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10 Historical Facts You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

Historical Facts

Bloodshed and wars are not all that is recorded in history. Sometimes, it has more to do with political upheavals, economic changes, revolutions, inventions, catastrophes, etc. And, yes, these are important subjects to look upon, but sometimes these dramatic events can bury some of the most interesting and atypical happenings. History textbooks might have missed out on such events, but we will definitely not. Surprise yourself with the 10 historical facts below that you probably haven’t ever heard of before

1. During Prohibition, the winemaking industry created an ingenious solution to sneak around the law. They started selling concentrated grape juice known as “wine bricks” with a “warning” that literally had the procedure for making wine written on it. It read, “After dissolving the brick in a gallon of water, do not place the liquid in a jug away in the cupboard for 20 days, because then it will turn into wine.”

Wine Bricks
Wine Bricks. Image credit: vinepair

Prohibition in the US was a time period of a total ban on alcohol from 1920 to 1933, but that didn’t stop the winemakers from producing and selling wine to people. Some wine businesses, of course, were severely affected because of the law, but the ones who decided to stick to their trade succeeded in making huge profits.

Producing grapes on farms was not illegal unless they were used for making alcoholic beverages. But grape juices and non-alcoholic wine could be turned into alcoholic ones, theoretically. It was also not illegal to sell these non-alcoholic products if the producers included a warning that says turning them into an alcoholic wine is strictly illegal.

All these loopholes were cleverly used by the producers to meet the ever-increasing demand for wine. Even the people who didn’t know how to make wine out of concentrated grape juice bricks were having no trouble because a clear warning was written which listed the steps to take to turn it into wine. The warning included the narrative of “not to.” (1, 2)

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2. Germany’s invasion into France in World War II was fuelled by crystal meth called, “Pervitin.” After consuming the drug, the soldiers were unstoppable. They could stay awake for three days and three nights straight while they were storming into France through the Ardennes Mountains.

Pervitin
Workers at the Temmler factory in Berlin produced 35m tablets of Pervitin for the German army and Luftwaffe in 1940. Image credit: Temmler Pharma GmbH & Co KG, Marburg via theguardian

German soldiers had already used Pervitin in their invasion of Poland in September 1939, and the drug was being produced for soldiers in the millions of dosages by May 1940.

Before invading the French territory, the German leadership ordered a stimulant decree to all doctors in the armed forces. Basically, Pervitin was carried as one of the fundamental medical equipment.

Each tablet’s effect lasted for 12 hours. The soldiers were prescribed to take one tablet during the day and two at night.

The entire Nazi forces attacked France with drugs flowing through their veins. They were like fearless, fighting robots.

Blitzkrieg” was a famous offensive technique used by German soldiers to invade territories, and medical experts say that its success was rooted in the meth that the soldiers consumed.

The drug is extremely addictive and intoxicating, so the soldiers later became highly dependent and were begging for it.

Pervitin, the meth that the soldiers exploited, literally depletes the consumer’s psychological and physiological performance leading to a complete breakdown. (1, 2)

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3. When slaves started escaping from the US to Mexico, the US slaveholders tried to get Mexico into a fugitive slave treaty. They asked Mexico to return the slaves back to the US. Mexico, however, responded with a clear declination and stated that enslaved people were free once they set their foot on Mexican soil.

Slaves
Slaves. Image credit: Shutterstock

The slave-holding settlers of Texas started trying to get Mexican authorities to sign the Fugitive Slave Extradition Treaty in 1825, but their attempts proved futile until the Civil War in 1865.

More than 10,000 slaves ran away from their masters and into Mexico by different methods. Some were pedlars, and some got away on horses. Slaves in Texas had a vague idea that there is a country in the south where they could be finally free. And indeed, slavery was abolished in Mexico back in 1829, although it was revived for a brief period of nine years from 1836 to 1845.

The US had already compelled free states to return escaped slaves back to the US in the past, and it wanted the same to happen when they asked Mexican’s to sign the fugitive slavery treaty.But, Mexico firmly rejected such a proposal. Despite that, some slave masters hired slave catchers to illegally bring their slaves back.

Researchers also suggest that there was a secret “underground railroad” used by slaves to run away to freedom in Mexico. (1, 2)

4. The soldiers fighting in Normandy during World War II faced an acute shortage of beer because it was difficult to transport it across the English Channel. So, the pilots of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) came up with a unique solution of carrying beer in drop tanks, replacing the fuel. The flights traveled at a higher altitude, which also kept the beer chilled.

Fuel
This is how British pilots made beer runs for troops in Normandy. Image credit: wearethemighty

Initially, the British brewery gave away gallons of beer for free to keep the soldiers in good spirits, but later it was difficult for them to keep the supply going when the army reached Normandy.

As soon as the soldiers saw the beer shortage in June 1944, they started complaining that watery cider was the only drink available for them. To solve this problem, RAF pilots suggested transporting beer in drop tanks.

A drop tank in Spitfire could carry 45 gallons of gas, which also means that a single plane could carry 90 gallons of beer.

The special beer plan started with steam-cleaning the tanks done by ground crews. The flights that delivered the beer were then known as “flying pubs” by the soldiers who savored it.

The soldiers had to taste some fuel at the beginning of the mission. The smell and taste of the fuel faded with repeated use, but a metallic flavor could still be sensed.

To solve this, the beer was then carried in wooden kegs which got its new name, “beer bombs.” Beer bombs had the original taste of beer, but the quantity was limited.

The practice was only semi-authorized, and its practice was kept secret from the higher officials.

The Americans began noticing the ritual and joined it by taking it to the next level. They also started importing ice creams in some amounts. (source)

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5. The exchange rates of German currency dropped from nine marks to the dollar to 4.2 billion marks to the dollar when hyperinflation hit the country in 1923. The conditions were so horrible that once a worker was robbed carrying billions of marks in a wheelbarrow, his wages of several weeks. The thieves stole the wheelbarrow and left the worthless wads of cash on the street.

Hyperinflation
Hyperinflation. Image credit: Wikimedia

The Weimar Republic, now Germany, was hit by hyperinflation from 1921 to 1923, and during its peak period in the autumn of 1923, the inflation rates rose by an unbelievable 325,000,000 percent.

The severity of the conditions could be evaluated by one of the instances in which a worker was robbed when he was carrying his wages of several weeks home in a wheelbarrow. The robbers took away the wheelbarrow, ignoring a billion marks of cash on the curb.

Other instances recorded children playing with piles of valueless cash on the streets, and a German housewife firing her boiler using a bundle of notes.

It was one truly dreadful time when the country lost its political stability, employment, and it was all chaos in the general population. (1, 2)

Also read: 10 of the Lesser-known Devastating Events in History

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