Mistakes happen. Sometimes, truly idiotic mistakes happen that result in awful consequences, like centuries of persecution and racial hatred. But other times, idiotic mistakes can be a force for good. Just be glad you didn’t cause these problems.
The French Revolution was a bloody period in France’s past where lots of unrest led to lots use of the guillotine.
King Louis XVI took a final trip to the dreaded device in 1793, Marie Antoinette followed a few months later, and France changed forever.
Their deaths kicked off the Reign of Terror and led to thousands of executions and the rise of Napoleon. But here’s the thing they didn’t need to die at all, and probably wouldn’t have if Louis XVI hadn’t made a whole series of dumb decisions.
It started when thousands of people stormed the Bastille in July of 1789 looking for weapons. In October they captured the royals, but they weren’t locked up; Louis and Marie Antoinette both could have walked out the door any time, but they simply didn’t. It wasn’t until around two years later that they finally snuck out, but despite having years to plan, they planned their escape pretty impractically. They traveled together in a large, conspicuous wagon laden with things like a complete dinner service and wine chest, and Louis sent away the one person who probably could have helped them: his wife’s lover, Count Axel Fersen.
Not surprisingly, the royals were captured again after being easily recognized along the way thanks, in part, to poor disguises and the fact they loved to socialize.
Then, Fersen organized an escape with help from Sweden’s king, broke into the palace, and hung out with Marie for a day until Louis sent him away again. Following some other ups and downs, the king was sent to the guillotine about a year later. Keep watching the video to learn more idiot mistakes that changed the course of history!
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette | 0:15
Columbus is bad at math | 1:44
Erwin Rommel’s ill-timed trip home | 3:02
Oopsies bring down the Wall | 4:01
New York City’s 1977 blackout | 5:09
They tried to stop the Challenger | 6:22
Drunk captain causes oil spill | 7:44
Dutch traders aren’t impressed | 9:00