You know what? These days, things that are deceiving are more believable than the truth itself. Such things entirely mask what they truly are; false. And yet, we believe it just because we are pleased with or jolted by what we hear or read or see. For instance, the media. What they report, we blatantly believe. Similarly, many documents in history have paved way to unfortunate happenings, events, beliefs and superstition. The bizarre thing about it is that these documents had no source or authenticity. Simply put, they were fakes. And yet, they caused some impact which changed courses in history, thereby affecting the ubiquity. Here are 10 fake documents that changed the world.
Let us see some of the fake documents below.
#1 Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1903)
First published in Russia, this book is an anti-Semitic hoax that claims to hold secrets about a Jewish plan to take over the world. Its authors remain unknown but its contents were widely believed and reported as facts by many around the world; even the likes of Henry Ford who promoted its ideas and helped sell 500,000 copies in America alone! Despite being proven as a fake in 1921, many used the Protocols as a regime to prosecute the Jews; the top example being Hitler who, in his reign, boycotted and killed Jews on the grounds of what the book said. He made it part of the education in Germany so that the Germans know “the true atrocities” that the Jews could cause. It is still cited as real by many. This was one of the reasons leading up to the Holocaust. Extremely horrible!
#2 Memoirs of Mr Hempher (1868)
This fake memoir of a British spy named Hempher supposedly provided information regarding a British plan to destroy Islam and the Ottoman Empire. Published in Turkey, this memoir recounts Hempher’s mission to weaken Muslim morals by encouraging alcohol and fornication and by trying to divide the religion through the means of creating a new ultra-conservative form of Islam called Wahhabism. The memoir also stated that 5000 British spies infiltrated the Ottoman Empire. Unfortunately, this is still cited as relevant and it was used by the likes of Saddam Hussein in order to plan an attack on Saudi Arabia’s royal Wahhabist family.
#3 Tanaka Memorial (1927)
The Tanaka Memorial is an alleged document written by then Prime Minister Baron Tanaka Giichi for Emperor Hirohito. He devised a strategic plan to take over the world. First published in China, the authenticity of this document was never validated but it is still accepted by the people and even quoted in some Chinese textbooks. However, historians believe that Tanaka Memorial was just yet another masterful artsy anti-Japanese hoax for world domination. The plan revealed the order in which Japan would attack each country and when their actual attacks mirrored the plan, it caused major panic. However, now it is considered a forgery.
#4 Remember the Maine (1890)
Back in the late 19th century, America had the major investment in its Spanish Colonies’ sugar, tobacco and iron industries. Due to the dwindling state of the colonies, the Americans were getting worried. Newspapers under Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst started reporting fake news about Spanish death camps and cannibalism that were supposedly stirring up public outrage. This is an example of press induced pressure as later, when the USS Maine sank, Hearst and the naturally the papers went on to blame the Spanish which forced politicians to declare war. Spain went on to lose many of its colonies to the US. Sad, how one bit of made-up false report can trigger a huge war.
#5 The Letter of Lentulus (1474)
The letter of Lentulus is a fake document from the Medieval Era that was thought to accurately describe Jesus’ physical appearance. The letter was supposedly sent to the Roman Senate after being written by Publius Lentulus, Governor of Judea. In it, Jesus is described as tall with an unblemished face a chestnut coloured hair. The once-authentic letter is now considered a fake as there was never proof of a Governor named Lentulus and the font does not look Roman. Despite being fake, this definition of Jesus’ appearance is the most accepted and believed till date!
#6 Donation of Constantine (750 A.D)
This forged imperial document states that Emperor Constantine transferred authority of Rome and the Western parts of the Roman Empire to the Pope. It laid the groundwork that provided Papal power in Italy and beyond for centuries. The only problem was that it was fake! In spite of being proven as a complete fake, many Popes started to use it as a tool to highlight their power in Church. The document, however, seemed to belong to the 15th century and didn’t look like the work of an infamous Roman Emperor! Totally fake!
#7 Zinoviev Letter (1924)
The Zinoviev Letter changed the face of British politics for 20 years and fundamentally damaged Anglo-Soviet relations while WWII approached. The document called for Communist agitators to mobilise and take over the ruling Labor Party- essentially turning Britain into a communist country. The later was published just days before the British general elections; which the Labor Party lost, and it was supposedly written by Soviet official Grigory Zinoviev. Although the writer is unknown, it is rumoured that MI6 wrote it in order to oust the Labor Party during the elections. But one may never know the motives also seemed Communist-favoring. Well, it was seemingly forged but still managed to harden the tension between Britain and the Soviet Union. These stories of the fake documents are genuine.
#8 Operation Mincemeat (1943)
During World War II, the corpse of a British soldier was found to be floating off the boat off Spain. A German guard was informed that the corpse was carrying a top secret file with information regarding an attack planned by the Allies to attack Greece. Only, no such plan ever existed. The soldier was a tramp and the documents were forgeries created by British intelligence to hide the actual targets that the Allies planned to invade. Their devised plan ended up working and ultimately change the course of the war. Germany moved 90,000 soldiers to Greece, making the invasion of Sicily much easier and the downfall of Mussolini happened faster. So basically, a dead tramp and a few fake documents helped save thousands of life. There’s something you don’t hear every day!
#9 INFEKTION (1983)
In 1983, an Indian newspaper published a report by an American scientist that the AIDs virus was actually man-made and had been created by the Pentagon. Two years later, Dr Jakob Segal produced a report called “AIDS- its natural cause and origin” in which he claimed that the disease had been developed by the USA and had been tested on gay prisoners. It was later found that both the newspaper and Dr.Jakob were under the control of the Soviet Union which was, at the time, trying to discredit the USA and hide their own biological warfare testing activities from the public. This conspiracy is still believed and supported by 15%-20% of Americans as it had left behind a scar on the ethnic races and minorities. Scars that are racial don’t fade easily; even though the cause may have been fake!
#10 Yellowcake Uranium (2001)
The latest conspiracy to rock the world into believing it was the Yellowcake Uranium. As early as 2001, Italian Military Intelligence Agency SISMI was providing information and documents to the CIA claiming that Saddam Hussein was trying to obtain Yellowcake Uranium from Niger to create WMDs. These documents would later be used to justify US’s invasion of Iraq. However, these were considered fake documents well before the conflict even started. In spite of being confirmed as forgeries by the CIA, it was still included in George Bush’s claim in 2003 and three months later, the US and its allies invaded Iraq. The forger’s identity remains unknown and the consequences of the invasion linger on in the affected regions of Iraq. Pointless loss of life!
So you see how a handful of fake documents contain seemingly threatening or serious informatics that are lies can actually lead to a change in course of history; be it the fortunate avoidance of loss or the meaningless loss of life!?
This is the true face of the world people. Gullibility! We fall right into its vortex!
Something to think about! 😉
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