On Monday, Donald Trump erroneously stated that the Spanish Flu of 1918 ended World War II. He was completely incorrect about the year the pandemic occurred and the year that the Second World War ended. The two events happened over two decades apart.
“The closest thing is in 1917, they say, the great pandemic. It certainly was a terrible thing where they lost anywhere from 50 to 100 million people, probably ended the Second World War,” Trump stated. “All the soldiers were sick. That was a terrible situation.”
Trump was speaking about the Spanish Flu, which broke out in 1918. The first case of the Spanish flu was diagnosed in March of 1918 and it lasted until April of 1920.
The Second World War began in 1939 and ended in 1945.
A White House official tried to cover up for Trump by claiming that he was actually talking about World War 1. During WW1 more soldiers died of the disease than died in battle. Reportedly the deployment of troops during the First World War contributed to the spread of the Spanish Flu because of intercontinental movement and the overcrowded conditions.
However, World War 1 did not end World War 1. The war ended when Germany signed an armistice, which was why the fighting stopped.
Not long after Trump’s comments “Second World War” and “World War” trended on Twitter.
Rep. Eric Swalwell tweeted it was cruel that Trump’s son and family let him “stand out there like this.”
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) August 10, 2020
Actress and activist Sophia Bush tweeted, “So, to recap things we’ve learned since 2016 … 45 hasn’t read the Constitution, hasn’t read the Bible (but likes to hold one upside down), and clearly never took a US History class. Or … math? Cool cool, very cool.”
Star Trek actor George Takei tweeted about the 75th anniversary of the Nagasaki bomb, “bringing a long and devastating war to a shattering, violent end. Remember history. Don’t distort it.”
The president thinks the Spanish Flu probably ended World War Two (!) because “all the soldiers were sick.”
The atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki fell 75 years ago yesterday, bringing a long and devastating war to a shattering, violent end.
Remember history. Don’t distort it.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 10, 2020