Another Top 10 Events That Made the World Stand Still



Another Top 10 Events That Made the World Stand Still

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Caitlin Johnson

Some things are memorable for all the wrong reasons. From mass shootings, to widespread disease, to unthinkable disaster, these events had everyone breathless. WatchMojo counts down Another Top 10 Events That Made the World Stand Still.

Special thanks to our user Vince Travolta for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Another+Top+10+Moments+That+Made+The+World+Stand+Still.

Script written by Caitlin Johnson

Another Top 10 Events That Made the World Stand Still

Some things are memorable for all the wrong reasons. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for Another Top 10 Events That Made the World Stand Still.

For this list, we’re looking at events that caused people to rally together, had a large cultural impact, or had far-reaching global implications and even caused widespread destruction. We are also excluding more isolated events like celebrity deaths.

#10: Columbine School Shooting

On April 20th, 1999, one of the most tragic and notorious US mass shootings took place at Columbine High School, Colorado. Teenagers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered twelve of their classmates and one teacher in cold blood. They also injured more than twenty others before finally committing suicide. At the time it was the worst school shooting in American history, leaving people struggling to understand why two boys would do something like this. It also refocused serious discussions on gun control in the United States, as well as conversations on issues like goth culture and extreme antisocialism. Columbine’s bloody legacy is an unfortunate influence to this day.

#9: The Black Death

This deadly disease is believed to have wiped out over one third of the population of Medieval Europe when it first reared its head in the 14th Century. As many as 200 million people across Europe and Asia fell victim to it. For roughly a decade the Plague ravaged the world, characterised by blotchy, pus-filled lumps or a violent cough. It took two centuries for the world’s population to recover, but horrifyingly this gruesome infection just won’t stay dead. Outbreaks have continued through the centuries, with one even appearing in Madagascar in 2017.

#8: The Titanic

Headlines of sheer disbelief and horror dominated European and American newspapers after the unimaginable sinking of the RMS Titanic on the morning of April 15th, 1912. Over 1,500 of its roughly 2,200 passengers perished on the so-called unsinkable ship after it struck an iceberg and sank within three hours. The Titanic’s legacy is one of tragedy and horror, as it became a mass grave at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Its name is regularly evoked when comparing something to an unmitigated disaster. But at least the tragedy is responsible for governments and companies taking steps to ensure greater maritime safety.

#7: Cuban Missile Crisis

This event was the closest the Cold War ever came to turning hot. By October 1962, the USSR hadballistic missiles on Cuba ready to fire on almost every major US city. Simultaneously, the US had the same missiles in Turkey and Italy prepared to do the same thing to the Eastern Bloc. The whole world held its breath, waiting to see if these two superpowers would finally resort to all-out nuclear warfare, but finally an agreement was reached to remove the missiles. The fear of annihilation was felt globally, and US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara is quoted as saying, “I thought it was the last Saturday I would ever see.”

#6: The Chernobyl Disaster

At one point in time nuclear power was seen as the safe future of energy supply, but all that changed when Reactor No. 4 at the Soviet Union’s Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine went into meltdown. A combination of poor design and human error was responsible. The reactor explosion was directly responsible for thirty-one deaths, but the contamination has had long term effects on many more. The delayed evacuation orders led to even more people being contaminated, and to this day Chernobyl and its surrounding town is one of the most irradiated places on Earth. Only the Fukushima disaster in 2011 rivals it as the worst nuclear accident in history.

#5: Pearl Harbor

After the First World War, the attitude in America was that the US should stay out of messy European affairs. Because of this, it would take an enormous event to sway public opinion in favor of going to war against the Axis Powers. That event was the surprise Japanese attack on the US naval fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. The attack killed more than 2300 Americans and injured over 1000. Pearl Harbor effectively ended American isolationism, and the ensuing Pacific War led to countless casualties on all sides, and culminated in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

#4: The Crusades

Hundreds of years ago Jerusalem was thought of as the centre of civilization, and was considered holy by three major religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The desire to lay rights to this important city led to the Crusades. From roughly the 11th to the 15th century, wars raged in the Holy Land to try and seize control of it. The First Crusade began in 1095 when Pope Urban II encouraged men from every echelon of society to go and exterminate Muslims because he allegedly claimed “God willed it”. This resulted in the massacre of Jewish and Muslim inhabitants of not just Jerusalem but also Antioch, Constantinople, and many other major settlements.

#3: The Rwandan Genocide

A long-running conflict between the rival Hutu and Tutsi tribes turned into a brutal war in 1990. Despite the signing of a peace accord in 1993, a year later members of the Hutu majority government began one of the most horrific genocides of all time against the Tutsi. It lasted for 100 days, and the death toll was anywhere between 500,000 and 1 million Rwandans, while a further 2 million were forced to become refugees. Today many of the skulls of the victims are kept at the Nyamata Genocide Memorial.

#2: World War I

We now call it the First World War, but at the time it was known as the Great War, with mass killing on an almost unprecedented scale. An estimated 18 million soldiers and civilians perished between 1914 and 1918. Some one million people died or were wounded during the Battle of the Somme alone, and countless more suffered through years of brutal trench warfare. This war also showcased the first of many destructive weapons, like mustard gas, flamethrowers, and tanks, and destabilised Europe to such an extent that it eventually led to the Second World War. The U.S., which had resisted involvement until 1917, returned to a fairly isolationist mode after the horrors of this war.

#1: The Holocaust

In terms of total military casualties, including civilian deaths related to famine and disease, World War II remains the deadliest conflict in history. But of all its victims, the most poignant and tragic were the people killed by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. Six million Jewish people were systematically slaughtered by Hitler’s fascist regime throughout Europe in the late 1930s and 1940s, with the primary goal of wiping out anyone who was not a pure-blooded Aryan. As well as the Jewish casualties, millions more disabled people, gay people, Romani, Slavs, Serbians, prisoners of war and Poles were also exterminated.