Friday, August 29, 2014

Today in the Sobel Timeline: August 29

On August 29, 1845, North American Minister of War Henry Gilpin began preparing for war with the United States of Mexico, ordering his commanders to make final preparations for an attack on Mexico, and putting the North American Army on a war footing.

On August 29, 1914, following the defeat of the French Expeditionary Force in the Battle of Chapultepec, the new French commander, General Pierre Bordagary, surrendered unconditionally to his Mexican opposite number, General Emiliano Calles. In addition to the French troops, Calles also captured some 8,000 Negro slaves who had run away from their masters and joined the French army in its drive on Mexico City. Mexican President Victoriano Consalus ordered the slaves arrested and charged with treason.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Today in the Sobel Timeline: August 28

On August 28, 1845, North American Governor-General Winfield Scott responded to rising tensions with the United States of Mexico, and the recent electoral victory of the Continentalist Party under Senator Pedro Hermión, by calling a secret Cabinet meeting. Scott urged the Cabinet to continue negotiations with the Mexicans, but Henry Gilpin, his Minister of War, and chief rival within the Unified Liberal Party, argued against Scott, and was able to gain the support of a majority of the Cabinet for a declaration of war. Rather than resign and allow Gilpin to succeed him as governor-general, Scott chose to bow to the will of the majority and support war with Mexico.

On August 28, 1914, General Emiliano Calles defeated the French Expeditionary Force at the Battle of Chapultepec, the decisive battle of the Hundred Day War. Calles succeeded in surrounding the F.E.F. with an enclosure of barbed wire guarded by machine guns and mortars. The French commander, General Jacques Beauchamp, led three charges against the Mexicans in an attempt to break free, but was unsuccessful, losing his life during the third charge, along with two thousand of his men.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

For Want of a Nail: The Next Generation

It's been four weeks now since I was able to get a steady, albeit "temporary," office job, ensuring a steady weekly paycheck for as long as the job lasts. However, this comes after seven months of unemployment, and my financial situation remains precarious. Frankly, I'm sick and tired of being poor.

The theory of comparative advantage suggests that the best way for me to end my impoverishment is to find something that I'm relatively better at than anyone else in the world, and do it for money. So, what am I relatively better at than anyone else in the world? Regular readers of this blog will have no trouble with that one: I am relatively better than anyone else in the world at writing about Robert Sobel's For Want of a Nail.

Mind you, I can think of several people who are absolutely better than me at writing about Sobel's book (Hi Carlos! Hi Noel!), but since they are even better than me at numerous other activities, that leaves me with the comparative advantage.

So how do I make money doing that? The answer again seems clear: write and publish a sequel to FWoaN. So that's what I'm going to do.

I've been given permission by Robert Sobel's estate to produce a sequel (and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Carole Ritter Sobel and David Sobel for doing so). Now comes the first hard part -- lining up a publisher -- and the second hard part -- actually writing the book.

If any members of my vast global blogging audience have suggestions about achieving the first hard part, feel free to make them in the comments. Better yet, if any members of my vast global blogging audience are themselves book editors who are looking for the next blockbuster in the alternate history genre, feel free to suggest that in the comments.

I'll keep everyone out there up to date on my quest to find a publisher. For now, wish me luck.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Today in the Sobel Timeline: August 24

On August 24, 1957, the London Times published an article criticizing the Mason Doctrine, North American Governor-General Richard Mason's foreign aid and reconstruction program. The editorial read, in part: "Do you want to receive more Mason Plan aid? Then just kill a few North American tourists and aid officials, and call Mason a criminal. Should you do this, your North American listener will nod his agreement, and give you all he has." Sobel notes that the British government resented the Mason Doctrine aid given to its wartime enemy the German Empire.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Today in the Sobel Timeline: August 23

On August 23, 1795, the government of Prime Minister Sir Charles Jenkinson of Great Britain responded to a threatened Franco-Spanish invasion of Portugal by declaring war on the Franco-Spanish alliance, widening the Trans-Oceanic War.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Today in the Sobel Timeline: August 21

On August 21, 1881, Mexican President George Vining continued his efforts to suppress the Mexicano uprising by establishing curfews in Mexico's ten largest cities.

On August 21, 1967, former North American Governor-General Richard Mason cited James Volk's The Bomb Myth to support his contention that Governor-General Carter Monaghan's arms program was unnecessary, since the C.N.A.'s possession of the atomic bomb ensured that no enemy would dare to attack it. Mason said, "Mr. Volk has showed conclusively that war is now an impossibility. And yet we maintain this frightening arms escalation. The Governor-General has said that we must beware of insanity in high places. I would reply that any man who would continue producing bombs must be insane."

Friday, August 15, 2014

Today in the Sobel Timeline: August 15

On August 15, 1839, an emergency session of the Grand Council met in Burgoyne to deal with the fall of Michigan City to the Indian army of Chief John Miller, who had captured it twenty-four days earlier. The members of the council agreed to form a united North American army under the command of General Winfield Scott of Indiana.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Today in the Sobel Timeline: August 13

On August 13, 1914, at the height of the Hundred Day War, Mexican President Victoriano Consalus removed General Vincent Collins from command of the army defending Mexico City from the French Expeditionary Force, which had been advancing on the city from its beachhead in Tampico for four weeks. Consalus replaced Collins with General Emiliano Calles, the commander of the Durango military district. Sobel notes that Consalus selected Calles primarily because he was on the scene in Mexico City at the time, but also speculates that Consalus sought to counter French appeals to the U.S.M.'s Mexicano population by appointing a Mexicano general.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Today in the Sobel Timeline: August 12

On August 12, 1821, the first federal elections under the Mexico City Constitution were held in the United States of Mexico. The elections were dominated by the political parties of the state of Jefferson, the Continentalist Party and the Liberty Party, with only two seats in the Assembly, the lower house of Congress, being won by members of the Indian Party in Mexico del Norte. Because the franchise was restricted to English-speaking property owners, the disproportionately Anglo Continentalists won 68 out of 100 Assembly seats, and 18 of out 24 seats in the Senate, the upper house of Congress.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Today in the Sobel Timeline: August 10

On August 10, 1881, Mexican President George Vining continued his efforts to halt the spreading Mexicano uprising by instituting internal passports in the United States of Mexico.

On August 10, 1899, the Mexican invasion of Siberia continued as marines from the Pacific Fleet succeeded in linking up their three beachheads at Petropavlovsk, Okhotsk, and Nikolaevsk-on-Amur.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Today in the Sobel Timeline: August 7

On August 7, 1855, Senator Frank Rinehart, representing the United States of Mexico, and Minister of War John Wolff, representing the Confederation of North America, signed the Hague Treaty formally ending the Rocky Mountain War.

On August 7, 1899, former Councilman Fritz Stark was found dead in his Burgoyne home, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. In his hand was a note with the words, "It is ended." However, Stark's foresight was no better than his detective skills had been. The political violence that he had unleashed a month before was intensified by the spread of conspiracy theories claiming that he had been intimidated into recanting his accusations the day before, and that his apparent suicide was actually staged by Governor-General Ezra Gallivan, who had had him murdered.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Today in the Sobel Timeline: August 6

On August 6, 1899, Councilman Fritz Stark recanted his accusation of corruption and treason against Governor-General Ezra Gallivan. In a public address, he said, "I have wronged a good and honest man, irreparably. I ask Governor-General Gallivan's forgiveness and understanding. I acted out of love of country, but I have done more harm to it than any man since the Rebellion." Stark then announced his resignation from the Grand Council.

On August 6, 1904, after gaining passage of an amendment to the charter of the National Financial Administration, Governor-General Christopher Hemingway replaced retiring administrator Julius Nelson with three co-administrators: bankers Hugh Neill and Edward White, and former Indiana Governor Maxwell Boatner.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Today in the Sobel Timeline: August 5

On August 5, 1939, a Bedouin leader and Arab nationalist named Abdul el Sallah led a revolt in Damascus against the rule of the Ottoman Empire. El Sallah had obtained arms from both Great Britain and the Germanic Confederation by promising the leaders of each that he would award them exclusive petroleum concessions in Arabia after gaining independence from the Turks.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Today in the Sobel Timeline: August 4

On August 4, 1899, the Nelson Subcommittee ended its investigation of Councilman Fritz Stark's accusation that Governor-General Ezra Gallivan had been accepting N.A. £1.5 million a year since 1893 from Kramer Associates President Diego Cortez y Catalán "to protect our common interests." The subcommittee's investigation found that Gallivan's personal wealth amounted to only N.A. £324,954, most of which was in government bonds, and thus that his supposed subsidy from Cortez did not exist. The investigation also revealed that Stark's documents were careful forgeries created by a mentally unbalanced clerk at the Mexican embassy named John Montalban. Despite these findings, the wave of political violence unleashed by Stark's accusations continued unabated.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Today in the Sobel Timeline: August 1

On August 1, 1853, a cease-fire took effect in the Rocky Mountain War between the Confederation of North America and the United States of Mexico. Except for the borders running along the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers, the armies of both nations withdrew ten miles from the front lines, creating a twenty-mile-wide neutral zone running from the Gulf of Mexico to the border of Russian Alaska.

On August 1, 1881, Mexican President George Vining ordered the country's newspapers closed as part of the state of emergency in response to the Mexicano uprising.

On August 1, 1901, Kramer Associates President Diego Cortez y Catalán hosted a secret meeting of opponents of the Hermión regime. Cortez revealed his plan to maneuver Hermión into fleeing Mexico.

On August 1, 1933, Governor-General Douglas Watson introduced legislation into the Grand Council increasing military spending.