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Dutchess_III's avatar

If you could go back in time and kill Hitler and save millions of lives, but knew that in doing so you, and everyone you know, would never be born, would you do it anyway?

Asked by Dutchess_III (28300 points ) January 20th, 2012

Inspired by that other question about going back in time and killing a serial killer.

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12 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

I love how people think they could just walk up to the guy and kill him, lol. You would just end up in Valkyrie with Tom Cruise.

We wouldn’t even know the people we know now, anyway. We would just know different people the same way.

tedd's avatar

This comes with a huge caveat. Hitler had such a profound effect on the lives of everyone today, that as you pointed out many of us very well may not exist today or would be leading entirely different lives .. had Hitler been removed before he could commit his atrocities.

But you are also assuming history would’ve played out the same way. Many historians think that Joseph Stalin was actually worse than Hitler, and Hitler simply beat him to the crazy world conquest punch bowl. Another little known fact about pre-WW2 Germany, the rival political party to the NAZI’s (before the NAZI’s killed them all after securing power), was the communists. Now imagine if WW2 actually started in the early 50’s, with the aggressor being an incredibly powerful, much more developed USSR.. lead by Stalin, the man who said “When you kill 60, it’s a tragedy. When you kill 6 million, it’s a statistic.” Also, the US wouldn’t have had the atom bomb to counter them. That was developed thanks to Einstein fleeing to America and warning us that the Nazi’s were developing the bomb.

Not to mention Japan would’ve still had ambitions of world domination even if Hitler weren’t there.

The gist of all of this is to say that WW2, in some form or another, was basically inevitable. As awful and terrible as the conflict was, and how horrific the holocaust turned out…. we should almost be grateful that history did play out like it did…. because at least we know how it ends.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Blackberry that’s funny! You question the l logic of being able to just walk up to Hitler and kill him, but not the logic of going back in time!

No..chances are you would never have even been conceived. You wouldn’t know anybody.

JilltheTooth's avatar

There’s an old joke to this effect: Hitler has brought the German economy back from the ruin of the Depression, and is rebuilding. His followers are grateful, and can’t imagine that this man is anything but a savior. A time-traveler appears, and kills him while he’s on stage. He collapses, the crowd gasps and the stage-manager whispers to the guy in charge of the entourage “Quick! Bring in the body-double!” The other guy says “Are you sure? He’s a real jerk and goes off script sometimes…”

SABOTEUR's avatar

@tedd Well said.

ragingloli's avatar

No. Temporal Prime Directive.

Nullo's avatar

No, for reasons that are surprisingly similar to @ragingloli.‘s

King_Pariah's avatar

Meh, not feeling up to it, ask again later and I might be in a more… Interested mood.

Blackberry's avatar

@Dutchess_III Lol, yeah, but I thought that was too obvious.

muppetish's avatar

I don’t believe in changing history over directing our future. Where would we even stop? There were so many genocides and traumatic experience in the name of war, honour, religion, etc. How far back are we willing to go to make the world “better”? We don’t have control over anything. For all we know, our actions could make everything worse.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! You don’t believe in something that can’t be done, @muppetish!

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