Embarrassing Chapters in US History, Part 2

Even worse than the first half, again roughly in ascending order.
Quiz by kalbahamut
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Last updated: September 17, 2018
First submittedApril 21, 2014
Times taken1,407
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The nation goes to war with this country, ostensibly over "WMDs" which are never found.
Iraq
This senator speaks for more than 24 hours nonstop
to try and defeat Civil Rights legislation
Strom Thurmond
This war kills or maims millions, including 200,000 Americans, and ultimately ends in failure.
Vietnam
This Supreme Court decision upholds the legality of racial Segregation.
Plessy v. Ferguson
The USAF participates in the bombing of this German city, leaving 25,000 dead.
Dresden
At the height of the Red Scare this senator leads sensationalist attacks
against alleged Communists.
Joseph McCarthy
From 1692 to 1693 20 people are executed for witchcraft in this Massachusetts town.
Salem
During this massacre in Vietnam, hundreds of unarmed civilians are gang raped, murdered,
and/or mutilated. Only one Army Lieutenant is convicted. He gets a slap on the wrist.
My Lai
Nathan Bedford Forrest and others form this organization in 1865 to terrorize "blacks"
and promote "white" supremacy.
Ku Klux Klan
Firebombing of this city in 1945 kills 100,000 people in a single day.
Tokyo
In 1812 a poorly planned invasion of this country ends in fiasco.
Canada
The war against republican freedom fighters in this country, won by the US after the
Spanish-American War, may have resulted in as many as a million deaths.
Philippines
This slave in 1857, when unsuccessfully suing for his own independence, was told by
the Supreme Court that he could not be a US citizen due to his race and status as property.
Dred Scott
Over 100,000 people with ancestors from this country were sent to internment camps during WW2.
Japan
During this 1932-1972 study, African Americans who thought they were receiving free health care were intentionally infected with syphillis and then not given medical treatment for it.
Tuskegee experiment
This war leaves half a million Americans dead, having been initiated by the secession of
Southern states for perhaps the worst of all possible reasons.
Civil War
The first atomic bomb deployed against a civilian population is dropped on this Japanese city,
obliterating it completely and inflicting hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties.
Hiroshima
Three days later, a second atomic bomb is dropped on this city.
Nagasaki
After directing Bad Boys, Armageddon, and Pearl Harbor,
this man is allowed to continue making movies.
Michael Bay
The original sin of the nation, inherited from European colonists, this "peculiar institution"
condemned tens of millions of people to lives of unimaginable suffering and hardship.
Slavery
Government policy for about 100 years of forced relocations, land grabs, and outright massacres
amount to what is essentially systematic genocide of this large and diverse group.
American Indians
+4
Level 66
Apr 21, 2014
Again - would be nice if people left their political bias out of the quizzes they create.
+3
Level 69
Apr 22, 2014
Michael Bay 2016
+1
Level 80
Apr 23, 2014
Ron Paul doesn't shake a camera nearly as well. You might be on to something.
+5
Level 80
Apr 23, 2014
You're a fan of Strom Thurmond, I take it? Is the quiz offensive to Dixiecrats?
+2
Level 60
Feb 15, 2017
I agree
+2
Level 80
Feb 15, 2017
So do I. Which is why this quiz is based on objective reality.
+4
Level 56
Apr 21, 2014
I died laughing with the Michael Bay one. It's right on par with all of the other atrocities listed.
+2
Level 80
Apr 22, 2014
and yet so far only 40% have gotten the right answer. Probably our collective societal shame has forced us to block out the memory, so I think that means Michael Bay's filmography is 60% more horrible than Vietnam, if I'm doing the math right.
+1
Level 83
Jun 25, 2014
So what exactly is embarrassing about the atomic bombs in WW2? They were terrible weapons, of course, and historians will debate forever about the use of them, but I wouldn't call it "embarrassing" for Truman to have made the very difficult decision to use them to end the war.
+3
Level 80
Jun 26, 2014
The Japanese had been defeated. Their offensive capability was nil. Their navy was gone. Their air force- resigned to conducting suicide missions if any at all. There was no air defense they could even muster versus the Enola Gay we knew that the bombs would reach their targets. The war was already over, and even if not, the routine firebombings we were conducting in other cities were already killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and leveling cities and Japan as an island nation could have been totally cut off. The US wanted a complete and unconditional surrender because they were worried about the Russians coming in and defeating the Japanese before the Allies got around to it same as they did in Germany. and, this is almost incomprehensibly ghastly, but the Americans also really wanted to see what would happen if they dropped the bomb on people. They would have never dropped one on Berlin. But Japanese? Why not? These aren't good reasons IMO to murder half a million civilians.
+1
Level 80
Jun 26, 2014
and yeah, I realize it was "total war" and civilians and cities both represent industrial potential, still, I think it was beyond horrible, very unnecessary, probably motivated or at least informed by racism, and among the worst things the country has ever done. In my subjective opinion.
+1
Level 74
Sep 22, 2014
Also, Japan had tried to surrender, but their demand that the emperor remain in place was deemed unacceptable, only an unconditional surrender would do. In the end, the emperor did indeed remain in place, which begs the question why the offer of surrender wasn't accepted. Whether the offer was genuine is another matter, of course. Still, dropping the second bomb cannot be justified IMO. Hiroshima was more than enough to prove that the fight was over.
+1
Level 80
Sep 23, 2014
Agreed. and though Japan had failed to give it's "unconditional surrender" even after Hiroshima, we only gave them 3 days before completely leveling Nagasaki. Seems like with hundreds of thousands of civilian lives in the balance we could have afforded to give them at least a week to think about it.
+2
Level 45
Mar 15, 2019
But the Japanese had vowed to fight to the last man. An estimate released by the Secretary of War estimated American casualties would be 1.4 million to 4 million, with 400,000-800,000 fatalities. It was the right call
+1
Level 80
Mar 16, 2019
^ yes that's the silly talking point cooked up afterward to try and rationalize this heinous war crime, and many in the US obviously bought it.
+2
Level 54
Jul 28, 2014
Aside from Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor), this quiz is awful. I'm sure you enjoyed making it, kalbahamut. Iraq: there was sarin gas, just not as much as we had thought. Some was found in 2004, and ISIS just found some more in the past month. In any case, we toppled a ruthless dictator and freed an oppressed people...was that embarrassing to you? Vietnam was not a good war, but the question is misleading. Only 58,000 Americans were killed. I know it says killed or maimed, but that's still a bad question. Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki: Do you really think that the Germans or Japanese would have hesitated to use nuclear weapons on us had they invented them first? The Germans killed 12 million people in the Holocaust, not to mention the countless battlefield kills they accumulated, as well as the horrific civilian populations that suffered under occupations. The Japanese routinely executed civilians and POWs. It's pretty naive to say that we were horrible for doing that.
+1
Level 80
Jul 28, 2014
In retrospect (after leaving the below comments) I guess we did actually agree on Michael Bay. Perhaps I should move this to the top of the list.
+1
Level 54
Jul 28, 2014
Dresden was not good either, but the whole goal was to take the war to the Germans. They never realized the effects of their nation's policies until they could see them. The Red Scare was hardly an embarrassing chapter; Joseph McCarthy did find some Communists, but it was trivial at best--a far cry from any war. My Lai was an isolated incident that is continuously brought up and used by people like you for your agenda that Vietnam was a "wrong war." Calley and his men were thugs and ought to have been tried as war criminals. I do agree with you on that--but only on that. During the Tet Offensive, the Vietnamese took the city of Hue. When the Americans recaptured it, they found mass graves. Around 3-5,000 people were killed by the Communists as "state enemies." Not soldiers. My Lai was bad, but you don't even look compared to the rest of the war. Only about 350 people were killed there. Still not good, but far from the atrocities committed by the Communists.
+1
Level 54
Jul 28, 2014
Speaking of civilian casualties, how about after the war? What happened to the 30,000 people who were taken north after the war or the thousands that fled to neighboring countries and were killed or drowned on the way? What about the Khmer Rouge, that rose after we left and killed 2,000,000? Sure, My Lai wasn't good. But 350 compared to the thousands upon thousands killed is no contest. The Ku Klux Klan was also originally a political organization but was hijacked. It was the second wave of Ku Kluxers that gave the first a bad name. The first ones were not violent and did not kill blacks. Slavery and the Philippines: Think about this. When the Germans, Belgians, Dutch, French, and British had the power to, they colonized the entire world. How much of the world is our colonies? (Note: Puerto Rico, Guam, etc. are not colonies because the people and resources are not being exploited for our gain.)
+1
Level 80
Jul 28, 2014
"people like me?".... what do you imagine my agenda is? Other than amusing myself that I can get people to accuse me of being a jingoistic American partisan, and someone with an agenda to unfairly criticize the United States, on the same website. I'm curious, would you say that there is anything the USA has done that they should feel embarrassed about? I don't give a flip if some other country has done something worse. I never claimed that they hadn't.
+1
Level 54
Jul 28, 2014
Oh, you're right on some of that kal. We've made mistakes. I do apologize for the rant last night. I was kind of tired and feeling angry. The Trail of Tears wasn't good, Dresden wasn't, My Lai wasn't. I just don't like people nitpicking the U.S. when it's done so much good and all that's focused on is the bad.
+1
Level 80
Jul 29, 2014
Smartest Countries

Gifted Americans

Countries With the Biggest Boobies

The USA has plenty of good things going for it. And in many of my quizzes I have pointed toward those things (in a way that others often misconstrue as me heaping praise on the country).

+1
Level 54
Jul 29, 2014
I have to admit, I did not see those quizzes (though the third is hardly an achievement), but to devote three whole quizzes to bad American things seems a little excessive to me.
+2
Level 54
Jul 28, 2014
Finally, the Indians! Genocide is a ignorant term to use, as genocide implies the intentional killing of a group of people, something that we never did. Yes, there were massacres of Indians, including women and children. There were also massacres on the other side. Have you ever heard of the Jamestown Massacre? The exact same tactics were used there that people like you always claim were used by us. The Indians came in, pretended to be trading, then picked up weapons and killed men, women, and children, burned crops, forced the settlers to abandon outer settlements, etc. Most relocations were done with good intentions. I know that doesn't carry much, but it's true. It's unfortunate what happened, but no different from what happened to other tribes that were defeated. It's the way the world has always and will always be. Sorry for my rant, but I think this needs to be known. Enjoy the quiz everybody, but take it only as entertainment, not education.
+2
Level 80
Jul 28, 2014
No, it's not the way the world will always be. I'm sorry you're so cynical, but as a student of history I can tell you with some authority that things do in fact change. It is much less acceptable in 2014 to commit outright genocide or rape and murder thousands of people in the village your just captured before razing it to the ground than it was 500 or 5000 years ago. Humanity has evolved, thankfully, and even if we hadn't that's hardly good reason not to admit that bad things that happened were bad.
+1
Level 54
Jul 28, 2014
Due to technology, it has been cut down and now the world is more connected to respond to things. Hopefully, it does change. It is still happening though, and we can't say that it's done. Again, I understand that the U.S. is guilty of some bad things, but I don't think it's fair to only quiz on those things.
+1
Level 80
Jul 29, 2014
I've thought about doing something like an "Empires by Atrocities Quiz" that would be less Amerocentric.... but that's not this quiz. and I hardly think I'm nitpicking with some of these. But even if I were, the point was not to criticize the US. I'm already running out of good things to put in these quizzes and I only made 3 parts. If I did Embarrassing Chapters in British History I'm sure I could squeeze out at least 20. But it's not a competition, just entertainment.
+1
Level 54
Jul 29, 2014
You're kind of nitpicking, pal. To pick little events out of 250 years of mostly good things is overkill. If you wanted to make funny ones, like only including events like the Janet Jackson Super Bowl one, that'd be fine. I wouldn't mind that.
+1
Level 80
Jul 29, 2014
wha? Do you even know what nitpicking means? If I talked about boobgate but did not mention Slavery... in other words only focused on the completely trivial... you think that *wouldn't* be nitpicking?

There are thousands of quizzes on this site. Each one focuses on something different. Do you find it overkill that there is a whole quiz devoted to American fast food chains that doesn't say anything about all the unhealthy foods from other countries around the world and never mentions the thousands of great American restaurants that aren't about fast food? Do you feel the two quizzes I made on oldest cities don't cover enough young cities? Or maybe it's unfair in my countries with the biggest boobs quiz I don't also include countries with average sized boobs? There is no quiz on this site that is about everything. I find your criticisms absurd. lighten up.

+1
Level 80
Jul 29, 2014
I could maybe kind of see your point if I made a quiz with the title "worst things in human history"... and then 15/20 items on the quiz were all about the USA. That *would* seem biased. But this quiz is about US history only, and specifically about some less-than-good moments in US history. If you want to make a quiz about great moments in US history be my guest. That might be fun to take. Just prepare yourself for all the twits who will stop by to criticize you for only putting in good things, even thought that's the title of the quiz.
+1
Level 54
Jul 30, 2014
No, I'm saying that if it were only consisting of trivial things, then it WOULD be a joke and good entertainment at that. Most of these are serious events. I don't have a problem with specific quizzes either, whether it be fast food or cars or anything else. I do dislike the specific quizzes that are only bad things about the U.S.
+1
Level 54
Jul 30, 2014
Good things that the U.S. has done quiz? You got it, kal. Should be up in a few weeks.
+1
Level 37
Oct 16, 2018
Yankee: I'd like to see how you'd respond if a gang invaded your house, took your possessions (which you worked hard to acquire) roughed up your wife and children and then told you to get out and find some hovel to live in. That is what was systematically done to the Native Americans, so that settlers could move in and the USA could "expand". Next to slavery, it is perhaps the most disgusting feat of the US government. Is it then any wonder that those early Americans are often referred to as Barbarians?
+2
Level 48
Oct 27, 2014
Just read the statement that it is ignorant to mention genocide. well it is you that said something ignorant. In 1851 Gov. of California John McDougall " declared a war of extermination...until the Indian race becomes extinct. sounds like genocide to me.
+1
Level 27
Dec 5, 2015
Re: War of 1812 - officially, the US and Britain were at war since Canada did not officially exist until 1867. But I get the gist of the argument.
+1
Level 80
Dec 5, 2015
I don't think I was making an argument. Country doesn't necessarily have to mean sovereign nation.
+2
Level 58
May 21, 2018
It is clear that kalbahamut does not know U.S. history, and, that he/she is quite biased RE: the inclusion of "embarrassing" events that were merely actions taken by leaders in the heat of the battle of war. The atrocities of Germany and Japan, plus those countries instigation of the hostilities, is what led to the actions of the U.S. (as well as other countries) in trying to end the war [WWII] and spare as many lives as possible. Don't expect him/her to grasp that concept. Obviously, the U.S.'s atrocities in the various wars are what they are, and are horrible from any standpoint.
+1
Level 80
May 21, 2018
Embarrassment is subjective. For example, this comment you just left is embarrassing to me.
+1
Level 80
May 21, 2018
People do embarrassing things in the "heat of the moment" all the time. Being so caught up in emotion that you are unable to control yourself and you do or say something stupid, awful, disproportionate, or hurtful is something worth feeling shame about. According to you, nations are also prone to this, which seems even more embarrassing to me. Setting your ex's car on fire is one thing; murdering half a million civilians in a day is taking that to a whole different level.
+1
Level 45
Jun 8, 2020
For the Tuskegee question - they weren't deliberately infected with syphilis, they already had it. It was still horrible since they deliberately withheld a cure from them once it became available so they could see the natural progression fo the disease...