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Donald Trump criticized for saying ‘1917’ Spanish Flu pandemic ended World War Two

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Donald Trump is criticized for saying ‘1917’ Spanish Flu pandemic ended World War Two – which did not begin until 1939

  • Trump said the Spanish Flu pandemic ‘probably ended the Second World War’
  • The events took place more than two decades apart, with WWII starting in 1939
  • White House official confirmed Trump had meant to refer to World War I 
  • World War I ended after Germany surrendered on November 11, 1918 

The U.S. President has been criticized for claiming the ‘1917’ Spanish Flu pandemic ended World War Two, which did not begin until 1939. 

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Donald Trump once again referenced the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic in comparison to the coronavirus crisis during a White House press briefing on Monday. 

He accidentally connected it to World War II which began more than two decades later.

President Trump said the ‘great pandemic’ of 1917 ‘probably ended the second World War, all the soldiers were sick’

‘The closest thing is in 1917 they say, right? The great pandemic, certainly as a terrible thing,’ Trump said. 

Then he said it ‘probably ended the Second World War, all the soldiers were sick.’ 

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The Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 flu pandemic, lasted from February 1918 to April 1920.

It infected an estimated 500 million people – about a third of the world’s population at the time – in four successive waves. 

The death toll is typically estimated to have been somewhere between 17 million and 50 million. 

New York City celebrating VJ Day at the end of World War Two in Japan 1945. Trump connected the flu pandemic of 1918 to the end of the war

New York City celebrating VJ Day at the end of World War Two in Japan 1945. Trump connected the flu pandemic of 1918 to the end of the war

A White House official clarified to USA Today that Trump was referring to World War I. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the deployment of troops during WWI could have helped contribute to the spread of the Spanish Flu.

Trump’s own grandfather, Frederick Trump, died after contracting Spanish Flu. Trump took ill on May 29, 1918, and passed away the next day in what was one of the early cases of the Spanish Flu.  

World War I ended after Germany surrendered on November 11, 1918. On June 28, 1919, Germany and the Allied Nations, including Britain, France, Italy and Russia, signed the Treaty of Versailles, formally ending the war.

Some took to Twitter to point out the President’s blunder. Actress and activist Sophia Bush tweeted:  ‘The Second World War ended in … 1945.

‘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.’ 

Rep. Eric Swalwell wrote: ‘The Second World War ended in 1945. It’s cruel for @DonaldJTrumpJr and family to let @realDonaldTrump stand out there like this.’ 

Star Trek actor George Takei warned against ‘distorting history’. He wrote: ‘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.’ 

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