50 Painful Facts about Sanctions, Blockades & Embargoes

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26Berlin Blockade

Berlin Blockade

From June 1948, the US Air Force and the Royal Air Force flew 280,000 flights in 12 months to help the citizens of Berlin with coal and food during the Blockade of Berlin as a gesture of kindness after the cruelty of war.

27. Serbian soldiers who dug the Sarajevo tunnel during the Bosnian War, which bypassed the international arms embargo, were only paid 1 pack of cigarettes per day.

28. Nokia and the USSR used to have such a profitable relationship during the Cold War that America threatened Finland with trade embargoes and war if Nokia didn't stop its association with the USSR.

29. Danish company Lundbeck Inc. placed an embargo on the sale of its product, pentobarbital, to US prisons because of its moral stance on lethal injections.

30. Despite the sanctions imposed on Iran, US exports more bull semen to Iran than any other country. In 2018 alone, the amount of semen exported from the US was more than the combined total of the next seven other countries exporting semen to Iran.

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31Cambodian–Vietnamese War & Sanctions

Cambodian–Vietnamese War & Sanctions

In January 1979, Vietnamese army entered Phnom Penh to end the genocide that killed nearly quarter of all Cambodians. Shortly after, most of the UN denounced Vietnam and placed it under sanctions.

32. In Ancient Rome, for particularly grievous offenses by public figures, the Roman Senate would pass a sanction of "Damnatio Memoriae", literally an order to erase that person from history.

33. Fanta was invented during World War 2 when Coca-Cola couldn't import its syrup into Nazi Germany due to a trade embargo. They instead invented a new drink called Fanta, just for Nazi Germany, using only the available ingredients.

34. The "ABCD Encirclement" were a series of multinational embargoes against Japan that led to the war in the Pacific.

35. In 2012, Danish reseller named Torben Nødskouv paid $20,000 to legally purchase Cuban cigars from a German distributor. The bank transaction was automatically routed through the US, who confiscated the money for violating the US trade embargo with Cuba.

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36Cuban Embargo Condemnation

Cuban Embargo Condemnation

The United Nations General Assembly has condemned the United States embargo against Cuba as a violation of the UN Charter every year since 1992.

37. The Hindenburg airship was forced to use hydrogen (as opposed to helium), because the USA, which produced more than 90% of all helium at that time, had a military embargo restricting its civilian use.

38. Reclusive Chess Master Bobby Fischer had a rematch with Spassky in 1992. The match was forbidden due to the embargo on Yugoslavia. The match and the events that followed led to Fischer's exile from the U.S.

39. After the Yom Kippur War of 1973, in which Arab states attempted to regain land lost to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War, the US decided to resupply Israel with arms. This led the Arab-controlled OAPEC to institute an oil embargo against the US, thus instigating the 1973 US oil crisis.

40. There was a conflict called the Pastry War (a.k.a. First Franco-Mexican War), which began after a French pastry chef's shop was attacked by Mexican officers. This resulted in the French navy blockading all Mexican ports as well as seizing the city of Veracruz.

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41Blockade Of Wonsan

Blockade Of Wonsan

The blockade of the North Korean port city of Wonsan during the Korean War, was the longest naval blockade in modern history. It lasted for 861 days.

42. The Nigerian government has removed history from the secondary school curriculum as a result of the Nigerian Civil War (the Biafran War) being too controversial, where the Nigerian government blockaded and starved 3 million people to death.

43. During the American Civil War, the British never officially backed the south but did run goods to the South through the blockade and by providing the Confederate States Navy with ships.

44. The Nazis planned to relocate millions of Jews to Madagascar but ultimately shelved the plan due to the British naval blockade in 1940.

45. The Venezuelan Crisis of 1902-1903 began when the Venezuelan president Cipriano Castro refused to pay Venezuela's foreign debt, causing Great Britain, Germany, and Italy to impose a naval blockade. All parties eventually came to a settlement with the help of U.S. pressure.

461870 Parisian Blockade

1870 Parisian Blockade

During 1870 Franco-Prussian War, Paris was blockaded by the Prussians. As food supplies dwindled, Parisians began slaughtering zoo animals for meat, including two elephants, Castor and Pollux. The meat from the elephants was purchased for 27,000 francs and served at local restaurants.

47. In 1585, when the Dutch port city of Antwerp was under siege, they loaded two ships full of 7,000 pounds of gunpowder and sailed them at the Spanish blockade. The one that successfully exploded killed about 800 troops.

48. The first submarine to sink an enemy ship was the H. L. Hunley, which was built by the Confederates during the American Civil War. It sunk a ship in the Union blockade but never returned.

49. North Korean player Ri Myung-hun, who was the tallest basketball player in the 1990s (at 235 cm/7"8.5'), was scouted by many NBA teams. Kim Jong-il told a scout that he would allow Ri to play in the NBA if the team paid North Korea in wheat, but the US ban on trade with North Korea stopped that.

50. In 1986, Belgrade, then capital of SFR Yugoslavia, came in 4th in the selection of the host of the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona. Only 6 years later, during these Olympics, athletes from the FR Yugoslavia were not allowed to participate due to United Nations sanctions.

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