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Molotov or mazel tov cocktail? How one of the world's most well-known weapons got its name

Molotov or mazel tov cocktail? How one of the world's most well-known weapons got its name

Scottie Nell Hughes Molotov cocktail origins Donald Trump

CNN

Scottie Nell Hughes speaks with CNN on November 6, 2016.

Donald Trump's surrogates have said a number of perplexing things over the course of the election, but a recent misstatement stands out.

Scottie Nell Hughes, $4, criticized the Clinton campaign for having Jay Z and Beyoncé appear at a recent campaign event.

"One of his main videos starts off with a crowd throwing Mazel Tov cocktails at the police," Hughes $4, referring to the music video for Jay Z's "$4."

"Mazel tov" is, of course, a popular Hebrew phrase used to express congratulations or good fortune to someone, not usually used in an explosive context.

Hughes was likely referring to a Molotov cocktail, an improvised weapon that often uses a rag stuffed into a bottle of liquor or some other flammable substance and launched at vehicles or buildings. Such a weapon was reportedly used in the fire that $4 a North Carolina GOP office in October.

Weapons of this type are believed to have $4 during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, when Republican fighters hurled them at tanks belonging to Nationalist forces.

Nazis Soviets USSR Molotov Stalin World War 2 II nonagression pact Ribbentrop

AP Photo

The scene in Moscow on August 23, 1939, after representatives of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia signed their 10-year Non Aggression Pact. Shown from left to right are: Freidrich Gaus, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Vyacheslav Molotov, and Joseph Stalin. Molotov signed for Russia and von Ribbentrop signed for Germany.

But it only became the Molotov cocktail during the early days of World War II, when Soviet forces - still emboldened by the secret nonaggression backed signed by Russian foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and his Nazi counterparts - invaded Finland in what has become known as the "Winter War."

When reports began circulating that Russian forces were bombing the Finns at the outset of that 1939-1940 conflict, Molotov, which means "hammer" in Russian, objected, $4 that the Soviets were in fact dropping food and drink over Finland.

Exhibiting wit under fire, the Finns started $4 to the cluster munitions dropped by the Soviets as "Molotov bread baskets."

Anti-government protesters hold Molotov cocktails as they attack an office of the pro-presidential Party of the Regions in Kiev, February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Maksym Kudymets

Thomson Reuters

Antigovernment protesters hold Molotov cocktails as they attack an office of the pro-presidential Party of the Regions in Kiev.

To complete the pairing, Finnish fighters started calling the incendiary bombs they used against Russian forces "Molotov cocktails."

They weren't limited to Scandinavia, however.

$4 to the New Republic, as British forces girded themselves for a potential Nazi invasion in 1940, armed home-guard units were given Molotov cocktails to be used for domestic defense.

Despite Hughes objections, Molotov cocktails are not currently banned in the US. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms considers them "destructive devices" under the National Firearms Act, $4 to the New Republic.

While that means Molotov cocktails aren't prohibited, it does require you to register them with the ATF.

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