History

Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out To Be True  

Mike Rothschild
1.1M views 19 items

While many, if not most, conspiracy theories are completely outlandish, conspiracies themselves are very real. Any group of people plotting to do something against the law (even if the law is unjust) is technically a conspiracy, and there have been many throughout history. Some of these true conspiracy theories were plots to assassinate leaders, others were plots to game the system in business. Most failed eventually, leading to the conspirators facing fines, jail time, or even death.

These real conspiracies proven true come from many different countries and different historical eras. We know all about them, how they were perpetrated and in many cases, the damage they did. Whether it's the plot to kill a leader or a billion-dollar scheme by a multinational corporation, these true conspiracies were all dragged out into the light.

From Watergate to the assassination that jump started World War I, some insane conspiracy theories weren't just theories, they turned out to be just some of the troubling true stories that mark the history of the human race. Which conspiracy theories are true? Read on to find out which ones really happened! And if you're interested in this kind of material, check out this list of some great conspiracy theory TV shows you can watch now. 

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Prohibition Alcohol Poisioning
Prohibition Alcohol Poisioning is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out To Be True
Photo: Archives of Ontario, C.H.J. Snider fonds/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The US Department of the Treasury, in its capacity to enforce the Volstead Act, added deadly chemicals to the industrial alcohol that was being used by bootleggers as a substitute for grain alcohol. They hoped to make a few scofflaws sick and discourage others from drinking cheap hooch.

Instead, over 1,000 people died, just in New York alone, before the practice was stopped.
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The July 20th Plot
The July 20th Plot is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out To Be True
Photo: German Federal Archives/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA 3.0

Dozens of members of the German military and civilian leadership conspired to kill Adolf Hitler by planting a bomb at his military headquarters. The plot, dramatized in the Tom Cruise film Valkyrie, failed when the bomb was accidentally moved away from Hitler at the last second.

Nearly 5,000 people, many of whom had nothing to do with the conspiracy, were executed in the aftermath.
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The Tuskegee Experiment
The Tuskegee Experiment is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out To Be True
Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
This shameful and racist conspiracy unfolded over decades, as the CDC knowingly withheld potentially lifesaving treatments from black men with syphilis under the guise of a medical experiment. Once the conspiracy became public, hearings were held and a $10 million settlement was reached for its victims – along with lifetime medical care for their families and no-cost burials.
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Cigarettes Cause Cancer
Cigarettes Cause Cancer is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out To Be True
Photo: Dick Rochester/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Tobacco companies knew as early as the 1950s that smoking was directly linked to lung cancer. Even before then, in the 1920s, a few maverick researchers were publishing studies that theorized that the effects of smoking weren’t beneficial, as the tobacco manufacturers claimed.

But it took until 1998’s Master Settlement Agreement between the US Government and the leading tobacco companies for these links to be acknowledged, and restitution made to victims.