I have long been amazed at how small occurrences can make such a big difference in life and in the course of history. For instance, on August 22, 1931, while an Englishman named John Scott-Ellis was trying out his snazzy new car in Munich, he almost ran over Adolf Hitler, who was crossing the street.
In his book "One on One," Craig Brown quotes Scott-Ellis as saying, "He walked off the pavement, more or less into my car," but Scott-Ellis was going too slowly to be harmed. "For a few seconds, perhaps, I held the history of Europe in my rather clumsy hands. He was only shaken up, but had I killed him, it would have changed the history of the world." World War II would have been avoided if he had only been driving a little faster.
In the November 5-6th edition of the Financial Times, Simon Kuper talks about how we could have avoided World War I. The 19-year-old man who started that war by attempting to assassinate Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand , Gavrilo Princip, was in the vicinity of Ferdinand because he had gone to Schiller’s delicatessen Sarajevo to buy a sandwich for lunch, when the archduke’s car suddenly pulled up. The driver had taken a wrong turn. Kuper quotes historian David Winner as saying, "No Russian revolution, Holocaust or European Union if only Princip had fancied a pizza."
In the November 5-6th edition of the Wall Street Journal, Timothy Snyder reviews the book "Hitler’s Hangman: The Life of Heydrich" by Robert Gerwarth. Heydrich probably wouldn’t have even become a Nazi if he hadn’t fallen in love with the Nazi anti-Semite Lina von Osten in 1931.
Heydrich was out of work and needed a job, so with Osten’s help, he got a meeting with Himmler. Although he knew nothing about Nazism at the time (he hadn’t even read Hitler’s manifesto "Mein Kampf"), he impressed Himmler "with a bogus knowledge of espionage that he had assembled from mystery novels."
Snyder continues by saying, "Himmler and Heydrich were quick to see the Jewish question as the area where they could distinguish themselves." Heydrich formed an organization "that shot Jews in large numbers in the summer of 1941."
After Heydrich and Osten married, they were posted to Prague, but his wife didn’t like living in the castle there, "so they moved to a manor house outside the city. He was assinated during the long commute that he took along the same route virtually every day.
"If Heydrich had not fallen in love with Lina von Osten in 1931, he would not have become a Nazi leader. If he had not heeded her wishes about living in the country 10 years later, he would not have become a Nazi martyr."
Quantum physicists say they are now sure that there are a multiple number of parallel universes. My question is: Did any of these occurrences happen differently in one (or more) of them?
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