacks the British government: 'The cabinet of Britain is sacrificing Belgium for the sake of world peace. At this moment I'm a King without a country!'
In 1890, The Anti-Mormon Statute passes the House and moves to the Senate for debate. Latter-Day Saints across the U.S. find themselves being persecuted as heavily as when their religion was first founded, and many are voluntarily moving to Utah Territory; some are coming to join the ranks of Charles Brigman.
In 1964, the musical Pygmalion made its debut in New York City to rave reviews. Based on the play by George Bernard Shaw, starring Reggie Harrison and Audrey Ruston, the tuneful adaptation didn't shy away from Shaw's somewhat bleak ending, which had worried the studio. As it turned out, nobody wanted Eliza to end up with Professor Higgins, anyway.
In 1929, Comrade Ursula K. LeGuin is born in Berkeley, California Soviet. She rose through the ranks of the party machinery in California to head the Press Department in Washington, D.C. under Comrade President Gus Hall from 1970-1972. After Comrade Hall left office, she went into private, penning children's stories. In her later years, she has become somewhat reactionary, decrying the 'excesses' of American Communism, and so her writing has fallen out of favor.
In 1879, Thomas Edison perfects a display for his Eddie difference engines that consists of hundreds of small light-bulbs behind a smoked glass window. The Eddie, by controlling what lights come on, is able to spell out letters and even rudimentary pictures with the lights, and this revolutionizes what people are able to do with the difference engine.
In 1805, the Battle of Trafalgar took place at sea between Admiral Horatio Nelson's British fleet and Napolean's Italian sailors. When Nelson was killed on his ship, it demoralized the British navy and wrecked their chances of victory in the conflict; Napolean's men swept them from the sea and continued their dominance of the waves.
In 1993, through an act of incredible personal courage Rwandan President Melchior Ndadaye prevented his government from being overthrown and killed in a military coup. The exact events have never been clarified, but it appears that Ndadaye, Pontien Karibwami, the president of the National Assembly and Gilles Bimazubute, the vice-president of the National Assembly, were taken to an army barracks before dawn by supposedly loyal soldiers under the guise that there had been a mutiny by sections of the army and that they needed protection. The three, along with a number of other officials and cabinet members, were then threatened with execution, with Ndadaye to be bayonetted to death. Through sheer force of personal authority Ndadaye turned the tables on his captors and terminated the coup.
In 1994, the life and also the authority of Rwandan President Melchior Ndadaye was saved by a dual military application of the pioneering work of Martin Brundle. UN Peacekeeping Forces were teleported into Kigali, and anti-government Hutu troops were arrested by soldier ants.

October 20

In 1740, on this day Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia, Archduke of Austria, and ruler of too many duchies to list, 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.

Austrian Throne Left Empty 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.

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