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

July 25

In 1915, on this day 36th President of the United States Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was the eldest of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., and Rose Fitzgerald.

All the Way with JPKJoe since young was predicted to be the nation's first Roman Catholic-Irish President of the United States, when he was born his grandfather John Fitzgerald, then Mayor of Boston told the news, "This child is the future President of the nation". He often boasted that he would be president even without help from his father. But a war-time event was to change everything.

On August 12th, 1944 Colonel Elliott Roosevelt was killed and Lieutenant Kennedy were critically injured during the course of an experimental attack in which unmanned, explosive-laden bombers were deliberately crashed into enemy targets under radio control.

The task of reporting the tragedy befalling the President and his former Ambassador's sons passed unhappily to General Jimmy Doolittle. He transmitted a top Secret telegram to General Carl Andrew Spaatz stating that the Navy Crew (Kennedy and John Willy) had bailed out of their Liberator after it caught fire during their first remote control turn. The explosion damaged chase pilot Colonel Roosevelt's de Havilland Mosquito which was filming the mission. Unable to limp home, the aircraft disintegrated over the village of Blythburgh in Suffolk.

Kennedy was awarded the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Meda. After the war he resumed his studies at Harvard University. And also his political interests (he had attended the 1940 Democratic National Convention as a delegate). As a conservative democrat he added electoral balance to Lyndon Baines Johnson's winning campaign in 1960. But as Vice President, his war-time service formed a natural bond of empathy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff which created a counterweight problem in the Oval Office. And he was almost immediately marginalized in the Administration for adopting an alarmingly hawkish position during the Bay of Pigs Crisis.

By the time that re-election appeared on the horizon he was constantly in acute pain from the back injuries that he had suffered in Operation Aphrodite, He required staggeringly large daily dosages of pain killers simply to perform his largely ceremonial duties. The citation of medical reasons would provide both parties with the necessary excuse for him to be dropped from the 1964 ticket. Nevertheless they privately agreed to campaign together in a vote-gathering swing through the south making an announcement in the following spring. It took a great act of courage from Kennedy who required a heavy back brace to sit up straight in the Presidential limousine on that fateful day in November 1963.

In 1750, on this day American Revolutionary General Henry Knox was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army, and also served as the first Vice President and then succeeded George Washington to become the second President of the United States.

Birth of General KnoxFellow Massachusian John Adams was appointed US Secretary of State in Washington's cabinet. The returning Ambassasor to France, Thomas Jefferson, had been the preferred candidate, but an exploratory meeting with George Washington had exposed some sharp differences of opinion on the role of the Federal Government. Adams was offered the position, and to geographically balance the presidential ticket, an alternate New Englander, General Knox became VP instead.

Eight years later Adams moved on to the Supreme Court where he served with great distinction for two decades. Meanwhile, Knox succeeded Washington, and with Alexander Hamilton as de facto Prime Minister, declared war on France in 1798 and captured Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Cuba.

In 1967, the Lower Manhattan Expressway was completed on this day. This post is an article from the Jamaica Bay thread developed by Chris Oakley.

Lindsay's Stairway to the Presidency"LOMEX" was the centrepiece of a huge reconstruction project led by "America's Mayor" John Vliet Lindsay. A ten-lane elevated highway stretched from the East River to the Hudson River, connected the Holland Tunnel on the west side to the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges to the east. The road would have required the leveling of parts of the Little Italy and SoHo neighborhoods, had they not been destroyed by the Jamaica Bay Hurricane.

Lindsay had gained national prominence through his leadership of the city and had been talked about as a Presidential Candidate ever since the Cow Palace Fiasco in 1964 when hard-wingers had attempted to seize the GOP. As a Liberal Republican, he was seen as a voter friendly alternative in the aftermath of the Lyndon Johnson's landslide victory. But instead, the GOP nomination would go to another New York resident, former VP Richard M. Nixon. Over the years he had built an excellent relationship with Lindsay and naturally chose him as a running mate to balance the ticket. But the blazing trail of history would not be denied, and in August 1974 Nixon was forced to resign over the Watergate Scandal.

In 1983, on this day Dan Erickson, Steve Burton's oldest friend and former United Airlines co-pilot, was recruited by NASA to join Burton on the main flight crew for Project Spindrift's first manned mission.

Giant Surprise Part 8In the process Erickson became NASA's first African-American astronaut; he would go on to fly a total of fifteen missions for NASA before retiring in 2002, twelve of those missions under Burton's command. Following his departure from NASA, Erickson spent eight years as a science analyst for PBS-TV before returning to government work in 2010 as a space sciences adviser to the Obama Administration.


Erickson's participation in Project Spindrift was a reflection of its predominantly civilian personnel roster; this was a marked contrast to previous American human space programs, which had been comprised chiefly of military personnel. It would serve as a template for future NASA projects throughout the Reagan-Bush era. In a 2011 CNN poll, Erickson was voted number three among the 50 most admired black Americans of all time, trailing only Martin Luther King and Jackie Robinson.

In 1067, on this day the former Earl of Wessex Harold Godwinson was crowned High King of the British Isles by the Anglo-Saxon Advisory Council known as the Witenagemot.

Norman Conquest of France
By Ed and Stan Brin
Having armed to the teeth in preparation for a Norman invasion that had never materialised, Harold had used his fully mobilized army to capture the last independent Scottish earls and Norse outposts in Britain, uniting the Anglo-Saxons under one ruler for the first time.

A consolidation was also occuring on the continent. In preference to the British Crown, William Duke of Normandy had captured the French Monarchy, fueling a rivalry across the English Channel that would soon bring both nations to the very brink of war.

In 1940, on this day an unguarded insult from the Swiss General Henri Guisan provoked the Fuhrer into a German invasion of Switzerland.

Guisan Insults Hitler As war raged in Europe all around them, Switzerland began to prepare for an expected Nazi invasion. In 1939, the Federal Assembly called for an election of a General, a rank that had been granted to only three men before. Henri Guisan was named to defend the country, a monumental task for some 430,000 troops against the untold millions of Germans and Italians. The odds only became worse as France fell in June of 1940, and the puppets of the Vichy government were set up to aid the Axis powers.

Guisan set about preparing his "Reduit" defense with Operationsbefehl Nr. 10. In the case of invasion, the soldiers would fall back to the Alps and conduct guerrilla combat and paramilitary resistance measures. On July 25, he addressed the Swiss Officer Corps in a speech bolstering the Swiss national spirit despite being surrounded on all sides. He mandated that surrender was impossible, and if the army ran out of bullets, they would resort to bayonets. Finally, he slipped an insult upon Hitler's character, saying the cowardly Fuhrer should never and would never test the Swiss.

Upon hearing word of the speech, Hitler's famous temper exploded. He ordered the immediate invasion of Switzerland under Operation Tannenbaum (a battle plan developed the day France fell). While continuing the Battle of Britain, Nazi armies marched into the Alps with the speed of the Blitz into the north of Switzerland. They tried a feint of infantry into the Jura region in an attempt to draw out the Swiss, but the defenders did not budge. Instead, they used small artillery to slow German attack. Without a straight fight, the Germans simply rolled into the cities and declared anschluss as they had in Austria. Vichy France and Italy would follow suit as per their alliances, divvying up the nation along its language-borders of German, French, and Italian.

The Swiss would prove an incurable pain in the sides of the Axis. Bombings, ambushes, and assassinations would take place nearly continuously. While some of the Swiss would give to Nazi dependency, the majority of the nation would remain secretly (or publicly, in the mountains) at war. The French would lose much of their mobile army in an attempt to quell their region around Lake Geneva; Italy suffered enormous economic setbacks as Swiss destroyed shipment capabilities for their coal supply, virtually shutting down Italian industry; and Germany would dedicate hundreds of thousands of troops in attempts to pacify the Alps.

Despite the hangups in Switzerland and the failure of the Battle of Britain, Hitler continued his conquest of Europe with Operation Barbarossa invading the Soviet Union. While the Germans made great gains in 1941, the lack of available troops would cause the tide of war to turn against them. The Soviets would begin a counter-invasion, which would in turn speed the Allies' amphibious invasion of France in 1942 with Operation Sledgehammer. When Hitler was defeated in early 1944, Soviet domination of Eastern Europe would even include north of Switzerland as "occupation".

Guisan refused to allow another invader to seize Swiss territory. The insurgency continued, and Stalin continually argued with Churchill and FDR, who demanded the pullout of Russians in Switzerland. Stalin did not blink, and war erupted as the Allies began to push Soviet troops eastward. Devastation again flowed over Europe, but the Swiss were soon liberated by British and American troops. Allies invited Swiss troops to continue, but Guisan and his soldiers refused. Their war was done, and they returned to rebuild their country and continue their tradition of independence on every level.

Meanwhile, the Soviet War would continue until 1946, when American A-bombs would destroy whatever was left of the Soviet infrastructure. Stalin would surrender, and Communism would fall.

In 1934, on this day in Vienna, Austrian Head of State Engelbert Dollfuss was murdered in the offices of the chancellor at Ballhausplatz.

Dolfuss maintains his young republic's independenceIn Germany less than a month before, Sturmabteilung Commander Ernst Röhm had expelled the leadership of the Nazi Party during the "Night of the Long Knives". Fleeing south to Bavaria, Adolf Hitler hatched a fresh plot to seize control of his native Austria. Fighting continued for almost a week. In fact the country had been so unstable since the Great War that crowds simply looked on as the city's Palace of Justice was set on fire by the Nazis (pictured).

Finally, Hitler and the Austrian Nazis surrendered. Dollfuss, who was shot through the chest in the first minutes of the rising, been allowed to drown in his own blood. And yet his programme to maintain the independence of the Austrian republic was secure.

In 1918, on this day at the Hotel Majestic in Paris delegates of the peace conference proclaimed the Versailles Declaration "We believe in equal rights for all citizens regardless of race ... We recognise racial prejudice as a dangerous sickness ... and racial discrimination as an unmitigated evil of society", committing the British Empire to the principle of swaraj, complete home rule for India. The two Indian plenipotentiaries were members of the Congress Party who had accompanied Prime Ministers from the "white dominions" of Canada, Australia and South Africa.

The Versailles DeclarationThe presence of the delegation in Paris was due to former Prime Minister David Lloyd-George who two years before had heeded the call of a previous prime minister of Canada -- "if you want our aid, call us to your councils" by summoning an Imperial War Cabinet. Although India was not a self-governing Dominion, its commitment of one million men to the Allied armies, of whom nearly 80,000 lost their lives, was considered justification enough for inclusion.

"We journeyed to Paris not merely to liquidate the war but to found a new order in Europe. We were preparing not Peace only, but Eternal Peace".Canada would also follow India by declaring complete political independence from Britain who was represented by the Socialist Head of State John Turner Walton Newbold. The first President of the new Canadian Republic, Sir Robert Borden referred to the "incompetence and blundering stupidity of the whisky and soda British HQ staff" while "Billy" Hughes of Australia opined that had he been consulted he would never have agreed to Third Ypres, the terrible failed offensive called Passchendaele that induced complete British collapse. "Canada is a nation that is not a nation and it is about time we altered it"So when they discovered that they were expected to tag along to the Peace Conference as part of the British delegation they were furious. Borden threatened to "pack his trunks, return to Canada, summon parliament and put the whole thing before them".

The truth was that the White Dominions and India, too, saw the Peace Conference as the ideal forum at which to assert their growing independence. Borden said candidly: "Canada is a nation that is not a nation and it is about time we altered it".

General Jan Smuts would return to South Africa to lead a different kind of revival that in 1948 would see the absorption of Rhodesia as the so-called "Fifth Province" The white minority would finally be defeated by Nelson Mandela's South African Communist Party in 1994.

In 2006, speaking live this day from the Oval Office and surrounded by environmentalists US President Al Gore set out a bold vision of a sustainable future for America. "Nothing is scarier than the truth"

The imperative for taking these hard choices were the inevitable consequences of Hurricane Katrina, the man-made disaster which occured in late August 2005, and memorably described by Gore as an "environmental 9/11".
Watch the Youtube Clip

Political Climate ChangeIt was not the first time that America had reached such a point of decision, said Gore. After Pearl Harbour, General Motors had switched car production to tanks almost overnight. And now the automobile manufacturers would need to make a similiar change, to vehicles propelled by sustainable fuels.

"If you look at the ten hottest years ever measured, they all occured in the last fourteen years, and the hottest of all was 2005"By the time Gore left office in 2009, consumer attitudes in America had been transformed. Ignored for so long, the undeniable evidence from the science community had spoken for itself. Because most assuredly, hurricane activity in North America had dramatically risen as a result of catastrophic man-made climate changes. Watch An Inconvenient Truth on YouTube And the simple calculations that had emerged by July 2006 were simply too frightening too ignore: fatalities 1,836 confirmed, 705 missing. And a ruinous cost to the nation too: 90 billion dollars of damage.

In 2012, Jessica Hellmann completed the first phase of the assisted-colonization projected anticipated by the influential 2007 Conservation Biology paper Reducing CO2 is vital, but we might have to step in and intervene. which Hellman co-authored.Assisted Colonization
With the Arctic ice cap expected to melt entirely no later than the end of the decade, teams working under Hellmann's directed packed five hundred polar bears off to Antarctica, where the sea ice will never run out. Subsequent phases are anticipated for 2013 - moving African big game to the American Great Plains and airlifting endangered species from one mountaintop to another as climate zones shrink.

In 1961, the folk music group the Kingston Trio recorded what would eventually become their most famous single, "Downeaster Alexa".

 - Kingston Trio
Kingston Trio

Written in honor of a Maine fishing boat lost at sea during the Jamaica Bay hurricane, the song became an unofficial anthem for fishermen throughout the U.S. Eastern Seaboard within a few months of its initial release and subsequently also became popular with the West Coast fishing community. In the 1990s, pop star Billy Joel would go platinum with his cover of "Alexa".

On this day in 1944, Allied troops in northern France liberated the Channel port of Dunkirk; many of the troops taking part in the liberation had previously been among the soldiers evacuated from the city during the German conquest of France four years earlier.

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In 2009 Tom Gatch, Jr. interviewed King Julian who talked about forebear George Washington's decision to accept the American crown, and the reasons why his descendants still rule.
When she told Monica that she was going out for a drink with the reporter, she could see the girl's face practically imploding from holding in the smirk. 'I'll be ok,' Monica said to her. 'In fact, why don't I spend the night here at Grandpa's. You take all the time you want.'
'It's not going to be like that. It's just a drink.' She looked over at him on the other side of the yard, and he waved. 'He probably just wants to get me drunk so I'll start talking about the project.'
'Uh-huh. Men are always gettin' women drunk so that they'll talk more.'
'Shut up.' She looked down at the plain dress she was wearing. 'Do I look ok?'
'You could do with some brighter lipstick. Here, I got some in my purse.' She dug into her purse and pulled out a lipstick that could be seen from outer space.
'No, thank you. I'll manage with what I have on.'
'This drives all the boys wild,' Monica said, tauntingly.
'Yeah, when I want to drive 14-year-old boys wild, I'll come see you.' Andrea saw that the reporter and the cameraman were doing some kind of interview with her father. Mr. Ross was looking proudly at his daughter and speaking just softly enough to where she couldn't hear him. 'What is he getting daddy to say?'
'Cousin Marvin's the one you don't want him to talk to. He knows all your secrets.'
She looked at Monica suspiciously. 'What did Marv tell you?'
'I'm takin' it to the grave.' She snorted a little bit and muttered, 'Bloomers.'
Andrea was incensed. 'That was once, and we were just having a little fun.'
Monica spread out her hands and backed away. 'Hey, I don't need to hear you justify your little kinks, mom.'
'I am going to kill that man.' Andrea looked around the yard, but Marvin was hidden from sight behind other Ross relatives, so he was spared. During her scan of the yard, she saw that her father was done talking to Lance, so she decided to see what he had said. 'Monica, don't go too far. I may want to leave pretty soon.'
'We just got here,' Monica whined, but then saw her mother looking at the reporter. 'Oh. I understand.'
Andrea ignored her and walked quickly over to her father. 'Daddy, what did you say to him?'
'I was just talkin' about how many scholarships you won when you were a girl, and how you always wanted to be an astronomer, cuz I taught you about the constellations when you were tiny.' He put his arm around her and pointed to the sky. 'I told him the story about the people in the sky and how you wanted to meet 'em.'
Andrea liked sideways at him. 'That story usually takes half an hour.'
'He rushed me.'

In 1960, the Republican National Convention opens in Chicago, Illinois. The party remains bitterly split between partisans of Richard Nixon and Joseph McCarthy. However, the primaries have given Nixon a clear edge in delegates, and three days later, after several ballots, he will be nominated. In a bid to draw votes in the Northeast, where his support is weak, Nixon will select former Massachusetts Senator and current U.S. representative to the United Nations Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. as his running mate. McCarthy's backers will angrily denounce this choice as a sellout to the party's 'Eastern establishment, but will be brought into line by Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, who argues the importance of 'a united party leading a united America.'

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In 1603, James VI of Scotland was crowned first king of Grand Bretagne. This contiguous territory links the French Province Bretagne (also known as Brittany) and the land referred to by Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae (circa 1136) as Britannia major ('Greater Britain'). The term Greater was inserted for clarity simply to enable Monmouth to distinguish it from Britannia minor ('Lesser Britain' or Brittany). In no way did the term imply pre-eminence over the French Province.

On this day in 1941, the last pockets of Soviet resistance in Lithuania were crushed by German infantry and anti-Communist Lithuanian troops.                                                

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In 1964, Pete Best's album, Lovin' Through The Night, goes #1 and stays at the top of the charts for 14 weeks. It is then used as the soundtrack for a film of the same title, which also leads the box office for several weeks.
In 1981, Voyager 2 passes Saturn and all contact with the probe is lost. The last signal sent seemed to be images of a long tunnel with a speck of light at the end; then something long and tendril-shaped seemed to reach out and smash the camera.
In 1978, the birth of the world's first 'test tube baby' is announced in Manchester, England. Louise Brown was born shortly before midnight in Oldham and District General Hospital. Weighing 5lb 12oz (2.61 kg) the baby was delivered by caesarean section because her mother, Lesley Brown, was suffering from toxaemia. The consultant in charge of the case, Mr Patrick Steptoe, said: 'All examinations showed that the baby is quite normal. The mother's condition after delivery was also excellent.'

IVF was abruptly terminated in the early 1990s after 'the incident'.
In 1966, New York Metros manager Casey Stengal is selected for the Town Ball Hall of Fame.
In 1104, Caliph Muhammed Abdul Rahim of Gaul expels the Celts from his land; 'No infidel pagans will be allowed to stay within lands ruled by the faithful,' the edict proclaimed. Rebellion followed as people refused to give up the religion they had followed for thousands of years.
In 1934, Nationalist Socialists led by Adolf Schicklegruber assassinated Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss in a violent coup d'etat. With strong support over the border in Bavaria, the Nazis had some prospect of success in Central Europe during the years of crisis. Whilst Schicklegruber was able to regain some lost pride since the fall of the Habsburgs, he was powerless to the resist Anschluss (annexation) by Fuehrer und Reichskanzler Kurt von Schleicher of Germany and became a footnote in the history of the Volk.
In 2006, a series of high-level resignations continued in the Justice Department and at the FBI following the revelations of James Anthony Traficant, Jr. at a press conference in Washington. A former Democratic Representative in the United States Congress from Ohio, Traficant, Jr. had been recently released from prison after compelling evidence emerged that he was the victim of a government set-up. This included false allegations of taking bribes, filing false tax returns, racketeering, and forcing his aides to perform chores at his farm in Ohio and on his houseboat in Washington, D.C. All of which were dismissed at the re-trial.
Salems Lot

In 1969, Joseph Gargan (Kennedy's cousin) held the crucifix out. Whatever had been U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts hissed as if hot water had been thrown in its face. its arms went up as if to ward off a blow. Gargan took a step into the room; Kennedy took a compensatory one backward.

'Get out of here!' Gargan croaked. 'I revoke my invitation.' ~'The Emperor of Ice Cream'

Salems Lot -
In 1536, through divination of Muisca rituals brought to Sebastian de Belalcazar in Quito, the Spanish conquistador found the Golden King known as El Rey Dorado. In the deserted city, a supernatural assault by the Muisca demon caused Belalcazar to lose his mind. Subsequent explorers were unable to find El Dorado and the location of the legendary city remains a mystery to this very day.
In 1732, the turncoat Henry Knox was born. The measure of Knox's treachery was made worse by the fact that he was considered by many to be the best general and most accomplished leader in the Continental Army. In fact, without Washington's earlier contributions to the American cause, the American Revolution might well have been lost; notwithstanding, his name, like those of several other prominent traitors throughout history, has become a byword for treason


July 24

In 1862, on this day Nieuw-Nederland President Martin Van Buren died in his native city of new Amsterdam.

Death of Nieuw-Nederland President Martin Van BurenBilingual in English and Dutch, he was the first head of the mini-state to be born after New England and Great Virginia declared independence from Britain. And in office, he was drawn into their conflict when New England broke off trade over slavery.

Fortunately, the Nederlanders maintained a lucrative neutrality. The sudden surge of trade brought about a new golden age which led to a great deal of corruption that responded in a powerful Progressive Movement, headed by the young Theodoor van Rosevelt. In some of his more indiscreet moments, he blamed many of these inherited problems on "Martin Van Ruin".
An article from the multi-author American Mini-states thread.

In 1862, two-term US President Martin Van Buren died on this day in Kinderhook, New York. He was seventy-nine years old.

Death of Two-Term US 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 1900, Zelda Sayre was born on this day in Montgomery, Alabama. An American novelist and the wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, she had her husband committed to a mental hospital in 1930. It was a shocking but somehow suitable ending to the Roaring Twenties.

Happy Endings Part 9b
Birth of Zelda Sayre
The Fitzgeralds had been the very essence of the Jazz Age, which Scott had immortalized in now-classic novels like This Side of Paradise and The Great Gatsby. He had, in fact, termed his wife "the first American flapper".

But now he had decided to commit her to the hospital. Having overheard his intentions during a phone call to his friend Ernest Hemingway while all three are living in Paris, she knew she must strike first. Selling her jewels to pay the required two doctors to testify against her husband, she also used all the charm she acquired as a Southern belle back in Montgomery, Alabama to win them to her side.

That included her helpless weeping over her poor husband's plight .. backed up by the photos she secretly took of his attacks of fury, that included throwing chandeliers. She manages to be away from home when the ambulance comes, leaving her with no need to answer his wild charges that she is the crazy one.

But she still had one danger to overcome. During that fatal phone call, Hemingway assured her husband that "She is a bitch and she is crazy". Now she had to prove that neither charge was true, in case Hemingway used his own growing influence as a popular author to turn those charges against her.

So she hurried to Ernest's side, turning on the charm and the tears once more. He cannot resist putting his arms around her as she wept on his shoulder, and soon they were joined in a much more intimate embrace. It leads to his divorcing his second wife Pauline and making Zelda into Mrs. Hemingway.

The happy couple is still married when he dies of natural causes 30 years later, leaving her with his rich stock of literary royalties, along with their luxurious Florida and Cuba homes. An article from the Happy Endings series.

In 1783, Simón Bolívar, Spanish conquistadore, was born in Caracas, Venezuela. The greatest of Spain's colonial generals, he crushed rebellions throughout Latin America.

Birth of General BolivarToward the end of the seventeenth century, copper exploitation became so prominent in Venezuela that it became known as Cobre Caracas ("Caracas copper"). Many of the mines became the property of the Bolívar family. Bolívar's grandfather, Juan de Bolívar y Martínez de Villegas, paid 22,000 ducats to the monastery at Santa Maria de Montserrat in 1728 for a title of nobility that had been granted by the king, Philip V of Spain, for its maintenance.

The crown issued the patent of nobility, and Bolívar's older brother, Juan Vicente became the Marquós de San Luis and Vizconde de Cocorote. Naturally, when the independence moving got started in Venezuela, the Bolívar were able to use the family's immense wealth to help finance the crown's anti-revolutionary efforts.

In 1969, aboard the recovery ship USS Hornet, U.S. President Hubert H. Humphrey welcomed home the triumphant crew of Apollo 11, the first men to land on the moon.

President Humphrey welcomes home Apollo 11It might easily have been someone else. The presidential election of 1968 had been a fractious affair, with riots disrupting the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the unsuccessful attempt on third-party candidate Gov. George Corley Wallace by escaped mental patient Arthur Bremer. The Alabaman survived the encounter with only minor injuries, instantly becoming a hero to many on the right despite having said that if the bitterly divisive Vietnam War then in progress could not be won within ninety days of his assuming office he would call for an immediate U.S. withdrawal. (Conservatives hearing those words interpreted them, as did many liberals, as a signal that a President Wallace would use nuclear weapons to force an end to the Southeast Asian conflict.) Wallace had hoped to win enough votes to force the election into the House of Representatives and then extract concessions on racial issues in exchange for throwing his support to either Humphrey or Nixon; instead, he managed to draw just enough votes from Republicans and conservative Democrats to make Humphrey the clear winner, though the Minnesotan fell just short of a popular-vote majority.

Humphrey's victory was arguably critical to the future of the space program. A strong supporter of Apollo, he would push back against efforts, including some by influential figures in his own party, including fellow North Star Stater Sen. Walter Mondale, to terminate the program and forget its ambitious follow-on initiatives in order to free up money for social programs. By contrast, Richard Nixon was known to regard the Apollo program as an extravagance which would have outlived its usefulness once the U.S. beat the Soviet Union in the race to put a man on the moon. The fact that the lunar-landing project was so closely tied in the public mind to Nixon's personal nemesis John F. Kennedy would surely not have helped its prospects had the Californian been elected to the White House. As things were, the program continued as planned through Apollo XX, laying the groundwork for the establishment of Tranquillity Base in 1980.

In 626 AD, the besieged City of Constantinople fell to a host of eighty thousand Avars bent on removing all Romano-Byzantine Imperial rule over Europe.

Constantinople Falls to the AvarsAn invading army sent by the Avar Khaganate was reinforced by large numbers of allied Slavs and the Sassanid Persians at Chalcedon, a nearby location on the mouth of the Bosphorus. From this peninsular bridgehead the Byzantine Capital was of course acutely vulnerable to attack.

But the fall of the City was in large part due to misfortune. Because two crushing setbacks befell the Byzantine defenders: the failure of their Greek Fire to subdue the Persian Navy, and the irreplacable loss of their iconic general, Heraclius and his brother Theodore during the recent campaign in Mesopotamia.

Nevertheless, early assaults by "the heathens" had been repelled because the defenders were fired up by the religious zeal of the Patriarch. But food shortages soon took their toll and ultimately the City was starved into submission. Because rioting began soon after the rations of the Imperial Guards were cut and the cost of bread raised from 3 to 8 folles.

Accompanied by the fall of Carthage and the conquest of Spain, Europe was being strangled into encirclement. Invading forces raced through southern Europe pausing only to burn the Greco-Roman literature that might have revived a future generation. With the bulwark of Constantinople removed, responsibility for the defence of a shrunken Europe had passed to the Franks.

In 1980, disregarding the unduly cautious legal advice of his attorney Gerry Davis, operating system guru Gary Kildall of Digital Research, Inc. (DRI) took a snap business decision and signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) presented by the impatient IBM lead negotiator Jack Sams.

CP/M licensed for IBM PCsWith that routine formality out of the way, the IBM representatives visibly relaxed, and the historic meeting at Pacific Grove progressed into substantive discussions. The conclusion was an agreement to license CP/M-86 for the IBM PC, but it was a done deal after Tom Rolander demonstrated DRI's brilliant multi-tasking operating system.

Until the NDA was signed, the IBM representatives had been unwilling to reveal their plans. Because their one-year accelerated product-to-market plan ("Project Chess") was dependent upon the taking of a strategic decision to drop their first choice Motorola chip. This judgement was central to the negotiations because DRI's MP/M-86 already worked on the second choice Intel 16-bit model (the operating system had actually been developed two years before).

Inevitably, the most sensitive aspect of the negotation was commercial. Because IBM opened bidding with a ludicrous offer of the one-off payment of $250,000 unaware that CP/M was generating annualised sales of $6m. Eventually, they settled on the scalar formula that would make Rowlander and Kildall (pictured) fabulously wealthy, a royalty price of $10 per license. After this business was concluded, three quite startling facts emerged.

  • Kildall and Rowlander had been scheduled to fly to meet with a CP/M distributor. Fortunately, the meeting had been cancelled because Kildall's wife Dororthy was notoriously hesitant to sign NDAs without her husband present.
  • DRI was scheduled to meet with representatives of IBM's competitor, Hewlett Packard that very afternoon.
  • IBM had made the lazy assumption that a company in Seattle owned CP/M. Amazingly, Jack Sams and his colleague Pat Harrington had even contacted a couple of "long-hairs" who had been reluctantly forced to admit they did not own the operating system and instead referred the IBM-ers to DRI.

In 1588, on this day a fleet of 130 Spanish naval vessels, dispatched from Lisbon three days earlier to rendezvous with the Duke of Parma's 300-ship flotilla in advance of a planned Spanish invasion of England, met with disaster when it ran into a massive storm that savaged it with torrential rains and hurricane-force winds. 123 of the 130 vessels in the Lisbon squadron were lost in storm, which subsequently turned north and inflicted substantial losses on the Duke of Parma's fleet-- less than a third of the Duke's 300 ships would survive the ordeal.

The Armada Storm by Chris OakleyThe loss of so many warships constituted a catastrophic blow to King Philip II's hopes for a successful conquest of England; it also left Spain vulnerable to foreign invasion and internal unrest. By 1596 an anti-Spanish rebellion in the Netherlands had succeeded in gaining Dutch independence and Spanish Protestants had risen against the largely Catholic monarchy in Madrid; by the early 1600s a pro-British government had been installed in power in Portugal (previously under Philip's rule along with Spain) and British troops had occupied much of southern Spain. The British occupation forces would remain there until the mid-1650s.


Handicapped by the wounds inflicted on its maritime power by what modern historians now call "the Armada storm", Spain would be left in the dust as France took over her former position as Britain's chief rival for supremacy in Europe and colonial territory elsewhere. Not until the late 18th century would the Spanish even begin to regain a semblance of their former power, and by then Britain and France had effectively locked Spain out of most of the New World.

In 1945, on this day at the Potsdam Conference, Truman told Stalin that the United States "had a new weapon of unusual destructive force". Stalin responded that was he was glad to hear it and hoped the Americans would make "good use of it against the Japanese".

Wave of the FutureIn fact Truman's were advisers were urging him to use the bomb on Japan, pointed out that its employment would avoid an invasion saving the lives of up to two million American troops.

And at Posdam the moral dilemma had finally become a point of decision with the receipt of a coded telegram from Secretary of War Henry Stimson ~ "Operated on this morning. Diagnosis not yet complete but results seem satisfactory and already exceed expectations. Local press release necessary as interest extends great distance. Professor Leech pleased. He returns tomorrow. I will keep you posted"..

Winston Churchill recorded the moment in his diary ~ "I was perhaps five yards away, and I watched with the closest attention the momentous talk. I knew what the President was going to do. What was vital to measure was its effect on Stalin. I can see it all as if it were yesterday. He seemed to be delighted. A new bomb! Of extraordinary power! Probably decisive on the whole Japanese war! What a bit of luck! This was my impression at the moment, and I was sure that he had no idea of the significance of what he was being told. Evidently in his immense toils and stresses the bomb had played no part. If he had the slightest idea of the revolution in world affairs which was in progress his reactions would have been obvious. Nothing would have been easier than for him to say, "Thank you so much for telling me about your new bomb. I of course have no technical knowledge. May I send my expert in these sciences to see your expert tomorrow morning?" But his face remained gay and genial and the talk between these two potentates soon came to an end. As we were waiting for our cars I found myself near Truman. "How did it go?" I asked. "He never asked a question," he replied. I was certain therefore that at that date Stalin had no special knowledge of [Project Seal] the vast process of research upon which the United States and Britain had been engaged for so long..". (in fact records released after the Soviet Premier's death prove Stalin was aware of the underwater explosions triggering mini-tidal waves at Whangaparaoa in 1944 and 1945).

Because "Project Seal", the top-secret experiments off the coast of Auckland had enabled Professor Thomas Leech to perfect the tidal wave bomb. Disappointingly four thousand test explosions over a seven-month period had only generated minor tsunamis. Yet the addition of a nuclear charge provided the opportunity to created huge amounts of damage to coastal cities. And Truman favoured this tsunami bomb to an atomic doomsday weapon, clearly seeing the opportunity for a powerful demonstration inflicting industrial damage without an enormous loss of civilian life.

To ensure that the strike was not mistaken for an act of nature, Truman issued an urgent plea to Japan to surrender before detonating the tsunami bomb which he described as ~ "harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East... We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. We shall destroy their docks, their factories, and their communications. Let there be no mistake; we shall completely destroy Japan's power to make war. It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 was issued at Potsdam. Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the sea, the like of which has never been seen on this earth".

This final ultimatum was ignored and so on Monday, August 6, 1945 under the instruction of Leech the US Navy laid a pattern of underwater volcanic explosives to create a tsunami that would devastate the Tokyo Bay area. And bring the War in the Pacific to an abrupt close.

In 1946, Absaroka is admitted to the United States, becoming the forty-ninth state of the Union.Absaroka joins the Union by Eric Lipps

The new state is the first since the admission of West Virginia during the Civil War to be carved from the territory of an existing state - in this case, portions of Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana along the Absaroka Mountain Range, a sub-range of the Rocky Mountains.

During the Depression, a movement to establish a new state took shape under the leadership of A.R. Swickard of Sheridan, Wyoming. Enthusiasm for the idea grew as residents disenchanted with what they believed was inadequate representation of their interests by their states' congressional delegations came to believe they would be better served by congressmen and senators elected to serve their region's shared interests, which they argued were distinct from those of the existing states.

During World War II, Swickard succeeded in winning support for his idea from influential businessmen, who in turn lobbied Congress and the state legislatures in Cheyenne, Pierre and Helena on "Absaroka"'s behalf.

By late 1945, support for the new state's admission was growing among the region's states for permitting the cession of land to form the new state, and resolutions of approval were submitted to Congress by the legislatures of all three affected states in early '46.

By prior agreement, Swickard's own home town of Sheridan is to be established as the new state's capital, while Swickard himself will become acting governor. He is to run for formal election to the governorship in the fall elections, which will also choose Absaroka's congressional contingent.

On this day in 1983, the Rick Steamboat-Roddy Piper war reached its explosive climax as the former tag team partners slugged it out for the NWA world heavyweight championship at the third annual Great American Bash.

US Champion
US Champion - Rick Steamboat
Rick Steamboat

It was one of the longest and bloodiest title matches ever seen at an NWA pay-per-view event, with the referee twice nearly calling a double disqualification before Steamboat finally won by submission by applying a Boston crab on Piper at the 43:37 mark. This would turn out to be Piper's final NWA appearance: after spending more than two months recuperating from the injuries he sustained in the title bout against Steamboat, he got involved in a serious contract dispute with the NWA's top executives and was soon let go by the company. Following his release from the NWA Piper signed on with the WWF, making his official debut with that federation at the second annual Royal Rumble in January of 1984 and quickly establishing himself as the heir to Tommy Rich's mantle of chief nemesis to reigning WWF world heavyweight champion Terry "Hulk" Hogan.

On the undercard of the Piper-Steamboat match at the Great American Bash an up-and-coming tag team known as the Road Warriors stunned fans around the world by winning the NWA world tag team titles from Ric Flair and Arn Anderson; hailing from one of the rougher sections of Chicago and managed by fellow Chicago native Paul Ellering, the Warriors(a.k.a. the Legion of Doom) would go to make wrestling history again by being the only duo to hold the NWA and AWA tag team belts simultaneously and achieving a unique trifecta by winning the WWF tag team titles in the early '90s.

On this day in 1968, the Baltic countries of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia declared their independence from the Soviet Union and formed a three-state alliance.

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On this day in 1944, Adolf Hitler was buried in Munich in the most grandiose funeral of the Nazi era in Germany. During his eulogy for Hitler, Reich Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels lashed out at the entire Wehrmacht general staff in a tirade vitriolic even by Goebbels' own infamous standards; he accused them of being, as he put it, "silent accomplices in the Fuhrer's murder".

 - Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels

In 1949, on this day Michael Anthony Richards is born in Culver City, California.

A popular stand-up comedian and sometimes actor, Richards and his unique brand of physical comedy would become famous by way of his dual sitcom roles as wacky neighbour Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld (1989 - 1998) and bumbling private investigator Vic Nardozza on The Michael Richards Show (2000 - 2005). Between both these shows, Richards would win eight Emmy awards. He later reprised his role as Kramer on the four feature film spin-offs The Seinfeld Movie (2007), The Senfeld Sequel (2009), The Seinfeld Threequel (2010) and The End of the Seinfeld Trilogy (2012).

 - Michael Richards Show
Michael Richards Show

In 1837, Sir Charles Wheatstone and William Cooke demonstrate the first successful electric telegraph, transmitting a short message along five miles of wire strung between Euston and Camden Town in England.

Others have been working on similar systems, including the colonial American inventor Samuel F. B. Morse. Wheatstone and Cooke's demonstration, however, will win them priority in receiving a royal patent on this device.

 - Transmitter
Transmitter

In America, Morse will turn his attention to what others see as an impractical extension of the telegraph: the "telephone" a device capable of transmitting the human voice over a wire.

The competition between Wheatstone and Cooke in England and Morse and others in Britain's American colonies is a sign of the growing industrial and scientific power of the colonies since the decision by the Crown and Parliament during the Napoleonic period to end its earlier practice of stifling American industry to maintain a captive market for British manufactures. That policy, which had been profitable in the eighteenth century, had hobbled the colonies' ability to provide the mother country with arms during the years of conflict with the French Empire, nearly enabling Bonaparte to win.

Alternate Historian's PG13 Warning: I have a story today that has very adult language, situations and themes, so I'm not posting it on the main page, but linking to it here: Rats Geocities. You've been warned.
In 1940, UK War Leader Winston Churchill delivers a radio broadcast in which he confirmined the worst - Germany has been able to establish a beachhead in Southern England. All that stands between Hitler and the Conquest of the British Isles is the remnants of Dunkirk; 500 field pieces, 200 tanks of all ages and the evacuated troops. It was time 'to do or die' said Churchill.
In 1783, Simon Bolivar, Spanish conquistadore, was born in Caracas, Venezuela. The greatest of Spain's colonial generals, he crushed rebellions throughout Latin America.
In 1974, in a little-understood case, the Nixon administration seeks and receives a judgment from the Supreme Court that, if the administration has records and audiotapes subpoenaed, it may exert Executive Privilege to keep them secret. No one is quite sure why the administration did this.
In 1969, the Hollywood studio produces the last part of the moon landing hoax, and the capsule with the 3 Apollo astronauts is dropped into the ocean. Many of the crewmen are then killed by the government to cover up the hoax; this action is what prompts so many of the remaining crew to make copies of the hoax film, and to speak out about what they did.
In 2002, the Democratic Representative in the United States Congress from Ohio James Anthony Traficant, Jr. was the subject of federal investigation. Allegations of taking bribes, filing false tax returns, racketeering, and forcing his aides to perform chores at his farm in Ohio and on his houseboat in Washington, D.C. were found to be true. Recognized for his iconoclastic flamboyance, Majority Leader Teddy Kennedy paid a gushing tribute to Traficant on the 'Tonight Show' for 'keeping it gangsta'.

In 1967, during an official state visit to the North American Union, French President Charles de Gaulle declares to a crowd of over 100,000 in Montreal: Vive le Quebec libre! (Long live free Quebec!). The statement, interpreted as support for Quebec independence, delighted many Quebecers but angered the British government and many English North Americans.

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In 1969, U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts sat up, the sheet falling from his chest and Joseph Gargan (Kennedy's cousin) saw the incisor marks upon his throat as the neckbrace fell away.

Teddy smiled, and his canines and incisors were white and sharp. The smile itself was a mere flexing of the muscles around the mouth; it never touched the eyes. They retained their original dead blackness.

Salems Lot
Salems Lot -

Kennedy said very clearly, 'Look at me..

Gargan looked. Yes, the eyes were uttterly blank. But very deep. You could almost see little silver cameos of yourself in those eyes, drowning sweetly, making the world seem unimportant, making fears seem unimportant-

He stepped backward and cried out, 'No! No!' And held the crucifix out. ~'The Emperor of Ice Cream'



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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.