Who was the most destructive man of the early 20th century?

I have spent recent weeks ploughing through the 600-page “A History Of The World” by Andrew Marr and I’ve now reached the early part of the 20th century. He suggests that “the most destructive man of his generation” is someone you’ve never heard of: a German bureaucrat called Arthur Zimmerman.

Marr writes:

“He was responsible for drawing America into the First World War [by proposing that Mexico invaded the south of the USA] , and thus for the ruinous postwar peace treaties dominated by President Woodrow Wilson [which directly led to the Second World War]. He formented the Irish Easter Rsing, with its tragically bloody consequences. He tried to have Islamic jihad against the British declared across the Middle East (but luckily failed). And he was also a key player in the German decision to send the revolutionary leader Lenin in a sealed train to Russia in order to make things worse there. That was undoubtedly a kind of success. Without the arrival of Lenin it is far less likely that his minority Bolsheviks would have been able to hijack the anti-Czarist revolution and create the Soviet state [which arguably led eventiually to the Cold War]. It is quite a charge sheet”.

Especially for someone unknown outside students of history.


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