The Malta Independent 28 September 2020, Monday

Trump suggests that ‘1917’ Spanish flu pandemic ended Second World War in historical gaffe

Tuesday, 11 August 2020, 17:40 Last update: about 3 months ago

US President Donald Trump has suggested the ‘1917’Spanish flu pandemic – which actually began in 1918 – “probably ended the Second World War”, a conflict which started some two decades later.

Speaking at a White House news conference while discussing the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump said that the Spanish flue pandemic is the closest thing to the current pandemic, noting that the pandemic, which he said happened in 1917, had probably ended the Second World War because all the soldiers were sick.


Over 163,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the United States, with many questioning how Trump – who has even suggested that testing should be reduced in order for the number of cases to be reduced – has handled the pandemic.

"The closest thing is in 1917, they say, the great pandemic was a terrible thing where they lost anywhere from 50 to 100 million people”, Trump said

"Probably ended the Second World War. All the soldiers were sick”, he added.

The Spanish flu started in February 1918 and spread into April 1920, with a death toll generally estimated to be between 17 and 50 million people.

The Second World War meanwhile started in 1939 and ended in 1945.

A White House official later said that Trump was meant to refer to the First World War, however there is no historical evidence that points towards the war having been ended as a result of the Spanish flu pandemic.

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