You know how it ended. Over 900 cultists died, most by suicide, at the instruction of Jones.
Of course you're familiar with Jonestown. But Ryan is hardly ever mentioned. And yet he is the only U.S. congressman ever killed in the line of duty. That's a pretty insane thing to just sort of gloss over, yet the Jonestown Massacre overshadows his death completely. Jones is a household name, while Ryan is a footnote. It's true what they say: history is written by the biggest asshole.
Germany Blows up a U.S. Railroad While the Countries Are at Peace
Liberty State Park
For most of WWI, the United States was perfectly fine with being neutral, which made it easy for America to do what it does best: sell guns. Germany had a problem: they were totally blockaded by the British Royal Navy, meaning that all those sweet freedom-sticks were ending up in the hands of the British and French. So the Germans hatched a daring plan to deal with a train full of munitions bound for the British and French.
The plan was to make said train go boom. On American soil.
Liberty State Park
It all went down on a tiny island called Black Tom, which served as a shipping and railroad center in Jersey City, just across the bay from New York and the Statue of Liberty. On July 30, 1916, German agents planted a bomb in a railway car full of explosives, and things got Michael Bay in a hurry. The blast destroyed windows up to 25 miles away. Seven were killed, and hundreds were wounded. The structural integrity of the Statue of Liberty -- all the way across the bay from the explosion, remember -- was so badly damaged that its arm was closed to the public and was never reopened.
Yes, a secret German bombing in 1916 is why you can't moon God from Lady Liberty's torch.
Dept of Agriculture
Or take hilarious photos where it looks like she's lighting your fart.
Since it wasn't entirely clear at first what caused the explosion, and Germany didn't raise its hand when America politely asked if anybody blew up part of the country, the Black Tom explosion was thought to be a tragic accident for decades. It wasn't until 1939 that a commission established that Germany was responsible -- and by that time, a number of even better reasons to punch a German cropped up. But don't go thinking it was an unproven assumption or anything: Germany sheepishly paid for compensation back in the 1950s.
Which prompts the question: if they paid for the damages, why is the damn arm not fixed? The people need answers; their cheeks must feel the winds of freedom.
For more things that we sort of glossed over, check out 5 Forgotten Revolutions That Created The Modern World and 5 Important People Who Were Screwed Out of History Books.
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