Page 6 - History Facts

During WWI Romania sent its treasures to Russia for safe-keeping, but to this day Russia refuses to give them back!


Fearing an eventual German victory during World War I, the Romanian government decided to send the Romanian National Treasures abroad for safekeeping. Places on their list were the vaults of the Bank of England or even the United States.

There was, however, the problem of transportation. Germany and its allies controlled most of Central Europe and sending it via Northern Europe was extremely risky, as the Germans could have intercepted it.

Eventually the deal was made with Russia. The Russian government agreed that Russia would keep the Romanian Treasures safe in the Kremlin until the end of the war. During the early morning hours of December 15, 1916, a train with 21 carriages filled with gold bars and gold coins (around 120 tonnes, worth $1.25 billion in 2005), departed eastward. In the summer of 1917 another load was sent to Moscow, this time containing the most precious objects of the Romanian state. It exceeded the value of the first train load.

Early in 1918, the new Soviet government severed all diplomatic ties with Romania and confiscated the Romanian treasure. All the governments of Romania since World War I have tried to no avail to negotiate the return of the gold and culturally valuable objects. To this day, no further advances have been made.

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Germany forced men from countries like Poland and Czechoslovakia to join the German army after they were taken prisoner by the Nazis


In the 1998 movie, Saving Private Ryan, there is a scene in which two ‘German’ soldiers try to surrender, but are shot. They were speaking Czech and were saying: "Please don't shoot me, I am not German, I am Czech, I didn't kill anyone, I am Czech!"

They were members of what was called the Ost (East) Battalions. The German army was constantly short of men, so men from countries like Poland, Czechoslovakia, Russia and even Korea were taken prisoner and forced to join the German army.

By June 1944, one in six German riflemen in France was from an Ost battalion. Men in these battalions became increasingly unreliable and they were also not as skilled as the SS soldiers. They were also not in the least as willing to die for the German cause as were the native-German soldiers.

"In general, Ost soldiers in Wehrmacht uniforms tended to surrender as soon as GI's got near them. They were mainly in the trenches. Ethnic Germans inside concrete fortifications tended to fight on" (Ambrose 424-5).

When the German army invaded the Soviet Union, it prided itself on its ‘racial purity’ but their need for replacements from other countries forced it to quickly abandon that policy.

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While Benjamin Franklin proposed Daylight Savings, he meant it as a joke!


Daylight Savings can be perplexing. Why do we lose an hour or gain an hour all of a sudden? Is it in our best interest to even have Daylight Savings. The initial idea for this manipulation of time came from Ben Franklin.

It was published in the Journal de Paris in April 1784. Franklin was living out his last years in Paris at the time at the age of 78. He described how he noticed that Parisians often slept very late, wasting precious daylight hours. They then would have to spend money to light their residences with candles while they stayed up after the sun went down.

Franklin proposed a number of ideas for controlling when people went to bed, including taxing those with shutters on their windows that didn't allow the light in. Looking at this list though, it is fairly obvious that Franklin is joking. Looks like someone took his idea a little too seriously.

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Some awesome lists!

Thomas Edison proposed to his second wife via Morse Code!


Thomas Edison is without a doubt one of the most famous inventors in history. In his lifetime, he had 1,093 patents to his name and contributed to new inventions such as telephones, lightbulbs, and X-rays. Amusingly, Edison got frustrated with his first wife Mary at times because she couldn’t invent, and would often express this in his diary!

After Mary died, Edison soon became smitten with a woman named Mina Miller. He taught her Morse Code so that when her family was around, they could communicate by tapping into each other’s hands. One day, he tapped out the rather long message of, “Will you marry me?” Into her hand.

Mina’s reply? “Yes,” of course!

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An Irish Army was attacked while at church, when they were low on weapons. They radioed for more whiskey!


In 1961, shortly after the state of Katanga broke away from newly dependent, Republic of Congo-Leopoldville in Africa, Irish troops were sent by the United Nations to the city of Jadotville in Katanga.

Their mission was to protect the Belgian Colonists, but due to a turn in events, the Belgians along with local tribesmen and other European mercenaries attacked the Irish troops while they were attending mass.

They knew they wouldn't be heavily armed while sitting through service. The mercenaries and their help stormed the church in what is now known as The Siege of Jadotville.

Since the Irish state had been established, this was the first time the Irish Army was called to another nation to battle a dispute. It may have been the lack of experience, the fact that they were lightly armed and failing, but during a time of panic, the Irish radioed headquarters stating that, "We will hold out until our last bullet is spent. Could do with some whiskey"

Unfortunately, those remaining bullets did not help them. After five days of battle, the Irish surrendered to the Katangans and were held captive for an entire month. By 1963, Katanga was defeated with the help of UN and its troops.

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