If you could travel back in time, would you kill Hitler?

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karlsnash
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I start my A-levels this September (providing my GCSEs have gone well) and am hoping to study Philosophy and Ethics...

Anyway, my first essay/ summer work is titled " If you could travel back in time, would you kill Hitler?"
My initial reaction to this question is no , I was just looking for some different perspectives on this question seeing as I think that it is a very interesting one; which I'm looking forward to writing about.

Thanks guys!
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RayApparently
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Perhaps the real question is... would I be able to even if I wanted to? :zomg:
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midgemeister7
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Depends on time: 1944 or before then no not at all, we might have lost the war if he'd been killed early (hence why we decided against assassinating him when we had the chance to around 1940). However, near the end of the war then perhaps.
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username457532
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It's not possible. You can go back in time and discover that you were the person who did something but you cannot change established events. It would create a paradox. By killing Hitler I presume you meant before he becomes Fuhrer. If you did this then you would remove the events that caused you to go back in time in the first place, thus meaning you don't travel back in time.
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tomfailinghelp
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(Original post by karlsnash)
I start my A-levels this September (providing my GCSEs have gone well) and am hoping to study Philosophy and Ethics...

Anyway, my first essay/ summer work is titled " If you could travel back in time, would you kill Hitler?"
My initial reaction to this question is no , I was just looking for some different perspectives on this question seeing as I think that it is a very interesting one; which I'm looking forward to writing about.

Thanks guys!
I wouldn't. For whatever reason, the reign of Hitler is what sticks in people's minds as a symbol of central planning and state authority. In my opinion, it is largely a consequence of that symbol that people today lean towards freedom and limited government in their political thinking. Perhaps if Hitler's reign (and Stalin's, of course) had never occurred, people today would have little respect for freedom - or even less than they already do - and consequently we would be facing totalitarianism but with a better equipped state to pursue it.
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flibber
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I remember doing this in Year 9. Is this assignment more about the feasibility or whether it is ethical to kill somebody like Hitler?

I assume that as this is an ethics course, you should write from either a deontological or a consequentialist position. I prefer writing from a consequentialist point of view as it avoids "begging the rule" (which can happen if you're not careful when you are writing deontological arguments ). However, one must ask whether killing Hitler is equivalent to an extrajudicial execution (capital punishment has been avoided, if not banned outright, by many courts even for the most heinous killers, such as the architects of the killing fields in Cambodia) and therefore violates his human and legal rights. But again, are natural rights 'nonsense on stilts', as Bentham claimed?

Or using a historical argument, you could say that if Hitler was Führer due to his charisma and talent as orator, if you killed him, perhaps his replacement wouldn't have the skill to convince German citizens to hate the Jews.
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BasicMistake
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I believe that if any time travel was possible, it would lead to an ontological paradox.
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driftawaay
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Well if someone made time travel possible and told me they can give me a gun and teleport me into a room with Hitler in pre-Nazi Germany and ask me if I would take the opportunity just for kicks and giggles... I'd probably be like yeah cool! But this is a paradox and doesnt make sense.
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quentinhamilton
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If I was to follow the principle of "the greatest good for the greatest number", I'd possibly kill Hitler in order to preserve the happiness/pleasure of the majority however, killing Hitler contradicts the rule of killing which is ethically wrong.
Historically, we learn a lot from Hitler's years as a dictator therefore, by not killing Hitler prevents the same mistakes from happening because in hindsight we are aware of the consequences.
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username1494226
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Tricky question. The Nazi's actually advanced some medical treatments for cancer I believe so thats one thing(though it would have eventually been discovered). Thing is though, there may never have been a need to kill Hitler had the British and French not lied to Germany when declaring armistice in WW1. Germany was misled into signing the treaty otherwise they faced annihilation. If this or WW1 had never happened, Hitler would never have been inspired to do what he did. Of course if Hitler becoming the murderous dictator he did was unavoidable anyway, I would have assassinated him before 1933. After 1933, the Nazi's concentrated too much power and solidified. One can argue that if Hitler was killed early in the war, a more tactical Nazi like Hess, Eichmann, Himmler or Heydrich could have more effectively used Germany's military prowess at the time to quickly wipe out the allies in Europe. The mere fact Hitler was the one making orders was why he would eventually lose
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Gribby2
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I would not kill Hitler, even if it were possible. This is for a few reasons: a) someone else even worse may have come to power (like in Making History), b) despite being an awful man, Hitler did do some god things. He helped improve the economic situation in Germany and he banned animal testing in the country and c) obviously, the war was awful, but it did mean that women were able to get work, whereas before the had not been able to and it had some other benefits. For example, it brought the community together.
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quentinhamilton
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(Original post by Gribby2)
c) obviously, the war was awful, but it did mean that women were able to get work, whereas before the had not been able to and it had some other benefits. For example, it brought the community together.
Hitler excluded women from civil service hence were advised to become housewives whereby roles at home were rewarded.
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Zerforax
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There are worse people in history than Hitler.

Stalin was probably responsible for over 20mil deaths.

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed a lot of people and also the after-effects have hurt even more people.

Heck the British rule of the empire killed countless people.
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tomov
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No because he might have been replaced by someone who actually knew how to run a war
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Swanbow
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And let a competent German take his place? Or risk the threat of the bolshies taking over? Nah mate.
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Fleming1928
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No. I believe that if Hitler never killed a single person, be would've been considered an amazing leader. Alongside the millions of deaths under his name, he did a lot of good for Germany. Before Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany, The German people were unemployed, had no money and no food. A wheelbarrow full of 100 billion-mark banknotes was not enough to buy a loaf of bread. The wheelbarrow itself would have been worth more than 100 billion marks. Most Germans were living in shacks as their homes/land has been seized by Rockefeller-Rothschild . After Hitler was elected, he refused to go along with the Rockefeller-Rothschild rules. One of the first things he did was fix the corrupt, debt-based financial system. Hitler promised to rebuild Germany's economic system, however just in 2 years, he managed to create a thriving economy with no unemployment.
Alongside this, the Nazis were also the first to create environmental protection laws in history. They created animal protection laws, banning vivisection on animals. Nazi doctors were also the first to link tobacco to lung cancer. Hitler later banned smoking in restaurants and public transportation systems. Hitler himself did not smoke or drink.
In conclusion, I believe that Germany needed Hitler. He was a passionate leader and did everything for the love of his country.

Also you have to think about it this way, would killing Hitler have prevented the Holocaust? I believe not. antisemitism has been present in Germany many years before Hitler's birth, and I don't think he was solely responsible for it. My main blame would go to Himmler. Even though it was Hitler who held the ultimate responsibility for what became the Holocaust, it was Himmler who essentially laid the plans and devised schemes that led to the killings of 6 million Jews. Heydrich also had major input into the organization of the Holocaust. There were many people involved, Hitler never even visited a concentration camp, although he publicly spoke about the persecution of Jews in the most viscious way. It was Himmler who associated himself with the killings, not Hitler. After visiting Auschwitz, Himmler described the mass murder of Jews as '' a glorious page in our history that has never been written and is never to be written''. Killing Hitler would have never stopped the mass murder of Jews, it would have never stopped the formation of the National Social Democratic German Workers' Party, it was formed a few years before Hitler joined and later became the leader. Would killing Hitler prevent World War Two from happening? No. Germany would have had a different leader, likely to also be antisemetic and against the Treaty of Versailles. What if Goring (Hitler's second in command) became the leader of Germany? Would the dictators of other countries, such as Stalin or even Mussolini not have caused World War Two themselves? Killing Hitler would not have stopped any of this, they were bound to happen sooner or later.
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Gribby2
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(Original post by quentinhamilton)
Hitler excluded women from civil service hence were advised to become housewives whereby roles at home were rewarded.
I know he did, but I meant that in the U.K, jobs for women were created by the war. I know a lot of bad things happened because of Hitler as well, but a few good things came out of the war.
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Doctor_Einstein
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(Original post by quentinhamilton)
If I was to follow the principle of "the greatest good for the greatest number", I'd possibly kill Hitler in order to preserve the happiness/pleasure of the majority however, killing Hitler contradicts the rule of killing which is ethically wrong.
Historically, we learn a lot from Hitler's years as a dictator therefore, by not killing Hitler prevents the same mistakes from happening because in hindsight we are aware of the consequences.
But if those same mistakes ever happen again, we can go back in time and kill the person responsible for that too.
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Doctor_Einstein
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(Original post by Gribby2)
I would not kill Hitler, even if it were possible. This is for a few reasons: a) someone else even worse may have come to power (like in Making History), b) despite being an awful man, Hitler did do some god things. He helped improve the economic situation in Germany and he banned animal testing in the country and c) obviously, the war was awful, but it did mean that women were able to get work, whereas before the had not been able to and it had some other benefits. For example, it brought the community together.
Sure he may have banned animal testing and started testing straight on humans instead.
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leinad2012
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(Original post by Gribby2)
I would not kill Hitler, even if it were possible. This is for a few reasons: a) someone else even worse may have come to power (like in Making History), b) despite being an awful man, Hitler did do some god things. He helped improve the economic situation in Germany and he banned animal testing in the country and c) obviously, the war was awful, but it did mean that women were able to get work, whereas before the had not been able to and it had some other benefits. For example, it brought the community together.
Point a) I agree with, lots of people nowadays almost seem to give Hitler 100% of the blame for what happened in Germany as if he was the only person in Germany (or Europe for that matter) who hated Jews at the time. Hitler was supported by large numbers of Germans so killing him may not make a difference to the events that happened.
However, points b is completely ridiculous. Are you honestly trying to justify a war and organised killing of 6 million Jews because of the improved economic situation in Germany in the 1930's and the stopping of animal testing (which was replaced by testing on Jews in concentration camps)?
Point c is in between, i think progress would have been made without the war but it may not have been as quick, but justifying the war by saying women got jobs is painfully silly when you consider that EVERY family in Europe was effected negatively by the war
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