In the Hey Arnold! episode "Pig War" the kids pull a Trojan Horse knock off using a giant wooden pig. While doing so Arnold states with great certainty "This worked for the Trojans because they knew their enemies were easily flattered and loved gifts". Arnold, you fail history forever. And so do all but one of the people playing the British. One kid attempts to point out the Trojan War as precisely why they should not let that wooden pig in their fort, and he is promptly ignored.
South Park's "I'm a Little Bit Country" presents a massive historical failure on the American Revolution. Determining exactly how the Founding Fathers would view the invasion of Iraq is a debate much too large for this page, but the armed conflict of the Revolution itself was already raging in the Colonies. The battles of Lexington and Concord had been fought in 1775, Benedict Arnold had captured a crucial British fort to help break the siege of Boston, and several other battles were fought. Not everyone wanted to go to war, and many of the Founding Fathers even opposed independence itself, but they recognized that the violent struggle was an inevitability.
The popular notion is that Walt Disney's animated cartoon Ben and Me is what started the misconception of Benjamin Franklin's famous kite experiment, which has found its way into every adaptation of the event. Though he did come up with the idea, there's no clear evidence that Franklin ever performed it himself, and the MythBusters clearly showed that if Franklin attempted the experiment the way it's popularly portrayed, he would have been fried to a crisp by the lightning bolt.
Played for Laughs in Teen Titans where Beast Boy proclaims "Now I know how George Washington felt when Napoleon beat him at Pearl Harbor". And at the beginning of the same episode, Beast Boy gives an account of the start of The Revolutionary War, thinking that it started in 1492, and was caused because the colonists getting tired of only being allowed to eat english muffins and drink tea. Raven replies by wondering if he got all of that from a cereal box (he did).
There's the episode "Road to Germany" where Stewie and Brian travel back to 1939 to save a wayward Mort Goldman who accidentally went crap in Stewie's time machine. When learning that Nazi Germany was making a nuclear bomb, Brian attempts to pull an Author Filibuster when Stewie asked "Why doesn't America go and kick their asses?" which Brian replies "Probably because they didn't have any oil." This joke and much of the episode falls flat for several reasons:
In 1939, the American Army was well, crap, and its Air Force was still using outdated aircraft, many of which were behind the rest of the world (and moreover, it was Nazi Germany that had perhaps the most advanced in the world). So even if they wanted to attack at that time... they didn't have the means. The army at the time couldn't even afford enough guns and was using wooden replicas during live-fire drills, and they had no comparable tanks to face the German Panzer Divisions. And the Army Air Force, the P-40 and P-39, two planes which could compete (but not very well) against the Bf 109 were a year away from being deployed, thus they only had metal biplanes and the already obsolete P-35 and obsolescent P-36 Hawk. The notable exceptions being the US Navy and the small but cutting edge strategic bomber force.
In 1939, the United States was still gripped in The Great Depression and was firmly Isolationist despite Roosevelt's attempt to send aid to Great Britain.
Nazi Germany's nuclear program... was kind of crap.note The Germans planned an experiment with a highly enriched uranium core and a heavy water moderator. That design was so colossally stupid that had they actually performed the experiment, it would have gone prompt-super-critical and killed all the scientists performing it. They hadn't even produced enough uranium to produce a bomb at that point, and Hitler... frankly didn't care. Additionally, German physicists had messed up the math, and didn't think an atomic bomb was even possible. It didn't help (well, from the perspective of anyone not in Nazi Germany, it did help) that Germany had driven out many of their best nuclear and/or theoretical physicists (such as one Albert Einstein) due to Germany's anti-Semitic policies.
America at that point had all the oil they needed and didn't have to rely on foreign supplies. In fact, America was producing more oil than the rest of the world combined (the oil fields in the Middle East were largely undeveloped). And oil at that time was generally cheaper than water unless you were at war with half of the world. In fact, part of Japan's casus belli in 1941 was that Roosevelt had embargoed US oil from Japan over the Second Sino-Japanese War, especially Japan's conduct in Nanking. So, if anything, it was Japan that went to war (partly) for oil against the United States, not the other way around.
The British never went for daytime bombing raids after the early 1940s. They instead relied on a night-time campaign. It was the Americans who did the daytime raids. Not only that, the Lancaster Bombers weren't even on the drawing board in 1939.
Another from Family Guy, this one from "The Big Bang Theory". It is shown that Leonardo da Vinci was Stewie's ancestor. However, Leonardo never married or had any by blood children, legitimate or otherwise. In fact, many speculate he was gay.
"Road to the Multiverse" makes the utterly incorrect Hollywood History assumption that it was Christianity that caused the Dark Ages. And while there have been multiple times where Christianity has attempted to trample knowledge there are multiple other (non-religious) causes for the Dark Ages, and much of our knowledge of science and philosophy were preserved by Catholic monks, and the Catholic Church was very willing to support science and learning throughout this time and the Renaissance. Also in this episode, they also assume that Walt Disney was an antisemite despite him hiring and working with Jewish employees, none of which have said that he showed any kind of hatred or bigotry.
Another time they had the aforementioned Lancaster Bombers... with the American Air Force insignia. The United States Army Air Force never had the Lancaster Bomber, instead used the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator. It might be forgivable if they just mixed up the B-24 with the Lancaster, considering their similar appearance.
Grandpa Simpson very often mixes historical events and/or relates them in a surrealistic and nonsensical way, and often claiming to have taken an active part in them. This might be a result of ignorance, severe senility, or both, but nobody around ever corrects him. In fact, Bart did once praise his knowledge on early aviation (without realizing it was all bollocks) in "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming":
Bart: What a piece of junk. Grandpa: Junk?! That's the Wright Brothers' plane! At Kitty Hawk in 1902, Charles Lindbergh flew that on a thimble-full of corn oil. Single-handedly won us the Civil War, it did! Bart: How do you know so much about history? Grandpa: I pieced it together, mostly from sugar packets.
From "The Sweetest Apu":
Homer: Are you sure you don't want to come? In a Civil War re-enactment we need lots of Indians to shoot! Apu: Oig... [beat] I don't know which part of that sentence to correct first.
In "Much Apu About Nothing", when Homer is trying to teach Apu what he needs to become a US citizen:
Homer: Now we all know that the thirteen stripes are for good luck. But can you tell me why the American flag has exactly forty-seven stars? Apu: Because that flag is ridiculously out of date. It must have been made during the brief period in 1912 after New Mexico became a State but before Arizona did. Homer: Er... partial credit.
During his exam to become a citizen, Apu is asked a final question:
Examiner: What was the cause of the Civil War? Apu: Actually, there were many factors. Apart from the obvious schism between abolitionists and anti-abolitionists, economic factors as well as— Examiner: Slavery. Just say slavery. Apu: Slavery it is, sir!
In "Special Edna", Mrs. Krabappel assigns a research paper about World War I. Which her students apparently know very little about.
Vlad Plasmius: If I can destroy the world's first airplane, then man will never fly.
The Looney Tunes short "Yankee Doodle Bugs" has Bugs Bunny helping his nephew Clyde study for a test by giving him a crash course in early American history. The accuracy of Bugs's accounts can be measured by Clyde's response after he returns home from school and Bugs asks how he did: glaring angrily, pulling out a Dunce Cap, and placing it on his head. ("Does this answer your question?")
Parodied in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls. Mojo Jojo, drafted into babysitting the girls, tells them a horribly inaccurate version of Napoléon Bonaparte's life (namely that he conquered the entire world). Once he finishes, the girls (who are in kindergarten) shut him down by thoroughly telling him the real story of Napoleon's life in between hitting him with pillows.
The trailer for 1776. "From the people who told you 300 was based on a true story. It ain't accurate, but it'll blow your fucking mind!"
In the Lil' Hitler sketch, the first nation (or student's desk) annexed by Hitler is Poland, followed by Czechoslovakia. This should have been the other way around, and Austria isn't even brought up. Japan also seems to lack any of China's desk. In addition, the USA is portrayed as "Not my problem!" until Japan knocks over his juice; by December 1941, America had already been providing supplies for the British and Chinese.
One sketch has a Nazi soldier ask Hitler and Himmler who took his sandwich. Himmler tries to deflect towards Hitler by pointing out that he didn't murder six million Jews. In real-life, Himmler was one of the men most responsible for the Holocaust, and many argue that, had he been Fuhrer, he would have been even worse than Hitler.
Although the old shorts could be remarkably informative for young audiences, "No More Kings", the one about the American colonies and Revolution ("Rockin' and a-rollin', splishin' and a-splashin'", etc.) harps on and on about George III's tyrannical unfairness. King George's recurrent mental illness was such that he seldom exerted true control over Britain, let alone the colonies; it was Parliament which instituted the tax policies which (some) American colonists found so intolerable.
His illness didn't really hit him until later on in life; the British constitution on the other hand did limit his role in government anyway. He also was probably one of the nicest kings Britain ever had; not a saint or anything but very much considering the crown a duty rather than something that gave him the right to be a dick, so he wasn't a tyrant by any real stretch of the imagination. He supported the war on the colonies because countries generally do not tolerate armed internal rebellions, and for all that was still happy to make peace once his side lost, treating the other side as a Worthy Opponent if anything.
It also suggests that England directly governed the colonies before the 1770s. In fact, the colonies had been largely allowed to govern themselves before then, and it was Parliament's attempts to impose more control on the colonies that was met with resistance.
Acknowledging that Parliament was to blame for the excesses would have amounted to a de facto recognition of Parliament's ability to govern and control the colonies; the colonials were subjects of the King, but not citizens of Great Britain.
In an episode of Camp Lazlo, a very excited Lazlo makes an incredibly inspired speech to encourage the other campers.
Lazlo: Did Napoleon give up the moon to the Swiss? Don't you think he would've planted his butt on a pinecone to keep the moon base from falling to the barbarians?!
The others do appear confused by this, but the speech does its job anyway.
The Warner siblings sing, "In 1913, Woodrow Wilson takes us into World War I", which is the year of Wilson's inauguration, but the war itself didn't start until 1914 and America didn't join until 1917. Moreover, the war itself is covered via titles listing the battles of Gallipoli, Argonne, the Somme, and Verdun, only one of which (the Meuse-Argonne Offensive) America actually took part in.
While singing about Zachary Taylor, the video actually displays a portrait of fellow (and rival) general and Whig party nominee Winfield Scott.
Seeking rhymes, Ulysses S. Grant is described as a man who'd "scream and rave and rant while drinking whiskey although risky 'cause he'd spill it on his pants," even though he was notorious for being The Quiet One and his alcoholism was grossly exaggerated.
Although "Teddy Roosevelt charged up San Juan Hill" is probably the most iconic moment of TR's life, it and the Spanish-American War in general happened several years before his presidency.
Parodied in Arthur where Arthur, Francine and Buster try making comic strips for a presentation on Rome. Arthur does one in which the Empire is apparently run by the scroll of Roman Law, and features skeleton warriors and a Cyclops. When Prunella points out he hasn't used any real history Arthur admits this is true. Francine's one has her winning the Olympic Games. Brain points out they took place in Greece and the Romans banned the Games in 194 BC (while it could have taken place before the ban, this is another error as the Games were actually banned in AD 394) and she admits she didn't do any research. Though this isn't pointed out, she couldn't have competed anyway, as only men were allowed. Buster has Spartacus defending pizzas from soldiers hidden in a horse who are attacking the Pyramids, and Julius Caesar on a hang glider, which he justifies by saying they didn't have jet-packs back then. Ironically enough, their eventual, more accurate presentation still gets things inaccurate in claiming Julius Caesar was an Emperor. They also apparently have pizzas being delivered to the Senate, though their teacher points this out.
Class of the Titans generally averts the trope, as the creators did a lot of research into Greek mythology and history. However, the gods occasionally are shown to have objects engraved with various dates "B.C." While the time of the Greek gods was indeed in the B.C. era, there is of course no way that someone who lived in that time period would know that. Like many other examples, this one is almost certainly designed to fall under Rule of Funny.
Plastic Man in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Cry Freedom Fighters!" is unusually dense about American history. He eventually inspires an oppressed alien race with a rousing (if not completely accurate) speech:
Jem: Ba Nee is 9. Her father was in The Vietnam War in 1976 and she was born just a few years later. The problem is, America had already withdrawn from the war by 1976. Indeed, it had ended in the previous year.
Dinofroz has many historical inaccuracies for a show that takes place in prehistoric times. The two biggest ones are that humans and dinosaurs did not exist in the same time period, and dragons did not exist at all. This show is obviously running on Rule of Cool though.
A Nazi official comes to Hans' parents house saying they have to not coddle him anymore when he's sick, or the state will intervene. In reality, while people with disabilities were indeed killed, the Nazis weren't stupid enough to go after children just for being sick (that would have left them with fewer future soldiers, if nothing else).
The whole segment where Sleeping Beauty is being retold with Hitler as the Prince waking up Germany under the presumption that this is the way it's "being told under the New Order in Germany" has no basis in reality.
While the Nazis indeed persecuted dissident Christians and tried to Nazify Christianity (apparently planning on wholly replacing it with an Aryan religion later if they could), they didn't switch out Bibles for Mein Kampf and crucifixes with SS daggers as is shown here, nor simply vandalize churches wholesale. However some similar things were done, such as removing "YHWH" inscriptions as they were deemed Jewish, or one instance where crosses were replaced with swastikas. The latter caused such protests however that it was quickly reversed.
Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum: Although the show does its best to be historically accurate, there are some parts that were clearly made up, like Florence Nightingale having a pet mouse, Harry Houdini idolizing a tightrope walker named Fearless Jean, etc.
Time Squad: Nutorius has George Washington Carver's non existent evil brother as the villain. While George really did have a brother, he died in infancy.
In the Darkwing Duck episode "Quack of Ages", DW, Launchpad and Negaduck travel back to the medieval kingdom of Canardia, which is specifically stated to be in the same location as modern St Canard. St Canard, like Duckburg, is in America.