Sunday, November 4, 2007

I Sometimes Wonder

Issues without available answers are seductive unto themselves; for instance, what if Adolf Hitler had been admitted as an art student to Vienna's most famous school for the study of art? He had tried twice for admission and was turned down, primarily because he could not satisfactorily draw the human figure.
What if he had been admitted? Would millions not have died? Would the great tragedy we call World War have ended in 1918, rather than 1945?
I realize that dreaming about the never-to-be seems without direction, if not fruitless; however, be reminded that even great historians do the very same thing. As an example, Ambrose once remarked that if Hitler had gotten to Antwerp during the Battle of the Bulge and split the Allies, Stalin might have thrown up his hands and made an attempt to forge an alliance with the hated
Hitler. One can never know, of course. But this process of "what if" could be a source of some intellectual "fun"; say, if Mozart had lived to be 55 rather than 35, would there have been the same Beethoven we know today? Or, if Gershwin, like Mozart, dying in his thirties - what if he had lived another 20 years - would Bernstein have been the Bernstein we know?
By the way, did you know that Hitler had written several plays and even a libretto for an opera?
Strange bedfellows; evil incarnate and artistic endeavor.

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