10 Worst Lies In American History
When it comes to lies, many people believe that Americans are pretty good at it. Are they right? We have become so good at fabricating fake stories and lies, that it has become pretty hard to make the difference between what is true and what is a big fat lie. I mean, we basically reinvented the concept of “lies” for crying out loud!
But as far as we’re concerned, there are other nations that are known to have fabricated some of the biggest lies ever. So given all this, would you say you are ready to find out more? We’re talking cover-ups, the best cons ever, where people lost their lives, money, and jobs. You know, all the good stuff!
The Black Sox baseball players
At the 1919 World Series, there were eight Chicago White Sox baseball players who lost on purpose against the Cincinnati Reds, as they were bribed with $100,000 by the gambling business. People started to become more and more suspicious when the White Sox athletes started the game by playing uncharacteristically bad for their style, especially in the best-of-nine Championship Series.
A grand jury then initiated the investigations on this scandal, discovering that the crooked players, dubbed the Black Sox due to their sports conduct, were found guilty of nine counts of conspiracy.
However, the court’s records that were documenting the confessions disappeared, and the “Black Sox” athletes were suddenly acquitted of all charges, receiving nothing but a permanent ban from playing in the Major League Baseball.
P.T. Barnum’s circus of frauds
Phineas Taylor Barnum made a show of fantastical acts that was extremely beloved by millions of people. However, if you had the chance to get a backstage pass to the Greatest Show on Earth, you would only discover that Mr. Barnum made all his money off of white lies, embellishments, and exploitation.
Joice Heth was an elderly Black woman who has been enslaved, and she was the first one he exploited to amuse others. Even if slavery was outlawed in New York during the time he lived there, he still managed to find a loophole and “leased” the woman for one year for $1,000 from someone he knew.
Then, he paraded her all over the place, claiming that she was the 161-year-old former nurse of George Washington. After she died, he went even further, performing a live autopsy on her so he can prove she was only 84 years old.
The Cuban missile crisis
Even after many reassurances made by the Soviet Union that they were only sending defensive weapons to Cuba, in reality, things were completely different. Their true intentions were to plant their missiles on the island.
However, the secret came out the moment an American U-2 spy plane discovered and photographed various missiles being sneaked into Cuba. Then, on October 22, President John F. Kennedy made an announcement that the Soviets had stationed missiles, which were capable of carrying nuclear warheads, only 90 miles off the American coastline.
The Soviet Union tried to conceal the missile sites with different tarps, nets, paint, and mud, but their attempts failed.
Cracking the Japanese code in World War II
It’s worth remembering that not all lies are bad, after all! As a matter of fact, there are some lies that might work in your favor- especially when you want to win a war. For example, during World War II, Americans were completely unable to decipher the codes that the Japanese military intelligence was using, particularly the “AF” one, which denoted the exact location of a planned naval attack by Japan.
At the time, American military intelligence believed that “AF” stood for Midway, as the Japanese had a tendency to designate “A” to Hawaiian island locations, and Midway was a logical choice for Japan’s future target.
So, what did we decide to do? So the American intelligence decided to test their theory, by sending an encrypted false message, that claimed that Midway’s freshwater distilling station was busted and needed supplies. Not long after the transmission, a Japanese intelligence report read “AF is short of water”. This way, their white lie confirmed their theory!
The fake Anastasia
Back in 1918, the Bolshevik Revolutionaries executed the last standing members of the Romanov dynasty: Tsar Nicholas II, his empress, and their five children. However, rumors started to spread that the couple’s youngest daughter, Anastasia, managed to escape.
Out of all the impostors that tried to exploit this rumor, there’s one that has gone down in history as the greatest con artist ever – Anna Anderson. After a failed suicide attempt, a mute Anderson family member was discovered in a German canal with no ID whatsoever.
The authorities then there her into an asylum, where everyone believed she looked just like Anastasia. While lots of former Romanov aides and relatives had immense doubts about her legitimacy, she still had many supporters who believed she was the duchess.
The Watergate scandal
Back in May 1972, five men broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters that was located in the Watergate complex in Washington, DC. They were there to bug office phones and steal some of the most confidential documents.
A month later, the spies were successfully arrested, as they came in a second time. However, authorities discovered after a while that these men were actually sent by President Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign.
Even if the population had suspicions, Nixon managed to get re-elected to serve his second term, after denying being involved in the scandal. However, it wasn’t enough, as The Washington Post managed to expose the president’s cover-up of the Watergate crimes, as an anonymous whistleblower from the FBI told everything.
The Ponzi scheme
Charles Ponzi was an Italian immigrant who made a fortune out of lying to people. Even more, he was so good at it, that the government decided to name the type of fraud he invented: the Ponzi scheme.
Back in 1920, Ponzi managed to trick thousands of New England residents into putting their money in a postage stamp speculation scheme. He promised all his investors that he is able to provide a whopping 50 percent return in only 90 days.
Every time a new investor gave him money, he would use those funds to pay off earlier investors, which created an illusion that they were profiting from a legitimate business. He raked in $250,000 every day, which was about $3 million in today’s currency.
During World War II, there were a lot of lies, as you could probably see. Besides the Japanese code, there was another code that was extremely difficult to break – the Nazi Enigma Code. The Allies were desperately trying to decipher that code, as the German U-boats were constantly sinking a vast number of merchant ships that were in charge of food, oil, and supplies from North America to England.
But in 1941, a British mathematician called Alan Turing, alongside his team, managed to break the code that revealed all the German submarine positions. From that point, Ultra, which was the Allied intelligence project, used a slew of false messages so they can keep the Germans off their trail. Ultra’s knack for craking difficult codes was one of the major contributors to the final win.
The Pentagon Papers
President Lyndon B. Johnson managed to keep his lies about the Vietnam War well-hidden and sealed until a military analyst leaked all the records that were exposing the president’s decisions about the war to the New York Times in 1971.
The Pentagon Papers were actually a top-secret Department of Defense study that was in charge of documenting the extent of America’s political and military involvement in the Vietnam war, from 1945 until 1967.
However, President Johnson was only one of the many presidents that were named in those papers, including Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy. They were all involved in misleading the United State’s involvement with Vietnam.
Adolf Hitler is probably one of the best liars in the field. The lies that the Nazi propaganda managed to spread were enormous, based on fear and hatred, portraying the Jewish people as the number one enemy of society.
He didn’t hold back from using all the possible weapons: terror, mass manipulation, and coercion. Naturally, the terrible repercussions of World War I, where Germany was imposed difficult monetary and territorial reparations, only led to widespread poverty and unemployment, which left lots of people desperate for solutions.
Hitler took advantage of that and initiated, alongside his Nazis, to spread enormous lies that eventually lead to horrible consequences – the deaths of 17.6 million people, including 6 million Jewish people.
To get a deeper insight into the twisted mind of The Fuhrer, we recommend checking out this interesting read on Amazon
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