Friday, April 24, 2009

Killing Hitler - The Time Travel Cliche

No time travel blog can be complete without a discussion on killing Hitler. Yep, you just go back in time to before Hitler's rise to power, kill him, and prevent the Holocaust – it looks good on paper, but I wonder if it would really be as easy as it sounds.


First we will assume your means of travel will allow you to take back clothing and other physical items. If not, keep in mind how much more difficult this would be…


Now if you don't want to call attention to yourself - and you probably don't, you had better go back in clothing of that period. So you'll want to start out by researching and getting that all ready.


And if you are going to get to Austria/Germany and then get to Hitler, you're going to need some cash. So second, you will have to get ahold of both US dollars and Deutch Marks - from that time period. And make sure it's in good enough condition so they'll accept it when you get there. I am not sure how difficult this would be, but I suspect it might be particularly difficult. And keep in mind how weak the German economy was during that time, so make sure you take plenty.


Do you speak German? You'll probably need to speak German if you are going to be looking for a man no one has heard of in Austria at the turn of the century. So third, learn German.


Now, if your means of time travel doesn't deliver you right to the Hitler family doorstep, you're going to need to make your way to the coast and get aboard a ship headed for Germany. So make sure when you pick the time destination, you are giving yourself enough time to make that journey (because if he does start to gain political power before you get to him, it is going to be that much more difficult for a foreigner such as yourself to get very close to him). And we'll just hope you arrive in Germany healthy and in one piece.  


Now you are in Germany, all you have to do is find him. You've done your research, you know generally where he'll be, so finding him may or may not be that difficult.  Although the fact that you are a stranger in a foreign land and time, may make it a little bit more so.


So yeah, those are just a couple thoughts. I just think that when you consider the actual logistics (and there's probably plenty that I haven't thought of) of killing Hitler, it's probably not as simple as it seems at first thought. In fact I suspect it would be more of a dedication of years and years of your life – if not your entire life.


But I guess it's probably worth it, right? Unless the unforeseen events that occurred in his absence were an even worse fate.


Also be careful going around killing babies, because maybe when you come back to your present, there will be a new name for evil personified – yours.


ritchie.wilson said...

You're actually missing one last important reason you can't kill Hitler with a time machine, at least according to this video called "I Built a Time Machine to Kill Hitler."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the story, some interesting thoughts, but I believe that many of your "logistics" points are red herrings.

First it depends a great deal on the time the mission takes place. If it's somewhere 1,000 years in the future, then logistics may be immense (but could be bypassed if you by then have technology that can help you accomplish the mission without primitive means). But in 1,000 years WWII will not matter much anymore, so why would you do that mission?

So let's assume it will happen in the 21st or 22nd century;

- As of now, almost any "neutral" trenchcoat with perhaps a hat and normal pants and shoes should do. Maybe a fashion expert could tell the difference but I believe there are still many "neutral" looking pieces of clothing that could be worn almost throughout the entire century without causing a great deal of suspicion

- You don't need to print money either - if you really need it, why not get some "timeless" goods like gold or food, and sell it?

- You're also making it sound like a time machine mission would have to be done by one person (me), so that person (me) has to learn German. But why not just get a real German into your huge team of scientists and engineers to do it? It's not a dead language (though there may be small dialectic differences) yet

- Most places where Hitler went should be ridiculously well documented and easy to find. A quick google search came up with:

Why can't your time travel team use google or history books to find his birth place, etc, and how to get there?

Matsby said...

Good points.