25 Weirdest Facts From History You Surely Weren’t Taught in Schools

21Tube Alloys

In Britain, unlike in the US, the Manhattan project had almost no security. Instead, they called the project ‘tube alloys.’ It was deemed that it sounded so boring that nobody would investigate it and they were right nobody did. It is the same story for military tanks. The project was named ship water tanks, seeing that the subject was bland and held no interest. It served to keep armored tracked development a secret. In the end, these tracked vehicles kept the name “tank” after the ruse name.

22The Capture of Fort Detroit

The capture of Fort Detroit in the War of 1812 was made possible by one great bluff paying off. British general Brock took the fort (guarded by 582 Regulars and 1600 militiamen) with a minimal force (50 regulars, 250 volunteers, and 200 natives) by shelling the walls, screaming, and continuously marching his men around to make it appear as though they had a force of several thousand regulars and natives. The British continued to support this by sending a letter they knew would be intercepted by the Americans that asked for no more natives be allowed into the area as there were already 5000 there. All of these mind games made American General Hull believe he was facing a superior force and he surrendered the fort to them without a fight.

23Dazexiang Uprising

In Qin China, 2 generals were late for a battle unfortunately due to rain and flooding. Given that the penalty for being late for a government job was death, they decided to take their soldiers and start a rebellion to fight for their freedom, as the punishment for rebellion was also death. So began the Dazexiang Uprising of 209 B.C., all due to rain. In another similar instance, the Han dynasty, which ushered China's golden ages, was started by a prisoner transport guard who realized he was going to arrive late with his prisoners, so he freed them, recruited them, and then started a rebellion.

24History's Greatest Pun

When Britain was fighting to conquer India, a General named Charles James Napier was told not to attack the city of Sindh. However, he had an opportunity, went ahead and attacked Sindh, and captured it. When he sent news back to Britain of his victory, his telegram consisted of a single word: “Peccavi.” This is not an English word, but a Latin one and most people know of it through the Catholic Church. Directly translated into English it means, “I have sinned” (which was a pun on “I have Sindh”).

25Gunter Schabowski

A German bureaucrat messing up on live TV led to the Berlin Wall falling. This East German Soviet official named Gunter Schabowski was set to announce travel being allowed outside of East Germany in a few days from the announcement, and one had to wait days to get and have the special travel visa authorized. He was to announce it on live government TV. He was rushed and tired, going to the press conference, and had not read the official government press release before coming on live TV. An aide just handed him the paper, which he read on camera. He read the first part of the release, which said “the government now authorizes travel freedom” on live TV. A reporter then asked, “so when does this take effect?” He had not had the chance to read about the travel limits and visa requirements yet and had had a long day. So instead of taking several live minutes to read the whole thing, Schabowski just mumbled: “as far as I know...right away.” This led to thousands of East Germans massing at the Wall and border checkpoints. People got angrier and angrier as they were refused passage. Finally, to avoid a riot or getting hurt themselves, one guard let some people on through. This led to a chain reaction and so bye-bye, Berlin Wall.


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