What are some of the biggest lies in history?

Some of the biggest historical lies are:

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  • Adolf Hitler was a military genius who used his skills for evil:  Adolf Hitler was no genius and could be considered an insane idiot.  Most of the German acts in WWII were actually the acts of the men running the military operations, including Herman Goering and Erwin Rommel.  Hitler had completely insane ideas that he needed to be talked out of, like invading neutral Switzerland for no reason whatsoever.  He also had no idea how to govern.  Mostly he just knew how to talk loudly and wave his hands around and make a mad face.
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  • Vietnam was America’s only loss.  Actually it was a tie because Vietnamization was such a joke, and we must not forget the War of 1812.  Despite the fact that the U.S. is given the “win”, the British was mostly victorious and even burned the Capitol to the ground.  The only reason they stopped fighting was because they needed to devote their attention to other Napoleonic Wars.
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  • JFK told West Berlin he was a donut:  The story is that Kennedy said “Ich bin ein Berliner” wrong and told everyone he was a jelly donut.  He actually said it just fine, except it came out strange due to his Massachusetts accent.  Germans aren’t stupid and they knew what he was saying and that he wasn’t a native German speaker.  While some non-Bostonian grammar nerds may have poked fun at the pronunciation of “Berliner”, nobody thought he was proclaiming himself a donut.
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  • The Confederate flag as you know it:  The version of the flag of the Confederate States of America that most history teachers show, which is the version seen on trailers, pickup trucks and the General Lee from “The Dukes of Hazzard”, is only the proposed version of a Virginia Army flag.  The real version of the CSA flag is closer to the original US flag.
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  • Romans used the Coliseum tunnels to puke:  A tunnel between seats in a stadium or amphitheatre is known as a “vomitorium”, which most history teacher will tell you is because the ancient Romans considered it a sign of affluence to eat so much they threw up and the tunnels of the Coliseum were where they did their vomiting.  Romans didn’t line up to throw up en mass.  “Vommere” is Latin for “to spew forth”, which referred to the people exiting the stadium, not to their food.
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  • WWI started because of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand:  This was only a flashpoint, not the cause.  Your teacher may have claimed Gavrilo Princip started a war all by himself by popping a cap in the Archduke’s ass, but this is incorrect.  The cause of WWI is pretty foggy, but most historians agree that the root was entangled alliances of Western Europe and Pan-Slavism in the east that dragged everyone into the war.  Archduke Ferdinand getting shot was just a spark on a powder keg.
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  • Ancient Greece was a marble wonderland:  The Greeks were minimalists, and ancient Greece was all white marble buildings and statues, right?  Nope.  The ancient Greeks painted their statues in some of the brightest, most garish colors imaginable.  Red lips, yellow hair, crazy clothes, etc.  The statues are white now because their paint was so cheap it just faded away.
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  • The 1950s were perfect:  The 1950s included rampant racial segregation, domestic violence, alcoholism, a war in Korea and the constant threat of nuclear war (which was being taught to kids in school).  Don’t believe the hype.  The 1950s was a nice decade according to anyone who grew up then, but it wasn’t that great.
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  • George Washington Carver invented peanut butter:  George Washington Carver made mind-boggling scientific advanced, most of which revolved around agriculture, including the peanut.  But he wasn’t the inventor of peanut butter. That had been around since the Aztecs and the first patent for it was given to the French-Canadian pharmacist Marcellus Gilmore Edson as a way to get protein into patients who were unable to chew.
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  • America took down the world’s greatest army in the Revolution:  In the late 1700s England was very busy.  Their to-do list included India, Asia and being rude to France.  When the Americans took up arms, England sent a handful of their sorriest scrubs to handle the conflict.  Most troops had only recently joined up and knew nothing about warfare.  Plus the colonists had no clue what they were doing either and relied on the French to help them figure out which end of the cannon gets lit and which end goes boom.
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  • Christopher Columbus was all about exploration:  Columbus was all about business, nothing more.  He wanted to get to the spice-trading countries faster and then start a service to ship spices so he could make it rain.  Spices were valuable because they could hide the taste of the meat people chose to eat.  Even when he arrived at the Caribbean he saw dollar signs and looked to exploit that place, which he did.
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  • Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves:  The Emancipation Proclamation was a stated goal and was largely symbolic. It did keep freed slaves from being reclaimed by their former owners, but it didn’t free anyone.  The South was already in rebellion and trying to free the slaves from the Confederacy was not an option.  When the 13th Amendment, which did free the slaves, was finally passed, it was after Booth had shot the back of Lincoln’s head in.
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  • The Pilgrims, the Mayflower and most of Thanksgiving:  The Mayflower lands on Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims get out and America forms, right?  Wrong. The Plymouth Colony was founded in 1620, after Jamestown, VA had existed for over a decade.  The “Pilgrims” (only 35 were actual Pilgrims, the rest were people who wanted to start a new colony) left England because they didn’t want to be around Catholics.  Squanto did help them, but he was unsuccessful in teaching them some things, such as how to bathe.  And some of the settlers over there had a bad habit of digging up Native American graves and stealing things that had been buried with the deceased.  The “first” Thanksgiving wasn’t really the first, as feasts of thanksgiving were thrown all the time back then.
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  • The Declaration of Independence was written in England:  The Declaration of Independence was for the colonists as a way of saying “Here’s what’s going down and why” and explained to them what was going to happen once the states stopped paying taxes to England.  King George III had probably taken a look at it when someone showed it to him after it was written, but it wasn’t mailed to him for editing.
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  • Jackie Robinson was the first black player in the Majors:  Moses Fleetwood Walker played for the Toledo Blue Stockings in 1884, and he was black.  There were a ton of African-Americans in the Major Leagues until Cap Anson refused to play for the Chicago White Stockings if he had to play with George Stovey, who was black.  Anson, being a star, got his way and baseball was unofficially segregated.  Robinson getting called up didn’t break any rules. It was just taboo.
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  • Ben Franklin invented electricity:  Electromagnetism is a basic force of the universe and nobody invented it. Franklin also didn’t get hit by lightning or even come up with the kite and key experiment.  He only did an old science trick of his day in public to get more Americans to study or believe in science.

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