frandroid: camilo cienfuegos in a broad-rimmed hat (anarchism)
Alright, let's play an old game, but let's try to be original:

If you were to travel in time and allowed to kill one person to change the course of history, who would that be?

The usual answer to this is the head of state who most personifies evil in the modern era. But what if we tried to pick the "smallest" person (in the sense of their highest lifetime office/social position) possible, in relation to their maximum geopolitical impact on today's world?

I'm setting my sight on Ferdinand Walsin Esterházy. Points if you can figure out what the impact I have in mind is.

You can post this to your LJ if you want to make it into a meme, and we'll try to guess what your mark would change, or you can just post a reply here. You can post your reasoning directly if you don't want to make it into a riddle. :P

[livejournal.com profile] dubaiwalla, [livejournal.com profile] icecreamemperor, [livejournal.com profile] sabotabby, [livejournal.com profile] gordonzola, I'm looking at you. And everyone else too!

(You could also post a political aim and we can debate trying to figure out who would need to be snuffed out to reach that aim...)

*** ETA: Alright, no one's biting. Esterhazy was the Hungarian general in the service of the French who sold some minor information to the Prussians during the Franco-Prussian War, which the French lost. Alfred Dreyfus was framed for it, and promptly charged, tried and sent to the Devil's Island prison, partly because he was Jewish. Dreyfus' brother Mathieu pursued the case, and it eventually became a huge scandal for 12 years, pitting anti-semites and their army supporters against artists, liberals and other "intellectuals" (the term was coined during this crisis).

Paris at the time had been considered to be the best place in the world for Jews to live in; Jews didn't get equal rights immediately after the revolution, but they had gained rights quite rapidly afterwards. So when the Dreyfus Affair developed, Theodor Herzl was the Paris correspondent of a Viennese newspaper. Horrified that such antisemitism could exist in the New Jerusalem, he theorized and campaigned for Zionism, which eventually led to the state of Israel.

So without Esterhazy, today we would have Peace in the Middle East. CQFD.

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