As a famous historian once probably said: ‘History, you wouldn’t believe it — it’s proper fucking mental!’
Indeed, indeed, indeed, so let’s let Reddit tell some of it as it asks the question: ‘What’s a Moment in History Hard to Believe Actually Happened?’
You can check out the full thread here but below are some mad highlights:
That time Emperor Napoleon escaped from the island he was imprisoned on after his army was finally defeated, snuck back into France under the nose of King Louis XVIII and literally every royal guard and roadblock from Marseille to Paris, then when he was actually caught just outside of Paris, he managed to persuade the soldiers (who just so happened to be former Bonapartists) to escort him into Paris where he managed to successfully cause the king to flee, on top of raising a full army to wage war against Europe AGAIN. The only time in history an emperor took back an entire country just by waving his hat.
Also noteworthy are the headlines of Paris newspaper from that time:
THE ANTHROPOPHAGUS HAS QUITTED HIS DEN
THE CORSICAN OGRE HAS LANDED AT CAPE JUAN
THE TIGER HAS ARRIVED AT CAP
THE MONSTER SLEPT AT GRENOBLE
THE TYRANT HAS PASSED THOUGH LYONS
THE USURPER IS DIRECTING HIS STEPS TOWARDS DIJON
BONAPARTE IS ONLY SIXTY LEAGUES FROM THE CAPITAL
BONAPARTE IS ADVANCING WITH RAPID STEPS, BUT HE WILL NEVER ENTER PARIS
NAPOLEON WILL, TOMORROW, BE UNDER OUR RAMPARTS
THE EMPEROR IS AT FONTAINEBLEAU
HIS IMPERIAL AND ROYAL MAJESTY arrived yesterday evening at the Tuileries, amid the joyful acclamation of his devoted and faithful subjects
War of the Bucket
This was a war in 1325 between Bologna and Modena fought because, I shit you not, Modena stole Bologna’s town bucket.
Modena won and still holds the bucket today.
According to “The last battle” by Cornelius Ryan:
On May 1st, 1945, the day after Adolf Hitler commited suicide, general Hans Krebs was sent under a white flag to deliver a letter to General Vasily Chuikov of the Red Army, containing surrender terms acceptable to Joseph Goebbels, then acting as Chancellor of Germany. Krebs had not announced that he was coming, taking Chuikov by surprise. At that time, he was being interviewed by two war correspondents, Konstantin Simonov and Yevgeniy Dolmatovsky, accompanied by musician Matvey Blanter(Who wrote the internationally famous “Katyusha”)
When he was informed that Krebs was waiting for him outside, Chuikov, wanting to speak to Krebs as soon as possible, while making sure the meeting would seem official, quickly gave the interviewers, who were dressed in uniform, medals so that they would act as his staff. Not knowing what to do with Blanter, however, since he was dressed in civilian clothing, Chuikov hastily shoved him into a cupboard and ordered him to keep quiet, which he managed to do for the duration of the meeting.
Unfortunately, the meeting came to nothing, as the Soviets would accept nothing but unconditional surrender. Once the meeting is over, just as Krebs and his men are leaving with the bad news, Blanter passes out from lack of oxygen, and falls out of the cupboard onto the floor of the room right in front of them.
There was a scene in the film “Downfall” showing the events of this meeting, but the scene was removed out of worry that it would not be taken seriously, even though it really happened.
I already posted once, but I got another one:
There were still Japanese soldiers well into the 1970s who had no idea the WW2 was over. Like, they just got left behind by the Navy and held out on isolated islands. For decades.
One guy in particular spent his time feuding with the Filipino police. Everyone tried to tell him the war was over, but he thought it was a bunch of propoganda. Word eventually got back to Japan, where they had to look up his commanding officer (who had since left the military for a career as a businessman) and fly him to the Philippines. Only after receiving a direct order from his commanding officer did the guy stand down.
President John Adams once sent an alligator to Marquis de Lafayette. Lafayette had no idea what the fuck to do with it, so he gave it back.
That moment when one petty pope dug up the corpse of another dead pope just so he could de-pope him in front of a jury of his peers.
Wasn’t he later repoped and then depoped again or am i thinking of someone else…
I know at one point there was like three popes and they all excommunicated each other.
He was actually depoped for doing that. Apparently depoping by the pope is heresy, and once the pope commits heresy he is automatically depoped. Some in the Vatican are actually accusing the current pope of heresy in hopes to depope the dope pope. Ain’t cool but thems the pope ropes.
It’s like a Seinfeld Episode.
“He unpoped the Pope, Jerry,”
“You mean depoped. You can’t unpope a Pope.”
“No unopope! You’ve got depope, you can repope, any more poping, and where does it end? Mispoping? Bepoping?”
Landing men on the moon using processing technology that I wouldn’t want powering my phone.
Australia lost a war against the emus
An illiterate 14-year-old French farmgirl claimed to see visions and hear the voice of God, so she enlisted in the French army and led them to miraculous victories, until she was condemned for heresy and burned at the stake. Later, she was canonized as a saint.
The Romans would flood the colosseum with water and have naval battles there
Dancing plague around the 14th and 17th centuries, large groups of people dancing on the streets until they collapsed from exhaustion. It is so strange that is hard to believe.
That time America dropped a nuke on North Carolina
That a Roman Emperor died because he gave himself a brain aneurysm from yelling so much at some envoys.
That world war 1 started because a serbian terrorist plot to assassinate archduke franz ferdinand of Austria-Hungary failed miserably.
When a terrorist threw a bomb at the Archdukes car, he forgot there was a 10 second delay and so it harmlessly bounced off the Archduke’s car and exploded under the car behind him. The terrorist who threw the bomb then tried to swallow a cyanide capsule and drown himself in a river but the river was only a few inches deep and the capsule just made him sick and so he was arrested.
Then Ferdinands driver got lost looking for the hospital so the archduke could visit those injured in the attack and during his search for the hospital went down a street that he had to slowly reverse out of. That street just happened to be the street where one of the terrorists decided to stop for lunch at a deli after his failed assassination plot and so the terrorist whose group’s initial attempt failed suddenly found himself 10 feet (literally) away from the Archduke and was able to kill both the archduke and his wife with 2 shots from his gun which promptly jammed.(The Archduke was hit in the jugular his wife in the abdomen)
All of this was done in the name of Serbian independence from Austria-Hungary and at the behest of Serbian military officers. Serbia then dissolved the group in 1916 (2 years after the start of the war) and executed its leaders.
“The archduke’s chamberlain, Baron Rumerskirch, proposed that the couple remain at the Town Hall until troops could be brought into the city to line the streets. Governor-General Oskar Potiorek vetoed this suggestion on the grounds that soldiers coming straight from maneuvers would not have the dress uniforms appropriate for such duties. “Do you think that Sarajevo is full of assassins?” he concluded.”
classic line right there
When ya boi Caesar was kidnapped by pirates and he laughed at them for low ransom and told them to raise it.
Then over the course of time it took the Romans to raise the money, Caesar developed something of a friendship with the pirates to the point where he was joining in with their games and exercises.
When the ransom arrived, he handed it over to the pirates and was set free. With his freedom he returned to the pirate ship (which was still where he left it), took them as prisoners and then crucified them. (Edit: yeah I forgot to mention that he told them previously he’d crucify them, but they thought he was joking)
The Taiping Rebellion
Nearly 100 million people dead because some guy failed his exams to become a government official and had horrible stress-induced fever dreams he deemed to be ‘visions.’ Five years later, he decided the visions meant he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ, meant to spread Christianity throughout China and overthrow the existing dynasty. So he gathered a following, created an army, and killed his way across China. MORE PEOPLE DIED THAN THE COMBATANTS OF BOTH WORLD WARS, COMBINED
If someone wrote a movie with that plot, you’d think it was ridiculous beyond belief. Such an immense loss of life, and most people in the western world don’t even know that it happened!!
A man with zero political experience, no background in socioeconomics, or even a demonstrable understanding of those things, was elected to the highest office in the land.