People Share The Saddest Historical Facts They Know
Image by Tony Phelps from Pixabay

A quick glance at any history book shows a timeline of blood, tears, and difficult but sometimes necessary choices.

Maybe go for a daytime walk in the park after reading this one.

Reddit user, u/moseich, wanted to feel something when they asked:

What historical fact makes you cry?

Almost The End

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.


Why Are Children Always Brought Into Adult Nonsense?

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.


A Pure Example Of Incomparable Grief

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.


The Most Important Death Of The 20th Century

It's gotta be Franz Ferdinands last words, considering he was so sympathetic to the Serbian cause only to be killed by a Serbian nationalist himself, and was begging his wife to stay alive for their children as she was pregnant, and trying to assure the people around him that he was fine as he slowly faded into death, and it ended up starting an event which then decided the whole course of the 20th century.


Too Sad For The Musical

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.


A Fitting Farewell

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." He said "I'll see you tomorrow" and she replied "yes, I'll see you tomorrow."


Songs Of War

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.


A Beautiful Christmas Day

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.


Never Let War Take Away Your Humanity

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.


Seriously. Never Let War Take Away Your Humanity.

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 couldve 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.


Harper's Ferry

Dangerfield Newby, one of the free black men who died in the raid on Harper's Ferry, had a letter from his enslaved wife on his person. He had been working to buy her and his children, but her owner kept raising the price.



Almost a quarter of Europe's military-aged males died in WWI. The total number of deaths includes from 9 to 11 million military personnel. The civilian death toll was about 6 to 13 million.

The casualties in individual battles were insane. For example, ~306,000 people died at the Battle of Verdun over the course of 1916. At the Battle of the Somme, almost 1 million were wounded or killed.


2 weeks 

The fact that Anne Frank died just 2 weeks before the camps were liberated. Every time I read her diary/other books about it I get this weird sense of hope for her (even though I know it's crazy) because of the timing.



It's pretty recent history, but Rob Hall's death on Everest.

Hall was a guide for one of several expeditions that got trapped in a massive snowstorm in 1996. He became trapped after refusing to leave one of the clients he was guiding, who was too weak from hypoxia to make it down in the worsening weather. The client died but Hall survived a full night and day near the summit of Everest. He was in radio contact with base camp the whole time. When they realized there was no way they were going to get him down, his friends at base camp held the radio up to a satellite phone so that Hall could say goodbye to his pregnant wife.

Just the idea of dying so far away and just having that one little thread of connection to the world.


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