Sunday, August 23, 2009

Firtz Haber as the most influential man of XX century

Continuing the discussion on Language Hat blog:

I have seen people seriously argue that the most influential man of the XX century was actually Fritz Haber: absent his "nitrate fixation" chemical process, Germany, not having access to natural nitrates to manufacture ammunition, would have had to sue for peace after Marne and World War I would have ended with all the empires firmly in place. Imagine what that could do to XXth century history: Lenin dies in Switzeland, Hitler is a total unknown.

This, not the "laws of history", is, in my opinion, the main problem with "great men" theory: we just don't know the right "great man".

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