The past is full of incredible stories that ended far from their expected outcomes. From clever battle tactics to plans that completely backfired, Redditors helped shed some light on the most compelling stories in history, complete with shocking plot twist.
The Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand
“Gavrilo Princip was part of a group who set out to assassinate Archduke Ferdinand. A bomb thrown at the Archduke's car exploded late, injuring people in the car behind his. Later, the Archduke went to visit the injured people at the hospital. His driver went a wrong way and attempted to turn his car around, right in front of Gavrilo Princip, who was sitting at a cafe. Princip took the opportunity to assassinate the Archduke and his wife."
SMS Cap Trafalgar Vs. RMS Carmania
“In the early days of WWI, the British Navy converted a cruise ship, the RMS Carmania, into a makeshift war vessel. In order to escape detection, they cleverly disguised it as a German passenger liner, the SMS Cap Trafalgar. The plan worked! The Carmania ambushed and sank a German vessel off the coast of Brazil. By chance, the German ship it sank was the actual SMS Cap Trafalgar, which the German navy had tried to disguise as the British passenger liner, the RMS Carmania."
Battle of the Crater
"During the American Civil War, the Union army devised a plan to dig a tunnel to a Confederate fort in Petersburg. At the end of the tunnel, the Union soldiers detonated 8000 lbs of gunpowder, blowing a large hole so that the Union army could go through the Confederate fort and capture the town. However, the explosion also left a large crater. When the Union forces rushed the area, they got trapped inside the crater. The Confederates then slaughtered the troops that were caught.”
The Zimmerman Telegram
"During WW1, Germany was working to get Mexico on their side. The British intercepted the telegram and used it to convince the U.S. to join the war." source
"During WWII, the Allies found a corpse and dressed him up as an officer. They provided a full back story and dressed him in expensive jewelry. They attached a briefcase of faked confidential documents about troop locations to the corpse and dropped him in the sea near Spain. The Nazis found the body with the briefcase and redirected troops away from the real planned invasion location."
Alexander Hamilton was involved in a political sex scandal and his reputation was severely damaged. Before he could resume his climb up the political ladder, he was shot and killed in a duel by a fellow New York attorney, Mr. Aaron Burr. Aaron Burr was Alexander Hamilton's mistress's divorce lawyer when she left her husband following the publication of her affair."
The Black Dinner
In 1440, Sir Alexander Livingston and Sir William Crichton came to power over Edinburgh. They were convinced that the Douglases, lead by 16-year-old Earl of Douglas, were enemies of the throne. To protect the throne Chrichton invited Earl, his younger brother, his advisor and friends to the Edinburgh Castle for a banquet. At the end of the dinner, the head of a black bull was given to the guests. Under Scottish custom, this gesture means that the guests will die. The Douglases were then all beheaded at the table.
Dr. James Barry
"James Barry was a highly successful surgeon in 1815. He performed one of the first successful Caesarean sections and was promoted to Inspector General. But Barry was actually born Margaret Ann Bulkley and pretended to be male to get into medical school. Barry was the first qualified female surgeon." source
Battle of Inchon
"During the Korean War, MacArthur decided to plan a land invasion. The UN successfully led the North Korean army to believe that the invasion would happen at Kunsan, a coast further south than Inchon. North Korea started to mobilize its troops in Kunsan to get ready. But MacArthur attacked at Inchon. He caught North Korea by surprise, cut their supply line going to South Korea and retook Seoul."
“Emperor Claudius, born handicapped, was the black sheep of the Imperial family. Claudius very easily could have been killed during the coup that claimed Caligula, but he survived captivity with the corrupt Praetorian Guard and was proclaimed Emperor. A laughing stock due to how the Roman's perceived disabilities, Claudius still managed to have the most active period of territorial expansion since Augustus, until he was killed by his wife.”
“Napoleon escaped exile on Elba, reclaimed his army, won his throne back, and got right back into his old empire-building ways…only to be defeated at Waterloo.”
Catherine The Great’s Reign
"Catherine the Great of Germany, staged a coup, taking the throne for herself six months after her husband, Peter III of Russia, was crowned as Emperor."