Regimes live and die by their propaganda, so you'd think the people in charge of it would always be at the top of their game. When fooling the world is your business, there isn't much room for mistakes.
Or so you'd think...
6USS Pueblo Crewmen Give North Korea the Finger of Peace
In these times of uncertainty, it's comforting to know that the North Korean government has been consistently insane for more than 40 years. Take the seizing of the USS Pueblo in January 1968, for instance. Despite being in international waters, the North Koreans saw the ship as fair game and chased, surrounded and opened fire on the Americans. Given that the Pueblo was carrying enough intelligence to give the Soviets a Cold War boner, the crew threw as much as they could into the incinerator and surrendered themselves to the DPRK warship.
The American crew was then paraded through the streets of Wonsan and put through a series of photo shoots, the prints of which were distributed around the world. These photos obviously showed the superior morality of the DRPK, as the prisoners were unharmed and totally responding well to North Korean authority.
So What Went Wrong?
Well, see for yourself:
Don't quite see it? Here's another:
That ever so subtle sign to the cameraman? That's just a Hawaiian good luck sign, don't worry about it. They are in no way saying that the North Koreans are bullshitting the rest of the world and that they are actually getting tortured and beaten daily. No way.
If North Korea was looking for sympathy, they had not only shot themselves in the foot, but in the genitals as well.
The photos appeared in Time and came to the attention of the general public, who instantly wondered why the hell no one was rescuing these guys. Finally in December, the word was out that the U.S. wanted to apologize for being in DPRK waters and admit that they were spying. The crew were taken across to South Korea to be met with U.S. officials, who secured the men and proceeded to signal a further "fuck you" to the North Koreans by retracting both admission and apology.
They then sailed off on a ship made of burn.
5The Nazi's Titanic
Before World War II, the German public were actually pretty fond of the British. So when the Brits got on their high horse and told the Germans they weren't having any of this silly taking over of the continent business, a quick re-branding of an entire nation was needed.
The British Public reacted to the German advance with a collective, "Harumph."
What the Third Reich wanted was an epic extravaganza that firmly placed the super capitalistic British in the wrong and a few upright Nazis in the right.
Naturally they went with a retelling of the classic pro-Nazi morality tale, Titanic.
How did they pull that off? Well, as video games, movie sequels and the South American continent have shown us, things can only get better when you add Nazis.
In this case, the Third Reich added some kind, sympathetic German soldiers to the story of the doomed ship. And these soldiers begged the captain of the Titanic to not go so fast, lest they all die. And when the money-loving pig of a British captain hit that iceberg with his fastness, the Germans were the only guys on board who really attempted to save anybody. AS IF A NAZI EVER TRIED TO SAVE ANYBODY.
Whoops, that's our bad.
So What Went Wrong?
The whole production was a disaster from start to finish. The director, Herbert Selpin, was imprisoned and killed for not being nearly Nazi enough and saying mean things about the German Navy. And only once the most expensive German film up to that point was finally finished did everyone realize that the general public wouldn't really care for a disaster film when Germany itself was being bombed to hell.
The film was pulled from cinemas after its debut and only shown in Paris, before being banned altogether. And then in 1945 the ship the movie was filmed on was sunk, killing way more people than the actual Titanic disaster.
The whole project came to symbolize the complete and utter failure of the Third Reich, which isn't bad for a film where the complete opposite was meant to happen. And to add insult to injury, Germany's enemies the Soviets loved the film for its anti-capitalism message, the Brits stole some of the scenes for their own superior version a decade later, and James Cameron would eventually rip off some of the plot in his own sappy Hollywoodized version.
Admittedly, this one really would have been better with Nazis.
And while we're on the subject of sunken ships...