Confederate Memorial Day

26th April
Confederate Memorial Day official holiday and/or observance day in parts of the U.S. South as a day to honor those who died fighting for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. Nine states officially observe Confederate Memorial Day: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
Although some states celebrate other dates, April 26 is generally adopted being the anniversary of Confederate General Johnston's final surrender to General Sherman at Bennett Place, North Carolina (being the site of the largest surrender of Confederate soldiers ending the American Civil War). For many in the South, that marked the official end of the Civil War.

And twelve months later, the Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus, Georgia passed a resolution to set aside one day annually to memorialize the Confederate dead. Tens of thousands of Southern women commemorated the first Confederate Memorial Day, however some in the northernmost portions of the South did not participate because their flowers were not yet in bloom.

A short reflection upon the corruption of the Southern Chivalry Myth, from Page to 'O Connore and McCarthy

The Civil War saw America confronting Evil for the first time. I use the capital E because the subject we discuss is one of the most ancient and hateful manifestation of Evil: slavery.

Historians still discuss the causes of the Civil War, but there’s a common consent over the fact that slavery was the escalating source of political tensions in the 1850s. All the alleged violations of the rights of Southern states contained in the South Carolina’s Declaration of Secession were related to slavery and only after the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution was passed by the U.S. Congress on July 25, 1861 the need for preserving the Union became a central issue together with the abolition of slavery.

Actually, slavery could be difficultly maintained (Great Britain had abolished it in 1834) in a Country whose legal system recognized, in the Declaration of Independence, that all men have been created equal. The aftermath of the United States v. The Libellants and Claimants of the Schooner Amistad (40 U.S. 518 – 1841) allowed the wise men to easily foresee a future destiny of slavery’s abolition.

So slavery as an ancestral expression of Evil: the cruel wish to turn other human beings into things, and possess and buy and sell them erasing their humanity. That was the real enemy the Unionists had to fight on the battlefield. After the stakes of Gettysburg and Shiloh were extinguished, among the Southern people that enemy turned into Guilt. But how much had the loosers to blame themselves after hundreds of thousands of deaths, the annihilation of the old Southern Nationalism and the total collapse of their economy? After the surrender of General Lee at the McLean House on April 9, 1865 the destiny of the South followed two opposite paths: from a social, humanitarian and economic point of view things began to improve, though at a painfully slow pace; from a cultural and literary point of view the dead past resurrected in the form of the myth. The Lost Cause was born. Was the myth of Southern chivalry a faithful mirror of a real past? Were General Lee’s words to his son (“Duty is the sublimest word in the English Literature”) the echo of the real Southern soul?

An article by Pietro MontevecchioAt the time when Thomas Nelson Page wrote his Ole Virginia, the answer seemed to be positive. This refined author had given voice not only to the archetypical gentleman of the South, but even to the old good slave (the ‘darkey’) and his typical dialect. Under the eyes of the Lost Cause writers (though Mary Boykin Chesnut went far beyond him in depicting the chaos and complexity of a society at war) slavery itself could be seen as benevolent. This point of view, which actually prevented each one of these first-eye witnesses to write a Southern War and Peace, was not totally misleading. Erskine Caldwell has masterly depicted the shared poverty of the plantations, and the moving acts of generosity of the afroamerican people. The point is that all the works of Timrod, Page and Ryan, in their recounts of loss of the antebellum southern culture and, in the response to this loss, the creation of a postbellum culture of survival, totally hidden the nature of Evil.

It is with the greatest Southern writer, William Faulkner, that the burden of Guilt finally crushes all the fragile walls of the myth, bringing an entire culture on the regged edge. Absalom, Absalom! with its cruel Jacobean-like plot and obsessive stress on the depiction of archetypical crimes (the theme of the incestuous double-relation between Henry, Charles and Judith) opens wide the doors which were supposed to be shut forever and obliges us to cast an eye on the Evil which surrounds us.

All Thomas Stupen’s efforts to start a dynasty, that is something which is destined to survive, are condemned to failure and even the close tight between Charles and Henry ends with the latter killing the former (an act which finds a parallel in Conrad’s ‘Karain’). Crime is without forgiveness.

This earthquake also ruins the traditional pillars of narrative techniques: double-oblique narration and flashbacks deceive the reader and witness the impossibility of truth.

Cormac McCarthy, the greatest living American writer, in his Outer Dark adds an essential gloss to Faulkner’s masterpiece. McCarthy tells again a story of incest between a brother, Culla, and a Sister, Rinthy, but in his novel Evil acquires a non-Augustenan, non-Thomistic nature. The damned trinity of knights who bring death all around the Appalachian rural villages and finally kill the product of the guilt, shows that Evil is not simply the absence of Good, but a real presence, a sort of travel-mate which constantly walks at our side.

The Lost Cause is definitively lost. Evil triumphs.

Walk the Line


“We should have freed the slaves, THEN fired on Fort Sumter.” (Lieutenant General James Longstreet, Gettysburg, 1993)

Whatever might have happened to the CSA if “The Little Pale Star from Georgia” Alexander Stephens acceded the office of “Vice President of the Confederate States of America” is open to debate – however, after most future states of the temporary CSA already had seceded from the Union and Stephens was on his way to deliver a speech in Savannah, Georgia, he unexpectedly died of exhaustion on March 20th, 1861, four weeks before the war broke out.
Stepping into his role was Judah P. Benjamin who was inaugurated on April 26th, 14 days after Beauregard accepted the surrender of Fort Sumter. The former designated Secretary of War of the CSA was strongly opposed against that what was to be known as Stephens’ Swan Song – his “cornerstone” of the CSA, slavery on grounds of racial superiority of the Whites.

If this was a personal conviction of Benjamin or political consideration is not clear, however, the diplomats chosen by him en route to persuade the major European powers to acknowledge the CSA had a clear announcement in their diplomatic bag: the South would abolish slavery.

An alternate history by Dirk PuehlWhile the Southern soldiers pushed North during the first months of war and pressed the Federals hard, Benjamin’s diplomatic corps negotiated with both Great Britain and France an agreement – both would acknowledge the CSA as a sovereign state as soon as they had abolished the inanely atavistic idea of slavery, guaranteed taking on an immense governmental debt for taking over Great Britain’s imports that went so far into the Union and suspending the Monroe Doctrine if France continued his invasion of Mexico.

When news of this plan leaked out of inner governmental and military circles, the Confederate’s Western border states, Georgia and Texas almost ran amok. Stephens’ speech about the cornerstone of the Confederacy being based on slavery was published in most newspapers, the governors of states like Alabama and Mississippi threatened to secede from the Confederacy and called for early elections.

The Union victory at Pittsburg Landing in April 1862 made most of the involved parties reconsider the facts. With the losses suffered in battle, the Western CSA grew cautious in seceding again, while the Europeans asked themselves if they had picked the right horse. It was time for Benjamin to goad President Davies into action. The Richmond Emancipation Proclamation was issued immediately after the Battle of Sharpsburg on October 1st 1862, while French and British naval formations were already at sea, positioned along the vital trade lines to protect them from eventual Union commerce raiders and to the Eastern seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico to end the blockade imposed by the Federals. Emperor Napoleon III of France acknowledged the CSA on October 16th, Palmerston’s government followed three days later. While a war with the Europeans on top of the Civil War was the last thing President Lincoln wanted, things went arse over tip in the Confederacy. Governor Francis Lubbock declared that Texas’ secession from the Confederacy with immediate effect, withdrawing Texan troops from the Eastern theatre of the war to “protect the homeland from restless natives and the French” and to invade Kansas. Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia followed while Arkansas rejoined the Union. The relatively straightforward frontlines of the Civil War had become a hardly understandable patchwork within a month and nobody exactly knew who was at war with whom anymore within four weeks.

The USA and what was left of the CSA at least negotiated an armistice by Christmas 1862 to sort things out after New York finally had left the Union and joined the Confederates with the Royal Navy guaranteeing the city’s safety from repercussions by the Federals. What followed was the chaos that minted the continent from Yucatan to the Canadian Border until the end of the century.

Booth Evades Capture


After mortally wounding Abraham Lincoln, famed actor John Wilkes Booth leaped gracefully onto the stage of Ford's Theater, landing uninjured while announcing to the audience, "Sic semper tyrannis!" During the chaos, he made his escape out the back door, adding, "The South is avenged!"
Federal troops poured into southern Maryland in pursuit, and a $100,000 reward was offered for information leading to his capture. They followed his trail to Virginia, where Booth was spotted on April 26 in the tobacco barn of farmer Richard H. Garrett. After a brief shootout with intelligence officers under Everton Conger, Booth again escaped on horseback while his accomplices were captured.
Booth fled deep into Virginia, disappearing forever. Many cases of "Booth-fever" would lead to numerous captures of innocent men, and it was believed that Booth was able to escape out of the newly reunited country or out west, living among miners and ranchers who had never heard of his fame. Because of his acting abilities, there would be a great deal of theories about where he could have ended up. Other theories suggested he died attempting to ford rivers under the cover of darkness while still others hold that enraged Southerners, whether white or black, killed him on sight and did not leave enough remains to identify.

An alternate history by Professor Jeff ProvineOne year later, in Columbus, Georgia, the Ladies Memorial Association determined that a day should be set aside for remembrance of the Southern dead in the Civil War. Elizabeth Ellis chose the day April 26, referring to General Johnston's surrender, but soon Booth's disappearance came to mind. After proper review the Association determined the memorial would be held for all dead, including a special commemoration of President Abraham Lincoln. Flowers were placed on graves both Confederate and Union while a wreath was dispatched to Illinois. Booth ironically contributed to great healing between the two halves of the American nation.

The Arrests in Columbus


On this day Yankee soldiers arrested Mrs. Elizabeth Rutherford Ellis and other senior members of the Ladies Memorial Association in Columbus, Georgia. The ladies had called for a Confederate Memorial Day on April 26th, scheduled to coincide with General Johnston's surrender at Bennett Place.
But the White House considered it a step too far.

And to emphasize the point, a draconian ban was also put in place that outlawed the waving of the Confederate Flag, wearing of Dixie Uniforms or engaging in any form of re-enactment or commemoration whatsover.
The suppression of these freedoms would of course have long term effects upon the pursuit of liberty. An alternate historyBy the second decade of the twenty-first century, President Michelle Obama would call for the banning of any form of foodstuff considered likely to lead to obesity. That announcement was made from the McDonald's store on Pennsylvania Avenue where the First Family indulged in a sugar free salad without dressing.

Arrests at the Central Cafe, Part 2


The assassin Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili disembarked from the Krakow train at Vienna's North Terminal station. Of dark complexion, he sported a large peasant's moustache and carried a very basic wooden suitcase. Inside was a passport bearing the false name Stavros Papadopoulos, because "Agent Koba" was in fact on the official bloody business of the Central Committee of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. And so he was met at the station by a "junior" party official N.I. Bukharin whose only real involvement was that he had recently agreed to start writing for a left-wing magazine called Proveshchenie ("Enlightenment").

Bukharin took him to the lodgings of a "senior" party member - Leon Bronstein - who was inner circle, not only a powerful figure but also the editor of a radical newspaper called Pravda or "Truth".
In his diary that evening he recorded the encounter "I was sitting at the table, when the door opened with a knock and an unknown man entered. He was short.. thin.. his greyish-brown skin covered in pockmarks.. I saw nothing in his eyes that resembled friendliness".
Of course to the Imperial Police tasked with maintaining law and order in polyglot Vienna, all three men where subversive intellectuals. But these members of the underworld were linked by an ulterior purpose. Because Agent Koba had been sent to assassinate Emperor Franz Joseph and in so doing drag Austria-Hungary and Tsarist Russia into an imperialist war that would overthrow the status quo.

An alternate history But of course these men were only allied by the mutuality of their frustrated ambitions. When the "Usual Suspects" were rounded up in the Café Central, they decided to break with their backers and overthrow the Habsburgs their own way. In this venture, they were joined by a cell mate, Adolf Schicklegruber, who had decided to revert his family after receiving the counselling of Dr Sigmund Freud woh advocated a fresh start. And when Freud was shot dead by Austrian Police, his furious anger propelled him into the leadership of this new revolutionary cell...

The Bay of Pigs, Redux


A group of Hispanic insurgents led by Ernesto "Che" Guevara land at the Bay of Pigs with the aim of forcing the secession of the 49th State of Cuba. Because statehood on January 1, 1959 had escalated rising tensions on the island that had been building ever since the conclusion of the Spanish-American War. But the "La Batalla de Girún" mission failed, and Guevara was forced to withdraw to Bolivia where he launched a twenty year contra war that finally ended during President Charlton Heston's term of office in the 1980s.
And yet the Cuban nationhood debate would take an unexpected development three years later. In 1964, the youthful and charismatic Lieut. Gov. Fidel Castro of Cuba was elected to the U.S. Senate. Castro, a former law student who entered politics in the 1950s, would be an impassioned voice for America's growing Spanish-speaking populace, and would be one of the sponsors of the Senate resolution formally granting statehood to the Philippines.
In the Senate, Castro would start out as a solidly moderate Democrat who initially supported the war in Vietnam, but will grow disillusioned, finally announcing his outright opposition in 1969. An alternate historyHis change of heart would anger many conservatives in his home state, sparking a challenge from Republican Rep. Fulgencio Batista, a decorated Korean War veteran, in 1970. Sen. Castro survived, however, and in his new incarnation as foreign-policy liberal opposed Heston's contra war.

In 2000, in a hotly-contested election, Democratic nominee Fidel Castro narrowly defeated former Texas governor George W. Bush to win the U.S. presidency, becoming the first native Spanish-speaker to hold that office. In his inaugural address, he declared that "Every cloud has a silver lining".

Birth of James Buchanan


American statesman James Buchanan, Jr. born to parents of Ulster Scots descent in a log cabin in Cove Gap, Franklin County, Pennsylvania. During an unstable period of vacillating national leaders, he stood out as as one of the few national politicians willing to take a principled stand on the integrity of the Union.
After a successful career in local politics he was elected to the Senate and later became the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations. Offered a position on the Supreme Court, he declined and served as Secretary of State under President Polk despite objections from Buchanan's rival, Vice President George Dallas.
During this term of office he helped negotiate the 1846 Oregon Treaty which establishing the 49th parallel as the northern boundary of the western U.S.

He then served as minister to the Court of St. James's helping to draft the Ostend Manifesto. This document proposed the purchase from Spain of Cuba, then in the midst of revolution and near bankruptcy, declaring the island "as necessary to the North American republic as any of its present .. family of states". Against his recommendation, the final draft of the Manifesto suggested that "wresting it from Spain" if Spain refused to sell would be justified "by every law, human and Divine". When this clause was acted upon by the Pierce administration he resigned and returned to retirement with his beloved wife Anne [1] at his home in the Wheatland. He died in 1868. Of course long before then he had been vindicated because the slave island of Cuba became central to the disputes between the States.

Birth of Baron Jean de Batz


on this day French royalist and businessman Jean Pierre de Batz, Baron de Sainte-Croix was born at Goutz-les-Tartas, in the Gers region of south-western France.
Under the Constituent Assembly, his reputation as a financier got him elected to the liquidation committee, which was responsible for clearing public accounts. At the same time, he became a secret adviser to Louis XVI (pictured), in whose employ he received large payments for these services.
An alternate history After the abolition of the monarchy in 1792 Baron de Batz became one of the leading members of the secret royalist movement in Paris. And on January 21, 1793, Batz he managed to raise the crowd in boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle in order to save the king from execution. Also, he managed to replace Marie Antoinette's guards with his own men, smuggling the Queen across the English Channel and into comparative safety.

But unfortunately for the well-intentioned Baron, these reprieves merely ushered in the interregnum, an even more blood thirsty period during which the French state ripped itself to shreds and ultimately descended into civil war. Out of this chaos finally emerged a new leader called Napoleon Bonaparte.

Birth of Comrade Lenin


Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov born to a wealthy middle-class family in Simbirsk, located approximately one thousand miles east of Moscow on the Volga River.
Following the execution of his brother Sacha in 1887 he gained an interest in revolutionary leftist politics, later converting to Marxism as the fearsome revolutionary code named "Lenin". After many years and numerous false starts came the February Revolution. After the Tsar was finally overthrown and a provisional government took power he returned home.
He then took a senior role in orchestrating the October Revolution in 1917, which led to the overthrow of the Russian Provisional Government and the establishment of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, the world's first constitutionally socialist state. A workaholic he suffered very bad health in the early 1920s but managed to survive a leadership challenge from a potential rival, Comrade Stalin who advocated an alternative policy of "Communism in One Country". Instead Lenin pursued a broader agenda of World Revolution.

A second cycle of the revolutionary wheel occurred with the apparent collapse of the Imperialist Economies in 1929. Believing that this time around Germany would embrace Marxist doctrine, he sent massive aid to Ernst Thälmann and the German Communist Party (KPD) to support their 1932 putsch. But this move backfired spectacularly, because the KPD were overcome by an alliance of right wing forces led by the Nazi Party. With the tacit support of Anglo-France, the rise of Hitler saw the consolidation of a newly re-invigorated united anti-Communist Front. It would be a bitter legacy that he left to his chosen successor, Leon Trotsky.
McClellan takes Richmond


"you are green, it is true; but they are green also. You are all green alike." - Abraham Lincoln

The siege of Fort Sumter had been the first battle of the war, but the first real clash of armies would be at Manassas. The Battle of Bull Run as it would became known would be fought almost within sight of Washington, where the Virginia border border was guarded by troops under Confederate Brig. General PGT Beauregard. Beauregard was something of a celebrity among Confederates as he had also been in command at Sumter.

His Union counterpart was the rather less glamorous Brig. General Irvin McDowell, who had the unenviable task of producing the first Union victory. He was under a lot of political pressure, and it has to be said there was an element of timing as well. Most of the Union troops where 90 day volunteers, whose commissions would run out soon enough. In fact some ran out on the day of the battle.
McDowell’s strategy for the battle was to deliver a weak frontal attack as a feint, while the bulk of his troops flanked the Confederate position. It was almost too difficult for his green troops to pull of as they had not trained in such large-scale maneuvers, But they -barely- pulled it off. The unit under Colonel Sherman crossed Bull Run river and collapsed the Confederate line, Union victory seemed almost within grasp.
It was only a spirited defense by Colonel Nathan `Shanks`Evans that held the larger Union force at bay and gave Beauregard time to send increasing numbers of his troops to the flank to stem the tide.

An alternate history by Marko 'Lev' Bosscher But even before the forces at Bull Run had started engaging each other a battle of shadows was played out in Shenandoah valley. Here Joseph E. Johnston was trying to evade a larger Union army under Major General Patterson so they could join the battle and help swing the odds in the favour of the Confederates.

Johnston had managed to give Patterson the slip and his troops where already boarding trains at Piedmont station when his pickets reported Union troops approaching. Thinking they were scouts, or the vanguard Johnston dispatched two regiments of his second brigade to repulse them and buy time for his troops to board.

These two regiments were however faced with Patterson´s main force and their commander Colonel Bartow quickly dispatched aides to call for reinforcements. Johnston had no choice but to dispatch the as yet unboarded 4th brigade to Bartow’s aid, and give the order for the first brigade to disembark. Those orders caused confusion among the the confederate troops with some other units also disembarking, and part of the Virginians refusing to acknowledge the order.

While Jackson was sorting out his Virginians the Confederate units in combat were getting hammered. They had marched into battle without most of their guns and were heavily outnumbered. Bartow had tried to organise a fighting retreat when he was killed and the retreat occurred in a haphazard fashion. But Patterson moved slowly to allow his force to fully form up, giving Johnston the chance to organize his defense.

As the battle over Piedmont station dragged on the Army of the Shenandoah was sorely missed by the confederates fighting at Bull Run. Although the flanking maneuver had failed to give McDowell a quick victory the numerical superiority of the Union started to push the confederates ever further back and their position was under threat of being encircled. Beauregard order a retreat to reform the line in a better position, but it was too much for the green troops of the state militia that made up most of his force. The retreat soon turned into a rout and Beauregard had to flee along with most of his men.

The battle of Piedmont station was politely called a victory, but Patterson´s delay had caused it to become an extremely bloody affair for the Union. Although the Army of the Shenandoah was destroyed and Johnston captured along with most of his men Patterson was recalled to Washington for a hero´s welcome and a ceremonial position.

McDowell only marched slowly into Virginia, fighting the occasional skirmish the Union victory would have a profound effect on the war as a whole. Kentucky and Missouri declared for the Union, and from Kentucky a relatively unknown officer named U.S. Grant started driving up the Mississippi.

Beauregard was split between organizing the defense of Richmond and trying to stop the Union from advancing unopposed into Virginia, while in Washington George B. McClellan was creating a whole new army for the Union and advancing his plans to march it on Richmond via Kanawha Valley.

McDowell may have been the hero of Bull Run, but McClellan was in Washington and he had the politicians ear. The general feeling was that McDowell was moving too slow and winning too few battles, and McClellan´s grandiose plan for a separate Army of the Potomac that would march quickly on Richmond was finding many supporters. McDowell received scarcely enough reinforcements to replace those units whose allotted 90 days were up, and this caused him to be even more sensitive to losses avoiding battle whenever possible even though he far outnumbered the confederate forces in his line of march.

When McClellan started marching the new Army of the Potomac into Virginia via the Shenandoah Valley, where he linked up with Nathalian Bank’s Department of the Shenandoah (which had been formed from Patterson’s former command) Beauregard’s dilemma became painfully obvious. If he allowed the Union armies to march unopposed Richmond would be attacked from two sides, but he did not have the men to fight both armies at the same time and at the same time keep enough men on hand to defend Richmond should either army reach it.

Deciding that offense was the only viable defense he dispatched half of his forces under General Lee to fight both Union armies, while he stayed in Richmond to oversee it’s defense.

The plan involved Lee driving back the cautious McDowell and then marching hard to intercept McClellan at Waynesboro, if pressed Lee could fall back on Charlottesville where he could receive reinforcements from Richmond.

It was perhaps the best possible plan for the impossible situation, but it misjudged both Union commanders. Beauregard had not realised that McDowell was actually eager to fight a major battle, even as he avoided minor ones. And McClellan was an efficient and driven man who above all believed in the larger-than-life image he had created of himself, with Shenandoah Valley all but abandoned by the Confederacy he marched his troops faster than anyone had anticipated.

McDowell had made a wide circle around Fredericksburg and was south of Spotsylvania when Lee approached and took up positions on Po River, forcing the time-pressed Lee to attack him across relatively open land while his artillery and part of his troops were hidden in the trees. The battle was extremely bloody for the confederates as their attacks were time and again repulsed by Union cannon opening fire from the treeline. But McDowell’s counterattacks proved to be equally vain and Lee ultimately managed to turn his flank. McDowell retreated across the Po, greatly helped by the fact that the trees obscured his movement.

McDowell had been defeated in battle, but he had won an important tactical victory for the Union. Lee’s march on Waynesboro was now out of the question as he pursued McDowell and he had lost far too many men for it it to be viable in any case.

When McClellan marched out of Shenandoah Valley it come as a rude shock to the defenders of Charlottesville who had expected Confederates rather than Union soldiers, and they abandoned Charlottesville for Richmond rather than risking battle with a superior Union force. This was the sign for Jefferson Davis to leave Richmond with the Confederate government and set up a new capital in Knoxville, it was perhaps a sensible move but one that caused much resentment. Morale in Richmond fell as many felt Davis had abandoned them. Civilians started fleeing the city in droves, joined by more than a few confederate soldiers. Desertion had been a problem for the confederacy since Bull Run and the string of Confederate defeats did little to bolster morale.

McClellan being a methodius man started investing Richmond, even as he openly talked of taking the city by storm. Beauregard tried to recall Lee to attack McClellan and lift the siege, but Lee was caught between a rock and a hard place. If he stopped pursuing McDowell the latter could reform his battered army and shadow him, to fall upon him as he engaged McClellan, but as he pursued McDowell he was moving farther and farther away from the Confederate capital. In the end it was McDowell who forced the issue, having received direct orders from Lincoln to engage the enemy at all cost he regrouped as best he could and marched against Lee.

The attack came as a complete surprise, and for a while McDowell had the upper hand. But he failed to capitalise on his advantage and gave Lee time to reorder his troops and go on the offensive, it would be the largest Confederate victory of the campaign. But it also left Lee’s force completely spent and several days march from the capital. Lee turned instead to Fredericksburg, hoping to find the troops to carry out his orders to engage McClellan.

In Richmond Beauregard tried to break the siege from the inside out, but his attempt faltered almost immediately under withering Union fire, if morale had been good the troops might have pushed on. Instead they almost broke out in open rebellion. Beauregard sought and got terms from McClellan, he and his troops were allowed to leave the city with the exception of the Virginia regiments (McClellan would later receive a personal bollocking from president Lincoln for assuming such responsibility himself).

Virginia was now securely in Union hands and things started to move rapidly. North Carolina had been the last state to secede from the Union, and with Union armies within reach of it’s border it would be the first to secede from the Confederacy. The governors of other states had been calling for Davis to step down and when he threatened to depose the governor of North Carolina by force, if the state did not formally rejoin the war effort, open rebellion broke out.

Davis stubbornly remained in office long enough for Georgia and South Carolina to renounce the Confederacy and join a mutual alliance with North Carolina, the states would aid each other in defense against any incursion from either the Confederacy or the Union.

When Davis did step down former vice-president Stephens promised elections would be held shortly, it was a political blunder. Stephens had expected to reconfirmed, but he was heavily implicated in the failing war effort. Several states put forward their own candidates, including Union-held Virginia which nominated war hero Robert E. Lee. This led to heated discussions about which states were even allowed to vote, let alone nominate candidates, while Stephens was burdened with having to restore order to the Confederate army.

While the South was bickering amongst itself the Union was stepping up the war effort. Three-year draftees had started to be summoned after Bull Run as an insurance in case the Richmond strategy failed, and these were now starting to replace the 90 day volunteers.

McClellan was in charge of holding Virginia while General Sherman, who had been promoted after Bull Run and marched with McClellan to Richmond, invaded Tennessee. In the west Grant was marching into Tennessee from the opposite side.

After several Union victories in Tennessee the Confederacy completely fell apart and the states started suing for peace. It would be a complicated peace process as none of the states now recognised Stephens’ authority. The slave-questions was effectively pushed down the line as most states, except those occupied by the Union were readmitted under the same provisions they had had before the war. The so-called “Great Southern Resurgence” an economic boom that happened ten years after the war would revive fears of a renewed secession movement, the Southern States were granted greater representation in Washington and slavery officially became a state’s issue over which the national government had no say. Although slavery died a slow death over time the last of the slavery planatations lasted well into the middle of the twentieth century.

In reality Patterson failed to check Johnston’s movements before Bull Run and these forces were vital in causing the defeat of the Union Army at Bull Run, which quenched any hopes of a quick victory. McClellan did create the Army of the Potomac, but he proved a brilliant organizer but a deeply flawed field commander. The war would last for four years and end with the total defeat of the Confederacy and widespread destruction across many Southern States leading to long-term economic depression.

British author Daniel Defoe died en route to the moon. One of the first notable Englishmen to embrace the Mlosh, Defoe wrote 30 books about them, and even lived for a few months on the colony ship in Ireland. Although most Europeans of his time feared them, he felt that they provided “the most pure adventure ever presented before mankind,” and jumped at every opportunity to convince people of it.

"Ratman" Robert A. Taylor
Robbie's #tweetfromalternatehistory now available on Twitter and his latest e-book "The Tree Of Knowledge (The Chelsea Perkins Trilogy)" on Amazon.

Thousands of meteorites rained down on Paris, France, killing 34 people and leveling buildings throughout the city. Although excited astronomers across Europe felt that they were evidence of material from outer space, the Archbishop of Paris called the judgement of God and spearheaded the angry mobbing of the Sorbonne, which had survived the meteor shower.

George Gordon Byron, an English baron, died in Paris, France of apparent alcohol poisoning. Byron had been a poet of some esteem before rumors of incest in his family drove him to exile in France, where he drank himself to death.

British novelist Benjamin Disraeli died in Beaconsfield. Although he had served as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Prime Minister Derby, his own political goals were limited by British law barring Jews from holding office in Parliament. He died before this law was finally stricken from the books in 1904.

A selection of alternate histories by Robbie Taylor 1920
Srinivasa Ramanujan emerged from surgery weak, but alive. A cancerous tumor had been removed from his stomach barely in time to keep him from dying. Ramanujan lived another thirty years, co-authoring papers with Albert Einstein and J. Michael Oppenheimer, and popularizing the teaching of special relativity in his native India.

The German Underground’s air force, the Luftwaffe, supplies air support to Spanish fascists fighting the Greater Zionist Resistance. Employeeing jet designs from 1968 supplied by their neo-Nazi benefactors, the Luftwaffe was able to smash G.Z.R. positions across Spain, one of the first G.U. victories in their long war.

The leader of the band The Clash, Joe Strummer, disappears. A month later, he is recognized at London’s Heathrow Airport, handing out flowers as a member of the Hari Krishna sect. He announces to the world that he has given up music for his new spiritual life.

President Ralph Shephard’s Constitutionalists in Congress pass the American Future Act, which, among other things, creates a separate school system for minorities, leftists and the poor. The regular school system, which consumes almost all of school funding, is only used by children of the elite; the new schools are starved of funding and are shut down completely by 1990.

There was an explosion at the Cooper Nuclear Power Plant in the Nebraska Soviet. Although only a few dozen people died in the initial blast and fire, thousands were killed by the radiation that was released, and much of America’s food supply was contaminated for years after. The Soviet States of America tried to keep it quiet, but the Mexican government reported the disaster to the world when radiation levels in their own country spiked.

Colby Ross and Samantha Robinson burn everything in their grandfathers’ hidden basement in order to prevent anyone from repeating their mistake. The two vow never again to delve into the hidden mysteries of the past, and move far away from each other.

Passing of Margaret Thatcher


Former Leader of the Conservative Party Margaret Thatcher has died. She was eighty-seven years old.

Originally a research chemist before becoming a barrister, Thatcher was elected Member of Parliament for Finchley in 1959. Edward Heath appointed her Secretary of State for Education and Science in his 1970 government. In 1975, Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election to become Leader of the Opposition and became the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. She was unlucky to have missed out on the Premiership, because of her Party's narrow defeat at the polls in the 1979 general election.
But the credibility of her leadership was undermined by a crisis in the South Atlantic. When the Argentine Junta sent invading troops to a little known British dependency that Argentina claimed to be their own (the Malvinas), Thatcher called upon Prime Minister Michael Foot to immediately dispatch a task force and reclaim the Islands for Great Britain.
But her suggested appeal to President Reagan for military support was mistaken. Having refused to accept American nuclear missiles on British bases as part of the Cold War escalation, Foot was certainly no particular friend of the US Government. However Reagan and Foot quickly established a common interest because the Argentine Junta was secretly running arms to the Contra Rebels in Nicaragua. Any attempt to prevent the Argentinian occupation of the Malvinas would terminate this gun-running activity [1].

An alternate historyUnaware of this, Thatcher derided Foot for seeking a peaceful, multi-lateral resolution in the United Nations. Take unaware by the Contra gun running, she was surprised when the parties arrived at an economically viable alternative - a buy out of relocation for sovereignty under which Islanders were suitably compensated. This was part funded by the Americans who continued the covert support into Nicaragua until the fall of the Sandinistas. And meanwhile, that summer, England won the Football World Cup in Spain and nearly everyone forget all about it. It wasn't the kind of flag-waving patriotism Margaret Thatcher had in mind, and she was forced to resign after a landslide defeat at the 1983 general election.

In reality this action actually happened, the Junta pulled the plug on the Contras in protest at the US support of British policy in the Falklands.

The Man in Black


American singer-songwriter, actor, and author John R. "Johnny" Cash born in Kingsland, Arkansas.

He was known for his deep, distinctive bass-baritone voice, for the "boom-chicka-boom" sound of his Tennessee Three backing band; for a rebelliousness, coupled with an increasingly somber and humble demeanor, for providing free concerts inside prison wall and for his dark performance clothing, which earned him the nickname "The Man in Black".
Nevertheless he found both happiness and shared musical success with his wife of forty years, June Carter Cash. Soon after they met in 1966, they recorded the timeless classic Jackson.An alternate historyA life-long advocate of the abolition of the death penalty, he was fortunate to have multiple connections into the White House. His wife was a distant cousin of Jimmy Carter. And his home in Hendersonville, twenty-five minutes north of Nashville was in the Congressional District of Al Gore, Jr. (Gore Snr. was also connected to June from her earlier performances with her legendary family on WSM radio).

Although Gore recognized that Cash was to the left of him on many issues, he appreciated his concern for liberal causes, social conditions and also wanted laws and policies that would help the poor and disadvantaged. Their policies would converge with the abolition of the death penalty, which Cash had advocated since his 1960's rendition of "25 minutes to go" a reflection of a doomed man waiting on death row. However after Gore was narrowly elected to the Presidency in 2000, this advocacy was nearly scuppered by June's near death experience from post-operative complications. Fortunately, she survived and they both spent their remaining years working alongside Gore on a national program that was ultimately successful in abolishing the death penalty.

Second City


Richard Michael Daley born in Bridgeport, an historically Irish-American neighborhood located south of the Chicago Loop. He was the fourth of seven children and eldest son of Richard J. and Eleanor Daley, the late Mayor and First Lady of America's Second City, Chicago.
He was elected fifty-fourth mayor at a moment in history when Chicago's Second City status was under pressure as never before. Of course many doom-cryers had predicted that such a decline was inevitable as far back as the 1945 World Series when the National League Chicago Cubs beat the American League Detroit Tigers [1].
However events conspired to transition the blue collar "City of Broad Shoulders" to the modern day white collar mecca "Chi-Town". Firstly, the earthquake of 1964 [2] held back the development of its rival city of Los Angeles. And secondly, his father invested all of his political capital in launching a long-term policy of suburban annexation [3] being forever associated with never-ending highway construction on I-94 through the Windy City and its suburbs [4].An alternate historyNeverthless, by the late nineteen eighties Los Angeles was fast re-emerging, and Chicagoans began to look nervously at the relative decline of St. Louis. Of course Detroit had only been saved from haunting ruin by the action of local advocates who had lobbied the United Nations into basing their head-quarters on Belle-Isle. The issue was still unresolved when Daley left office and was succeeded by Barry Soetoro. He would govern a mega-city sprawling out into much of Cook County. And the appointment of an ex-Community Organizer was an intriguing development for a city where the term "Chicago Politician" was still being used to cynically describe connections to the Mob, a throwback to the bad old days of Al Capone [5].

In authoring this article we have re-purposed content from both the Wikipedia and also Alternate History web sites. [1] in reality, they lost to the American League Detroit Tigers. [2] & [3] neither of these happened. [4] Insight from Michelle Ross and [5] Jackie Rose.

Birth of Henry IX (The Great)


Henry IXth, King of England born Henry Frederick Stuart (eldest son of James I & VI) in Stirling Castle, Scotland.

Widely seen as a bright and promising heir to his father's thrones (the central event in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was based on his royal baptismal party) he very nearly succumbed to typhoid fever at the age of eighteen.

But he survived, and as Henry IX (The Great) ascended to the throne thirteen years later, at the age of thirty-one. An obdurate Protestant with strong Calvinist leanings (when his father suggested a French marriage, he answered that he was "resolved that two religions should not lie in his bed"), he was the architect of an Anglican Ireland during his glorious thirty-five year reign. An alternate history In contrast to the other English Kings who saw Ireland as a drain on resources (tending to withdraw soon after rebellions were mercilessly crushed), he devoted considerable effort to suppressing Catholicism in Ireland. However an unintended outcome of this conversion was that the Baptist and Presbyterian denominations became seen as the "anti-English" religion, the full consequences of which would only be exposed much later with the emergence of Irish nationalism.

Robbie Taylor, Creator of Today in Alternate History Scott Palter, guest writer on Today in Alternate History Dirk Puehl, Editor of #Onthisday Professor Jeff Provine, Editor of This Day in Alternate History
Jackie Rose, guest writer on Today in Alternate History Marko Bosscher, tours Natural History museums at Eruditorum. Alternate Historian, Editor of Today in Alternate History Pietro Montevecchio, Guest Reader of #Onthisday

Today's six-way post includes contributions from Dirk Puehl, Marko Bosscher, Reverend Robbie A. Taylor, Pietro Montevecchio, Professor Jeff Provine and the Editor.

Dutch-American Friendship Day

19th April
Dutch-American Friendship Day remembers the day in 1782 when John Adams, later to become the second president of the United States, was received by the States General in The Hague and recognized as Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America.
Fifteen years later, in 2007, Congress made this a repeating commemoration, and on March 12, 2007 the House of Representative officially established Dutch-American Friendship Day:

“The U.S./Dutch relationship has stood the test of time and has strengthened in the crucible of conflict as the Dutch have stood beside us in times of peace and war. The Dutch supported us in our war for independence. Sixty years ago Dutch and American servicemen stood side by side during World War II and today the Dutch stand by us still in the Global War on Terror. The debt we owe to our Dutch friends is seen not only in our people, and in the persons of such famous Dutch Americans as Presidents Martin VanBuren, and Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, but also in our experience as a Nation. Our traditions of religious freedom and tolerance as well as our system of government, all have spiritual and legal roots in our relationship with the Dutch Republic. ”

Dutch-American Friendship Day is less well known than its cousin, Dutch-American Heritage Day (in November). Also, in April many Dutch clubs and organization in the States are focused on organizing their Queen’s Day celebration (April 30th).

It was also the day that the house he had purchased at Fluwelen Burgwal 18 in The Hague was to become the first American Embassy in the world. In 1982, two hundred years later, President Reagan proclaimed April 19, 1982, to be Dutch-American Friendship Day

The Foundation of Nieuw Zwolle and the Republic of New Holland


Things looked quite bleak at the end of the 17th century for the settlements of the Dutch West India Company’s settlements in North America. New Amsterdam, the company’s most important trade centre, was lost to the English in 1665 and it was a bold stroke that the Dutch naval captain Jurriaen Aernoutsz captured the French settlements of Acadia along the Kennebec River during the Franco-Dutch War of 1674.

Naming the place New Holland, Aernoutsz appointed a governor and went to the Dutch West Indies to find willing colonists for the WIC’s latest acquisition. Returning with a shipload of them, the experienced skipper managed to slip behind three English men-of-war out of Boston who tried to intercept him and land in what was to become the capital Nieuw Zwolle at the mouth of the Kennebec in Penobscot Bay. This day, April 19th 1674, marks the actual beginning of New Holland.

Settling various differences with His Majesty’s Colony of Massachusetts and the English, Aernoutsz and his new governor Cornelius van Steenwyk pushed northwards towards New France and the St Lawrence River valley. Without resources to speak of from the mother country, Aernoutsz rose above himself in diplomatic skill, managed to form an alliance with Massachusetts’ governor Josiah Winslow and the Iroquois Confederation and his colony of New Holland and captured Montreal in 1678 and Quebec early in 1679.
Teeth-gnashing, the French had to accept a major loss of their New France territory with the Treaty of Nijmegen. The Dutch Republic was with one stroke one of the players in the round of North American colonial powers again.
Grown rich on the fur trade, New Holland participated actively in the War of the Spanish Succession and gained the French territory of New Brunswick under the Treaty of Utrecht and the Seven Years’ War saw them expand to the Eastern shores of the Great Lakes.

The relationship between the New Hollanders and the English in Rupert’s Land on the Hudson Bay and the East Coast was never easy and took a while to heal after the colony joined the mother country in declaring war on the British during the American War of Independence, ending with a territorial status quo of the colonies after the Peace of Paris in 1783.

New Holland almost faced Civil War, when Napoleon occupied the Netherlands in 1795 between the pro-Napoleonic faction and the Onafhankelijkheid party who wanted their own, independent North American Republic. The later President of the Republic of New Holland, Willem van Steenwyk, a descendant of Cornelius, won the relatively bloodless conflict and the country was proclaimed a republic on June 21st 1796 in Nieuw Zwolle.

Relief in the Big Orange


On this day the Dutch defenders of Fort Amsterdam received first reports that the English invasion fleet had sunk in a storm. The capital of the New Netherlands had miraculously survived.

And to celebrate victory in the Third Anglo-Dutch War ten years later, the defense was renamed Fort Willem Hendrick (pictured) in honor of the Dutch leader who was Stadtholder and Prince of Orange.
An alternate history And New Amsterdam was renamed New Orange.

Due to the peaceful manner in which the region was later,transitioned to the United States, Dutch-American relationship remained warm. As a result, three hundred years later, the ten-lane elevated highway stretching from the East River to the Hudson River, connecting the Holland Tunnel on the west side to the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges to the east was named the Willem Hendrick Expressway [1].

This article is re-purposed from a post by Lord Roel on the Alternate History web site. In reality, no shots were fired on August 27, 1664, when the Dutch surrendered the fort and Manhattan in what amounted to one of the skirmishes in the bigger Second Anglo-Dutch War. The fort was renamed Fort James in honor of James II of England. New Amsterdam was renamed New York in recognition of James's title as Duke of York. [1] never built due to objections in 1962.

Steampunk America #1

Chancellor Bismarck's arrival in a steam-powered exo-skeleton upstaged the dirigibles carrying mustachio-twirling German diplomats and monocled English & French civil servants to the Colonial Conference in New Amsterdam. Which was to say nothing of the majestic dapperness of the Russian contingent. The Dutch of course were already there.
Almost inevitably, the "Scramble for America" had created a large number of boundary issues between the European Colonies. Perhaps the most pressing of which was navigation of the Mississippi River, an issue that affected the co-existence of Spain, England and France. Also required was a common approach to liquidating Lee's rebels who were believed to be holed up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia refusing to accept the dissolution of the Union.

An alternate history But the remainder were in broad agreement that a growth spurt in the European Industrial Revolution spelled domination of the Americas for the foreseeable future. Because during the last decade, neo-colonials had reversed the American revolution and re-created a patchwork of assorted states ruled by European Governors. Nothing less than an all-out invasion of the USA by Russia, France, Spain, Britain, Prussia, and the Dutch Republic...

Dutch Convoy Defeats Spain off Lizard Point


The Dutch War of Independence had dragged on for some seventy years after the lowland provinces began their attempt to break away from Spain. There were numerous reasons for the rebellion, including cultural and religious differences exacerbated by the birth of Protestantism, political ideals, and, perhaps most importantly, the growth of the Dutch economy. While Spain had made tremendous wealth by conquering the lands of the Aztecs, Inca, and others, Dutch merchants prospered greatly from the increasing maritime trade. This income fueled Dutch desires for independence as well as giving it the ability to hire, train, and outfit some of the greatest soldiers Europe had seen.
In 1637, the Dutch economy was soaring. Spanish embargoes had limited Dutch trade for some time, but victories at sea lifting river blockades in 1629 came alongside the timely end of the Polish-Swedish War, which opened the Baltic to safe trading once again. When the Franco-Spanish War erupted in 1635, Spanish Flanders lost its southern trade and instead had to pay hefty tariffs for a route through the north.

An alternate history by Professor Jeff Provine Along the same time, demand for supplies for the Thirty Years’ War in Germany gave an enormous market, easily fed by the victories of the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company, which gave the Dutch extensive colonies, including vast sugar plantations in newly conquered regions of Brazil. This massive influx of money led to speculation, including the projects of draining land in Holland and famous spikes in luxury goods such as tulips.

The economy of the small nation depended upon trade at sea, which was readily targeted by the Spanish navy. Miguel de Horna, new commander of the Dunkirk squadron as his predecessor was captured and died of illness, was fresh from the capture of a merchant ship when his fleet came upon a convoy of 28 Dutch and 16 English merchant ships escorted by six Dutch men-of-war off Lizard Point, Great Britain’s most southerly tip. Horna’s fleet of six galleons and two frigates descended upon the Dutch, whose warships lined up to fight closely while artillery from the armed merchantmen gave support. Three of Horna’s ships, including his own flagship, assaulted the Dutch flagship, which was crippled early in the battle. Whether through accident or desperation not to be captured, the Dutch flagship was set aflame. Explosions riddled the Spanish ships when the fire reached the magazine, injuring Horna and turning the tide of battle. The remaining Dutch were able to disengage and make safely for port while the Spanish were forced to limp home for repairs.

The Battle off Lizard Point was said to wreck Horna’s nerves. He continued to harass Dutch shipping, though rarely again fighting closely enough to capture prize ships. Two years exactly after his fateful defeat off Lizard Point in 1639, Horna was due to leave Dunkirk and join Admiral Antonio de Oquendo's fleet, but he was pinned by the Dutch blockade under Admiral Maarten Tromp. Horna sailed close to the shore, using batteries from shore as cover. Tromp pursued and came into the shallow waters where the vice-flagship had lost its steerage and run aground. Though he was able to capture the ship, it limited the Dutch maneuvers, and the rest of the Spanish fleet escaped with fair damage.

That October, the fleet under Oquendo was set to escort a series of neutral English transports bringing fresh troops to relieve Dunkirk. Tromp arrived with over one hundred ships to block them, and the Battle of the Downs began. Tromp dispatched several squadrons on tasks of preventing escapes to the north or south and interference by the English populace (gathered to watch the battle) and attacked directly with his three remaining squadrons, using principally fire ships against the large, ungainly Spanish warships. Horna and his seven ships were placed as the vanguard due to their familiarity with the Channel, and Oquendo had already experienced a battle with Tromp that September. Horna’s slow hand recommended defensive tactics, and Oquendo had learned a lesson from his humiliation from bravado at the battle on September 16. The battle raged tightly with the Spanish troops meant for Dunkirk used to keep away the grapples of fire ships until a fog fell. Unable to use their artillery, the Dutch were drawn in close, and the Spanish swarmed them. With Tromp imprisoned, the Dutch fleet was in disarray, and the Spanish managed to escape the blockade.

While the war was largely over with Spain increasingly caught up in battles inside Germany and an uprising in Portugal, the Dutch were unable to confirm themselves as masters of the sea. The Republic affirmed its independence in 1648 with the Peace of Munster, and the economy gradually switched to peacetime. However, without maritime laurels to rest on, the Dutch found themselves needing to maintain their navy as protection from privateers. Although losing out in North America to the English, the Dutch would become the principle force in the Pacific, maintaining Formosa despite Chinese attack and expanding their East Indies colonies to include New Holland and New Zeeland.

In reality, Horna would be one of Spain’s most effective commanders. After seizing seventeen ships off Lizard Point, he would ravage Dutch shipping in the English Channel. Although his initial attempt to break the Dutch blockade in the Action of 18 February 1639 would fail, he injured the Dutch forces enough to force a retreat. Horna fought valiantly against tremendous odds at the Battle of the Downs and led his squadron to escape a blockade once again, though the rest of the Spanish fleet would be wiped out, establishing Dutch dominion over the sea for some sixty years but never again afterward. Horna was knighted further battles with the Dutch and French, but died in 1641 while on another convoy raid.

The Arrests at the Central Cafe


Imperial police arrest dozens of subversive intellectuals gathered at the Café Central, a notorious coffeehouse in the Old Town of Vienna.
In the struggle, an innocent member of the Viennese intellectual scene was killed. This was the famous Austrian neurologist Dr Sigmund Freud, who had the misfortune of temporarily abandoning his favourite haunt, the Cafe Landtmann on the Ring.
Drawn together into custody were an assorted group of trouble individuals including Josip Broz, Leon Bronstein, Adolf Schicklegruber and Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili. An alternate historyBrutalized by the senseless murder, they formed the inner core of a revolutionary ring and set about ending the polyglot rule of the Habsburg's and their dastardly suppression of multi-nationalities across Europe.

The events had been triggered by the expiry of Emperor Franz Joseph (pictured) who had ruled since the revolution of 1848. The crackdown ordered by his successor Franz Ferdinand would cause a second, much more bloody overthrow that would end centuries of Habsburg rule.
Famous Dutch Americans

  • David Petraeus
  • Martin Van Buren
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Walter Cronkite
  • Chris Van Hollen
  • Thomas Edison
  • Rebecca Romijn
  • Franklin Roosevelt
  • Dick Van Dyke
  • Humphrey Bogart
  • Gerard Kuiper
  • Cornelius Vanderbilt
  • Nina Foch
  • Eddie Van Halen
  • Nina Foch
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Jane Fonda

War in New Guinea


The status of New Guinea had been a bone of contention between the Netherlands and Indonesia since the independence of 1949. Shortly before the independence the Dutch government had unilaterally decided that New (West) Guinea would remain Dutch even after the official recognition of Indonesian independence.
In 1637, the Dutch economy was soaring. Spanish embargoes had limited Dutch trade for some time, but victories at sea lifting river blockades in 1629 came alongside the timely end of the Polish-Swedish War, which opened the Baltic to safe trading once again. When the Franco-Spanish War erupted in 1635, Spanish Flanders lost its southern trade and instead had to pay hefty tariffs for a route through the north.

An alternate history by Marko 'Lev' Bosscher In the decade that followed Indonesian president Sukarno would repeatedly call for annexation of New Guinea, and in 1958 the tensions started to boil over. A more conservative Dutch government, backed by guarantees from American minister of Foreign affairs John Foster Dulles, started reinforcing the Dutch military presence and created a law that would allow Dutch soldiers to be stationed overseas.

The Indonesian government also upped the stakes, parachutists were landed on New Guinea and leaflets dropped. Although direct confrontation was avoided for now the Indonesian military was clearly flexing it’s muscles.

The first combat action happened in january 1962, when three Indonesian motor torpedo boats loaded with infiltrators were intercepted by the Dutch navy. One MTB was sunk by a Dutch frigate another ran aground and the third was damaged by Dutch fire. In the intervening years Indonesia had gotten closer to the Soviet Union and the Soviets started sending troops to Indonesia started sending alongside the weapons that were already being sold to that country.

The Dutch government decided to up it’s military presence in the region with extra soldiers and an anti-aircraft battalion to bolsters it’s . While tensions mount the US tries to pressure both parties into a diplomatic solution, but in early august negotiations break down as Indonesia demands the transfer of New Guinea on 1 january of the next year. On 15 August the invasion fleet takes to the sea, and a Soviet submarines slips into the harbour while 5 others take up position to block any seagoing vessel entering or exiting the waters around New Guinea.

Although the Dutch forces were in a state of readiness the attack still takes them by surprise. The fuel tanks in Mankovari harbour go up in flames, followed shortly by the frigate anchored there, in the chaos the Soviet submarine escapes unnoticed. One of the other two frigates is badly damaged by a torpedo attack as it sails to Mankovari and barely manages to limp into port. The third frigate attempts to intercept the Indonesian invasion fleet, but is itself intercepted by the Soviet submarines and turned back. Meanwhile thousands of Inodensian and Soviet soldiers start disembarking.

Although US president John F. Kennedy sharply denounces the Indonesian actions no military aid will be forthcoming, and any mention of the Soviet forces is studiously avoided. With the Americans tied up in Vietnam the Dutch soldiers conduct a valiant but vain defence of the Island. Within two weeks the main Dutch positions have all been taken and the threat of Soviet submarines is preventing reinforcements. Even the Dutch aircraft carrier Karel Doorman which has hastily steamed towards the East is kept at bay by the submarine threat.

Back in the Netherlands the government unilaterally declares a ceasefire as it’s last act before resigning. Although Indonesia now holds all of New Guinea it will take months before this is officially recognized, the parliamentary elections fail to create a stable coalition. It is not until 19 april 1963 that a peace agreement is signed, and even then the agreement is little more than a recognition of the status quo in exchange for repatriation of all Dutch prisoners of war.

In reality, Under heavy US pressure the Dutch government accepts the August 1962 agreement. Foreign minister Luns delays signing the agreement until the 15th, just hours before the Indonesian invasion would have started.

Sir Francis Drake’s ships, devastated by a storm off the coast of Spain, still attempt to take on the Spanish fleet at Cadiz, but are destroyed. Drake is hung as a pirate after Queen Elizabeth claims no knowledge of the adventurer’s mission.

"Ratman" Robert A. Taylor
Robbie's #tweetfromalternatehistory now available on Twitter and his latest e-book "The Tree Of Knowledge (The Chelsea Perkins Trilogy)" on Amazon.

a tense situation is resolved in Lexington, Massachusetts, when British soldiers disperse an angry armed group of colonials without bloodshed. The possibility of armed revolt convinces Parliament and King George to reform their dealings with the American colonies and give them a limited degree of autonomy.

George Gordon Byron, an English baron, died in Paris, France of apparent alcohol poisoning. Byron had been a poet of some esteem before rumors of incest in his family drove him to exile in France, where he drank himself to death.

British novelist Benjamin Disraeli died in Beaconsfield. Although he had served as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Prime Minister Derby, his own political goals were limited by British law barring Jews from holding office in Parliament. He died before this law was finally stricken from the books in 1904.

A selection of alternate histories by Robbie Taylor 1903
the Midwestern gangster Eliot Ness was born in Chicago, Illinois. Ness had been raised by counter-revolutionaries who instilled a love of money in him, and he was drawn to the Chicago gangland scene in his youth. Good comrades of the Illinois soviet took him down during a bank robbery in 1947.

the few remaining Greater Zionist Resistance fighters in Warsaw, Poland, are finally captured and executed by the German Reich. They had made the capture of Warsaw a heavily pyrrhic victory for the Germans, killing thousands of soldiers during their 8 ½ month struggle.

Rather than give in to demands from hardliners in Congress who want her to storm the Branch Davidian compound in Mt. Carmel, Texas and end the standoff there, Attorney General Zoe Baird goes to Texas to negotiate personally with David Koresh. After a long week, she is able to talk him into surrendering, along with his followers. Republicans decry it as a sign of the Clinton administration’s weakness in dealing with crime.

Gulf War vet Timothy McVeigh is shot in a gas station robbery as he stops to fill up his Ryder rental truck in Junction City, Louisiana. The robbers took his truck with them, but must have punctured the gas tank in the shootout, because the truck blew up just outside of town. It was thought that McVeigh must have been running a fertilizer business, because he was carrying a load of it, which was the reason for the spectacular explosion.

Steampunk America #2


Lee's rebels, mistakenly believed to be holed up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, were actually in Battery Park City readying their steam-powered mecha-suits for an audacious surprise attack.
Because less than 2 miles away in mid town New Amsterdam, mustachio-twirling German diplomats, monocled English & French civil servants plus assorted Russian and Dutch dignitaries were finalising their retro plans for the future of North America. And needless to say, it had a distinctly imperial flavour.

An alternate history Due to the monarchical elitism of the Europeans, a final rubber-stamp approval was pending the arrival of the European Royal Families. And the stage was set for the German Emperor to arrive at the Peter Stuyvesant Airport in New Jersey in a steam-powered dirigible. But of course Robert E. Lee and his redoubtable Virginians had other plans for the evening - it would end in a fireball that would rekindle the spirit of liberty.
The story of Steampunk America will continue on Today in Alternate History.

Neiu Nederlanders back Americans


In response to unrestricted submarine warfare by the Germans, American President Woodrow Wilson delivered on April 18, 1916, an ultimatum that continued attack on American ships would provoke war. The next day, Neiu Nederlander President Theodoor van Rosevelt traveled to Washington to show his agreement. If the US went to war, the American Dutch would bravely join them.
The two nations had grown up alongside one another as Europeans colonized North America. The English threatened to eliminate the Dutch from their holdings of New Amsterdam when four frigates occupied the harbor. Director-General Peter Stuyvesant, after considering ceding the land in hopes of retaking it, decided to head off a Second Anglo-Dutch War and refused. After firing on the city, the frigates were rebuffed and returned to England empty-handed.

An alternate history by Professor Jeff Provine Since that time, New Amsterdam quickly expanded. Jews ousted from Brazil as Portugal retook Dutch conquests flooded into the city, and immigrants from all over the world were accepted. The economy flourished as pelts were harvested from the upper Hudson and established shipping. When the twin states of New England and Great Virginia declared independence from Britain, the Dutch granted support first financially and then through its impressive navy. When Napoleon conquered the Netherlands in Europe, Neiu Nederlands announced its own independence.

Relations between Neiu Nederlanders and Americans were amicable. They were particularly close with New England due to ties in shipping and manufacturing, although relations were at times strained while the United States to the south determining water rights of Lake Erie. When New England broke off trade with the US over slavery, 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.

Rosevelt was part of the wealthy and politically influential family that had begun with Claes Maartenszen van Rosevelt, who purchased a large farm on Manhattan Island that would translate into enormous wealth as the city grew. Theodoor was born in 1858 and struggled through his childhood suffering from asthma. He overcame the disease by determination and exercise with seeming limitless energy, features that would define his life. After his education, Theodoor traveled extensively to the American West as well as Dutch holdings in the Caribbean and South America. He returned and entered civil service, soon becoming Director of the Navy where he built a canal through Panama and led the Great White Fleet on its tour around the world. By 1910, he was elected President.

When war erupted in Europe, Rosevelt hoped to join quickly and use the impressive New Dutch fleet, but business was too good trading through the neutral Netherlands. Despite his extensive campaigning, it wasn't until the Americans threatened Germany that he finally gained the agreement of shipping interests who disapproved of attacks by uboats. In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare resumed, and a joint declaration of war was announced. Thanks to Rosevelt's anticipation, New Dutch troops joined the front almost immediately.

Robbie Taylor, Creator of Today in Alternate History Scott Palter, guest writer on Today in Alternate History Dirk Puehl, Editor of #Onthisday Professor Jeff Provine, Editor of This Day in Alternate History
Eric Lipps, guest writer on Today in Alternate History Marko Bosscher, tours Natural History museums at Eruditorum. Alternate Historian, Editor of Today in Alternate History Andrew Beane, Editor of Voice of the Christian Worker

Today's six-way post includes contributions from Dirk Puehl, Marko Bosscher, Reverend Robbie A. Taylor, Eric Lipps, Professor Jeff Provine and the Editor.

Cosmonautics Day Blogfest

12th April
Cosmonautics Day is a holiday in Russia and some other former USSR countries to celebrate the first manned space flight made on April 12, 1961 by the 27-year-old Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Since this is an International Blogfest, we have taken the small liberty of also including "sailors of the Universe" from other countries. And of course Laika the dog, why not.

"Let's ride!" during the launch of Vostok 1 (12th April 1961).

The first human being to journey into outer space, he stepped outside the narrow thinking of the Cold War era with the famous words "Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!"

Born in the village of Klushino (renamed Gagarin in 1968 after his death) his family lived a mud hut during the occupation. He served as an apprenticeship as a foundryman at the Lyubertsy Steel Plant near Moscow, before entering technical school. Transferred to the Soviet Air Forces, he was promoted to Lieutenant and later Senior Lieutenant.
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin 1934-68
In 1960, after much searching and a selection process, Yuri Gagarin was chosen with 19 other pilots for the Soviet space program. He was the stand-out choice of both the evaluators and also his peers.

In his post-flight report, Gagarin recalled his experience of spaceflight, having been the first human in space: "The feeling of weightlessness was somewhat unfamiliar compared with Earth conditions. Here, you feel as if you were hanging in a horizontal position in straps. You feel as if you are suspended."

He later became a worldwide celebrity and Hero of the Soviet Union, appointed deputy training director of the Cosmonaut Training Centre outside Moscow, which was later named after him. Gagarin died in 1968 when the MiG 15 training jet he was piloting crashed.

Space Age and Dog Years

"Work with animals is a source of suffering to all of us. We treat them like babies who cannot speak. The more time passes, the more I'm sorry about it. We shouldn't have done it... We did not learn enough from this mission to justify the death of the dog" (Oleg Georgovitch Gazenko, one of the Soviet animals in space programme, 1998)
When “Sputnik 2” left Earth on November 3rd in 1957, the Soviet spacecraft was the first vessel designed by humans carrying a living being into the universe. Aboard was the dog Laika, out there to test, if a complex organism would actually be able to survive in zero gravity for a longer period.

An article from Dirk Puehl Laika allegedly died after a few hours in, not from the state of weightlessness but of stress and noise and heat in the capsule. Since “Sputnik 2” burned up during the re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, the actual fate of Laika remained officially unclear.

Three years later the Soviet Union started the next attempt to bring something living into space… and back again. The two dogs Belka and Strelka were sent out in “Sputnik 5” and everything seemed to work as expected, from the start of the craft in the Baikonur Cosmodrome until Sputnik V’s first orbit. Then the life signs of the two dogs suddenly disappeared from Baikonur’s measuring devices – from normal to “simply gone” in an instant.

Even though “Sputnik 5” managed a soft landing, necessary for the planned manned space flights, the craft’s hatch was open and everything inside destroyed. No clue about the two dogs could be found. Next year’s plan to send a man into space had to be postponed for an indefinite time. The next unmanned flights, Soviet as well as those launched by the US, experienced serious setbacks, once they penetrated Earth’s atmosphere. In 1961, Shepard reported three comet-like apparitions, accompanying him on his suborbital flight, a failure of his instruments after roughly 5 minutes and the apparitions following him until a height of roughly 30.000 feet.

The phenomenon continued to be visible, on clear nights even with bare eyes, while almost every attempt, Soviet, US, European, Japanese, Chinese and Indian, to launch something into space either inexplicably failed as soon as the object left Earth’s atmosphere or downright exploded. The reporting of seeing the three comets ceased in 1985, as sudden as it began in 1960 and international space programmes slowly began to ramp up in the early 1990s again.

To the Red Planet

On December 2nd the United States landed a man on Mars, right on schedule.

The NASA space program had moved from triumph to triumph since the moon landings in the late sixties and early seventies, and the building of a working space station in 1973 had laid the groundwork for travel to other worlds within the solar system.

An alternate history by Robbie A. Taylor Gary Davis, the first man on Mars, had been a teenager during the moon landings, and remembered vividly the sight of Jim Lovell walking on the moon during the successful Apollo 13 mission; it had inspired him to become an astronaut himself in America's thriving astronaut corps.


Walter Cronkite greeted the returning crew of Ares I, the manned mission to Mars launched Nov. 12, 1981. The Ares mission had followed the profile of Wernher von Braun's 1969 mission proposal to President Richard Nixon. Nixon, seeking to cut federal spending, which had sharply escalated due to the Vietnam War, had been wavering between Ares and the proposed Space Shuttle, which was being promoted as a way to make space flight much cheaper by dispensing with expendable boosters and capsules in favor of what was intended as a fully reusable spacecraft.

The President was won over by von Braun in a personal meeting at which the canny German expatriate scientist pointed out that under his proposal most components of the spacecraft (pictured) would be reusable and then went on to say, "Mr. President, your predecessor John Kennedy won praise for the moon program because it was seen as moving the nation forward. If you choose to go to Mars, you can win similar praise, except from those on the left who are against you anyway.

But if instead, now that we have reached the moon, you choose the Shuttle, you will be seen as taking a step backward, perhaps even as being timid in this matter". Almost anyone else might have been subjected to one of Nixon's rages at that point, but the President had known the scientist since Eisenhower's administration and respected him personally.

An alternate history by Eric B. LippsAs von Braun had predicted, the Ares program was popular with many Americans, though liberals tended to oppose it. Among the loudest voices raised in opposition were that of Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire, who had earlier blasted Apollo as a "Moondoggle", and Minnesota's Sen. Walter Mondale. But the popular imagination was caught by the plan, to the point where, even after Nixon's resignation in the wake of Watergate, his successors found it expedient to continue support. Indeed, Mondale's opposition would cost him the vice-presidential slot on the Democratic ticket in 1976; Jimmy Carter, already facing an uphill struggle, decided he did not need the added burden of someone vocally against a highly popular program. Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, one of Carter's strongest rivals in that year's Democratic primaries, would get the nod instead.

By the time Ares I left Earth orbit on its way to the Red Planet, Ronald Reagan had been elected president. Reagan, who had promised to simultaneously build up the military, cut taxes and balance the federal budget, was eyeing a number of agencies, including NASA, for major funding cuts. Once again, however, von Braun had come to the rescue, forging a personal bond with Reagan by appealing to the latter's visionary optimism. As a result, Reagan agreed to maintain NASA's funding, allowing the Ares mission to go forward.

Kennedy Proposes His Joint Moon Mission

In an address to the United Nations on 20th September, US President John F. Kennedy presented the idea of a joint mission between the United States and the Soviet Union saying,

“Finally, in a field where the United States and the Soviet Union have a special capacity - in the field of space - there is room for new cooperation, for further joint efforts in the regulation and exploration of space.
I include among these possibilities a joint expedition to the moon. Space offers no problems of sovereignty; by resolution of this Assembly, the members of the United Nations have foresworn any claim to territorial rights in outer space or on celestial bodies, and declared that international law and the United Nations Charter will apply. Why, therefore, should man's first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition?”

After the speech, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko said that the notion was a “good sign” and presented it to USSR Premier Krushchev. He had backed the Russian space program in its early days, beating out the United States by launching the first satellite, putting the first man in space, and being the first to orbit Earth. Krushchev saw no need for a joint mission; it was merely the American capitalists seeing the expense of going to the moon and looking to place the burden upon the working class.

An alternate history by Professor Jeff Provine The political climate soon changed dramatically. Kennedy was killed only months later in Dallas, Texas, while Krushchev was muscled out of office and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev. Brezhnev worked to increase Soviet influence, especially by expanding the Soviet military, and the new US president Lyndon Johnson redoubled his predecessor's efforts on the space race. The worst days of the Vietnam War came in 1968 just as an aide, while looking for documents pertaining to the Civil Rights Movement, came across Kennedy's outline for a political dealing with Russia for a joint mission. LBJ set upon it as a solution to the war.

Presented in a combination of backroom and public deals, the Soviet Union would act as mediator between the North Vietnamese / Chinese and South Vietnamese / American forces, separating Vietnam as they had Korea. By February, peace talks had begun as well as cooperative training programs between NASA and the Soviet space program. The war was proclaimed ended by September of 1968, giving plenty of time for LBJ to shift praise toward his vice-president, Hubert Humphrey, who would ride the success to beat Republican Richard Nixon in the November election.

The next year, Apollo 11 carried astronaut Neil Armstrong and cosmonaut Alexei Leonov to the moon. Reportedly, the two flipped had a coin to see who would be the first to set foot on the extraterrestrial surface, and Armstrong won. The two planted their respective nations' flags beside one another along with a flag for the United Nations. Eight lunar missions would follow.

Through the 1970s, increasing international cooperation would improve the effectiveness of study in space as the International Space Station (also known as Alpha, Eden, and Mir) grew in orbit. The Space Shuttle program revolutionized launch in the 1980s, but, by the late 1990s, space programs had become stagnant. The Russian Federation remained an important part of space, but domestic and economic issues weakened its position. In 2001, the decommissioned Alpha, pockmarked with micrometeors and burdened with ancient technology, would be de-orbited and burn up over the Pacific.

The new space station, Beta (with nicknames such as Eagle and Freedom), began construction with increasing Chinese influence as the world's most populous nation came into the forefront of international politics. By 2010, suggestions that humanity returns to the moon have been embraced, perhaps using it as a stepping-stone for a mission to Mars. Projections place a potential landing in 2027, though each year they are modified to match budgetary issues.

In reality, Kennedy's proposal for a cooperative moon-landing was met with, at best, skepticism. The Space Race was the champion of American progressive ideals, finally beating the Soviet Union to the moon in 1969. International cooperation would gradually blossom with the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975, connecting spacecraft hatches in orbit. The International Space Station would begin construction in 1998.

Red Sky at Night

On this day a chance discovery in Soviet era archive records revealed that treachery in the Nazi High Command was the key to the USSR beating the United States in the race to the moon.

Reichführer Heinrich Himmler had long suspected that the technical director of the German rocket program Wernher von Braun was more preoccupied with space travel than the development of the offensive weaponry which might have save the Third Reich. Placed under surveillance in October 1943, a young female dentist who was an SS spy reported comments made at an engineer's house in Peenemünde.

His colleagues Riedel and Gröttrup had said that they were working on a spaceship1 and that they felt the war was not going well; this was considered a "defeatist" attitude leading to Von Braun's detention in a Gestapo cell in Stettin (now the town of Szczecin in Poland). An alternate history by Scott Palter Deputy Führer Martin Bormann suspected that Himmler was planning to use von Braun's research as a bargaining chip with the Americans. Of course Himmler's mistake was to detain von Braun near the Eastern Front. Because both Bormann and the chief of the Gestapo Heinrich Mueller were Soviet agents who saw a similar opportunity - but with the Russians. They arranged for von Braun to be sprung from Stettin, and supplied with the secret codes that allowed him to pass through Soviet lines as a "Free German". Codes that they themselves would use with twelve months to save their own necks.

One can speculate as to the alternative possibility of a defection to the West. Such an outcome must be considered less desirable to Von Braun given his well documented use of slave labour at Peenemünde and also his ruthlessness in accepting a command position as a Sturmbannführer in the SS. Aiming for the stars, he was prepared to see his rockets used to hit London2, and therefore the possibility of him standing trial as a war criminal at Nuremberg cannot be completely dismissed. Of course within two decades, and supplied with the unrestricted resources that only an undemocratic society could provide, von Braun had completed his space port at Baikonur. In 1966 the embarrassing spectacle of Germany losing the Soccer World Cup Final to England was soon displaced by the image of a much greater German triumph, Prussian Rocketry powering Yuri Gargarin to the surface of the moon.

Even though they were never destined to meet again, by coincidence Bormann and Von Braun died within a month of each other in 1977. Far from home Bormann died in his retirement apartment in Moscow, and von Braun in Kazakhstan, overlooking the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Both having the ultimate satisfaction of knowing that the development of the Soviet mission to Mars was ahead of its schedule for a landing on the Red planet in 19803.

In reality, the comment (1) was they were NOT working on a space craft. (2) comment from satirist Mort Sahl (3) This prediction was made by Vice President Rockefeller in 1969 with reference to the Apollo Mission.

Launch Pad to the 21st Century

November 12th, on this day Vice President Xi Jinping was elected to the post of General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission by the Party Central Committee.

As leader, he committed to land a man on the Moon before the changeover to the sixth generation of leaders in 2022. Of course the purpose of this bold announcement was to justify world leadership through maturity.

Because the thousand of years of continuous civilization was surely a more representative context than the short-lived history of the communist nation since 1948. An alternate history Undoubtedly, there was a challenge implicit in his words. Because America had developed its own space program, but having beat the Russians into orbit, had called it quits while there were still ahead of their Coldwar Rival. And although China started much later, it was generally considered highly unlikely that America could restart their own programme and still win this new race.
Alexey Leonov, first man on the moon

It was also a blow to American pride, and just over a month later John F. Kennedy announce an ambitious program to restore that pride: The US would put a man on the moon within a decade.

When Yuri Gagarin left earth’s atmosphere on 12 April 1961 it was the pinnacle of human achievement, a mortal man had entered a realm hitherto beholden to the gods. For several years it seemed that it would be a one horse race. However behind the scenes Sergei Korolyov, the Soviet Union’s mysterious “Chief Designer”, had already started work on designs for manned flights to other planets.
By the time the Soviet Union officially announced plans in 1964 the OKB-1 design bureau headed by Korolyov had already created a heavy rocket capable of reaching beyond the low Earth orbit used by the Vostok program.

The impetuous Khrushchev had actually instituted two programmes, one for moon orbits and one for the actual moon landing, each headed by it’s own designer. After Brezhnev had taken over power the moon program was streamlined and Korolyov made head of the entire program. And although two separate tracks were maintained for the orbits and the landing Korolyov’s leadership unified the efforts. An alternate history by Marko 'Lev' Bosscher

In early 1967 when both the Americans and Soviets were gearing up for the actual moonflights disaster struck in both camps. In january a simulated launch sequence for the American Apollo project went disastrously wrong and a fire broke out killing the astronauts. And in April the parachute failed to open on a Soyuz vehicle as it returned to earth. The crash killed the cosmonauts, which included Vladimir Komarov who commanded one of the two teams selected for the moon landing.

The unmanned orbit of the moon in May of that year went ahead as scheduled, but the manned orbit was delayed until August of that year as the teams were restructured and the Soyuz crash investigated. The success of the manned orbit, and the earlier success of landing a Luna-9 capsule on the moon’s surface gave the Soviets the confidence to push on with their effort. The Soviets also, erroneously, believed that the US would attempt a landing in 1968 so it would be vital to maintain the intended schedule.

After several unmanned flights of the Soyuz-7 vehicle the first manned launch was performed in April 1968. And in June the two-man crew launched an unmanned landing vehicle from lunar orbit. The moon landing was given the go-ahead and crews were prepared for the mission, the first crew would be cosmonauts Leonov Makarov and a reserve crew of Popovich and Voronov would be on standby.

It was a tense time for all involved, especially for Korolyov who was aware that an Apollo launch was scheduled for October. If all went according to plan the Soyuz-7 would be in lunar orbit in september, narrowly beating out the Americans (in fact the Apollo launch was a test flight, the Americans would not attempt a landing on the moon until the next year).

The September launch did go ahead and on the 25th the landing module separated from the Soyuz7 command module and headed for the moon.

After a seemingly interminable period of radio silence a message finally came through “Cosmonaut Leonov reporting from the surface of the moon...”. Words that would immediately be spread across the globe. Leonov dedicated his mission to Yuri Gagarin the space pioneer who had died earlier that year. In reality: Korolyov died in surgery in 1966 which was a serious setback for the moon program, which also fell out of political favor. The N1 rocket that was supposed to take the cosmonauts to the moon would also prove a failure, never even making it out of earth orbit.

Khrushchev Offer


November 15th. In a move that many who knew him considered shockingly uncharacteristic (and believed to have been caused by advisers warning against words antagonizing opponents as had caused massive uprising in Hungary), Russian First Secretary of the Communist Party Nikita Khrushchev said during an interview with an American reporter that he would be willing to share missile technology with the United States, who clearly did not have the same ICBM capabilities as the Soviets. "If she had, she would have launched her own Sputnik," Khrushchev noted, recalling the Russian success of being the first people to put an artificial satellite into orbit some six weeks before on October 4. Later in the interview, given as part of the commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the October Revolution, he discussed East-West relations and noted that neither side wanted war, but that the Soviets would win if one began.

The interview came just days after the Soviets had hurriedly launched Sputnik 2, which brought the first living creature into orbit, a dog named Laika. She proved that living creatures could survive weightlessness and opened the door for human scientific exploration of space.
It also came after the humbling Gaither Report was leaked to the press. Assembled by the Security Resources Panel of the President's Science Advisory Committee, the report showed that the United States was far behind the Soviets on missile technology. After a decade of not working toward that end, the US had as its only defense the system of bomb shelters that were hardly effective if a large-scale war erupted.

The American populace continued to reel from the shocking news of Soviet superiority. Only a decade ago, the USA had been unquestionably the most powerful nation in the world with the A-bomb born out of the Manhattan Project. At the end of the war in 1945, Operation Paperclip sent OSS agents throughout Germany picking up Nazi scientists such as Werner von Braun and capturing what technology they could. Many of these scientists came to work for the Americans (some even illegally imprisoned at places such as P.O. Box 1142), and an inter-continental ballistic missile project was begun in 1946 by Consolidated-Vultee with its MX-774. The program was shut down a couple of years later as conservative feelings overtook post-war America, and it would not be until after the shocking launch of Sputnik that the Americans would reawaken.

An alternate history by Professor Jeff Provine Embarrassed and shocked by the Russians, Project Vanguard was quickly put into place by the Eisenhower administration to lift the Explorer Program, picking up proposals from the US Navy and Army that had been shelved due to lack of interest and funding. With the disastrous launch attempt of the Vanguard TV3 on December 6, 1957, where the three-stage rocket rose four feet before losing thrust, collapsing, and exploding, American public turned back to Khrushchev's offer. Many took it as if he were an older brother offering help with homework, while others thought he was twisting the diplomatic knife with a pandering, impossible offer. The world was in the midst of the International Geophysical Year sharing science on geomagnetism, oceanography, etc, and leaders internationally began to criticize the Americans for not taking up Khrushchev's offer to take up an American satellite on a Russian rocket. Much of the hooplah was settled with the launch of Explorer 1 on January 31, 1958, and then rocketry settled to a calmer scientific route with military espionage riding closely, secretly behind.

International relations improved somewhat between the USA and USSR, later resulting in the Nuclear Limitation Treaty in 1962 avoiding a massive stockpile of weapons beyond the point of Mutually Assured Destruction. Despite Khrushchev's constant assurances that communism would bury capitalism and colonialism, the Soviet Union would eventually fall in 1992, but not until after the success of the Buran shuttle system, launched in 1988 on the anniversary of Khrushchev's speech that began a time of peaceful coexistence in orbital space above the simmering Cold War. With an international space station being pieced together by Russian rockets with American engineered segments, long term space habitation is gradually being explored. Scientists hope to eventually put a man on the moon, where probes and flyby satellites have already taken a great deal of data, but cost and lack of public incentive have kept humans home.

In reality, Khruschev challenged America with, "Let's have a peaceful rocket contest just like a rifle-shooting match, and they'll see for themselves." The words would help begin the Space Race in which the Americans would work to catch up with and surpass the Soviets, culminating with the American Moon landing on July 20, 1969. Due to cost and recent catastrophic N1 rocket failures, Khrushchev determined that the Soviets would not make further plans to attempt a manned moon landing, and even the Russian shuttle program, which emulated the Americans from a decade before, would never launch more than an unmanned test mission.

Farewell to the Magicians

November 19th. On this day Adolf Hitler and the Infamous Lava Man were both killed after a Schauberger "Repulsine" engine failure caused their sabotaged Haunebu-type Nazi saucer craft to crash land on approach to the secret base in New Swabia, Antarctica.

Cornered like a rat in Berlin, the Fuehrer had made a number of fantastically exaggerated claims for the secret technology with which he bought his escape from the Third Reich.

And having issued upwards of a thousand emergency passports to German Scientists, the United States soon discovered that the UFO technology had been oversold, in fact like many American consumers they found the units exhibited many of the hallmarks of German products themselves, being over-featured, mostly safe but ultimately unsatisfying. An alternate history Despite his fast-talking, spittle-flying claims the Haunebu model had not transported Nazi Astronauts to the moon in 1942, rather the Repulsine engine lifted the craft just a few feet off the ground, permitting Hitler and Goering to engage in a somewhat childish if not futuristic game of bumper cars. Enraged by the double-cross, American agents had fixed the Fuehrer by sabotaging his lousy toy craft.

Despite well publicised failures at Roswell and Kecksberg, both the United States and Canada nevertheless persisted with the programme well into the 1970s, believing that the levational concept was fundamentally sound, just requiring the injection of a super fuel to accelerate flight to supersonic speeds. Finally, a suitable quantity of Element 115 was secured from aliens. Rushed to Area 51 for testing, the infinitely valuable fuel was then stolen by the pyrotechnic freak Bob Lazar who exploded the material at one of his annual Desert Storm Parties before becoming the victim of a mysterious hit and run shooting on a Las Vegas Highway.

Communism proved its scientific superiority when Comrade Alan Shephard became the first man in space. Comrade President Rosenberg had accelerated the space program to beat the European monarchies in the space race and prove that true innovation could not be found within their reactionary borders.

"Ratman" Robert A. Taylor
Robbie's #tweetfromalternatehistory now available on Twitter and his latest e-book "The Tree Of Knowledge (The Chelsea Perkins Trilogy)" on Amazon.

The British Parliament enacted the Overton Statute, named after the English lord who negotiated it, granting all colonies representation in Parliament. This was followed by quick repeal of many of the more odious laws such as the Townshend Act, and a new era of enlightenment propelled the British Empire forward; grumblings from the colonies became a thing of the past.

Alfred Cummings arrives in Utah to take control of the territory as its first non-Mormon governor. The Mormons had been flouting U.S. law and threatening secession since arriving, and they felt that the appointment of a “gentile” as their governor was the last straw. They erupted in violence, declaring their independence from America.

President Roosevelt suffers a massive stroke, disabling him for several months. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Vice President Harry Truman cover up the illness in order to keep the nation’s morale high; once the war is won, though, they announce Roosevelt’s resignation and Truman becomes president.

A selection of alternate histories by Robbie Taylor 1963
International sensation Pete Best releases his huge hit Between Us, which jumps to the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. He starts planning his first world tour.

British leader Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s longest-serving Prime Minister, dies of a heart attack. Leading the fight against the American Constitutionalists and South Africa’s National Front had strained her immeasurably, and she had neglected her health while directing the war against the Fulcrum powers.

The success of the Save Earth missions to destroy the centers where the Claws transform themselves into human appearance makes it impossible for the alien race to maintain its presence on earth. There is a vast withdrawal, and many prominent people disappear overnight. U.S. Representative Carl Worthington calls a press conference and announces, “The earth is now safe from alien influence.”

Apollo 11 Rocket Explodes after Launch

The Space Race held as the hottest direct contest between the USA and the USSR in the Cold War. After Russia had won the first two legs with the first artificial satellite Sputnik in 1957 and the first man in space Yuri Gagarin in 1961, America had finally gotten ahead with their 1968 flyby of the Moon. Russian leadership had begun to doubt their Luna program with its unmanned probes, but the political climate changed completely as tragedy struck over Florida.

Just after launch, the Apollo 11 exploded, instantly killing its crew of Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr.
While none can be certain of the cause of the disaster, many theories have arisen after much of the wreckage was salvaged. Most agree that it was a hydrogen “hiccup”, a less dense bubble that caused imbalance in the rocket, jarring it viciously and tearing the craft apart until the explosives fell out of control.

While the United States mourned, the Soviets threw their resources into making up lost time. Automated docking of capsules had already been successful in 1968, and the manned Soyuz 4 and 5 missions had tested successfully the human elements involved. The Soviets planned to launch its cosmonaut to the surface of the Moon by September. Bad luck and mechanical problems slowed the launch until mid-October.

Meanwhile, the United States refused to sit idly. While many began to call for an end to the apparently suicidal space program and memories of Apollo 1’s fire still in the public mind, NASA had already secured its funding for the year and needed a success to guarantee that the program would not be shelved altogether. Apollo 12 would be their final chance. Hearing word of the Russian attempt, astronauts Charles Conrad, Jr, Richard Gordon, Jr, and Alan Bean would be put ahead of their November launch schedule to match the Russian deadline.

An alternate history by Professor Jeff Provine The rockets launched within hours of one another, and scientists on both ends worked frantically to streamline the process of travel in action, but mission clocks were ticking without much room to spare. On October 16, 1969, Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov touched down on the surface of the Moon. Only an hour later, Conrad and Bean would follow. Despite the potential dangers, NASA had adjusted the flight path to put them down near Leonov’s capsule.

Conrad would venture out of the American module and be followed out fifteen minutes later by Bean, after which Leonov would greet them having “walked” (bounced in the low gravity) from his half-mile distant capsule. His decision had been applauded and rejected by Russian mission control, but the effect was incredible upon public sentiment. The image of a cosmonaut and an astronaut shaking hands on the surface of the moon would be recorded by probe cameras and transmitted to televisions and newspapers the world over.

President Nixon (who also made mention of the success of President Kennedy’s promise to arrive on the moon before the end of the decade) would capitalize on the image and, in 1971, meet with Nikolai Podgorny of the Soviet Union in Moscow. The historic meeting would bring new balance to the Cold War, and gradually disarmament would begin. Without the terrors of foreign powers and even the invasion of Czechoslovakia recalled, the Russian people would have enough of their Stalinist past and recreate their government with the 1977 Constitution returning much of the power into the hands of people. While still economically planned, democracy grew in Russia. Meanwhile, trade with the USSR began to seduce the US into greater socialism, such as Carter’s reversal of Nixon’s privatized health insurance into a public, universal system.

Now something as half-breeds of one another, the two head of the world continue to dance around one another for power. Technology has torn down walls (much like the fall of Berlin’s wall in 1989), while the growth of populations in developing countries such as China and India look to change the world balance altogether.

The new space station, Beta (with nicknames such as Eagle and Freedom), began construction with increasing Chinese influence as the world's most populous nation came into the forefront of international politics. By 2010, suggestions that humanity returns to the moon have been embraced, perhaps using it as a stepping-stone for a mission to Mars. Projections place a potential landing in 2027, though each year they are modified to match budgetary issues.

In reality, Apollo 11 launched successfully and achieved orbit 12 minutes after takeoff. Neil Armstrong would be the first human to walk the moon’s surface, and their mission would plant an American flag, showing America’s success. Beaten, the Soviet space program would turn to orbital habitation and soon install Salyut 1, the first space station in 1971. The USSR would eventually fall in 1992, while the USA would continue with capitalism into the turbulent economic decades of 2000 and 2010.

Robbie Taylor, Creator of Today in Alternate History Scott Palter, guest writer on Today in Alternate History Dirk Puehl, Editor of #Onthisday Professor Jeff Provine, Editor of This Day in Alternate History
Eric Lipps, guest writer on Today in Alternate History Marko Bosscher, tours Natural History museums at Eruditorum. Alternate Historian, Editor of Today in Alternate History Andrew Beane, Editor of Voice of the Christian Worker

Today's six-way post includes contributions from Dirk Puehl, Marko Bosscher, Reverend Robbie A. Taylor, Eric Lipps, Professor Jeff Provine and the Editor.