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kilobug comments on Beyond the Reach of God - Less Wrong

68 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 04 October 2008 03:42PM

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Comment author: kilobug 05 November 2011 02:01:12PM 5 points [-]

Well, the raise of fascism and anti-Semitism in Europe at that time was wide-spread. It was not just a man. From the Dreyfus affair in France, to Mussolini and Franco, to the heated rivalries between the fascists leagues and the popular in France, ... the whole of Europe after WW1 and unfair Versailles treaty, then the disaster of the 1929 crisis, was a fertile land for all fascist movements.

World War II feels much more like a "natural consequence" of previous events (WW1, Versailles treaty, 1929 crisis) and general historical laws (that "populist" politicians thrive when the economical situation is bad), than of a single man. It would have been different with different leaders in the various major countries involved, sure. If Leon Blum helped Republican Spain against Franco instead of letting them stand alone, things could have changed a lot. And many other events could have gone differently - of course, without Hitler, it would have been different.

But different enough so WWII wouldn't occur ? Very unlikely to me - not impossible, but very unlikely with only a single turning point.

Comment author: Smokeskin 07 January 2013 03:01:24PM 5 points [-]

Be aware of the hindsight bias: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindsight_bias

Comment author: MugaSofer 15 April 2013 10:46:27AM 1 point [-]

Depends on how strictly you define "WWII", for one thing. For example, I've seen it argued that Hitler crippled the Nazi defense strategy to the extent they might well have won without him. Is it still WWII if it's the War for Freedom under the First Glorious Father? Probably. Still ...