Weird History

Lies and Untruths That Affected Human History  

Jacoby Bancroft
112.2k views 13 items

When an average person tells a white lie, it’s for something trivial like wanting to spare another's feelings or attempting to avoid your niece's first violin recital. However, it’s an entirely different story when little white lies in history make their way into our textbooks. There have been a number of powerful leaders (including emperors, Founding Fathers, basically every president, and some of the worst people in history) who have bent the truth for one reason or another.

Who's on this list of monumental fibbers? Check out the list below for some of the biggest white lies that changed history. Forever.

Hitler Told Neville Chamberlain He Wasn't Going to Start Another World War
Hitler Told Neville Chamberlai... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Lies and Untruths That Affected Human History
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0 DE
One of the most infamous figures in history, it's not surprising to learn Adolf Hitler wasn't all that adamant about telling the truth. His extraordinary rise to power came from the fibs he told world leaders about what he was trying to do. While discussing appeasement and reapportionment in Czechoslovakia with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Hitler assured Chamberlain that there would be no need for a war if he was given what he wanted. Chamberlain, trusting the man, gave it to him. As we all know, it jump-started World War II, an event that maybe would have happened differently if Hitler hadn't lied.
Hitler Told People Poland Attacked First
Hitler Told People Poland Atta... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Lies and Untruths That Affected Human History
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

Oh, Hitler again? How surprising. Do you ever wonder how normal German soldiers were able to follow through with the horrible orders they were given? Well one of the reasons was that Hitler often lied to the troops in order to further his goals. This was no more apparent than the lie he told that led to Germany invading Poland and starting World War II. In order to convince his people that Poland deserved invading, he set up an elaborate lie that consisted of taking Polish prisoners, putting them in soldier uniforms, riddling their bodies with bullets, and staging things so it looked as though Poland attacked Germany first. If he hadn't had lied, maybe fewer people would have chosen to follow his orders. 

Source: You Said What? Likes and Propaganda Throughout History
Grover Cleveland Lied About His Emergency Dental Service
Grover Cleveland Lied About Hi... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Lies and Untruths That Affected Human History
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Grover Cleveland was a rare type of president because he was supported by members of both parties. Although he was well liked, the nation was still facing difficult issues. It was in the middle of an economic depression and Cleveland didn't want to do anything to give the illusion of weakness.

As fate would have it, one day Cleveland found a large mass of growth in his mouth that turned out to be a type of oral cancer. He needed it removed quickly but didn't want to worry the American people. He lied about going on vacation and was secretly whisked off to a private boat for surgery (which doesn't sound like the best place for surgery. The American people at the time had no idea that their leader was having a serious problem and the nation was able to pull out of the depression. 

Source: You Said What? Lies and Propaganda Throughout History
Andrei Gromyko Lied About Missiles in Cuba
Andrei Gromyko Lied About Miss... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Lies and Untruths That Affected Human History
Photo: Mieremet, Rob/Anefo/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0 NL
The Cuban Missile Crisis might be one of the tensest moments in American history. We were on the brink of serious war with Russia, all because Soviet Ambassador Andrei Gromyko lied to President Kennedy about Russia's plan to put missiles in Cuba. America were assured that everything was going to be fine, and then had to scramble when they realized Russia were en route with their giant missiles in tow.