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jellyfish3232's avatar

If you could go back in time and kill Hitler before he started the Holocaust, would you?

Asked by jellyfish3232 (1849points) March 23rd, 2011

I mean, it would stop millions of innocent deaths. But, who knows how drastically history would have been altered?

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22 Answers

janbb's avatar

I’d like to believe I would.

Mikewlf337's avatar

No I wouldn’t because there would have been someone else in his place. It wouldn’t have stopped anything. Just be another person in his place doing the same thing. Hitler wasn’t the only person who wanted to exterminate the jews.

Summum's avatar

No because of the possible problem associated with Time Travel and change that could occur. That is why we will not be able to come up with a Time Machine.

ucme's avatar

Nah, i’d guide him down an alternative career path. Maybe in the entertainment industry, he could play a lovable tramp complete with bowler hat & cane. You never know, may change his outlook. Besides, Himmler was the true evil bastard. Now him i’d kill twice.

ragingloli's avatar

No. Temporal Prime Directive.

Qingu's avatar

I thought it was widely accepted that this is the first thing you’re supposed to do if you get a time machine.

Edit: possibly the second, after a trip to the future to get nanotech/future-magic weapons for said assassination.

Raven_Rising's avatar

Probably not. I would attempt to change his mind, perhaps remind him of the artist that he had wanted to be but quite frankly, I don’t have it in me to kill someone in cold blood, even someone who is as vile as Hitler.

Not to mention that its all Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey stuff. Once you change something this monumental in the past, who the hell knows what will happen. Sure, the possibility of things being better is there but so is the likelihood of things staying the same (or being worse, if you can imagine such a thing). Best not to mess with it.

Summum's avatar

What could happen by killing him is that different things occur and the Time Machine was never built in the future and now you are stuck where you are and can’t get back because your machine doesn’t exist.

ragingloli's avatar

“the Time Machine was never built in the future”
Which means you never could have travelled to the past in the first place.

Qingu's avatar

The question-asker needs to clarify which time travel rules are at work (i.e. Bill and Ted, 12 Monkeys, or Terminator 2).

ucme's avatar

I’m going to ride in the Delorean :¬)

saintDrew's avatar

too late i already did!

YARNLADY's avatar

No, of course not. I would go back to before he was born and give his mother birth control pills.

Raven_Rising's avatar

@YARNLADY that is a fantastic answer!

fundevogel's avatar

It really depends on what kind of time travel we’re talking a about. If it’s the Back to the Future sort then no. With that kind of time travel any sort of meddling in the past is a crime against the future. If Hitler was killed I, and probably millions more would cease to exist because my grandparents met as a result of the war.

However, if it’s the sort of time travel that produces a new timeline, booya kashaw. It won’t affect our timeline but will produce an entirely new world. And hopefully they will be better off for Hitler’s assassination. Though I suspect they’ll continue to have serious antisemitism problem since it was collective guilt at what was done to the Jews that struck down hundreds of years of contempt and hatred towards them. Though, they wouldn’t have that Israel/Palestine mess to deal with.

Regardless of if the evil of Hitler could be averted it’s hard to say if the result would be better. It would be wonderful to sidestep the holocaust but ultimately you don’t know where that sidestep will take you. You hope it will be better. and it definitely will be it someways, but I expect that in some ways our world is slightly more equipped to avoid some evil at least having seen so much of it.

All speculation of course. Who knows, you could conceive of our seemingly linear past as the result of time travelers already having meddled with it. Hitler could even be the result of them averting some horror now wiped from our timeline. You would never know it.

12Oaks's avatar

No, but I may try to pick up his future wife before they meet. She was rather hot looking.

KateTheGreat's avatar

I know the noble thing to say would be yes, but I really wouldn’t. Everything happened for a reason, therefore we shouldn’t want to change it. The Holocaust served as an example of the evil nature of some humans. It shows that we have to be cautious about what is going on. It hasn’t necessarily deterred any other genocide, but I’d like to think it has inspired someone to work against those forces of evil. If I could go back in time, I’d probably lead him down a different path. Even then, he would have found some way to destroy lives.

El_Cadejo's avatar

If science fiction has taught me anything its DONT FUCK WITH TIME TRAVEL. If you are going back in time DO NOT interact with anything. Sure you may think your stopping some travesty but you could just as well be throwing your time into an apocalyptic world.

josie's avatar

That is the kind of stuff I do best. I would do it in a heartbeat.

tedd's avatar


It would change history to the point where life would probably be nothing like it is today.

(not to mention it would have given Stalin free range to grow into a superpower and start WW2 himself…. and frankly I’m not sure we’d have won that WW2)

theninth's avatar

Look, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from a lifetime spent watching Doctor Who, it’s that there are some things that happen that absolutely must happen. If I killed Hitler, someone would replace him. If I did something to prevent him from becoming a dictator, someone else would do it. There’s things you can change and things you can’t. Considering the impact that World War Two had, I think that falls into the “things you can’t change”.

I might meddle just a little, to give the Allies a leg up and maybe decrease some of the loss and destruction. Maybe save a few artifacts. You know there are a lot of treasures that the Nazis took but have never resurfaced, right? Maybe I’ve already done this, and they’re tucked away in my cellar. I’m just sayin’.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, but I would secretly put a contraceptive into Hitler’s mother’s drinks.

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