View Poll Results: Who was the most influential person in the 20th century?

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  • Henry Ford

    7 11.48%
  • Albert Einstein

    20 32.79%
  • Norman Borlaug

    3 4.92%
  • The Wright Brothers

    5 8.20%
  • Deng Xiaoping

    2 3.28%
  • Joseph Stalin

    4 6.56%
  • Franklin Roosevelt

    6 9.84%
  • Jonas Salk

    0 0%
  • Vint Cerf

    0 0%
  • Other (please name below)

    14 22.95%
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Thread: Most influential people of the 20th century

  1. #11
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    Re: Most influential people of the 20th century

    The difference, in my opinion, between Hitler and Stalin/Mao is that Hitler led through arguably the greatest cult of personality the world has ever seen. Stalin and Mao ruled out of totalitarianism-inspired fear. Stalin and Mao were not great orators, while Hitler was - without question - the greatest orator of the century, and debatably all-time. Churchill and MLK are a distant 2nd/3rd. In Reich Germany, there were free elections that Hilter won by absurd numbers (yes, you could argue that it was somewhat corrupt and influenced by the Stasi, but that aside he was beloved). Hitler's rule in the 30s was the prime reason behind a world war, and people flocked to him like he was a human banner.

    Death numbers for Stalin and Mao aren't even closer to Hitler, that's absolutely true. However, the reason they're so high is not the same.

  2. #12
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    Re: Most influential people of the 20th century

    Henry Ford and Einstein, both would be good choices. I would add Hitlers Germany as I can't give him credit. His scientists (rocket etc) most certainly had an effect we still feel to this day. Don't know if it would have been possible without Hitlers Germany.
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  3. #13
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    Re: Most influential people of the 20th century

    I'm fairly new to this forum, so I don't know the general attitude/leniency towards what I'm about to do but (subverting attention to a tangent that should probably be its own thread):

    What do you guys think the relevant importance of World War II on the world? The connection to the topic (in my mind) is through Hitler, FDR, Churchill, etc.
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  4. #14
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    Re: Most influential people of the 20th century

    Without a doubt Norman Borlaug.
    The sheer number of people, at least stabilized by his work, has done far more for humanity than almost anyone else in the 20th century.
    Although I do think Salk was very important too.

    Like Kandahar, politicians have done very little compared to inventors and people invested in technology.
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  5. #15
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    Re: Most influential people of the 20th century

    I hate to say this, but if you measure it ONLY in terms if impact and not at all in terms of being a good person, it's Adolf Hitler.

  6. #16
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    Re: Most influential people of the 20th century

    ....................

  7. #17
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    Re: Most influential people of the 20th century

    Ronald Reagan. He brought America's greatest threat to its knees, and unlocked the door to my better half in the process.
    Last edited by lunchbox; 08-15-12 at 10:17 AM.

  8. #18
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    Re: Most influential people of the 20th century

    Hmmm.

    Want to go with Einstein, but...
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  9. #19
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    Re: Most influential people of the 20th century

    Quote Originally Posted by Gipper View Post
    The difference, in my opinion, between Hitler and Stalin/Mao is that Hitler led through arguably the greatest cult of personality the world has ever seen. Stalin and Mao ruled out of totalitarianism-inspired fear. Stalin and Mao were not great orators, while Hitler was - without question - the greatest orator of the century, and debatably all-time. Churchill and MLK are a distant 2nd/3rd. In Reich Germany, there were free elections that Hilter won by absurd numbers (yes, you could argue that it was somewhat corrupt and influenced by the Stasi, but that aside he was beloved). Hitler's rule in the 30s was the prime reason behind a world war, and people flocked to him like he was a human banner.

    Death numbers for Stalin and Mao aren't even closer to Hitler, that's absolutely true. However, the reason they're so high is not the same.
    I agree he deserves (hate to use that word in association with his name) to be on the list. As to being more important than scientists, well he fostered them and really was the cause of other countries promoting science to combat him.
    I would put MLK and Churchill way above him in oration skills, He used volume and anger to overcome lack of substance.

    BTW I didn`t answer the poll as depending on what factors I choose to look at different people top the list. Effect on the life of largest number of people today I think I have to go with Borlaug
    Last edited by Quag; 08-15-12 at 10:42 AM.
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    Re: Most influential people of the 20th century

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    What do you think? Who else was extremely influential in the 20th century? Who on my list is overrated? Generally I consider scientists and technologists to be far more influential than politicians in the long run, but I'm interested to hear some other views on this.
    Two names that immediately come to mind for me are John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman.

    While their views on economics are profoundly different in areas, both of their contributions to the field of economics during the 20th century cannot be denied. Keynes dominated the post-World War II era until the 1970s when Friedman and his ideas helped foster in a new era of economic liberalization. For a while Keynesianism became popular again as a response to the financial crisis.

    And yet, both were there as global influences in the advancement of economic freedom.

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