Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • In what was once a quiet hamlet in rural England, the dead are being carted through the muddy

  • streets. Inside one particular dwelling, a man lies on his back, delirious from the effects

  • of a very high fever. He struggles to breathe... sounds emanate from him that can only be described

  • as death rattles. Suddenly he vomits blood onto the floor, the motion exposing what look

  • like egg-sized bubos covering his body. He will be dead within a day or two, as will

  • his wife and his three children... As will his best friend and neighborsas will most

  • of the people in the surrounding areas. What we are talking about is the Black Death, a

  • disease so virulent and deadly, to some it looked like the world would end.

  • Black Death You can easily imagine why folks in parts

  • of rural England in the 1300s must have thought that this killer pestilence was the end of

  • the world. Around 90 percent of people back then lived

  • in small rural communities, and the Black Death in some cases wiped out the entire community.

  • As one chronicler put it, parts the countryside were: “quite void of inhabitants so that

  • there were almost none left alive.” Can you imagine what it must have been like?

  • No one knew what was coming. The Black Deathactually not called the Black Death back

  • thenwas a bubonic plague that entered England from the south and made its way through

  • the country at a frightening speed. It wasn't as if these rural communities had much warning.

  • Word didn't travel too fast, back in 1348. Some of those small villages, perhaps with

  • populations of up to 500, were completely depopulated. In the larger towns, and certainly

  • London, some people had been hearing rumors about a terrifying pestilence that had been

  • sweeping through Europe, but the rural folks didn't know what was coming.

  • This is how another chronicler put it when talking about one particular place: “Almost

  • the whole strength of the town perished.” In other towns there weren't enough people

  • living to bury the dead. The plague then traveled farther north, with

  • one bishop writing at the time that he saw no one from one town, becausethey were

  • all dead.” It travelled to Scotland, too, a country at the time that had been warring

  • with England. Scottish soldiers had said the disease was

  • God taking vengeance on the evil English, but those soldiers carried it home to Scotland.

  • The plague was an equal opportunist, and it killed the Scottish with a similar ferocity.

  • One Scottish chronicler later wrote in 1384, “So great a plague has never been heard

  • of from the beginning of the world to the present day, or been recorded in books.”

  • Estimates vary, but it's thought in England alone the Black Death killed 40 to 60 percent

  • of the population. It killed something like 30 to 60 percent of Europe's population,

  • and so you can imagine that at the time people might have wondered if this was not the end

  • of the world. Plagues in general

  • We're not going to go through every plague that must have made people wonder if humans

  • didn't have long left, but we'll mention a couple.

  • You have thePlague of Athens”, that lasted from 430 to 426 BC. No one is exactly

  • sure what the disease was, but it killed over a quarter of the population of Athens and

  • it killed those it affected very quickly. That was in some ways good news, because hosts

  • died so fast they couldn't spread it around too much.

  • Then there was thePlague of Justinian”, which lasted from 541 to 750. This was certainly

  • a bubonic plague, which relates to those swollen lymph nodes we talked about that look like

  • tumors. The name for this kind of swollen lymph node was a buboe, hence, bubonic plague.

  • During the time it ravaged Europe, it took with it half of the population there. People

  • might well have thought, will this thing ever stop...will it kill us all.

  • TheGreat Plague of Londonthat lasted from 1665 to 1666 killed around 100,000 people,

  • but that was actually around 20 percent of the people that lived there. While Londoners

  • back then may not have thought the world was going to end, they would have certainly wondered

  • just how bad things could get. Cuban Missile Crisis

  • During theCold Warwhen the Soviet Union and the USA were creating stockpiles

  • of nuclear weapons, there was always an overhanging fear that someone might just press the button

  • and an all-out nuclear war would take place. With it possibly ending humanity.

  • In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, people were always a little concerned that nuclear war could

  • happen, mainly because the TV kept showing them infomercials about what to do in the

  • event of such a war. Those programs were damn scary, too...if not a bit ridiculous at times.

  • We're not sure theDuck and Covertechnique would have saved someone from a

  • nuclear bomb, but the ads certainly put the fear of God in people.

  • It was in the 1960s when things really came to a head. By the way, there have been a bunch

  • of what are calledclose calls”, but this was the closest.

  • From October 16 to October 28 in the year of 1962 there was a stand-off between the

  • Soviets and the Americans. It's a long story, but let's just say that the USA had prior

  • to '62 watched as Fidel Castro's revolutionary army turned over a Cuban dictatorship and

  • introduced a revolutionary socialist state. Well, that really upset the Americans, who

  • certainly didn't want Cuba getting into bed with Soviet Communists.

  • That happened anyway, much to the chagrin of the U.S. In 1961, the Americans secretly

  • directed an invasion of Cuba led by Cuban rebels, and this became known as theBay

  • of Pigsinvasion. It didn't work... is the short explanation.

  • After the invasion, Castro got in touch with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Together

  • they agreed to construct ballistic missile launch facilities in Cuba, sites that weren't

  • that far from the USA. The U.S. already had launch sites in Europe, that weren't that

  • far from Russia. When the U.S found out about the Cuban facilities,

  • you could say the White House and Pentagon weren't exactly happy about it.

  • The U.S. demanded that the facilities be taken down and the missiles sent back to Russia.

  • Knowing that the Americans had launch sites in Europe, Khrushchev said hewanted to

  • level the playing field”, and so if the U.S. decided to attack them, what would now

  • happen wasmutually assured destruction.” The very apt abbreviation and acronym of that

  • is M. A. D, or MAD. What you might not know is that the Joint

  • Chiefs of Staff of the Department of Defense wanted to just go ahead with a full scale

  • attack on Cuba, thinking the Soviets wouldn't fight back.

  • The missile sites soon became known to the public, and people started getting scared.

  • If you were around in those times, you would have seen President John F. Kennedy on the

  • TV speaking to the nation, and his words were: “It shall be the policy of this nation to

  • regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere

  • as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response

  • upon the Soviet Union.” Damn, people might have thought, are they

  • really going to do this? Things heated up more, and then a Soviet spy

  • said it seemed war was imminent and asked U.S. officials if some kind of agreement could

  • be made, rather than a nuclear war kill, many, many people.

  • Meanwhile, the U.S. military's top brass were still pushing for an all-out attack on Cuba.

  • Khrushchev wrote to Kennedy, discussing how they had made a “tight knotof tension

  • and it needed to be untightened. He wrote:

  • If there is no intention to tighten that knot and thereby to doom the world to the

  • catastrophe of thermonuclear war, then let us not only relax the forces pulling on the

  • ends of the rope, let us take measures to untie that knot. We are ready for this.”

  • There's much more to the story, but in the end Kennedy agreed to remove missile launch

  • sites from Italy and Turkey and not invade Cuba, only if the Soviets dismantled their

  • launch sites in Cuba. Diplomacy won in the end, but we weren't

  • so far from nuclear war. How would that have gone down?

  • Some years later an American political scientist wrote, “The US air strike and invasion that

  • were scheduled for the third week of the confrontation would likely have triggered a nuclear response

  • against American ships and troops, and perhaps even Miami. The resulting war might have led

  • to the deaths of over 100 million Americans and over 100 million Russians.”

  • Maybe that's not the end of the world, but what would have happened after that?

  • December 21, 2012 Now for something completely different and

  • even a bit silly. We say silly, but polls at the time revealed that 10 percent of those

  • interviewed thought the world would end on this day.

  • You might ask, what was so special about December 21, 2012? Why not June 6th, 2007, at 4.26

  • pm, starting with an exploding sausage factory somewhere outside Lyon in France…. That

  • made about as much sense. This was what you might call a Doomsday scenario.

  • It involved a large number of very misguided and misinformed people who thought the end

  • of civilisation was imminent. It was going to end that day, because, they said, this

  • was the day the Maya calendar ended. It had run out spaces, so to speak, and they said

  • there wasn't another edition. This was complete balderdash, to use a word

  • we think people should use much more frequently because it sounds so cool.

  • The calendar didn't end at all, and any expert on Maya culture could have told those

  • 10 percenters that... but they weren't listening. They were prepping instead, and busy writing

  • horrible things about so-called Mayan apocalypse deniers.

  • Some people around the world actually had one last big party on December 20th. Strangers

  • let their hair down and made love in the streets. Some sat quietly at home, burning incense

  • sticks while listening to One Direction's “Take Me Home.”

  • Others were less accepting of death, and photos emerged online of them down in their bunkers

  • with all the food they'd hoardedonly for the sun to come up the next day and leave

  • them wondering what they were going to do with 300 boxes of Mac and Cheese.

  • Weirdly, people in the city of Merida in Mexico, the place where you'd have found lots of

  • Mayans, were just going about their business as usual.

  • It turned out that one loon had misread some Maya text and another loon shared that loon's

  • prophecy. The rest was history. We found out then that in the age of the Internet and social

  • media, a person can read an alleged holy inscription on a Dorito, and soon they'll have a madding

  • crowd of followers. The followers of this theory didn't bother

  • reading the words of one of the world's leading Mayan and Meso-American specialists,

  • a man who said, “No Maya textancient, colonial or modernever predicted the

  • end of time or the end of the world.” Y2K

  • On the stroke of midnight, when the year was January 1st, 2000, some people were hunkering

  • down waiting for the apocalypse to happen. This time it wasn't about ancient theories,

  • but modern technology. The theory was that something called theMillennium

  • Bugwould wreak havoc in our highly digitalized world. There actually was a slight problem,

  • in that coders in the early days would not write something like 1997, they just put 97,

  • because that saved space. But what would happen when 2000 came along,

  • would 00 actually mean 1900? Would this bug then shutdown or mess up certain computer

  • systems? Some people thought it would. What had to be done was a lot of coding to

  • fix the problem, but for some reason people thought computer systems all over the world

  • would just freak out. They saw a doomsday scenario, with nuclear power plants the world

  • over explodingmissiles going off, banking systems breaking down, etc, etc. It would

  • take us back to the dark ages...or something like that.

  • One woman in the U.S saw this happening and had started hoarding early. She told the press,

  • If something happens and I didn't prepare my family, I couldn't live with myself.”

  • She even kept her hoarding of goods secret from her friends and neighbors, believing

  • when the lights went out the unprepared would hit the streets in mobs and take what they

  • wanted. There were some hitches in some systems, but

  • all in all, the day after 2000 was just like any other day, other than the fact a lot of

  • people had huge hangovers. Next Year?

  • Ok, so we'll finish this with a prediction for 2021. That is the predication of an American

  • pastor of the Mariners Church. He's gotThe Rapturechecked on his Google calendar

  • for sometime in 2021. That's kind of likeThe Leftoversshow, where a bunch of

  • people just go missing. In this case, it will be the Christian believers

  • who get hoovered up to the heavens and the rest of the non-believers, or people of any

  • other religion we imagine, will have to stay down on Earth and eke out a living amongst

  • floods, plagues, earthquakes... and theGreat Toilet Roll Wars.”...We added that one.

  • Before you start getting worried, remember that the Earth has been experiencing floods,

  • earthquakes and plagues for a long time, and they are not going to go away. Anyway, we'll

  • see next year if a bunch of folks just disappear into the heavens.

  • Just to let you know how long things have been happening down here on Earth, and to

  • answer a question you all want answered, watch this video, “Why Do You Even Exist?” If

  • that's a bit heavy right now, have a look at this instead….

In what was once a quiet hamlet in rural England, the dead are being carted through the muddy

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 plague cuba nuclear black death soviet people

Times It Looked Like the World Would End

  • 3 1
    Summer posted on 2020/07/30
Video vocabulary