100 Most Influencial People of the 20th Century

Discussion in 'History' started by KevTheGooner, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. KevTheGooner

    KevTheGooner Help that poor man!

    Dec 10, 1999
    THOF
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Andorra
    A potential list, as written by the pre-eminent authority on the subject...me. :D Much help on this list from Wikipedia. More than a few of these are late 19th-century figures whose impact was most profoundly felt in the 20th century. Due to my lack of understanding, it doesn't include any mention of early computer science innovators, which is obviously a massive component of twentieth century life. Also, being a Yank, this list is probably US-centric, but definitely western-centric. A fun topic to kick around anyways. Note: this list is generally unsorted. The easy ones are towards the top but that's about it. Coming up with the list was hard enough..someone else can sort it!


    Albert Einstein
    Adolf Hitler
    Mao Tsedung
    Neville Chamberlain
    Winston Churchill
    Benito Mussollini
    Lenin
    Trotsky
    Stalin
    Michael Gorbachev
    Ronald Reagan
    Ho Chi Minh
    Enrico Fermi
    Jonas Saulk
    Alexander Graham Bell
    Pele
    Pope John Paul II
    Fidel Castro
    Ayatolla Khomeni
    The Beatles (counts as four?)
    Jimmy Carter
    Woodrow Wilson
    Nelson Mandela
    Henry Ford
    Laurie Dickson
    Thomas Edison
    Sergei Eisenstein
    Pablo Picasso
    F.D. Roosevelt
    Gamel Abdel Nasser
    David Ben-Gurion
    Michael Jordan
    Hideki Tojo
    Georges Clemenceau
    David Lloyd George
    Kaiser Wilhelm II
    Rachael Carson
    Pierre Trudeau
    Mahatma Ghandi
    Martin Luther King
    Vaclev Havel
    Lech Walesa
    Kemel Attaturk
    Helmut Kohl
    John Keynes
    Milton Friedman
    Diego Rivera
    J.R.R. Tolkein
    George Orwell
    Jean-Paul Satre
    George Kennan
    Marie Curie
    Paul Ehrlich
    Douglas MacArthur
    Yasser Arafat
    Louis Armstrong
    Sigmund Freud
    Karl Jung
    Alexander Fleming
    James Watson
    Francis Crick
    Max Planck
    Walt Disney
    Wright Brothers
    Marcel Proust
    W.B. Yeats
    Margaret Thatcher
    Charles DeGaulle
    Francisco Franco
    Marshall Tito
    Saddam Hussein
    Menachem Begin
    Anwar Sadat
    Bill Gates
    Niels Bohr
    Betrand Russell
    Yuri Gagarin
    Harry Truman
    Henry Kissinger
    Georgy Zhukov
    Dwight Eisenhower
    Bertold Brecht
    Rosa Parks
    Sir Edmund Hillary
    Leni Riefenstahl
    Bob Marley
    Robert Mugabi
    Mackenzie King
    Emiliano Zapata
    Muhammed Ali
    Jesse Owens
    Bob Dylan
    Sergei Rachmaninoff
    Elvis Presley
    Akiro Kurosawa
    Stephen Jay Gould
    E.O. Wilson
    Jane Goodall
    Jimi Hendrix
    Arsene Wenger :D
     
  2. Pints

    Pints Member

    Apr 21, 2004
    Charm City
    I would add Frederick Banting. Who discovered the use of Insulin to manage Diabetes in 1921-22.
     
  3. Pints

    Pints Member

    Apr 21, 2004
    Charm City
    Oh, and how could you miss Albert Hoffman? What he did in 1943 changed ALOT of people.
     
  4. KevTheGooner

    KevTheGooner Help that poor man!

    Dec 10, 1999
    THOF
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Andorra

    Trippy answer dude. ;)
     
  5. Saudi64

    Saudi64 Member

    Apr 28, 2004
    Riyadh KSA
    Club:
    Al Shabab Riyadh
    Nat'l Team:
    Saudi Arabia
    You should add King Abdulaziz, without him their would be no Saudi Arabia. :D
     
  6. topcatcole

    topcatcole BigSoccer Supporter

    Apr 26, 2003
    Washington DC
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Shockley, Bardeen, Brittain- invented the transistor

    but, more importantly, there's Robert Adler, who invented the TV remote control

    (only slightly tongue in cheek)
     
  7. Excape Goat

    Excape Goat Member+

    Mar 18, 1999
    Hong Kong
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    -- Jimmy Carter over Nixon or JFK. Nixon probably reshaped how Americans viewed politics and his Vietnam policy changed an entire generation. JFK was associated with various issues that were far more important than Carter.

    -- Akiro Kurosawa? No doubt he is a great movie director, but the most influencial person of the century? How about Charlie Chaplin instead?

    -- Hendrix, Dylan and Marley. I will replace some of them with Sinatra and/or Louis Armstrong.

    -- Rosa Parks is probably unknown outside the US. His contribution to the world is limited to the US.

    -- I would have added Che Guevara. Communism is finished, but he remains the symbol of revolution and/or champion of the poor.

    -- The Wright brothers.
     
  8. dna77054

    dna77054 Member+

    Jun 28, 2003
    houston
    Don't have time to research the name, but what about the guy who invented/discovered/stumbled upon plastic. IIRC plastic was somewhat of an accident. I think that originally it was the leftover "residue" of a reaction looking for something else. Hard to imagine a world without plastic today.
     
  9. art

    art Member

    Jul 2, 2000
    Portland OR
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If Brecht and Sartre are on there (which I agree with), so should Ianesco and Beckett IMO.

    For that matter, Albee, Williams, and Miller could easily find their way on there as well.

    Others:
    Frank Lloyd Wright
    Virginia Wolff
    maybe Anne Frank

    and for me I'd include Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, and Robert Heinlein as well, call it my geek contribution.

    ....and thats all i can think of for now. Good list.
     
  10. KevTheGooner

    KevTheGooner Help that poor man!

    Dec 10, 1999
    THOF
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Andorra
    Yeah, I see your point(s), yet I also highly revere his work in the Middle East and other internal (US) reforms. And his handling of the Iran hostage situation, good or bad, has probably had profound impacts on our world of today.

    Probably of equal influence. Chaplin should be on there, no doubt.

    In terms of world-wide impact, I'd select all three of those listed above Frank Sinatra. And I love Sinatra. Louis Armstrong is on there.

    Her contribution is a good point for debate. Without her, would we have MLK? The Civil Rights Act? Dixiecrat defection to the Republican party, which, of course, changes foreign policy for the world's superpower? Hmmm...

    I debated Che's inclusion for a long time. In the end I moved away from him mostly because his contribution is partly magnified by a cult of personality about the guy. You might say that people like Eva Peron and Pinochet were more influencial.

    On the list. And....wrightly so! :)
     
  11. KevTheGooner

    KevTheGooner Help that poor man!

    Dec 10, 1999
    THOF
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Andorra
    Yeah, I have to admit that the list leans heavily towards political personalities at the expense of cultural. I could see adding most any of these folks you mention if they are read worldwide at the expense of a more regional political person (i.e. Attaturk, Mugabe)
     
  12. minorthreat

    minorthreat Member

    Jan 1, 2001
    NYC
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    Deng Xiaoping was more influential than quite a few of the political leaders you mentioned, as was Sun Yat-Sen.
     
  13. bojendyk

    bojendyk New Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    South Loop, Chicago
    Since the purpose of such lists is to start debate . . .

    Tolkein, Proust, and Mugabe don't belong anywhere near that list. Proust is quite obviously important, but few people have actually read him, and even fewer have read more than Swann's Way.*

    Joyce is much more important.

    Charlie Parker and Jackson Pollocl/Clement Greenberg belong on this list.

    Yeats is an interesting choice, but I'd substitute Ezra Pound (and, by extension, Poetry magazine's editor during Pound's time on that journal, Harriet Monroe). His own poetry is important, even though it falls well below the heights attained by his peers, but he also guided Eliot to greatness, advised Yeats in such a way to make him better, discovered Robert Frost, and invented Imagism. It's not really hyperbole to suggest that Pound almost single-handedly created modernist literature (. . . before becoming an insane fascist traitor, that is).


    *When the Times Literary Supplement published their "most important books of the millenium" lists, several contributors listed Remembrence of Things Past. It was clear that said writers only did so to boast that they had read the entire work. What was more troubling were the qualities they attributed to the book--that it provided a stunning portrait of the aristocratic mailaise in France that led to France's deportation of the Jews in WWII. Perhaps, but this ignores the fact that Proust is thus complicit, as the Dreyfus affair is treated only as a subject for cocktail party banter.
     
  14. nowayjose

    nowayjose New Member

    Apr 24, 2005

    Where is Forest Gump? Where is Gordon Gekko? Where is Mickey Mouse?
     
  15. christopher d

    christopher d New Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    Weehawken, NJ
    Claude Debussy
    Maurice Ravel
    John Cage
    Robert Johnson
    Arnold Schoenberg
    Charles Ives
     
  16. Rick B

    Rick B Member

    Aug 26, 2003
    Harare, Zimbabwe
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Zimbabwe
    I disagree. He was one of if not the main contributor to the longest and largest war since WW2. Just because he's African and therefore doesn't have much of an impact on life in the U.S. doesn't mean he isn't influential in other arena's. He was one of the most important and recognised revolutionary leaders in Africa and has changed the way Westerners think about Africa - (that is if you do at all I guess...... ) He was the first African leader to openly challenge the white population without fear in the modern world by re-claiming land and trying to bring equality for the black and coloured populations. Since that, similar events have happened, albeit on a smaller scale, in South Africa, Namibia and Kenya. He still has large influences over much of Southern Africa. To say that he wasn't influential in the 20th Century is ignorant of African history - and you may of realised that it's quite a big continant.......
     
  17. spejic

    spejic Cautionary example

    Mar 1, 1999
    San Rafael, CA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    I would put way more science/engineering types in there and way fewer politicians and artists.

    Certianly a worthy addition. Here is the story:

    In 1912 a German chemist named Fritz Klatte was looking for a better material to dope fabric airplane wings. He was working with acetylene, and in one experiment mixed it with hydrogen chloride and mercury and let it stand in sunlight. The mixture solidified. With German efficiency he pantented his formula, but thought it "not useful" and did no further work. The patent lapsed in 1924.

    The stuff he threw away was vinyl chloride. In the 1930s this became a subject of research, and soon polyvinyl chloride was developed - or as we know it today, PVC.
     
  18. dna77054

    dna77054 Member+

    Jun 28, 2003
    houston
    absolutely agree with this. especially the artists. Depending on how one defines influence. I really cannot imagine anyone's lives (except for relatives and a few academics) being different today had artist/author etc.. on the list never existed in the first place. If not Chaplin, then some other actor, Buster Keaton?, would have been handed that level of fame and influence.

    Without the specific scientist, the discovery may never have been made.

    other additions to the list would include
    Watson and Crick
    and Craig Venter, founder of Celera, without whom the human genome still would not be close to being sequenced.
     
  19. KevTheGooner

    KevTheGooner Help that poor man!

    Dec 10, 1999
    THOF
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Andorra
    Thought of Ezra Pound..but pulled back because of that old fascist bugaboo thing.

    Proust is considered the greatest novellist by other writers, of which I am certainly not one. If we were going to shoot for a more mass market appeal, Stephen King would be more appropriate. But I did try to split between critical and mass appeal...hence Tolkein's inclusion, which I stand behind. Like it or not, it set the stage for a wave of fantasy literature and film that was a unique component of twentieth century cultural life (at least in the west).

    And anyone that invents PVC certainly deserves inclusion. As should anyone that may have had breakthrough discoveries in the uses and refinement of aluminum. I just don't have any idea who that may be...thoughts?

    Watson and Crick are on the list.

    Debussy certainly should be on the list.

    Really wanted to put Buster Keaton on there..and probably should.

    And Rick has more than adequately defended my inclusion of Mugabe.

    And can someone fill me in on Sun Yat Sen?

    Might have added Neil Armstrong but I dunno....
     
  20. spejic

    spejic Cautionary example

    Mar 1, 1999
    San Rafael, CA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    19th, not 20th century.

    Which kind leads to a bigger problem. Lots of the science and engineering is done by people who are difficult or impossible to know. They are hidden in the coporate bureaucracy somewhere, or created a product that only experts in a certain field know how important it is. Since WWII, things have become too complicated to know who is really influencing our lives.
     
  21. topcatcole

    topcatcole BigSoccer Supporter

    Apr 26, 2003
    Washington DC
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Maybe we should add some institutions that were really outstanding, like the old Bell Labs for example. Shockley, Bardeen, and Brittain were there when they invented the trtansistor. Or we could talk about folks like Claude Shannon who developed a mathematical theory of information (he invented the "bit" short for "binary digit"). The list goes on

    I STILL stand by Robert Adler. Seriously, can most of us imagine life without the remote control?

    How about Jobs and Woz - the first practical commercially successful combination of a GUI and mouse control making the desktop PC practical for millions of computer users.

    Is my EE showing?
     
  22. KevTheGooner

    KevTheGooner Help that poor man!

    Dec 10, 1999
    THOF
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Andorra
    Agree, topcat. That was the problem with finding a "person" who was instrumental in the development of the personal computer...it was a massive team with massive private and public support. Hard to say who that one person was? And I wanted to put Jobs in there but was filtering out my own preference/bias towards Macs! Seeing as how the whole windows interface is really a Mac interface, he should be in there for sure.

    And in retrospect, Robert Oppenheimer should definitely be in there. He lead a very complicated and diverse international team to develop a technology that put the fear of God into the entire human race!
     
  23. spejic

    spejic Cautionary example

    Mar 1, 1999
    San Rafael, CA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    If you want to reward the development of the windowed, mouse driven interface, then put the Xerox PARC group in the list (and for also developing laser printing, Ethernet and a host of other useful developments). The Xerox 8010 beat the Lisa to market by about 4 years.
    And the Mac interface was based on PARC's Alto computer.
     
  24. topcatcole

    topcatcole BigSoccer Supporter

    Apr 26, 2003
    Washington DC
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Absolutely! BUT that's why I hedged and added "commercially successful"!! :D If Xerox had had the foresight to push some of those PARC inventions into the field one can only speculate how big they would have gotten.
     
  25. RafaMarquez

    RafaMarquez New Member

    Dec 28, 2004
    Rosarito

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