Editor says, for subscription users please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Disqus or Google Plus. History runs along a different line in Today In Alternate History, a site which chronicles "important events in history that never occurred today". Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.
In 1670, on this day a gang led by the well-known ruffian Thomas Blood murdered James Butler, the 1st Duke of Ormonde (pictured) while riding in his carriage in central London.
Eminence GriseWhile driving up St James's Street, Ormonde was attacked by Blood and his accomplices who dragged the Duke out of his coach, took him on horseback along Piccadilly and hung him at Tyburn. His son the Lord Ossory publically accused the inveterate schemer Duke of Buckingham of being the eminence grise behind Blood's gang. To settle this matter of honour, Buckingham, a noted duellist, answer this question with the inevitable challenge.
Even though he strongly disapproved of the King's Catholic sympathies, he was a childhood friend of Charles with whom he still enjoyed close ties. And many of his dirtier deeds had actually been performed on the King's behalf, enabling the Crown to distance itself from these most disreputable actions. But the plot exposed by Lord Ossory was far stranger.
From 1649 to 1650 Lord Ormonde was the leading commander of the Royalist forces fighting against the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. In the 1650s he lived in exile in Europe with Charles II of England. Upon the restoration of Charles II to the British throne in 1660, Ormonde became a major figure in English and Irish politics, holding many high government offices. During 1670, he discovered that the Duke of Buckingham had pretensions to succeed the childless monarch (Charles' wife Catherine of Braganza bore him no offspring even though he admitted to twelve illegitimate children). This was confirmed when the Duke referred to himself as a "Prince" before dying from the shot from Lord Ossory's duelling pistol1.
In 1745, on this day Prince Charlie crossed the Swarkestone Bridge. In England's Revolution of 1688, often termed the "Glorious Revolution", the Stuart dynasty was removed from the English and Scottish thrones once more, this time deposed by William of Orange at the invitation of Parliament.
Prince Charlie Crosses Swarkestone Bridge The Catholic kings of a Protestant nation had been a struggle through the seventeenth century, but many in Britain felt that the Stuarts would be best upon the throne, especially as non-English-speaking Germans from Hanover began to rule. The Stuart Cause would continue, even after "The Fifteen", a bungled invasion by James III & VII after which the Old Pretender was no longer welcome in France as an embarrassment.
"Prince Charles Edward Stuart (fondly known as "Bonnie Prince Charlie") had been trained for war since his birth. He witnessed sieges, studied with commanders, and took up pursuit of the generalship that would win him back his throne. While his father was the exiled king, James III & VII still had enough influence to persuade France into sending an invasion fleet in 1744. In preparation, Prince Regent Charles went to Scotland and began to raise his army of supporters. While the French invasion never materialized, Charlie decided to carry out the reconquest of Britain himself in 1745.
With two ships and an army of eight men, Charlie landed at Eriskay on July 23. Finding great support among the Highlanders, Charlie raised his father's standard and formed up an army large enough to subdue Edinburgh. At Prestonpans on September 21, Charlie met with the only government army to stand against him in Scotland, which he soundly defeated, inflicting ten times the causalities his force took. From there, he pressed south, moving practically unopposed with 6,000 men through Cumbria and Derbyshire to Swarkestone Bridge. There, word said that few supported him in the south and, worse, the government was building a mass of force to counterattack. Charlie's commanders advised him to turn back and raise more of his own support.
Charlie decided to ignore them and pressed southward while momentum was with him. It was found that few did support him in the south, but few supported the Hannovers as well. As winter settled, Charlie made for London, hoping to besiege the city during its hungriest time. His only obstacle was a force comparable in size to his own, though hastily assembled, led by King George II's son, the Duke of Cumberland. They met at Hatfield on December 18, where Charlie's Highlanders made use of the ancient woods to minimize the effect of the government cannon. When the battle was won, Charlie seized the cannon and turned it on London for the winter siege.
By spring, the city was in an uproar against Parliament. Without hope of fresh food coming that spring, the winter starvation would grow even worse. Charlie welcomed anyone who would desert the city and join his cause, strengthening his ranks with generous Christmas and New Years' feasts. Finally, on April 16, Parliament conceded and voted to reinstate the House of Stuart and oust George II. Charlie's father James would be crowned later that year and rule until his death in 1766. The aged James was feared as being a Catholic tyrant, but he proved largely ineffectual, his most vivacious act being to keep Britain out of the Prussian War, where Frederick the Great established himself as a power on the Continent.
Charlie, meanwhile, traveled the British Colonies in hopes of expansion. He toured the Americas, also helping to establish the legitimacy of the Stuarts, and joined Robert Clive on his second journey in India. During his time in England, he converted to Anglicanism, which enraged his father but set many British minds at ease. Upon being crowned in 1766, Charles III began ambitious projects to expand British trade and endorsed exploration for new routes and potential settlements, especially in North America and in the Pacific with Admiral Cook's five voyages. His rigorous expansion inevitably led to further wars with the Dutch and French, expensive naval campaigns that drained the treasury of all.
When Parliament attempted to levy heavier taxes, uproar rose among the American colonists in the early 1780s with calls for representation, perhaps even independence. It is said that Charlie was fearful of losing his crown after fighting to win it, and he went quickly to work adding American seats to Parliament to guarantee his support. His "weakness" would be severely criticized by many Tories, but the heavy hand of the French king Louis XVI would lead to the brutal revolution in 1791.
Charlie stayed quiet through the remainder of his reign, depending more upon prime ministers such as William Pitt. His son Charles IV succeeded the throne upon his death in 1798, the same year the Egyptian War sparked as Republican France attempted to strike at India through the Suez. Upon the sound defeat of France and the seizure of many of its colonial claims, the nineteenth century would stand as the next golden age of Britain, continuing Charlie's legacy of progressive economics and social liberality.
In 1963, on this day at the Parkland Hospital in Dallas, twenty-seven year old Jim Tague of Plainfield, Indiana died as a result of complications arising from a wound to the right hand side of his face caused by a gunshot at the Dealey Plaza on November 22nd.
Truth WithheldThe deceased had been driving to downtown Dallas to have lunch with a friend when he came upon a traffic jam due to the presidential motorcade. This caused him to stop his car, get out of it, and stand by Dealey Plaza, at the south curb of Main Street, 520 feet (158 m) southwest of the Texas School Book Depository. He was a few feet east of the eastern edge of the triple overpass railroad bridge when he was critically wounded.
The Warren Commission would later determine that the cause of death was the stray bullets from security forces who had over-reacted to a firecracker being set off by three drunken tramps standing behind the grassy knoll. Despite the mysterious disappearance of those bullets, this version of events was supported by articles in Life Magazine and the Reader's Digest written by future Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford who would later be elected to the highest office to ensure that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth".
In 1889, on this day the first President of the Confederate States, eighty-one year old Jefferson Finis Davis died in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Jefferson F. Davis
1st Confederate President
February 18, 1961 - March 4, 1867He took office on February 18, 1861, and was elected as first president of the CSA in that election. His first official act was to appoint a Peace Commission to go to Washington. The plan was to offer payment for all federal property within the CSA and the portion of the national debt that the states owed. The Commission was not authorized, however, to discuss reunion. At the same time, though, he had made sure that federal troops stationed within Confederate borders were put on notice to vacate those posts.
A new article from the "Two Americas" thread on Althistory WikiaWhen US Army Major Robert Anderson abandoned Fort Moultrie and secretly moved into the unfinished Fort Sumter (both near Charleston, South Carolina), he had not intentions of surrendering to the new governments demands. By April, 1861, though, the fort was running out of supplies. When President Abraham Lincoln sent re-enforcements, the Battle for Fort Sumter began the War Between the States.
Part TwoThis War for Independence would wage for most of Davis' term as president. It saddened him as he saw men with whom he had served in politics and in battle fight each other to the death. He made frequent trips behind the lines to visit the troops and confer with his generals. Some analysts have even concluded that his decision to move the government to Richmond, Virginia, was the deciding factor in saving the Confederacy from destruction. His presence near the front lines would indeed prove the strongest factor in the determination and drive that kept the war out of the deep south until May of 1865 after the death of President Lincoln at the hands of John Wilkes Booth.
When General William T. Sherman had begun his march through Mississippi, however, he had stepped on "sacred ground" in the eyes of President Davis. The defense of Jackson became a priority as Davis personally traveled to within a hundred miles of the front. With General Robert E. Lee firmly in command of Virginia, and the Confederacy's best commanders facing Sherman in Mississippi, the Union forces were spread thin. Davis' choice to avoid crossing into US territory stood him well throughout 1865, though, and President Andrew Johnson began to send representatives to Richmond in January of 1866 to negotiate a cease fire.
Ambassadors from both England and France began to mediate between the warring Americans in March, and hostilities began to slow considerably throughout 1866. On August 8th, a ceasefire was declared, and all US troops withdrew across the borders that had been established by the individual states at the time of their joining of the Confederacy. An uneasy truce would hold for decades before an official "peace treaty" would be signed on May 8, 1885.
In 1921, on this day both the Irish and British government delegates sign the Anglo-Irish Treaty at Downing Street; thereby bringing an end to a conflict between British forces and Irish militants across the island of Ireland since April 1916, not to mention seven centuries of occupation of the British government over it's island neighbour.
A Republic With A Price by Gerry ShannonDays after the Truce that had ended the Anglo-Irish War, the President of the Irish Republic, Eamon De Valera met British Prime Minister Lloyd George in London four times in the week starting 14th July. Lloyd George sent his initial proposals on 20th July that were quite a departure from the Treaty that was eventually signed. This was followed by months of delay until October, when the Irish delegates set up headquarters in 22 Hand Pace, Knightsbridge.
The first two weeks of the negotiations were spent in formal sessions. Upon the request of De Valera and his Secretary of State for Finance (and Director of Intelligence in the Irish Republican Army), Michael Collins, the two delegations began informal negotiations, in which only two members of each negotiation team were allowed to attend (pictured). On the Irish side, these members were always Collins and De Valera, while on the British side, Neville Chamberlain always attended, though the second British negotiator would vary from day to day.
In late November, the Irish delegation returned to Dublin as per De Valera's promise to his cabinet colleagues to consult them, and again on 3rd December. Many points still had to be resolved, mainly surrounding the unionist allegiance to an Irish republic, but it was clear to all the politicians involved by this stage that it was not an option to partition the country into two states, north and south; thereby granting the unionist minority a majority in a six-county Northern Ireland state.
Collins, who would emerge in the new government as Commander of the Irish Republican Army, said later that at the last minute Lloyd George reminded his own delegation of a renewal of a "terrible and immediate war" from the Irish republicans if the Treaty was not signed at once. However, this was not mentioned as a fear in the Irish memorandum about the close of negotiations, merely a reflection of the reality; given the British forces having become increasingly overwhelmed by IRA activities across Ireland within the last few years.
Among noteworthy clauses of the Treaty were:
- British forces would withdraw from Ireland.
- The new country shall be known as the Republic of Ireland, and consist of the thirty-two counties of the island.
- It's parlimament, known as Dáil Eireann, would be responsible for governance and public services.
- Northern Ireland would not have the option of withdrawing from the Irish Republic once the Treaty came into effect. Instead, the elected representatives of the unionist minority were obliged to take their seats in the new Irish parliament.
- The Treaty would have superior status in Irish law, i.e., in the event of a conflict between it and the new 1922 constitution of the Irish Republic, the treaty would take precedence.
In Dublin, Vice-President of the Irish Republic, Arthur Griffith called a cabinet meeting to discuss the treaty on 8th December, the Vice-President himself supporting the Treaty as signed. The cabinet decided unanimously to recommend the Treaty to the Dáil on 14th December.
The Dáil voted to approve the Treaty, but this vote was problematic given the unionist minority, led by Edward Carson, still refused to recognize the government of the Irish Republic and were listed as being absent. The brewing discontent between nationalists and unionists would soon lead to the Irish Civil War. The refusal of the Irish delegation to allow the creation of a Northern Ireland state for the unionist minority would be a serious point of consternation between both sides; reverberating in conflicts political, social and violent for decades to follow.
In 1963, on this day the thirty-sixth1 President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy began a televised address from the Oval Office with the revelation that "the high office of the President has been used to foment a plot to destroy the American's freedom and before I leave office, I must inform the citizen of this plight2".Honest Dollar
A shadowy group of european bankers were "powers that exist[ed] behind U.S. and world finance" that had subverted the constitution of the United States to create the Federal Reserve System.
Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution specifically states that Congress is the only body that can "coin money and regulate the value thereof". Yet since the end of the free banking era in 1913 these usurers had exercised the power to loan money to the United States Federal Government at interest. For twenty-five years, finance had been illegally raised through taxation on private citizens. Then on November 28th 1937 the thirty-third President of the United States Huey Pierce Long set about implementing the Share Our Wealth program. The Federal Reserve would be abolished, instead wealth redistributed by levying asset tax on large corporations and individuals of great wealth.
US presidents had been warned not to interfere with the private Federal Reserve's control over the creation of money, Kennedy said. The assassination in the Capitol Building at Baton Rouge 3 was a precursor to the foiled attempt in Dallas the previous month.
Because on June 4, 1963, Executive Order 11110 authorised the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury to issue $4.29 billion in silver certificates.
At the stroke of a pen, the Federal Reserve Bank was stripped of its power to loan money to the United States Federal Government at interest. This virtually unknown Presidential decree gave the explicit authority: "to issue silver certificates against any silver bullion, silver, or standard silver dollars in the Treasury".
As a result, more than $4 billion in United States Notes were brought into circulation in $2 and $5 denominations. $10 and $20 United States Notes were being printed by the Treasury Department when Kennedy escaped the assassin's bullets in Dallas.
Yet another threat to America's freedom would finally defeat liberty. Costly defence spending forced Ronald Reagan to sign Executive Order 12608 in 1987, revoking Section 1(a) of Executive Order 11110 and reversing the decree.
Kennedy and Long might share socialist dreams of "Every Man a King". Reagan needed much more than $4.29 billion to prevent the communist nightmare of "Every American a Comrade".
On this day in 1944, American and British forces in western Germany entered Munich amid heavy German resistance.
An American Hero [Winston Churchill - American Hero by PJY continues] ~ Both Teddy Roosevelt and Winston Churchill became heroes in the USA for their part in the victory at San Juan Hill. That the 23 year old Churchill had inspired a brigade to follow him into battle amazed people back home and his success in being the first man to jump into the Spanish trenches at the top of San Juan Hill saw him celebrated. New York papers were especially happy to triumph the exploits of the 'New York Heroes' (Roosevelt and Churchill) and the two become well known all across the nation. Both men were awarded the Medal of Honour.
Churchill's participation in the Spanish-American War came to a rather inglorious end just after the Siege of Santiago when he contracted Yellow Fever and had to be evacuated along with some 4000 other soldiers in Cuba. Unlike many, Churchill recovered, though he was still in hospital when news of the Treaty of Paris filtered down to the soldiers.
Churchill wrote that - This is a glorious day and once again proves that the bravery and tenacity of American troops can contend against that of any in the world. We have seen the foundations set for an American Empire and so may it continue to grow.
On this day in 1982, Monday Night Raw debuted a new interview segment, 'The Psycho Ward', which featured Tommy Rich holding court on a set made up to resemble an insane asylum; the fact that Rich had his own segment after being with the WWF just over a month was a testament to his swiftly rising status in the WWF.
The inaugural edition of 'Psycho Ward' also solidified Rich's reputation as one of the WWF's most despised rulebreakers--he attacked Polynesian high-flyer Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka with a coconut after repeated by mocking Snuka's heritage.
On this day in 1970, the Dallas Cowboys went to 12-0 with a 34-point home shutout of the Washington Redskins. The victory sparked talk that Dallas might tie or surpass the 15-game undefeated streak notched by the Cleveland Browns during the 1948 AAFC season.
On this day in 1955, Sandy Koufax earned his first NBA triple-double (45 points, 31 rebounds, 18 assists) in a Boston Celtics win over the Hawks at St. Louis.
In 1941, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel was aboard the USS Nevada right as the Japanese hit.
On the deck Kimmel gets hit by a round in the knee, and though he loses the limb in the end, gallently assumes a leadership possition first with the AA guns and eventually on the bridge. When the day is over he's a wounded hero and Gen Short gets all the blame for the attack (After all it was the ARMY that Had the RADAR and failed to Act!)
The cause of Kimmel's survival was simple. At the start of the XX Century, the US Navy set up their little base in Hawaii, and it becomes a tradition that every Sunday the local Commander (Eventually CinCPac) is aboard one of the ships in the fleet for the flag raiseing. Nothing major, just an odd quirk of the base, no one really cares until 1941.
Kimmel is in a position, with his minor fleet, to stay in command for a while and the Wake Island Relief Force goes off later in the month, still steaming towards the famed Atoll. The US Navy with its crippled commander run the Japanese Fleet and get the men off Wake.
San Juan Hill [Winston Churchill - American Hero by PJY continues] ~ In the meantime Hamilton Hawkins' brigade was faring no better than Roosevelt had in his original position. Hamilton was hit and badly wounded and in the confusion nobody stepped foward to claim command. In the void of command, the young impatient Lt. Churchill jumped from his trench line and charged. The entire brigade jumped up and followed him, evidently confused or inspired into charging the Spanish position and believing that the charging shouting Churchill was in fact a voice of command, not a lowly Second Lieutenant.
Seeing the spontaneous advances of Roosevelt and Churchill, Wheeler gave the order for Kent to advance with his whole division while he returned to the Cavalry Division. Kent sent forward Ewers' brigade to join Hawkins' men already approaching the hill. Kent's men discovered that the Spanish had placed their trenches in faulty positions and were actually covered from their fire while the attackers climbed the hill. Churchill, still in the lead, was among the first to reach the crest. The Spanish fled.
After losing Kettle Hill, Linares's men still on San Juan Hill began to fire on the cavaliers' newly won position. While Kent's secured a blockhouse to the south after hand-to-hand fighting, Sumner also charged San Juan Hill. Roosevelt personally led the attack but paused after charging a few feet with only a handful of men following. He turned around and inquired why no one had followed. His men replied they had not heard the order and quickly joined the attack. Kent's remaining brigade under Colonel E. P. Pearson arrived after Churchill and Ewers had already charged and moved further to the south and drove the Spanish off of a knoll on the Spanish right flank.
General Wood sent requests for Kent to send up infantry to strengthen his vulnerable position. General Wheeler reached the trenches and ordered breastworks constructed. Roosevelt's men did in fact repulse a minor counterattack on the northern flank. The Americans' position on San Juan Hill was exposed to artillery fire from within Santiago, and Shafter feared the vulnerability of the line and ordered the troops to withdraw. Wheeler assured Shafter that the position could be held; still Shafter ordered the withdrawal. Before the men could withdraw Wheeler called aside Kent and Sumner and reassured them that the line could be held, and during the night they worked at strengthening the lines while reinforcements arrived.
In 1980, a church secretary who had overheard televangelist Jim Bakker arrange a liaison with secretary Jessica Hahn called the local news station and told them where to find the pair that evening. When reporters burst in on Hahn and Bakker in a sexual tryst, Bakker's church empire was ruined, and all television evangelists sank in popularity.
In 1863, with the Southern Rebellion subdued, President Walt Whitman secured ratification of the 13th Amendment, ending slavery within the United States, and guaranteeing economic equality and freedom for all Americans, regardless of ethnicity, gender, philosophy or religion. The 13th Amendment stood as the greatest achievement of the Communist Party until President Haywood's Community of Trade united oppressed workers across the world in brotherhood.
In 1793, Madame Jeanne du Barry, who had been mistress to the former king, was dragged before the Parisian mob to be executed at the guillotine. She made an appeal to the crowd, calling upon their mercy and relating her own tale of woe as a poor child who had been used by men throughout her life. Moved to pity, the crowd surged forward and rescued her from the executioner. She went into exile in Great Britain, and founded a home for wayward girls there.
In 4225, master explorer Chang Shiao reached the Yucatanian Gulf after a nearly year-long voyage from his home port in the Chinese Empire. His encounter with the Oueztecan Empire there led to a diplomatic mission that forged a great alliance across the ocean between the Chinese and the Oueztecans.
In 1782, on this day Martin Van Buren was born in Kinderhook, New York.
Birth of Two Non-Consecutive Term President Martin Van BurenHe served two, non-consecutive terms as the eighth (1837-1841) tenth (1845-1849) President of the United States (he beat Democrat rival James K Polk to the nomination). And before his presidency, he was the eighth Vice President (1833-1837) and the tenth Secretary of State, under Andrew Jackson (1829-1831).
Van Buren was a key organizer of the Democratic Party, a dominant figure in the Second Party System, and the first president not of British or Irish descent-his family was Dutch. He was the first president to be born a United States citizen, his predecessors having been born British subjects before the American Revolution. He is also the only president not to have spoken English as his first language, having grown up speaking Dutch, and the first president from New York.
In 1813, on this fateful day Yankee army engineers landed on Bedlow's Island on a revenge mission to destroy the Statue of Britannia, that hated symbol of imperial power in Upper New York Bay.
Patriot BacklashBut to their immense anger and frustration it would be a brief occupation because they were forced to withdraw under the obligations of the Treaty of Ghent. However before they left, General Jackson delivered a powerful "Dream that Never Dies" speech . The loyalists were left in absolutely no doubt that the Americans considered the possession of the New York City State. "Unfinished business leftover from the American Revolution by an accident of history".
However despite the bad blood caused by this and other atrocities such as the sacking of Yorktown, the United States and Great Britain slowly began to develop shared national interests. The day of forced annexation never came. And within a century, they would even fight alongside each other as allies against the Kaiser's Germany. However the status of the Crown Colony always remained a sticking pointing. Demographic changes meant that the increasingly cosmopolitan New York City State wasn't really Britain's any more to give.
Governor General John Strange "Jack" Spencer-Churchill  was directed to prepare an options paper that listed the following choices - the declaration of an open city, absorption into the United States, an independent republic (like Singapore), "two systems, one government" (like Hong Kong) and lastly the unimaginative default, Dominion Status. He was organizing a plebiscite when Nazi Germany invaded Poland..
In 1957, on the anniversary of Nieuw Nederland President Martin Van Buren, his illustrious successor Quentin Rosevelt helped the mother country to negotiate a compromise deal with the Government of Indonesia. An article from the multi-author American Mini-states thread.
Dutch Courage Part 4President Sukarno was the leader of his country's struggle for independence from the Netherlands and was Indonesia's first president. He was a prominent leader of Indonesia's nationalist movement during the Dutch colonial period, and spent over a decade under Dutch detention until released by the invading Japanese forces.
By December 1957, Sukarno had begun to take decisive steps to enforce his authority over the country. On that month, he nationalised 246 Dutch companies which have been dominating Indonesian economy, most notably the NHM, Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij, Escomptobank, and the "big five" Dutch trading corporations (NV Borneo Sumatra Maatschappij / Borsumij, NV Internationale Crediet- en Handelsvereeneging "Rotterdam" / Internatio, NV Jacobson van den Berg & Co, NV Lindeteves-Stokvis, and NV Geo Wehry & Co). More fatefully, he had threatened to expel 40,000 Dutch citizens remaining in Indonesia while confiscating their properties, due to the failure by the Dutch government to continue negotiations on the fate of Netherlands New Guinea as was promised in the 1949 Round Table Conference.
The Dutch Government had been forced into exile by the Nazis and their authority was blown. However Quentin was a former flying ace  who had personally impressed Sukharno as a fellow fighter for liberty and justice. This personal credibility generate a level of mutual respect that enabled "QR" to act as an honest broker finding a settlement between the two Governments.
In 1969, on this day CBS Evening News anchor Arnold Zenker announced that the US Ambassador to Ireland had been shot and killed by paramilitary gun-men in the Falls Road, Belfast.
An article from the No Chappaquiddick by Eric Lipps in which EMK's car only almost went off that bridge on July 18, 1969.
Uncle Arnold reports the tragedy in BelfastIn the six long months since his appointment by President Nixon, Jack Kennedy had worked tirelessly with community leaders to seek a resolution to the escalating sectarian violence sweeping the island of Ireland. But inevitably though he had invited criticism that he had failed to fully grasp the painful lessons of centuries of history.
His body was returned in state to Massachusetts where it was solemnly collected by members of the Kennedy Clan. They were still mourning Joe, Senior who had passed only three weeks earlier. But despite this heartbreak, they knew that matters could have been far far worse; because younger brother Ted had almost driven his car off a bridge on the evening of July, 18th. Although undetected at the time, the turbulent events of the second half of that year had made him turn the corner. And take the first steps on the long road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
In 1757, on this day Austrian forces under Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine triumphed at the Battle of Leuthen. Frederick II of Prussia was killed in the fighting.
Disaster at LeuthenThe Four Year's War, in Europe, began on 29th August 1756 when Prussian king Frederick II, having recently signed an alliance with Great Britain, invaded the German nation of Saxony in a move designed to pre-empt an Austro-French invasion of Silesia. The Prussian army won a series of battles against the Austro-Saxon forces, eventually culminating in the surrender of Saxony. The invasion of Saxony however was viewed negatively in the rest of Europe and soon Austria was joined by France and Russia in the war against Prussia. Great Britain joined their Prussian allies, and began sending aid to the Prussians as well as deploying an army under the Duke of Cumberland to Hannover.
Elsewhere in the world the colonial superpowers, Britain and France, battled against each other. In North America the conflict had begun two years ago, and had been going poorly for the British. The French continued to enjoy success, repelling various British assaults into Canada and into Louisiana. The French and their Indian allies maintained the upper hand against the British and the colonials and were even able to seize the British base at Fort Oswego. In India the conflict was known as the Third Carnatic War.
Meanwhile in Europe, Frederick II invaded Austrian Bohemia in attempt to knock Austria out of the war, as the Russians invaded East Prussia. The Prussian advance into Bohemia however was dealt a blow with defeat at the Battle of Kolin on June 18th 1757 and Fredrick was forced to withdraw back into Prussia. Meanwhile the French had moved west and attacked Hannover defeating the Duke of Cumberland's forces at the Battle of Hastenbeck, which resulted in the Convention of Klosterzeven and the surrender of Hannover and Cumberland's forces. The Prussian victory at the Battle of Rossbach however gave the Prussians hope that they could survive. Tragedy however followed shortly after with the surprise death of Frederick II following a fall from his horse and the subsequently decisive Austrian victory at the Battle of Leuthen. Frederick's heir apparent was his nephew the thirteen year old Frederick William. The sudden death of the king threw the Prussian government into a state of chaos.
The Prussian army that had been crushed at Leuthen withdrew north in disarray where it was again defeated by the Austrians at the Battle of Crossen in February 1758. This defeat resulted in the complete destruction of the Prussian Army. This, in addition to the Russian advances in the East and the French successes in the west caused the Prussian government, still in disarray, to ask for an armistice, which was accepted in early May 1758. Article continues at Disaster at Leuthen
In 1945, on this day Musa Qasab (pictured)  the first Jewish Grand Vizier of Persia was born in the city of Yazd in the Shir Kuh valley. His family brought him to Tehran when he was an infant.
Birth of Musa QasabAlthough he was the first ethnic Jew to be given the absolute power of attorney by the Shahanshah ("King of Kings"), Reza Pahlavi there was a historic precedent for such an appointment. Because Joseph, the eleventh son of Jacob, had serving as Vizier to the Egyptian Pharaoh.
In 1839, on this day 18th President of the United States, General George Armstrong Custer was born in New Rumley, Ohio.
American Heroes 3:
Triumph of "The Morning Star"During 1876 the problem of choosing a candidate to fill the boots of outgoing President Ulysses S. Grant appeared to be miraculously solved by the fortuitous arrival of George Armstrong Custer on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in St. Louis.
Positively beaming with the euphoria of his spectacular victory at the Little Big Horn, the "Morning Star" was very much a chip off the old block. A shameless self-promoter with a track record of show-boating, he was a genocidal, centennial poster boy for foolish men to rally around. Dripping with Indian blood, he too was an inhuman butcher devoid of respect for human life. Incredibly, his administration would make Grant's look good by comparison.
Only later during his impeachment trial would the grisly truth emerge amongst other evidence of malfeasance, corruption and deception.
One insight that the more cynical convention delegates had long suspected. Amongst a political generation that had fought the Civil War, those fomer servicemen had queried the logic of a three pronged attack which made no military sense. Because surely a concentration of forces was the best tactic for defeating a large hostile army ferociously defending its native homeland? At least until it was revealed that Custer and Major Marcus Reno had ordered their loyalist troopers to indiscriminately slaughter the helpless women and children in the village of White Deer, none of whom were committed Democrats voters anyway.
In 1921, threatened with a renewal of "terrible and immediate war" by British Prime Minister David Lloyd George if they failed to sign the Treaty at once, Irish delegates terminated negotiations at 22 Hans Place and returned to Dublin to consult the cabinet according to their instructions.
A terrible and immediate warAs the principal Irish revolutionary leader, Michael Collins was fully aware that his direct participation in the negotiations had been life-threatening; his explicit approval of an Irish Free State would mean "signing his own death warrant" whereas rejection would lead to arrest and execution by the British. In his diary that evening Winston Churchill would note that "Michael Collins rose up looking as if he was going to shoot someone, preferably himself. In all my life, I have never seen so much passion and suffering in restraint".
However Lloyd-George recalled that "From the very outset of our conversations [in June 1921] I told you that we looked to Ireland to own allegiance to the Throne, and to make her future as a member of the British Commonwealth. That was the basis of our proposals, and we cannot alter it. The status which you now claim in advance for your delegates is, in effect, a repudiation of that basis. I am prepared to meet your delegates as I met you in July, in the capacity of 'chosen spokesmen' for your people, to discuss the association of Ireland with the British Commonwealth".
Collins and Griffiths had sensed disunity and perhaps even design and intent when Éamon de Valera sent Irish plenipotentiaries rather than attend in person. As the self-styled President of the Government of the Republic of Ireland, he would probably reject the Treaty whereas Collins once identified could no longer continue as he had. Also, it appeared unlikely that a consensus would form around the controversial sanctioning of a twenty-six county Dominion within the Empire, and the creation of a statelet (Northern Ireland) comprising the other six counties under the British Crown. And therefore Collins was presented with a stark choice between a continuation of the War of Independence, or a Civil War. Although many feared that rejection of the Treaty would postpone any form of independence for a generation, Collins sensed otherwise because even The Times had also turned against the Irish war, saying in an editorial as early as 1919, "We deplore the fact that the authority of the British name in Ireland has come to rest upon military power".
In 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.
In Which His Royal Highness Charles Edward Stuart Receives Aid from an Unexpected Source"What reason have I to give orders, if they are not obeyed?" he demanded, fists clenched beside his tartan kilt. "You all plan to betray me!"
His commander, Lord George Murray, patiently repeated what the Prince already knew only too well. His supporters in England had not risen in any great numbers to join his Scottish invasion. Only a few, like Sir Francis Townley, had answered his call.
"They will join us when we advance on London," the Prince urged.
"We must go back to Scotland where our friends are and make our stand there," Lord George repeated calmly, as though speaking to an unreasonable child.
Prince Charles turned to Ranald MacGregor, "You were the first one to follow me. You said that you would come with me to London, even if we were the only two who went there".
Ran MacGregor nodded his shaggy red-brown head. "Aye, and I say it again," the young Highland chief proclaimed, his devotion showing clearly in his eyes. They were all the more compelling because they matched his thatch of hair. Stubborn determination showed just as clearly in the long, hard chin jutting forward from his square, wind-burned face.
An excerpt from the Jackie Rose's e-book Prince Charlie's Witch"Your Royal Highness is right, and these others are daft to oppose you," he said. Seeing that the others were listening, Ran MacGregor pressed on.
"What need we of English followers? Our men are fighting over who will be the first to have his sword sharpened in time for the march on London. All we need are your good Highlanders".
Reluctantly he added, with a nod at Captain Francis O'Neill, "and your loyal Irish regiments from France to help us".
The Irishman bowed and smiled in ironic thanks. Standing with his back to the fire on that raw December day, he seemed like a dandy in his fine red wool uniform with its shining emerald satin lining, among the Highland men in their tartan kilts. His smile was as deceptive as his dandified airs. It was warm and genial, while his blue eyes glittered like ice against his dark, hard, handsome, black-Irish face.
"And is there any English army that can stand against good Scottish and Irish men together, and them fighting for their rightful Prince?"
"The Irish were ever brave fighters but they cannot change the facts," Lord Elcho retorted. "The fact is, if we march on London, we will be in Newgate Prison within the week".
"And if we retreat to Scotland-" with growing desperation, the Prince began his reply.
A frantic female voice from outside interrupted him.
"I have ridden straight from London with news for the Prince!"
Ran flung the door open. Glenmoriston MacGregors were on guard that night. Once their young laird had welcomed the stranger, they would never have dreamed of trying to stop her.
Racing through the doorway, the girl stumbled on her skirts, as though unaccustomed to their length and weight. She jerked them shockingly high above her booted ankles and ran resolutely on, until she stood surrounded by the Prince's men. Her resolution failed her then, and she stared at them helplessly, as though frozen by wonder.
She was already frozen by the cold. Her lips were literally blue with the chill. Snowflakes clung to her long golden curls, which were a tangled mass peeking from beneath the hood of her russet wool cloak. The cold had also turned her pink-and-white Highland complexion into a rough red, just as Ran and the Prince had had their fair skins burned by the sun. Her numb hands struggled in vain to remove riding gloves that seemed frozen to her fingers.
The Prince drew her gloves off gently and gave her his own kerchief to dry her hands. Leading her to the marble mantel, he waited as patiently as he could for the heat to reach her.
"What news do you bring us, lass?" he asked kindly, as her violent shivering started to subside.
Her lips were returning to their normal pink, but she still seemed unable to answer. Instead, she stared down at her hand in his, as though that were the most wonderful sight in the world.
The Prince was used to seeing that look of awe on young ladies' faces-first in Scotland, now here in England as well, when they crowded the streets to see him. Her accent told him that she came from the American Colonies, and he was pleasantly surprised to learn that he had fair admirers so far away.
But if she did have any news, this was no time for feminine vapors. He hoped that she would not suddenly shriek and faint, as so many other young ladies had done at the touch of his hand.
"Go on, lass," he said, smiling encouragement at her. "What news have you for us?"
Still, she stared up at him in amazement, from great brown eyes that seemed much too large for her heart-shaped little face, giving her the look of a wild woodland creature.
Then she turned his gaze to his companions. They all seemed to amaze her-Lord George Murray, Ranald MacGregor, Lord Elcho, Francis O'Neill-but always, she turned back to Bonnie Prince Charlie himself, as the most astonishing sight of all.
Her eyes were almost level with most of their own. Taller than almost any other woman they had ever seen, she stood nearly as high as Murray and O'Neill. Only MacGregor and the Prince himself towered above her, and they stood over six feet.
As she continued to stare at Prince Charles, his interest gave way to impatience. She had come to him just as the other girls did, he decided irritably. She merely wanted to judge for herself if he really was as bonnie as they said, with his broad shoulders, his compelling brown eyes and his lion's mane of red-gold curls.
"She only wanted to see you, as all the lassies do," Lord George snapped, unpleasantly echoing the Prince's thoughts. "Well, Miss, you may see him tonight, at the public reception". He reached for her shoulder to put her out of the room.
The pressure of his hand stung her into frantic action. She pulled sharply away from his grip.
"Never mind the public reception, you can't stay here that long," she cried.
Once the words had started, there was no stopping them. They came tumbling out in a torrent, racing over each other in their rush to be heard.
"You must leave at once for London," she exclaimed. "It lies open before you".
Lord George parted his lips to object, but she raced heedlessly on.
"The banks are shut, the shops are closed, the streets are empty!" she cried. "No army stands between you and the capital. Cumberland is in the West, Wade is in the East, they could never intercept you if you head straight south right now".
Even more urgently, she rushed on, "Above all, you must not think of retreating back to the Scottish Highlands. Your enemies will follow you there, and you will be trapped and destroyed. You must not give them time to grow stronger".
Seeing Lord Elcho violently shaking his head, she added with frantic urgency, "Your time is now. Right now! King George-German Georgie the Usurper-has his yacht loaded and ready to take him back to Hanover".
She noted the annoyance on Lord George's womanish face. He could tell that the Prince was listening to her, so he demanded angrily, "Why should we believe you, Girl, when you could be a spy or a madwoman? We can't change our plans for your ravings!"
"Then change them for this!" From her cloak pocket, she produced a flintlock pistol and pressed it into Murray's side. To read a brief summary and enjoy another excerpt (reporting on the really enchanted evening that the victorious Prince Charlie shares with two famous London actresses), go to Extasy Books and search for Prince Charlie's Witch under the author's name, Jackie Rose.
In 1791, on this day Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart pulled through. The life of one of the greatest composers in all of history was nearly cut short by fever when he was 35 years old.
Mozart Pulls Through Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was working on his Requiem for some time, and his death might have left it unfinished, depriving the world of one of its most incredible pieces of groundbreaking music. At the request of his wife, he put aside his work and focused on overcoming his "military fever" (believed to be acute rheumatic fever). After his fever broke in the night of December 4, Mozart began to return to work, much as he had done his entire life.
The compositions of Mozart date back to 1761, when five-year-old Wolfgang composed small pieces on the clavier that his father wrote down for him. Throughout his years traveling, serving in the court at Salzburg, visiting Paris, and eventually settling in Vienna, Mozart would produce hundreds of pieces of music of uncanny variety: symphonies, concertos for nearly every instrument, chamber music, serenades, divertimenti, marches, dances, masses, sonatas, operas, arias, canons, and works that cannot easily be classified, especially those of later in his life. As he worked in Vienna, he also gained great influence, eventually living comfortably though never achieving great financial wealth. Musicians like S?ssmayr, van Swieten, Salieri, Haydn, and, most significantly, Haydn's pupil Ludwig van Beethoven all counted him as competitor and friend through his lifetime. The young Beethoven had reportedly come to Vienna to study with Mozart but had ended under the tutorship of Haydn.
"After Mozart's recovery, he finished his Requiem, which would finally establish his fortune as the Catholic Church encouraged its use throughout Europe and the world. He made another return to opera, and his works were quickly picked up for performance as his name spread. Around 1800, he decided that he no longer needed to work for money and became bold in his musical experimentation. For several years, he would dazzle the salons of Europe in improvisational competitions, often with the younger Beethoven, who seemed the only pianist who could match and challenge him. This knowledge that he could not dominate Beethoven completely by piano forte is said to have led Mozart into his exploration of other instruments, specifically the glass armonica. The two would try to outdo one another through the rest of Mozart's life, many speculating that Beethoven's twelve symphonies were made better through the competition.
Reportedly, Mozart had learned of the spinning armonica during his time in Paris, when its creator Benjamin Franklin was also there as ambassador from the rebelling American colonies. Though it is unknown whether the two had met, by 1805, Mozart began a personal quest to push out the piano forte in favor of the armonica. His influence may be questionable, but it is evident that the armonica had taken its place at the forefront of music as every family of note had one in its drawing room by the mid-nineteenth century.
Mozart's music continued to become "erratic" as his life progressed. He sought influences from the folk dances of Europe. In the 1820s, he took up partnerships with the young musicians of Vienna to discover new ways of creating music. Noted for his sponsorship of Johann Strauss and Joseph Lanner in their formalization of the waltz, the aged Mozart was quoted as saying, "Oh, to have been born forty years later!"
While his eagerness never left him, Mozart fell ill with fever again in 1825 and died in January of 1826. His funeral was attended by thousands in Vienna, and many historians credit his vibrant use of popular music as one of the leading causes of the push for civil liberties in the 1830s.
In 1930, on this day in Berlin the German architect Albert Speer (pictured) was introduced to the Bohemian watercolour painter, Adolf Schicklegruber.
How Hitler Rebuilt Berlin A Jewish bastard's son, Schicklegruber had arrived in the city accompanied by other enlightened individuals who also sought to disrupt a political rally organized by the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Afterwards, at a coffee shop the conversation naturally turned to the popular desire to restore the glory of Germany.
A shared interest in architecture provided the common language necessary to nurture the original concept of "Germania". Developed over the next three years, this classical vision of a miniature city based on the grandeur of Rome would later be adopted as the model (pictured) for the 1936 Olympic Village in Berlin.
On the eve of World War Two, Schicklegruber would paint a memorable watercolour of the African-American athlete Jesse Owens proudly wearing his gold medals in front of the "Great Hall".
In 2002, on this day at Capital Hill the Washington elite paid tribute to Strom Thurmond on occasion of the former US President's hundredth birthday.
Dark warning of a problem avoided"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And because the rest of the country followed our lead, we didn't suffer all those problems over all these years, either". Trent Lott said at the party. " The Senate Minority Leader was of course making reference to "those problems" articulated with chilling clarity in a 1948 campaign speech in which Thurmond had said "I wanna tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there's not enough troops in the army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the n-
expletive race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches".
Thurmond was not alone in voicing the concerns of white supremacists. Because events in South Africa were moving very much in the same direction with the implementation of apartheid following the National Party's victory at the 1948 election. And on a subsequent state visit to Washington, Prime Minister Daniel Malan would find in Thurmond an American politican with a markedly similiar outlook on segregation. Both politicans viewed history through the prism of the 1915 movie Birth of a Nation Click to watch the trailer of Birth of a Nation with events since reconstruction threatening the status quo, secured only by the activities of loyalists such as the Klan.
The party included an unexpected guest named Essie Mae Washington-Williams and it would be fair to say that some discordant views were expressed. Whilst Thurmond might not welcome the so-called n-
expletive race in white people's theaters, swimming pools, homes and churches it would appear that he did not exclude them from the bedroom. Because 78-year old Washington-Williams publicly revealed that she was Thurmond's daughter, born to a black maid, Carrie "Tunch" Butler (pictured) when Butler was 16 and Thurmond was 22. At the time of Washington-Williams's conception, Carrie was only 15 years old, leading many to believe that she was a victim of statutory rape by Thurmond in the least.
After Thurmond's death in 2003 the whole truth would emerge. Thurmond only agreed to meet Washington-Williams when she was 16. He helped pay her way through college and later paid her sums of money in cash or, through a nephew, checks. Though Thurmond never publicly acknowledged Washington-Williams when he was alive, he continued to support her financially. These payments extended well into her adult life. Washington-Williams has stated that she had not previously revealed she was Thurmond's daughter during his lifetime because it "wasn't to the advantage of either one of us" The Thurmond family publicly acknowledged her parentage. Many close friends and staff members had long suspected this to have been the case, stating that Thurmond had always taken a great amount of interest in Washington-Williams and that she was granted a degree of access to the former President more appropriate to a family member than to a member of the public.
In 1972, President Richard Milhous Nixon appoints the former 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy (pictured), as United States Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland. Nixon Appoints Irish Ambassador by Gerry Shannon
It is an appointment that barely surprises anyone, Kennedy was long rumoured to be keen for the role following his visit to his ancestral home in 1963 during his sole term. (Kennedy relinquished the Presidency to his Vice-President Lyndon Baines Johnson in early 1964 due to serious health concerns).
In a statement to the press, Kennedy said: "Though Ireland is not country I was born in, it is the one I hold dearest in my heart. It will be both a tremendous honor and privilege to to serve both countries in the utmost capacity, I am deeply grateful for President-elect Nixon for this opportunity".
The irony of his praise for Nixon is noted by many in the press, given their close election battle in 1960 - and Kennedy's gratefulness was later seen during his support for Nixon during the Watergate crisis.
In his memoir The Education of a Public Man: My Life and Politics, Hubert Humphrey, the defeated Democratic candidate of 1968, would say he had it on "good authority" Kennedy believed Nixon would win the election, and as such, Nixon promised him the post if Kennedy made barely any campaign appearances on behalf of Humphrey. (It was then-rumoured Kennedy was bitter Humphrey defeated his brother, Robert, in the bitterly-fought Democratic primaries).
Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline bring tremendous glamour to Irish public life, residing in the American embassy in Dublin but his unprecendented nine-year tenure is best remembered for Kennedy bringing his brilliant diplomatic skills to the table during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. His willingness to engage politicians and representatives of parliamilitaries on both sides draws praise from all quarters, and only heightens the worldwide perception of Kennedy as a peace-maker.
With the Irish peace process having been cemented with the passing of the historic Anglo-Irish Agreement, many rightfully feel it is Kennedy's achievements during that turbulant era that inspired - and ultimately led to - lasting peace and the permanent ceasefire of terrorist activities that remains in place today.
On this day in 1947, singer/actress Judy Garland hosted a special concert in New York's Radio City Music Hall to raise funds to buy Christmas toys for children orphaned by the July 6th asteroid strike in Roswell, New Mexico.
In 5769 anno mundi, on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar European Jewry celebrated Hanukkah. The Festival of Lights commenced an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt. The earliest known celebration of Hanukkah in Europe was the arrival of the Bethlehemite Rabbhi Yehoshua Ben Jesse in Rome in 3761 anno mundi.
Kettle Hill [Winston Churchill - American Hero by PJY continues] ~ Many of the officers grew impatient of waiting for orders. One such officer was Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, commander of the 'Rough Riders' regiment. Roosevelt's dismounted cavalry lay waiting in trenches at the base of the hill while suffering casualties. One of the casualties that occurred in the trenches was the death of Captain Bucky O'Neill. In the absence of orders, Roosevelt took it upon himself to lead a bold charge. Facing the Rough Riders was a smaller hill which received the name Kettle Hill because the Americans found a large kettle near the base. Roosevelt formed his regiment and began to advance. The advance began to slow as troops dropped from heat exhaustion. Roosevelt feared that he could not keep up on foot in the tropical heat and instead stayed mounted. Soon officers from the rest of Wood's brigade along with Carrol's brigade began to advance, and the units became intermingled. One of the units involved was the 10th Cavalry 'Buffalo Soldiers' along with one of its lieutenants, John J. 'Black Jack' Pershing. The regulars reached a depression in the hill and stopped to fire. Roosevelt ordered the troops to charge. When the regulars refused because no orders to do so came from the brigade commanders, Roosevelt led his volunteers past and charged up the hill. The attackers cut their way through barbed wire fences and drove the Spaniards out of their trenches on Kettle Hill.
the twelve year civil war in Sri Lanka
ended in defeat and ruin for Tamil Tigers when Government Troops drove the guerrillas out of their heartland capital of Jaffna after a forty-nine day operation. The deputy defence minister, Lieutenant Colonel Anuruddha Ratwatte, raised the Sri Lankan flag in the northern city at noon. Senior officers at the ceremony emphasised it was a victory over the rebel guerrillas and not the Tamil community. The government is urging the 400,000 Tamil civilians displaced by the recent fighting to return to their homes. The government's war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka has cost nearly 40,000 lives since the conflict began in July 1983.
In 1956, Thornton Wilder's dark, surreal tragedy Matchmaker debuts on Broadway in New York City. The questioning of gender roles that comprise the core of the play almost got it banned from the stage, but more recent audiences have hailed it as ground-breaking.
In 1929, the American League for Physical Culture spread their German nudist philosophy to the United States. The small club of nudists founded in Peekskill, New York soon became a larger club with chapters across the country. The philosophy of naturalism has become so common that clothing is entirely optional in most places in America.
In 1902, President Strom Thurmond was born in South Carolina. During the period when the KKK forbade its membership from joining the American Bund, Thurmond was the only choice for American voters unwilling to allow the influence of the German New Reich into American politics; the lesser of two evils.
In 1791, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a minor composer living in Vienna, Austria, was poisoned by Court Composer Antonio Salieri. The crazed Salieri claimed that Mozart had been the voice of God, and the court composer went insane from jealousy over it. Austrian Emperor Joseph II reluctantly committed his favorite composer to an insane asylum for the rest of his days.
In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued the papal bull 'Desiring with supreme ardor' (Summis desiderantes affectibus) in response to the request of Dominican Inquisitors Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger for explicit authority to prosecute witchcraft in Germany, after they were refused assistance by the local ecclesiastical authorities. Kramer and Sprenger set Summis desiderantes affectibus as the preface for their encyclical 'The Hammer of Witches' (Malleus Maleficarum), which was printed two years later. The encyclical recognized the existence of witches and gave full papal approval for the Inquisition to move against witches and gave permission to do whatever necessary to get rid of them. The encyclical essentially repeated Kramer and Sprenger's finding of fact that an outbreak of witchcraft and heresy had occurred in the Rhine River valley, specifically in the bishoprics of Mainz, Cologne, Trier, Salzburg and Bremen, including accusations of certain acts. The encyclical is often viewed opening the door for the bloody witchhunts that ensued for centuries; however, its similarities to previous papal documents, emphasis on preaching, and lack of dogmatic pronouncement complicate this view. The Catholic Encyclopedia emphasises the importance attached to the encyclical in the context of the ensuing witch hunts as 'altogether necessary.' Some scholars view the bull as 'unnecessarily political,' motivated by jurisdictional disputes between the local German Catholic priests and those of the Inquisition who answered more directly to the pope.
In 1783, at a banquet held in the Fraunces Tavern, Lord Lieutenant Guy Carleton proposed a toast to the saviour of the New York City State, the incomparable British General Charles Cornwallis.
A Loyal GatheringAlthough his masterly extraction of the British Army from Yorktown was a survival factor, more than anything it was the extinguishing of a near-catastrophic fire in 1776 that had saved the Loyalist stronghold and kept this region of America British.
The former royal provinces of New York and New Jersey were re-organized by Carleton and his successors into a crown colony, artificially sustained by the projection of military power by the Royal Navy, yet surrounded by foreign territory. With the exception of a brief interlude during the war of 1812 when the Americans occupied the city, for a century and a half the Statelet prospered from its strategic location on the bustling transatlantic trade route. But despite the lingering vestiges of British power, sweeping change was just just around the corner. And events moved ahead with a frightening pace shortly after Governor-General Winston Churchil was tragically killed in a car accident on Fifth Avenue in 1931.
In 1783, at the invitation of their nominal Commander-in-Chief George
Washington the victorious heads of militia gathered for a celebratory
farewell at the Fraunces Tavern in New York City.
Sing an American TuneThe man known as the Scarecrow
was on intimate terms with all of them. As the master strategist in
overall charge of the direction of the rebellion, he had made a vital
military judgement during the first winter of the campaign. Realizing that provincial differences and rivalries made it impossible to form a Continental Army, instead he coordinated a national insurgency that was fought on the ground by the State
The trouble was that a great nation building opportunity had been missed, and many suspected that the militias would soon be fighting each other in border conflicts. For the majority of the evening, Washington's main duty as host was simply to ensure that drinking vessels were constantly filled. But at 9 o'clock, he donned his
spectacles, banged a spoon against his own glass and addressed the
hushed audience. "Gentlemen, we are gathered in the age's most uncertain
In 1676, at the Battle of Lund, the Swedish Army paid the price for King Charles XI's tragically mistaken tactic of concentrating exclusively on the Danish Cavalry.
Pyrrhic Victory for the Danes at the Battle of LundBut because the French and Dutch had already declared war, it was far too late for the invading Danes to build upon the victory in Scania, Southern Sweden.
The Danish army of about 12,300 was under the personal command of 31-year-old King Christian V of Denmark and aided by General Carl von Arensdorff, and the Swedish army, which numbered about 8,000, was commanded by Field Marshal Simon Grundel-Helmfelt and the 21-year-old Swedish king Charles XI.
In 1745, on this historic day of the the second Jacobite Rising, the Young Pretender Charles Edward Stewart's army reached Derby just one hundred thirty miles from London.
Jacobite Army occupies DerbyThe audacious Jacobite plan was to gather both momentum and support as they marched south to link up with an invading French army. And fortune was on their side from the outset. One hundred miles off Lizard Point in Cornwall, the Doutelle and Elisabeth had been intercepted by the 64-gun warship HMS Lion. But because the Admiralty was unsure of Charles' planned landing the Royal Naval Officers had mistakenly assumed that the two French ships were bound for North America.
The Jacobite standard was raised by a gathering of Highland clansmen at Glenfinnan in the Scottish Highlands. Victories then followed at Prestonpans near Edinburgh and then across the border at Carlisle. By December, the Jacobite Army had reached the east midlands town of Derby, just one hundred miles from the capital city of London. By the time that they crossed the Swarkestone Bridge on December 6th, British divisions were finally being recalled from Flanders, but the Hanoverian Royal Family had already made up their own minds. Because George II was already packing his bags and planning to flee to the Continent. Incredibly, many of Charles' commanders wanted to quit as well. They had chosen this historic moment to call for a retreat back to to Scotland, but fortunately the Young Pretender chose to ignore them and the rest is history.
In 1783, no sooner had the British Army marched out of New York City than the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army was proclaimed King Washington.
All Hail King WashingtonOfficers celebrated at the Fraunces Tavern while the Governor was quietly arrested.
Because of the unsettled back-pay for the Continental Army, there was in the ranks absolutely no stomach for civilian government by the Continental Congress. And the truth was that the choices had narrowed to an Army takeover versus unpaid compensation for the men who had brought American into existence as an independent and sovereign nation.
It was an act that came as very little surprise aristocratic Europe. Nevertheless, King George III called Washington "the greatest character of the age" of his dastardly conversion from Republican to despotic monarch.
Of course many patriots feared that an Army takeover was a killer blow for liberty, and events were soon to prove them right. During the heavy-handed response to the Whiskey Rebellion, he saw fit to personally lead an army to Western Pennsylvania where he was killed in action. But during the next two centuries, historians took a more measured view of his executions actions, and the result was a consensual decision to recognize his unquestionable military accomplishments during the War of Independence. Finally, in 1976 he was partially restored by his posthumous appointment to the grade of General of the Armies. The appointment was by congressional joint resolution Public Law 94-479 and approved by the President of the Republic, Ronald Reagan.
In 1956, under the diplomatic leadership of the British Government and other European neutral countries a truce was brokered between the Egyptian, French and Israeli Governments.
Conjoined Crisis Part 3
Suez Truce BrokeredThe result was the creation of a demilitarized zone under Egyptian civil administration but secured by British led troops/police in the Canal Zone and in the Delta around the French bridgehead at Alexandria. But unfortunatately, the subsequent peace conference was a acriminious failure and the UN/Commonwealth force remained in place as a buffer between the three warring states and their infrastructure assets.
Nevertheless, the truce itself was a boost to British prestige throughout the Middle East, greeted by wild crowds cheering in front of the British embassies in Baghdad, Amman and other regional capitals. Of course Mr Eden's role in the dispute was shaped by the events of the Hungarian Uprising, a desperate situation that was consuming diplomatic energies whilst the Suez Canal Crisis was being quietly defused. And of course the United Kingdom was deeply involved, after offered refuge to Premier Imre Nagy at the British Embassy in Budapest. An article from the Conjoined Crisis thread..
In 1952, in a somewhat rare weather phenomenon, an anticyclone formed over London during the bitter cold of the late winter.
Weather Settles to Spawn the Great Smog Panic in London Something like an inverted hurricane, the anticyclone is a clockwise (counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere) rotation of winds around a high pressure region above a cold pocket. Inside, air becomes even colder and typically drier with clear skies, though it can also produce heavy fog as surface relative humidity increases. The lack of internal wind compounds gasses that would typically escape, which became the key to creating a nightmarish weather condition that plagued London for five days.
As the anticyclone settled over London, most citizens thought little more of the colder weather than an annoyance. They heaped more coal onto their furnaces and turned on lights, which meant more electricity from the coal-power plants around London. As the fires continued, the windless low pressure system did not let the smoke escape, and pollutants like carbon soot, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide began to thicken the growing fog. By December 5, visibility was reduced to a few yards.
"Even though it was a thick, smoky fog, Londoners did not raise concern quickly. The old days of "pea soupers" (fogs as metaphorically as thick as pea soup, sometimes even green-tinted fog from industrial pollutants in the nineteenth century) were not far in the past, and London had always been known for its fog. Children were released from school as "parents were advised not to risk letting their children get lost on the way to school," according to Prime Minister Ken Livingstone, who experienced the Great Smog as a boy. Above-ground traffic came to a standstill, ending all public transport outside of the Underground. Even ambulance services were halted, forcing the ill to get to hospital on their own.
Somewhere amid the haze, a rumor started that the smog was poisonous. It was in fact poisonous, due to its composition of pollutants, but most had fair air quality within their homes and wore handkerchiefs over their mouths and noses when they went out. Young children and people with respiratory problems were the few to face real danger. However, as people saw more and more deaths (estimates calculate that 4,000 more people died than usual), panic began to strike. People attempted to flee their homes, overloading the Underground until it too broke down and was unfixable in the dense fog.
As December 6 and 7 rolled on, the fog became denser. In some places, visibility decreased to less than a foot, making walkers outside unable to see their feet or even their hands with arms outstretched. Smoky fog seeped into buildings where it could, and the panic turned to all-out chaos. Rioters smashed into shops initially looting survival gear and then, after it became obvious police were unable to respond, anything of value. Fires broke out, adding to the smog and sense of Armageddon. As reporters and what newspapers were able to continue to print spread word of the madness, riots spread further.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill called in aid from the armed forces who were able to communicate by radio but unable to react to one another outside of a few yards. They attempted to canvas the city, but resources were stretched too thin to alleviate much of the rioting and damage. Primarily, the soldiers assisted in evacuating the city, a sight not seen since the days of the Blitz, escorting civilians onto special slow-moving trains bound for the North and Southwest.
Finally on December 9, the anticyclone dissipated, and the fog lifted from the scarred remains. An estimated 8,000 more people died due to respiratory complications, and commerce in the city was limited for weeks during cleanup. The government launched into numerous studies on the problems of low-grade coal fires and began legislation promoting paraffin heaters and then electric. Further actions led to the Clean Air Act of 1956, much improving restrictions on pollutants. Meanwhile, other studies questioned the impact of media on spreading the panic. The Conservative government put into effect new regulations managing the emotional coverage of news in times of emergency, reestablishing review boards similar to those during the counterespionage days of WWII.
Although rarely taken into play, numerous fines were handed out for reports on the battles between Mods and Rockers during Whitsun weekend in 1964, giving ironic government support to the youth subcultures as media portrayed them as folk devils.
In 2006, on this day in the Capital City of Sitka, forty-two year old Sarah Louise Palin was sworn in as Head of State, becoming not only the youngest, but also the only woman and American born Alaskan to assume the Presidency. The centerpiece of her economic stimulus package included a commitment to sign the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
President Palin (of Alaska)Born in Sandpoint, Idaho, Palin's election signalled a new focus on the Americas which had become increasingly inevitable since the collapse of the Soviet Union fifteen years before when the new country had gained its independence. Ironically, the USSR's predecessor state, the Russian Empire had considered selling the territory on at least two separate occassions.
Following negotiations with representatives of the Federal Government, on April 9th 1867, the US Senate rejected ratification ridiculing the purchase as "Seward's folly", "Seward's icebox", and Andrew Johnson's "polar bear garden" because it was believed foolhardy to spend so much money on the remote region. The purchase was briefly considered once again during 1905 when the Federal Government played a formal role in negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese War. The Tsar was desperate to refill the coffers of the exchequer due to the expenses of the disasterous conflict, but his agents were unable to interest the Federal Government in a purchase of Russian America.
In a light hearted moment of privacy after the NAFTA signing ceremony in Washington, Palin joked to fellow Conservative politician John McCain that had her parents not moved to Wasilla whilst she was an infant, perhaps she, and not Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal would have been chosen as Vice President.
This article is a part of the Sitka thread.
In 1915, the launching of the so-called Peace Ship marked the beginning of the end of the first phase of the Great European War.
Originally derided as a pacifist pipe dream, the Peace Ship gained enormous prestige when Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan (pictured), known to be a vocal advocate of a peaceful settlement, agreed to go along, bringing with him the prestige and presumably the authority of the Wilson Administration.Peace Ship
Wilson would make that explicit on Dec. 7, when, in a formal address to Congress, he announced, "Secretary Bryan is traveling with the full approval of this administration. It is my earnest hope that he and his companions will succeed in their endeavor. The governments of the belligerent nations, some of whom have applied extraordinary pressure against this nation in hopes of securing our participation in the conflict as their military allies" --clearly a reference to Britain, which had begun impounding U.S. ships in order to prevent them from trading with Germany and Austria--"must understand that the United States desires peace above all, and certainly above armed involvement in a conflict not of our choosing".
Wilson's speech electrified the nation, and would precipitate an open break with a top adviser, Col. Edward House, who under the influence of British diplomats had been pushing the President to take a pro-Entente stance. Protesting that he was as committed to peace as was Secretary Bryan, House objected strenuously to Wilson's newly militant neutralism.
The presence of Bryan aboard the so-called "Peace Ship" would prove decisive. The other members of the peace delegation were respected figures in their own right, but none had the personal prestige of the three-time Democratic candidate for president and current Secretary of State. With him on their side, the peace delegates were able to persuade the major warring powers to send delegates to their conference in Stockholm.
The resulting treaty, concluded after months of wrangling on June 6, essentially called for a return to the status quo ante bellum. There were minor adjustments: the disputed territory of Alsace-Lorraine, for example, was placed under joint Franco-German trusteeship with the promise of further negotiations aimed at granting its inhabitants the right to choose whether to join France or Germany or seek independence, and a commission was appointed to consider the independence claims of Serbia as well, whose nationalists had helped ignite the conflict by assassinating the heir to the Austro-Hungarian imperial throne in August 1914. However, for the most part, the belligerents were required simply to withdraw to their prewar borders and (with the agreed-on exceptions) recognize one another's preexisting territorial claims.
The armistice destabilized Europe, cutting the ground out from under revolutionary movements which had been gathering steam in Russia, Germany and Italy. But that stability had been exposed by the bloody conflict as perilously precarious. The European order which had prevailed with minor disruptions from the Congress of Vienna in 1815 until Sarajevo was, it was clear, nearing its end, one way or another.
And there were plenty of ambitious men who had their own ideas about what should replace it. Neither France nor Germany was truly satisfied with the resolution of the Alsace-Lorraine problem, nor was Germany happy to remain second to Britain as a maritime power. Japan resented the terms of the postwar Washington Naval Conference, held in the summer of 1918,1 which set Tokyo's quota of major warships below that of the other major powers, more or less explicitly because the Japanese were not white; at the same time, the Japanese dreamed of expanding their holdings in mainland Asia beyond Korea, which they had occupied in 1910. Both Germany and Italy had ambitions in Africa. Even Turkey's Sultan Mehmet VI dreamed of reviving his decrepit realm through new territorial acquisitions in North Africa.2 Russia's Tsar Nicholas II, meanwhile, schemed to expand his own empire at the expense of that of the Turks.
The stage was set for a second round of fighting among the imperial powers. And if the experience of the first round was any guide, the second would be a terror. The European war of 1914-'16 had seen the introduction of airplanes, zeppelins, motorized armored vehicles and poison gas as weapons oif war. Who could say what would follow them?
In 1945, the U.S. Senate rejected United States membership in the United Nations by a vote of 49 to 47.Senate Rejects UN Membership by Eric Lipps
Opponents were a coalition of isolationist Democrats and Republicans, many of whom regarded the UN as the beginning of a 'socialist one-world government.'
A particular sticking point was the presence of the Soviet Union on the UN Security Council, where the Communist nation would possess the same veto power as the U.S. (if it joined), Britain, France and Chiang Kai-shek's embattled Chinese government.
Proponents of U.S. membership warned that staying out risked dooming the UN to the same powerlessness as the League of Nations, which without the United States had neither the physical force nor the moral authority to restrain the belligerence of the rising fascist powers of Italy, Germany and Japan.
Their predictions would be proven true five years later, when the Communist-ruled nation of North Korea attacked South Korea. The Soviets used their veto power to derail a Security Council resolution calling for United Nations military intervention, and by the time the United States had mobilized for unilateral action, Seoul had fallen to a North Korean army backed up by a million troops from the People's Republic of China, which had been declared by Mao Tse-Tung in 1949 after his defeat of Chiang's forces.
In 1960, on this day New York mayor-elect John Lindsay and President-elect John F. Kennedy met at the Kennedy family estate in Hyannisport, Massachusetts to discuss further details of the Kennedy Administration's plan to aid New York City's post-hurricane recovery efforts.
|John F. Kennedy|
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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.