The state of TIAH
November 1st, 2006
Alternate Historian's Note: today marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. In 2004, we produced our novel Warp, and last year we got a start on The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion during this annual event. Both of these novels were based on timelines from TIAH – Warp was based on the Mlosh timeline, and Protocols on the Greater Zionist Resistance timeline. Although we posted numerous links to these novels on Lulu, TIAH didn't post any excerpts from them. We're going to do it a little differently this year. Starting today, the posts on TIAH will be excerpts from the novel that is being written by us for NaNoWriMo. We will still have Guest Historian entries – Stephen Payne has some already written and waiting – so, if you want to make a Guest Post this month, go ahead and send it to us, and it will appear along with our novel post.
in 1952, Operation Ivy is conducted on Elugelab Island in the Enewetak atoll of the Marshall Islands. The United States successfully detonates the first hydrogen bomb, codenamed "Mike" yielding 10.4 megatons of explosive power, over 450 times the power of the bomb that fell on Nagasaki. Whilst greatly alarmed by this increase in destructive capability, the Soviet Union and China viewed the operation as nuclear sabre-rattling, dismissing its geopolitical significance as an offensive threat. This assessment was based on the events of two years before; when UN Commander-in-chief for Korea Douglas McArthur had requested authorization to strike Manchuria and major Chinese cities with thirty to fifty nuclear weapons following Chinese intervention into the War, not only had this request been rejected, President Truman had also relieved MacArthur of his command. General Omar Bradley later speculated that MacArthur's disappointment over his inability to wage war on China had "snapped his brilliant but brittle mind." With Dwight Eisenhower strongly favoured to win the presidency in '52, continuation of Truman's policies was expected given Ike's record of cautious command in World War 2. History took an unexpected turn however when US voters reject the campaign message "We like Ike". Just twenty-eight days after Operation Ivy, U.S. President-elect Douglas MacArthur fulfilled a campaign promise by going to Korea to find out what could be done to end the conflict, famously saying "There is no substitute for victory". The United States had after all voted for Mike. -entry by guest Historian, Stephen Payne-
in 1966, Four years have passed since "Chappaquiddick" destroyed the Kennedy Presidency and sparked a resurgence of the American conservative political movement. The Joint Chiefs of Staff prepare for the weekly presidential meeting by staring uncompromisingly at the portraits outside the Oval Office. Truman - who refused MacArthur's request to hit Manchuria with atomic weapons during the Korean War, then dismissed him. Eisenhower - masterminded D-Day only to go soft on Communism, not even objecting to Joe McCarthy's criticism of George Marshall. Kennedy - who prevented the mastermind of the Berlin Air Lift Curtis LeMay from striking the Soviet missile bases on Cuba. And now, Goldwater - who's own rhetoric on nuclear war was viewed by many as quite uncompromising, a view buttressed by off-hand comments such as, "Let's lob one into the men's room at the Kremlin." Also, Goldwater had had nervous breakdowns in 1937 and 1939; he began to drink heavily, a problem he never completely overcame. Today, the JCS will recommend the upgrade of Operation Rolling Thunder to include nuclear strikes on Viet Cong bases in North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, absolutely necessary to end the war. It is, they believe, only a matter of time before America elects a President who will listen to the military. As they enter the Oval Office, they are momentarily disoriented to find a beaming President John F. Kennedy sitting behind the Resolute desk. “What'll it be today fellows, drop a nuke on Uncle Ho?” he asks mischievously. -entry by guest Historian, Stephen Payne-
The light was strong this morning. Kevin looked up at the sun, holding his hand over his head to shade his eyes, and smiled. It was just cool enough to be comfortable without a jacket, a typical winter day in Texas.
Kevin walked over to his truck, a beat-up old '98 Chevy, and hopped inside. He had a good drive ahead of him today – Austin was about 100 miles away – and he was ready to get started. Kevin's truck, which he sometimes called The Love Boat, had a couple of jiffy may-pop tires on the passenger side, and the electrical system might as well be driven by a hamster on a wheel, but he figured it could make it to Austin.
He started the truck, let it warm up – it wouldn't go in reverse unless he let it warm up – and then pulled out of his dirt driveway. He had put some food and water outside for the dog, which was now barking and wagging its tail at him from the other side of the fence. He waved at it and then rolled down to the farm road. A couple of miles down that was the big highway, and down that open road was Austin and the promise of the big city.
He stopped at the railroad tracks while a train passed by, and turned on the radio. There was some stupid morning show on his usual channel, so he flipped to the news on NPR. Usual bad politicians, war troubles, economic difficulties, then a heart-warming story of human will overcoming adversity – typical news. He whistled while he listened to it, not really paying attention.
When the train went by, he proceeded on down to the highway. He stopped at the little convenience store at the corner of the highway to gas up and grab a snack. With the truck's tank filled and his stomach following suit as he munched on a danish, he drove onto the highway and pointed his truck north.
He hadn't driven on the highway for some time because of his tires, but he felt pretty good about them today. The truck shimmied a little because the wheels were unevenly filled, but it wasn't so bad. The vibration of the steering wheel in his hands just helped keep him awake.
Kevin usually got a little sleepy on long drives, but he felt very energetic today. The traffic thinned out as he left town and headed towards the hill country. There were a bunch of little towns between Bryan and Austin, but it was going to be a lonely drive. Fortunately, there was only a 30-mile stretch of bad radio between when Bryan's stations faded out and Austin's stations could be picked up, so he had that for company.
He almost wished he'd brought his dog, but the little guy didn't like long car rides, and Kevin didn't feel like cleaning up his truck today. He felt his cell phone buzz against his waist, and heard his own voice coming from it; “Kevin, your cell phone is ringing. Kevin, your cell phone is ringing. Kevin, pick up your phone!” He ignored it. It was probably just work, wondering where he was. He wasn't going to worry about that, today, either.
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