Monday, August 18, 2014

Guest Post: Communism Kicked out of the Classroom

Eugene Genovese is fired by Rutgers University from Today in Alternate History

September 26, 2012: On this day anti-American academic dissident Eugene Dominic Genovese died in political exile in Montreal, Canada, at the age of eighty-two. Born in Brooklyn, New York he was raised in a working-class ethnic Italian family. Genovese earned his Bachelor of Arts from Brooklyn College in 1953 and his Master of Arts in 1955 and a Ph.D. in history in 1959, both from Columbia University.

Six years later, while teaching at a Rutgers University "teach-in" protest, he stated, "Those of you who know me know that I am a Marxist and a Socialist. Therefore, unlike most of my distinguished colleagues here this morning, I do not fear or regret the impending Viet Cong victory in Vietnam. I welcome it." His was an explosively controversial comment that was widely reported and generated a backlash of criticism. Politicians questioned Genovese's judgment and sensitivity to the responsibility inherent in being a Rutgers professor. But no state laws or university regulations had been broken, and Genovese was supported by fellow faculty members on grounds of academic freedom. 

The dispute was taken to another level of intensity when former Vice President Richard Nixon came out and called for his dismissal. He was supporting Wayne Dumont, a gubernatorial candidate that was challenging Governor Richard J. Hughes, and he decided to use Genovese's statement as a campaign issue. When Rutgers reluctantly fired Genovese, events began to unravel that would affect not only his career but those of Dumont, Hughes and of course Nixon.

Author's Note: In reality, Rutgers President Mason Gross refused to re-examine the university's position, and Dumont lost to Governor Hughes. President Gross' defence of academic freedom was honoured by the American Association of University Professors, who presented him and Rutgers with its Alexander Meiklejohn Award in 1966. Genovese moved to Canada and taught at Sir George Williams University in Montreal (1967-69). In 1968, Genovese signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.

We suggest in this ATL he was never able to return to the United States because in OTL he died in Atlanta George as a preeminent historian of the American south. Also to note although active in the Communist youth movement he was expelled "for having zigged when [he] was supposed to zag." He later abandoned the Left and Marxism, and embraced traditionalist conservatism.

Sources - 

 Addendum from Prof. Jeff Provine: With politics proving its control over the classroom, colleges ended as havens for revolutionary thought. Campus practices and even curriculum became subject to oversight driven by tax-dollar-allocation from the Department of Education. Nixon won the 1968 election that fall and, though he ended the war in Vietnam, presided over the mass-arrest at Kent State in 1970 that led to the expulsion of dozens of students for "unlawful assembly" with control exerted not through the government (which would violate the First Amendment) but through bullied administrators.

Friday, July 11, 2014

April 20, 1303 – Sapienza University Leads to Industrial Revolution

After the rediscovery of the Code of Justinian in 1070 established new admiration for law rather than “might makes right,” Europeans began a new focus on studying law, philosophy, and theology to prove who was in the right. The first was founded in Bologna, Italy, where international students hired scholars to teach them how to be protected by (and from) city law. Guilds and kings began their own universities in Italy, France, and England, collections of like-minded individuals where the brightest minds were collected to train and teach. In 1303, concerned that intellectuals were gaining an upper-hand on theology, Pope Boniface VIII founded a university of his own, Sapienza – Università di Roma, the University of Rome for Wisdom. Just before its release, the papal bull was edited to read “for the good of all men,” perhaps in an effort to ensure universal church authority, a point he had battled over with Phillip IV of France and led the king to march on Rome.

In 1431, Pope Eugene IV reorganized and revitalized the university, dividing it into schools for Law, Medicine, Philosophy, and Theology. Upon a review of Boniface’s words, Eugene decided to add a fifth school of Builders that would handle practical matters that affected commoners, primarily improving agriculture. It was a controversial action considered banal by many scholars, but faculty was readily available from the military engineers in the Venetian Wars (1416-1573). The calculating wits that produced war engines were applauded as they approached civilian issues of flood control, land reclamation, and hydropower.

As the school’s reputation improved, it attracted a young Leonardo da Vinci, who would become its first legendary faculty member. Da Vinci, who had apprenticed as an artist, had been disgraced by libel and became determined to found a new life in Rome. He initially applied to the school of medicine to teach from his knowledge of anatomy, but his sense of innovation (such as writing backwards to avoid ink-stains from his left-handedness) brought him to the Builders. Students followed his teaching in earnest, putting thousands of man-hours into inventions that da Vinci himself could have only drawn in his journals. Vincians experimented with submarines in the Tiber, flew parachutes, and drove spring-driven automated carts.

The legacy of da Vinci was largely considered to be charming toys until the attempted sack of Rome in 1527.  Charles V, the Spaniard Holy Roman Emperor, defeated France in battle in Italy but had run out of funds to pay his soldiers. They mutinied and demanded to march on Rome, where Pope Clement VII had previously given his support to France. Only five hundred Swiss Guard stood against the onslaught of some 20,000 mercenaries. The pope called for militia, and “like Archimedes at Syracuse,” the students and faculty of Sapienza brought out engines of war that had only been tested in games: experimental cannons, rotating scythes, collapsible towers, and flame-throwers. Legends stated that legions of automaton warriors marched, but it was just one, which was quickly defeated, although it did leave behind a stunning psychological effect.

Students were able to drive off Charles’ troops and save the city. All of Europe marveled at the applications of science, and other universities swiftly adopted their own schools of engineering. Outside of war, engineers found themselves employed in Sapienza’s original direction of improving the land for mankind in road-building, irrigation, and invention. The implementation of the printing press spread ideas far and wide, especially after the water-powered automated press began delivering thousands of pages each hour. As minds tackled electricity, steam, and chemistry, an industrial revolution swept over Europe. Papal Italy was at the forefront, becoming a thinktank that again won fame in war through technological superiority when armored wagons demolished Gustavus Adolphus’s Swedish invasion of Pomerania in 1630.

The expansion of technology also brought dangerous levels of new knowledge to the public, such as Pisan Galileo Galilei’s theory of a heliocentric Solar System. While the Catholic Church had affirmed its position with the Counter-Reformation on mass-printed pamphlets and manufactured goods, the scientific discovery had a great deal of theological backlash. Scholars at Sapienza studied Galileo’s theory, tested it, and recommended to the pope that it be upheld. With a public relations machine already in place, theologians quickly assembled doctrine to better explain the significance in the delicate mechanics of Creation.

Gradually, the power of kings in Catholic lands gave way to the political, religious, and economic power of the Pope and its many banking and industrial interests. Steam-powered ships from Portuguese and Spanish fleets created a global empire, and Protestants in Northern Europe routinely made alliances to carve out colonies of their own. Catholic colonies sometimes attempted to gain independence from their mother countries like the Protestants, but the risk of excommunication proved too great for nations at large to rebel against the Church’s commonwealth, which came to dominate South America, half of North America, Africa, and much of Asia.


In reality, the Sapienza – Università di Roma was founded primarily for the study of theology, and Pope Eugene IV focused on the four schools pertinent to the times. While universities in Italy focused on theology and medicine, universities in Northern Europe turned to arts and sciences, and it was common even in the Late Middle Ages for faculty and students to travel between the two for conferences. Today Sapienza is one of the largest universities in Europe, having over one hundred thousand students, and is listed in the top 3% of learning institutions in the world.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Guest Post: January 1st, 1781 - Pennsylvania Line Mutiny ends the Revolt

A general uprising in the Continental Army began to take shape in the Winter Camp at Jockey Hollow near Morristown in New Jersey. History would simply record that the catalyst was the killing of three officers in a drunken rage, but emotions actually ran far deeper than that, in actual fact it was a revolt-within-a-revolt.

The Commander of the Pennsylvania Line was General Anthony Wayne. His considerable forces comprised eleven regiments of some fifteen hundred men, but the expense of their maintenance was the issue since their conditions were utterly deplorable, as candidly reported in letters exchanged between Wayne and his superior officer, General George Washington, commander of the entire Continental Army. In previous years, both generals had cited corruption and a lack of concern on the part of state governments and the Continental Congress in fostering the poor conditions. But their futile attempts to "manage up" had ended in failure, and on New Year's Day, they lost control and destiny was being taken completely out of their hands. 

After a raucous New Year's Day celebration, soldiers from several regiments had armed themselves and prepared to depart the camp without permission. Officers led the remaining orderly regiments to quell the uprising, but after a few warning shots from the mutineers, the rest of the regiments fell into line with them. Captain Adam Bitting, commander of Company D, 4th Pennsylvania Regiment, was fatally shot by a mutineer who was trying to kill a lieutenant colonel. General Wayne tried to convince the soldiers to return to order peacefully, but he was also killed in the confusion.

Several days later, an emissary from General Sir Henry Clinton, British commander in New York City, arrived with a guide he had acquired in New Jersey. The agent brought a letter from Clinton offering the Pennsylvanians their back pay from British coffers if they gave up the rebel cause. News of these negotiations triggered a further uprising from the "New Jersey Line." Unlike the more conciliatory figure of Wayne, Washington saw a threat to his personal authority and responded with extreme force, executing many of the mutineers. When he was also killed, the game was up. Even before the uprising, the number of Americans under British Command had started to approach the Patriot troop count.
 Addendum by Jeff Provine: By 1783, the "united states" had given up their rebellion outside of a few guerrilla warriors in the South. Britain reconstructed the region, hanging all but a few of the signers of the "Declaration of Independence", which had truly been their own death warrants. Wealthy Patriots were stripped of their merchant fleets and plantations.

The American colonies continued to have troubled days with the British Empire, arguing to maintain slavery and to expand into Indian lands. Britain soon went to war with Napoleon, causing a spur of enthusiasm for the mother country as was seen with the conquest of New Orleans in 1806.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Guest Post: British Permanently Seize Cuba

9th June, 1762 - British Seize Cuba
On this day British forces begin the Siege of Havana and capture the city. 

When the Seven Years' War broke out with Spain plans had been made in Great Britain for such an amphibious attack on Havana. The expedition was under the command of George Keppel, 3rd Earl of Albemarle, with Vice-Admiral Sir George Pocock as naval commander. This plan also called for Jeffrey Amherst to embark four thousand men from America to join Keppel and to assemble another force of eight thousand men for an attack on Louisiana. Being an important naval base in the Caribbean, this British victory dealt a serious blow to the Spanish navy, but it came at a very high price.

Because so many of her best quality veteran troops had died of yellow fever (irreplaceable losses causing a problem that would later bite during the American War of Independence), the negotiators of the Treaty of Paris were steadfastly unwilling to give up the island. Instead Spanish restrictions on trade, business, land were dropped, the economy boomed, slaves rushed in, and sugar production rocketed. 

In short British cashed in big time and Cuba, although majority Hispanophone, quickly became a prized asset of the Empire. Caribbean planters, local merchants and other members of the middle class profited also from this unspeakable human misery. But with an enlarged West Indian Lobby in Parliament the island elite had also created a beacon of slavery. Of course their negotiating position was every bit as stubborn as their counter-parts had been in Paris. And this insidious development would also have major consequences a century later when America's southern states declared their own independence. For the Book of Proverbs 1:19 says - "Such are the ways of all who get things by hurting others. Their desire for stolen riches takes away their own lives".


In reality Havana was subsequently returned to Spain under the 1763 Treaty of Paris that formally ended the war.

Addendum by Jeff Provine:

In the coming decades, the land-hungry Americans pushed south and west, gobbling up old claims from France to Louisiana and Spain to Florida. The British presence in Cuba was a constant threat with the Empire's naval superiority. The two nations faced all-out war time and again with tempers rarely cooled before "embers" fired up again.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

April 19, 1861 – Baltimore Riots Lead to Maryland’s Secession

With four men taken seriously on the ballots of the 1860 election, Abraham Lincoln’s victory sent all those who had voted solidly for Southern Democrat John C. Breckenridge calling for secession. The matter escalated, and Washington sat unsure of what to do in a legally ambiguous situation. When the new Confederate state of South Carolina opened fire on the Union Fort Sumter sitting in their capital’s harbor, civil war officially began. Lincoln now had legal standing to fight on grounds of returning captured Federal property, and he called for 75,000 volunteers to serve. The call was answered widely in the North; Ohio itself produced enough to fill the national quota.

Getting these troops to the front was a serious logistical issue. Foremost in the military’s mind was protecting Washington, D.C., just across the river from Virginia, seceded as of April 17. All around the federal city, Marylanders wondered what would become of their state. The electors had voted for Breckenridge, and folks shared the spirit of the South. They were also seafarers and traders linked to the North, creating a delicate balance that troubled many in what would become known as the Border States. Most of the Western Marylanders had voted for John Bell of the Constitutional Union party, who wanted to keep the nation together under clear terms, but his carried state of Virginia had already given up such a dream. With no way to be certain on how the vote would go, Maryland officials such as Governor Thomas Hicks were hesitant to call for a formal vote.

The military, meanwhile, acted. Union troops were brought down from the North to the rail hub in Baltimore. There, they had to march across town, through streets lined with Confederate sympathizers, to board southwest-bound trains for Washington. On April 19, the 6th Massachusetts began the transition to find the path blocked by protestors. The protestors became violent, throwing stones and shouting at the Northerners to get out of their city. Troops opened fire out of panic, and the protesters charged them. Police began to swarm the area, but even they could not stop the fighting. Somewhere in the crowd, a series of protestors produced guns and returned fire.

The regiment’s commander Colonel Edward F. Jones determined that retreat was no longer an option. He had warned his troops the night before to “pay no attention to the mob.” The civilians had created themselves combatants, so he rallied his troops into formation to return fire. Baltimoreans were leveled, and the mob scrambled to escape. Jones directed the men in fixing bayonets and marching out firmly to their waiting transport to Washington.

With dead scattered in the streets, Marylanders rose up. After the raid on Harper’s Ferry by John Brown, many in the state had formed militias as a precaution against a violent slave revolt. The call went out, and that night the militia seized the railroad bridges leading into the city. Whether they had official authority from Hicks and Balitmore’s Mayor George Brown was kept vague, but they were effective in turning around a trainload of troops. Major General Robert Patterson, commander of the Department of Washington, ordered Brigadier General Benjamin Franklin Butler to secure the state. Militia countered with guerilla warfare, but the Union’s superior arms enabled them to seize the major cities and declare martial law.

During their retreat to Virginia, the politicians who escaped arrest in Maryland voted for secession. Brown was captured and held in Baltimore while Hicks hurried to Washington to plead for peace that proved impossible, as Lincoln would explain that “Union soldiers were neither birds to fly over Maryland, nor moles to burrow under it.” Secession was politically significant, but largely moot as the military filled the void of elected government. Chaos with torn up railroads and cut telegraphs ruled in the countryside while strict regulations kept the cities from turning back into riots.

The Southern cry was to liberate the Marylanders. Virginian Generals Beauregard and Johnston were able to fend off a Union invasion at Bull Run, while Union troops held off two Confederate assaults late that summer. Eventually the stalemate around the Potomac swayed toward the Confederate side as they managed to float an army into southern Maryland. Many in Congress called for the evacuation of Washington, but Lincoln refused to budge, knowing what a political calamity it would be. The city was turned into a fortress and besieged time and again, but its defenses were unable to be cracked. Union General McClellan gained great aplomb for his efforts in drawing Confederate attention away in his Peninsular Campaign.

After years of brutal warfare that depopulated much of Maryland, victories in the West enabled the North to actualize the Anaconda Plan formulated by retiring General Winfield Scott that would choke out Confederate resources. Measures to placate Maryland tested the most effective strategies for occupying the South for Reconstruction as the war came to a close. The use of militias prompted a clear legal definition of “peaceable assembly,” which caused Federal crackdown on fraternities such as the Klan as they grew up. National loyalty was rewarded, and subversion resulted in public humiliation rather than execution to prompt vengeance. Troublemakers found themselves as forced exiles on the Canadian borders. A strong military system invaded the American populace with a continuance of the draft that used young men in civil service. Blurry “American” ideals spawned wide-spread government corruption, but it would be generations before Americans would be willing to speak out against it.


In reality, the rioters limited themselves to cobblestones and bricks for ammunition. The brawl claimed sixteen lives: four soldiers and sixteen Baltimoreans. Maryland did, in fact, vote on secession April 29, and the legislature opposed it 53 to 13. Nonetheless, for the security of the nation, General Butler declared martial law, suspending habeas corpus and ensuring no further votes could be held. In commemoration of the riot, James Ryder Randall, Marylander living in Louisiana, wrote “Maryland, My Maryland,” which would later become the state song despite somewhat shocking lyrics. Union troops also secured the border states of Delaware and Missouri, the latter with more violence.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

April 18, 1942 – Doolittle Raid Wrecked by Japanese Death Ray

The Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor had thrown many Americans into panic. The war effort came underway as the feeling of invincibility disappeared from the American spirit, eliminating all but a few stalwart isolationists. Meanwhile, the populace of the home islands of Japan were assured that they were invulnerable and that the war would soon be over with an American surrender.

 To restore American morale and weaken Japanese resolve, the US determined to launch a raid on the empire's capital of Tokyo and other targets around the home islands. After it was suggested by Navy personnel that a bomber could take off from an aircraft carrier, the operation was handed to famed aviator Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle of the Army Air Force to customize B-25B bombers to make a one-way long-distance run. He stripped out the lower gun turret, radio equipment, and the upper armor, installed anti-icing agents and collapsible extra fuel tanks, and famously created fake rear turrets from broomsticks. Attempts were made for safe landing in the USSR, but the Soviet's non-aggression treaty with Japan made such an option impossible. Instead, the bombers were to touch down with ragtag allies in worn-torn China.

Despite these best-laid plans, the raid seemed star-crossed from the beginning. Shortly after seven in the morning of the proposed attack on April 18, crew aboard the USS Enterprise spotted Japanese picket ship No. 23 Nittō Maru, which spotted them as well. The Americans destroyed the smaller ship, and, realizing their position had been radioed back to Japanese command, launched the aircraft ahead of schedule. Everyone was breathless as the first bomber, piloted by Doolittle himself, plunged from the deck and managed to climb into the air despite the naysayers' fears of a splashdown.

The bombers swooped toward Japan with 10 aircraft heading directly for Tokyo. Other planes headed to targets in Yokohama, Nagoya, and Kobe, where they successfully dropped their bombs, tangled with fighters, and escaped to China. As the sun set, weather deteriorated, and the crews were forced to crash-land in temporary airfields. There was no sign of Doolittle or the other raiders. American newspapers published heavily censored stories, impressing the public while many in the know about the secret operation searched for information about the lost attackers of Tokyo. Japanese newspapers told that the capital had been successfully defended by the Ku-Go death ray.

Death rays had been popular in the pulp fiction writing of the time, but the fantasy came with certain scientific grounds of focused electromagnetic radiation. British inventor Harry Grindell Matthews, who successfully claimed a £25,000 prize for an unmanned remote-controlled vehicle in 1914, touted his own beam weapon in 1924. Nikola Tesla himself had claimed in a 1934 Times editorial to have designed one. While the science seemed plausible, the law of inverse-squares meant that an anti-aircraft microwave beam would require immense amounts of power to have any suitable range. Japanese researchers successfully lobbied for military resources to be directed into energy-technology, and the Ku-Go was granted an enormous new power station in 1940 as part of city air-defense.

In May of 1943, the bomber crew under Captain Edward York appeared at a British consulate in Iran with a harried tale. Low on fuel, their bomber separated from the others. York described seeing the bombers begin to fly erratically as the pilots slowly lost control under the gradual bombardment of microwaves. Eventually, their addled engines gave out, and the planes fell. York managed to escape the wide beam and flew to nearby USSR before they ran out of fuel. They were arrested and the bomber confiscated. Requests to be returned to America were refused due to the Japanese-Soviet treaty. Eventually Russian secret police orchestrated an escape by placing the Americans in Ashgabat and putting them in touch with a smuggler who would help them across the boarder. The details of the American causalities due to the death ray confirmed suspicions and caused fear of a “science gap.” Money had already begun pouring into the atomic Manhattan Project, and still more was invested in beam research. Spanish immigrant and welding-researcher Alberto Longoria, who was mysteriously zapping pigeons at the same time the elderly Tesla drew diagrams in 1934, was suddenly hired into government service.

The Japanese, too, began giving more attention to their scientific warfare. Weather balloon technology enabled the creation of Fu-Go, fire bombs that were planned to set the American West aflame. After successful tests of biological warfare from experiments of the secret Unit 731 and Unit 100, the Fu-Go were adapted to carry anthrax, which devastated several American ranches but did not ultimately create the plague they hoped. Americans countered when they unleashed atomic bombs, dropped from near-sonic high-altitude planes capable of gliding far above the Ku-Go's effective reach and running cold so that infrared-seeking Ke-Go drones launched by To-Go electric cannons were unable to hone in on them.

When the war finally came to its conclusion, with plagues still ravishing China, radiation depopulating several Japanese cities, and chemical weapons obfuscating Soviet advance in Korea, new treaties drew up strict rules for scientific research. The United Nations created oversight committees and banned any research without clear civilian applications. Secret projects did continue, such as nuclear programs, but countries were forced to experiment in the open and mask the development of warheads in power plants. Marketing teams created applications for technology such as the microwave oven and public communications satellites.


In reality, the Ku-go death ray did not begin development until 1943 after magnetron improvements in 1939. At the end of the war, the weapon was capable of killing test-rabbits 1,000 yards away after five minutes of bombardment. While the Doolittle Raid did little damage militarily, it was successful in raising American morale. Doolittle himself feared a declaration of his failure due to all of the planes were lost to crashes or by ditching into the sea, but he was instead promoted to Brigadier General and given the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Japanese sought revenge with the Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign, punishing any Chinese believed to have aided the Americans in their escape. Over a quarter of a million Chinese were killed during the campaign, many used in experiments in unethical research.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Guest Post: WWIII Begins April 11, 1951

11th April, 1951 - Korean War Widens
World War III began when President Harry Truman authorized nuclear attacks on Manchuria and the Shantung Peninsula if the Chinese launched air-strikes originating from there against his forces. He had already dictated back in 1947 that the atomic bomb would only be used on his say-so. "No dashing Lieutenant-Colonel will decide when the proper time to drop one is."
Now that proper time had unmistakably arrived, and the orders were relayed to Douglas MacArthur, General of the Army and in overall command in Korea. Even worse than a dashing Lieutenant-Colonel, Truman had described him to his diary as:
"Mr. Prima Donna, Brass Hat, Five Star MacArthur. He's worse than the Cabots and the Lodges - they at least talked with one another before they told God what to do. Mac tells God right off. It is a very great pity we have stuffed shirts like that in key positions. ... Don't see how a country can produce men such as Robt. E, Lee, John J. Pershing, Elsenhower and Bradley and at the same time produce Custers, Pattons and Mac Arthurs."
As a reckless theatre commander, MacArthur had unnecessarily provoked the escalation by marching through the UN Partition Line across the 38th Parallel on the Yalu River. The characteristically "Brass Hat" had the nerve to request twenty-seven nuclear warheads, which represented roughly ten percent of the entire US arsenal. The devices lacked triggers or safety circuits, so the actual mechanism of authorisation was far more problematic than Truman could have foreseen in 1947. The Joint Chiefs (JCs) were not entirely comfortable giving them to MacArthur either, for fear that he might prematurely carry out his orders. Instead, they recommended that the nuclear strike force would report to the Strategic Air Command. This was justifiable because the atomic warhead stocks were still nominally under the control of the Atomic Energy Commission.
Truman did not want to authorize the strategic use of nuclear warheads for fear of a massive conventional response from the Soviets who had nuclear weapons but no strike capability. This political decision created a leadership crisis in Washington because JCs Chairman Omar Bradley's preferred solution was to dismiss MacArthur. In fact, Bradley himself was dangerously exposed to the risk of dismissal because he had failed to properly prepare the US Armed Forces for a Soviet conflict. For example, only two US Divisions were based in Germany.
To avoid a power struggle between two self-serving career generals, Truman devised a clever compromise that the nuclear warheads would only be used tactically "in theatre" to destroy bridges and the assembly areas in China. So when six divisions of the People's Liberation Army's began to march on Korea, MacArthur issued the fateful command to detonate the weapons, interrupting the flow of troops with irradiated soil. Because there was "No substitute for Victory" it was a necessary decision that Truman, Bradley and even God could live with.
Author's note:
This post is a re-dux of Jeff Provine's article Berlin Airlift Begins World War III.

Provine's Addendum: The escalation would be the first of many.

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