#3. The Counterfeit White House
It's been the home of the president of the United States since 1800, and understandably it makes your house look like a piece of shit. He's the most powerful man in the free world, so you'd have to have a pretty enormous ego to look at that and think that, hell, you deserve a house just like it. As it turns out, there are some pretty enormous egos out there.
"You bitches wanna come up to the top of my tree house here and watch me make it rain?"
The One You Didn't Know About:
Huang Qiaoling is one of the richest men in China, and apparently doesn't know what to do with it all, which is why he threw $10 million into building a full-scale replica of the White House. In his garden. The best thing is that he doesn't even live in it -- he just uses it, we guess, as a side-by-side comparison to his bigger mansion to rub it in everyone's face that he's more decadent than the president of the United States. Either that or he just really likes Americana -- his replica White House stands right beside his replica Mount Rushmore and replica Washington Monument.
And it's not just an external replica -- each detail has been immaculately reproduced from the original White House and put into his White House. Right down to the $60,000 sofas.
"Oh, that? It's OK, I mostly just store gardening equipment in there. I think there's a Ping-Pong table in the Oval Office."
He only changed two things in his White House: He replaced some tomes of American history with booze, and also added a statue of Genghis Khan. (The real White House doesn't have one of those, though if you had to learn that from us, please stop reading this site and pick up a textbook. Any textbook, it doesn't matter.)
Apparently, Huang's elaborate presidential memorabilia has gone to his head a little bit, as it's reported that he likes to meet his business partners inside his own Oval Office and forces his staff to call him "President Huang," which means he's either a dick or seriously doesn't understand that an America president isn't decided on based on who can get into the White House first.
"Looks like those six years at summer camp are about to pay off, baby!"
#2. Paris, China
The city of Paris is the most visited city in the world, and of all of the world's most recognizable landmarks, Paris has like a dozen of them. Still, if you happen to be in China and you try to buy a flight to Paris, it's likely that they'll ask you "Which one?"
The One You Didn't Know About:
"Well, preferably, the one without any French people in it?"
Many cities in the Western world have space set aside for a "Chinatown," so you might wonder what equivalent they have in actual China. Check out Little Paris, the Chinese replica of the archetypical European city, complete with an Eiffel Tower, an Arc de Triomphe and the fountain in the garden of the Palace of Versailles.
It is designed to be able to house 100,000 people but isn't close to that number, mainly because it's so expensive to live there that most people can't afford it. But it does boast the tallest Eiffel Tower in China, 8 meters higher than the one in the southern city of Shenzhen.
OK, now we know it's not in France. OH, WE JUST DID!
Oh wait, you didn't know? There are two Eiffel Towers in China, out of about 30 in the world. Seriously, when alien archaeologists come to study our civilization, they're going to wonder why we worshiped this giant metal triangle.
#1. The Other D-Day Invasion
D-Day is one of the most famous battles of World War II, when a whopping 156,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches into occupied France at Normandy. Facing fierce opposition, the troops fought a literal uphill battle into the heavy German defenses until they had secured a beachhead and commenced Operation Kick the Nazis' Asses. But D-Day may not have gone so well if not for the (more catastrophic) rehearsal.
Imagine taking a morning stroll along the beach and seeing that roll up on you.
The One You Didn't Know About:
In April of 1944, preparations were in full swing for the upcoming invasion in June, and they figured the best way to ensure victory was to do a full-scale dry run so that the Allied soldiers could get a taste of the horrors they were about to face before the actual horrors started. Operation Tiger was a top-secret invasion rehearsal at a place called Devon, chosen for its resemblance to the French beaches, and kept way under wraps so that the Germans wouldn't know what they were rehearsing for. So imagine the Brits' surprise when the Nazis actually showed up.
Nine German E-boats managed to sneak through the defensive perimeter. Probably not realizing what they had stumbled into, they were presumably confused about why the Allied forces were storming a British beach. But they shrugged their shoulders and opened fire, sinking a bunch of Allied carriers who had mere seconds to realize this shit just got terrifyingly real.
One of the Sherman tanks from the actual practice run now stands as a memorial.
The Allies started desperately calling for help over the radios, but due to the secrecy of the mission, no one on the mainland knew what was going on, and due to a paperwork error, Royal Navy rescue ships were operating on a different frequency. What resulted was 946 American fatalities -- over three times the amount who died at Utah Beach in the D-Day invasion.
As you can imagine, suffering such a huge defeat in the practice run of the invasion didn't set very high hopes for the actual invasion, which still happened as planned 40 days later, with many of the survivors taking part. But historians believe that if it wasn't for Operation Tiger, the D-Day invasion may not have succeeded, because the Allies were forced to learn the hard way about whatever they got wrong the first time.
Oh, that tank above? It was under water for 40 years.
This basically means that, by crashing the rehearsal, the Nazis ensured their own defeat in a frenzy of Darwinian adaptation. They were probably kicking themselves over that one.
For more things you probably aren't aware of, check out 6 Things From History Everyone Pictures Incorrectly and 5 Important People Who Were Screwed Out of History Books.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The Most Baffling PSA Ever: Vote Like ... Spider-Man?
And stop by LinkSTORM to discover how many Brockways there really are.
Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up for our writers workshop! Do you possess expert skills in image creation and manipulation? Mediocre? Even rudimentary? Are you frightened by MS Paint and simply have a funny idea? You can create an infographic and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!