Red Letter Post – Historical Mysteries

Posted: March 18, 2013 in Annotated Table of Contents

Red Letter Post – Historical Mysteries


Dear Followers,


     Attached is the full Annotated Table of Contents for Tiny Blunders/Big Disasters.

Many of you will find the titles to be tantalizing brainteasers that are more than a little mysterious.  A collection of thought provoking puzzlers!


      Chapter Eleven presents a very interesting story. It concerns the critical and pivotal days of World War II when the outcome was still unknown and the dark forces of fascism were threatening to prevail.


     For those with an interest in this particular period in history there is a valuable book that brings many of the variables into focus. World in the Balance by Brooke Stoddard captures the reader’s interest and keeps this intriguing story rapidly moving all the way to the end. It is a valuable resource and is available thru Amazon.  


     Also Top Secret Tales of World War II by William B. Breuer gives a behind the scenes view of what was happening in Germany and Europe and the naiveté of the United States during this critical period. Both are fun books to read for history lovers all over the world.     


     I look forward to hearing your feedback on all matters of interest.


Thank you






  1. 1.    A Single Piece of Tape Rotated Several Inches in the Wrong Direction Changed the Outcome of the Viet Nam War.




  1. P.T.109 Incident. A series of small mistakes with grave and far-

reaching implications. It began with running away from a beautiful, German spy.


  1. 3.    The Phone Call That Was Never Made: Joseph Kennedy Jr.’s     

Unnecessary Death. The British right hand and the American left hand did not always know what the other was doing 


  1. Impeachment Narrowly Missed.  A President’s involvement with another beautiful German spy led to a near scandal.  J. Edger Hoover saved the day. But at what price?






  1. One Giant War, One Tiny Mistake. The horny Japanese soldier who started a war. World War II in the East was accidently started by a single low-ranking, lustful Japanese soldier.


  1. 6.    World War I and Indirectly World War II Were “Accidentally” Started When a Chauffeur Took a Wrong Turn in Front of Schiller’s Delicatessen in Sarajevo.


  1. “Kick in the Rotten Door.” The Russians’ “failure” to kowtow angered Hitler and led to the emotional decision to invade Russia.


  1. 8.    The Mistranslation of a Single Word in a Communication Between the United States and Japan Led to a Misunderstanding, Which Led to War in the Pacific.


       TINY MISTAKES THAT CHANGED THE OUTCOME OF                                                                          

                                             MAJOR WARS


  1. 9.    If Someone Had Though To Tie Up the Oxen On One Particular


Night the Alamo Might Not Have Fallen. A key commander’s


mistakes and hesitation.


10. A Cavorting General Loses the Battle, the War, and the Country. When the expected attack came, he was in his tent high on opium cavorting with a beautiful young slave woman. 


11. A Navigational Mistake over Blacked Out London Led to the Unauthorized Bombing of Great Britain.  The resulting chain of events may have changed the outcome of World War II. 


12. Someone Accidently Kicks a Helmet Off the Top of a Wall – An Empire Collapses. Cyrus The Great’s Good Fortune. For Croesus Further Proof that Money Does Not Buy Happiness.


13. A Time Zone Mix Up May Have Caused Battle-Winning Air Cover to Have Been Missed During a Key Invasion.  


14. A Poorly Considered Statement by a U. S. Secretary of State Misled the World and Spurred a Communist Power to Invade a Free Country.


15.At the Battle of Antietam Robert E. Lee’s Secret Orders Are Wrapped Around Three Cigars and Carelessly Dropped On the Ground. They were later picked up by the Union army and the outcome of the battle was altered. Could the South have won the war ?


16.A Miscalibration of Artillery Rounds during a Critical Battle in American History Led to Surprising and Disappointing Results.


Political Campaigns: Bungled and Misbegotten


17. A Poorly Designed Document By a Single Clerk in a Single  

County Changed the Outcome of a Presidential Election and Led    Directly To a Major War. 


18.A Presidential Candidate Going in Front of the Television Cameras Made a Fateful, Cosmetic Decision that Changed the Outcome of the Election. 


19. A President Waited Too Long to Campaign for his Chosen Successor.  A week earlier and the losing side might have won.  


20.A Phone Call Made Too Late to Martin Luther King Jr. Influenced the Way Black Voters Perceived a Major Political Party. The truth about how the candidates really felt.   


21. A Young Congressional Aide was Told to Call Major Newspapers and Announce that Owing to His Health His Boss Was Quitting His Senate Race. The aide disobeyed and the world took a different course.


22.Overly Confident Their Candidate Had No Chance of Losing, Officials in Two Counties Failed to Participate in a Major Senatorial Primary. The outcome shocked them, and the winner later became President of the United States.


                                                    Illness and Disease


23.The Great Flu Epidemic of 1918 Began at Ft. Riley, Kansas, When Horse Manure Was Not Properly Burned. “A yellow cloud of smoke” spread the disease, which then raced around the world. Though many scientists are skeptical of this theory, a program on the History Channel suggests it was true.


24.Someone In Cameroon Around 1940 Suffered a Scratch on the Arm While Hunting in the Bush.  Thus began one of the worst pandemics in human history and the deaths of millions.


25.An Untidy Scientist Left his Window Open and the Salvation of Millions Blew In. A blessing in the sea breeze.   


The Beautiful, the Bad and the Lucky



25  The Comely Secretary of a Powerful Man Mistakenly Transposed Two Numbers in a Swiss Bank Account Deposit. The result was an enormous scandal that threatened the U. S.  Presidency itself.


26  A Retired, Somewhat Whacky Army General Nodding at Just the Right (or Just the Wrong) Moment May Have Altered Events that Led to the Assassination of President Kennedy.


27  Discouraged by a Storm, the Pilgrims Were Saved When They Turned Back from an Early Attempt at Sailing to Virginia. They narrowly escaped Pollard’s Rip, shallow, rocky water that would have sunk their ship.  




28  They Should Have Listened –The O-Ring Disaster of the Space




Shuttle Challenger. Criticized for delays, NASA okayed a space

shuttle launch in spite of ominous warnings about a thin O-ring seal.


29  An Act of Kindness by a Russian Czar Doomed the Russian Empire. Alexander II’s bulletproof carriage saved him, but his concern for injured persons nearby put him in harm’s way.


30  Failing to Synchronize Watches Among British and Australian Officers Led to Failure and Needless Death at Gallipoli.


31  Worst European Bombing Mistake of World War II. Because of miscommunication between the army and air force, bombs fell on friendly troops. Thousands were killed. 


32   A Kitchen Accident Led to the Discovery of Smokeless Gunpowder and Changed the Direction of Modern Warfare. 


33  The Slandered Cow. It may not have been Mrs. O’Leary’s cow after all. It may have been arson. The Great Chicago Fire.


34  Be Sure the Right is Strong.” The German High Command of World War I partially changed the emphasis of its invasion of France. Basic math could have prevented their blunder. Would the world have been a better place if the Germans had won?


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