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6 Terrifying Real Speeches That Were Thankfully Never Given

#3. Nixon Refuses to Resign

While sideways Nixon was busy accepting responsibility for the failure of the moon landing in the alternate universe, regular Nixon was still also screwing things up. The Watergate scandal may not have been the biggest dick move in Nixon's presidency, but it certainly was the most public. Yes, breaking into a hotel late at night may not sound quite as bad as sabotaging peace talks in Vietnam or trying to assassinate a journalist with LSD, but goddamnit, trying to cover it up is apparently worse than all those things put together.


Richard Nixon, the George Washington of liars.

As Congress prepared impeachment proceedings, Nixon had two options: fight for his presidency even if it meant trashing every single shred of integrity to his office, or spare the nation a lengthy impeachment process by resigning. Sure enough, Nixon and his speechwriters considered the latter "Option B," and that is the speech he gave to the nation on August 8, 1974, when he resigned the presidency.

Getty
"In conclusion, America, if you want beef then bring the ruckus; Wu-Tang clan ain't nothin' to fuck with.
Thank you, and God Bless America."

It's a fairly standard bullshit-artist speech. He starts off explaining how he's not going to stand up and explain himself, and then he spends about four paragraphs explaining himself. He used a whole lot of safe, "firmly believe that I have not committed any act of commission or omission that justifies removing a duly elected President from office," kind of language. He never outright says he's innocent, just subtle variations on "I'm pretty sure I don't think I did anything wrong, in my opinion." That way, regardless of the outcome, he can still exit the other side saying, "Well, I still believe I didn't do anything wrong. Conscience: Clear."

He goes on to get all martyr-y, explaining that he's going to get into a long trial and investigation instead of resigning because that's more in the spirit of the American constitutional process. "Look, I'd resign right now, folks, but I'm just so god damned American that I couldn't do it in good conscience. I owe it to this amazing country of ours. Let's hear it for America, am I right?"

Getty
"Any other country would have shot me."

The Most Chilling Part:

That "Option B" was Option B! That was his backup plan. Also, the part where Nixon desperately tries to make the case that his resignation would only lead to a string of resignations "on every future president who might, for whatever reason, fall into a period of unpopularity." What a cowardly threat. "Look, if I quit, then you'll also lose all of the good presidents who come after me!" What a dickish thing to do. Also dickish? Burglary, attempted murder and destroying evidence like the Watergate tapes and blaming it on your secretary.


Rose Mary Woods, demonstrating how completely full of shit she is.

What Hearing It Would Have Meant:

Had Nixon delivered this originally intended broadcast, it would have kicked off a constitutional war the likes of which the country would not see again until, well, you know ...

Getty
Not pictured: Cigar.

By the summer of 1974, the House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment against Nixon, and on August 9 the Watergate prosecution team was debating whether or not to indict the president. Even Nixon's buddies like Strom Thurmond were forced to tell him that their mutual hatred for black people and Jewish people would not be enough to keep the Solid South behind him.

In short, Richard M. Nixon would have been forced out of the White House, kicking and screaming in a matter even more embarrassing than his current reputation in Futurama and among the Jury of the Damned.

#2. Lincoln Loses Reelection, Sets His Stopwatch

Despite his current reputation as a cartoon character and Geico subject, the truth is that Abraham Lincoln's reelection chances initially looked pretty grim. By 1864 the American Civil War had entered its bloodiest year, General Ulysses S. Grant had been forced to a standstill outside of Richmond and even Lincoln's own party was beginning to consider the abolition of slavery a losing issue. All the worse, facing Lincoln in the election would be the same George B. McClellan that Lincoln had previously fired for being so bad a general that the Vice President of the Confederacy described his nomination as "the first ray of light I have seen from the North since the war began." It was the last, and arguably the best, chance the South ever had to win the Civil War: by convincing the North that the war was lost and by voting Lincoln out of office.


Seriously ... Fuck ... This ... Man ...

In Lincoln's own words, just three months before the election, "I am going to be beaten ... and unless some great change takes place, badly beaten." As such, he prepared a sealed document for his cabinet to open in the event that the unthinkable became real: that George B. McClellan was elected president. It was not a concession speech and it was not even close to congratulatory. It was his last-ditch game plan to win the Civil War, no matter what the cost or loss of life, before the incoming president could uphold his party platform and establish an immediate armistice with the South.

From Lincoln's point of view, the fate of the United States was in his giant, super-freak hands.

He told his entire cabinet that he was almost positive that he would lose and would spend his remaining time in office trying to help heal the Union, no matter what. He knows he's done for, so he's going to use the last of his time running around and just going crazy. Shit. It's like a presidential version of Crank.


"Half of my body mass is in cocaine."

What a cool guy.

The Most Chilling Part:

Where Lincoln says that his opponent "will have secured his election on such ground that he can not possibly save it afterwards." He would help the incoming president if it came down to it, but he genuinely believed that, if he wasn't reelected, no one would be able to heal America. Meaning that the United States had until noon, March 4, 1865 to win the Civil War, otherwise there would no longer be a United States south of the nation's capital.

Civil War Daily Gazette
Like this, only for keeps.

What Hearing It Would Have Meant:

While we do not know the details of Lincoln's Hail Mary against the South, there are two very likely possibilities: an all-out assault with an immense loss of life, or, as nearly happened in 1864, an ending to the war worthy of The Godfather. It is debated that Lincoln had actually attempted a hit job against Jefferson Davis as part of the so-called Dahlgren Affair. Among its details ...

"An address to his troops on Cavalry Corps stationery was even more explicit: 'The City it must be destroyed and Jeff. Davis and Cabinet killed.'"

We know what you are thinking and the answer is yes: Abraham Lincoln was seriously that cold in private.


Oh, but he could be tender.

Fortunately, none of this came to pass, since Lincoln finally got the big break he needed when General William T. Sherman captured Atlanta on September 2, just days after McClellan and his Copperhead allies convened their defeatist platform. With the South now precisely where Lincoln wanted it, Sherman promised to personally "make Georgia howl" for the president. Lincoln approved Sherman's plan for a "March to the Sea" in yet another display of badassery, which ushered Sherman into the annals of American history as the most hated man in the South and Lincoln back to his desk for a second term.

#1. The Doomsday PSAs

According to the 1992 Time magazine article "The Doomsday Blueprints," the Mount Weather doomsday hideaway President Eisenhower had Dr. Strangelove build into Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains contained a vault with prerecorded PSAs to air in the event of full-scale nuclear war. Interestingly, these videos included survival instructions for the nation recorded by television personality and Chesterfield cigarettes spokesperson Arthur Godfrey.

Wikipedia
The man who nearly played the role of one of the angels from Revelation.

Up until last May, an underground meteorological station at the site issued daily reports on wind direction and speed, plotting potential radiation patterns. The site's television studio is prepared to provide the President -- or his successor -- a national audience over the Emergency Broadcast System. Throughout the Eisenhower Administration -- and for years after -- a vault held tape-recorded addresses by both Eisenhower and celebrity Arthur Godfrey. The prerecorded message was concise: The country has come under nuclear attack, but the government continues to function.

In addition, a number of prominent newsmen who had taken oaths of secrecy had agreed to accompany the president to the relocation site of his choosing and lend their familiar names and faces to help calm the surviving audience.

According to an interview with former CBS president Frank Stanton obtained by the Cold War-crazed website CONELRAD in 2004, these PSAs not only "absolutely" existed, but Eisenhower had more than one of them made. PSAs were recorded not only by Arthur Godfrey but also by Edward R. Murrow, which more or less guarantees that part of the country's contingency plan for nuclear holocaust included smoking lots and lots of Chesterfield cigarettes.

Amazon.com
"And now a word from our sponsors ..."

The Most Chilling Part:

We're guessing the part that went "the country has come under nuclear attack," since this was essentially the ending for humanity Terminator 3 was preparing us for all along.


"This ends the portion of history where you remain alive."

What Hearing It Would Have Meant:

Assuming you possessed the foresight to hide things out in a lead-lined fridge, that you had just been cast as either "Man," "Boy" or Guy Pearce in The Road.

Jacopo della Quercia is the author of "Go @#$% Yourself!" -- An Ungentlemanly Disagreement, by Filippo Argenti, and another book that he really does plan on finishing one of these days.

For more terrifying what if's you'll be glad never came to pass, check out 5 Backup Plans That Would Have Changed Modern History and 6 Terrifying Emergency Escape Pods (That Aren't Worth It).

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