Monday, May 30, 2011

List of Common Misconception Part I History

Ancient to early modern history

Modern history

Napoleon on the Bellerophon, a painting of Napoleon I byCharles Lock Eastlake. Napoleon was taller than his nickname, The Little Corporal, suggests.
  • Napoleon I (Napoleon Bonaparte) (pictured) was not particularly short,[22] and did not have a Napoleon complex. After his death in 1821, the French emperor’s height was recorded as 5 feet 2 inches in French feet. This corresponds to 5 feet 6.5 inches in modern international feet, or 1.686metres.[23][24] Some believe that he was nicknamed le Petit Caporal (The Little Corporal) as a term of affection.[25]
  • According to Time magazine, there is a common misconception among Americans that Abraham Lincoln freed the American slaves with theEmancipation Proclamation of January 1863.[26] Most slaves were not immediately freed as a direct result of the Proclamation as it only applied to the parts of rebelling states not under Union control; those rebelling states did not recognize the power of the federal government to make such a decree. The Proclamation did not cover the 800,000 slaves in the Union's slave-holding border states of Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Marylandor Delaware. As the regions in the South that were under Confederate control ignored the Proclamation, slave ownership persisted until Union troops captured further Southern territory. It was only with the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865 that slavery was officially abolished in all of the United States. Thirty-six of the United States recognize June 19 as a holiday, Juneteenth, celebrating the anniversary of the day the abolition of slavery was announced in Texas in 1865.
  • Italian dictator Benito Mussolini did not “make the trains run on time”. Much of the repair work had been performed before Mussolini and the Fascistscame to power in 1922. Accounts from the era also suggest that the Italian railways’ legendary adherence to timetables was more myth than reality.[27] Mussolini's trains were subject to frequent labour disruptions due to his conflict with labour unions.
  • During the German Invasion of Poland in 1939, there is no evidence of Polish Cavalry mounting a brave but futile charge against German tanks using lances and sabres. This seems to have its origins in German propaganda efforts following the Charge at Krojanty in which a Polish cavalry brigade surprised German infantry in the open and charged with sabres until driven off by armoured cars. While Polish cavalry still carried the sabre for such opportunities, they were trained to fight as highly mobile, dismounted infantry and issued with light anti-tank weapons.[28][29]
  • During World War II, King Christian X of Denmark did not thwart Nazi attempts to identify Jews by wearing a yellow star himself. Jews in Denmark were never forced to wear the Star of David. The Danes did help most Jews flee the country before the end of the war.[30][31][32]
  • Albert Einstein did not fail mathematics in school, as is commonly believed. Upon being shown a column claiming this fact, Einstein said "I never failed in mathematics... Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus."[33][34]
  • John F. Kennedy's words "Ich bin ein Berliner" are standard German for "I am a Berliner".[35][36] An urban legend has it that due to his use of the indefinite article ein, Berliner is translated as jam doughnut, and that the population of Berlin was amused by the supposed mistake. The word Berliner is not commonly used in Berlin to refer to the Berliner Pfannkuchen; they are usually called ein Pfannkuchen.[37]
  • According to various polls, between 11 and 24% of Americans incorrectly believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim.[38] The White House describes Obama as a "devout Christian" who prays every day.[39]

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