Donald Trump Says ‘The Great Pandemic’ Of 1918 Ended The Second World War

by : Julia Banim on : 11 Aug 2020 15:33
Donald Trump Says 'The Great Pandemic' Of 1918 Ended The Second World WarDonald Trump Says 'The Great Pandemic' Of 1918 Ended The Second World WarPA

President Donald Trump has once again shown a disturbing lack of historical understanding, claiming ‘the great pandemic’ of 1918 ended the Second World War.

President Trump made this inaccurate conclusion during a White House press briefing on the evening of Monday, August 10. It would appear he was referring to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, a global health crisis which left at least 50 million people dead across the world.

However, this tragedy occurred more than two decades before the horrors of World War II, and cannot be said to have played any part in ending the conflict whatsoever. President Trump also appeared to get his dates mixed up, stating that the Spanish flu pandemic occurred in 1917, rather than 1918.


You can watch the clip below:

Speaking at the briefing, President Trump said:

The closest thing is in 1917, they say, the great pandemic. It certainly was a terrible thing where they lost anywhere from 50 to 100 million people, probably ended the Second World War.

All the soldiers were sick. That was a terrible situation.


World War II began in 1939, following Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland, and would go on to last for six deadly years. An estimated 60 to 80 million people were killed during this time, as per History.com including six million Jewish people who were murdered in Nazi concentration camps.

In 1945, the bloodshed was eventually brought to a close through a series of significant events. On May 8, 1945 – known as VE Day – allied forces accepted Germany’s surrender, about one week after Adolf Hitler’s death by suicide in his Berlin bunker, ending the war in Europe.

However, the conflict still continued to rage in the far East, with Japan holding out for another few months. On August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered to allied forces, officially signing the surrender agreement on September 2, 1945.

world war two colour documentaryworld war two colour documentaryWorld Media Rights

The first cases of Spanish flu were identified in February 1918, with the pandemic lasting up until 1920, many years before Hitler first invaded Poland.

A White House spokesperson told USA Today that President Trump had misspoken, and had meant World War I, a conflict which began in 1914 and ended in 1918.

Many soldiers did indeed get sick in 1918, with the war helping to spread the deadly disease. However, it is still not accurate to suggest that the Spanish flu contributed to the end of World War I.

The end of World War I actually came after Germany signed an armistice in November 1918, after the country’s political and military situation became so very weak they feared being conquered.


It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.

Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, 1918, Now, President Donald Trump, Second World War, The Great Pandemic


History.com and 1 other
  1. History.com

    World War II

  2. USA Today

    Trump erroneously says 1918 Spanish Flu 'probably ended' WWII, which happened two decades later