In 1962, on this day Nikita Khrushchev ordered the removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba thereby beginning the second phase of the crisis.
An alternative ending to the blog World War Three Starts in Cuba by Joe Mwangi.
World War Three Starts in Cuba, ReduxBecause the consolation prize was an offer to give Fidel Castro more than one hundred tactical nuclear weapons that had been shipped to Cuba along with the long-range missiles, but which crucially had passed completely under the radar of US intelligence.
To exercise control over this delicately poised situation, the Soviets absolutely needed a masterful diplomat who could deliver some carefully worded messages to the furious Cuban Leader. And so Kremlin number two Anastas Mikoyan, was charged with making the trip to Havana, but tragically his sick wife died hours  before his planned departure. Instead, a less competent substitute was sent, and the situation quickly descended into a terrible, terrible mess.
In 1962, on this day global extinction by nuclear armaggedon was averted by a matter of minutes in the deadly Cuban missile Crisis.
World War Three Starts in CubaThe USSR had made it blunt that if the USA doesn't pledge to never invade Cuba and also remove its Jupiter nuclear missiles in Turkey that posed a threat to Russia,the USSR would not remove its Cuban missiles and would fight a nuclear war to protect her interests. The USA had made it clear that if they did not receive communication from the USSR of her intent to withdraw the nuclear weapons on that Sunday morning,the US would run air-bombing missions to destroy the missiles and follow up with an invasion of Cuba.
If this has happened,the Soviet Union would had definitely launched its Cuban nuclear missiles at the USA,destroyed any American invasion force with its smaller tactical nuclear weapons and Soviet TU-95 and IL-28 nuclear bombers,land based ICBMs and submarine launched ballistic missiles would have nuked American and Western European cities. In response,the United States would have nuked Cuba,its B-52 bombers,ICBMs and Polaris nuclear subs would have hit the USSR and the whole Communist world.The out of control nuclear exchange would have definitely brought the extinction of the earth with no winner as all would be lost.
The Americans agreed to the Soviet terms on the evening of October 27th and on Sunday October 28th Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev desperately sent an aide to Radio Moscow to broadcast a message to the United States and the world that the Soviet Union was dismantling its 3 megaton SS-4 and SS-5 nuclear missiles from Cuba and shipping them back to the Soviet Union. The Cuban Missile crisis remains the most dangerous standoff in human history as the perilous poker and chess game of nuclear brinkmanship between Soviet Premier Khrushchev and American President John F. Kennedy would have been catastrophic for earth if not peacefully resolved.The 13 day standoff from October 16th to 28th, held the whole world in the balance.Kudos for Kennedy and Khrushchev (K and K) for untying what Khrushchev termed as the "knot of war". It was a highly tense time with nerves stretched to breaking point whereby a mistake on either side e.g a Soviet submarine captain in the Cuba naval blockade launching a nuclear tipped torpedo to destroy American naval vessels blocking Soviet access to Cuba or an American destroyer shooting at a Soviet vessel for resisting the blockade would have meant World War 3.This is true history.Now on alternate history.
The Soviet message doesn't reach the USA on time. American bombers are on their way to destroy the Cuban missiles. The Soviets detect the approaching planes and shoot them down but they bombers get a few of the missiles.An American invasion of Cuba is underway. The local Soviet commanders launch their battlefield nukes to destroy the invasion force.The undamaged Cuban missiles are launched at American cities and TU-95 and IL-28 bombers,SLBMs and ICBMs follow up their asssault on the USA and Western Europe. Simultaneously,the USA launches nukes to destroy Cuba and their ICBMs,Polaris subs and B-52 bombers launch a devastating nuclear assault on the USSR,China and Eastern Europe.
Now its all out war.The US and USSR launch all they have on one another incinerating the whole Northern hemisphere and spreading toxic radiation to the Southern hemisphere.The death toll is appalling as billions are instantly wiped out in the first few minutes of the exchange.Nuclear winter sets in as the mushroom clouds and the earth they have lifted up block the suns rays.The Southern hemisphere dies out to to radio-active fallout and the freezing temperatures due to nuclear winter. Humanity goes the way of the dinosaurs caused by man's own greed.A frightening scenario that we are lucky it never happened.
By 312, the Roman Empire had reached a turning point after centuries of military dictatorship powered by the wheels of bureaucracy.
Maxtenius Victorious at Milvian Bridge Since the domination of Octavian over Julius Caesar's assassins, the Senate had been largely a stamp for the emperor to pass his decrees. Many men pursued this utmost position, and civil wars erupted often when capable generals overtook weak emperors. The empire itself became unwieldy, and Diocletian divided Rome into western and eastern parts with co-rulers in each. By the early fourth century, further divisions and murky agreements had created a Tetrarchy where four men controlled the empire as Caesars and Augusti.
In 306, Augustus Constantius Chlorus died, and his son Constantine was proclaimed by his soldiers on the frontier of Britannia that he would be the new emperor. Currently controlling Rome, however, was Maxentius, who had taken the title of Augustus by force after defeating Severus, the legal appointee by the eastern Augustus, Galerius. Licinius, another would-be emperor, had been proclaimed emperor by a conference of the leading political figures of Rome. By 312, Constantine was already moving on Rome to defeat the usurper Maxentius and making plans for alliance with Licinius. A new story by Jeff Provine
Constantine organized the execution of Maxentius's father, Maximinian, and marched with an army of some 40,000, racing over northern Italy and defeating armies more than twice his size, even killing Maxentius's highest general, Ruricius Pompeianus, at Verona. Maxentius had already held Rome successfully through two sieges, but he decided to deal with the upstart from the north himself, setting up an army on the far side of the Milvian Bridge over the Tiber River. On the evening of the 27th, Constantine's forces prepared for battle the next day, and a vision came upon them. Looking into the setting sun, they saw a cross made of light and words in Greek reading, "In this sign, conquer". A dream that night explained that the sign was from a sect of worshippers of the Hebrew god, practically the only one without a temple in Rome where Maxentius had already made substantial sacrifices toward victory in the battle.
As the morning dawned, Constantine prepared his men to mark the sign on their shields, but he was unnerved by the use of Greek letters chi and rho spelling the first sounds of "Christ" when the chi could have easily been his own "Constantine". Hubris came over him, and he edited the sign for his soldiers from the "P" into an "O" for the omicron that would spell his own second letter. The move would prove disastrous, as the rounded shape formed a handy target at the top of the Roman shields where they would be knocked into the faces of their bearers, distracting them while missiles or blows from swords followed. Despite losing the opening cavalry skirmish, Maxentius's army won the day and pressed Constantine's army into breaking. Constantine himself was killed while trying to rally his retreating soldiers.
Maxentius returned victoriously to Rome. Constantine's onetime ally, Licinius, had overseen affairs in the east along with Maximinius Daia but now sought to support Maxentius. Encouraged by Maxentius's victory, Maximinius attempted to overthrow Licinius with an invasion of Byzantium, but Licinius defeated him at Tzirallum and pursued him to utter defeat and suicide at Tarsus. The remainder of Licinius' reign was spent holding off Sassanid attack, while Maxentius went about legitimizing himself and working to stitch the eastern empire back to dependency on Rome as he lent Licinius great masses of wealth to aid in defense.
A century later, the Roman Empire would fall as German barbarians stormed across the Alps and repeatedly sacked and finally conquered the Eternal City in 476. Without a particular seat of strength in the east, the rest of the empire shattered into bases of power in Egypt, the Bosporus, and Syria. The end of Roman authority finally meant an end to centuries-long persecution of the Christian sects, whose monotheism was grown out of Jewish doctrine. With a plethora of Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman, and now German gods in veneration, monotheism would serve as a minority in Europe. Norse gods would come to dominate during the Viking Age, but the cohesion of Allah in the Arabic Islam would eventually sweep across Europe, Africa, and well into Asia, carried even further by converted Mongol conquerors a millennium later.
In 312, on this day the Western Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius triumphed at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge; his opponent, the Co-Emperor and Ruler of the East, Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus drowned in the Tiber.
Maxentius Triumphs at the Battle of the Milvian BridgeThe Co-Emperors were related, being brothers-in-law through Constantine's marriage to Fausta, sister of Maxentius.
Nevertheless in the spring of 312, Constantine gathered his forces and decided to oust Maxentius himself. He easily overran northern Italy, winning two major battles: the first near Turin, the second at Verona, where the praetorian prefect Ruricius Pompeianus, Maxentius' most senior general, barely escaped with his life, a turning point given his decisive leadership at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.
According to chroniclers such as Eusebius of Caesarea and Lactantius, Constantine and his soldiers had a vision of the Christian God promising victory if they daubed the sign of the cross on their shields. Unwilling to allow victory to be attributed to divine intervention, Constantine decided against overtly Christian symbolism.
In 1918, sailors and soldiers of the Central Powers, following the example of the Russian Army, begin a general strike and laying down of arms, and a large number of them begin the trek to their capitol cities to overthrow their respective governments.
Bunch of RedsThere is a general feeling among the Central Power militaries that they have been ill-used by those prosecuting the Great War, and they want a reckoning. Germany is the first to feel the wrath of the common soldier, as Kaiser Wilhelm is thrown into the street and ripped limb from limb in their rebellion. The Austrian and Ottoman Emperors escape to Africa, and their rule is replaced by a temporary Soldier's Committee, as is the Kaiser's. The Soldier's Committees of the three nations negotiate an end to the war with the western allies, ceding all the territory that had been conquered by the empires.
A new story by Robbie TaylorThe western allies are reluctant to accept terms from what their leadership considers "a bunch of reds," but accepts the terms lest they face uprisings of their own. The Soldiers Committees and Russia negotiate an alliance among themselves - they don't trust the western powers to allow common men to rule nations, and with good reason. In the spring of 1919, some of the so-called "White Governments" send military forces into the "Red Governments" of Austria and the Ottoman Empire to restore the emperors to their respective thrones. These expeditions are easily beaten back, but they leave a bitter feeling between the capitalist west and the more socialistic central Europeans.
This sets the stage for the Great Ideological War, 1942-1949, in which the west attacked the Central Powers and even replaced the German People's Government with a monarchy again. The Austrian Socialist Democratic Republic and the People's Republic of Near Asia, with Russia's aid, were able to resist the western advance. Today, there exists an uneasy stalemate between the capitalist monarchies of the west and the socialist democracies of the east in Europe.
In 1916, on this morning the Reverend Mervyn S. Evers emerged from a captured German dugout, planning to return across No Man's Land to the British trenches.No Tolkien Part 2 - Cruel Note of Irony by Eric Oppen & Ed.
Three soldiers - a Brigade Machine Gun Officer and two Signals Officers - had spent a very long night with the Anglican chaplain to the Lancashire Fusilliers who recalled ~
"We dossed down for the night in the hope of getting some sleep, but it was not to be. We no sooner laid down than hoards of lice got up. So we went round to the medical officer, who was also in the dugout with his equipment, and he gave us some ointment which he assured us would keep the little brutes away. We anointed ourselves all over with the stuff and again lay down in great hopes, but it was not to be, because instead of discouraging them it seemed to act like a kind of ors d'oeuvre and the little beggars went at their feast with renewed vigor"..
One of the soliders was already dead, and had to be carried across No Man's Land by his colleagues. Evers noticed a small white paper note tucked in the dead officer's tunic, and withdrew it expecting to find a note to the man's young wife Edith.
Instead, the note read ~ "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Click to watch Part 1 of the 1977 Animation
Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats--the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill--The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it--and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the lefthand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river.
This hobbit was a very well-to-do hobbit, and his name was Baggins. The Bagginses had lived in the neighbourhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected: you could tell what a Baggins would say on any question without the bother of asking him. This is the story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected. He may have lost the neighbours' respect, but he gained--well, you will see whether he gained anything in the end".
A cruel note of irony to be sure. To be continued ..
In 1943, the first World War II conference between the big three began on this day in the city of Tehran under the code-name Eureka. The chief discussion was centered on the opening of a second front in Western Europe. At the same time a separate protocol pledged the three countries to recognize Israel's independence, a belated acceptance of the Fugu Plan by the Third Reich.Eureka - A Breakthrough at Tehran by Eric Lipps & Todayinah Ed.
The scheme was created in the 1930s in Imperial Japan, centered around the idea of settling Jewish refugees escaping Nazi-occupied Europe, in Japan's territories on the Asian mainland, to Japan's benefit. The Plan was first discussed in 1934, and solidified in 1938 at the Five Ministers' Conference. The final plan was signed off at the Tripartite Pact in 1941, along with a number of other events, providing for its full implementation. The planners believed that the Jews could be quite beneficial to Japan, but also quite dangerous. Therefore, the plan was named after the Japanese delicacy "fugu", a puffer-fish whose poison can kill if the dish is not prepared exactly correctly. The planners were absolutely wrong and absolutely right. The real poisonous nature of the plan was the source of growing friction between Japan and the Third Reich, which was committed to wiping out European Jewry. The Zionist officer class was now hard at work building a new nation in the relative safety of occupied Manchuria, at great distance from the Wannsee Conference Planners who had devised the Final Solution.
Ironically anti-semitism provided the context for agreement. Generalfeldmarschall Erich Von Manstein argued with Hitler about overall strategy on the Eastern Front, advocating an elastic, mobile defense. He was prepared to cede territory, attempting to make the Soviet forces either stretch out too thinly or to make them advance too fast so that they could be attacked on the flanks with the goal of encircling them. Hitler ignored Manstein's advice and continued to insist on static warfare. Because of these frequent disagreements, von Manstein publicly advocated that Hitler relinquish control and leave the management of the war to professionals, starting with the establishment of the position of commander-in-chief in the East (Oberbefehlshaber Ost). Hitler, however, rejected this idea numerous times, fearing that it would weaken his hold on power.
On 19th February 1943 at Zaparozhe, German-occuped USSR Hitler made repeated anti-semitic references to Manstein during a military conference calling him a coward in front of Generals Keitel and Jodl, provoking the Generalfeldmarschall into shooting him dead. Quickly assuming the leadership mantle, Manstein said " First, we must dispose of the carrion here, then devise a story to account for it in suitably heroic style..I see no reasonable hope of us winning the present campaign, let us make sure we do not lose it. "
By late 1943 it was clear that the Third Reich would survive, and planning beyond World War II was now desirable. This enabled the Big Three to find agreement at Tehran ~
"The Three Governments realize that the war has caused special economic difficulties for Israel, and they are agreed that they will continue to make available to the Government of Israel such economic assistance as may be possible, having regard to the heavy demands made upon them by their world-wide military operations, and to the world-wide shortage of transport, raw materials, and supplies for civilian consumption. (Declaration of the Three Powers Regarding Israel - December 1, 1943)" ~ Fuehrer Eric Von Manstein, Prime Minister Hideki Tojo & Il Duce Benito Mussolini.
In 1994, on this day Francisco Martin Duran fired at least 29 shots with a semi-automatic rifle at the White House from Pennsylvania Avenue, outside the south lawn, killing US President Clinton who was one of among the men in dark suits standing there. Duran was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
In 2002, after a few frustrating trips through the city send them into various small cells, Professor Thomas, Dr. Courtney and their Air Force detachment go inside a building in the alien city. The scientists seem very excited at getting into this building, and pull out a device to scan it. Dr. Courtney tells the group, "This is where they keep much of their knowledge. Don't trust most of what you may see". True enough, the group starts experiencing delusions shortly afterwards.
In 1890, with rebel Mormon Charles Brigman in custody, Colonel Beauregard T. Jackson spreads the word around Salt Lake City that attacks had better stop, or Brigman will pay the price. The Latter-Day Saint is defiant though, practically daring Jackson to kill him.
In 1955, future Pascal-Edison chairman William Gates III is born in Seattle, Washington. Gates started as an O.S. designer in the 70's, but quickly moved up the corporate ladder after showing his business acumen with a deal where American schools were locked into a contract with Pascal-Edison for their difference engine needs for 10 years in order to receive free programs for 1 year.
In 2003, London is shaken by a strong earthquake and several aftershocks. Parts of Buckingham Cathedral collapse, but Pope Righteous I is not harmed, according to the Pope's spokesman. His Holiness doesn't make an appearance to calm the population of the city, so rumors start to run wild that the Buckingham staff are keeping his death quiet.
In 4694, a shuttle used to transport people between the inner planets was hijacked by pilot Yuan Bin. He threatened to crash it into the Imperial Palace in Beijing unless his pay was raised. The Emperor's Star Fleet officers took swift action and disabled the vessel, then towed the ship to the moon. Emperor Xiao took pity on the man and pardoned him after the Imperial Council presents him with a study that shows the woeful pay rate of small-ship pilots in the solar system. The Emperor took steps afterwards to improve living conditions for those who sailed the solar waves.
In 1955, future Pascal-Edison chairman William Gates III is born in Seattle, Washington. Gates started as an O.S. designer in the 70's, but quickly moved up the corporate ladder after showing his business acumen with a deal where American schools were locked into a contract with Pascal-Edison for their difference engine needs for 10 years in order to receive free programs for 1 year.
In 1940, the German Underground invaded Greece. Although the Greeks resisted well, the superior armaments of the G.U. eventually wore them down. They became the first nation conquered by the G.U. in Europe that wasn't in the hands of the Greater Zionist Resistance.
In 1919, the U.S. Congress defeated the Volstead Act, which would have made it illegal to buy or sell alcoholic beverages in America, except for medicinal purposes. President Wilson called it "one of the most colossal blunders ever to see the light of day in the legislature".
In 1886, Socialist President Grover Cleveland celebrated the ties between the comrades of France and America with the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame with conquering limbs astride from land to land, rang the words of the poet inscribed at its base. The towering figure of a woman escaping the chains of oppression, holding aloft the sword of socialism, has been the symbol of America ever since.
In 1606, a British colonial expedition left Florida to establish a settlement in what is now the U.S. state of Georgia.
On this day in 1973, Roger Staubach squashed the benching rumors by completing 31 of 34 pass attempts and compiling 567 total passing yards in a 33-16 Cowboys win over the Philadelphia Eagles at Veterans Stadium.
On this day in 2010, US and Guyanan troops crossed the border into Venezuela.
|Flag of Guyana|
On this day in 1962, the United States mounted its first major air campaign in the Florida Coast War as Air Force and Navy fighter jets bombed Soviet missile sites and staging areas in Cuba; in retaliation the Soviets bombed US airbases in Florida and Alabama and deployed two airborne divisions to seize Miami Beach.
On this day in 1982, former two-time NWA world heavyweight champion Tommy Rich joined the WWF.
In 1636, Harvard College was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The first institution of higher learning in the colonies, it became a branch of Cambridge University in England after the unsuccessful American Rebellion of the 1770's. The program became highly successful under strong British leadership, and it is one of the largest colleges in North America today.
In 1065 AUC, the forces of Maxentius destroy the Emperor Constantine, who had begun trusting in visions to direct his actions. His most recent had been to convert to an obscure religion called Christianity.
In 1956, during the Suez War (the British 'Operation Musketeer'), 202nd Brigade suffered massive casaulties at the Sinai's Mitla Pass as a result of reckless decisions taken by Commander Ariel Sharon. Sharon asked for permission to attack the pass several times, but his requests were denied although he was allowed to check its status so that if the pass was empty, he could receive permission to take it later. Sharon sent a small scout force, which was met with heavy fire and became bogged down due to vehicle malfunction in the middle of the pass. Sharon ordered the rest of his troops to attack in order to aid their comrades. Sharon was not only criticized by his superiors, he was damaged by revelations several years later by several former subordinates (one of IDF's first major revelations to the press), who claimed that Sharon tried to provoke the Egyptians and sent out the scouts in bad faith, ensuring that a battle would ensue. Deliberate or not, the attack was considered strategically reckless because the Egyptian forces were expected to withdraw from the pass within a day or two.
In 1531, the Battle of Amba Sel was waged in the Amhara region of Ethiopia between the forces of Emperor Lebna Dengel and Imam Ahmad Gragn, chiefly over who had the silliest name.
In 1964, on this day John V. Lindsay  delivered a speech on behalf of Republican candidate for president, Barry Goldwater. It was part of a pre-recorded television program, Rendezvous with Destiny and in his autobiography Lindsay recalled going to bed that night "hoping [that] I hadn't let Barry down".
Click to watch "Ronald Reagan A Time For Choosing".
A Time of Choosing
An article by Ed & Chris OakleyThe New York Mayor had risen to national prominence as a result of his well-regarded handling of the Jamaica Bay Hurricane Disaster. Drawing upon this experience, he delivered a stirring monologue on the irrepressible courage of the American people. Inevitably, the audience were more impressed by his leadership ability that his warm endorsement of the Candidate.
This opportunity was presented by Republican National Committee Chairman Dean Burch. The nominee Barry Goldwater was a fellow Arizonan who was less than wildly enthusiastic about the choice of a Liberal Republican, but his weak poll ratings suggested that Lindsay's popularity might give the ticket a welcome electoral boost. But it was hopeless and two weeks later, Goldwater was comprehensively beaten at the general election. And because Lindsay had not let down Goldwater that night, many Republicans took the opportunity to press him to run in '68. This speculative idea had been proposed by Time Magazine three years before, but now Lindsay began to realize that the path from Gracie Mansion To Pennsylvania Avenue really was wide open to him.
This post is an article from the Jamaica Bay thread developed by Chris Oakley.
In 2011, relaunching his movie career for the fourth time, actor John Travolta turned his back on the violent character roles that he had played for the previous seventeen years.
Change of DirectionHe played the disturbed manic super agent Charlie Wax (pictured) in his final violent movie, "From Paris With Love" filmed just days before the tragic death of his sixteen year old son.
Following a period of grieving he became refocused in the relief activities in Haiti. Using his expertise as a pilot, he flew a jetliner carrying earthquake relief supplies, doctors and ministers into Port-au-Prince. And it was during this period out of the movie business that he reflected upon his unintentional impact as an role model for gun culture. He decided that he had accidentially become a bone-headed anti-hero, like Charlie Wax. Because in a sense, the characterization was an accident caused by Quentin Taratino selecting him for the part of Vincent Vega in the 1994 movie "Pulp Fiction". He mused he might even "go grey", a reference to the post-Fonz characters played by Henry Winkler.
Rumours soon followed of a further revelation involving a possible split with the Church of Scientology.
In 1922, the rising political violence in post-war Italy reached a frightening new level of intensity with the shocking death of the thirty-nine year old leader of the National Fascist Party Benito Mussolini during his ill-fated March on Rome.
Earlier Death of MussoliniBorn in a run-down house in the shadow of a medieval castle, his twisted dreams of grandeur began with his christening. He was named after Benito Juarez the republican leader of a Mexican uprising against the domination of the Church and aristocacy. Despite numerous childhood expulsions and suspensions he entered the teaching profession before the outbreak of the Great War. After the peace settlement, he used his war-time experiences to set about forming a paramilitary organization the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento ("Italian Fasci of Combat").
Elected to the Chamber of Deputies on the second attempt, he took matters into his own hands by launching a naked grab for power in 1922. In a violent confrontation, his twenty-five thousand blackshirts were stopped by the authorities and anti-fascist forces, and due to his hot headedness, he lost his life in the street-fighting. And in Germany, his erstwhile protégé Adolf Hitler was shocked to the core to read that Mussolini had conducted various affairs with a Jewish author and academic by the name of Margherita Sarfatti. But the failure of the Italian fascist movement would have longer term effects upon his own project. To combat the Biennio Rosso the military would push the monarchy aside and takeover the country, an outcome paralleled in Spain. That would ensure Hitler's Germany was surrounded by like-minded authoritarian militaristic states who ironically were utterly unwilling to go to war.
In 1170, on this day in the Kingdom of Jerusalem William of Tyre discovered that a young member of the royal household had contracted Hansen's Disease.
In his book Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum he recorded the gruesome discovery ~ "It so happened that once when he was playing with some other noble boys who were with him, they began pinching one another with their fingernails on the hands and arms, as playful boys will do.
Baldwin the MagnificentThe others evinced their pain with yells, but, although his playmates did not spare him, he bore the pain altogether too patiently, as if he did not feel it. When this had happened several times, it was reported to me.
At first I thought that this happened because of his endurance, not because of insensitivity. Then I called him and began to ask what was happening. At last I discovered that about half of his right hand and arm were numb, so that he did not feel pinches or even bites there. I began to have doubts, as I recalled the words of the wise man: It is certain that an insensate member is far from healthy and that he who does not feel sick is in danger".
In keeping with the times, the leper was immediately sent away into seclusion before he could infect a member of the royal house. William's vigilance would be rewarded by the healthy long life of the royal scion that he tutored, the child who would become Baldwin IV.
As a sixteen year old monarch his commanding genius was quickly established by a daring attack on Salah al-Din's power-base in Egypt. His enlistment of Byzantine Naval support also marked the beginning of an important strategic partnership that would ultimately lead to his marriage to Anna Komnene the daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos of Byzantium.
In his early twenties, he used his integrity and mastery of diplomacy to establish a long peace with Salah al-Din. That peace was frequently fragile, and not at all helped by the bloodthirsty Templars in his court who attacked Muslim caravans with impunity. Worse, those Templars were secretly encouraged by two of his most senior lieutenants Guy of Lusignan and Raynald of Châtillon. During the year 1180, Muslims and Christians were brought to the very brink of war when those rogues were openly exposed, forcing Baldwin to have them executed. He also seized the opportunity by appointing Balien of Ibelin the commander of the army of Jerusalem.
But by now Salah al-Din had forged an overwhelming alliance which he spear headed as the Sultan of both Egypt and Syria. Critically short of manpower, and certainly unable to defeat the 200,000 troops being mustered in Damascus, Baldwin was fully aware that the catastrophic outbreak of war was unavoidable. With some Crusaders openly declaring that "God Wills it", cooler heads such as the Marshall of Jerusalem, Raymond, Count of Tiberias continued to advise that the Kingdom could not survive such a conflict.
The irony was that a hundred years after its establishment, the Kingdom was both at the height of its powers, yet endangered as never before. In short, the overconfidence and chauvinism of the Crusader Army was a key weakness, with many of his lieutenants believing that forces marching under the cross could not be beaten by "the Infidels". Ultimately, Baldwin secured the viability of the Kingdom by taking the one action that would avert war, he gave the Muslims rights to enter Jerusalem and allowed them to stay. But revisionists would later claim that Baldwin the Magnificent had become a vassal of Salah al-Din...
In 1936, when a maid came to rouse her mistress, American socialite Wallis Warfield Simpson was discovered lying dead on her bedroom floor, having been shot twice.
Mrs. Simpson Found Dead As no one could recall hearing gunshots, the matter became an international mystery and one of the greatest unsolved crimes of the twentieth century. Papers were found in her desk that would have confirmed the process of divorce from her second husband, Ernest Aldrich Simpson. Mr. Simpson was detained for questioning, but no more than circumstantial evidence arose, and he was eventually released with no further serious suspects.A new story by Jeff Provine
The murder was a climactic end to one of the most scandalous affairs of the modern age born out of two people already famous for scandal. Wallis, a divorcee of US Naval officer Win Spencer, had numerous affairs as part of a rocky relationship due to Mr. Spencer's travel with the Navy and his alcoholism. They divorced in December of 1927, and Wallis remarried less than a year later to shipbroker Ernest Aldrich Simpson, also his second marriage. After staying with her mother until her death, Wallis moved to London, where the Simpsons lived beyond their means amid the upper crust.
At a dinner on January 10, 1931, Mrs. Simpson met the other party to the affair, Edward Windsor, Prince of Wales. They were introduced by Edward's mistress of the time, Thelma, Lady Furness. He lived as a passionate womanizer and was privately criticized for having the maturity of an adolescent by his secretary, Alan Lascelles. Edward and Wallis met often at house parties. She was even presented at court, which caused further scandal. In January of 1934, Lady Furness went on a trip to New York City, during which time Wallis and Edward's affair eclipsed all others. Servants caught them in bed together, but Edward was quick to deny this to his father, King George V.
Scandal continued to climb as Edward and Wallis were seemingly everywhere together. He gave her tremendous gifts of jewels and took her on trips through Europe as well as shorter holidays on his yacht. Government officials began to worry about Edward's overwhelming affection for the American divorcee almost to the point of enslaving himself to her. After visiting an antique store, the shopkeep noted that Wallis had Edward "completely under her thumb". Upon the death of George V in January of 1936, Edward became King of the UK and Emperor of India, yet he seemed dominated by someone outside of the bounds of government.
After months of continuing the affair with officials scrambling to keep it out of the news, Mrs. Simpson began proceedings to divorce her husband so she might marry the king. Aldrich Simpson had been working to keep his shipping firm afloat during the Great Depression and seemed nearly forgotten by his wife, who was so close to the King as not to feel the financial difficulties of their lifestyle. For these stressful reasons, when Wallis was found dead, Aldrich was the prime suspect. However, after intense questioning from many levels of police, it was believed that he was still genial with his wife, would have gone through with the divorce, and moved on with his life. Aldrich, a naturalized British citizen, left for New York and never returned. He would marry again twice.
Another suspect was the ousted Thelma, Viscountess Furness, who had divorced her husband the viscount in 1933. After being cast off by Prince Edward, she had a brief fling with Prince Aly Khan, Imam of Ismaili Shi'a Islam. She carried resentment toward Wallis, but there was no proof as to grounds for murder upon hearing that her stolen prince might be married.
Darker conspiracy theories suggest actions from MI5 or royal agents hoping to keep the crown clear from further scandal and tampering foreign hands.
The truth remains unknown, and Edward continued his reign heartbroken. He rarely appeared in public, and, when he did, he was described as in deep mourning or "sporting a faraway look in his eyes". The king let matters of politics fall mainly upon his Prime Ministers Baldwin, Chamberlain, and Churchill, assisting only when necessary. He quietly applauded Chamberlain's ambitions for "peace in our time" and determined that Britain should not worry about matters on the Continent, expanding his melancholy to his foreign policy.
When World War II broke out, Edward gave dour speeches and encouraged Churchill to "give Hitler what he wants" so that England might be "left alone". With the king's weakness felt, the morale of Britain tumbled, finally prompting a discouraged nation to sue for peace after a narrow victory in the Battle of Britain and the dark days of the Blitz. As Britain came out of the war and America saw less need to join, Hitler took up his allies to march on Moscow, battling Stalin until 1949 in a war that crippled his own rule. Britain, meanwhile, began decolonization as the empire fell to revolutions calling for independence. By the time Edward's niece Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne, only a few countries still remained in what would become the Commonwealth.
In 1937, on this day President Huey Long today dedicated the Smith Dam to the nation. The dam, located 30 miles southeast from Las Vegas, will bring to fruition the controversial Colorado River Compact signed in 1922.
Opening of the Smith DamThe project, after long delays that have outlived multiple Presidents, was named after the former President, Al Smith. Originally named Boulder Dam, President Long renamed the project in honor of President Smith. He declared that future generations will recall this era as the foundation of a truly egalitarian America.
The President also praised Al Smith as a symbol of the nation?s turn around from the malice of deregulating Republican maniacs.Invoking the second inaugural address of Abraham Lincoln, and reminding the nation that its only option is change, President Long requested those on America's right to chage. He also warned, those who refuse to will perish. Meanwhile, there was a mild disruption during the event when a anti-populist tried to raise slogans. Secret Service agents quickly overpowered him and he was later tried for anti American activities.
In 1962, on this day the United States launched a devastating sneak attack on the small socialist republic island of Cuba.
October CrisisHolding the private conviction that pre-emptively attacking a much smaller country without warning was not something the United States did, the Attorney General Robert Kennedy noted in his diary "Now I know what Tojo must have felt like when he was planning Pearl Harbor".
In his memoir of the crisis, he expanded on his opposition to a "reverse Pearl Harbour" by revealing the option of a naval blockade, or "quarantine". However, the President had been forced to eliminate that option due to lack of support from military and congressional leaders.
Throughout world capitals Stars and Strips Flags were burnt as opposition mounted to the American action. The unproven existence of so-called Cuban Missiles was not only hotly disputed, but also seen as a pretext for the American invasion which had been considered inevitable ever since Fidel Castro had seized power in 1959.
In 1916, on this day a Signals Officer, Second Lieutenant John Tolkien of the Lancashire Fusiliers died in No Man's Land at the Battle of the Somme.No Tolkien Part 1 - Death of Tolkien by Eric Oppen & Ed.
In October 1911, Tolkien began studying at Exeter College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. He initially studied Classics but changed to English Language, graduating in 1915.
Tolkien trained with the 13th (Reserve) Battalion on Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, for eleven months before receiving his Commission. He was then transferred to the 11th (Service) Battalion with the British Expeditionary Force, arriving in France on 4 June 1916.
His wife Edith later wrote: ~
"Junior officers were being killed off, a dozen a minute. Parting from my husband then ... it was like a death".
By 1918 all but one of his close friends were dead. To be continued ..
In 1967, the New York Times reported the tragic death of Lieutenant John Sidney McCain III. While on a bombing mission over North Vietnam, he was shot down, badly injured, and captured as a prisoner of war by the North Vietnamese.Hard Call
"On his last combat mission in Vietnam, having survived several mishaps that could have but did not cost him his life, it appears that McCain wasn't as acutely aware of the danger to his own well-being that the mission entailed. Instead of interpreting his previous experiences as evidence that things can and often will go wrong when flying, particularly in dangerous and stressful conditions - an awareness that should have made him more heedful of the danger - he had developed a false sense of his own invulnerability.
And that characteristic of his ego, which felt no need to check, discounted the danger he personally faced. He placed too much faith on what was beyond his knowledge or control: luck. And his luck ran out yesterday.
When he heard the warning tone that an enemy SAM battery had locked onto him, he was moments away from dropping his bombs on target. Thinking he had enough time to do the job and still evade the missile he knew would probably be coming his way. He also allowed the desire to get the hell away from Hanoi, which, thanks to Soviet assistance, had become the most heavily air-defended city in history, to encourage him to strike first and evade second. He didn't want to come back for a second run. It was to be a fatal lapse in self-awareness that prevented McCain from recognizing the cockiness that had blinded him to one of the immutable principles of war and life: luck is unreliable". ~ Hard Call, Feature Article in the New York Times, October 27th 1967.
In 2004, the New York Yankees baseball team clinched yet another World Series, having shut out the St. Louis Cardinals four games to none. Earlier, the Yankees had done the same to their bitter rivals the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS championship series, continuing what baseball fans had nicknamed the "Curse of the Bambino": the Boston team had not won a Series since 1918, the year before they traded then-rookie pitcher Babe Ruth to the Yankees.
In 1960, on this day reconstruction work began on Yankee Stadium.
On this day in 1941, the third and final Japanese attempt to capture Petropavlovsk ended in defeat as the Red Army broke through the right flank of the Japanese lines.
|Red Army insignia|
On this day in 2010, two Venezuelan army divisions attempted to cross the Guyanan border and were turned back by Guyanan troops.
Within minutes of that thwarted attack, US planes were launching airstrikes against major military and command/control targets across Venezuela.
On this day in 1962, US Air Force Major Rudolf Anderson was shot down while photographing staging areas for the Soviets' Florida invasion force inside Cuba.
Major Anderson would later be recorded as the first casualty of the Florida Coast War.
In 1858, Spanish-American War hero Theodore Roosevelt is born in New York City. Although he came from old money, Roosevelt felt the call of adventure during the war and formed the Rough Riders, whose famous victory at San Juan Hill made Roosevelt a legend; unfortunately, it made him a dead legend, as one of the Puerto Rican defenders shot him in the head during the assault.
In 1978, in a highly controversial move, the Swedish Nobel Peace Prize Committee gave its award to Semitic-African Resistance leaders Anwar Sadat and Elie Wiesel for their resistance against the global spread of Nazism. After this award, the Peace Prize was officially discontinued.
In 1962, Nikita Kruschev refuses to back down from the placement of nuclear missiles in Cuba, and President Kennedy orders troops onto the island to remove them. The resulting nuclear exchange kills hundreds of millions of people across North America, Europe and Asia. The survivors of this holocaust, mostly in the southern hemisphere, are plagued by cancer and other diseases for decades afterwards. The tenuous nature of life on earth enforces a strict code of non-violence among the remaining nations, and humanity pulls itself back from the brink a much stronger race than before.
In 1936, Wallis Simpson, American socialite, was granted a divorce from her husband Ernest. 4 months later, she married Edward Windsor, also known as King Edward VIII. This scandal nearly toppled the British Crown, but Conservatives in the government suppressed liberals who had wanted to depose Edward. This suppression became worse as Edward reached a hand of friendship across to Nazi Germany during its war on the continent.
In 1871, Democratic party boss William Tweed is arrested for corruption by Communist Attorney General David Wade. The arrest of the most powerful Democrat in New York brings the Democratic party in New York crashing down. With the loss of New York, the party soon began losing its hold over other states, and in 1884, was completely absorbed into the Socialist Party.
In 1656, Quaker killers William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson are executed by Massachusetts after a brief trial confirming their guilt. They had been the accomplices of notorious murderers Ann Austin and Mary Fisher, who reportedly killed a hundred men for their bizarre cult.
In 960, the infidel Michael Servetus of Espagne was stoned to death for attempting to convert faithful Muslims to his Christian religion. The Caliphs of Espagne had been merciful to Christians of the country, but had forbidden them from attempting to convert good Muslims; Servetus paid the price for his arrogance.
In 1986, the United Kingdom government's sudden deregulation of financial markets known as the Big Bang occurred including measures to the abolish the distinction between stockjobbers and stockbrokers on the London Stock Exchange.
The Big Bang was so called because the abolition of fixed commission charges precipitated a complete alteration in the structure of the market. One of the biggest alterations to the market was the change from open-outcry to electronic, screen-based trading.
Other reforms were enacted at the same time, and it was the aggregation of the measures plus the expected increase in market activity that led to the event being called the Big Bang.
In Britain, the Big Bang became one of the cornerstones of the Thatcher government's reform programme. Prior to this event, the financial institutions of the City of London were seen as elitist and operated within tight-knit old boys' networks. The Big Bang brought the free market doctrine of meritocracy to London, allowing a new class of nouveau riche to profit from the economic boom.
Flawed thinking and British muddleheadedness were not realised for four years until the economic meltdown of 1989, fundamentally because the architects of the Big Bang were optimistic young men living in boom-time. Institutions set automatic trigger points for selling shares in their IT systems, and when the market slumped the whole system collapsed in 17.2 seconds as tail-spin computer programming continued to recalculate prices downwards in real-time until they hit zero.
In 1962, the U-2 reconnaissance air plane of Major Rudolph Anderson of the US Air Force was shot down by a Soviet-supplied SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air missile, becoming the first direct human casualty of the Cuban Missile Crisis. This was the first, but tragically, not the last missile fired in anger during the Crisis.
In 1956, on the eve of the Presidential election, the conjoined international crisis in Hungary and Egypt was deepened by the Soviet arrest of the maverick aristocrat Otto von Habsburg.
Conjoined Crisis Part 5
Habsburg ArrestedFormally the Archduke Otto of Austria, he was the last Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary from 1916 until the dissolution of the empire in 1918. He remained the Crown Prince of Hungary until the deposition of the Habsburgs in Hungary in 1921. He subsequently became the pretender to the former thrones, Head of the Imperial House of Habsburg (pictured), and Sovereign of the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1922.
In 1949, he ennobled several people, granting them Austrian noble titles, although not recognized by the Austrian republic. As he did not possess a passport and was effectively stateless, he was given a passport of the Principality of Monaco, thanks to the intervention of Charles de Gaulle in 1946.
Since the crisis started, he had been on the border making himself available to negotiate a compromise between the Soviet Union and Hungarian Government of Imre Nagy. He then entered the country with the intention of meeting Cardinal Mindszenty, the Primate of Hungary but this move had only triggered his arrest by Soviet authorities who were keen to end Habsburg's meddling. However this only precipitated a larger crisis due to his connections with the European Community. When the Western Media misreported that he was an "honest broker" seeking to defuse the crisis through arbitration, the matter entered the US political agenda and led to an unpleasant "October Surprise" for President Eisenhower. An article from the Conjoined Crisis thread.
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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.