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Have you ever wanted to brush up on a war, but didn't want to devote the time to studying such a complex and intricate war that started to come together well before the actual fighting happened, and the consequences of which were felt long after the fighting ended?

OverSimplified is a YouTube channel dedicated to doing just that. It takes complex historical topics (usually wars) and boils them down to a few short minutes and some animation, but with lots of added humor and more than a few Running Gags to keep things interesting.

Now some of you might be thinking, "But TVTropes, YouTube didn't discover OverSimplified, the Vikings did."

And you would be wrong. I'm not sure why you'd think that.

OverSimplified was created in 2016note  with a two-part video about World War One, later followed up with videos about Adolf Hitler, World War II, and the Cold War, as well as other mini-episodes covering such topics as the Falklands War, the Football War, and William's invasion of England.


As a whole, it comes across as a web series similar to Crash Course, but with longer videos, more humor, and more of an eye to the build up and consequences of each central issue.

    Topics Covered 

This web series contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: The fathers of Stalin and Hitler were this; both of them physically assaulted their children.
  • The Ace:
    • Lu Bu. He was among the greatest warriors of his time and never lost a duel.
    • Napoleon Bonaparte was an excellent general French general, so much so that Austria lost the war with France because of his groundbreaking military strategies while his peers were forced to retreat.
    • Ulysses Grant was the best Union general in the American Civil War.
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    • General Lee was a brilliant commander who led his army to many victories against the Union. His ultimate defeat was not the result of a lack of skill, but rather the fact that Ulysses Grant had more resources than him.
    • In his youth, Henry VIII was intelligent, handsome, charming, extremely popular, and had a lot of political support. He would lose many of these traits as he descended into tyranny, however.
  • Adipose Rex: Several. Per history, many of the monarchs or other rulers in OverSimplified's videos are very corpulent, usually due to their lavish lifestyles. They are usually drawn with pot bellies to signify this. The most prominent examples are Kings Louis XVI and Henry VIII, as well as the tyrannical Dong Zhuo, although in the former two's cases, they only became fat due to lack of exercising later in life, and were quite muscular in their youth.
  • A God Am I: Robespierre at the height of his Motive Decay, shown dressing in a toga and giving long-winded sermons on the glory of his Republic while his former supporters worry he's setting himself up as a godlike figure.
  • The Alcoholic: Ulysses Grant had a certain fondness for whiskey. His detractors tried to use this to get him fired. Lincoln simply suggests they give him more.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Robespierre, in the second French Revolution video, ordered people to be sent to the guillotine whether they were suspected political opponents or were simply committing petty infractions such as complaining about the price of bread or addressing a man as ‘Monsieur,’ or even looking like they're thinking anti revolutionary thoughts.
  • All for Nothing: Despite his efforts, King Henry VIII failed to achieve any of his goals: conquer France and have a dynasty that lasts for hundreds of years.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Jean-Paul Marat suffered from an unusual skin disease that remains difficult to explain even today, thus confining him to a bathtub where he's constantly immersed in medicine.
  • Anachronism Stew: Played for Laughs.
    • For example, a 2019 French Yellow Vest protester is seen among the Yellow Turbans during China's Three Kingdoms period.
    • King Louis giving Porsches to his nobles. They ask if they can have Lamborghinis next year.
    • Alois Hitler (Adolf Hitler's dad) makes a cameo in the Three Kingdoms era (way before he was born) to spank some eunuch in the ass.
    • In the first American Civil War video, George Washington shows up in a meeting held by Abraham Lincoln to discuss his strategy and claim he’s the best president of the US. In the second American Civil War video, the Confedarates are seen with a BTS-themed calendar, and Wilmer McLean's wife Martha is seen using a vacuum cleaner.
    • Young Henry VIII's toys included Power Ranger and Ninja Turtle action figures, a Game Boy, and an Etch-a-Sketch.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Henry VII became such a paranoid tyrant in his older years that many of his subjects were happy to see him pass and be replaced by his son.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. In the War that Changed the English Language video, one of the reasons that Harold's vikings lost because they were caught off guard, which robbed them of the time needed to put on their armor. That factor likely decided the entire battle.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the first Cold War video, an American official sells three secrets to the Soviets: The Allies' plan to tap the Soviets' communications, the address of an American agent in Moscow and the fact that the official would sometimes put on his wife's dresses, sit in the corner and cry for hours.
    Soviet Embassy receptionist: Very interesting.
  • Art Evolution: The characters in his earlier videos are mostly just Palette Swaps of his own avatar or any variant thereof, with males and females used to sharing the same body type and having relatively limited, simplistic animations. Starting with World War II however, many important characters began receiving increasingly detailed heads and varied body shapes that visually correspond to how they looked in real life, and their animation quality had been vastly improved as well.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • Despite the gags at the beginning of first French Revolution episode, King Louis XVI wasn't always an Adipose Rex. Based on historical records, he was quite tall for his time, standing at an impressive 6'4'', and was actually pretty muscular. In fact, he was the outdoors type, with hunting being one of his more passionate hobbies. It wasn't until his late thirties, after slacking off on exercising for years, that he became fat, and even then, he was more on the chubby side than obese.
    • The Civil War episodes include several gags portraying Ulysses Grant as a hard drinker, while actual historical evidence points strongly to a severe lightweight whose occasional indulgences were pounced upon by envious rivals, especially John McClernand, using the partisan press.
    • The Civil War episodes also play slightly on the old myth that the Confederacy had better generals than the Union. This is only possible if one focuses solely on Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia, because elsewhere the Confederate generals were generally so inferior as to make Lee seem Surrounded by Idiots. In the end, the North found four men who could all competently lead major armies to victory: U.S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Phil Sheridan, & George Thomas. The South really only ever had Lee.note 
  • Ascended Extra: King Louis XVI appeared only twice in the second American Revolution video, but he became significantly more prominent in the French Revolution videos.
  • Baguette Beatdown: The random Yellow Vest protester that joins the Yellow Turbans in "Three Kingdoms" has a baguette instead of a spear.
  • The Backwards Я: Appeared once in the intro card for the first part of his Cold War episode.
  • Bald of Evil: Benito Mussolini was a fascist dictator that was also bald.
  • Big Stupid Doo Doo Head: A member of the Third Estate of France (Everyone not in the clergy or nobility) proposes a motion that the First and Second Estates (Clergy and nobility respectively) are a bunch of poo poo heads after they vote to raise taxes on the poor. Because all Estates have one vote and the First and Second teamed up against the Third, the motion fails.
  • Blatant Lies: Henry VIII had doctors say he was a fine specimen of a man (and that they would jump his bones if they were women) despite Henry being grossly obese with smelly, oozing puss wounds.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: In the Civil War video, when the Union and the Confederate soldiers camp at opposite sides of the Fredericksburg river, soldiers from both sides began arguing, saying God is on their side. Cue lightning striking both soldiers.
    Union Soldier: Agh! Dude, uncool.
  • Broken Pedestal: King Henry VIII lost all respect for the Pope after the Pope said he couldn't divorce his wife.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Duke William II of Normandy's enemies kept insulting the Duke over his bastard heritage and his mother being a Tanner's daughter. The Duke punished them by cutting off their arms.
    • Argentina attacked the Falklands, provoking the British into sending several ships, aircraft, and soldiers to retake the islands.
  • Call-Back:
    • America continuing to find ways not to pay off debts.
    • Hitler's Dad punishing an eunuch severely in Ancient China
    • Stalin mentioning that his father punished him severely.
  • Cargo Cult: The people of Bologna really love that bucket (not enough to start a war over, though).
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Lu Bu, who had betrayed everyone he ever fought for. This gave him an untrustworthy reputation, which is why Cao Cao, rather than recruit him, executed him instead.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • William of Normandy calls his cousin Harold a bastard after learning Harold crowned himself King of England instead of giving the crown to William as promised, which one of his advisors says he thought William was the Bastard (a joke about William's infamous nickname, William the Bastard), which shocks both William and a messenger, with one of them saying how uncool that was.
    • When President Kennedy is shown the spy photos of Cuba the first thing he notices is the cute dog in the corner, rather than the Soviet missiles.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    • In the Emu War video, after trying (and failing) to gun down the emus with a turret truck, Major Meredith's just about had enough of the camera crew recording every single one of his Epic Fails on film.
      Maj. Meredith: I'm gonna shove that camera up your a-
    • Of the Cut to Another Scene type, in the first American Revolution video, in which King George III says "What. The. Fu-" before the narrator interrupts with exposition and the scene is changed to one featuring the British Parliament.
    • Marat only gets out "Yippee Kai Yay motherf-" before he's stabbed to death.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Marat, who coos over his rubber ducky when he finds it, between bouts of bloodthirsty calls for the French First and Second Estates' heads.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Before Adolf Hitler became a dictator, he suffered the wrath of an abusive father, the death of his little brother while both of them were still kids, and lived a harsh life as a homeless man after he failed to get into art school.
  • Death by Childbirth: Henry VIII's mother, Queen Elizabeth of York, died in childbirth when Henry was only 12. And thirty years later, he would similarly lose his third wife Jane Seymour after giving birth to their son Edward.
  • Decadent Court:
    • "Court Culture" in the Three Kingdoms video, featuring power-hungry eunuchs, scheming uncles, and child emperors, all vying for power.
    • The French court. Parties on the backs of starving poor citizens, even as France was spiralling into economic ruin.
  • Defector from Decadence: Several French soldiers left the French military and joined the revolutionaries' national guard due to them wanting to side against the unpopular monarchy.
  • Destination Defenestration:
    • Pope John XII was thrown out a window after a man found him fooling around with his wife which somehow caused an explosion.
    • Mussolini is shown being thrown out of a window(non-fatally) twice; first by his anti-war political party when he changed to pro-war, and again when he was removed from power.
  • Demoted to Extra: Great Britain was one of the most prominent countries in the World War II videos. In the Cold War videos, the country is mentioned a couple of times during the beginning of the first video, but after that, the spotlight is given to the conflict between the United States of America and the Soviet Union.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • King Louis XVI decided to provide funding and military support to the American Revolution in order to get revenge on Great Britain's victory in the Seven Years War. All this did was make the current financial crisis in France even worse. Louis pointed out this crisis to George Washington, but Washington didn’t address it and left.
      King Louis XVI: OoOoh NoOooOoo!!.
    • When King Louis XVI locks The National Assembly out of their meeting place, they simply decide to hold proceedings in another building (a tennis court, to be specific).
      King Louis XVI: OoOoh NoOooOoo!!.
    • Robespierre decides to make a speech before the National Convention, where he announced he had a new list of enemies to be sent to the guillotine, that he wouldn't let anyone else see, and that many members of the Convention were on it. Cue the members of the Convention unanimously deciding to send Robespierre to the guillotine.
      Robespierre: OoOoh NoOooOoo!!.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Nazi Germany started World War II, but the country ended up being the second of the three Axis Powers to take down. The final enemy of the war was Japan.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: In the Civil War videos, there's this gem from McClellan:
    McClellan: I didn't lose! I merely failed to win!
  • Double Speak: Before the Invasion of Poland, Hitler offers Stalin an alliance between their countries and in the exchange he promised that he won't refrain from not betraying Stalin sometime in the future.
    Stalin: Sounds…… good.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • On the brink of defeat, Adolf Hitler chose to take his own life rather than flee or be captured.
    • Amelia Bolanos, a young Salvadorian football fan, was so grief stricken by her country's loss to Honduras in the first world cup qualifier that she took her own life. Shockingly, the Salvadoran government glorified her death and made her a national hero.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first six videos are significantly shorter than the later ones. The two-part videos on World War I and Hitler are only 14 and 15 minutes long respectively; all the other two-part videos are 30+ minutes long together. The solo videos, the Falklands War and Football War, are under the 10 minute mark; all the other one-part videos are 10+ minutes long. All six of them are also the only videos to not have sponsors.
  • Eat the Rich: The most immediate consequence of the French Revolution, as the back-broken poor revolted and took it out on the aristocracy.
  • Entitled Bastard: Argentina claims ownership of the Falklands, but not only did the British discover the islands first, a vote was held where 99% of the people chose to be British. Even after losing the war for them, Argentina still claims the Falklands.
  • Epic Fail: Australia lost a war against emus.
  • Eunuchs Are Evil: The eunuchs that served the Chinese Emperor handed out government jobs for bribes, heavily taxed the poor, and killed several other people in the royal court so they could maximize their wealth.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Adolf Hitler loved his mother so much that the doctor said that he had never seen someone with more grief than him when his mother finally died.
  • Evil Chancellor: When Adolf Hitler became the German Chancellor, he murdered several political opponents and reporters that printed negative articles about him after the President passed away, and then he established a brutal dictatorship.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Godwin murdered Edward the Confessor's brother Alfred by stabbing him in the eyes with a red hot iron poker.
    • Rumor has it that Godwin's son Harold was struck in the eye with an arrow at the Battle of Hastings.
  • False Reassurance: Lu Bu, reassuring every warlord he fought under that he wouldn't betray them.
  • Fat Bastard:
    • Dong Zhuo, the tyrannical warlord who seized control of China. It was said he was so bloated that his fat burned for days when his corpse was immolated by discontented citizens.
    • Henry VIII didn't start as this, and was quite handsome and generous in his youth. It was only after he stopped exercising due to a jousting accident and suffered potential brain damage that he began to bulk up and start chopping people's heads off with gusto.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Lampshaded by name. King Louis XVI in the American revolution video thinks it's funny that his absolute monarchy was helping a number of discontented citizens overthrow their absolute monarchy, and wouldn't it be something if this inspired other sets of discontented citizens to overthrow their absolute monarchies?
      Oversimplified French Revolution: Coming 2027.note 
    • Also referenced in the Civil War Part 1 video, where Wilmer McLean, looking to avoid the Civil Warnote , moved his family to the small town of Appomattox, because it was someplace the war would never ever be at. The war would end in his house.
      Appomattox Court House (Foreshadowing!)
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: During the lead up to WWI, when everyone is talking behind each others backs, you can see the various nations making petty insults about their rivals... ending with Spain simply saying "Que?".
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Adolf Hitler went from a homeless guy on the streets to the brutal dictator of Germany, and he started the most destructive conflict in human history.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: The French Revolution, which started as the quest to take control of France from the upper class and monarchy and led to Napoleon Bonaparte becoming dictator over the revolutionaries' republic.
  • Fun with Subtitles: There's plenty of funny remarks in the subtitles.
  • General Failure:
    • On top of being quite vain, General George McClellan was so overly cautious that he would hesitate to attack, even when the odds were severely in his favor. After losing the Battle of Richmond, and refusing to pursue General Lee after he was pushed out of Union territory, Lincoln had enough and fired him.
    • Conrad Von Hotzendorff, the commander of the Austria-Hungarian army in World War I, wasn't the best strategist. And Austria-Hungry would regularly ignore Germany's advice during the war, only to come back and ask for their help later.
  • Genre Savvy: Cao Cao and his men killed Lu Bu rather than let him work for them, because of the fact that he betrayed everyone he ever worked for.
  • Glory Hound: Quite a few historical figures will start wars or battles in a pursuit of personal glory. This doesn't always end up working out for them.
    • Henry VIII wanted to be remembered as a glorious and powerful king, and launched several invasions into France for that expressed purpose. While he was generally successful, his wars bankrupted England and whatever gains he might have taken were quickly taken back or returned to the French soon after.
    • Horatio Gates first stole credit for the decicive victory at Saratoga from the much more talented Benedict Arnold, then talked his way into leading the southern campaign against Gen. Cornwallis while gloating his victory would lead to him taking Washington's job. He was quickly routed and Washington had the much more competent Nathanael Green take over.
    • British General Howe abandoned what could have been a devastating pincer attack that would have split the Northern Colonies from the rest of the United States for a chance to be the one to capture Philadelphia, then capitol of the U.S. The move led to the Americans rallying and defeating the other wing of the British army at Saratoga, which in turn inspired France and Spain to directly intervene and declare war on Britain. George III fired Howe for this.
  • Gold Digger: Alois Hitler is a rare male example. He married an older lady precisely because she was rich.
  • Groin Attack: The lone viking who held off the English at Stamford Bridge was killed when some soldiers went under it and stabbed him in the crotch with a spear.
  • Had To Be Sharp: Duke William II spent most of his childhood avoiding assassination attempts, which might of contributed to him becoming a tough and brutal man.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Alois Hitler had a temper that resulted in him getting angry very quickly over small things, and his son, Adolf, inherited this temper.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory: Nikita Khruschev's view on how to run the Soviet Union was that everyone should be happy. While he did pass some reforms allowing freedom of expression at first, he censored anything that he didn't personally enjoy and brutally suppressed anyone who spoke out in protest.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management:
    • Stalin's refusal to heed Churchill and Roosevelt's warnings is depicted as him, literally, diving into a pile of sand.
    • The United Kingdom and France did nothing to stop Hitler's blatant aggression and treaty violations in the years before World War II. Letting Germany rebuild its army, create an air force, and annex Austria.
    • King Louis XVI ignores all of the signs of the impending French Revolution until its too late for him to do anything about it. Even when he does, his inexperiences leads to him making the situation worse.
  • Heir Club for Men: Henry VIII is an extreme supporter of this. Much of his historical infamy can be boiled down to his queens being unable to bear him a son. To his woe, most of his children ended up being female, many of which he effectively disowned until Catherine Parr convinced him to reinstate his daughters, Mary I and Elizabeth I, to the line of succession. He ultimately had one short-lived male heir, Edward I.
  • Here We Go Again!: The fall of the Soviet Union sees new Democratic regimes pop up in former Soviet territories, so everyone in the world got along perfectly fine, right?
    (Cue images of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and other world leaders glaring daggers at one another as a Scare Chord Plays)
  • Hero with Bad Publicity:
    • Despite opposing slavery, Abraham Lincoln had a lot of detractors during the American Civil War. This is because of some ethically dubious choices he made, like arresting southern sympathizers without trail, and suppressing news articles sympathetic towards the south. The fact that he wanted to preserve the Union by winning the war while many others wanted the war to end didn't help.
    • Ulysses S. Grant was criticized for being a butcher due to the high casualties he suffered in his battles, particularly the ones against Robert E. Lee. Lincoln kept him on because at least he was doing something, and his tactics were working in the long run.
  • History Repeats:
    • In The Three Kingdoms video, the population of Ancient China always overthrew the current dynasty once it got corrupt, and this process repeated itself for centuries.
    • The introductions to both the Korean and Vietnam Wars in "Cold War" are identical:
      "And the country was divided into two. In the north, a communist regime, and in the south, an anti-communist regime. Both were led by very sweet-looking old men, but don't let that deceive you. They were both ruthless dictators, and both dreamed of reuniting Korea/Vietnam under their own regime."
    • The American Revolution happened because people didn't like paying high taxes, and several years later, the French Revolution happened because people didn't like paying high taxes.
  • Hope Spot: A particularly cruel one for Abraham Lincoln. As the Civil War drew to a close, he seemed to be looking forward to leading a country at peace and told his wife that, after all the tragedy they had suffered, it was time for them to be happy. Of course, he never got that chance.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Queen Victoria is appalled by the evil of slavery after reading Uncle Tom's Cabin, but refuses to do anything about the starving children working in the coal mines.
    • King Henry VIII was devastated when he learns that Catherine Howard had cheated on him, despite having cheated on all of his previous wives.
    • Charles V of Spain decides he doesn't want to marry Henry VIII's daughter Mary anymore, calling her "ugly". Henry is flabbergasted by this, pointing out Charles isn't much better looking either, especially with his large chin.
    Charles V: Mummy says it's a strong chin for a strong boy!
  • Inadequate Inheritor: King Louis XVI was a weak-willed man who lacked the wisdom to rule his kingdom. And everyone, including Louis, knew it.
  • I Lied: After promising British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain that he will not invade the rest of Czechoslovakia, Hitler promptly invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia.
    Chamberlain: You lied to me.
    Hitler: What do you expect? I'm Hitler.
  • In the Blood: Adolf Hitler inherited his father's anger issues.
  • Invisible Anatomy: Barring certain exceptions, such as Henry VIII, and even then only during points where they're relevant to the point at hand, none of his characters have visible legs or feet.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The "punishment" Adolf Hitler got for trying to start a German revolution was spending five years in a Luxury Prison Suite. And even then, he only served nine months of the sentence, which gave him plenty of time to write a book.
    • The United States Banana Companies who caused much of the turmoil that led to the war between Honduras and El Salvador were never stopped, and continued their corrupt practices after the Football War.
    • Representative Brooks received no punishment for assaulting another politician with his cane on the Senate floor. He was even sent a new cane to replace the one that he broke during the violence.
    • Charles V was never punished for going back on his agreements to Henry VIII. And it was Catherine of Aragon, Charles's aunt, who was blamed for not ensuring that her nephew kept his word.
  • Karmic Death: Several:
    • Lu Bu's long list of betrayals ended up being the reason Cao Cao executed him instead of recruiting him.
    • Maxmimilien Robespierre let his post-revolutionary power go to his head, and had thousands people beheaded for criticizing his new regime in any way. Eventually people realized he has completely lost it, and had him beheaded as well.
    • Josef Stalin, after many years of cruelty, died of a brain hemorrhage since all the doctors who could treat him were either dead, imprisoned or were simply too terrified to treat him.
    • Pope John XII broke his holy vows by sleeping with numerous women, and was eventually killed by a man whose wife he had been sleeping with.
    • Harold Godwinson stole the English throne after promising it to William the Bastard, and was killed at the Battle of Hastings when William invaded England to get it.
    • Thomas Cromwell conspired to get King Henry VIII's second wife Anne Boleyn executed, and was executed himself when the second woman he arranged to replace her was not to the King's liking.
    • Anne Boleyn flirted with Henry VIII and convinced him to divorce his wife so she could take her place as Queen and was executed by her husband after being framed for infidelity.
  • Kissing Cousins:
    • Catherine Howard had an affair with her cousin, Thomas Culpeper. Henry had her executed for this.
    • Alois Hitler got Clara, his cousin,note  pregnant.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After Henry VIII divorced and killed his first and second wives respectively for failing to give him sons, he ended up losing the wife that did give him a son through childbirth.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: King Louis XVI never got around to consummating his marriage, and was mocked by the peasantry for it.
  • Love Triangle: Described in "Three Kingdoms"; a court official offered his daughter's hand in marriage to both Lu Bu and Dong Zhuo. It was Dong Zhuo taking her as his concubine which finally led to Lu Bu betraying him.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Several characters will get stabbed brutally and obviously, and will react with mild surprise at best.
  • Miles Gloriosus: George McClellan; he talked big about his talent and wanted to be the guy to win the Civil War, but he was timid and hesitated to commit his forces to actually achieving that goal (Even when he had an overwhelming numerical and supply advantage) and instead overexaggerated the smaller gains he made to be great victories. Abraham Lincoln tires of this and eventually fires McClellan.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Benedict Arnold gets ignored for his aid by Ethan Allen and Horatio Gates, and then is finally openly chastised by Washington just for marrying a girl (who happened to be closely related to an English General). This causes him to switch sides.note 
  • Mood Whiplash: Some segments started out as funny before the next segment got darker. For example, the narrator shows the funny rivalry between Free States and Slave States; the next segment shows how slavery led to cruel treatment and suffering for Black Americans.
  • Motive Decay: Maxmimilien Robespierre and all the other French revolutionaries started out trying to repair their society, but after King Louis XVI was killed, they became more focused on maintaining their power by murdering civilians instead of reforming and running their country.
  • Moving the Goalposts: This is what inevitably happened every time the Allied leaders tried to appease Hitler so he will not kickstart World War II. Hitler kept wanting more land, and the Allies kept letting him have them, and repeat.
    Hitler: [seizes Austria, sees Czechoslovakia] I want that thing.
    OverSimplified: Aaaaand repeat.
  • The Napoleon: Not Napoleon himself, who only has a few short cameos in the French Revolution video as he consolidates his power. Adolf Hitler, though, is frequently described as a "small angry man with a funny mustache" who lets his temper and impulsiveness lead him into more trouble.
  • Never My Fault: George McClellan never loses. He merely fails to win.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Charlotte Corday assassinates Marat in the hopes of restoring peace on the increasingly chaotic state of the French Revolution. Not only does Corday get executed for her trouble but Marat's popularity skyrocketed even further, leading to more death and chaos for the revolution.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Germany is presented as being jerks in the World War I videos, and they sent the Zimmerman telegram to Mexico, which ensured their defeat inevitable due to the United States joining the war because of the telegram.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • Mikhail Gorbachev gave the people in the Soviet Union freedom, and everyone used that freedom to strip him of his political power.
    • King Louis XVI supported the colonies in the American Revolution, providing financial and military aid. Not only did this bankrupt France, but also inspired the French people to have their own revolution and overthrow Louis.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer:
    • Happens when OverSimplified has to clarify that Marie Antoinette really did have a hairstyle shaped like a boat at one point.
    • In the Hitler videos, he says that after Hitler graduated, he got black-out drunk and wiped his ass with his graduation certificate, which OverSimplified then clarifies that it's a true story.
  • Not So Different: Both halves of Korea (Kim Il-Sung and Rhee Syng-Man) and Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh and Ngo Dinh Diem). "And the country was divided into two. In the north, a communist regime, and in the south, an anti-communist regime. Both were led by very sweet-looking old men, but don't let that deceive you. They were both ruthless dictators, and both dreamed of reuniting Korea/Vietnam under their own regime."
  • Nuke 'em: Defied. General Douglas MacArthur tells President Truman to fire nukes at half a million Chinese troops who were crossing into Korea. Truman rejects the order and relives MacArthur of his command.
  • Obviously Evil: In World War I, the Germans had spikes and skulls on their uniforms while they committed atrocities in Belgium.
  • Off-Model: Dwight Eisenhower is apparently really hard to draw. The channel had two separate designs for him and had to settle with the first rather than make a third.
  • Off with His Head!: Henry VIII and Max Robespierre had a tendency to cut off the heads of people who objected to their actions.
  • Only Friend: When Adolf Hitler was 16, August Kubizek was the only friend that he had. They spent most of their time together at the opera.
  • Only Sane Man: Maxmimilien Robespierre was the only member of the Radicals to know that they were unprepared for a war with Austria. Inverted later when Robespierre started getting Drunk On Power and the other Radicals thought his Reign of Terror might be a bit too much.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Abraham Lincoln and King Henry VII outlived their firstborn sons.
  • Parental Neglect: King Henry VII sees his firstborn son Arthur as nothing but a political tool through his engagement to Catherine of Aragon, and forgets his other son Henry even exists until Arthur dies and he suddenly becomes useful to slot into the same role.
  • Poor Communication Kills: After William the Conqueror was crowned King of England, he mistook the celebration taking place in Westminster for a riot and burnt it down.
  • Pregnant Badass: Catherine of Aragon led armies against Scotland while she was pregnant with Mary I.
  • Pungeon Master: Abraham Lincoln was described as a man who loved telling long stories and punny jokes, much to his Cabinet's chagrin.
  • Puppet King: The Pope used to be a pawn of secular kings and nobles that used him to increase their own power.
  • Pyrrhic Victory:
    • The American Revolution ended up as this not for America itself, but for France. Aiding the revolution resulted in France ending up with more debt than before the war, and they gained nothing out of it.
    • All of King Henry VIII's victories against France resulted in him running out of money, and he failed to keep any territory he gained from his conquests.
  • The Red Baron: Played for laughs. In the Civil War videos, General Grant gets jealous of "Stonewall" Jackson's cool name and christens himself "Unconditional Surrender Grant" (an epithet which was given to him in real life).
  • Revenge Before Reason: King Louis XVI was more concerned with getting revenge on Great Britain for the outcome of the Seven Years War than he was on solving France's financial crisis, and that desire for revenge made the economy even worse because it drove him to finance the American colonies' revolution.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The French Revolutionaries started with good intentions when overthrowing the corrupt clergy and nobility, but once Robespierre and his hardliners took over they soon started targeting all of the clergy and nobility no matter how corrupt they were or not, eventually targeting anyone who criticized Robespierre and his policies.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Cao Cao, in a moment of genre-savviness, lets Lu Bu help him win his throne, and then has him executed so that Lu Bu doesn't backstab him like he did everyone else.
  • Running Gag: Several.
    • Every video from the WW2 videos onwards would advertise a website or MMORPG, sometimes integrating parts of the story told by the videos into the sponsoring itself, such as the idea of Winston Churchill logging on to Skillshare, an education website, to learn new skills through online courses.
    • Now some of you might be thinking, "But OverSimplified, X didn’t discover [subject matter]. The Vikings did." And you'd be [right/wrong].
    • Any time a group of characters are looking at an oversimplified military map one of them will comment "Fascinating."
    • "This enraged his father, who punished him severely," accompanied by a picture of Alois Hitler spanking young Adolf. First used to describe every way in which Hitler's father beat him growing up, later the animation was used to show how badly Yuan Shao's army was pillaging the Eunuchs.
    • Whenever something unfortunate happens to someone behind his back, expect them to say "Dude.(beat) Uncool."
    • "More Economic Downturn", used when something happens to worsen a country's financial situation, first used to describe the situation that helped lead to the Emu War.
    • Some are specific to their episodes.
      • Every time there's a presidential election in the Cold War videos, the line describing it is "Americans decided they wanted a new president, who would be tough on communism. So they elected Dwight Eisenhower/John F Kennedy/Lyndon Johnson/Richard Nixon/Ronald Reagan." note 
      • Every time King Louis XVI panics in the French Revolution video, he screams "OOOoOoh NOoOoOo!". Later, Robespierre does it too when his followers get fed up with his increasing paranoia and vote to execute him instead of his list of enemies.
      • In the video on the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln repeatedly tells General George McClellan to do something, usually because the North has an overwhelming advantage over the South, only for McClellan to let out a Little "No".
      • Wilmer McLean getting annoyed by his wife Martha while he's in the middle of doing something, usually trying to escape from the war.
    • If someone gets bad news or a lot of stress dumped on them, there will be a beat before their face twists into the LOL Guy face while they scream in panic.
    • When William the Bastard and Henry VII visit the Pope, he is counting stacks of money.
  • Sanity Slippage: Henry VIII is tracked from his time as a beloved youthful monarch to an even worse tyrant than his father, including the theory that he suffered brain damage in a jousting accident.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Cardinal Wolsey suggests Henry VIII should go to war with France despite his council's objections because Henry's the king and can do whatever he wants. Henry began applying this to other facets of his life as he started suffering from Sanity Slippage.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Germany sent the Zimmerman telegram to Mexico in attempt to make sure that the United States didn't join the war, and all the telegram achieved was ensure that the United States entered the war.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • In the second American Revolution video, King Louis XVI remarks to Benjamin Franklin that if the American Revolution was a success, the French populace may be inspired to overthrow the King's monarchy as well. He says "Now that's foreshadowing" as the French Revolution videos are teased. (Although the tease indicates that the videos are coming in 2027, in fact they have already been released on mid-2019.)
    • The narrator in the second part video of the Cold War says he could never do the Vietnam War justice in the video while discussing it, with on-screen text hinting that Vietnam War videos are coming eventually.
    • The French Revolution video ends with a direct tease for the Napoleonic Wars.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • The Football War. Neither side won or gained anything from the war.
    • Henry VIII wanted to be remembered as a glorious king with a long dynasty. Nowadays he's mostly remembered for his multiple wives and mass executions, and all of his heirs ended up dying childless, resulting in the Tudors falling out of power to be replaced by the Stuarts.
  • Shout Out: Different little references are snuck in from time to time.
    • In the first World War II video, the final two steps on Hitler's plan are "3. ???" and "4. Profit!!".
    • In the French Revolution videos, references include Robespierre holding a Buster Sword, Marie Antoinette's hair being an AT-AT, Merat being likened to Obi-Wan Kenobi, a bread Iron Throne, and just before he's stabbed, Merat's last words are Yippee Kai Yay motherf-
    • The Buster Sword shows up again in the Cold War videos, being held by the USA, while the Soviet Union wields the Masamune.
    • The Three Kingdoms episode repeatedly uses the line, "Its Lu Bu".
    • "Never Gonna Give You Up" is referenced multiple times, sometimes several hundreds of years before it was created. For example, a bird in Three Kingdoms is seen singing it in Chinese, and Henry VIII is seen singing it in Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe.
    • In "Civil War Part One", Lincoln is shown entertaining some colleagues with a funny story, to which one remarks he's a very funny man. Lincoln immediately becomes serious and asks "Funny how? Like I'm a clown?"
    • Another Civil War example: The scene where Lincoln calls for men to fight for the Union references the famous "the beacons are lit" scene in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, complete with Lincoln sounding a horn and nearby beacons being lit.
    • When Catherine of Aragon is depicted fighting against Scotsmen while pregnant in the Henry VIII episode, the word "pregnant" is, seemingly deliberately, mispelled "prangent" as a reference to the memetic video "how is prangent formed".
  • Silly Reason for War: The narrator reveals some wars that may sound silly due to their name are actually more complicated since there were tensions between both sides and the silly thing was the final straw that spark war between them.
    • The Football War between Honduras and El Salvador wasn't the result of Honduran fans harassing El Salvador's Football team during the 1970 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers but due to tensions between the two nations over the Honduran Government's anti-immigration policies against Salvadoran farmers living in Honduras, some of whom had been there for years. Things just came to a head around that particular football match as it provided the perfect excuse, along with state media sensationalizing things such as a girl's suicide.
    • Averted with The War of the Bucket as the story that claimed the war started due to the city of Modena stealing the city of Bologna's bucket is not true as it turns out both cities have hated each other for a long time and they each supported either the Pope or the Holy Roman Emperor and the bucket was taken after Modena won against Bologna as a spoil of war.
    • The Emu War plays this trope straight. The War was nothing more than an PR attempt by Minister of Defense George Pearce, to win over Farmers whose crops were getting eaten by Emus and get himself a nice feather hat. Instead it became a national embarrassment since not only did the Australian Army failed in their mission to stop the Emus but the Emus were able to outsmart the army that it made them a laughing stock.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • Henry VII is more broken up about his marriage pact with Spain being in jeopardy than he is over the fact that his son died.
    • The farmer in Gettysburg running out to tend to his bean patch despite the fact that two armies are fighting to the death outside.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Zigzagged. While European nations decided to not intervene in the war once Lincoln chose to make it about ending slavery, and many people in the Union, like Abraham Lincoln and John Brown, viewed slavery as evil, many people opposed slavery out fear that plantations would take away their livelihoods, making the opposition more of an economical issue than a moral one.
  • Spare to the Throne: Henry VIII was being trained for a life as a clergyman while his older brother Arthur became king. Then Arthur died suddenly after his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, and Henry was bumped from spare to heir.
  • Start My Own:
    • Mussolini decides to start his own political party, the Fascists, after he gets kicked out of the Socialist party for his pro-war rhetoric. His barber finds it all fascinating, but it doesn't solve the question of what kind of haircut Mussolini wants.
    • Henry VIII gets fed up with the Pope and the Catholic Church not being on his side in his divorce from Catherine, so he forms the Church of England because he's the king and can do what he wants.
  • Start of Darkness: King Henry VIII's tyrannical reign began when he dissolved monasteries across England, used the money accumulated by the monasteries to pay for parties at his palace, and killed anyone who objected to his actions.
  • Strategy Versus Tactics: This was the case between the Union and Confederates during the American Civil War. The North had a larger population and stronger industry, while the South had more skilled and effective generals. While the South was able to win a number of impressive victories, it was Union's ability replace its loses that won them the war.
  • Succession Crisis:
    • The second half of the The Three Kingdoms video goes over how several Chinese warlords were fighting to become the next ruler over China after Dong Zhuo was killed, which opened up a power vacuum.
    • The Wars of 1066 following Edward the Confessor's death; Edward had alledgedly pledged to William Duke of Normandy that he would be king following Edward's death, but then Edward's brother-in-law Harold Godwinson claimed the throne instead. Things got further complicated when Harald Hadrada, the viking king of Norway, also made a claim to the throne saying the previous viking ruler of England had promised the throne to him.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: King Louis and Marie Antoinette, fleeing France, are met by a postman who recognizes them, but they solemnly swear they aren't fleeing the country but are only heading to the border for no particular reason. The postman didn't buy it at all. See Double Speak above.
  • Surrounded by Idiots:
    • Robespierre knew that going to war with Austria was a bad idea, but his peers started the war anyway.
    • Abraham Lincoln had several incompetent generals during the American Civil War.
    • Hitler is portrayed as having this opinion towards Mussolini, as he repeatedly had to send German troops to support Italy's floundering campaigns.
    • The Imperial German commander at the beginning of "Cold War" can only sputter in disbelief when his men bring him John Lennon instead of Vladimir Lenin like he asked.
  • Take That!:
    • Marie Antoinette's famous "Let them eat cake!" is angrily denounced by one of her chancellors as proof of how out-of-touch the nobles are, so she responds with "Well... Then let them eat Taco Bell Crunch Wrap Supreme". The chancellor is horrified, saying they aren't THAT desperate.
    • From the American Revolution video, "[Washington] set up a cabinet of expert advisors knowing that no president could know everything, no matter how much of a stable genius they claimed to be.
  • Tempting Fate: Immediately after characters say something along the lines of "I sure hope X doesn't happen," X happens.
    • John F. Kennedy, after Soviet and NATO tanks inched away from the wall dividing East and West Berlin, said "Phew, let's hope that was the biggest crisis of my presidency." And then the Cuban Missile Crisis happens. He repeats this quote when the Cuban Missile Crisis is solved, before he is assassinated.
  • Title Drop: Oversimplified admits that the dissolution of the Soviet Union is a complicated topic, prompting his avatar to appear.
    Author Avatar: So believe me, this is oversimplified.
  • Token Good Teammate: Mikhail Gorbachev was the only leader of the Soviet Union to genuinely care about the happiness of his population, rather than just claiming they did like Nikita Khrushchev.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Archduke Franz Ferdinand is presented as such. Not only for deciding to take a trip down to Serbia when tensions were at an all time high, but also for going back out after avoiding the first assassination attempt.
    • Maxmimilien Robespierre told everyone at the National Convention that several of them were on a list of enemies to be sent the guillotine, and he said that none of them were allowed to see it. Naturally, everyone decides to kill him first instead.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Cardinal Wolsey told Henry VIII that as the king, he can do whatever he wants, and Anne Boleyn influenced Henry VIII to dissolve monasteries across England to fund their parties. Both of these people and what they said set Henry VIII on the path to tyranny.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Despite the fact that King Henry VIII defended the Pope militarily from France and intellectually from Martin Luther, the Pope refused to permit Henry VIII's requested divorce.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid:
    • Of all people, Adolf Hitler. Growing up, he was a mischievous little boy who loved his siblings and his mother. He even got good grades in school growing up, and he dreamed of finding a career in art. But an abusive father, the death of his little brother via measles when he was only ten, the bullying he suffered in high school, his mother dying because of cancer, his failure to get into art school, and the harsh life he lived as a homeless man set him on the path to become the monster he's remembered as today.
    • Henry VIII was described as a cheerful and intelligent child, and when he grew up he was very generous to his friends, liked to throw fun parties, and was Happily Married to Catherine of Aragon. Then all the stresses of being king started to pile up, Henry was injured and started gaining weight (not to mention possible brain damage from his fall), and he soon became another paranoid butcher just like his father Henry VII.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Jean-Paul Marat had a newspaper that condoned murdering the King, nobility, and even politicians that were technically on his side because they also supported the French Revolution. He ended up being popular because he spread fear and anger among the people.
  • War for Fun and Profit: A recurring solution to many a leader's woes. People suspicious that your new government came to power by corrupt means? Start a war. Everyone in your country miserable due to a bad economy? Start a war. Need some more land for your people to spread out and be happy? Start a war. Bored and want to have some fame and fortune come your way? Start a war.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Part of the reason Yuan Shao's coalition to overthrow Dong Zhuo ultimately fell apart was due to the participating warlord's mutual dislike of each other.
  • We Have Reserves: This is how Ulysses Grant defeated Robert E. Lee. Unlike his fellow Union Generals who were too cautious or never taking action when they were in the advantage, Grant knew the Union had enough troops, supplies and firepower to replace any losses while the Confederates didn't. Thus Grant kept attacking Lee's army repeatedly to the point they suffered massive casualties which convinced Lee to surrender.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: John Brown wanted to end slavery, even if he had to resort to incredibly violent methods to do so.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Henry VIII received one of these after a jousting accident, which left his leg infected and constantly oozing pus for years afterwards.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Dong Zhou didn't seem too concerned that his ward Lu Bu, who betrayed everyone he ever fought for, could potentially betray him.
    • Neville Chamberlain thought he could stop Hitler from invading Czechoslovakia through peaceful methods. Boy, was he wrong.
    Chamberlain: You lied to me.
    Hitler: What do you expect? I'm Hitler.
  • You All Look Familiar: Character models are reused from time to time, sometimes mix-and-matched, sometimes for comedy. For instance, in "The War of the Bucket", Giovanni Kablami is Benito Mussolini's model with Marat's face. One of the Popes from that same episode has King George III's face. As well, Alois Hitler pops up in Curb Stomp Battles, spanking people.
  • You and What Army?: The king of Italy asks this of Mussolini when he asks to be made prime minister. Mussolini shows off his army to get the king to change his mind.
    "... Fair enough."
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Catherine Howard cheated on Henry VIII several times, including affairs with her cousin.
    • Alois cheated on his first wife several times, including one with a house servant.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • Downplayed with Catherine of Aragon. She failed to provide Henry VIII a male heir and maintain an alliance with Spain, resulting in her husband divorcing her.
    • Henry VIII has Thomas Cromwell executed for setting up a marriage between the king and Anne of Cleves, whom Henry claimed was unattractive.

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Video Example(s):


You're deposed!

King Henry IV confronts the pope regarding some of the new policies implemented, and plans to have said pope deposed. The pope, however, uses his new power in an attempt to depose the emperor. Both parties find themselves trying and failing to depose one another back to back.

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