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1. Draco, the Ancient Greek lawmaker and namesake of draconian rule, which is known as excessively cruel, was actually beloved by his people. He was so beloved that, in fact, he died at a celebration held in his honor when Greek citizens threw their hats at him, a symbol of affection. However, the crowd threw so many hats that he ended up suffocating under them and died.
2. The Toronto Circus Riot of 1855.
The Fire Department and some clowns get into a disagreement at a whorehouse, and get into a punch-up. The clowns win, but the firemen return to the circus later and start attacking in revenge. The firemen win the day but violence is stopped when the militia come in. The police do nothing, so the city fires all the police (and I mean everyone) and starts a new police force.
3. Roman empire declaring war on Neptune the god of water... they just went and stabbed the water
4. Chinese revolutionaries blamed the sparrows for famine, which lead to killing the population of sparrows and... more famine because they broke the ecosystem and the locust could spread.
5. May have been said already, but when Napoleon returned to France from his exile, a Regiment of French soldiers were sent by the Coalition Powers to intercept him. Upon seeing them, Napoleon approached and simply said, "If you wish to kill your Emperor, here I am." The Commander of the Regiment ordered his men to open fire. Out of the 2,000 soldiers present, not a single one obeyed the order. They all joined Napoleon and marched to Paris with him. Truly a real life Mary-Sue. At least until he was thoroughly beaten and exiled again, permanently this time.
6. The Spanish conquistadors found platinum during their search for gold, and dumped all of it in the sea because they thought platinum was inferior to silver.
7. Operation Acoustic Kitty. In the 60’s the CIA spent months and tens of millions of dollars to surgically bug and then train a cat to sit near foreign officials in order to transmit their private conversations to CIA operatives. The day of the first official test run they release the cat, it wanders into the street and is promptly hit by a taxi.
8. Napoleon getting attacked by a horde of rabbits.
Basically, the story goes that a rabbit hunt was set up to celebrate the Treaties of Tilsit and they ended up amassing somewhere between hundreds and thousands of rabbits (accounts vary). Anyway, the day of the hunt they set the rabbits in cages surrounding the area that they would be hunting in.
They released them once everyone was set, but instead of being scared the bunnies swarmed the hunting party. At first they thought it was funny, but then it got overwhelming and Napoleon and the others had to flee from the bunnies in a coach.
9. Benjamin F Wilson was already a WWII veteran when he enlisted in the Korean War. He had to take a demotion from Lieutenant to private to do so, but he quickly rose back through the ranks. In 1951 he was put in charge of protecting a place that they called Hell Hill, and he knew that an attack was coming, but he remained with his men. He took a bullet to the leg and then went into a one-man charge to kill 7 and wound 2 Chinese soldiers alone. His men tried to take him for medical treatment, but when his stretcher was put down, he got up and limped back up the hill… just as everyone else was retreating. He charged alone with his rifle, killing 3 enemies. Then they took his rifle, so he killed 4 more with his entrenching shovel. The Chinese retreated, for a while. The next day Wilson went on a one-man assault again to take down 33 more enemy soldiers, despite his existing wounds. This was a guy that just wouldn’t be held down.
10. During the siege of Tenochtitlán in 1521, Cortes had a trebuchet built to save on gunpowder. However, the first projectile fired went straight up in the air and landed on it, completely destroying it. It's one of the last recorded military uses of a trebuchet.
11. The Korean axe murder incident.
Basically, a tree was kinda blocking line of sight near the Bridge of No Return on the North Korea/South Korea border. A pair of Americans, escorted by South Korean troops, went to trim the tree. North Korean troops took exception to this and came out and told them to stop. They didn't. NK troops called for backup, which showed up with clubs and crowbars and the North Koreans proceeded to attack the South Koreans and Americans. The two Americans were killed (one bludgeoned to death, the other injured with an axe and died of his injuries on the way back to a hospital). North Korea, being North Korea, claimed they were acting in "self defense".
A few days later, Operation Paul Bunyan was launched in what was possibly the largest tree-pruning operation in human history, with over 800 infantry (including South Korean troops with Claymore mines strapped to their chests and remote detonators in their hands, taunting the North Koreans to cross the bridge), 27 helicopters, B-52 Stratofortresses, F-4 Phantom IIs, F-5 and F-86 fighters, F-4Es, F-111 bombers, and F-4C and F-4D Phantoms in attendance (also the USS Midway carrier was moved to a station offshore). The entire Second Battalion artillery was pointed at the DMZ, along with the 71st Air Defense Regiment. Local DEFCON was elevated. 12k more troops were ordered to Korea. Nuclear-capable bombers were deployed. A dozen C-130s were lined up, "nose to tail" at Yokota Air Base in Japan, on standby in case they were needed.
Literally 5 minutes into the operation was when the UNC let North Korea know that a UN work party was there "in order to peacefully finish the work left unfinished". The tree was successfully pruned to the point of being a stump, which was later replaced with a monument in 1987.
12. The surgeon Joseph Lister performed a surgery that had a 300% mortality rate. He was performing surgery in 1851, wherein he was removing a patient's leg. as he was cutting, he sliced the fingers off one of his assistants, and the assistant and patient both later died of gangrene, as well as one of the spectators in the surgical theater dying of fright.
13. Ex-Nazi and Cult Leader Pedophile Paul Schäfer was so obsessed with having the Children of his compound, Colonia Dignidad, love him and only him that he once took all of the children of the compound to a river where he had someone dressed as Santa Claus floating on a raft.
14. Back in the 1780’s, after being elected President, George Washington decided to send a letter to Congress that basically said, “Hey, looking forward to working with y’all, this will be exciting!”
However, George wasn’t very eloquent, and was generally busy and stressed, so he asked his friend James Madison to compose the letter to Congress, which James did.
When Congress received the letter, they decided to respond in kind, not wanting to slight the new president. They wanted to send back a letter that essentially said, “We’re glad you’re excited, so are we!” They decided there was no one better in Congress to write the letter than their very own…James Madison.
So, James writes a response to the letter he wrote in the first place, and Congress sends it to George. George decided to respond with something along the lines of, “Oh, good, I’m excited that you’re excited, too!” — and since his buddy James did such an excellent job with the first letter, George again went to him and had him compose the response.
Congress received the letter and again not wanting to be awkward and ignore the PRESIDENT, decided to reply with yet another letter that basically said, “Hey, we’re excited that you’re excited that we’re excited!” …and once again, they had James Madison compose the response.
So James Madison, future 4th president of the United States, wound up writing himself 4 letters back and forth between “George Washington” and “Congress”, and was too embarrassed to tell anyone about it while it was going on.
15. Anti-tank dogs in WW2. The soviet union strapped bombs to dogs and trained the poor things to run under tanks where they'd blow up. 4 out of a group of 30 managed to damage German tanks, while 6 damaged soviet soldiers in trenches.