For as long as human beings have been around there have been conspiracy theories. Some huge, most small and only localized. So let's take a look into some of the big ones. For time and space let's only focus on the last 100 years.
We start in World War 1. It is early 1917 and the anti-war feeling in America is waning after multiple German sub attacks on American merchant ships. In January, British intelligence intercepted a telegram between Germany and Mexico. In it, the Germans promised that if Mexico entered on the side of the Germans, they would in turn help Mexico reclaim the Southwest United States as their own. (This is the famed Zimmerman Telegraph) It was shown to the Americans, and in April, President Wilson (who had campaigned for re-election under the phrase "He kept us out of war") went before Congress to ask for a declaration of war. The rest, as they say, is history.
But the conspiracy theorists started popping up almost immediately, declaring that Great Britain had forged the Zimmerman telegraph as a way to force the Americans into entering the war on the allies side. Their point of contention was why would Germany be interested in helping Mexico, half a world away, regain its lost possessions? Why would Germany want to provoke the Americans anymore than they already had? This is one of the few conspiracies that I happen to partly agree with, as it was just to coincidental and timely for that telegraph to show up.
Next we move on to Roswell, New Mexico. On the night of June 14, 1947 during a severe thunderstorm a UFO was brought down by lightning. The next day, a famous photograph was taken of a Navy official kneeling over debris and stating that it was parts of an unidentified craft that had crashed the night before. Within a few days, the Navy stated officially that the wreckage was that of a downed weather balloon. Looking at the original picture of the debris, it certainly looked like the weather balloons of the time, but that leaves the question of why the original person would say that it was a down unidentified object. I do believe that we are not alone in this great universe of ours, but I'm not a big believer in most of the UFO stories that come out.
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. One man was arrested, Lee Harvey Oswald. He was never put on trial because another man, Jack Ruby, who decided (apparently) on his own that he was the sole judge, jury, and executioner, killed Oswald two days later. For over 40 years conspiracy theories have been rampant on what actually happened that day. On this point I do believe there was a cover up. How could a man, Oswald, who was barely an average marksman in the military, pull off three almost perfect shots at a moving vehicle that was obscured by a tree? The fact that the bullet that hit Kennedy's head came behind Kennedy yet forced Kennedy's head to go back, leads to the theory that there was more than one shooter. Then there's the magic bullet which made so many twists and turns and roundabouts it throws that theory all up in the air.
I will stop short of saying our government planned and executed an assassination of our president, I don't have any evidence to back me up, but I will say I fully believe there was more than one shooter that day.
On April 19, 1995 the worst terrorist attack on American soil (until 9/11) was carried out in Oklahoma City. 168 people were killed that day. Ultimately two men, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were arrested and convicted of carrying out the bombing. On June 11, 2001 McVeigh was executed for the crime. Nichols received life in prison. The conspiracy theory here, which is far fetched, is that the United States government blew up the building and scapegoated McVeigh and Nichols. Supporters of this conspiracy theory point to newly released videos showing that shortly before the bombing all the videotapes go blank until after the bombing. What these tapes show exactly, we may never know, but I am convinced that those that perpetrated the bombing, have been held accountable.
Everyone knows of the some of the conspiracy theories that have come out about 9/11. They have ranged all over the place, each being just as far fetched as the others. The main one is the Bush Administration purposely raised the towers in an attempt to get a public that was growing anxious of the young presidency to fully stand behind the president. Another theory is that the government realizing that they really didn't know how to stop the fires on the buildings shot rockets into the bases to bring down the buildings. The evidence is quite apparent that when the planes hit they released super heated fuel into the exoskeleton of the buildings that eventually weakened the supports and caused the fatal collapse of the twin towers.
More often than not conspiracy theories are just far fetched ideas to sow doubt in peoples minds about what has truly happened. There are times though when a conspiracy theory is actually based on some truth and it just takes an individual or groups of people fully investigating to figure out what actually happened. With the JFK assassination and the Zimmermann telegraph, there is some evidence to point to that the official stories seem fabricated, but without verifiable proof they will remain conspiracy theories.
*On July 20, 1969, men landed on the moon for the first time. For the people around the world, and especially in the United States, this was a very exciting time. For others, however, they just didn't believe that it had happened.
They point to the video and subsequent photos to back them up, that the whole thing was staged on a sound stage in Hollywood as a way to give America a needed victory in the Space Race with the Soviet Union. The theory itself is not a bad one and there are pages upon pages on the internet devoted to this theory.
I don't personally believe that they whole thing was faked. I don't doubt for one second that we did land on the moon that day. I do however believe that some of the images may have either been faked or touched up. In itself, that's not a horribly terrible thing, people wanted to see the moon landing.
Thanks to doodle bug for pointing out that I forgot about this particular conspiracy theory.
I have touched up this blog to correct some of the grammatical errors that I missed the first time around.
Thanks to SWNebr Transplant for pointing this out as well.