May 22, 2013

History's Morals

When we talk of moral stories, what better place to look for than history itself? They say history repeats itself, but won't it be good if you prepared yourself better? Here is my take on a few blunders that are famous in history.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

The construction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa took about three and a half centuries! During the initial stages of the construction, the tower began to sink, because of a mere three metre foundation! That halted construction for almost a century and the soil consolidated. When the construction resumed, the upper floors that were built had one side taller than the other to compensate for the tilt. That was back in the thirteenth centruy.

In the 1960s, the Italian government requested help from the world to save the tower from toppling, but they wanted to preserve the tilt for the sake of tourism. The stabilizing effort took decades. The tower was also closed to the public for some time. Even apartments in the direction of the tilt were vacated just in case the tower toppled. At present, the tower has been declared stable for another few hundreds of years.

The Moral
The construction should never have continued when it was determined that the soil underneath was loose the foundation was not strong enough for such a structure. The fact that construction continued even after the tower started tilting is really crazy. Although millions would have been saved had they stopped the constructions, we would not have such a wonder!

The sinking of the RMS Titanic:

You must have seen the star studded, award winning James Cameron movie Titanic and it depicts the situation quite clearly. On 12th April 1912, at the time of her maiden voyage, the Titanic was the largest ship afloat, carrying over two thousand passengers and crew. The Titanic received six warnings of sea ice on 14th April. However, the captain was so overconfident that the ship was supposedly at her top speed when the iceberg was sighted. Naturally, there wasn't enough time to steer it away. The ship was designed in such a way that it could stay afloat with even four flooded compartments, but the damage had been done. Top it off with the fact that the ship had a very little number of life boats, some of them not even filled to their capacity because of a poor evacuation, with unequal treatment of different passenger classes on board.

The ship sank with over a thousand people still on board. Most of them couldn't make it till the rescue ship came. Not surprisingly, the disaster caused widespread public anger.

The Moral:
There are many takeaways from the story of the Titanic, and the most importance is the frailty of overconfidence. The overconfidence of the captain and the ship owners is what caused this man made disaster that is perhaps one of the worst marine disasters of modern time.

Adolf Hitler

Which list of historic blunders would be complete without the mention of the Furer himself? Germany could have wrapped up the second world war even before it started. Although certain people consider Hitler's biggest blunder to be the attack on a blacked out London, which lead to repercussions for the German Army, I believe his worst decision was attacking the Soviet Union. With the severe Soviet winters, taking over a large country was never wise on Hitler's part. Nicknamed Operation Barbarossa, it was the largest military operation in history in terms of both manpower and casualties. Its failure led to more failed attempts of invasion like the Siege of Leningrad. In short, Hitler's fall was sparked off by this obsession driven blunder of taking over the Soviet Union.

The Moral:
Hitler (not that I defend his actions in any way) should have drawn a line after his first few conquests. He should have known that sooner or later, there would be a force strong enough to defeat him.
This is posted under the contest "The moral of the story is ...!" by IndiBlogger. Have a look at My Healthy Speak Blog!

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