The 10 Biggest Mistakes Politicians Have Ever Made

10. Gerard Schröder extinguishes a Holocaust memorial flame

The mistake: Apparently “lefty loosey, righty tighty” doesn’t translate well into German. When Chancellor Gerard Schröder was asked to raise the eternal flame burning at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Hall of Remembrances, he accidentally turned the knob the wrong way and extinguished it. A gas lighter was used to relight it.
10. Gerard Schröder extinguishes a Holocaust memorial flame

9. Brown’s Bottom

The mistake: United Kingdom’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown sold approximately half of the UK’s gold reserves at historically low prices, directly preceding a bull market during which the price of gold skyrocketed.
9. Brown’s Bottom

8. Dean Acheson paves way for the Korean War

The mistake: When outlining the United States’ foreign policy in the Pacific, in a speech given to the National Press Club in 1950, Secretary of Defense Dean Acheson omitted Korea from their defense perimeter. This led Russia and Kim Il-Sung to believe that the US would not intervene in a Korean civil war, and the rest is history.
8. Dean Acheson paves way for the Korean War

7. Alexander the Great refuses to choose an heir

The mistake: When asked on his deathbed who he wanted to succeed him, Alexander the Great cryptically replied “the strongest.” Not knowing what he meant, his family and advisers turned against each other after his death, and the empire of Macedon fell.
7. Alexander the Great refuses to choose an heir

6. Germany helps Vladimir Lenin return to Russia

The mistake: With the intent of destabilizing Russia, Germany helped Vladimir Lenin and other Russian political refugees escape exile in Switzerland and return to their motherland. Also, they helped fund the Bolshevik party.
6. Germany helps Vladimir Lenin return to Russia

5. Atahualpa drunkenly loses the Inca Empire

The mistake: After having been invited to meet the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in the town of Cajamarca, Atahualpa arrived drunk and lost 6,000 men in one of the most obvious ambushes ever conceived.
5. Atahualpa drunkenly loses the Inca Empire

4. Napoleon attempts to invade Russia… during winter

The mistake: During the winter of 1812, Napoleon tried to convince the royal families of Russia to stop waging an economic war against France by leading half of a million fighting men to Moscow. He did not, however, adequately prepare.
4. Napoleon attempts to invade Russia… during winter

3. King Philip II entrusts the Spanish Armada to the wrong guy

The mistake: A notorious micro-manager, King Philip II wanted to entrust his fleet of ships to someone who would follow his orders to the letter, so he picked the bootlicker Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, the 7th Duke of Medina Sidonia. Notice how there is no military or naval title attached to his name?
3. King Philip II entrusts the Spanish Armada to the wrong guy

2. China isolates itself

The mistake: In 1525, the Ming dynasty of China ordered that all oceangoing ships be destroyed. This and other acts of isolationism shut China off from the outside world, and arguably caused them to fall behind economically, technologically, and politically.
2. China isolates itself

1. Neville Chamberlain signs the Munich Agreement

The mistake: Serving as British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain attended a conference held in Munich, where he and other major European leaders signed an agreement that conceded parts of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany. This appeasement obviously failed, since WWII started shortly after.
1. Neville Chamberlain signs the Munich Agreement