5 Guys Who Dropped The Ball (1914 Edition)

World War I marked the 'awkward teen years' of War's lifetime. Wedged in between modern and antiquated warfare, the decisions of certain leaders mimicked your first time leaving a cock-sock at the top of the laundry...

#5. The Black Hand Sends Children To Do a Competent Adult's Job

In 1914 Dragutin Dimitrijevic, leader of the Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist group hired Gavrilo Princip for a covert operation, to assassinate the archduke Franz Ferdinand. What results is the highly comical Benny Hill sketch of "some stupid children run around town trying desperately to kill a public figure."

Historians agree, this is the absolute truth

Their old drummer was better.

Why It Was a Bad Call:

What Dimitrijevic knew was he had put somebody on the job. Somebody who was distinctly not himself, thus keeping him out of harms way. What he didn't know was that Princip was a complete joke. When game day came around, and the time came for Princip and his band of merry pranksters to actual get down to business and kill somebody, they created the most absurd spectacle you could imagine, resulting somehow in the desired outcome.

Portrayed in the summer blockbuster by Michael Cera

Does he look like he'd get the job done?

This was no mafia-style quick hit and run. Shit, it wasn't even a clumsy-Jack-Ruby-killing-Lee-Harvey-Oswald type of thing. This was straight up Looney Tunes. The proceedings go roughly as follows:

  • Ferdinand arrives in Sarajevo, drives down the street in a big motorcade
  • Because the kids are too stupid to try their hand at sniping, they throw bombs at his car, which bounce off the back of the car, detonating in the street
  • One kid gets caught by the police, tries to take his 007-cyanide pill, which (much like him) fails. He painfully vomits while being violently beaten by police
  • Ferdinand makes his speech undisturbed, and gets back to his motorcade, which just happens to cross the path of Princip as he is BUYING HIMSELF A SANDWICH
  • Princip runs out into the street while the car is stopped, and shoots Ferdinand, and his wife (non-fatal hits for both, of course)
  • They later die of complications in the hospital

This leaves one to think, how could a professional revolutionary like Dimitrijevic leave such an important mission to this dopey Michael Cera kid, with dirt lip and horrible motor skills? Who's the fool? The fool, or the fool who hired him?

#4. Alfred von Schlieffen Singlehandedly Loses the War

When the war began to brew, and lines were drawn, Germany was left with the possibility of fighting a war on two fronts (France to the west, Russia to the east). Enter Alfred von Schlieffen, a man easily as stupid as the Black Hand, with a much higher budget. Schlieffen would deliver a strategy, only it would be completely unrealistic and ultimately loses Germany the war, and ensure lots more people would not be having a good time for a few years.

Portrayed by John Waters

Those medals are for his good ideas. All 5 of them.

Why It Was a Bad Call:

Schlieffen's plan was adopted as the only plan. This wouldn't be such a problem, if the plan wasn't completely retarded. The plan called first for a full mobilization in the west, to attack France with full power. Schlieffen figured it would take Russia at least two weeks to get their shit together, ample time to completely topple France. After defeating ALL of France in two weeks, the army would then get on trains, cart themselves to the eastern front, just in time to fight off the Russians.

Basically, the plan called for a fully industrialized, fully modernized country with about a hundred years of stable government under it's belt to crumble at the hands of little Germany, and in two weeks no less. It's like Iron Mike Tyson being defeated in a street fight by two Little Rascals in a long trenchcoat.

Surprisingly difficult pictures to find.

It's like reading Family Guy!

Even if this plan did make any sense (which it didn't), it had yet another failing point. Instead of attacking France via their shared border, Schlieffen thought it would be a good idea to go through Belgium. Great Britain had given their word to Belgium, and the world, that they would join the war and kill everything if Belgium was compromised. Nothing like adding that fourth chainsaw to make your juggling act truly spectacular.

#3. Arthur Zimmerman Mistakes Real-life For Risk

Arthur Zimmerman is responsible for possibly the clumsiest blunder in the history of war (aside, maybe, from the Japanese thinking Pearl Harbor would make America not want to go to war), and easily the funniest moment of World War I. Zimmerman sent an infamous telegram to Mexico, in which he had accidentally mistaken a real-life war for a game of risk.

Portrayed by Phillip Seymour Hofman

Does that moustache look fake to you too?

Why It Was a Bad Call:

He asked Mexico to attack the (then neutral) United States. Thinking it only a matter of time before the Americans joined the war, he sent Mexico a telegram, asking for them to attack the United States. After Germany won the war in Europe, they would then boat their men over to the United States, to help Mexico. One can only assume, this plan also called for Mexico to deposit some amount of money in a Nigerian prince's bank account as well (but only for a little while.) Though this conversation never took place, it's nice to imagine it went something like;

Germany: Mexico, this will totally work. You attack America, hold them off, then we'll help you beat them when we win over here. Afterwards you can have America!

Mexico: What are you, retarded? We're Mexico for fuck's sake. They're America. No.

United States: What are you, retarded? We're America for fuck's sake. We know how to intercept telegrams. It's really not difficult.

#2. Paul von Hindenburg Unintentional Causes World War II


#1. Woodrow Wilson Unintentionally Causes Vietnam