Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Go back in time- Kill Hitler

I love time travel stories, particularly tales of travel into the past and thoughts of "What would I do if I could go back in time?  What would I try to change?"

There are lots of events in my own past I'd be tempted to change.

Beyond the personal, there are so many events I would like to witness first-hand to see for myself how badly misinformed I am due to errors of history or willful disinformation.

But one almost universal thought I hear connected to the idea of time travel is the assertion that "If I went back in time I'd kill Hitler."

Regardless of whether they'd smother newborn Hitler or shoot him just before he began to kill the innocents, they seem to be saying that they would, with the wisdom of information about the future, be bold enough to do something that would be seen by most contemporary observers to be an act of evil.  In order to prevent an actual evil that would then (probably) never come to pass.  They might even go down in history as an evil assassin.  Or a baby murderer.

Sadly, by the time that killing Hitler was obviously the right thing to do, his security apparatus made chances of success almost nil.

I wonder what would happen if I could somehow send a message back in time to the 1930s, to people who might encounter Hitler before it was too late.  Back before the tides of history became obvious.  Back when an assassin would have been seen as evil.

Maybe we have dodged that bullet before.  What would people say to the purely hypothetical claim that JFK was just days away from becoming a mass-murdering despot when he was shot?  It seems highly unlikely, but since he was killed and we can't know what he would have done the next day, there could never be any real proof.  A time-traveling assassin could do a lot of good while being judged to be a monster.

What would a time traveler from 50 years in our future do if he showed up tomorrow?  Or, if he couldn't physically return to this point in time, but could send you a message, what might he tell you?  What would you do about it?

Funny thing about today- it will be history soon enough.  You are living in someone's "history" today.  How will our grandchildren and their grandchildren view us?  How do we view the Germans of the 1930s?  I wonder what their ghosts might say to us if they could communicate.



  1. Be better off killing Churchill because he was more responsible for the war than Hitler.

  2. "Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, a veritable butterfly, enjoying itself to the full of its bent, and not knowing it was Chuang Chou. Suddenly I awoke, and came to myself, the veritable Chuang Chou. Now I do not know whether it was then I dreamt I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man. Between me and the butterfly there must be a difference. This is an instance of transformation".

    As translated by James Legge, and quoted in The Three Religions of China: Lectures Delivered at Oxford (1913) by William Edward Soothill, p. 75
    Today is the only day there is. It's the first day of the rest of your life. Use it wisely.


  3. We are very much like Germans in the 1930s. We see it being done, and more being prepared. And we pretend there's nothing that can stop the theft, wars, murder, criminals.
    Miseducation and mass media are strategic weapons that shape the battlefield.

  4. First, as a former science fiction reader in my youth, I am quite aware of the time travel paradox: Doing something in the past may have unforseen consequences in the future, such as you not being born and, therefore, not able to go back in time.

    Second, why not kill Marx and Engels. Communism, the evil regimes it produced, were responsible for at least 100 million murders in the 20th Century. Hilter? A paltry 6 to 9 million.

  5. But for some reason you rarely hear anyone plotting to go back in time to kill anyone else. Although some misguided people want to go back and save one particular tyrant: Lincoln.

  6. shoot jesus before he became to be

    woulf have eliminated a lot of troublemaking dumb arrogant christains

    and maybe mohamed and yawaeh too

    humans are awfully stupid...


  7. I am reminded of the Book of Judges, where a relatively anarchic society with private conflict resolution begged for a King.

    Makes me wonder, if a message was sent, would anyone listen? There are enough messages from the past saying what to watch out for, and not enough pay attention as it is.

  8. Re Curt: God warned the Hebrews about having a king: He will make your sons into soldiers and your daughters into handmaidens (or something along that same vein). The Hebrews still wanted a king. If people won't listen to God, why would then listen to a time traveller?