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People Share The Saddest Historical Facts They Know

Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash
Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash

They say history is written by the victors, but who would ever want to write about some of these tales?

The hardest truths to read about are the saddest ones, where terrible tragedies and awful atrocities happened to real-life people.

Maybe reading about them in hindsight will make things easier? Or maybe it’ll just make you happy you live in the era you do now.

Reddit user, moseich, wanted to feel the feels when they asked:

“What historical fact makes you cry?”

Good Dogs, Sad Dogs

“WW1- Mercy dogs, they would go out into no mans land and find wounded soldiers. They would bring medical supplies for the soldiers to patch themselves up.”

“Or if the soldier was to mortally wounded, stay and comfort them in their final moments.” ~ Lucky-daydreamer

Soldiers Wanting To Share In The Haunting Tunes

“I learned about this in a Dan Carlin podcast. During the German-Soviet war, there was a Red Army soldier who sang each night with a hauntingly-beautiful voice. His comrades would give him their tea rations and scarves to protect his larynx.”

“One night, he couldn’t sing because he had gotten sick.”

“A German soldier crawled across no-man’s-land and tossed something into the Soviet trench; the Soviet soldiers thought it was a grenade.”

“However, it was a package containing a letter asking if the singer was okay and if he needed medicine. A truly heart-warming moment in an otherwise horrific front.” ~ Scruffy_Nerf_Hoarder

A Good Pet Until The Very End

“The story of Alex (1977-2007), an African grey parrot who learned to speak, recognize objects and play with his owner. It was one of the smartest parrots ever reported.”

“He loved his owner and his owner adored him as well.”

“In the end, he suffered arteriosclerosis, so his owner went to see him one last time, to which Alex told his owner: ‘You are good; I love you.’ She replied, ‘I love you too’.”

“Alex said ‘I’ll see you tomorrow’ and the owner replied ‘yes, I’ll see you tomorrow’.” ~ metal_gearmen

One Minute Gone

“Henry Gunther was an American soldier killed during WWI at 10:59am on November 11th, 1918; one minute before the Armistice took effect at 11:00am.”

“Gunther charged a German roadblock outfitted with machine guns. German soldiers tried waving him off knowing the war would come to an end in mere moments.”

“Apparently he got too close, fired a couple rounds, and was promptly shot and killed instantly.” ~ _DMYZ

Oh, America, You Disappoint Us…

“The Sand Creek massacre is particularly bad. They had so much faith in the peace treaties that had been signed, the signs of good faith from American settlers.”

“Only to be massacred. The leader of the camp, Black Kettle, desperately holding up the American flag he’d been given with a white flag underneath it, encouraging his people to gather around it—thinking that the [United States Army] would realize they were allies and stop the killings. Only to be shot down.”

“The descriptions of the massacre are brutal—children tortured and slaughtered, pregnant women with their children torn out of their stomachs. Genitals torn from corpses and taken for trophies.”

“It really made me realize you can never underestimate the cruelty of mankind. Especially considering most of the murdered in this massacre were defenseless women, children, and elderly.” ~ Lia_Is_Lying

Survived By Being Out For The Day

“There were approximately 300 infants and children that were murdered in Jonestown, being forcibly fed or injected with cyanide. I feel so much pain for all the victims but the kids in particular make me ache with despair.” ~ Lastofherkind

“There were some teens that weren’t among the number, because they were gone playing a basketball tournament.” ~ qualitygravedigger

Couldn’t Fit This Into The Play

“When Alexander Hamilton’s eldest son died, his second child Angelica Hamilton had a mental breakdown and she never recovered. Sometimes, her family would walk into a room with only her in it, and she would be speaking to her dead brother.” ~ meenakshi96

“The Light Has Gone…”

“Teddy Roosevelt’s mother Mittie and his wife Alice, who had just given birth days before, both died in the same house on the same day, hours apart from each other. In his diary entry that day, he drew a large black X and scribbled ‘The light has gone out of my life’.”

“That’s some heavy sh*t right there, man.” ~ fracking_toasters_

Sharing Each Other’s Humanity

“Christmas Day, 1914. German and British soldiers got up from their trenches and called a 48 hour truce to just chill and even play soccer.”

“This makes me cry because it shows that the soldiers of both sides really found it pointless to fight other people just cause their country said so. This is probably the strongest story of unity I’ve heard about in history class.” ~ Electoriad

Keeping Your Honor Even In War

“In WWII an American pilot named Charles Brown was flying a B-17 in a bomb raid over Germany where his aircraft was severely shot up and entered a free fall when Brown passed out. When Brown awoke, he was only a few thousand feet above the ground and barely was able to recover the aircraft.”

“When the Luftwaffe spotted a limping B-17 far below the formation, they dispatched a pilot named Franz Stigler, a soon to be ace just 1 kill away, with 2 Downed B-17s earlier that day. As he approached from the rear, Stigler noticed that the B-17s tail gunner didn’t move and after further inspection, realized he and several other gunners were dead. Stigler saw this and remembered what his flight instructor had said years ago, ‘if you shoot a man in a parachute, ill shoot you myself’.”

“Stigler saw this limping B-17 as no different from a downed pilot in a parachute. To prevent German flak cannons from taking it out, Stigler flew in formation with the B-17 all the way until the English Channel where it landed safely. Stigler never mentioned the incident, and could’ve been court martialed for it.”

“Decades later, Charles went looking for the enemy pilot that saved his life that fateful day, and eventually met him face to face, becoming close friends and dying just a few months apart from each other in 2008.” ~ OleRockTheGoodAg

History can be a harsh critic, leaving you feeling like all of time is a cruel place.

May we all make the best choices we can to make sure history looks back on us with kind eyes.

Written by Robert Acosta

Robert Acosta is an elementary school teacher with a specialty in language arts and writing. He taught for six years in both Tucson and Phoenix before starting his own private tutoring business to serve the greater metro Phoenix area. As a freelance writer his work appears on George Takei’s “Oh Myyy” properties and ÜberFacts.
He’s average at drawing, above-average at Magic the Gathering, and an expert at changing diapers in the front seat of cars. He resides in Phoenix with his wife, two black cats and twin sons.