Monday, August 28, 2006

The Hammer And The Anvil

The state of TIAH

August 28th, 2006

Alternate Historian's Note: Today, TIAH reaches a huge milestone. Sometime this morning, we will hit 250,000 visitors. That's just amazing to someone who got maybe a thousand total visits to his original site in the 90's. We'll make an announcement when we see it happen, and if you're the lucky quarter-millionth visitor, we'd like to put you in an entry all to yourself – watch for the announcement later today!

in 1571, a Spanish fleet attacks the south coast of England as Mectezuma's Aztec fleet hits Wales. Caught between the hammer and the anvil, Queen Elizabeth calls for aid from Scotland and France, and rallies the British to defend their homeland. The Aztec find Wales difficult to advance across, so the Spanish find themselves without reinforcement. The French answer Elizabeth's cry for help and send reinforcements across the channel; although they have no great love for the English, they have even less for the Spanish. With the French assistance, the Spanish are driven from the south before the mighty Aztec warriors can arrive to back them up. Mectezuma is left with only his own forces, and no allies when he reaches the great capitol of England.

in 1879, Zululand's King Cetshwayo evades capture by the British and spirits into the countryside of his small African nation, taking a leaf from the old Boer handbook and instigating a guerrilla war against the Brits. His constant harassment forced the British to expend forces in Zululand that left other former Boer possessions open – and soon the Zulu and Boer made common cause against the British, helping each other in the guerrilla struggle. Together, the two drove the British out of southwestern Africa, freeing Natal and Zululand when the war finally ended in 1887.

in 1963, the largest peaceful demonstration that the US capitol had ever seen witnessed what would be the first and last time that both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X shared a stage together. After King's soaring 'I have a dream' speech, X took the podium and delivered his extemporaneous reply, 'I have a nightmare.' X's speech described his counter-vision of America, should it reject the rosy scenario that Dr. King described. The fiery speech nearly disrupted the day's harmony, but Minister X finished without incident and stormed away from the podium. On news broadcasts of the day, King's inspiring speech was ignored in favor of the more incendiary rhetoric of the Nation of Islam spokesman, and the peaceful demonstration was recast as a gigantic hate rally. The biased news coverage disillusioned many civil rights leaders, and even Dr. King felt that the news organizations had betrayed the movement. But the Nation of Islam enjoyed an unprecedented spurt in growth as young African-Americans, inspired by Malcolm X's speech, joined up to emulate the strong, fearless man they had seen on the television, urging them to fight back against their oppressors. Washington's political establishment, seeing that black sympathies were coming into line more with Malcolm X than Martin Luther King, quickly passed the Civil Rights Act of 1963 in order to try to move African-Americans back to the center of American politics.

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