What HISTORICAL figure would you assassinate, given the chance?

First off, when answering please restrict yourself to HISTORICAL figures, by which I mean DEAD. In fact, let’s say dead at least 30 years. If people start saying that they’d murder anybody living, the mods will surely close the thread and begin administering spankings, and they’ll be right to do so.

Second, don’t bother saying Hitler, or for that matter Stalin or Pol Pot. Too damn easy.

Third: restrict yourself to people who didn’t die by assassination.

Who do you pick, and why, and at what point in their careers?

I do have a justifying scenario. I’m going to spoiler-box it because I encourage everyone to ignore it in favor of their own imaginations. If you absolutely must have a set-up, here it is:

[spoiler]The scenario.

Your latest campaign to rid the world of a certain unnamed, sick bastard goes awry, and you find yourself on the run from death by booga-booga. You’ve stolen one of his portable time-travel gizmos and a portable replicator. The murderous minions are only moments away. Looking over the TTG, you realize that (a) it’s stuck on backwards, and (b) it only has enough antimatter to be used once. You can go anywhere/anywhen on Earth before 1978, but once you’re there you’re stuck; and replicators can’t make antimatter, so while you’ll be able to make gold, fake ids & currency, etc., you can’t use the gizmo to come back.

Since you’re two seconds from being ravished and eaten by flying monkeys, you decide to go for it anyway. But since this experience has left you embittered towards despotic madmen, you decide to pick an era beset by some evil guy, replicate yourself a nice sniper rifle, and take him or her out.

Who do you pick, and why?[/spoiler]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavrilo_Princip, before he assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, The Archduke’s assassination being the reason often given for WWI, and WWI is often given as a contributing factor to Hitler’s rise and WWII, the end of which saw Israel created, and the start of all the modern wars in the Middle East. There. I’ve just created peace for the last 100 years. (until some history buff comes along and tells me I’m wrong)

This unfortunately would definitely cause a problem in the time continuum, because my family would not have come to the states if not for the wars, and I would not have been reading this board, and not have been able to post, much less in english.

How about Lenin, or Mussolini, or Mao? You’d think they’d be easy picks, too.
Or Caligula or Nero or Ivan the Terrible or any of a number of others.
Of course, a lot of villains on one side were heros for the other. Or got better later in life. Genghis Khan in his later years was somebody I could have discussions with Genghis Khan the younger would’ve cut my head off.

Muhammed or Jesus.

If I get the chance of naffing off two, then it’s both of 'em.

There: That’s cleared up the religion bollocks.

Nah. We’d just end up worshipping some other guy, named Brian or something.

Shit, I forgot about him:smack:

I’d wack Gissur Súrsson. He’s the bloke who made a deal with the Norwegian king that led to Iceland being ruled from Norway from 1262.

And thus ended Icelandic independence until 1944.

Interesting question there. Assume for the sake of argument that Yeshua bin Yusef was a passionate but humble rabbi who merely preached that the then-current reading of Judaic scripture was overly legalistic, and made no actual claims as to his own to divinity. Would you still kill him to stop the worldwide religion that will be founded in his name?

I’d thump Hernan Cortes. Another angry militant Spaniard would have just taken his place, but Cortes was particularly efficient and ruthless.

How about Kaiser Wilhelm II? Without him, Germany probably would have pursued a more moderate foreign policy in the years before WWI. (If Wilhelm had died early, his brother Heinrich would have been Kaiser. Heinrich was considered much less erratic.) This probably would have avoided the war. No World War might have prevented the Russian Revolution and the rise of Communism. Hitler would have remained a unknown Austrian house painter. Japanese aggression in the thirties would have been kept in check by the Europeans if they hadn’t been distracted a war in Europe.

Well if we’re assuming:

I’d have a word in YbYs ear and point out that whatever he was reading was a load of twaddle, there is no God, there is no afterlife.

I’d also point out that what he was preaching was going to lead to a whole bunch of bloodshed in the future. If he took no notice of me he’s a dead 'un

I could cheat and say Hitler’s mom before she gave birth and folks would throw a flag. I’d vote for the first guy who contracted HIV in a communicable form. Untold destruction in Africa and throughout the world.

Some say you still couldn’t change history and some neighbor kid named Adolf Heider would take on the monster’s persona. Maybe Ricardo Khan, Genghis’s slightly less type A brother would actually end up more vicious/efficient?

The best target could be someone we don’t even know. This woman, call her Emily, is killed in a hit-and-run accident. Emily would have gone on, had she lived, to invent a cure for cancer, magic weight loss pills, and faster-than-light speed travel. I’d assassinate that driver.

Lee Harvey Oswald, back in 1960, or so.

Not because I’m all that fond of JFK. Just because I’m sick, and tired, of all the lousy, insane, and inane, conspiracy theories that have grown up around that event.

(Yeah, pointless, I know. A more useful person to assassinate might be Catherine the Great of Russia, because she seems to have taught the dynasty about the idea of buffer areas with subjugated peoples. But I’d have to research that a bit before I’d commit to it. If I have no time to choose - it’ll be Lee Harvey Oswald.)

Awww, do they have to be dead and famous? I can’t kill my grandpa after he made auntie but before he screwed up her and Mom? I wanna! sulks in a corner

I’ll have to go with Fernando VII. I’m not a historian so I’m probably wrong, etc, etc, disclaimer yadda yadda, but basically I see him as one of those guys who can’t ever be effective because they want everybody to love them. Since this isn’t possible, whenever he made a choice and part of the country/his asskissers du jour/neighboring countries pouted, he’d flop off in the opposite direction again. He could wake up liberal and french-loving, be autocratic and more-Catholic-than-thou by lunchtime, then by the time mid-afternoon snack rolled around he’d be trying to study English and have changed what passed for his mind again when dinner was called.

His inability to keep a promise (starting with the promise to honor the laws of his two kingdoms of Castilla and Navarra) was one of the main things leading to several civil wars in Spain.

If you want someone more famous, Fernando I de Aragon is another one I dislike intensely (I’d do it before he was able to perform the expulsions for sure), but heck, at least that one was a sonabitch but an efficient sonabitch.

Nah, then Kennedy would have been killed by one of the other 12 lone isolated gunmen in Dealy Plaza that day.

I would hit Mother Teresa. I never did like that holier than thou attitude. Second choice, Gandhi.

Maybe John C. Calhoun, the ardent defender (nay, promoter) of slavery. Without his demagoguery, I wonder whether cooler heads might have prevailed and a path to gradual abolition might have been found. What might the US be like if no Civil War had been fought?

Adam

If the goal is to destroy Christianity, whack Paul; there’s a reason that he and Jesus tied on the list of important figures in Western Civ. Personally I’d either try to prevent WWI (see above) or decide that I didn’t have any particular right to change history.

Since Kaiser Wilhelm is taken, I’ll go for Rasputin. No evil influence over Alexandra, less chance of a Russian revolution.

By historical figure, do you mean one who is already dead? Because there are still alive people who’ve already had a historical influence.