Ever heard of Hanlon’s razor? The list compiled below is a testimony to Hanlon’s razor; which states that mistakes are often a sum of stupidities rather than malice. Indeed, human history is laden with sloth, stupidity and incompetence which often replaced empires and crashed others.
1. Titanic Crashes After Neglecting Iceberg Warnings
Back in 1909, the construction of Titanic cost a whopping amount of $7.5 million. When adjusted for inflation, it would be worth $168-million today.
Lending a Deaf Ear
During one night, Captain Jack Smith and Co., deliberately neglected iceberg warnings ahead of them and marched forward. With the entire right hull stripped off, Titanic descended towards its demise, along with its 1,517 passengers.
Passenger cruise liner, Titanic, was destined to be doomed during its maiden voyage from the United Kingdom to the United States. The Titanic was hailed as an unsinkable vessel, it proved itself contrariwise.
2. Hitler Invades Russia
Stupidity at its Finest
No list of human stupidity would be complete without mentioning Hitler. Napoleon and Hitler are separated by 100 years but sowed the seeds of their downfall by attacking the same country during the same season. It would tilt the scales of power in Europe. Adolf Hitler is responsible for the deaths of 50 million people by dragging the world into another redundant world war.
The similarities between both are quite many. Both became the de-facto rulers of Europe after early successive victories. The thorn in the back of both was the British Empire and both had signed a peace treaty with Russia.
Taking a Leaf from Napoleonic Blunder
The German generals were aware of Napoleonic accounts of harsh Russian winter, foreseeing a similar outcome if they marched forward. With Soviet offensive, the troops were demoralized and beyond repair. With no winter outfit allotted to German troops, the German ranks were flattened by Russian troops.
3. Satellite Crashes Amid SI Units and MKS System Confusion
Back in 1999, the cost of the lost orbiter headed for Mars was nearly $125 million, whereas adjusted for inflation; it would be priced at $165 million.
Working on the project, the Martin Lockheed engineers worked with SI units (British system of measurement), whereas remainder of the team employed metric system.
The usage of 2 distinct measurement methods resulted in the spacecraft to be inevitably lost in space. It was supposed to be moved from the spacecraft team located in Denver to a lab in California. Talk about man proposes, god disposes.
4. Ford Manufactures Edsel
Henry Ford incurred a massive loss of $250 million in 1959, which when adjusted for inflation, amounts to a staggering $1.85 billion.
Back in 1957, Ford Corporation introduced Edsel automobile; fast forward 2 years, its production came to a screeching halt. The actual sales were starkly lower than anticipated sales. The ongoing production of the failed vehicle made little sense.
It was just a car released at the wrong time, in the wrong market.
5. An Affair Costing Billions
The infamous Rupert Murdoch ran into marital troubles back in 1999, as he settled his divorce for a jaw-dropping amount of $1.7 billion. This amount at the present would translate into $2.2 billion.
With 32 years of marital bliss under his belt, it was time to call it quits. Anna received a generous amount of $110-million in hard-cash and $1.7-billion worth of assets hanging in the balance.
With this split, Rupert married a 30-year old dame named Wendi Deng just 2 weeks later. This goose was the reason of his eventual divorce.
6. Sony Purchases Columbia Pictures
Back in 1989, Sony coughed up a mammoth amount of $4.8 billion to purchase Columbia Pictures. The deal eventually became a sore thumb for Sony as it had to buy-off another production house worth $200 million and yet another uncomfortable $500 million to wipe the slate clean with a lawsuit.
Oddly enough, it suffered a total loss of $3.2 billion, which adjusted for inflation approximates $5.6-billion.
7. Failing to Purchase Google
Back in 1999, the CEO of Excite George Bell was approached by Larry Page and Sergey Brin for a business proposition. The infamous Google search engine was up for taking at a meager $1 million. The bid was lowered to $750,000, yet the dynamic duo was shown the door.
Today, Google stands with a net worth of $365-billion.
8. Beware the Wrath of Genghis Khan
The infamous ruler of the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan aspired to secure trade and diplomatic links with its contemporary Khawarzemid Empire, headed by Ala ad-Din Muhammad.
This treaty was rudely rejected and the innocent messenger was thrown under the gallows . This turn of events angered Genghis Khan, compelling him to seek revenge over the rejection of friendly ties; the Khawarzemid Empire was scrapped off from planet earth.
9. Rejecting the Beatles
During 1962, Decca (a famous record label) was looking to sign-up a talented new band. They held 2 auditions after which they selected Brian Poole and Tremeloes. The rejected band at the audition was a band from Liverpool called The Beatles.
10. Steven Spielberg and Mars
ET (Extraterrestial 1982) brings up memories of simpler times. However, the kid, Elliot, invites the alien into his humble abode using a candy called Reese’s Pieces. Thanks to Steven Spielberg getting turned down for showcasing M&Ms by Mars Corporation in the movie, the sales of this candy skyrocketed through the roof by 65%.
11. Western Union Refuses Telephone
Western Union is famously said to have refused purchasing telephone a means of viable communication considering it completely redundant. It was written off as having no substantial value or practical use. Western Union had hegemony over the telegraph system. It had received the patent in 1976 for Alexander Graham Bell’s revolutionary invention. Fast forward 2 years, they initiated to purchase the invention for $25 million, but tasted their own medicine.
12. Secret Sleeping Service
Heinrich Albert, the legendary German diplomat happened to occupy a vital position in WWI spy ring on American soil, went fast asleep in 1915, on a subway train. A sudden jolt brought him back to planet earth, and in haste, he bolted the carriage, abandoning his briefcase containing sensitive information.
The tailing agent, Frank Burke dashed with the briefcase and eluded Heinrich from his tail.
The American government played it smartly on the political stage. It leaked the documents to the press and the resulting circus was packed up by Germany and deported back to homeland. The American support during the war increased due to this unexpected development.
Then and Now?
What became of Albert Heinrich? He graduated to become secretary of state in Germany’s Weimar Republic, subsequent to which, he opened a law firm to represent American interests in Germanic shore.
13. An Accidental Assassination of Austrian Archduke
An accidental assassination of Austrian Archduke (sorry for the deliberate alliteration) Ferdinand landed the world into its first modern World War. It acted as a catalyst, all due to a wrong turn.
Double assassination attempts occurred on that fateful day as the first one was cleverly dodged by the chauffeur; a bomb thrown at the car from a distance. The explosion wiped off innocent bystanders from existence. Having a human heart, the duke decided to visit the injured in the hospital.
The chauffeur en route to the hospital made an erroneous turn (today, of all days), walking straight into the assassin named Gavrilo Princip. Keeping a low-profile inside a café, he noticed his targets approaching. These 2 bullets shaped global history as it stands today.
14. Gallaipoli Campaign
Commencing the proceedings of WWI campaign disastrously, the Allied bloc planned to capture Gallipoli peninsula to secure a channel to Russia. The Ottoman military forces rained on their parade as they remained engaged for 8 months in a battle, accumulating casualties on both sides.
The allied bombing halted 7 minutes early than scheduled, allowing Ottoman military forces to regroup and flatten the 600 soldiers charging at them. It was fish in the barrel.
The Allies pulled out after noting the stupidity of their ways, sealing victory for Ottoman Empire.
15. Birthday Celebrations on D-Day
Concluding this embarrassing list of stupidity extraordinaire, comes a cautionary tale for those putting domestic duty before national duty, Erwin Rommel decided to celebrate his wife’s birthday on June 6.
After weeks of monotonous bad weather, boredom and enemy inactivity, Rommel hypothesized the invasion was still weeks away. Catching the window of opportunity, he took the next flight to his son and wife. When D-Day rolled out, the German ranks were in complete disarray. When Rommel returned (sounds catchy), the ship had left the port. Allied bloc had planted themselves in a comfortable position.
However, credit goes to Allied bloc to keep the German ranks in confusion about the attack.
Indeed, as examined above, each one of this stupidity could have been averted, had the concerned parties been more watchful.