VIEW ALL LATEST

ICONS ARE BETTER #64: THE MOLOTOV COCKTAIL

Vyacheslav Molotov didn’t actually invent it. He was, rather, its main recipient. He was the guy who, along with a Nazi counterpart, carved up Eastern Europe between the great powers. He saved Finland for Russia, then bombed it – and in a staggering bit of rebranding, claimed the bombs were food parcels.

So when the improvised fire-bomb was invented, the Finns played exactly the same game, calling it a cocktail, and naming it after the man who made them use it.

It’s simple – a bottle with a rag in it. It looks harmless, until lit. Basically anyone can make it (the Wikipedia page literally has a section called “Recipe”), and almost every civilian militia since 1939 has done so.

And it’s deadly.

Yet it still has that name. One of the most widely used weapons, with a pun for a name. Even war needs a sense of humour.

James Mitchell – Senior Planner