Back in the far gone days of my youth, I was given an assignment by an English teacher which I still remember to this day. We were asked to write about the 3 people we would invite to dinner if we could invite anyone who ever lived. While I don’t remember who I chose to write about at the time, I am going to give it a shot now. The task of picking only 3 people throughout all of time could in itself consume pages and pages of writing. I will spare you the pain, and cut straight to the chase. The 3 people I chose to invite are George Washington, Alexander the Great, and Adolf Hitler. My reason for making these choices came down to the fact that I would like to ask all these individuals several questions Let’s get started.
George Washington: I am fascinated by George Washington for many reasons. I recently had the pleasure of visiting Mount Vernon and the amazing museum which resides there, and was once again impressed with the kind of man he was. There are very few people in human history who have voluntarily given up political power, but George Washington not only turned down the opportunity to be king, he walked away from the power he had of his own will. He was an amazing leader, able to motivate people through the darkest of times. He stayed true to his cause, and did not give up, even against overwhelming odds. He led a random group of untrained men to victory over the most powerful nation on earth at that time, and he did it without resorting to guerrilla warfare or suicide bombing. There are two questions I would like to ask George:
1. Why only two terms as president? Weren’t you worried about destabilizing a young nation at a crucial juncture by forcing it through a change of leadership?
2. What is your secret for motivating those under you? How did you keep men going through the dark times?
Close enough right?
Alexander the Great: I see Alexander the Great as one of the most interesting people who ever lived. He was tutored by Aristotle, at an incredibly young age he led an army across half of the known world and conquered it all, he thought of himself as a god, and died at a young age leaving us to wonder what could have been. His constant campaigning, marching back and forth across Asia, and fighting battle after battle is a testament to his skills as a leader. He is an interesting character, but a classic megalomaniac as all the success seems to have gone to his head in the end. This failing is what eventually turned his men against him. Here are my questions for Alex:
1. What was your end goal? Would you have ever stopped conquering and been content to rule most of the known world?
2. If you considered Greek culture so great, and wanted to conquer all non-Greek peoples, why did you adopt Persian customs? A little hypocritical don’t you think?
Adolf Hitler: While I see Hitler as being one of the darkest people of the 20th century, I also find him to be a fascinating person. Hitler was at the center of the defining moment of the last 100 years. His name is now the default standard of evil. Millions and millions of people lost their lives because of his existence, and yet millions of people idolized and followed his every word, even to this day. He was a fascinating man, obsessed with revenge, blinded by hatred, and certifiably crazy. Of Adolf I would ask:
1. Did you really hate the Jews, or was it all a show to give the German people a common enemy to hate and unite against?
2. Why did you think you could succeed where Napoleon failed, and conquer Russia? Did you really think fighting a war on two fronts was a good idea?
The more observant among you may have noticed that all the individuals I chose to invite were military leaders. It seems that wars make up most of the watershed moments in history, and because of this, it makes sense that some of the most influential people would be military leaders. To have the 3 men I have chosen together in the same room would make interesting dinner conversation. Having Hitler at the table; who is a stark contrast to a man like George Washington, and a military genius like Alexander the Great, would in itself provide enlightening conversation, but there is also the contrast between George Washington, a humble man, and Alexander the Great, a self proclaimed god. It would be extremely interesting to see the interaction between these three. Would they argue? Would they agree? Would I be able to get a word in edgewise? I’ll never get the chance to find out. Who would you invite to dinner?