Who was the GREATEST



  • Last year I went to a dinner party with other history majors. I love to talk. There is nothing worse than silence at a party. Keeping this in mind I alway keep several hot questions that are certain to get people to talk and think. This is my favorite.

    Einstein was great, but this title belonged to Churchill.



  • Churchill was a major figure in English politics and on the World stage for roughly half a century.  No one else even comes close.



  • It did not fail to escape my notice that my name is inaccurately omitted from this list.



  • I didn’t see Tom Smith on that list. He was a factory worker in the 30’s and could he take down Scotch like nobodies business. He could drink a whole bottle and still ride his bycicle to buy a nights lodging for a nickel. In those day nickels were worth quite a bit. Tom also was a stern father, using the belt to the backsides of his 4 children weekly. They all grew up to be factory workers. Now a days, kids have no respect. Reckon it’s time for that belt to come back out. Reckon so.



  • Who are the two ‘other’ votes?



  • Reagan was great too, but Churchill has to be the person of the Century, no doubt.



  • I voted Hitler. He was a very great man, after all he did take over all of europe and it did take 3 super pwers combined forces to stop him.

    But my true great person would have to be JFK.



  • Einstein - his contributions to science, humanity, responsibility, and view of the potential in humankind was the antithesis to all the damage we were doing to ourselves.

    Churchill would be close, but I felt as if he was the right leader at the right time but not much more.  I do feel that with Germany knocking on their door, any decent leader would suffice, but I give him points because he had charisma and wit.

    Hitler in the sense of influence would be #1.  He showed the depths that one could fall, influenced his people to do atrocious things, and changed the world forever in the war that followed his actions.  The effect still reverberates today, and no one will forget him.

    As for the other choices, FDR is a decent suggestion, Stalin really doesn’t have much credit except in opposing Hitler, and the suggestions of Ferdinand and Reagan seem really out of place.

    The only other people I might suggest: Gandhi, Theresa, Lennon.  Maybe Spielburg  :lol:


  • 2007 AAR League

    Hitler and Stalin were infamous not great.

    Reagan didn’t do much of anything. People give him special credit for simply being in right place at the right time. The Soviet Union was rotting from within without help from anyone and, at best, Reagan sped it up by accelerating the arms race, which in reality is kind of despicable. Also, the questionable activities perpetrated by his administration make him unfit to be called the greatest anything. Lech Wałęsa could be considered to have done as much toward the fall of Soviet imperialism as Reagan and his methods were far more peaceful than Reagan’s.

    Churchill’s hypocritical support of the very same type of imperialism for the United Kingdom that he fought against in Germany’s Hitler and, later, the Soviet Union’s Stalin is a pretty big mark against him.

    On the other hand, Albert Einstein’s work will affect the entire planet for millenia to come. In good ways.

    And he may have been a party to the invention of a weapon that could, in the future, wipe out the human race, but he was horrified by it’s potential and by the people who are so eager to use it at the drop of a hat. His only motivation was for the greater good of mankind and if it weren’t for the fear that Germany would develop it first, he would never have approved of it’s development or it’s use.



  • Ferdinand out of place? Some people change the world by simply getting killed. If his assination had not happened would Europe plunge into World War One?

    Ferdinand’s death caused the greatest war known to civilization; followed by an even greater destructive conflict. If we look at the aftermath of the World Wars, how can Archduke Ferdinand, by his assination not get placed on such a list.

    I do agree with your suggestions concerning Lennin and Gandhi. Those additions would make for great discussion.



  • I voted for Ronald Reagan as joke, I acutally agree with Time.

    I don’t know to much about math and sceince but so much of our technology today is based off what he did

    I’m a big churchill fan aswell



  • @U-505:

    Hitler and Stalin were infamous not great.

    Well Hitler stood out more than Stalin, I think.

    Reagan didn’t do much of anything. People give him special credit for simply being in right place at the right time. The Soviet Union was rotting from within without help from anyone and, at best, Reagan sped it up by accelerating the arms race, which in reality is kind of despicable. Also, the questionable activities perpetrated by his administration make him unfit to be called the greatest anything. Lech Wałęsa could be considered to have done as much toward the fall of Soviet imperialism as Reagan and his methods were far more peaceful than Reagan’s.

    Completely agree.  His greatest role as an actor was president.  Iran/Contra affair, spending to debt, “reaganomics”…just a few things from a really mediocre president at the very best.

    Churchill’s hypocritical support of the very same type of imperialism for the United Kingdom that he fought against in Germany’s Hitler and, later, the Soviet Union’s Stalin is a pretty big mark against him.

    Exactly.  He had quite a few blemishes that were forgotten when England was threatened.

    On the other hand, Albert Einstein’s work will affect the entire planet for millenia to come. In good ways.

    And he may have been a party to the invention of a weapon that could, in the future, wipe out the human race, but he was horrified by it’s potential and by the people who are so eager to use it at the drop of a hat. His only motivation was for the greater good of mankind and if it weren’t for the fear that Germany would develop it first, he would never have approved of it’s development or it’s use.

    I can’t believe that Einstein’s greatest work was started as a teenager!  That is incredible.  But most of all, he transcended race, nation, and religion to show that love for one another was the pinnacle of human existence.  I just wonder how things would be in the Middle East had he been the 2nd president of Israel…



  • I’m fessing up here. I voted for Hitler. “Man of the year.” I’m not quite sure what that means exactly so I took it as the most influential. I believe the atomic technology would have been discovered without Einstein, but perhaps not in the same time frame. There’s no way to know when it would have been available as a weapon without Einstein. His theory of relativity definately puts him in a close tie for me however.

    I voted for Hitler because he demonstrated to modern civilization that an empire similar to the Romans, could still rise and pose a threat to the world, collectively. I think Hitler changed the manner in which the world now looks at those that rise to totalitarian power and the actions taken as a result. I believe he showed us that fanatisism with fervent followers can be precise, completely calculated, organized and extremely powerful.

    I dont thing the American public has learned its lesson however. They don’t have perspective that history continues to repeat itself. Many people have completely forgotten the impact of 9/11 on our national security. I think the government has taken it as serious possible while the public (and even large divides of the government) has now come to almost a majority gripe against Americas efforts to thwart future attempts.

    If anyone thinks that thinks there hasnt been a need for force to secure the safety of our country after 9/11 are still living in a safe little bubble where the twin towers collapsing are nothing more than TV violence they have long been desensitised to.



  • @ABWorsham:

    Ferdinand out of place? Some people change the world by simply getting killed. If his assination had not happened would Europe plunge into World War One?

    Ferdinand’s death caused the greatest war known to civilization; followed by an even greater destructive conflict. If we look at the aftermath of the World Wars, how can Archduke Ferdinand, by his assination not get placed on such a list.

    I do agree with your suggestions concerning Lennin and Gandhi. Those additions would make for great discussion.

    There was a bigger part of the conflict than him alone.  And I don’t think getting assassinated is a “great” action, mostly because you don’t do anything but have someone kill you.  Lincoln and JFK should be up there then, and they have their own merits to go on.

    And his death really had nothing to do with WW2…

    @Obergruppenfuhrer:

    I’m fessing up here. I voted for Hitler. “Man of the year.” I’m not quite sure what that means exactly so I took it as the most influential. I believe the atomic technology would have been discovered without Einstein, but perhaps not in the same time frame. There’s no way to know when it would have been available as a weapon without Einstein. His theory of relativity definately puts him in a close tie for me however.

    I voted for Hitler because he demonstrated to modern civilization that an empire similar to the Romans, could still rise and pose a threat to the world, collectively. I think Hitler changed the manner in which the world now looks at those that rise to totalitarian power and the actions taken as a result. I believe he showed us that fanatisism with fervent followers can be precise, completely calculated, organized and extremely powerful.

    I dont thing the American public has learned its lesson however. They don’t have perspective that history continues to repeat itself. Many people have completely forgotten the impact of 9/11 on our national security. I think the government has taken it as serious possible while the public (and even large divides of the government) has now come to almost a majority gripe against Americas efforts to thwart future attempts.

    If anyone thinks that thinks there hasnt been a need for force to secure the safety of our country after 9/11 are still living in a safe little bubble where the twin towers collapsing are nothing more than TV violence they have long been desensitised to.

    Yes, I think people have been out of touch with reality, but still are.  But to chastise Hitler for what he did then excuse the US for doing much of the same is quite a stretch.  Remember, Hitler invaded Poland on the excuse of threat to security.  There is no excuse for the most powerful nation in the world strong arming other countries and offering no diplomacy whatsoever.  So I should stop there lest this gets too political.



  • I can definately respect the above point of view.



  • @Jermofoot:

    @ABWorsham:

    Ferdinand out of place? Some people change the world by simply getting killed. If his assination had not happened would Europe plunge into World War One?

    Ferdinand’s death caused the greatest war known to civilization; followed by an even greater destructive conflict. If we look at the aftermath of the World Wars, how can Archduke Ferdinand, by his assination not get placed on such a list.

    I do agree with your suggestions concerning Lennin and Gandhi. Those additions would make for great discussion.

    There was a bigger part of the conflict than him alone.  And I don’t think getting assassinated is a “great” action, mostly because you don’t do anything but have someone kill you.  Lincoln and JFK should be up there then, and they have their own merits to go on.

    And his death really had nothing to do with WW2…

    @Obergruppenfuhrer:

    I’m fessing up here. I voted for Hitler. “Man of the year.” I’m not quite sure what that means exactly so I took it as the most influential. I believe the atomic technology would have been discovered without Einstein, but perhaps not in the same time frame. There’s no way to know when it would have been available as a weapon without Einstein. His theory of relativity definately puts him in a close tie for me however.

    I voted for Hitler because he demonstrated to modern civilization that an empire similar to the Romans, could still rise and pose a threat to the world, collectively. I think Hitler changed the manner in which the world now looks at those that rise to totalitarian power and the actions taken as a result. I believe he showed us that fanatisism with fervent followers can be precise, completely calculated, organized and extremely powerful.

    I dont thing the American public has learned its lesson however. They don’t have perspective that history continues to repeat itself. Many people have completely forgotten the impact of 9/11 on our national security. I think the government has taken it as serious possible while the public (and even large divides of the government) has now come to almost a majority gripe against Americas efforts to thwart future attempts.

    If anyone thinks that thinks there hasnt been a need for force to secure the safety of our country after 9/11 are still living in a safe little bubble where the twin towers collapsing are nothing more than TV violence they have long been desensitised to.

    Yes, I think people have been out of touch with reality, but still are.  But to chastise Hitler for what he did then excuse the US for doing much of the same is quite a stretch.  Remember, Hitler invaded Poland on the excuse of threat to security.  There is no excuse for the most powerful nation in the world strong arming other countries and offering no diplomacy whatsoever.  So I should stop there lest this gets too political.

    “And his death really had nothing to do with WW2…”

    His death ignited World War One.

    If World War One had not been fought then modern Poland does not exist. Danzig and the Polish Corridor were main objectives in Germany’s attack on Poland.

    Ferdinand does not belong near the top of this list. However, He is not out of place on this list.

    Jermofoot, I wish I had your opinion concerning this poll before I posted. Lennin and Gandhi would have been great additions. I considered Lennin, only to get captured by the thoughts of how Marx changed the world. At that point Lennin never came back in mind.



  • @ABWorsham:

    @Jermofoot:

    @ABWorsham:

    Ferdinand out of place? Some people change the world by simply getting killed. If his assination had not happened would Europe plunge into World War One?

    Ferdinand’s death caused the greatest war known to civilization; followed by an even greater destructive conflict. If we look at the aftermath of the World Wars, how can Archduke Ferdinand, by his assination not get placed on such a list.

    I do agree with your suggestions concerning Lennin and Gandhi. Those additions would make for great discussion.

    AB! There’s far too much free speech going on here. Why do I always have to hear it, through the SD to the Gestapo & finally through the Reichsmrshall in the middle of dinner? I’m dispatching a car to come pick you up. We really need to stop so much thinking. That’s for the Riech to do.  :lol:

    There was a bigger part of the conflict than him alone.  And I don’t think getting assassinated is a “great” action, mostly because you don’t do anything but have someone kill you.  Lincoln and JFK should be up there then, and they have their own merits to go on.

    And his death really had nothing to do with WW2…

    @Obergruppenfuhrer:

    I’m fessing up here. I voted for Hitler. “Man of the year.” I’m not quite sure what that means exactly so I took it as the most influential. I believe the atomic technology would have been discovered without Einstein, but perhaps not in the same time frame. There’s no way to know when it would have been available as a weapon without Einstein. His theory of relativity definately puts him in a close tie for me however.

    I voted for Hitler because he demonstrated to modern civilization that an empire similar to the Romans, could still rise and pose a threat to the world, collectively. I think Hitler changed the manner in which the world now looks at those that rise to totalitarian power and the actions taken as a result. I believe he showed us that fanatisism with fervent followers can be precise, completely calculated, organized and extremely powerful.

    I dont thing the American public has learned its lesson however. They don’t have perspective that history continues to repeat itself. Many people have completely forgotten the impact of 9/11 on our national security. I think the government has taken it as serious possible while the public (and even large divides of the government) has now come to almost a majority gripe against Americas efforts to thwart future attempts.

    If anyone thinks that thinks there hasnt been a need for force to secure the safety of our country after 9/11 are still living in a safe little bubble where the twin towers collapsing are nothing more than TV violence they have long been desensitised to.

    Yes, I think people have been out of touch with reality, but still are.  But to chastise Hitler for what he did then excuse the US for doing much of the same is quite a stretch.  Remember, Hitler invaded Poland on the excuse of threat to security.  There is no excuse for the most powerful nation in the world strong arming other countries and offering no diplomacy whatsoever.  So I should stop there lest this gets too political.

    “And his death really had nothing to do with WW2…”

    His death ignited World War One.

    If World War One had not been fought then modern Poland does not exist. Danzig and the Polish Corridor were main objectives in Germany’s attack on Poland.

    Ferdinand does not belong near the top of this list. However, He is not out of place on this list.

    Jermofoot, I wish I had your opinion concerning this poll before I posted. Lennin and Gandhi would have been great additions. I considered Lennin, only to get captured by the thoughts of how Marx changed the world. At that point Lennin never came back in mind.



  • @ABWorsham:

    “And his death really had nothing to do with WW2…”

    His death ignited World War One.

    If World War One had not been fought then modern Poland does not exist. Danzig and the Polish Corridor were main objectives in Germany’s attack on Poland.

    Ferdinand does not belong near the top of this list. However, He is not out of place on this list.

    Jermofoot, I wish I had your opinion concerning this poll before I posted. Lennin and Gandhi would have been great additions. I considered Lennin, only to get captured by the thoughts of how Marx changed the world. At that point Lennin never came back in mind.

    I do not doubt that his death gave the excuse to mobilize, which then activated alliances, but the underlying reasons for WW1 were more than a simple assassination.  And I fully agree that the result of WW1 lead to an inevitable WW2, but that was even less about one man’s death.

    And I really have no idea the ability of Ferdinand, I would rather judge him on his greatness on his actions alone.  I just have nothing to go on.

    Oh, and I meant Lennon, as in the Beatle, but if you would suggest Lenin, it wouldn’t seem out of place either.  😄



  • @Jermofoot:

    @ABWorsham:

    “And his death really had nothing to do with WW2…”

    His death ignited World War One.

    If World War One had not been fought then modern Poland does not exist. Danzig and the Polish Corridor were main objectives in Germany’s attack on Poland.

    Ferdinand does not belong near the top of this list. However, He is not out of place on this list.

    Jermofoot, I wish I had your opinion concerning this poll before I posted. Lennin and Gandhi would have been great additions. I considered Lennin, only to get captured by the thoughts of how Marx changed the world. At that point Lennin never came back in mind.

    I do not doubt that his death gave the excuse to mobilize, which then activated alliances, but the underlying reasons for WW1 were more than a simple assassination.  And I fully agree that the result of WW1 lead to an inevitable WW2, but that was even less about one man’s death.

    And I really have no idea the ability of Ferdinand, I would rather judge him on his greatness on his actions alone.  I just have nothing to go on.

    Oh, and I meant Lennon, as in the Beatle, but if you would suggest Lenin, it wouldn’t seem out of place either.  😄

    See I totally agree here. One mans death, while it may have been the preverbial stray that broke the camels back, was not the cause alone for war. There was much more than that.

    The reason I fly the German Battle Standard for WWI as my Icon is out of symbolism for the effect of “The Treaty of Versailles.”

    "The French politician Marshal Foch, as the Versailles Treaty was being signed, stated rather prophetically, “This is not peace; it is an armistice for 20 years.” "

    Some argue that the treaty was lenient on Germany by its 14 points. I whole heartedly disagree. The allies additionally demanded Germany hand over thousands of men, police and ex soldiers, to be prisoners well after the treaty was signed. The treaty was fuel for the fire of German resentment and nationalistic sympathisers to Hitler; ultimately.

    I believe the treaty was the main cause of WWII. I cannot speculate if the SA would have reached the same level of power to ultimately be assimilated into the 3rd Reich. I cannot possibly speculate in good faith, that Hitler wouldn’t have taken power. I can however argue that sympathy for the 3rd Reich would not have been neary as wide spread stemming from the resentments in post war Germany. This wasn’t a treaty to maintain “peace”. It was a treaty to extract satistaction to the European victors & make sure Germany couldn’t go to war again.  I think we all could agree it had a completely adverse affect.



  • LoL, Lennon actually crossed my mind.

    I do agree with you that WWI was going to errupt. War was nearly unleashed in 1905 with the Moroccan crisis.

    I thought tossing Ferdinand name into the list would be a great "curve ball’’. WWI needed a representive. Churchill, although a figure in WWI, made the fame in WWII.

    Some great reading on the subject of the Empires of Europe before 1914 is, The Fall Of The Dynasties: The Collapse of the Old Order 1905-1922, by Edmond Taylor.



  • Are you thinking of John Lennon, who got wasted in NYC a while back, or Nikolai Lenin, who helped start the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia?



  • Both were brought up. The first as a joke.



  • Churchill man of the Century? Maybe. English people think that Churhill is “the greatest Briton of all time”. I have always been a fan of Churchill. The man that stood alone against Hitler. The reason for the Allied Victory in WWII.

    However, the more time pass from the WWII, the more documents become available, new information may be used by the Historian to made more accurated analysis.

    I found really interesting the following book:

    http://www.takimag.com/site/article/man_of_the_century/

    I am not completely in agreement with the author but his analysis is based on facts and documents that cannot be ignored. Furhtermore, the final parallelism with actual world situation is worrying.



  • Thank you for the post Romulus. I have been wanting to read, Pat Buchanan’s CHURCHILL, HITLER, AND THE
    UNNECESSARY WAR.

    I just do not have the time.



  • Well, Churchill by far.

    John Lenon?
    Reagan?

    Come on….be serious!


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