"During 1774 Frederick the Great of Prussia had a free potato policy to help the people through the famine. A lot of people initially rejected the potatoes and so he had guards feign patrol of the potato fields so they looked more valuable and people would steal them in the night. Even though they were totally free."
" In the 2015-2016 New Zealand Flag referendums, where New Zealand voted on a new flag for the country, one of the highest voted results was an image of a kiwi firing lasers from it's eyes. Google "New Zealand laser kiwi flag" if you don't believe me."
" How the Berlin Wall fell. In order to calm mounting protests, German Democratic Republic (GDR) officials decided on loosening travel restrictions between East and West, but not opening the border completely.
Notes of the new rules had been handed to a spokesman who hadn't had time to read them before the press conference. "Private travel outside the country can now be applied for without prerequisites," he said. Surprised journalists clamoured for more details. Shuffling through his notes, he said that as far as he was aware, it was effective immediately. In fact, it had been planned to start the next day, with details on applying for a visa. But the news was all over television - and East Germans flocked to the border in huge numbers.
As the border became inundated with East Berliners wishing to reunite with family and/or escape the GDR, border guards became overwhelmed and with no orders to either shoot upon the crowd or open the gate, only a handful of guards facing hundreds and thousands of citizens, rather than fire and create a stampede and potentially kill hundreds, the head of the guards decided to give the order "Open the barrier!" What came next was a spontaneous chain reaction with Berliners on both sides arriving at Checkpoint Charlie to celebrate this momentous event and to demolish the wall.
So, basically, an ill-prepared functionary made a flippant remark and a border guard captain, unable to get orders on how to proceed, led to one of the most defining moments of the late 20th Century in Europe."
"In WWII, the Russians trained dogs to run under tanks with time bombs on their backs - "anti-tank dogs." But, the Russians trained the dogs on Russian tanks, so when they set them free on the battlefield, the dogs turned around and started blowing up the Russian tanks instead of the German tanks."
"Spain was invading Europe, I think it was the eighty years war, they got as far as Belgium and documented some pretty horrific atrocities, killing and raping civilians and burning whole towns. They let a couple of survivors go to spread fear. Didn't work. By the time they got to the Netherlands people were pissed off with the invaders. It was also nearly winter. The Spanish tried to march on a Dutch city and the Dutch said, screw those guys and flooded the plains between the army and the city. The Spanish didn't fancy wading and drowning so they hopped on their support ships and tried to approach the city from the water except they messed up and by the time the got there the water had frozen and the ships were useless. They formed up on the ice and began once again to march on the city. By this time the Dutch had set boobytraps everywhere, lots of the invaders pitched into freezing water, and where they did manage to engage the Dutch in direct combat, the Dutch turned out on ice skates and fought back, often quickly skating into range, taking a shot and then skating back to safety. The Spanish didn't know what the hell was going on and got their @$$es kicked by an army on skates. I really want to see this movie one day but I doubt anybody would believe it."
"Alright I don't remember the specifics. But there was a king (I believe a sumerian king) who was told by an oracle that "Disaster would befall the king." So he had a gardener crowned as king for a day, and that night the gardener would be executed, thus fulfilling the prophecy and saving the real king.
Soon after the gardener's coronation, the real king choked on soup and died. The gardener ruled for 24 years"
"Canada and Denmark have been at war since 1984.
Hans island: disputed since the 1930's, but since 1984 each country's military visits and erects their flag taking down the other flag. With it a note welcoming the next visitor to Canada or Denmark.
Canadians leave whiskey, Danes leave schnapps.
And the cycle continues."
"The Great Pig War (aka the San Juan Boundary Dispute) between the US and UK/Canada lasted seven whole years. At maximum belligerence, the order of battle included 2,600 ground troops, five powerful ships of the line, and nearly a hundred cannon.
But fortunately, the combatants never actually got around to doing much combatting. In fact, the only recorded injury was a Royal Marine who got hit in the eye by a rock thrown from the American trenches. He was shipped to a nearby militry hospital, recuperated, and eventually rejoined his unit.
Most of the opposing troops' energies were spent sneaking across the lines to each other's outposts - to play cards, swap stories, and to trade American tobacco and fresh food for navy rum swiped from the British quartermaster's stores.
Generally acknowledged as The Best War Ever."
"A Finnish sniper named Simo Häyhä was able to kill around 500 Soviet soldiers in the Winter War of 1939 by literally hiding in the snow and taking random shots every couple hours. In March 1940 he was struck in the jaw by an explosive bullet and seriously wounded. He was very disfigured, unconcious, and presumed dead when he was found, and later he was thrown onto a pile of bodies. A fellow soldier noticed a leg twitching in the pile and they brought him home alive. He lived to be 96."
"Not one but two kings of France perished by smashing their heads on the top part of a door, or lintel.
Charles VIII in 1498 (the shock probably caused something else but still).
Louis III was pursuing a fair lady (who was actually trying to escape him) on his horse on August 5, 882, when she passed a door. The horse went through, but not the king, who broke his skull and died instantly."
"William the Conqueror exploded at his funeral.The short of it, the intestinal infection that killed him ended up eating up his body from the inside. All the gas from the decomposition was trapped in there, but as some people tried to fit him back into his coffin, his body exploded from the pressure. Guess he had to go out with a bang."
"The way the world is today and an immense portion of its problems can be traced back to one 19 year old kid shooting an archduke in 1914."
"Jack Daniel (yeah, that Jack Daniel) died from an infected stubbed toe caused by him kicking a safe containing money to which he had forgotten the combination."
"A Skylab satellite's guidance system was failing and ended up crash landing in Australia. Instead of giving the satellite back, Skylab was charged with a $500 littering fine.
After the fine was paid, the company wanted to put the satellite in a museum but was refused on the basis that since the satellite fell from space, its legally Australia's now. So now, Skylab pays a monthly rent to Australia to display its own satellite in a museum."
"A man from New York missed his friends who were fighting in Vietnam. So he traveled thousands of miles to track them down in a combat zone to personally give them beer and letters from home. He even wrote a book about it called The Greatest Beer Run Ever"
"The second person to go down Niagara Falls in a barrel and live later perished by slipping on an orange peel."
"There was a real plan to spike Hitler's food with estrogen to try to turn him into a woman and make him give up on war."
"Everything Olga of Kiev did after her husband was killed by an opposing tribe (the opposing tribe killed him by tying his legs to trees they'd bent down and then releasing the trees)
Cliffs: -Buried 20 men alive -Burning another 20 alive after she'd lured then into a bath house
Slaughtered 5000 of the opposing tribes solders after she'd gotten them piss drunk. -Telling the opposing tribe she'd end the assaults if each house gave her "3 pigeons and 3 sparrows". She then had her soldiers tie sulfur to each of the birds and set them free so that they would return home to nest in their original villages. Eventually the villagers bedtime fires would ignite the sulfur and burn the town to the ground.
Also she's a "saint" in the Orthodox and Roman Catholic church."
"People used to think women's uteruses would go flying if they rode the train."
"A Greek philosopher called Chrysippus died from laughing too much at a drunken donkey eating rotting (therefore fermented) figs."
"Honduras and El Salvador had a 3-day war over a football game."
""Gorilla gorilla gorilla" This is the scientific name of the western lowland gorilla"
"A quote from Winston Churchill when he was visiting the White house and the president walked in on him buck naked: "The prime minister of the UK has nothing to hide from the president of the US.""
"King George II Was so constipated while he was taking a poop his heart actually physically burst."
"In 1956 a man named Tommy Fitzpatrick stole a small plane from New Jersey for a bet and then landed it perfectly on the narrow street in front of the bar he had been drinking at in Manhattan. Two years later, he did it again after someone didn't believe he had done it the first time.
What's also crazy is that the punishment for the first time ended up being only a $100 fine, since the charges were dropped by the owner of the plane, and the second resulted in only 6 months in jail."
"Benjamin Hornigold was a pirate in the late 1600s and early 1700s who once robbed a merchant vessel purely for the crew's hats - because he and his crew got so drunk the night before that they all threw their own hats overboard for no good reason."
"Not only did Australia lose its 17th Prime Minister at the beach (he drowned) but we named a public swimming pool after him."
"It is said that Greek tragedian Aeschylus died because an eagle dropped a tortoise on his bald head, mistaken for a rock, in order to break the shell of the tortoise."
"In 1518 in Strasbourg, a woman started dancing for no reason. Over the course of a month, 400 other people joined her. Soon close to 50 people would dance themselves to death in what became known as the Dancing Plague of 1518. Realistically, people were probably caught up in a case of mass hysteria. Another theory is that the grain they grew locally was poisoned by ergot fungi. Whatever caused it, I can’t imagine the feeling knowing a family member died because they danced until their heart exploded."
"The Titanic look-outs did not have binoculars. It was believed they had accidentally been left in Southhampton, but they were locked in a safe on board."
"Australia lost a war against emu’s"
"Carrots don’t actually help improve eyesight. It was a lie made up by the British during WWII to hide their radar technology and explain how British pilots always knew where the Germans were coming from."
"In 1184, a number of nobles from across the Holy Roman Empire were meeting in a room at the Church of St. Peter, when their combined weight caused the floor to collapse into the latrine beneath the cellar and led to dozens of nobles drowning in liquid excrement.
It is referred to as the "Erfurt latrine disaster.""
"Corn flakes were originally marketed as an anti masturbation cereal and the man who made them, John Harvey Kellogg, adopted all 8 of his kids and didn't even sleep in the same room as his wife"
"Fidel Castro loved milk so much that when his cow who holds the world record for most milk produced in a day died, he had her taxidermied, had a marble statue of her built and a full eulogy and obituary written for her in his state newspaper, and Cuban scientists have repeatedly tried (and failed) to clone her. Her name was Ubre Blanca, which means White Udder."
"The reason there [aren't] a lot of mummies around anymore? It's because we ate them."
"Albert Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel but turned it down."
"As WW2 revved up, the US realized that fast and cheap was the way to go with manufacturing ships (ex Liberty Ships). But there was a line of escort carriers made with so little armor that some Japanese armor-piercing shells went through the hull and out the other side without exploding, a nice surprise."
"The US and the UK scrapped plots to assassinate Hitler as they believed his poor judgement would bring an end to the war quicker."
"In Hartlepool, England a monkey was hanged because they thought the monkey was a french spy, they had never seen a monkey or a french person before so they thought that the monkey was speaking french, the monkey was hanged on a beach and there is a statue remembering the monkey"
"Whilst on his death bed, George Washington was drained of almost half his blood and given treatments that caused him to violently vomit and [poop] himself. He perished anyway."
"During WWI, Germany converted and armed a passenger cruise liner, the SMS Cap Trafalgar, into a cruiser, and sent to the Atlantic Ocean to disrupt British shipping. Off the coast of Brazil though, when they received word that a British ship was coming to flush out German ships disrupting British shipping, the SMS Cap Trafalgar decided to disguise itself as another ocean liner-turned-cruiser, the HMS Carmania, so that they wouldn't be shot at.
The British ship that came to deal with the SMS Cap Trafalgar was... the HMS Carmania.
Which promptly sunk the fake one."
"Adolf Hitler had many physical ailments, many of which are known. He had in particular severe stomach cramps and also bouts of insomnia, so his quack doctor (Theodor Morell), in his infinite wisdom, gave Hitler sleeping pills and laxative, resulting in very severe gas problems."