I know that many of us grow up hating history, or thinking it’s boring – a fact that I blame on a complete dearth of decent history teachers in high schools everywhere. Cause here’s the thing: when you know where to look, history is full of totally fascinating, totally true tales.
Here are 15 stories that have plot twists so great, you’d never believe them if you didn’t know they really happened.
15. So THAT’S why…
In 1941 the tomb of Timur Khan was exhumed by Soviet Anthropologists. Upon opening the tomb an inscription within it wrote “Who ever opens my tomb, shall unleash an invader more terrible than I.” Nevertheless, two days later Adolf Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa which was the largest military invasion of all time, and caused more death and destruction than other nation that fought in the war would suffer.
14. Hahahaha you thought we were dry.
Battle of Stalingrad. “Think we’re out of people and ammo? SURPRISE, BITCHES! We have yo ass surrounded with hidden tanks and artillery, and we gon’ raze this place down!”
The excellent BBC Documentary 20th Century Battlefields actually portrays this epic battle in a very informative way.
EDIT: since everyone is saving this comment for the link, here’s the whole episode uploaded on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDJ8lEhQOds
IMO anything up to the Vietnam War was cool, and then the Falklands and Gulf War episodes were really meh.
13. Sometimes endings are so poetic.
Blockbuster opened their first store in 1985. A news article in a well-read financial magazine questioned Blockbuster’s business concept and saying there was no future in that business. By 1993, Blockbuster became a multi-billion dollar industry. At its peak, Blockbuster had up to 60,000 employees and more than 9,000 stores.
In 2000, a man frustrated with having to pay Blockbuster’s expensive late fees thought of an alternative to the video rental system and created Netflix. He approached Blockbuster to sell his company to them for $50 million. However Blockbuster denied the offer saying that there was no future in that business.
As of 2012, Netflix’s revenue is $3.61 billion with an operating income of $50 million. Earlier this month, Netflix expressed plans to premiere movies on the same day it opening in theaters. Meanwhile, Blockbuster is out of business.
The last movie rented from Blockbuster was, appropriately enough, “This is the End”. There has been no confirmation of whether the rental has been returned or if late fees will apply.
12. Way ahead of his time.
Epicurus was pretty much right: the universe is made of tiny bits of mindless matter which combine to make higher-level structures, and nothing else. Plato and Aristotle were more than two thousand years of going down the wrong path; it turned out, after millennia, that that guy had built a pretty good approximation of the world that no one would be able to prove for a very, very long time.
11. That’s what’s known as karma.
That all the gold that the Spanish claimed ended up reeking havoc on their economy and contributed to their decline as an empire.
10. No, it will definitely never happen.
This Maginot Line is impenetrable, there’s no way the Germans would go through the Ardennes…
9. But then Stalin got the last laugh.
Hitler betraying stalin.
8. That’s what happens when God gets pissed.
Everything is going great for the european nobles when suddenly, Black Plague.
7. Talk about tempting fate.
There was that huge boat of titanic proportions that was purportedly unsinkable. Too bad it wasn’t iceberg proof.
6. That awkward moment when.
I got one. When WWE wrestler Chris Benoit and his family died, it was initially said they were murdered, and WWE had a memorial show on RAW for Chris Benoit, and about 18 hours later they found out Chris Benoit killed his family and hung himself, and decided to never acknowledge Chris Benoit ever again.
5. History has definitely taught us not to underestimate teenaged girls.
Joan of arc helping the French defeat English, which led to then bring driven out of France. 14 year old girl coming out of nowhere (Orleans I think) to spank the English.
4. It’s still honestly a miracle that England pulled it off.
WWI- Germans have better tech, weaponry, more men, and are pretty much set up to win the war.
Then England miraculously gets their spy department together, Q-boats stop U-boat combat, US joins the war, and tanks are invented, all in pretty short order.
3. There’s an exception to every rule.
Someone invaded Russia and it actually worked. Good job, Mongols.
2. Unspeakable for everyone involved.
When the Allied troops discovered the horror of concentration camps during WW2. I could not imagine preparing yourself for a something like that.
1. This one never gets old.
You left out the best part, the real twist…
TL;DR: Spoiler: [Two the members of the Black Hand tried to kill the Archduke. One guy throws a bomb into his car. The driver grabs the bomb and throws it out of the car. The car behind them drives over and blows up. Occupants of second car are rushed to the hospital. Franz asks driver to take him and his wife to the hospital to visit them. Driver gets lost. Goes down a figurative and literal dead end street and has to back up right in front of the cafe where the second assassin had happened to go for a ham sandwich. Second assassin gets a second chance to kill Franz and his wife, and succeeds.] (/spoiler)
Edit: I can’t do the spoiler tag for some reason.
I love history, and I’ve learned a new thing or two.
Do you have a favorite moment that would fit on this list? Share it with us in the comments!