The 5 Most Widely Believed WWII Facts (That Are Bullshit)

#2. Hitler Was an Evil Genius

Claimed By:

The [Alternate] History Channel , Nazi admirers, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

Hitler, in addition to being the go-to example in every bad debate, has sort of become history's supervillain. Hitler was the Lex Luthor to the non-Aryan Superman.

Why it's Bullshit:

Since there are no cheap shots when it comes to Hitler, let's get this out of the way: Do you have any idea how hard it is to get rejected by an art school? Chris Ofili got into art school, and he painted a Virgin Mary using fecal matter.

Yet Hitler failed his entrance exam. Twice. And his cognitive failings continued long after academia. The guy was like the polar-opposite of Charlie Brown: shitty at everything, yet unbelievably successful.

His Munich Beer Putsch was basically one enormous "let's get arrested!" day event, yet he somehow got away with serving only a few months for "high treason." While in jail, he wrote a book so shitty that it makes Stephen King's Christine look like Wuthering Heights, and yet it made enough money that Hitler was able to buy a Mercedes from the royalties while he was still imprisoned.

As a politician, he was a famous speaker despite his silly accent; had trouble breaking 40 percent in the polls despite "thinning" (assassinating) opposition. We'd accuse him of witchery were we not so sure he would have fucked that up too.

His contributions as a military tactician included allying Germany with a living cartoon character.

Benito Mussolini: This dude existed.

Hitler simply gets too much credit for the decisions made by people around him. Germany's successful invasion of France, for example, had nothing to do with Hitler's planning. His contribution was the part where he let 300,000 Allies escape at the Battle of Dunkirk, and where he singlehandedly blew The Battle of Britain with every advantage going for him, canceling the invasion of Britain in what would be the first real turning point of the war.

In short, Hitler was that asshole who knows absolutely nothing about Texas Hold 'Em, yet kept winning every round because the bastard had more luck than brains. You never hear about the bumbling shenanigans he lucked his way out of for the same reason they never used Forrest Gump as a Bond-villain: It doesn't make for a good story.

#1. FDR Knew About Pearl Harbor Ahead of Time

Claimed By:

Conspiracy theorists, amateur historians, political opponents and The Freaking History Channel.

Allegedly President Franklin D. Roosevelt had advance knowledge about the Japanese plan to attack Pearl Harbor, and deliberately let it happen so that Congress would declare war against Japan and Germany. In short, FDR on December 6, 1941 was like Vizzini from The Princess Bride, deeply engaged in a roundabout battle of wits with unsuspecting American lives.

"But really it is I who surprised JAPAN!"

Why it's Bullshit:

First of all, the only reason why this rumor exists is because it was a smear used against FDR by his political opponents. The 1944 Republican nominee for president, Thomas E. Dewey, nearly made it an issue in his campaign. It was only after Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall explained what a dick move that would be that Dewey abandoned it.

But besides that (and the complete lack of evidence for it), the whole scenario just doesn't make sense. It'd be like FDR crashing a biplane into the Hindenburg just so he could light a cigarette he had no intention of smoking.

Yes, U.S. code breakers anticipated something to happen on December 7 (December 8 in Japan), but thought an attack on Pearl Harbor was unlikely since the Japanese had been staging diplomatic talks with the U.S. since late November. Only a paranoid lunatic would have anticipated that the peace talks were, in fact completely fraudulent, and that Japan had secretly deployed a strike force (under strict radio silence) right outside of Hawaii in the week before December 7.

In short, American intelligence expected an attack on the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Dutch East Indies, Midway, Wake Island or Guam if the peace talks fell through. They didn't expect Japan to attack everything on the menu including the U.S. Pacific Fleet docked at Pearl Harbor.

Besides, FDR was no Dick Cheney, and selling his war against Germany was far from a sure thing, since it wasn't Nazi planes that attacked Pearl Harbor. Opposition still enjoyed the support of prominent American Nazis bigwigs such as Henry Ford, and the U.S. Army was so weak at the time that they had to train with wooden guns.

Truth be told, had Hitler not declared war on the U.S. four days later, FDR would have had one hell of an uphill fight getting Americans to fight, even with Pearl Harbor.

So to recap, America, the hero (actually Pippen, or possibly Rodman to Russia's Jordan) of the war, might not have joined the beloved (reviled drunk) Churchill, had it not been for the maverick decision (one of countless tactical errors) by the diabolical (borderline retarded) Hitler. Bang up job, History Channel!

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