10 Strange and Fascinating Lighter Sides of Historic Wars

10 Strange and Fascinating Lighter Sides of Historic Wars

War destroys lives and property, it destroys
trust between nations, it creates an air of fear and paranoia, and is generally a very
bad thing. Even wars that were arguably necessary still
marked years of even the “good guys” sinking to many levels of brutality before the entire
thing was over. As many think of it, war often brings out
the worst of man’s inhumanity. However, war can also do the opposite. Sometimes the grimness of war is punctuated
by many moments of hope that remind us that even in the worst of times, the very best
traits of humanity can shine through regardless. 10. The Great Emu War In Australia In the early 1930s, Australia was going through
a rather tough time. Like a lot of the world, Australia was in
the midst of a depression, and in terms of farming, things were looking bleak. Farmers were hoping for subsidies from the
government that never showed up, and worrying that the economy was simply not going to stay
together in any way — there was very little confidence in the government at the time to
fix the situation. To make matters worse, thousands of Emus came
along to migrate to the area, and soon started destroying crops, and destroying fences — which
allowed rabbits in. Australia decided to declare war on the Emus,
and launched the Great Emu War. Most people would imagine a war on wildlife
would involve lots of shooting permits, and people hunting the species, eating them, and
perhaps getting a little more food on the table. Instead, the Australian government actually
made it a legit military operation, perhaps because they wished to put on a show for the
farmers and regain their confidence, and brought out troops with lewis guns to attack the Emus. Their hope was that with machine guns, they
could easily mow down thousands. However, the Emus actually proved adept at
dodging, and as soon as the shooting started, they would scatter. After a few weeks of intense failure that
saw only a few hundred Emus killed (at most, although the commander of the operation estimates
only about 50), the whole thing was put to an embarrassing close. While the operation was ridiculous, no humans
were harmed, and it helped bring some optimism and humor to a very tough situation. 9. Miltschuppe, The Soup That Ended A War In
Switzerland Back in the middle of the last millennium
in Europe, perhaps the most contentious issue was the ongoing battle between Protestant
and Catholic factions, both within and between various countries and powers. Switzerland was no exception to this type
of conflict, and during the first war of Kappel in the early 1500s, there was looking to be
a potentially very bloody conflict. The two sides had marched to war, and their
leaderships were negotiating, trying to see if there could be a peaceful end to the conflict. It looked at first like negotiations were
going to fall through, and a horrific loss of life would occur. However, something amazing happened. While the leadership was talking, the soldiers,
who were all fellow countrymen, were bonding over a bowl of soup. The soldiers who had marched all the way to
fight had brought a lot of bread with them, and the locals had a lot of fresh milk to
go around. Both sides were quite hungry, and pooled their
resources to make a delicious bread and milk soup that was shared all around, and averted
a potentially very bloody battle. The soup is known as Miltschuppe and while
it is not exactly regularly eaten in Switzerland, it has a very important place in their traditions. Even today, if politicians are quarreling,
they eat the soup together in order to help resolve their differences. 8. The Singing Revolution That Freed The Baltic
States From Soviet Rule After the end of World War II, the Iron Curtain
fell dark and hard across much of Eastern Europe, and for many decades, these countries
were under the thrall of the merciless Soviet Union, which tried to seed their countries
with ethnic Russians in order to cement their hold. The Soviets were brutal, forced censorship,
tried to remove the nations’ national identities whenever possible, and always favored ethnic
Russians. Instead of going to war in the traditional
sense, the Baltic States decided to try an entirely novel, and peaceful, way of regaining
their freedom. Starting in the late ’80s and slowly but
surely gaining steam, the Baltic States staged massive singing demonstrations on a regular
basis, often singing songs that protested the Soviet occupation and treatment of their
countries. This all culminated in June 1988, when over
100,000 Estonians gathered outside, under the guise of singing, in order to protest
the ongoing Soviet occupation. This powerful gathering of people, this incredible
commitment to sing for their national identity and freedom, bore surprising fruit. Within three years of keeping the pressure
up, and using entirely nonviolent methods, the Baltic States had all managed to wrest
their freedom from Soviet control. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that
singing always works, or that protest always works, but shows that as citizens you could
entirely clog the streets and shut things down in a peaceful, loving way. That’s a very hard message to fight, no
matter what tactics you may attempt to use — and violence against so many people could
not possibly turn out well for the perpetrators. The huge solidarity in numbers, and the nature
of the protests, allowed for something incredible to happen all across Eastern Europe. 7. The Kettle War’s Only Shot Fired Hit A Kettle
On Board A Ship In 1784, the Dutch Republic of the Netherlands,
and the Austrian Netherlands, were in a bit of a conflict. The Dutch had blockaded a river called the
Scheldt for trade, and this was angering the Austrians, who felt they should be able to
use that trade route to increase their own revenue. In October 1784, Emperor Joseph II decided
to send a fleet of three vessels in order to attempt to reclaim the route. However, the battle almost immediately took
a hilarious turn. Only a single shot was fired, from the Dutch
ship Dolfijn, and it hit a kettle on board the Le Louis, the lead ship of the Austrian
fleet. The commander of the fleet was so terrified
he decided, for some reason, to immediately surrender his entire fleet. This action allowed the Dutch to also retaliate
and take a nearby fort. Emperor Joseph II was enraged, and declared
war, but he did not immediately set out to attack anyone, probably because it would have
been quite expensive to do so, and his first attack hadn’t exactly been a rousing success. The Dutch remained quiet for a while, as they
were not sure how to respond to this aggression (none of which had been started by them),
but eventually started preparing a fleet for war. However, it turned out that due to an ancient
treaty with Great Britain, they were not allowed to actually use the ships they prepared to
go attack the Austrians, so the entire idea was abandoned and the war soon officially
ended. In the end, the only actual shot fired in
the war was the shot that hit the kettle aboard the Le Louis, and the resolution was, for
the most part, just status quo ante bellum. 6. The Christmas Truce Of 1914 Reminds Us We
Are All Just People In The End World War I was one of the bloodiest and most
brutal conflicts in known human history, and needs no real introduction. It was one of the first wars with true weapons
of mass destruction (like machine guns), but no one had really figured out the best way
to defend against these weapons. This made for a war with very low morale,
and very high casualties on both sides. The whole thing slogged on and on, and didn’t
show any signs of ending anytime soon. While it was unofficial, and not supported
by high command — or done by everyone — countless soldiers on the Western Front created their
own temporary truce on Christmas Day of 1914, and walked into no man’s land to exchange
gifts, souvenirs, swap bodies and prisoners, and even sing Christmas Carols together. Now, the war did continue to drag on for years
after that, and there were only a few scattered truces in the next couple years on Christmas,
but this was likely not even due to the fact that the soldiers were continuing to war with
each other after all this time — as humans still like other humans, regardless of what
orders they are given — but because high command had made it very clear that the kind
of fraternization seen on Christmas Day of 1914 was strictly forbidden in the future,
as it was being too nice to the enemy. While high command may not have felt such
behavior was appropriate, the spontaneous decision of so many soldiers to reach out
to their fellow human beings on a special holiday reminds us that we can find our humanity
even in the darkest of trenches. 5. The Time A War Was Almost Fought Over The
Shooting Of A Single Boar Many people have heard of the Boer Wars, but
not so many have heard of the Boar War, also known as the Pig War. The war goes back to 1859, when the United
States was still expanding, the British still controlled Canada, and the two were still
sort of trying to decide where all of their boundaries officially lay. The two countries had already been through
two wars, and no one really wanted another, which would have been three in less than a
hundred years. But things starting heating up over a small
land dispute. The San Juan Islands, now considered part
of Washington state, were hotly disputed between the two, and not really properly laid out
in the most recent treaty, as to who actually owned them. So, both countries started trying to stake
a claim. The British sent a sheep farmer to start populating
the island with his flock and setting up shop, and at first the British had it to themselves. However, the Americans then sent a few settlers
of their own, who started farming crops and preparing to stay there long term. One of the American settlers saw a boar eating
his crops, got angry, and shot it. After it turned out that the boar belonged
to the local British sheep farmer, he offered compensation, but the farmer gave a figure
that he found insulting, and the two sides found themselves in a nasty standoff. The Americans sent troops to the island, and
the British sent ships to stand off the coast, with troops that could have easily squashed
the American presence if they really wanted to push the issue. In the end, then-president James Buchanan
sent General Winfield Scott to negotiate a peaceful end to the situation, and managed
to end the entire thing without further hostilities. The truth was that all the commanding generals
involved on both sides had seen previous combat, and none wanted any loss of life over a single
boar. 4. The Time A Bunch Of Young Confederate Soldiers
Got Into An Epic Snowball Fight The American Civil War was one of the most
brutal wars in history, and easily the saddest war in United States history. In many cases it was literally brother against
brother or family against extended family, and oftentimes the people fighting the war
didn’t even really fully understand what they were fighting for (or why), or were even
really that particularly invested in it. One thing that many people don’t realize
at first about the American Civil War is that the majority of the people fighting the war,
especially as it dragged on, were barely adults, many around 15 or 16 years old — basically
a bunch of kids, especially when it came to the Confederacy near the end of the war. Oftentimes more people died of dysentery or
malnutrition before the battles even happened, and as is often the case in war, these were
basically kids fighting a war for adults, who had convinced them it was important to
put their lives on the line for someone else’s cause. Many people demonize the South — and for
good reason, considering slavery — but it is important to remember that many of the
soldiers involved were just children who were easily duped into fighting their parents’
and grandparents’ battles for them, and these children were having an absolutely horrific
time as they watched their brothers, cousins, and friends die around them. One day, on January 28, 1863, there was a
large contingent of Confederate troops from several states stationed in a valley in Virginia,
and it snowed heavily, absolutely blanketing the area. While most grizzled adult soldiers would hunker
down and complain about the weather, the young Confederate soldiers decided to have a bit
of fun, and started a spontaneous snowball fight between two Texas Divisions. When they won, they attacked a division from
another state, and then teamed up again from there. Before long several state divisions had put
together a gigantic and well organized snowball fight that lasted several hours. Unfortunately, the commander in charge of
the entire area, General James Longstreet, decided that the slight damage it had done
to the troops was too dangerous, and banned further snowball fights from taking place. While the Civil War was a very sad and violent
period in America, this incident reminds us just for a moment that so many of these soldiers
were mostly just children, not battle hardened warriors, and that if given the chance, they
could have lived entirely different lives. 3. In World War II, It Was Discovered That Many
Soldiers Simply Don’t Want To Kill War is brutal, depressing, and often brings
out the very worst in humanity, at least as far as most cynical people will tell you. However, war often also brings out the humanity
in people, and shows us what we are really made of. The truth is that most people are not particularly
cruel or violent, and wouldn’t harm another person unless they had no other choice. While it may be easier to shoot someone if
you are directly confronted with a gun, and perhaps a little easier the next time, it
takes a lot of killing before most initially stable people can do so with ease. According to a study after World War II by
S.L.A. Marshall, a famous war historian, only 15-20%
of soldiers willingly fired their guns at the enemy in most situations where their life
was not directly threatened — most soldiers simply did not actually want to kill, unless
they felt forced to for some reason or another. Now, the methods of his study, Men Against
Fire, have been criticized since, and some argue with the exact percentages, but no one
has tried to deny his general thesis. The fact of the matter is, psychologically
it is hard to kill without extremely adverse circumstances, a lot of conditioning, or previous
mental instability. The military has taken note of this, and now
often trains people with cutouts of enemy soldiers instead of just bullseyes, to further
condition them to shoot enemies on site without thinking about it too much first. 2. Vietnam War Protesters Tried To Levitate The
Pentagon… And Even Got A Permit First The Vietnam War was already one of the most
bizarre and tragic wars in modern history. It was one of the first of its type of proxy
war, and it slogged on for many, many years, and never really came to much of a satisfying
conclusion for anyone involved. Oftentimes the war involved little actual
direct fighting, and bad weather drew things out even longer, especially when fighting
in the jungles. In the United States, the mood over the war
was restive and grim. People were getting increasingly tired of
their children (or even themselves) being sent off to die over what looked like an entirely
pointless war. The counterculture movement was at its peak,
and Michael Bowen, Allen Ginsburg, Jerry Rubin and several other prominent activists planned
a march on Washington for October 21, 1967 in order to make a huge political statement,
and see if they could start to bring an end to the war. However, while at first the planning was going
normally, it started to quickly take a turn for the weird. Rubin suggested they march on the Pentagon
instead of Washington, so people would see they were against war and not against Democracy. This was fine, so far, but then Bowen, who
was known for studying occultism and shamanic activities while dropping acid, suggested
they use mystical rituals to levitate the Pentagon into the air. While many of the group members agreed to
try symbolically, as far as everyone can tell, Bowen believed it would work, and in order
to drum up publicity, they even got a permit — although the permit only allowed for three
feet and not the three hundred Bowen claimed he was going to do. Unsurprisingly, the Pentagon stayed solidly
in place, despite all types of odd rituals and invocations they attempted on their makeshift
altar. 1. Many Russian Women Were Celebrated For Their
Combat Skills In World War II Most countries have a pretty poor track record
when it comes to women in their country in general, especially when it comes to the military. If you are a woman who really, really wanted
to join, you were unlikely to be allowed even back in times of emergency like World War
II, unless you were willing to do something like nursing. Open combat was usually completely out of
the question. However, while Russia was like that at first
(just like most countries in World War II), they decided that necessity outweighed pride,
and over time allowed in a number of female snipers who proved to the entire world how
incredible female warriors can be. The first trailblazer was Lyudmila Pavlichenko,
who wanted to join the ranks of the Soviet army and fight against the Nazis, but was
denied despite having incredible skill with a rifle. Eventually they agreed to let her show them
her skills, and despite her being a woman, they were impressed enough to allow her to
join, and she quickly earned a place of great distinction. She had 309 confirmed kills, but may have
had more that were never witnessed — her confirmed kills alone place her in the top
five of all known snipers. While her contribution was great and she helped
get things rolling, we cannot ignore the other roughly 2,000 women in the Soviet Union who
served as snipers, and were all known for their skill — 500 of these women would go
on to survive the war, something many of their male counterparts in all parts of the Red
Army didn’t achieve. Unfortunately, while Russia paved a trail
at the time that would have been a great example for the rest of the the world to follow, it’s
still rare to see women allowed to participate in combat, and if anything, Russian has gone
backward on this issue since then.

69 Replies to “10 Strange and Fascinating Lighter Sides of Historic Wars”

  1. Top tenz, today I found out, bio graphics and geo graphics ; the only channels you need to help fuel a love of learning 🤓🧐

  2. United States: a second civil war seems eminent

    Australia: remember that time the military tried to fight a bunch of emus?

  3. My 4th great uncle and 3rd great grandfather were apart of that Confederate snowball fight.
    He wrote about it in his journal.

  4. Christmas truce has always been one of my favorite war stories. Any time I see some one I dislike or am worried humanity has no hope I think of this brief moment in time

  5. 4:29 Welllll except the extinction rebellion protests are hilariously ironically causing more pollution due to congesting the cities half to death.

    It would be like burning trees in protests against deforestation, or starting a riot in the name of world peace

  6. Glad you mentioned #4. My Great great grandfather was just 15yrs old when he fought in the civil war. Lost three brothers and he was shot himself but made it through. My family didn't own slaves either

  7. No mention of the Night Bomber regiment 588? The Night Witches were Russian female pilots in WWII who really gave the Germans a run for their money. And in BIPLANES, no less.

  8. I have ancestors who fought in a lot of the US wars. I have 3 Revolution patriots, one in the War of 1812 , two in civil war who fought int the Union, (142nd Pennsylvania Infantry 22nd Pennsylvania Cavalry) . In the 142nd was Captain Adam Grimm. He was wounded at Gettysburg. In the 22nd was Phillip Berkebile. He was dismounted cavalry, as it was later in the war when he joined. The co didn’t want to waste supplies on 8 full companies of horses, so he fought as infantry. Finally my grandfather fought in WWII

  9. It's easier to kill or mistreat an opponent if you can demonize them. Just look at German propaganda in the 1930's, and "Political" Propaganda against illegal immigrants looking for a better life in America in the 2010's.

  10. Meanwhile Trump just served up our Kurdish allies to be slaughtered because it will profit him!

  11. Always wondered about the origin of milk toast. Now I know. I heard that the movie The Mouse That Roared was loosely based on actual events. How about a video on that Simon?

  12. Idk about the other regionally Baltic countries but Estonia continue that awesome tradition of singing for freedonby having Laulupidu every five years that features songs about hope and living well and Estonia and I think that's a really cool way for a nation to celebrate their freedom.

  13. Why would anyone be surprised at the success of the Russian female snipers, women have always been great at killing. Always have been, always will.

  14. 4:30 apparently not that hard to fight in Syria. Simply launch a few chemical weapon warheads into the crowd while calling them terrorists to get Russia to back you up and call it a day.

  15. The singing protests of the Baltic states reminds me of the more recent and completely similar, Solidarity Sing Along. This took place daily for thousands of days in Madison, Wisconsin (setting a world record I believe) as a form of protest against neoconservative/neofascist attempts to usurp that state's government and wrest control from the citizenry.

  16. We have descended into a truly perverse dystopia when we decry women not being freely permitted to die in war.

  17. Its nice to hear about the beautiful side of history for a change. I don't want to white wash history but its nice to hear about more than just the most horrific things that people have ever done or experienced.

    Simon, you are facing the same choice today as the media. If you show the worst of the worst, people will respond, and you will get views and $$$$. If you try for more stories that make us feel warm and fuzzy, optimistic about the human race even, you may not get the views($$) you otherwise would have. I would guess its a hard choice to make but I applaud anyone who takes that risk to enrich our lives with the positive, optimistic stories. Its all great content, I just prefer feeling warm, fuzzy and optimistic when i leave, instead of traumatized. I am not saying I would prefer nothing but that. I would just prefer a little more focus in that direction before we all sink into a deep depression and join a heavens gate cult.

    I blame the human race for the way this is. Or at least our current culture. But, then again I watch a lot of this channel so I am not always so optimistic about the future of our species.

  18. "kids fighting a war for adults who had convinced them that it was important to put their lives on the line for someone else' cause" – welcome to every war in human history.

  19. No. 6 was done as well in our ,the American Civil War.and don't forget ,in New York, there was a great riot over fighting for blacks and the 300 dollar get out of being drafted ,rebellion ,we'll we ever truly be fee men and women , to put it in your language, quite frankly NO,

  20. Well of course that permit to levitate the Pentagon was only for 3 feet. Any higher would have been dangerous.

  21. I'd just like to point out that the Emu War, while funny, is a little bit deeper than "Aussies can't handle big birb". The bigger issue was on top of scattering and running, almost every flock (forgive me if a group of Emus is called something else) had an Alpha/Lookout that kept watch and got the flock moving when (or even before) the shooting started. And while the opening engagement was a failure, a couple months later they repeated the process with their gathered information to account for the Emu movement, as well as doing what Simon said at the beginning and supplementing the militaty effort with bounties for independent hunters to collect on. All in all, not incorrect, but not the whole story. Otherwise, great video

  22. The Emu war: “Let’s kill big bird!” The Emu’s “Meep, Meep” (road runner/Wiley coyote) zoom zoom!
    Kettle war… so is that where the saying “pot calling the kettle black” came from after they took a pot shot into a kettle, lol?

  23. Russian women also served in VVS during 1941-5 war, female pilots were first women to ever shoot down fascists aircraft. Lidya Litvyak is believed to have downed 12 fascists during the war until she herself was killed in August 1943.

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