History can change in a moment. Some of the time, history can be changed totally coincidentally, with onlookers having no clue what a great moment they just saw. Sometimes these decisions could save a President’s life and other times these could make the unsinkable ship sea sunk into the ocean.

In some cases, decisions must be made rapidly, and everybody needs to live with the results. These last-minute decisions that changed the world are fascinating, a reminder to every one of the potential weight of their words and actions.

11. The decision to keep a thick book of speech saved President Teddy Roosevelt’s life

Damaged speech pages and Steel Eyeglass cover Roosevelt carried that day. Via WikiMedia Commons

Effectively America’s most action movie-esque president, Teddy Roosevelt loved to deliver fabulous speeches. Roosevelt wrote a 50 paged tirade to be conveyed to a holding up crowd while making another run for the presidency as the leader of a new political party, The Progressives in 1912. He took the last minute decision of folding the speech pages and placing it in his breast pocket, unaware of it was going to save his life.

After standing to address the crowd, an aggressor shot Roosevelt in the chest, but the bullet was incredibly eased by the massive hunk of paper in his pocket. Obviously, being the bull moose that he was, Teddy despite everything got up on that stage and delivered a rousing speech, even with a bit of lead held up inside his body.


10. When clouds prevented Nuclear Attack on Kokura

For such a monumental couple of events, the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not planned in incredible detail. The US wasn’t even sure they were going to use nuclear warheads until not long before they were dropped, and their list of potential target cities was large. The US didn’t contemplate on which Japanese cities to target as Japan’s surrender was nearly guaranteed in the face of nuclear materials.

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Similar Plane used in Nagasaki Bombing

The original plan was for Kokura to be hit right after Hiroshima, but a young crewman named Kermit Beahan determined it was too cloudy to see all of Kokura, so he called it off. This was a lucky break for Kokura, but not so much for Nagasaki, the secondary option.


9. How Erwin ‘Desert Fox’ surprise for his wife changed the course of D-Day

Erwin Rommel aka The Desert Fox. Via Flickr

German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, The Desert Fox, decided to surprise his wife on her birthday, right before the D-Day. Storming of Normandy on D-Day is perhaps the absolute most significant moment in WWII – at least from the Allied perspective. It would have gone in a completely different way if Erwin had not decided to surprise his wife.


Erwin the most skilled German military tactician, was in charge of the defense at Normandy, but he coincidentally decided to leave his post for a few days to give a surprise visit to his wife, this caused the Third Reich troops unable to gauge weather conditions without expertise of Rommel and the Allies took advantage of this lack of foresight. If Rommel had not decided to leave just before the Allies attacked, who knows, things could have turned out differently.

8. Marie-Antoinette’s family doomed of her last-minute decision

Marie Antoinette via WikiMedia Commons

Marie Antoinette was the last Queen of France before the French Revolution. She was born an Archduchess of Austria and was the penultimate child and youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and Francis I.

Marie-Antoinette was famously beheaded during the French Revolution, at which time she certainly didn’t say “Let them eat cake.”

Not only her death, but her whole family faced the circumstances of her last-minute decision. She and her family could have completely abstained from dying, be that as it may if she had not settled on some wrong options.

The royals were set to escape in a customary carriage, yet Marie demanded the fancier model, which was increasingly slow progressively obvious. Antoinette would not like to separate the family, which would have occurred on the off chance that they had taken two of the tinier, quicker carriages.

This most probable played into the family’s definitive catch and killing.


7. Johann Rall didn’t want his poker game interrupted and this lost him The American Revolution for Britain

Johan Rall, a lesser-known German Colonel who’s laziness to read a letter just because it was in English cost him to lose the American Revolution and his own death.

Rall is generally eminent for being the casualty of George Washington’s close mythic crossing of Delaware, however, he needn’t have been. Rall was given intel about Washington’s crossing prior the night it occurred, but the note was in English, which he didn’t peruse, and he was caught up with playing chess, or poker, as indicated by certain records.

Rall chose to stuff the note in his pocket and leave it for some other time, yet there was no other time for him as he died in light of the wounds from the battling to come.


6. Last Minute change of an Officer sunk The Titanic

Titanic via WikiMedia Commons

One of the most notable maritime disasters in history is the sinking of The Titanic, broadly depicted as “unsinkable”, unfortunately hitting an iceberg in the Atlantic sunk this Gigantic ship of that era shortly thereafter. There is a lot of faults to be passed around for the huge death toll that night, yet one part has a place with the last-minute choice to switch officials.


Second Officer David Blair was removed from the team not long before the ship was sailed off, and he neglected to turn in his key to storage that contained binoculars for the lookout. The Titanic had set off before he realized it, thus the group needed to look for icebergs just using their eyes. Clearly, this demonstrated woefully deficient.

5. How the decision to do laundry caused the plane crash, death of Buddy Holly and changed the Rock history

buddy holly plane
The wreckage of the plane Buddy Holly and others were in. Via WikiMedia Commons

“The Day the Music Died” is considered to be the day when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP Richardson Jr. (also called the Big Bopper), every single renowned musician died in a very tragic accident when their charter plane crashed in Iowa. As it later turned out, they were just on that plane because of a rash, and apparently insignificant, the choice by Holly.

Being on the road for a while they were all out of some clean clothes. As they were scheduled to take a bus to their next show in Minnesota, at the last minute, Holly decided that he needed some perfect clothes and persuaded the others to charter a plane with him, so they could show up sooner than expected and do everyone’s laundry. This desire for fresh skivvies ended up being lethal for Holly and all other legendary musicians.


4. How a wrong turn sparked World War I

Just because the driver took a wrong turn, sparked the whole World War I. Gavrilo Princip was was a part of a Bosnian militant group that tried to remove the leaders of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and it meant that he had an issue with Archduke Franz Ferdinand. On June 28, 1914, Princip and others intended to take out Ferdinand as his vehicle marched by. But lucky Ferdinand escaped unharmed even by a through bomb which had a delayed explosion.

But not so lucky, Ferdinand decided to visit the victims with casualties of an assault at a local hospital and asked his driver to take a different course in comparison to the one he was on previously.


A simple mistake of taking a wrong turn by the driver ended up on the exact same street and drove directly by Gavrilo Princip, who was still there. Princip couldn’t believe his amazing good fortune, and he approached to take the shot that would start World War I.

3. A war with North Korea avoided because William Perry decided to hold his tongue

Willim J. Perry via WikiMedia Commons

Probably the best choice Defense Secretary William Perry has made was to held himself off on sharing a plan with Clinton. Back in 1994, under the Clinton administration, The United States came on verge of a war with North Korea which had been gathering the way to make nuclear warheads. If not for Perry holding back his tongue, it very well might have.

Perry was briefing President Clinton on the potential alternatives to stop the North Korean nuclear program. One of his best strategies included bombing the North Korean nuclear facility, which he believed would be successful but to cause a full-scale war between the two countries. But he decided to hold off on imparting that option with Clinton, sensing that Clinton would likely go for it. A few days later, unexpected happened and a peaceful settlement was achieved.


2. How a small poke with a walking cane lost a battle, taking out a large portion of army

Hannibal Barca lost a whole battle and most of his army just by poking a hole into snow using his walking cane. Barca was a famed Carthaginian military leader, who led elephants over the Pyrenees and Alps into Rome, but ultimately was unsuccessful in his attempts to take Rome.

Hannibal Barca crossing the Rhône via WikiMedia Commons

While crossing the Alps, Hannibal’s army encountered a large snowfall, which slowed them right down. Wanting to prove that the ground they traveled on was still solid, Hannibal struck a large snowdrift with his walking cane. This chained an avalanche taking out a large part of his army.


1. How human extinction by Nuclear War was prevented single-handedly by Stanislav Petrov

Stanislav Petrov via Flickr

You probably may never have heard his name in any history book, but owe him an incredible debt of appreciation. If not for Stanislav Petrov, a devastating war for humankind would have erupted between the US and the Soviet Union.

Petrov, on his daily routine, was observing the Soviet’s early warning systems on the morning of September 26, 1983. He realized that a few of the sensors went off, indicating that the US had fired missiles towards the Soviets, which implied it was Petrov’s duty to begin returning fire. Sensing something was not right, he immediately chose to defer telling his superiors, knowing the dreadful repercussions for the world on the off chance that he did.

Confronted with such a choice, gauging the potential for a whole-world being crumbled down against his personal repercussions on the off chance that he was mistaken, Petrove hesitated. Eventually, the activated sensors ended up being a false alarm, meaning that Petrove’s decision to resist his obligation – a purposeful denial – saved not just his country, but the whole world.

Now that you have read about How Last-minute Decisions changed the world, You might like reading about these 10 Chilling Messages sent moments before death. You might also like reading about 10 Most Mysterious Books in history that no one has an explanation about.

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