Ask people what they'd do with a time machine for the good of the world, and a fair amount of people will mention going back in time and killing Hitler. (Stalin is another popular choice. Sci-fi fen and space enthustiasts may mutter something about William Proxmire and a sniper rifle, but that's not here or there) I mean, the fact that Hilter is evil is pretty well established in most sane people's minds. Someone who did such horrible things demands punishment, of course. It's too bad that time travel is impossible, but it's still an interesting thought experiment.

But is killing Hitler really the best revenge on the madman who murdered over 6 million people? I am not and never will be a pacifist, and I have no moral objections to the act of killing if justified, but I can't help but feel that killing him in such a situation somewhat supports his view of life as a race struggle between the ubermensch and the untermensch. (The Allies assassinating Hitler during World War Two would be an entirely different and absolutely moral situation) Instead, if I could go back in time, I'd like to befriend Adolf Hitler.

I would start very early in his life. I would have to teach him tolerance for other races and religions. I would have to personalize Jews and Gypsys to him - it's hard to hate people when you realize they are human just like you. It's easy when you deny their humanity. I would try to shield him against World War I and his bout with poison gas. I would help him during the troubles of the Weimar Republic and guide his attention towards the art and religion he pursued in his younger years. I would try to set him up with a lover - and perhaps one with more Jewish blood than Eva Braun, who apparently had a remote Jewish ancestor known to Hitler. And so hopefully, after a lifetime of friendship and moral education, he would become a painter or a priest with kindly feelings towards people of all races and religions.

And that would be the ultimate revenge against Adolf Hitler. Not to kill him, but to rip his ultimate ideas, thoughts, and morals apart in their infancy and guide him into someone diametrically opposed to the Fuhrer. What would pain one of the greatest mass murderers more: to know in an alternative timeline he was killed, or that in an alternative timeline he was a good, tolerant human being who would fight the Nazis?

What greater revenge than proving your ideological opponent wrong by having them realize their errors and agree with you?

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