Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 12, 1944 – Ghost Army Charges into Falaise Pocket

While the Manhattan Project worked to split the atom into a terrible new weapon, another project was crafting a way to improve biological defenses. The scientific work into bio-manipulation of the human body was decades ahead of its time, working blindly into fields of genetics that would not be better understood until X-ray crystallography determined the structure of DNA. Yet, just as fictional scientists did in comic books like Timely’s Captain America, the real ones created a method to make super-resilient men.

Although the primary goal was to make soldiers able to withstand severe trauma and even heal rapidly, the project proved to have two bonuses in the experiments’ subjects: inhuman speed and strength. The process was readied for human trials, and a group of 1,100 men were collected into the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops at Camp Forrest, Tennessee to be transformed into super-men. They underwent special training at Pine Camp, NY, and sailed for England to join in the D-Day assault.

The super-men were visually indistinguishable from normal (albeit extremely large and muscular) soldiers, but their ferocious advances wowed anyone who witnessed their activities on the battlefield. With some thirty-times the usual strength of an adult male, the men could sprint in excess of sixty miles per hour in huge bounds. As the Allies gained ground, a pair of French cyclists who happened upon the 23rd’s camp were astonished to see four soldiers picking up a 40-ton Sherman tank, repositioning it without expending extra fuel. One soldier, Arthur Shilstone, recalled, “They looked at me, and they were looking for answers, and I finally said: ‘The Americans are very strong.’”

Due to their speed and seeming invincibility to bullets, the soldiers were nicknamed the “Ghost Army” as they tore through German lines. They were instrumental in the war effort, running ahead of Canadian advances to cut off and capture thousands of retreating Germans as the Allies encircled Falaise. Gradually the Ghost Army was moved east, liberating Luxembourg as a base from which they raided across the Ruhr River, Maginot Line, and Hurtgen Forest. Their feinted crossing of the Rhine in March of 1945 distracted so many German soldiers that the actual Allied force met with almost no resistance on the banks.

The Ghost Army became a celebrated part of Allied propaganda, even though there were drawbacks that had to be overcome. The first side-effect of the process was clear in the early days with the soldiers’ monstrous appetites, eating as much as 60,000 calories and 1,800 grams of protein each day. Although their wounds healed practically within hours, scar-tissue was a major problem not only cosmetically but also in restricting movement at joints. The most unnerving consequence was the body’s breakdown due to the increased metabolism. The men visibly aged years within only a few months.

The war ended, and America began to disarm. Ghost Army veterans were quietly tucked away into a special hospital where they could live out their remaining few days with treatment for their increasing ailments. Their fates were largely covered up, and families were warned against un-American activities like leaking word to the press. Although there would be additional Ghost Army soldiers in Korea and Vietnam, the Army largely disbanded their use except for highly classified Special Forces agents.

In reality, the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops were artists. Their “Ghost Army” consisted of dummy inflatable tanks and planes, piped-in sound effects, and entire sets of fake camps and airfields, including fake laundry on clotheslines. The soldiers pretended to be armies thirty times their size through the use of impersonating military police, uniformed officers, and even other soldiers by getting “blasted” and repeating their favorite drinking songs for Germans to overhear. Their diversionary tactics (believed to have saved thousands of lives) were highly classified, and, although a documentary has been released about them, much of their efforts remain under wraps.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Guest Post: Icebreaker

Two posts on Today in Alternate History explored a potential “shadow history” where Stalin had pitted Western Europe against one another as the opening part of a plan to swoop in and seize the whole continent once it was weakened, based on Viktor Surovov’s book Icebreaker. One man, Rudolph Hess, who did attempt to broker peace in our own history, rushes to Britain to stop the war before it is too late.

10 May, 1941 - Mysterious Flight to Scotland

A twin-engine heavy fighter was shot down for ignoring an Identification Friend or Foe transmission sent by two Spitfires of 72 Squadron dispatched by the British Chain Home station at Ottercops Moss near Newcastle upon Tyne.

MI5 investigators at the crash site began to piece together an extraordinary chain of events. There was no body in the plane, prompting a search for a survivor. Local farmer David McLean had discovered a man wrestling with a parachute in a field south of Glasgow. The German was desperate to reach the Duke of Hamilton with a message, so McLean helped him to get in touch with the Home Guard and police. MI5 realized they already knew who the inexperienced pilot of the Bf 110E-1/N Messerschmit was: Rudolf Hess, Deputy Fuhrer of Germany.

Hess had traveled to Scotland in a last-ditch effort to save Europe from Stalinism. MI5 had intercepted a letter from Hess to the Duke of Hamilton, whose home Dungavel House Hess had been trying to locate before becoming lost over Scotland. Hess warned of “Icebreaker,” the planned Soviet invasion for taking control of all of Europe.

Hess had actually been seeking to negotiate peace since September 1940, but he failed to understand the power struggle at the apex of the British Government. Various factions within it were concerned with the conflicting objectives of saving the British Empire and the Class System, avoiding future domination by either America or the Soviets, and of course the overt idée fixe: defeating the Nazis. Needless to say the only point of agreement was that ending the war either through victory or peace settlement was highly unlikely to achieve all of these goals.

Yet Prime Minister Winston Churchill was far from a friend to Josef Stalin. Churchill had played an active role in the War of Intervention in 1918, the failed attempt to overthrow the Bolshevik State soon after the Russian Revolution. Most likely because of these anti-communist credentials, he was probably not the right man to engage with Stalin. Prior to the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement, Britain had failed to ally itself with the Soviet Union. Suddenly ending the fight with Hitler to turn on Stalin might seem a possibility to Hess, but he had vastly misread British sentiments after Poland.

Worst still, Hess misaligned himself with the Establishment trying to engage the Duke of Hamilton in the mistaken belief that he was an opposition leader. Although he had correctly presumed Churchill would not break off the war with Germany, Hamilton was not the man to overthrow Churchill. Despite receiving no response (due to MI5’s interception), Hess decided to fly to Scotland but was delayed by the weather and his own meager flight training. Time was of the essence: the pre-emptive Soviet attack was less than a month into the future.

11th May, 1941 - Dungavel House Talks Collapse

There was never any realistic prospect of an agreement being reached at Dungavel House, and yet details of the secret negotiations were concealed by the forty-five year incarceration of Hess which finally ended in his murder by British agents in Spandau Prison. Hess’s initial flight was covered up as “Raid 42,” declared by MI5 in the books as a mission to test British northern defenses.

While MI5 followed Hess’s trail, the Duke of Hamilton met with him after serving duty at RAF Turnhouse. After discussion and meeting with the MI5 agents, Hamilton took Hess to Dungavel House for talks. The centerpiece to the proposed Anglo-German Peace Treaty was that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill would recognize the Deputy Fuhrer as the Head of Government. Hess in turn had made arrangements for a coup d'état led by senior German officers in Berlin. Only a peace settlement with Great Britain would deter Stalin from launching Icebreaker, the Soviet invasion of Europe. Hess even argued that Hitler was in favour of the deal brokered by Hess, his overthrow being necessary to end the war with the Western Allies.

Hamilton sent word to Churchill, but of course offer was rejected out of hand. The Nazis could not withdraw from all of their occupied territories (Hess himself had been a proponent of Lebensraum since his days at the University of Munich), and Churchill would not accept anything less. Agreeing to German demands would have portrayed Churchill as surrendering in the ongoing Blitz. Hess’s signal for the coup in Berlin never came as he was placed under arrest, first in the Tower of London and then in the luxurious “Camp Z” at Mytchett Place in Surrey.

Stalin’s invasion of Europe began soon after. Although Britain suddenly found herself allied with Soviet Russia against Germany, it made for uncomfortable bedfellows. Through the course of the war, Churchill would constantly argue for strategies that seemed to put Russia at a disadvantage, such as fighting Germany in North Africa rather than opening up a European front immediately and campaigning against Operation Dragoon in southern France, instead prompting an invasion of the Balkans to secure oil fields there (a suggestion American President FDR and his “Uncle Joe” in Moscow refused). The Soviets would not dominate all of Europe by the end of the war, but more than half with a great deal of influence into Italy and France.

Given the subsequent events that occurred in the summer of 1941 and through the coming years into the Cold War, many would take the view that the British Government had made a terrible mistake, and it was for this reason that the negotiations were shrouded in secrecy, particularly the plots to overthrow Hitler and Churchill.
Hess’s stubborn intransigence at doom for Europe raised the remote prospect of the Duke of Hamilton attempting to force Churchill from power, but there was even less likelihood of this gambit succeeding. Had Hess gone to a different source, the war might have gone very differently.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Guest Post: President Pershing

This post appeared on Today in Alternate History in an original post and a follow-up.

July 15, 1948 - Passing of President John J. Pershing

It was a sad day when twentieth-ninth President of the United States John Joseph Pershing passed away in Washington, D.C. He was eighty-seven years old and had been treated at at the Walter Reed General Hospital for coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure for the past four years.

An incomparable general in the United States Army, Pershing led the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) to victory over Germany in World War I, 1917-18. Famously, he rejected British and French demands that American forces be integrated with their armies, and insisted that the AEF would operate as a single unit under his command. Upon his triumphant return to the States, he won the presidency in 1920 with his own strong-minded view on the the enforcement of the peace settlement.

Lloyd George, Clemenceau, and Orlando had all shared the understanding that Woodrow Wilson's hare-brained peace proposals had no domestic backing whatsoever. Going over his head, they met with Senator David Cabot Lodge to negotiate an alternative and permanent settlement that was eventually ratified after the election of President Pershing. The general's nomination had been sealed in a smoke filled room by Republican grandees from New England, Middle Atlantic states and the big new industrial cities of the Midwest. Their financial and commercials interest was finding some alternate way for the US to get the war debts owed to it paid and by avoiding an expensive naval arms race with UK and Japan that would send contracts westward to California, who had left the Republican fold with Roosevelt in 1912 and Wilson in 1916.

Warren Harding might have been the man chosen by the king-makers had it not been for revelations of his philandering. In any case, the war hero Pershing was ideally suited to oversee the implementation of the US offer: four US divisions based on the Rhine as a security guarantee in return for a payment plan from France and UK which saw Germany paying reparations directly to the US. Germany itself was moved eastwards, losing the entire Rhineland to France but retaining Danzig and East Prussia, gaining the Sudetenland and Austria with its capital moved to Vienna with a Hapsburg Kaiser. The shake-up caused riots in Berlin, but, with Pershing at the helm, the US was not going to back down. Pershing himself
announced, "I wouldn't decline to serve," despite vowing not to campaign for himself. All the Republican leaders needed was his confirmation of breaking with Wilson, which Pershing gave, and the election was a landslide.

At the state funeral on 17-18th July, 1948, dignitaries and soldiers sweltered in the summer heat of Washington D.C., queuing patiently to pay their final respects to the twentieth-ninth president. He would be remembered for his firm hand in command, views on race, and foreign policies.

The mourner's sombre mood suited the funereal demeanour of America's most famous dough-boy. In many ways a sad figure, three of his siblings had died during childhood and then in a terrible echo of this family tragedy his wife and three daughters perished in a fire. At a personal level he never recovered from this disaster and as the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces he demonstrated a terrifying disregard for life. His blood-thirsty ruthless caused unnecessarily high fatalities, both in terms of the full frontal assaults he himself had harshly criticized and then fighting on after the signing of the armistice at a cost of 3,500 casualties. He also exposed U.S. troops to danger by taking the honour of recapturing Sedan and even sent an unsolicited letter to the Allied Supreme War Council, demanding that the Germans not be given an armistice and that instead, the Allies should push on and obtain an unconditional surrender. Nevertheless, many who served under him still respected him professionally as a soldier. His status as a war hero assured his victory in the thirty-fourth quadrennial presidential election.

 Because of his strictness and rigidity, Pershing was unpopular with the West Point cadets, who took to calling him "[racial slur] Jack" because of his service with the tenth Cavalry Regiment, a now-famous segregated African-American unit and one of the original "Buffalo Soldier" regiments. During the course of his tour at the Academy, this epithet softened to "Black Jack," although the intent remained hostile. While earlier a champion of the African-American soldier (he created the Harlem Hell-fighters), he did not champion their full participation on the battlefield in the World War, understanding widespread racial attitudes among white Americans generally as well as Wilson's reactionary views on race and his political debts he owed to southern Democratic law makers.

The election saw Pershing criticized by both segregationists for going too far and integrationists for not going far enough. Nevertheless once in office, Pershing did make a number of important changes that improved conditions for African-Americans in the military, changes that would be reflected in other Federal institutions. Those who complained or interfered were dismissed or reassigned. There was some irony in the manner that Pershing overruled the armed forces leadership because TR had to use presidential authority to promote him through three ranks and appoint him Brigadier General.

In his foreign policy, Pershing was not alone in his opposition to an armistice; Ferdinand Foch famously predicted "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years." Pershing worked as president to prove Foch and his own fears wrong. He chose to enforce the Versailles agreement with the steel of the four US divisions based on the Rhine. Over qualms, German debt was transferred to the US directly through forgiveness of France and UK's payments, making reparations ultimately more lenient as Germany reshaped more easterly with principle possessions in Danzig, East Prussia, the Sudetenland, and Austria. The former imperial nation now served as the German capital in Vienna with a Hapsburg Kaiser outnumbered by northerly German.

Europe of 1948 was unrecognisable to what it was thirty years before at the end of the World War. With more passive German politicians in Vienna, demands for the return of the Rhineland routinely came from especially radical extremists in the Reichstag such as Adolf Hitler, but U.S. troops remaining in situ throughout Pershing's two-terms in office made it an impossibility until the war debt was repaid. Ultimately pieces of the Rhineland would be liberated from France by plebiscite, with another following to rejoin Germany.

A second Sino-Japanese War broke out shortly after Pershing left office, with many of his last actions being to prepare the Army for service in the Philippines if necessary. Economic sanctions were imposed, most importantly restrictions on the American oil that supported the island nation. A desperate Japan quickly emerged on the horizon as a new threat to regional security in the Pacific. Fortunately, though, this tension was dissolved when oil was discovered in Manchuria.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Three States of Alaska

This post is an extension of the timeline created by Allen W. McDonnell in his "Alaska Provision added to the Immigrant Act of 1929" on Today in Alternate History, in which the Last Frontier's gates are opened to a new generation of immigrants escaping the coming war in Europe.

January 3, 2009, celebrated the semi-centennial anniversary of the third state created from Alaska Territory to enter the Union. Two had already been created in the south, which was quickly populated after the 1937 "Opening of Alaska" to immigrants eager to flee increasingly fascist Europe. Valdez had exploded from a town of one thousand to one hundred thousand, and the efforts of hardworking immigrants with little property were combined with a large population of wealthy Jewish immigrants who readily invested in their new home. The maritime climate proved suitable for farming, reinvigorating the "160 acres" American dream that had settled the West.

Many Americans in the Lower 48 were suspicious of the influx of foreigners (even installing restrictions that immigrants remain in the Alaska Territory until they become citizens, although children born there were granted immediate citizenship), but the Alaskans proved their loyalty in the Battle of Dutch Harbor in June of 1942. The naval base there, along with the Army's Fort Mears, were well warned by fishermen (the largest industry in what would become known as Kodiak) before they came under the assault of two Japanese aircraft carriers along with support cruisers and destroyers. Over the following months, militia joined US troops in the Aleutian Campaign, which reversed the Japanese gains on the islands and threatened their empire's northern flank. Attention to Alaska competed with headlines of Guadalcanal, where newsmen nicknamed Alaska the "icicle in Tokyo's side."

After the war, the more peaceful eastern part of southern Alaska, now well populated for a decade, organized itself into America's 49th state in 1946. Thanks much to the military boosts in its economy during the reconstruction of the Pacific and increasing military standing against the Soviet Union, Kodiak gained statehood in 1949.

Cold War politics arguably rushed Seward to statehood, too, in 1959 despite being thinly populated. Few were dismissive, however, at seeing Seward's great natural resources better supported as a state than as a territory. The center of learning that had built up in the fittingly named College, near Fairbanks, featured physicists such as Enrico Fermi and Leo Szilard, who championed the construction of a particle accelerator built on cheap land under a reindeer ranch. Seward proved itself invaluable to the energy requirements of the nation not only through experimental nuclear power and the established hydroelectric dam in Rampart Canyon, but also in the extensive oilfields discovered first in Prudhoe Bay and then throughout the North Slope.

Through the efforts of hardworking Americans who carved out a new life in a new world, his words proved true when U.S. General Billy Mitchell stated to the U.S. Congress in 1935, "I believe that in the future, whoever holds Alaska will hold the world. I think it is the most important strategic place in the world."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Karl Marx Gets a Raise

This is a companion piece to Today in Alternate History's "Passing of Horace Greeley" in which we explore a world where Marx wasn't radicalized.

While he spent his free time exploring new facets of scientific study into economics and social science, German-exile-in-London philosopher Karl Marx made his living (or what could be called one) as a correspondent for newspapers, most famously the New York Tribune, where Editor-in-Chief Horace Greeley defended him to critics with, "Mr. Marx has very decided opinions of his own, with some of which we are far from agreeing, but those who do not read his letters are neglecting one of the most instructive sources of information on the great questions of current European politics."

Greeley supported Marx's voice, but Managing Editor Charles Dana would later be described by biographer Franz Mehring as "a hard-boiled Yankee business man" in practice despite his socialist leanings. Their employer-employee relationship was largely one-sided in power: "not only did Dana immediately put Marx on half pay at the first sign of slacking sales, but he paid only for those articles which he actually printed as Marx’s work, nor was he bashful in throwing out whole articles when their general line did not suit his purpose. On occasions it happened that for three weeks, and even six weeks on end, all the contributions which Marx sent over found their way into the waste-paper basket."

Marx's frequent collaborator Friedrich Engels (who was independently wealthy and often helped out the Marx family), "In a fit of anger ... once declared that Dana’s socialism resolved itself into the lousiest petty-bourgeois cheating, and in fact, although Dana was well aware of Marx’s value as a contributor and did not fail to advertise that value to his readers, he showed Marx every form of ruthlessness which a capitalist exploiter feels himself entitled to show towards exploited labour-power dependent on him for its existence. By no means his worst offence was that he often stole the contributions Marx sent in and published them in a garbled form as editorial articles, a proceeding which caused their real author understandable annoyance." When he had calmed down, Engels decided to put his words on paper in a letter to Greeley. Feeling that he might lose one of his most fascinating voices (and knowing a goodwill story when he heard one), Greeley determined to rectify the poor payments and encouraged Marx to use his own position as an example to others in calling for fair wages.

The argument between Greeley and Dana proved to be the end of Dana's time with the Tribune; he left to join the war effort. While Marx was more in agreement with Dana's opinions that the Civil War should be fought and won as opposed to Greeley's calls for peace that would later be used as campaign fodder calling him treasonous in the 1872 election, Marx was forever grateful. His coverage of European perspectives of the war became ignored on the homefront, prompting Marx to move his family to New York in 1863. There he wrote extensively about the plight of newly liberated slaves during Reconstruction, making numerous tours of the South, as well as criticizing the early "Gilded Age" and routinely returning to Europe. When Greeley passed in 1872, Marx wrote his widely applauded obituary for the Tribune.

The relationship between reporter and editor was remembered by President John F. Kennedy a century after Marx's raise, speaking to the American Publisher's Association, "If only this benevolent New York newspaper had treated him less kindly, we would not have had one of our strongest voices among the cries for workers' rights; history might have been different. And I hope all publishers will bear this lesson in mind the next time they receive a poverty-stricken appeal for a small increase in the expense account from an obscure newspaper man."

Friday, May 22, 2015

Guest Post by Chris Oakley: Ill Wind

July 24th, 1588

The Spanish Empire's plans to conquer England were dealt a fatal blow when the armada carrying King Philip II's invasion force ran into a massive storm that lashed the armada's ships with torrential rains and hurricane force winds. Before the storm was over, more than three hundred vessels belonging to King Philip and his Italian ally Duke Alessandro of Parma would be sunk; fewer than a hundred would survive to limp home. When Philip was informed of the catastrophe, the shock proved almost too much for him to bear, and he would not be seen in public again for weeks as he went into seclusion to try and recover his nerves. The disaster would be an even worse shock for the Duke, whose physical health rapidly went downhill and who would die from a cerebral hemorrhage just two weeks after the storm.With the Spanish navy effectively neutralized and the Spanish government plunged into crisis after the catastrophe, a triumphant Queen Elizabeth I moved swiftly to capitalize on the strategic opportunity these developments had opened for her and assembled an armada of her own to occupy Spain's neighbor Portugal and subjugate Spain itself.

While the British couldn't quite take over all of Spain, they were able to seize control of most of the Spanish mainland's southern regions as well as the islands of Majorca and Minorca and maintain that control until the late 1690s. With Spain effectively kneecapped, Great Britain's only remaining challenger for supremacy among the European powers was her old neighbor and rival France; by the time King George III assumed the British throne in 1760, the Spanish had been shut out of most of the New World and were locked in a bitter three-way battle with the British and French for the rest of it. Not until after the end of the American Revolutionary War in 1782 would Spain be able to begin reasserting herself on the world stage. Seeking to avenge what many Spanish nationalists referred to as “the century of humiliation,” the Madrid government negotiated a military alliance with French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and assembled a massive invasion force with the goal of landing on the southern British coast and overthrowing the Hanover dynasty in London.

Right from the beginning, the invasion plans ran into trouble. Napoleon insisted on personally assuming command of the joint Franco-Spanish expeditionary force as well as having the last word on matters of strategy and tactics, something which didn't sit well with the Spanish army general staff or the admiralty of the Spanish navy. Complicating matters still further, all three nations had profitable and growing trade ties with the United States and there were concerns among the Spanish diplomatic corps that a “friendly fire” mishap might provoke the U.S. into joining forces with Britain. Last but not least, growing unrest among Spain's own few colonies in the Americas made it necessary for the Spanish army to shift many of its most experienced troops to the New World, leaving its contingent in the expeditionary force to Britain made up in the most part of ill-trained recruits. When the expeditionary force finally departed for southern England in June of 1803, it was confronted by a well-prepared Royal Navy coastal squadron who opened fire on the lead Spanish warship in the invasion force as soon as it was sighted; in an engagement lasting nearly three full days most of the expeditionary force was wiped out in the English Channel with its primary target. Folkestone, still over two hundred nautical miles away. In an eerie coincidence, the spot where the Royal Navy defense contingent confronted and ultimately turned back the would-be invaders was the precise location where the Duke of Parma’s own flagship had sunk back in 1588 at the height of what is now called “the Armada storm.”

By 1806, Napoleon’s empire was on the verge of collapse, and Spain was on the verge of the biggest internal revolt any European nation had experienced since the French Revolution of 1789. The Spanish Liberation War broke out in the spring of 1807 and would last nearly  fifteen years, ending in January of 1822 when the last Spanish king, Ferdinand VII, fled to Mexico as the rebel armies were advancing on Madrid. The Spanish Republic was established in 1823 by a constitutional convention in Seville; over the next century, under the Republican government, Spain’s old adversarial relationship with Britain would give way to a more cordial rapport. In the First World War Spanish naval power would play a crucial role in the success of the main Allied landing at the Turkish port of Gallipoli, and when right-wing extremists tried to launch a coup in 1920 to restore the Spanish monarchy, British marines aided the Spanish army in quashing the revolt. One of the Spanish regular army officers who worked with the British at the time, a  young captain named Francisco Franco Baramonde, would receive the Empire Medal for his heroism during the uprising and go on to serve as Madrid’s chief military liaison to the British army high command during the Second World War.


In reality the Spanish Armada fell victim not to storms but to the English navy’s ingenious use of “fire ships”(vessels packed with combustible materials and set adrift to burn enemy vessels). The Spanish monarchy would survive until 1931, when King Alfonso XIII went into exile after an electoral landslide by republican political parties in municipal elections. Spain would be neutral in both World Wars, although the Falangist regime that took over the country in 1939 leaned to a significant degree in favor of the Axis.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Guest Post: "Nixon Proven Right"

First appeared on Today in Alternate History:

May 12, 1976 - Nixon Proven Right

Having already delivered a bomb-shell in the most controversial report of his nine-year long career, CBS Evening News anchor Arnold Zenker ended the show with a low-key catch-phrase from his predecessor Walter Cronkite, "And that's the way it is." 
The explosive truth had been accidentally revealed during that messiest of divorce hearings George W. Bush vs Ms Tricia Nixon. Of course before this unfortunate break-up, the Bush and Nixon dynasties had gone back a long way, as did Bush Senior's involvement in the Agency. It was the accidental disclosure of private information from the CIA Director that was the topic of "Uncle Arnold's" show that night.

Surprisingly, the incredible accounts of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein had passed largely unchallenged. Although they probably would make a great movie, the details of the mysterious meeting in the garage, the identity of "Deep Throat" etc. were worthy of their own close examination. And now the balance of evidence suggested that Bob Woodward might himself be a CIA Agent.

Gene Roberts, the former executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and former managing editor of The New York Times, had called the work of Woodward and Bernstein "maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time."

Zenker was the previously unknown Columbia Broadcasting System executive who shot to national fame when he replaced Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News for thirteen days during a television strike. When Cronkite returned, he opened the program by saying, "Good evening. This is Walter Cronkite, sitting in for Arnold Zenker. It's good to be back."

In 1967 at the age of 28, he was asked to sit in for anchor Walter Cronkite to deliver the nightly news. Zenker, working as a Manager of News Programming at CBS at the time, was chosen because a strike by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists left the network without an immediate substitute. Once the strike ended, Zenker returned to his former post.

It was too late for former president Richard Nixon, however, who had resigned rather than drag the nation down in a fight against the conspiracy that ended his career.

Author's Notes: George W Bush did date Richard Nixon's daughter but of course married Laura Welch.

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