Lose-lose situations in history

I was recently reading about the definition of lose-lose situations, also called no-win situations. Wikipedia gave a few interesting examples of no-win situations on a grander scale.

“Prussian soldier and German military theorist Carl von Clausewitz’s advice (never to launch a war that one has not already won) characterizes war as a no-win situation. A similar example is the Pyrrhic victory, in which a military victory is so costly that the winning side actually ends up worse off than before it started. Looking at the victory as a part of a larger situation, the situation could either be no-win or a win for the other side than the one that won the “victory”. For example, the “victorious” side may have accomplished their objective, but the objective may have been worthless, or they may lose a strategic advantage in manpower or positioning.

In Europe before the Reformation those accused of being witches were sometimes bound and then thrown or dunked in water to test their innocence. A witch would float (by calling upon the Devil to save her from drowning), and then be executed; but a woman not a witch would drown (proving her innocence but causing her death).”

also known as:

damned if you do, damned if you don’t
screwed either way

One response to “Lose-lose situations in history

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