While many historians will argue that history doesn’t repeat itself, many will argue otherwise. History seems to have a pattern, and while each occurrence is unique, there are similarities still. Let’s take a dive into 25 historical situations that have shocking similarities, perhaps we can learn from the past and change the outcomes next time around.

The Great Depression’s

We’ve all heard of the catastrophic stock market crash in 1929 that led to the Great Depression. However, many of us don’t know that just 56 years prior there was a long depression.

Source: Sonder Quest

The long depression was the result of overinvestments in the railroads, it caused over 18,000 banks to go bankrupt causing a collapse in the economic well being of the people.

Shootings With Mass Casualties

I don’t think there is much argument to be had regarding mass shootings, the facts are they happen far too often.

Source: Unsplash/Colon Lloyd

There is however plenty of debate regarding gun laws, and how they will or won’t reduce the frequency of these tragedies. Mass shootings have been recorded as far back as the 1920’s and they continue regularly till this day. A sad repeat in our history.

When Pandemics Strike

While the world has had more than its fair share of pandemics, the influenza and covid experiences are shockingly similar.

Source: Linkedin/Liudmila Zueva

The procedures to contain the infection of the influenza might ring a few bells, no public gatherings, mask wearing in public, and talks of economic shutdowns. Most of these should sound hauntingly familiar.

Blockbuster Turns Down Netflix

In 2000, Blockbuster was offered the opportunity of a lifetime, for $50 million they could purchase Netflix. Blockbuster shared the common thought that the internet business was volatile and wouldn’t yield them a profit, so they declined.

Source: Medium

Similarly Nokia would turn down an offer in 2006 to join up with Apple and Android. It wasn’t long after that Nokia fell to the wayside and almost completely out of the mobile industry.

Colossal Shipwrecks

You would think after a few major shipwrecks that history would teach us something, the answer is it did not. The Tek Sing, a large ship carrying the burden 800-900 tons of cargo, 1,600 passengers, and 200 crew members crashed and sank after it ran into a barrier reef on the way to Jakarta from China. Only 190 people were rescued from the wreckage.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Much like the Tek Sing, the Titanic sank after going head to head with an iceberg. Because of its weight and not having enough lifeboats, over 1,500 people would succumb to the sea that day in 1912.

Civil Rights

Lets see if you think these two scenarios share any resemblance. Black Americans and their supporters make a stance to eliminate racial discrimination and inequality.

Source: Unsplash/Library of Congress

They take to the streets in peaceful protest with the attempt to draw attention to their cause. The parallels of the civil rights movements of latter years and the current “black lives matter” movement are uncanny. It’s hard to ignore when you compare the two.

Black And White Politics

During the 1950s, the government in the US had zero tolerance for opposition. If you weren’t in agreement with their policies and agenda then you had to be a communist.

Source: Medium/Alison Henderson

Much like then, our current political environment is defined by similar extremes. There is a definite contrast between then and the now, but the over feel of the U.S. today has the same political vibe as it did in the 1950’s.

Fighting For Medical Autonomy

Women and allies alike have fought for decades for their bodily autonomy. Roe v. Wade was a massive win for women when it came to protecting them and their rights to choose what was best for their own bodies.

Source: Medium

In 2022 Roe v. Wade was overturned leaving the specifics of who can and can’t have access to abortions very blurred, allowing the individual states to make that decision. So once again women will have to battle for the right to choose what is best for their health and wellbeing.

Trending Fashion

Let’s lighten the mood a little and talk about the history of fashion. Be it the baggy skater pants, bodysuits, crop top, or choker necklaces. Fashion tends to have a somewhat predictable cycle, even color trends and patterns tend to circle back every few years.

Source: Unsplash/freestocks

Anyone else waiting for the scrunchie and side ponytail to make its comeback? Perhaps not everything needs to make its debut for the second time.

Military Discrimination

Sadly every couple of years certain groups of people will be excluded from serving in the military.

Source: Adobe stock/Bumble Dee

For whatever reason sexual orientation, the color of their skin, gender and even ethnicity suddenly become disqualifying reasons for the military’s admission, and throughout history members of the military and those seeking to join have been discriminated against, persecuted, and even denied entry because of these reasons.

The Information Era

In this day and age we have endless access to information. Not many think about the downfalls of having too much information at your fingertips.

Source: Pinterest

This is most prevalent in the way we see social media and the interwebs navigate influence on politics. In the past and present the introduction of new ways to access knowledge has had profound effects on society as a whole, we saw this when they introduced the printing press, the cell phones, and the internet. Sometimes having access to too much information is not a good thing.

Disruptive Technological Advancements

Are you familiar with “disruptive technological advancements”? There are advantages and disadvantages of innovation, and occasionally technology will advance at a rate that surpasses predecessors. This imbalance can disrupt existing industries, but it also has the potential to establish new ones.

Source: Pinterest

Before the days of GPS, e-commerce, news media, and ride sharing, there were cars, television, printing press and the thomas guide. Hard to say where this trajectory will take us, but I think it’s safe to say that technology continues to be revolutionary.

Art Culture

Rarely will you hear people discussing the revolutionary movements of art and art culture, typically its politics this politics that.

Source: Unsplash/Zalfa Imani

While each artistic movement is unique, the recurring patterns followed by a new trend persist consistently. You could easily date this back as far as art has been a part of culture.

The Powerful And The Powerless

Revolutions are a natural progression of shifts in dynamics, and have been a constant in history since the beginning of time.

Source: Unsplash/Korantin Grall

Take the French Revolution, Russian Revolution and even the American Revolution for example, all clear representations of historical power struggle.

Information Era

In today’s day and age we have all the information we could possibly want right at our fingertips. While having access to these things can be beneficial it can also come with disavantages.

Source: Facebook

I’m sure they felt the same when the printing press came around, completely changing the way society digested the world and local news. With each new invention comes a wave of information overload, and some would say that not all information is good information.

Positive Innovations

Ok we have discussed a lot of the downfalls to repetitive history, but what about when innovation alters the course of history in a good way.

Source: Facebook/Space – Virtual Reality game lounge

Take the electric car for example, it has significantly decreased the emissions of exhaust and made a positive contribution to air quality. Most notably in history were agricultural developments that changed the way men manned their land, allowing for a huge uptick in production of crops. See not all is lost in history hitting the repeat button.

Mass Extermination

When people think genocide the first thing that typically comes to mind is the Holocaust, where over 11 million men, women, and children died by horrific means. Or maybe its Rwandan genocide of 1994, where death tolls are anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million people.

Source: Unsplash/Kuzzat Altey

Clearly there is a historical theme here, and all it takes is a person or group of persons to abuse their place of power. I would like to think that these patterns have been lost to the past, but sadly I would probably be wrong.

Normalizing Hate Crimes?

Public acceptance of hate crimes seems to be an unfortunate trend. Even more disturbing than the idea that this is being normalized, is the fact that we are currenting experiencing this apathetic stance in today’s society.

Source: Unsplash/Jason Leung

While most of us would have expected this to die off when equality became the standard, there are unsettling statistics that tell us otherwise. Since 2017 there has been a 17% increase in hate crimes, and according to the FBI hate crimes have risen to the highest level in over a decade. This means we are seeing more hate crimes than Martin Luther King Jr. witnessed, now that’s a scary thought.

Clearly history is cyclical, and often we don’t seem to learn the lessons the first time around. Perhaps more insight will change the course of some of these repetitive patterns, allowing us to make better choices, and even avoid some tragic experiences.