10 Incredible What-Ifs That Could Have Changed The Course Of History

1. ...Hitler Had Died On The Battlefield In World War I?

Hitler Tandey
Fortunino Matania

Adolf Hitler brought destruction to the entirety of the planet, killing some 6 million Jewish people during the Holocaust and tens of millions of soldiers, civilians, and PoWs during World War II - but all that could have been so different, if Private Henry Tandey had pulled the trigger on 28th September, 1918.

While the future Führer was serving in the German Army during the Great War, he was wounded near the French village of Marcoing and was left sprawling on the battlefield. At that moment, Private Tandey of the Yorkshire Regiment discovered the 29-year-old German Lance Corporal, but he decided to spare Hitler's life, rather than shoot at him.

Tandy later revealed: "I took aim but couldn't shoot a wounded man... so I let him go." Supposedly, Hitler then nodded his approval at Tandey and ran off. When a photo emerged in British newspapers of Tandey carrying a wounded soldier across the battlefield at Ypres in 1914, Hitler reportedly had a copy of the resultant painting by Italian artist Fortunino Matania made and, while showing the piece to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1938, said: "That's the man who nearly shot me."

Obviously, right-wing tensions and ultra-nationalist sentiment arose in Germany post-World War I anyway, but without the leadership of Hitler it is difficult to see how the radical Nazi Party could have risen to power and then re-assumed Prussian dominance over Europe. If Hitler had been shot that day, millions upon millions of lives could in theory have been spared.

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Contributor

NUFC editor for WhatCulture.com/NUFC. History graduate (University of Edinburgh) and NCTJ-trained journalist. I love sports, hopelessly following Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons. My pastimes include watching and attending sports matches religiously, reading spy books and sampling ales.

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