The Great Man Theory
July 3, 2006
Did Hitler drag Germany into WWII, or was Germany in a state where any lunatic could drag them into chaos? Many journalists look at history through the lens of the Great Man who changes the world through his “leadership”. Most historians no longer believe this. I think you can only lead people where they are already willing to go. At any moment there are many important issues worth consideration. A leader puts a spotlight on one issue and persuades people to follow his solution, while others persuade people to follow their alternatives. The winner is the best marketer, not the best idea and certainly not a Great Man. Killing Hitler would not change the fact that Germany was desperate, virulently anti-Semiticand militaristic. Something bad was going to happen, Hitler & Co. just channeled it better than most into gruesome evil.