Adolf Hitler: 1889-1945
Adolf Hitler, undoubtedly the most controversial name to appear on this list, but I can assure you that his place on this list is well deserved, so bear with me. In order to explain his inclusion, we must go back to the beginning, or near beginning. Hitler was a veteran of the Great War who felt deeply let down by his country leaders who, in the opinion of many in the German army had accepted a humiliating armistice agreement in 1918. As a result Germany became burdened with reparations that were simply impossible to pay, a staggering 269 Reichmarks or 11 billion pounds.
Towards the end of the war, waves of workers’ strikes crippled munitions factories across the country. In Hitler’s mind these strikes snatched defeat from the jaws of certain victory. His anger wasn’t directed at the workers in general but instead Socialist Jewish Marxists, whom he believed were responsible for trying to cripple Germany.
The aftermath of the Treaty of Versailles saw Germany plunge into an unprecedented economic depression, hyperinflation was rife with the now famous images of men carrying home their pitiful wages in a wheelbarrow. The Weimar government that presided over German affairs at the time was weak, many including Hitler’s fledgling Nazi party tried to overthrow the government. For his part Hitler was thrown in jail, and it was during his time in captivity that his hatred of Jews and Bolsheviks grew even more. He believed that Jewish bankers were responsible for the rises in capitalist powers, through their money lending and pursuit of profit.
Eventually, Hitler became obsessed with the notion of restoring all life on earth to some sort of supposed natural order. He attempted to re-create a supposed master human race of blond hair and blue eyes that could eventually breed ‘impure stock’ out of existence. These ghastly ideas led to a second global war that stimulated the advance of modern technology, especially nuclear energy and rocket technology. You could say that Hitler’s global war helped to speed up the onset of the space race, and also the development of advanced computers, plus industrialized agriculture which has simply transformed the world. That’s why he’s here.