The 20th Century's Top 10 Most Influential PeoplePosted by RollTide1987 on 7/25/11 at 5:11 pm 00
10. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Instrumental in granting Civil Rights for millions of oppressed African-Americans. He has become a larger than life figure, best known for his speeches as well as his desire to bring about the end of Segregation using peaceful measures.
09. Pope John Paul II
Born Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II spread a message of hope and love throughout the world. His secret battle with communism and the Soviet Union has become legendary, with many historians considering him to be just as instrumental as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan for the ultimate collapse of the Soviet empire.
08. Ronald Reagan
He inspired hope in the hearts of millions of Americans after Vietnam and the terrible decade of the 1970s. His emphasis on nationalism as well as his highly publicized economic battle with the Soviet Union made him a living legend in the eyes of his contemporaries. While there has been some criticism of his legacy by today's historians, there is no denying Reagan's impact on the 20th Century.
07. Mahatma Gandhi
One of the most famous pacifists who ever lived, Mahatma Gandhi was the most important political figure in the history of India. Be that as it may, however, I believe Ben Kingsley made a better Gandhi than even Gandhi did.
06. Albert Einstein
One of the greatest physicists that ever existed, Einstein has become a historical and cultural phenomenon in the eyes of America. His name is more popular than his history, with many Americans really having no idea what the hell he even contributed to society. He simply proved that an atomic bomb was possible, gave us the theory of relativity, as well as an iconic photograph that cultural icons such as Brittany Spears have attempted to imitate to this day.
05. Josef Stalin
What comedian Eddie Izzard would call a "mass-murdering frickhead," the cold, paranoid, and calculating Josef Stalin was most definitely one of - if not THE most - influential man of the last 50 years of the 20th Century. He created the Soviet empire and was the main contributor to the beginning of the Cold War. It also must be said that his Soviet Russia was the greatest contributor to the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
04. Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt
No, this isn't a typo. Teddy, not Frankie, is my pick on this list. Why? Well...Teddy was instrumental in getting us involved in Spanish-American War at the end of the 19th Century, as well as essential in beefing up America's national strength, making it a power to be reckoned with on the world stage. In my opinion, there was no greater American in the 20th Century than this man right here.
03. Winston Churchill
Is he the greatest prime minister in the history of Great Britain? Quite possibly. But he definitely clocks in inside the top three on my countdown. His leadership of Great Britain in 1940 alone merits inclusion on this list. His iron will and refusal to give in to what seemed to be insurmountable odds kept the fire of democracy burning dimly in Europe in this dark days of 1940-41.
02. Adolf Hitler
There is very little that needs to be said, really. The man started a war that changed the course of history, a war that gave rise to the United States and the Soviet Union as the world's two greatest super power, and a war that gave us vasts amounts of new technologies. His name is just about as taboo as Lord Voldemort's but he wouldn't have ever been possible if not for the man at #1 on our countdown.
01. Gavrilo Princip
This is undoubtedly a name that many of you have never heard of, but the amount of influence he carries goes seemingly beyond the realm of possibility. He is the man who assassinated the Arch-Duke of Austria-Hungary, Franz Ferdinand, an action that ignited World War I. The bullets that he fired from his gun on June 28, 1914 were truly shots that were heard 'round the world. If not for his actions that day, the world might have never seen most of the names listed above. There would never have been a World War II, there wouldn't have been a Cold War, and the United States might have never become as powerful as it did. There would have been no Israel, no Arab terrorism, no 9/11. Literally every single significant world event of the last 95 years was a direct result of the actions that Gavrilo Princip took on that hot, summer day in the city of Sarajevo in 1914.