A study has found that if given the choice to travel back in time and kill Hitler, men are more likely to do so than women.
And I asked myself, “Self, would you kill Hitler?” And Self said, “It depends.”
Oh, Self. It’s Hitler! Explain yourself, Self.
Okay, here’s my thinking:
If it were not a matter of traveling back in time — that is if I were a person living in the 1930s and 1940s — and in a position to kill Hitler, then absolutely I’d do that in a hot minute.
But go back in time? Do you people not read or watch any science fiction? These things always backfire!
- What if killing Hitler allowed a better commander to step into the vacuum and Germany won, or at least didn’t lose (a la WWI)?
- What if killing Hitler benefited Stalin, who was even more of a mass murderer than Hitler?
- And why not kill Stalin or Mao instead? They killed more people, after all.
- We know how World War II and all the following events turned out. The idea of avoiding that horrible war and the Holocaust are definitely appealing, but what if killing Hitler didn’t avoid either? Or made them worse? Hitler was one man — albeit an influential man — but he wasn’t the only one who pushed for war or slaughter of “undesirables.”
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No, I wouldn’t “go back” and kill Hitler because I don’t have the ability to know the consequences of that act. Changing history seems full of unknown dangers and fueled by hubris. No, I wouldn’t change history, but I hope I will learn from it and act on that counsel in my own time.
What about you? Would you kill Hitler (Or Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc?) Why or why not?