Friday, November 9, 2012

The Airship Legacy - Part 5

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PETROGRAD, MARCH 12- Although the situation in the Soviet Union cannot be determined by statements from the Kremlin, which has stated since the death of Stalin and Beria in 1953 and 1954 that “the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics remains as strong today as it did following Russian Civil War, and continues to grow and prosper as any socialist state should,” the real picture that the West is getting from fleeing refuges entereing Imperial Russia and those traveling in Red Russia is far different.
The Rulling Council of the Soviet Union, formed after a Red Army coup overthrew Lavrentiy Beria, who had taken control of the USSR following Joseph Stalin’s death during the Polish War, is still officially in charge, at least on paper. In reality, however, the Generals that make up the Rulling Council each control a certain territory and practice great local autonomy. What the West is learning from refugees fleeing the Soviet Union is that each General acts like a “little Stalin”, and his territory might as well be a different country from the others. They say that Civil War is very likely to break out, as petty squabbling amongst the Generals and their troops is occuring more frequently.
-“Soviet Union May be Close to Collapse,” The Times (London), March 12, 1974.

BIRMINGHAM, JULY 17- The City of Birmingham, Alabama, in a direct violation of a new state constitutional amendment banning the integration of public education, has announced that they will be building a new high school that “will not be segregated.” City and School Board Officials state that the fines the federal government is threatening with the new Racial Equality Law is too great a price to pay to keep segregation, thus making integration the only possible option.
The new facility, to be called  Thomas Jefferson High School, will be ready by the 1975-76 school year, one year before the federally mandated deadline to integrate. District Superintendent Michael Bloom stated that the reason that they were only building a new high school is that “we have enough space in our elementary and middle schools that integration will not be a problem, but our high schools would not be able to properly handle integration, and thus a new facility was needed.”
Alabama Governor George Wallace, who has been leading his state in a fight against federally mandated desegregation, stated that “if the City of Birmingham wishes to defy our state constitution, then so be it, but they should be warned. They will face the highest possible sanctions that this state can impose on a city or school district. As I declared upon my innaguration as governer of this great state, segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever.”
-“City of Birmingham to Open De-Segregated High School,” The New York Times, July 17, 1974.

NEW YORK, JULY 24- Officials from Pan American Airways announced today that they wold be purchasing several passenger jet-airliners from Boeing, namely the Boeing-697 and Boeing-707 aircraft that have started to be used by US Airways and American Airlines. PanAm states that this is not a shift away from airship use, but rather a new service to complement the airship service that PanAm has been so famous for these last 40 years.
Theses new “jets” will allow PanAm to offer service to more cities than ever before, giving the air-service giant even more options to expand than it had with just airships and seaplanes. Air travelers can expect to see PanAm jetliners ready for service in ealy 1975.
-“PanAm to Purchase Boeing Jet Airliners,” The New York Times, July 25, 1974.

WASHINGTON July 29- President Humphrey announced today that he would be attending the grounbreaking ceremony of the new Thomas Jefferson High School in Birmingham, Alabama, in an effort to raise support for the Racial Equality Act in the South, which has continued to resist the new federally mandated end ot segregation.
Since the law’s passage, only Missouri, Oklahoma, and West Virginia have passed new anti-segregation laws to comply with the national legisltation that was passed last year.
-“Presidnet to Visit Birmingham,” The Washington Post,  July 30, 1974

MOSCOW, AUG 8- The tenuious sharing of power between the leading powers of the Soviet Military has collapsed, with three major factions emerging in attempts to control the USSR. The Central Russian Republic, the Vladivostock Democratic Republic, and the Socialist Republic of the Ukraine have all formed and are vying for ultimate control. Poland, the Imperial Baltic Federation, and Germany have all stated that they will not get involved at this point, but will accept refugees from the war-torn nation.
In a radical step, the Vladivostock Republic has sworn off communism, declaring the birth of “democracy and free enterprise” in the Russian hinterland. Althought reports cannot be confirmed, it is believed that China, Japan, and possibly even the USA will lend support to this faction of the fraying Soviet Union.
-“War in Russia,” The Times (London), August 9, 1974.

BIRMINGHAM, AUG 17- President Hubert Humphrey was visiting the city of Birmingham, Alabama, to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Thomas Jeffesron High School, which will be the city’s first integrated high school. The President was giving a speech to the crowd of people when a man stood up and shouted “Long Live Dixie!”  before opening fire on the dignitaries on the constructed stage. Presidnet Humphrey took two bullets to the chest, and was dead within minutes. Vice Presidnet Kennedy was uninjured, but School Superintendant Michael Bloom was also killed, and Birmingham Mayor Thomas Whistler was injured.
The shooter, George Smithson, was apprehended by the Birmingham City Police, and will be turned over to federal authorities in the morning. It appears that Smithson has ties to the Klu Klux Klan. Humphrey’s body was loaded onto the USS Eagle, and after it was aboard Vice President Josephy Kennedy, Jr. was sworn in as President in the portside promanad deck of the famous airship. Kennedy is expected to address the nation via television tomorrow evening.
-“Humphrey Dead! KKK Shoots President During Birmingham Ceremony,” The New York Times (Late Edition), August 19, 1974.

My Fellow Americans,
I come to you this evening as our nation recovers from the shock of a great tragedy. Yesterday afternoon, as Presidnet Humphrey and I were in the beautiful southern city of Birmingham, Alabama, a misguided soul killed my good friend President Humphrey in cold blood, all in the name of “white supremacy”.  This nation has seen what sort of evil racism can bring about, and we are all truly horrified.
I call on the states that are currently holding back from approving desegregation to honory the memory of our murdered leader, and end this wicked practice. Racism has shown itself to be nothing more than a cancer upon this Republic, and must not be supported any longer.
I promise you all today that as long as I hold this office, I will continue to fight for the values that President Humphrey believed in, and unfortuately died for. Segregation will come to an end, and before long, all men will be equal before the law, as they already exist before God.
Thank you all, goodnight, and may God bless our nation in this time of trial, and help heal our land.
- Televised address by newly sworn-in President Joseph Kennedy, Jr., following the assasination of President Hubert Humphrey, broadcast on NBC, CBS, ABC, USBC, and PTV, August 20, 1974

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