The Top 10 Lies In History
A "lie" is defined as: deliberate choice
to mislead a target without giving notification of intent to do so.
The important acts are that a lie is “act” that is
“deliberate or intentional” and that it has the consequence of the
target being “mislead.”
Almost all persons lie in their public and private
lives. Some lies are
altruistic or protective in that their purpose is to protect another
from damaged feeling. An
example may be the doctor who lies to a patient or the parent who lies
to a child. Other lies are
social and minor such as the boss that asks: “how are you?” and the
employee that responds “Fine” even though she is not.
Lies by public officials may be for the purpose of
national security or to accomplish a public policy.
But, sometimes the lies have consequences that are so great that
they make this list.
Please distinguish actual lies from mistakes or
poor judgment decisions.
Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of Great
Britain, pursued a policy of appeasement through the 1930s that was
designed to avert another world war.
As Adolf Hitler rose to power, opportunities existed to challenge
Hitler’s policies or to take military action to remove his government.
Instead, Chamberlain chose to disregard the threats of “Mein
Kampf” and other Hitler pronouncements of aggression in an effort to
In 1938, Hitler and Chamberlain, met twice for the
purpose of discussing reapportionment in Czechoslovakia of the Germans
under Czech rule. Hitler
assured Chamberlain that war could be averted if the reapportionment
In fact, Hitler had already mobilized the German
Army for an attack on Czechoslovakia, but the Army would not be ready to
attack for several weeks. Hitler
hopes that Chamberlain will prevent the Czechs from mobilizing and allow
for a surprise attack by Germany.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Chamberlain said
of Hitler: “I got the impression that here was a man that could be
relied upon when he had given his word.”
Had the Czechs mobilized in time, would World War 2
have been different?
This lie was one of the most interesting in that
both Chamberlain and Hitler were participants in a way. Chamberlain was so invested in his policy of appeasement that
he wanted to believe Hitler. If
he didn’t, or if he was wrong, this would be the end of his political
It is said that Hitler told an aid after this
meeting, that Chamberlains government would not last the week.
In 1962, Nikita Khrushev assured John F. Kennedy
that no offensive missiles would be placed in Cuba.
As events unfolded, Kennedy met with Soviet Foreign
Minister, Andrei Khrushev has assured Kennedy that no offensive missiles
would be placed in Cuba, concerning the threat of ballistic missiles
being placed in Cuba. Gromyko
came to the White House to ask the US to lessen tensions that existed
regarding Cuba, and to assure Kennedy that no missiles would be placed
in Cuba. Gromyko knew that the missiles were in route to Cuba, and
needed more time to transport and conceal them.
Kennedy listened to Gromyko’s assurances as
pictures of the missile sat on his deck a few feet away.
Two days earlier, U-2 photos discovered had the missiles.
Kennedy lied to Gromyko stating that nothing was wrong and
Gromyko searched for any reaction. Kennedy did not want the information known until
military options were put in place.
As both Kennedy and Gromyko lied, the consequence
of detection was possible nuclear war.
This may be the highest consequence of lying to date.
regarding Viet Nam:
concealment of adverse information about the progress of the Viet Nam
War was initially designed to show the strong support of American public
opinion as a tool for negotiating peace.
Any statements to the contrary were suppressed and military
leaders were instructed to report only the “good news.”
LBJ reported to the nation on television concerning
the war progress in a series of press conferences.
The charade came down during the Tet offensive
exposing how untruthful the reports had been.
Robert Kennedy said the Tet offensive “shattered the mask of
public illusion” and a few months later LBJ dropped out of the
Johnson’s deceit in misleading the electorate of
information to make an informed political choice was compounded by the
fact that many of his own advisors came to believe the lies.
The lies had been told so often that many came to believe them as
true and self-deception resulted in poor military decisions.
The consequences were to an entire generation that
In 1986, a nuclear accident occurred releasing a
radiation cloud over Western Europe.
Three days after the accident the Soviet government admitted that
the accident had killed 32. Several
weeks later Mikhail Gorbachev spoke publicly criticizing the Western
reaction as unnecessary, and stating that the radiation was controlled
Communist party officials evacuated their families
from the area, but everyone else was told to stay.
Russian scientists now estimate that 10,000 may die
from the Chernobyl accident and the effects of radiation.
The public official most known for lying was
Richard Nixon. His
resignation in 1972 was forced by events stemming from the break-in of
Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate building by a group of
burglars connected to Republicans.
While it was never determined with certainty that
Nixon had directly ordered the break-in, Nixon’s lies were in the
cover-up over the course of the next year.
Nixon’s assertions that he did not know about the burglaries
unraveled in testimony from James McCord, John Dean and the discovery of
tape recordings in the White House.
The motive of the act of burglary was to gain an
advantage for the upcoming election.
The lies were for the purpose of not risk disapproval by the
American voters, and to obtain re-election.
It is difficult to state the consequences of these
lies that resulted in the resignation and pardon of a President.
Although this play from 1603 is a work of fiction,
the lie in question is perhaps the best known and most quoted in
Othello's ill-placed trust in the villain Iago,
resulting in his growing suspicion in his wife Desdemona's infidelity
with his lieutenant Cassio, led to the ultimate tragedy. Othello is
commonly considered one of Shakespeare's great tragedies, and one of his
When Cassio takes hold of Desdemona's hand before
the arrival of the Moor Othello, “Honest Iago” says, "With as
little a web as this will I ensnare as great a flys Cassio." [Act
II, Scene I, Line 163.
Through some carefully thought-out words and
actions, Iago is able to manipulate others to do things in a way that
benefits him and moves him closer toward his goals. He is the main
driving force in this play, pushing Othello, and, everyone else, towards
their tragic end.
He uses the trust Othello puts in him to turn
Othello eventually into a jealous man.
The tragedy unfolds.
Clinton and Monica:
On January 21, 1998, a controversy was raised by
the media and prominent Republicans over Clinton's relationship with a
young White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, resulting in the Lewinsky
In a televised press conference, Clinton stated
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
Aug. 17, 1998: President Bill Clinton becomes the
first sitting president to testify before a grand jury investigating his
conduct. After the questioning at the White House is finished, Clinton
goes on national TV to admit he had an inappropriate relationship with
In a lame duck session after the 1998 elections,
the Republican-controlled House voted to impeach Clinton for matters
relating to the scandal.
Kennedy’s role in Chapaquiddick:
Mary Jo Kopechne was killed in an accident in which
Edward Kennedy was the driver after a party in 1969.
The car veered off of a bridge and landed upside down in the
water late at night.
was known as a heavy drinker at the time, had citations for reckless
driving, an expired driver’s license and failed to report the accident
for a period of 12 hours.
Kennedy’s statement was that that he was “in
shock” and went back to his hotel room, then, the next morning:
“When I fully realized what had happened this morning, I immediately
contacted the police.”
The investigation determined that Mary Jo Kopechne
was not killed by the accident, but instead suffocated, possibly hours
later, when she was unable to exit the submerged car.
Speculation has centered on her life being saved by prompt action
or reporting of the accident.
The investigation was filled with charges of
ineptitude and lack of diligence, and the insinuations that the
machinery of justice crumbled beneath the power and prestige of the
Kennedy family. Eventually, Kennedy plead guilty to leaving the scene of an
accident and avoided manslaughter charges or any jail time.
Simpson is infamous for having been tried for the
murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in
His assertions that he was not involved in the
murders have never been proven as lies, but are commonly thought to be
He was acquitted in criminal court in 1995 after a
lengthy, highly publicized trial (often called the "Trial of the
Century" in America). In 1997, Simpson was found liable for their
deaths in civil court, but to date has never paid the judgment.
The OJ Simpson trail emphasized the state of race
relations in America while becoming one of the most publicized moments
Rose concealing gambling:
Pete Rose denied that he had ever broken
baseball’s cardinal rule by betting on baseball games.
Rose was alleged to have bet on games for the Cincinnati Reds
that he managed and played for at the time.
In August 1989, three years after he retired as an
active player, Rose agreed to permanent ineligibility from baseball.
After years of public denial, in 2004, he admitted
to betting on, but not against, the Reds.
The consequences of this lie resulted in a loss of
integrity for baseball.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Yasser Arafat assertion
that Fatah, the PLO and the Palestinian Authority were not terror
Allies misleading the Germans regarding which beach
would be invaded on D Day. Germans
were so certain that Calais was the target that they did not commit
troops to Normandy;
Weapons of Mass Destruction: It is difficult to
determine whether this was a lie, or whether false intelligence resulted
in this conclusion.
Clarence Thomas or Anita Hill: one of these two likely lied;
Johnson’s use of drugs and loss of medal;
Andrew North and Poindexter in Iran-Contra
Trojan Horse of Archimedes;
Columbus discovers new world.
“ideologies” is very important to the discussion.
The difficulty is that persons who believe the “ideologies”
are not “lying,” but rather, are stating a “policy” that is
By design, I have
left out any faith based lies or lies regarding religion as I do not
know if they fit the criteria of "intentional and deliberate"
in that they may be believed by the maker.
For “faith based” decisions, the logical assumption may be
made that either all, or none, of the actions that followed are
are in Blue:
Any religious misdeed must be considered for its "intention"
versus its misinformed conviction. My understanding of
Christianity's institutions is filled with misdeeds; the Inquisition
seems to be its worst. I think the Pope et al used it for
financial control and to consolidate power; they knew the underlying
principle to be false.
Christianity's role of women as subservient to men was a lie perpetrated
to canonize patriarchal control. The literature may be
interpreted in an equalitarian role; the church fathers wanted none of
that. Its no surprise that Islam keeps women subservient since
both Judaism and Christianity developed in the Middle East.
Christianity changed as it spread across the globe interacting with
While the consequences of these public policy
decision were enormous, the difficulty is in determining the person that
made the lie, and whether they believed in what they said.
Logically, if the actions taken were based on “god’s will”
then they are not lies.
A more comprehensive lie perpetrated by Western religions is
that each one is the only way to salvation. Nearly all of them
state that God is the only one to know the heart of a man yet each one
bastardizes that truth by saying the only way to salvation is through
that particular belief system. Eastern religions are somewhat more
inclusive of different beliefs.
The difficulty is in determining if any of these
are “true” or “false.”
Its hard to know if racial inferiority can be considered a lie or
a belief. In our time its difficult to not consider it a lie since
so much evidence points to the contrary.
This belief is likely wrong, was believed as true
by those espousing the opinion.
- Iraq War is a barefaced lie!!!
The Bush team had started planning the war before they were in office
and formalized it within the first month of taking office. 911
gave them the cover to wage it.
Based on assumptions
without any backing evidence at this time.
In recent history, Hitler's "Final Solution" is a most
grotesque lie: not that he proposed it as a means for financial
control but the method used to convince people it wasn't happening.
Hitler was the most
difficult analysis of any considered.
Part of the problem was that he outlined exactly what he intended
to do in a book prior to doing it.
Finding the “lies” is somewhat difficult and separating the
“abuse of power” from the “lies” is impossible.
- None of the expert marksmen that I've
talked with think that Oswald could have pulled off that assassination
I agree that this shot may be “improbable,” but
not impossible. The Warren
Report may be inaccurate or just plain incorrect.
However, I do not have enough evidence, at this time, to conclude
that the Report was a “lie” under the definition.
The biggest lie in history.
That Judas betrayed Jesus. This lie set off the world's
hatred for Jews. Funny, the gospel of Judas has just been
reconstructed in Switzerland ( written contemporaneously during the
life of Judas and Jesus) and it actually indicates that Judas was
Jesus' best friend, most loyal and the only one of the 12 assholes,
oops, I mean apostle's to understand truth. go
The facts of this event are in question, and fall under
the religion problems stated above.
The consequences were great.