As they say, history is written by the victors. Wartime details are often obscured or otherwise written out of history if they make the winning side look bad—the side that loses often ends up getting the opposite treatment in the history books. History tends to glorify and glamorize the past, and this leads to urban legends about wars that are silly at best and downright inaccurate at worst. The stories of war are littered with apocryphal legends and untruths designed to make the victors heroic and shining examples of humanity. The sad truth, however, is that war is a brutal and horrible thing and is rarely as nice or as funny as history often portrays it.
10. World War I Started Because Of A Sandwich
The most enduring myth of World War I (and still a popular story people like to pass around at parties) is that it wouldn’t have taken place if not for a sandwich. The legend claims that while the Archduke Ferdinand, leader of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was traveling through Sarajevo when a group of assassins had plans to do him in. According to the stories, the assassins lined up on his route. The first attempted to kill him with a grenade, but it only managed to injure some other people in his motorcade.
Eventually, the archduke ended up lost and off course because he asked his chauffeur to take him to the hospital to visit the people wounded in the blast. While lost, the driver ended up right in front of a shop where the archduke’s fated killer had been lunching on a sandwich. The killer, Gavrilo Princip, saw his target and in a stroke of unbelievable luck managed to take him out, which led to the start of World War I.
This story had become popular on the Internet in recent years, but according to a report by Smithsonian Magazine, there is no reason to believe there is any truth to the legend. To begin with, they could not find evidence that the story is anything more than a very recent invention, but that’s just the start. A sandwich would also have been a very unlikely food to find in Sarajevo during that time period. However, the most important fact is that the area the driver ended up in was actually part of his route; he never got lost, meaning that even if Gavrilo Princip had been lunching there, he was where he was supposed to be to kill his target all along. There was never a freaky coincidence at all.