Not Accepting Hitler Into Art School And More Of The Biggest Screw Ups In All Of History.

Humans are prone to error it's part of our nature. But sometimes, the mistakes we make can have huge ramifications throughout history. These historical mistakes definitely had the perpetrator thinking, "I shouldn't have done that."

1/26. Blockbuster turned down an offer to buy Netflix. In the early 2000s, Blockbuster could have bought Netflix for $50 million, a company now worth almost $20 billion.


2/26. They killed all of the cats in London because it was thought that cats were spreading the black plague, when in fact they were helping keep the rat population in check, who were the actual culprits of spreading the plague. This mistake caused the death of many many more people than would have if the cats hadn't been eradicated.


3/26. When Ronald Wayne sold his 10% stake in Apple for $800. That would be worth $35 billion today.


4/26. In 2003, a lost hunter lit a signal flare near San Diego. The flare started a fire that would later spread to become the biggest one in the history of California. The fire destroyed an estimated 300,000 acres, 2,322 homes, and killed 14 people.


5/26. Mao ordering the mass killing of birds because he thought they would eat the corn off the farms and compromise the harvest. In the end the lack of birds lead to (continued on the next page...).

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In the end the lack of birds lead to a explosive growth in parasite populations that destroyed the harvest completely in some areas. What followed was a massive famine killing millions.


6/26. Operation Cottage - 1943

US and Canada landed on the island of Kiska which had been occupied by Japanese forces. They successfully took control over the island, but 32 soldiers lost their lives and 50 soldiers were wounded during the attack.

Here's where they screwed up: The Japanese had secretly left the island 2 weeks prior the assault. All casualties were friendly fire incidents.

Also, 191 soldiers went missing during the operation. How did that happen?


7/26. The Fourth Crusade.

It started as a crusade for Jerusalem from an invasion through Egypt but the crusaders ended up invading Croatia and Constantinople instead. This also led to the weakening of the Byzantine Empire and eventually its downfall.


8/26. The Great Fire of London in 1666.

Started by a baker who left a pie in the oven too long. Perhaps the bigger screw up was that most of the buildings were made of wood and built very close together.


9/26. This guy in America was trying to date a very old tree by taking a core to count the rings, the wood was too hard for his core tool so he cut it down, only to find out that the tree WAS one of if not the oldest living tree ever seen.


10/26. The Austrian army once attacked itself.

Battle of Karansebes, Austrian Calvary went scouting for some Ottomans but instead found some peasants selling alcohol. When another part of the Austrian army asked for some, the drunk Austrians sent up fortifications around the alcohol. Then, (continued on the next page...).

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Then, a shot was fired and that hit the drunk Austrian fan real fast.

Long story short 10,000 dead and the Ottomans came a day later and took the city of Karansebes. Brought to you by the country that is recognized as the one that looks like a turkey leg.


11/26. On the Titanic, they actually could have fit far more people on the lifeboats than they did. The real mess up was panicking and launching so many near-empty lifeboats.


12/26. Franz Ferdinand surviving an attempted assassination, then; sticking around in an open car, leaving his escort behind, taking an unknown back alley to go see the victims in a hospital, getting lost, reversing a 1914 automobile into stalling... in front of a diner Gavrillo Princip was in.

His sense of direction started 2 wars, a pandemic that killed even more, and the fall of at least 3 empires, and most colonies on earth.


13/26. In my view, the destruction of both the Library in Alexandria by multiple people and the Library in Baghdad by Genghis Khan, which destroyed invaluable books and manuscripts (before they could be duplicated). Many satyr plays, Sophocles' works, possibly the recipe for Greek Fire, and more are now permanently gone because empires are greedy for resources.


14/26. Stalin ignoring all intel that said the Nazis were planning an invasion. The Soviets knew everything about Operation Barbarossa, they knew the exact date and time, troop numbers and positions, etc. Stalin himself had no less than 84 different sources tell him that Hitler was planning an invasion, and he ignored them all as a plot by Churchill to get him to turn on Hitler.

His paranoia cost millions of lives.


15/26. In American history, there's General George B. McClellan in the Civil War. The dude led the Union army in the Battle of Antietam, and General Lee brought the Confederate army into a retreat. All McClellan had to do was keep moving forward and he could have breached the Confederate's capital in Richmond, Virginia. But he decided to turn around and march back to Washington.

Understand that? (continued on the next page...)

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He was sitting in front of the damned Confederate capital, with the Confederate army running away, and he backed off because he wasn't sure enough that he could win. The civil war carried on for three more years after that! Three more years of the bloodiest death toll on American troops in the country's history. Included in those three years is the Battle of Gettysburg, the bloodiest battle in the war and the battle with the highest death toll for American soldiers in history to date.

So much bloodshed that could have been avoided, if only McClellan had found his spine in 1862.


16/26. Outside of political moves, probably the time Western Union told Alexander Graham Bell to screw off with his "toy", the telephone. They offered the patent to WU for $100K ($~2M today), and two years later WU's president regretted it saying if he could buy it for $25M ($~550M today) it would be a bargain. Bell went on to start what would be American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T).


17/26. This one actually had a happy ending, but it was a terrifying screwup.

When Air Canada took delivery of its first Boeing 767, on one of its first flights they forgot to convert from Imperial to Metric and put X pounds of fuel on the plane, instead of X kilograms.

The plane ran out of fuel over Western Canada. Fortunately, the pilot had experience flying gliders and brought it down safely in Gimli, Manitoba. The plane became known as the "Gimli Glider."


18/26. While not the biggest it was still a pretty bad screw up. The Prohibition, it failed completely to stop people from drinking, caused tons of deaths and injuries because people would drink anything with alcohol in it including paint thinner. It also gave rise to massive organized crime and the most famous mobster ever, Al Capone.


19/26. I always think the fact that the Union Carbide/ Bhopal disaster is so little known today is atrocious, given that it may be the biggest screw up in history. It's certainly the world's worst industrial disaster.

Basically, there was a pesticide plant in India where management severely under-invested in basic safety procedures, from equipment to training, so there was a giant chemical pesticide leak into the surrounding urban areas in the middle of the night in December 1984. (Complicating things further, we still have no idea just what chemicals were released- Union Carbide never released that info- but we do know that 30 tons of it was this stuff.) (continued on the next page...)

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No one knows for sure how many people died either, but the estimates range from 4,000-16,000 depending on who you believe, with 500,000 injured. It's believed that the groundwater at the site is still contaminated by chemicals, and many of the people who live in the surrounding area are still drinking it.

For reference, the Chernobyl disaster is estimated to have caused 4,000 deaths when it's all said and done from cancer.


20/26. The execution of Genghis Khan's envoy by the Shah of Khwarezm (Persia or Modern day Iran, more or less).

Genghis Khan legitimately wanted to trade with them in order to fund his war with China. Instead, the Shah decides to insult the smelly Mongol and kill his representative. This, of course, infuriated the Great Khan, leading to the Mongol invasion of first Khwarezm and then the rest of the Middle East, resulting in the complete destruction of his kingdom and devastation of the entire region: millions of deaths and the eventual burning of Baghdad, one of the world's greatest cities and great repositories of knowledge.

This legitimately could have changed the course of world history: at the time, the Islamic world was the richest and best educated region of the world. They had the largest cities, the best scientists and artists, and were generally tolerant of other cultures (especially in comparison to Europe at the time). All of that was burnt to the ground, because one ruler was stupid and who didn't want to deal with a Mongol.


21/26. Decca Records turning down the Beatles seems like quite the mistake in hindsight.


22/26. Accepting a wooden horse as a gift from your enemy.


23/26. The 1917 Halifax Explosion -

In the morning of December 6th 1917 the French cargo ship Mont-Blanc was carrying munitions from New York through Halifax ultimately to go to Bordeaux France. As it made its way into the Halifax Harbor it made a collision with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo. The Imo was travelling through the harbor at an accelerated rate; having had been delayed earlier in the day it was attempting to make up for time. Despite repeated attempts at advising the Imo to slow down, the captain disregarded them and continued through at high speeds.

The Imo would eventually meet its fate as it began towards a head on collision with the Mont-Blanc. At this point both ships were aware of the potential collision, and both had shut their engines off to prevent significant damage; a force stop wasn't used by the Mont-Blanc for fear that doing so may set off its cargo. Eventually the two ships were steered to the point where they had become parallel, the Mont-Blanc passing the Imo bow avoiding a collision.

The Imo, for what ever reason, decided to (continued on the next page...).

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The Imo, for what ever reason, decided to go in reverse, causing its head to swing into the Mont-Blanc. Initial damage wasn't severe; the problem though was that barrels of Benzol toppled over and began to spill out. As the Imo restarted its engines it flew out sparks, igniting the Benzol vapors.

The resulting explosion released an energy equivalent to 2.9 Kilotons of TNT - at the time the largest man made explosion until the development of Nuclear weapons. The explosion obliterated all nearby structures, completely destroying the nearby community of Richmond, killing around Two Thousand people and resulting in the injuries of another Nine Thousand. It was a blast so powerful that it ended up creating a Tsunami, which subsequently wiped out a native population who were living on Tuffs Cove. Pieces of the Mont-Blanc was scattered, travelling miles away from the initial blast area, its main gun reportedly travelling 3.5 miles north. It was so loud that the explosion was said to be heard over 100 miles away

All because the captain of the Imo was feeling a bit impatient that day.


24/26. The Maginot line

"While the fortification system did prevent a direct attack, it was strategically ineffective, as the Germans invaded through Belgium, going around the Maginot Line. The German army came through the Ardennes forest and the Low Countries, completely sweeping by the line, causing the French army to surrender and conquering France in about six weeks."


25/26. Napoleons Invasion of Russia in 1812. He marched the Grand Army 680,000 soldiers strong into Russia in June and they retreated in December with only 120,000 survivors.

Imagine losing 560,000 men in five months.


26/26. Not accepting Hitler to art school.


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"It wasn't me!"

There's not much you can do when the righteous fist of the law comes down on you. Call it a mix-up, or call it a mistake, if someone's pegged you at the scene of a crime there's not much you can do but trust the justice system to prove you innocent. However, that's a gamble, and just because you've been given a "not guilty" doesn't mean the effects won't follow you for the rest of your life.

Reddit user, u/danbrownskin, wanted to hear about the times when it wasn't you, seriously, it was someone else, when they asked:

Redditors who were once considered suspect of a crime they did not commit, what's it like being held under suspicion and how did it affect your life?

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