It's hard not to imagine history as a fairly dry, boring series of events that shaped our world before humanity invented the concept of "fun." But as we've shown you before, about half of your history textbook should read like the arrest report after a raid at a frat party. If you're ever reading about a historical event and something just doesn't seem to add up, it's because the editors cut the line "and, of course, they were all completely blasted out of their minds the whole time." Like ...
6The Tsar's Wine Cellar Puts the Russian Revolution on Hold
The capture of the Winter Palace in 1917 was the Bolshevik equivalent of destroying the Death Star. Winning the deciding battle in the Russian Revolution was a great excuse for the rebellion to celebrate. Luckily for them, the palace came pre-equipped for such a celebration -- while exploring their new home, the revolutionaries stumbled upon the world's largest wine cellar, stocked with $91 million worth of the world's finest wines, cognacs, whiskeys, and vodkas.
Winter Palace Management
And brandys, and vodkas, and rums, and vodkas, and vodkas.
The soldiers immediately started drinking, and because communism is all about sharing, they invited everyone in Saint Petersburg to join them. The then-capital was crippled stupid by weeks of drunken shenanigans so epic, the Bolsheviks had to put the war on hold just to deal with it. It was like a Purge Night at Caligula's house.
After the commissar of the Winter Palace, appointed by Lenin, ended up drunk on the job, they tried to cut the city off by flooding the wine cellar ... only to find people diving in for it. Russians likewise jumped in the frozen Neva River to rescue thrown wine bottles, and when the authorities just started dumping it out on the ground, people dove head first into the gutters to drink and fought one another for precious liquor-stained snow.
Then they'd pee on the ground and get drunk on pee-stained snow.
Saint Petersburg's insatiable craving for booze was so strong it collapsed in upon itself, creating a drunken singularity from which no sobriety could escape until all within the city's orbit had been sucked dry of alcohol. The party ended over a month later when the cellars had dried up, and Saint Petersburg awoke with the Tsar of all headaches. And that's how the Soviet Union was born: by violently and passionately confirming every stereotype ever uttered about Russians.
5The Congress of Vienna Was a Drunken, Horny Mess
The fall of Napoleon's first empire in 1814 caused one hell of a power vacuum in Europe, with dozens of nations left without governments or well-defined borders. To prevent a large chunk of civilization from turning into an unsupervised kindergarten class, world leaders gathered in Vienna for nine months to hold a series of conferences to decide Europe's future.
International Commission and Association on Nobility
It was like Risk, only shorter.
If you're picturing a bunch of stuffy politicians holding a stoic series of boring meetings, then you underestimate Europe and its leaders circa 1814. The Vienna Congress gathered Europe's richest, most powerful boozehounds and sex fiends together in one place, and then it granted them all diplomatic immunity. They were morally, if not legally, obligated to party like it was 1799.
Over the following weeks of drunken debauchery, Prussian and Russian delegates including Tsar Alexander had several regular drunken run-ins with the police. One British delegate, Robert Stewart, became notorious for antics like riding under the influence through Vienna on his flower-adorned horse and fighting carriage drivers, one of whom cracked Stewart in the face with a whip during an altercation. Stewart also turned every inn he stayed at into what locals aptly described as a "fucking-shop."
National Portrait Gallery
And when you shop at Stew-Mart, you buy in bulk.
French Ambassador Talleyrand bedded a mother and daughter, while Tsar Alexander and Prince Metternich regularly slept with each other's courtesans -- ostensibly to "gather political information." Which is a pretty sweet euphemism, we have to admit. Smaller countries like Poland were getting fucked over in a less fun way, by the actual diplomatic results. The Congress became famous mainly for its failed diplomacy and "disreputable practice and intrigue." Though one group did benefit hugely from the event: champagne producers.