Battle of Karánsebes
The Battle of Karansebes where the Austrian army accidentally attacked itself, with over 10,000 casualties that were totally self-inflicted.
The Murder of Tiberius Gracchus
I consider the murder of Tiberius Gracchus (and that of his brother Gaius) as one of the biggest mistakes of the Roman Republic.
As background, the rich guys in the Senate would wait for the soldiers to go to war, then when the soldier’s neglected farms went bankrupt the Senators would buy the foreclosures and kick out the families. When the brothers Gracchi tried to implement land reforms to help the poor the oligarchs in the Senate had them killed.
This introduced violence as a legitimate means of resolving political issues, a method which would be employed immediately after on an ever greater scale by Marius, Sulla and Caesar, ending with the end of the Republic and the rise of the Principate.
This is a major landmark in the fall of the Roman Republic, yes, but most scholars today view this not so much as a ‘mistake’ but as a natural consequence. That is, the machinery of the Republic was great at managing a city-state, or even a small region, but it was never built to manage a sprawling 3-continent empire (as it had already become by the time of the Gracchi). So, the argument goes, the murders of those wacky Gracchi—and the introduction of violence into their politics more broadly—was just a first step in the entire Republican system breaking down because it was being forced to try to manage things that it wasn’t designed to do, and couldn’t possibly do. I always feel esp. bad about Gaius, who had his head cut off and filled up with iron…
The Darian Scheme
Scotland’s attempt to colonize their own chunk of North America.
The entire country pooled together what meagre wealth they had, somewhere between 25% and 50% of the country’s total wealth, and used it to finance a bid to create a colony on modern-day Panama’s Mosquito Coast
Suffice it to say – between the natural conditions (it was called the Mosquito Coast for a reason), and Spanish and English blockades – the endeavour was an unmitigated failure, and what few settlers didn’t die of starvation, disease, or exhaustion – tried to evacuate by a somewhat sympathetic English colony of Port Royal in Jamaica, only to be refused to go ashore, where more of them promptly died from being stuck on a disease-ridden ship.
Suffice it to say, Scotland’s bid at conolizing the new world fell a little bit flat.
It was also a serious factor in Scotland acquiescing to the Acts of Union and joining with England to join the UK; primarily, the country was basically bankrupt, and saw joining with the English to get access to trade and colonies as the only way to help Scotland become a world power.
- When I say that “the country” saw the benefits of joining with England, I meant the political and economic elites in charge of decision making, not the average Scottish person
- When I said Scotland joined the UK, I actually should have said Scotland and England combined to become the Kingdom of Great Britain, which then became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and later the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There’s a lot of different names for the collection of states and nationalities that make up these two islands and a lot of history to cover
- I also downplayed the military, cultural and scientific influence that Scotland had on Britain and the Empire. My bad.
Please accept that these mistakes were the result of laziness and a quick attempt to grab karma while bored in class, and not some personal vendetta against Scotland or historical accuracy. Alternatively, the Acts of Union are fake news and I don’t have to provide sources for anything.
Napolеon’s (or anyone’s)Invasion of Russia in 1812
He marchеd the Grand Army 680,000 soldiеrs strong into Russia in June and thеy rеtrеatеd in Dеcеmbеr with only 120,000 survivors. Imagine losing 560,000 mеn in five months.
Over 100 years before Napoleon, Charles XII of Sweden invaded Russia and in the ensuing campaign lost his entire army and began the collapse of the Swedish Empire. Disastrous invasions of Russia are a great example of history that repeats itself over and over.
The Mongols are the exception
Turns out when you
don’t have to rely on a huge supply train have an army that automatically brings all its food supplies with it and have winter gear that isn’t wholly inappropriate for Russia, you can in fact invade Russia.
People have pointed out that Napoleon didn’t use a huge supply train, but failed because the Russians didn’t leave him anything to scavenge. I’ve changed my description to reflect that the Mongols could live off the herds they brought with them everywhere, while other armies needed either a supply train, or caches of abandoned supplies to continue.
To be fair, Sweden had won many wars against Russia in the past, and even captured Moscow from the west (from rebels) during Jakob De la Gardies campaign in the 1600s (which would have brought all of Russia under at least indirect Swedish control if not for politics and Gustav II Adolf realising there was absolutely no way for Sweden to hold that much land at the time).
The 18 year old Charles XII had just defeated a coalition of Denmark-Norway, Saxony, the Poland-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia, installing a Sweden-friendly king in Poland. He wanted to stop Peter I from claiming the area around St Petersburg that had been stolen from Sweden.
He resisted marching in the winter, as his advisors wanted, but it happened to be the coldest year in over 500 years.
He invaded because he expected support from rebel Cossacks led by Ivan Mazepa, but the Cossack army was destroyed before they could meet up. Peter kept using scorched earth strategy, and at least 2-3 waves of expected Swedish reinforcements from the west never arrived as they were tied up in Poland or the Baltics.
Every single battle (except Lesnaya, an ambush against one of the reinforcement armies) was won before they arrived at Poltava, where the king was wounded before the battle and had to let others lead the battle. One of the generals messed up the reconnaissance and lost the element of surprise for Sweden.
The Sack of Constantinople
In 1204 the Sack of Constantinople by “crusaders”. With the ok of the Venetians the crusaders used the excuse of riots against Catholics in Constantinople to attack and loot the city including its churches. Numerous great works were destroyed including the library and a bronze statue of Hercules made by Alexander the Great’s court sculpture. Baldwin of Flanders was made emperor and the Byzantine empire was so weakened by it that it was later prey to the Ottomans.
A little bit more complicated than that, but this should be higher. From Wikipedia: In January 1203, en route to Jerusalem, the majority of the crusader leadership entered into an agreement with the Byzantine prince Alexios Angelos to divert to Constantinople and restore his deposed father as emperor. The intention of the crusaders was then to continue to the Holy Land with promised Byzantine financial and military assistance. On 23 June 1203 the main crusader fleet reached Constantinople. Smaller contingents continued to Acre.
In August 1203, following clashes outside Constantinople, Alexios Angelos was crowned co-Emperor (as Alexios IV Angelos) with crusader support. However, in January 1204, he was deposed by a popular uprising in Constantinople. The Western crusaders were no longer able to receive their promised payments, and when Alexios was murdered on 8 February 1204, the crusaders and Venetians decided on the outright conquest of Constantinople. In April 1204, they captured and brutally sacked the city, and set up a new Latin Empire as well as partitioning other Byzantine territories among themselves.
Much more complicated than that. During that crusade there was a fear of going over land because of how the last one had faired when the leader, some German King I believe, drowned while crossing a river.
In any case the crusarders and the venetians made a deal where they (the venetians) would build a massive fleet and in turn the crusaders would pay an amount to sail on that fleet. Years later as things were getting ready to go, a massive amount of the crusaders either found their own way or backed out of the deal, therefor putting a much higher fee on everyone who was still using the venetian’s fleet. Doge Dondalo was a righteous bastard and in order to pay their debts had the crusaders sack rival ports along the mediteranean, one of which was Zara, another Christian City.
They then landed and set siege to Constantinople as the Doge was still pressing the crusaders to pay their debt. The siege itself is a complete fuck up. There was a power strugle between the rulers of the city, most of which were name Alexis if I remember correctly, in any case the control was turned back and forth several times and one of them actually fled the city with most of it’s wealth. Those left in charge actually started sacking churches and antying else they could find to pay off the crusaders. It’s a really interesting story though.
Frederick Barbarossa was the king who drowned, his name was later used for another enormous historical blunder, the invasion of Russia by Hitler.
Thanks, Oddly enough Barbarosa was going very well in it’s initial phases and the Germans had many reasons for doing so. Hindsight makes us think other wise but as others have stated, look how Russia bitched out in WWI, and failed in Finland, hell they were a mess and their military was complete shit, especially after the purges. It was amazing that they not only fended off the Germans and then all but single handedly destroyed the third reich. They paid a price of 22 million for that though and no one really expected Russia to win that war, despite relying on non stop aid from the US and the UK
Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg
Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg and the lesser known frontal assault at the Battle of Franklin by John Bell Hood.
Pickett’s Charge was the climatic assault at the Gettysburg when General Lee instructed General Longstreet to march exhausted Confederate soldiers across a 1/4 mile field under constant artillery fire to assault the center of the Union lines. By the time the Confederates reached the stone walls the Union troops were hiding behind, they’d lost something like 30% of the their strength. The few groups that made it through the wall were massacred. The entire 1862 class of Ole Miss formed a company known as the University Greys. All but one were casualties. The attack discredited Lee among his staff, with Longstreet leaving for Georgia, and seriously damaged the Army of Northern Virginia.
At Franklin, an even bigger frontal assault was planned by Confederate John Bell Hood. The Union artillery loaded “triple canister,” basically three times the normal load of 8mm steel balls, and fire into the attacking Confederates. Witnesses said that you would hear the cannons retort and then the shattering of thousands of Confederate bones as hundreds of men broke into pieces. One Confederate drummer boy, aged 12, tried to stop a Union cannon by shoving a fence post into it. He reached the cannon as it fired and disappeared in a pink mist.
Word to the wise: frontal assault don’t typically work
China’s leader pulling troops out of Nanking
Chiang Kai-shek, China’s leader during WWII pulling troops out of Nanking because surrender was assumed to be the better option after the fall of Shanghai. Expecting the Japanese would allow the civilians a peaceful escape, the Rape of Nanking ensued: one of the worst massacres in human history.
Japan going to war with the US
Japan going to war with the US has to rank high up on all-time worst decisions. Their strategic position was extremely uncomfortable pre-Pearl Harbor, but dragging America into the war (and uniting the entire country in righteous anger) made everything far worse.
Strategically, it was a blunder of unmanageable proportions. The Japanese had no follow up plans, no occupation force, no “next step” in place. It was literally like kicking a hornets nest and hoping that the hornets would give up. The Japanese military was actually in a prime position to launch a brutal first strike against the U.S. and maintain a savage advance on U.S. territory that would’ve kept us on our heels until 1944 at least. But the strategy was one of “one good punch and then defend”. They should’ve pushed to take the Hawaiian islands, instead the focused on the Phillipines.
Tactically speaking, it was a genius strike. Literally crippling the USN in the Pacific in one afternoon. Had it not been for a stroke of fortune that the U.S. carriers were out to sea, the Japanese might have taken Alaska and Hawaii.
It’s my understanding that Japan intended to spread through the entire Pacific rim, where the newly acquired locations had the natural resources (oil) they would need to survive.
The belief was that by fighting to the death, that the Japanese would inflict such causalities that the US would give up and negotiate a peace while allowing Japan to have basically tripled/quadrupled their size.
The idea of an industrial revolution in the US was somewhat lost to them as well, that we had millions of citizens with the manufacturing skills and that we had the factories already there to switch to wartime production literally overnight. They knew we had the resources and size that they never had a chance to actually invade the US, but just didn’t think we could “flip the switch” like we did and convert everything towards one effort.
Their idea was that with the pacific fleet knocked out, it would take years to even rebuild that, and then much more time to build up the additional military strength needed to begin retaking the pacific.
This is exactly what they thought. Japan had no natural resources to continue building/maintaining a war. Most of their resources came from the rest of Asia.
Their hope was to strike a surprise crippling blow to the US Pacific fleet to both give them time to solidify their position and knock out the US’s ability to project power throughout the Pacific.
The hope was that with the USA pledged to help Britain in Europe against the Germans, that the US would see the futility of trying to pursue a war in the Pacific with their crippled fleet against the Japanese, thus allowing them to basically conquer the Pacific and entrench themselves before the US could regroup and counter attack.
However, they vastly underestimated both the psychological effect the surprise attack would have on the USA AND the latent industrial power of the country and how quickly we could rebuild. Also “coincidentally” having the carriers escape the Pearl Harbor strike allowed us to transition to carrier based navy, which actually helped, since carrier air power was much more powerful than battleships and big guns.
(I say coincidentally, because there is some evidence that powers that be in the US Navy knew the attack was coming and let it happen in order to unite the public to enter the war. The US population was heavily in ‘Isolationist’ mode after WWI and was not interested in helping fight anywhere in WWII until Pearl Harbor. There were also some who realized that the future of naval power was in aircraft carriers, and thus had them out to sea while sacrificing older ships that would not be needed. I’m not sure I 100% believe all of this, but it is quite a coincidence
Drunk Austrian Army (1788)
On September 17th, 1788 the Austrian army’s cavalry battalion had been sent out on a scouting mission to find the Ottoman army. They came into contact with a merchant who sold them all liquor and made them all blasted drunk. A small Austrian infantry unit had crossed the river into their camps and asked to have some of their liquor, and the hussars (still blasted drunk) refused by placing barricades around the liquor. A heated argument ensued and one soldier fired a shot. Immediately, the hussars and infantry engaged in combat with one another. During the conflict, some infantry began shouting “Turks! Turks!”. The hussars fled the scene, thinking that the Ottoman army’s attack was imminent. Most of the infantry also ran away. As the cavalry ran through the camps, a corps commander reasoned that it was a cavalry charge by the Ottoman army, and ordered artillery fire. Meanwhile, the entire camp awoke to the sound of battle and, rather than waiting to see what the situation was, everyone fled. The troops fired at every shadow, thinking the Ottomans were everywhere; in reality they were shooting fellow Austrian soldiers. Two days later, the Ottoman army arrived. They discovered 10,000 dead and wounded soldiers and easily took Karánsebes.
The Battle of Dunkirk
Dunkirk in WW2. Close to 400,000 allied troops were literally surrounded by the Germans at the start of the war. Even though the Germans were outnumbered, they had better positioning and divisions at their disposal. For whatever reason, the German high command decided (with Hitler’s approval) to stop their progress of destroying the stranded forces. This allowed a mass evacuation to occur which required the help of any vessel capable of carrying people. Had those men been killed or captured, the Germans could have considered a land based invasion of England (forcing America’s hand to join the war earlier than desired) and essentially no French reaistance.
Regardless,that is 400,000
less fewer soldiers to worry about, and in my eyes, Germany royally fucked up.
Hitler’s Halt Order
I’m gonna go with Hitler’s “Halt Order” after the Blitzkrieg cut off Allied forces in Dunkirk form the rest of the troops in France. If they had pressed the assault, the Wehrmacht could have destroyed the entire core of the British and French armies, but because Hitler chose to stop the advance (ironically because he thought the war was going “too well” and got suspicious of an Allied trap) the Royal Navy mustered pretty much every sea-worthy vessel in the UK to evacuate over 700 000 fighters from the siege.
Paraguay Vs Brazil
This will probably get overlooked, but in the Paraguayan war, Paraguay fought against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Mind you, the chances of victory for Paraguay were way higher than what you’d think in a 3 vs 1 scenario. Namely, in the Battle of Riachuelo, Paraguay had a chance to cripple the Brazilian navy and thus eliminate the biggest threat to their victory: the Brazilians were waiting on a port and their men would sleep on the port, leaving their ships practically unmanned. So the Paraguayan navy thought they could seize their ships in the middle of the night and force the brazilian soldiers on land to surrender. A pretty sound plan, if it weren’t for Pedro Ignacio motherfucking Meza. This guy decides that sthealt is lame and that he’s gonna fire over the port for shits and giggles. The whole Brazilian army awakens, boards their ships, and ends destroying the most important flagships of the Paraguayan Army. No way of knowing if Paraguay could have won the war, but that single tactical blunder made the chances of victory go from “slim” to “zero” immediately.
Southern’s Decisions at Gettysburg
Robert E Lee’s decision to engage the Army of the Potomac (Union forces) at Gettysburg. The ground had no real strategic value. Lee had the opportunity early in the battle, when all the divisions in the area were converging on Gettysburg, to pull his army back between the federals and Washington DC. This would have forced the Army of the Potomac from Gettysburg to protect the capital, giving Lee the chance to choose the ground on which the next battle would be fought. He instead chose to remain at Gettysburg, convinced his men (the Army of Northern Virginia) could win out. Lee’s army suffered huge casualties after 3 days of attacking (mostly) elevated positions, and was never at such swelled numbers again. Lee’s defeat at Gettysburg marked the last time Southern forces would invade the North, and severely crippled Lee’s army, which would never again be at the size it was in the early summer of 1863.
Britain naively assuming that Germans would easily all been killed by artillery fire for the Somme campaign. 13 divisions of British infantry were ordered out of their trenches to walk (they were specifically ordered not to run) to the German lines. Helpfully they stopped the shelling for 10 minutes first, which allowed the Germans time to get out of their concrete bunkers and set up their machine guns.
There were 57,000 British casualties on the first day. 420,000 by the end of the 2 week campaign. From a country with a population of 30 million. Thanks to Kitchener’s Pals battalions, entire towns lost their menfolk.
What about invading Iraq whеn thеre wеre no WMD. And dеstabilising the country and rеgion; rеsulting in thousands of civilian dеaths; and dirеctly giving rise to ISIS/ISIL.
First off it is clear Cheney et al. were well aware Saddam Hussein was not a legitimate threat to the US. They were also well aware he didn’t have active weapons of mass destruction, and were well aware, even if he did, he didn’t intend to use them.
Despite this, they LIE America into a war. Think about that. They knowingly and willingly lied a nation into war that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and destabilized an entire region of the planet. That’s not just a crime. It’s one of the worst crimes I can imagine committing. It is absolutely unconscionable.
Then they invade. They allow the antiquities ministry to be looted, as well as other public buildings. The one ministry They defended with heavily armed troops? The oil ministry.
They kicked out all of Saddam’s military infrastructure personnel. They had nowhere to go and nothing to do. So they joined up with wacko extremists and started Isis. That they stole a bunch of Humvees, cash, and millions of weapons from the Americans (conveniently just left them laying around Apparently), and… voilà! Suddenly a well armed, well-trained, fanatical fighting force was born called Isis. Thanks to very specific American policies.
But at least we rebuilt all of the infrastructure we destroyed when we invaded, right? Wrong. The entire rebuilding budget, hundreds of millions of dollars, was actually all stolen by defense contractors. There was no investigation. No scandal. They just stole it.
so now, Iraq lies in ruins, there is (completely predictable!). Violence between Shiites and Sunnis, and Isis is now spilling over the borders and destabilizing Syria and other countries. Because of all the destabilization millions of refugees flee and invade Europe.
This sets off the European Muslim refugee crisis, which is still roiling the continent today.
And again, it’s just the gift that keeps on giving and giving and giving. 500,000 people died in the initial invasion of Iraq. An invasion based on lies told by a psychopath named Dick Cheney. 500,000 people all dead for no reason.
latest estimate is that the Afghanistan and Iraq war will cost the US upwards of $7 trillion. And yet we are told we can’t afford health care for our citizens, nor can we afford a livable wage in this country. But we have $7 trillion spent on useless pointless tragic war that accomplishes absolutely nothing.
we freed them from Saddam Hussein, and we gave them Isis. You tell me which is worse?
it was, and still is a monstrous crime that we as Americans have committed, and continued to commit.
Hannibal’s use of war elephants at the Battle of Zama
The elephants were frightened by the opposing Roman Army who blew horns at them, causing them to turn and run in to their own lines, destroying his left flank. Hannibal’s loss meant that Carthage were made to sign an extremely punitive peace treaty, meaning that they could never again challenge Rome.
The Battle of France, May 1940
1) Underestimating the mobility of motorized German troops.
2) Not having a good network of communications from HQ down the line.
3) Not having a strategic reserve.
On paper, the French army and its British ally had what it takes to defeat the German offensive and should have done so.
The Maginot Line in France:
Basically, WW1 happened and to get to France, Germany went through Belgium; allowing them to flank French forces and take them by surprise.
After the war France took steps to be better prepared. Taking a page from the Chinese the French Ministry of Defense spent a lot of time and money on a great big wall chock full of fortifications and weapon installations. With the Great Wall of China’s little brother protecting them the French felt they could now rest easy…
Fast forward to WW2. Germany is looking to take down France. Well with such a mighty wall they had to have had one heck of a time, right? Nope. Believe it or not, the Maginot Line with all it’s fancy living conditions, obstacles, and weapons stopped short of the Belgium border. So Germany did the exact same thing as before and went through Belgium flanking French forces.
TL;DR In WW1, Germany defeats France by flanking them after going through Belgium. The French build a wall so it doesn’t happen again but fail to solve the initial problem. WW2, Germany defeats France by flanking them after going through Belgium.
Germany invading Belgium in 1914
It’s the greatest mistake ever because every horrible thing that happened afterwards, including World War I, Hitler, the second world war, the Holocaust, and the birth of nuclear weapons, all happened as a direct consequence
The story starts with Archduke Francis Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the heir to the throne, getting shot in the middle of a street in Sarajevo on 28th June 1914 by Gavrilo Princip, a Serb. In response, Austria-Hungary gave the Kingdom of Serbia an ultimatum with 10 absolutely ludicrous demands and a 48-hour countdown to fulfill them barring which they would attack the kingdom. This ultimatum was made intentionally unacceptable in order to provoke war with the Serbs.
But this issue could not be contained within just Austria-Hungary and the Kingdom of Serbia. This is because Europe went to great lengths in the 1800’s to maintain a so-called ‘Balance of Power’. Russia was a major ally for the Serbs, and the Germans were an ally of Austria-Hungary. The brilliant and charismatic German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck had worked very hard to hold Russia on Germany’s side and not let them sway towards France. This was because he knew that if the situation ever soured, Germany would not be able to sustain a war on both the Eastern and Western fronts, with Russia and France respectively. But when the bird-brained and dimwitted Kaiser Wilhelm II came to power in 1888, he fired Bismarck. Kaiser Wilhelm II decided not to renew the treaty with Russia in 1890. Russia then signed on with France to become their ally. All the hard work Bismarck had put in went to waste, and what he feared the most would soon become Germany’s living nightmare. Russia began to mobilize its army anticipating Austria-Hungary to attack Serbia. Germany gave an ultimatum to Russia to stop its mobilization along its border, and threatened to declare war to defend both itself and its ally Austria-Hungry.
But then Germany had a plan. It was called the Schlieffen Plan. The idea was to attack France and destroy its army BEFORE Russia could mobilize its army across its massive country and bring them on the front with Germany. But Germany’s 450 km long border with France had been one of the most heavily fortified borders since the Roman times. It is the same stretch that would become the ‘Maginot Line’ during World War II and again play a crucial role. The Schlieffen Plan called for Germany to leave this heavily fortified border alone, because trying to breach it would give the French army vital time to mobilize. Instead, the plan called for Germany to attack France via Belgium. The idea was to just march through the tiny nation of Belgium, use their network of roads and railways, and get to France. But there was a niggle in this plan. The one niggle that will cause this whole house of cards to collapse.
Belgium was a neutral country. It never aligned itself to any of the major powers. And the neutrality of Belgium was guaranteed by the British Government, and had been for 75 years. The British Government was signatory to a treaty in 1889 called the Treaty of London that pledged to defend Belgium’s neutrality. What is about to now happen, as the stipulation of the German war plans, is potentially the greatest mistake EVER made. In a wonderfully tragic and ironic sort of way, the role Belgium is going to play here is exactly the same as what Poland will play two decades later leading up the Second World War.
Violating Belgium’s neutrality ends up taking Britain, that as recently as two days before they declare war on Germany is itself leaning towards neutrality, to the brink. The invasion of Belgium does two very terrible things, if you are looking at this from the German point of view; the first is it changes British political and public opinion almost overnight. Belgium is what destroys Germany’s reputation in terms of global public opinion. There had always been people who called Germany an evil, malevolent, militaristic country but on the world stage as soon as the Germans invade Belgium they participate in the most aggressive act so far by any of the players in this conflict. The actions of the Imperial German Army in Belgium is infamously called the The Rape of Belgium. The Allied propaganda services then make use of this situation to vilify Germany, so much so that it incenses Adolf Hitler who would later write in Mein Kampf that nowhere else did the Germans fall so far behind the British and the French than they did in the realm of propaganda. The second is it leads to Germany losing the war. Simple as that.
On August 1st 1914, this small war between Austria-Hungry and Serbia gets bigger, because that’s when Germany’s ultimatum to Russia to stop their mobilization runs out. The next day, they issue an ultimatum to Belgium telling them they will need to march through them, and they mean no harm to them and if they damage anything they will pay for it as long as they don’t resist them. Belgium, in an act of heroism, tells Germany they will not stand down and just let them pass. They then send out a message to Britain requesting assistance. King Albert I of Belgium orders the destruction of all bridges, railway, and anything else that might help the German Army get to the French border. The French on the other hand are so paranoid about any of their troops going into Belgium before Germany and hence they becoming the ones to actually violate Belgium’s neutrality, that the French Army is given the unprecedented order to pull back 10 km into its own borders on the eve of the war. Imagine a whole front of troops turning back on the eve of war. Now the Germans cannot sit around because they need to be done with France before Russia can mobilize its troops, and for that they need to enter Belgium. So on August 3rd 1914 Germany declared war on France and Belgium. One week before, Europe was totally peaceful. In a span of 10 days, the whole continent went from total peace to a state of total war.
The British Ambassador to Germany, Sir Edward Goschen, delivered Britain’s formal ultimatum to the German minister Gottlieb von Jagow. Goschen said when the Germans received this ultimatum from him they totally freaked out. Van Jagow said to him “Britain is going to go to war with a kindred nation over a piece of paper, and over one word – ‘neutrality’. A word which in wartime has so often been disregarded.” Germany never expected Britain to come into that war.
Britain soon declared war on Germany, and this turned the war into ‘World War I’. Germany met with stiff resistance in Belgium. What they thought would just be a walk-over, turned out to be far from that. That gave the Russians enough time to prepare themselves to go up against the Germans. The French Army was very mediocre and ill-equipped compared to the disciplined and technologically advanced Imperial German Army. But Germany couldn’t stand up to the Triple Entente of France, Russia and Britain.
Germany lost the war, which was terribly humiliating for them. The Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28th June 1919 in a rail carriage with Germany surrendering and being blamed for the entire war. They were forced to pay huge reparations and restrictions were placed on the German Army making them incapable of offensive action. This did not bode well with the proud German people. It eventually led to what we know as Nazism- the ideology that Germanic People (or the Nordic Race) were the Master Race. And one man would rise out the ashes of this embattled German Empire more bitter than anybody else and would vow to bring Germany back to its former glory, and restore the pride of the Germanic People- Adolf Hitler.
Hitler seethed so much at this humiliation handed to Germany that during World War II, once France was defeated, he order for the same rail carriage in which the Treaty of Versailles was signed to be transported to Berlin and had General Charles Huntziger sign the instrument of surrender on behalf of France in it.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Forgetting to lock the gates of Constantinople in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade
Basically after being mistreated and not giving aid to the Western European crusaders who came to fight for Constantinople and mass starvation took hold the Crusaders went to war on Byzantium.
Now this should have been the easiest Seige in history the invading army was thousands of miles from their homeland and supply lines. It was the end of Winter and there were no fields to pillage and grain was all stored in the city.And of course The crusaders were already starving and eating their own Calvary horses. Within a few months the Crusaders would have died of starvation and do a death March home. Except for one minor mistake. Leaving the goddamn northgate unlocked and the Crusaders just walked in. Turning an easy wait it out behind the walls fight into a total sacking.