When your grandpa gets in "that" mood and starts telling old war tales, you don't expect your reaction to be "awwww, so cute" -- you cover the ears of any children present and brace yourself for a sleepless night. And yet, there are plenty of real stories of war so ridiculously adorable that they make a Disney movie look like Vietnam. For instance, there's the time when ...
6The U.S. Air Force Bombs Berlin ... With Candy
Edward Miller / Hulton / Getty
Apparently it kinda sucked to live in Germany for a while. In 1948, after the country was split up among the winners of World War II, Russia decided to cut all rail and transport routes to Berlin in the hope that a little food deprivation would convince the democratic side of the city that communism is awesome. That's when the U.S. and the other Allied nations remembered that they had things called airplanes -- thus began Operation Little Vittles, also known as the Berlin Airlift, in which military planes spent a year dropping sweet democracy (also food) on the city as a huge "fuck you" to Stalin.
Berlin was now getting everything it needed, except one essential thing -- candy.
"I bet it's Skittles this time! Wait ... nope, more grain. Dammit."
Utah-born Air Force pilot Gail Halvorsen was moved by the sight of a bunch of candyless children in Berlin and gave them a pack of gum he was carrying, promising he'd return the next day with sweets they could actually swallow. So Halvorsen began dropping chocolate on the children with (hopefully unused) handkerchiefs as adorable little parachutes. He'd wiggle the wings of his plane so the kids would recognize him and brace themselves for the chocolate rain, earning him the name "Uncle Wiggly Wings." The whole thing was like something out of a children's book.
Gail S. Halvorsen
"Sorry, kids, ran out of handkerchiefs and went with TP today. That's not chocolate."
Of course, "magical deeds out of children's books" are strictly against regulation, so Halvorsen was told to cut that shit out ... until his bosses realized how much Germany loved them for doing this. That's when the Air Force deployed a bunch of planes whose sole purpose was to shower West Berliners with tons and tons of candy donated by the American Confectioners Association.
Hulton Archive / Stringer / Getty
Stalin panicked and ordered that they drop hot borscht on the kids to compete.
Even when the airlift ended in 1949 after the Soviets finally gave up, the now zit-filled and hyperkinetic Berlin children never forgot about Uncle Wiggly Wings. Halvorsen is still known throughout Germany for throwing candy at kids from high altitudes and had a couple of schools named after him. This is how Santa-like legends get started.
5George Washington Returns a British General's Dog
Three Lions / Stringer / Hulton / Getty
If George Washington had a nemesis, that was probably British general William Howe. During the Revolutionary War, Howe's forces defeated Washington's a bunch of times and forced the future president to retreat from New York to New Jersey and then to Delaware. Whenever you see a painting of General Washington in battle, chances are he's screaming "HOOOOOOOOOOWE!"
Hulton Archive / Stringer / Getty
Or "God dammit, not New Jersey again."
In October of 1777, Washington and Howe met again at Germantown, Pennsylvania. Both sides fought hard, but Howe led a flood of British and Hessian troops and annihilated Washington's forces, killing over 100 and taking over 400 prisoner, winning the battle. Which is probably why you don't read so much about this one in the textbooks at school.
However, despite the loss, the Americans still managed to take a prisoner -- a dog. More specifically, General Howe's terrier managed to flee during the fight and ended up in the rebels' camp. On the other side, Howe worried for two days just what those barbaric Americans were doing to his pet.
God Will Vindicate
"We're not barbaric! Anyway, set up the barbecue. Dibs on the heart."
But two days later, the dog came out of the woods and went right to Howe, with a note attached. It simply said, "General Washington's compliments to General Howe. He does himself the pleasure to return him a dog, which accidentally fell into his hands, and by the inscription on the Collar appears to belong to General Howe."
The Papers of George Washington
"P.S. Eat a dick."
You see, Washington was a big dog lover himself, and even though Howe had literally killed hundreds of his men, he just didn't have the heart to take advantage of the situation -- like, say, sending over the dog's turds with a plate and a note that said "Let's see how much you want it back. Bon appetit!" (We're just spitballing here.) Washington even called a cease fire to get the dog back in a touching moment of common love for man's best friend. Then they went back to killing each other.