We all make mistakes sometimes. The mistakes come in many different forms, and they have different consequences. Some of the mistakes people have made were actually so colossal they – in a way – eventually ended up changing the world. Winston Churchill once said that history is written by the victors, but as you will see in this post, it is not always the case. From the sinking of RMS Titanic to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, here are 25 Biggest Screw Ups That Completely Changed History.
Napoleon´s and Hitler´s invasion of Russia in winter
Both Napoleon Bonaparte (in summer 1812) and Adolf Hitler (in summer 1941) tried to invade Russia, but the Russians held out longer than expected. The enemies ended up fighting in the notorious Russian winter. Neither Napoleon’s nor Hitler’s army were prepared for the extreme weather conditions and were eventually defeated by the Russians.
Mao Zedong's order to kill sparrows
In 1958 in China, Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, decided his country could do without pests like sparrows, so he ordered to kill all of these birds. Three years later, as many as 45 million people starved to death as the elimination of sparrows led to overpopulation of insects (particularly locust) that ate all the crops.
Ronald Wayne selling his stake in Apple
Ronald Wayne was the third co-founder and 10 percent shareholder of Apple Computer. In April 1976, Wayne decided to sell his stake for a mere $800. Had he held onto to it, that 10 percent stake would today be worth a staggering $63 billion.
Grad student killing world´s oldest tree
In 1964, Donal Rusk Currey, a grad student, got his tree corer stuck in a Great Basin bristlecone pine. To remove the tool, a park ranger helped him to cut the tree down. Later on, Currey began to count the rings, eventually finding out that the tree was almost 5,000 years old – it was the oldest tree ever recorded.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
It took 177 years to build the Tower of Pisa but just 10 years after its completion in 1372, it started leaning due to soil subsidence. The lean degree was 5.5, but after the 2010 restoration, it is now “just” 3.99; the restorers are confident no more work will need doing to the tower for the next two centuries.
Photos: 25. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-268-0185-05A / Böhmer / CC-BY-SA 3.0, Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-268-0185-05A, Russland, Panzer 35t, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, 22. Dcrjsr, Big bristlecone pine Pinus longaeva, CC BY-SA 3.0, 19. Paxson Woelber, Bold Peak. Chugach Mountains, Alaska, CC BY-SA 3.0, 17. abdallahh via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 10. Michel Ngilen via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 3. Roderick Eime via flickr, CC BY 2.0