„I mean, if Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at twenty-two, the history of music would have been very different. As would the history of aviation, of course.“

—  Tom Stoppard, Context: Buddy Holly was twenty-two. Think of what he might have gone on to achieve. I mean, if Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at twenty-two, the history of music would have been very different. As would the history of aviation, of course. Henry, Act II, scene V
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Napoleon I of France photo

„If I had succeeded, I would have been the greatest man known to history.“

—  Napoleon I of France French general, First Consul and later Emperor of the French 1769 - 1821
As quoted in The Tyrants : 2500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption (2006) by Clive Foss

Oscar Wilde photo
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John F. Kennedy photo

„We must deal with the world as it is, and not as it might have been had the history of the last 18 years been different.“

—  John F. Kennedy 35th president of the United States of America 1917 - 1963
Context: Let us reexamine our attitude toward the cold war, remembering that we are not engaged in a debate, seeking to pile up debating points. We are not here distributing blame or pointing the finger of judgment. We must deal with the world as it is, and not as it might have been had the history of the last 18 years been different. We must, therefore, persevere in the search for peace in the hope that constructive changes within the Communist bloc might bring within reach solutions which now seem beyond us. We must conduct our affairs in such a way that it becomes in the Communists' interest to agree on a genuine peace. Above all, while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy — or of a collective death-wish for the world. To secure these ends, America's weapons are nonprovocative, carefully controlled, designed to deter, and capable of selective use. Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self- restraint. Our diplomats are instructed to avoid unnecessary irritants and purely rhetorical hostility. For we can seek a relaxation of tension without relaxing our guard. And, for our part, we do not need to use threats to prove that we are resolute. We do not need to jam foreign broadcasts out of fear our faith will be eroded. We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people — but we are willing and able to engage in peaceful competition with any people on earth.

Gerd von Rundstedt photo

„Nothing would have been changed for the German people, but my name would have gone down in history as that of the greatest traitor.“

—  Gerd von Rundstedt German Field Marshal during World War II 1875 - 1953
Quoted in "Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal - Page 87 - Nuremberg, Germany - 1947

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Francesco Balilla Pratella photo

„All innovators, logically speaking, have been Futurists in relation to their time. Palestrina would have thought that Bach was crazy, and Bach would have thought Beethoven the same, and Beethoven would have thought Wagner equally so.
Rossini liked to boast that he had finally understood the music of Wagner—by reading it backward; Verdi, after listening to the overture to Tannhäuser, wrote to a friend that Wagner was mad.
So we stand at the window of a glorious mental hospital, even while we unhesitatingly declare that counterpoint and the fugue, which even today are still considered the most important branches of musical instruction...“

—  Francesco Balilla Pratella Italian composer 1880 - 1955
p. 80 Original text: :Tutti gli innovatori sono stati logicamente futuristi, in relazione ai loro tempi. Palestrina avrebbe giudicato pazzo Bach, e così Bach avrebbe giudicato Beethoven, e così Beethoven avrebbe giudicato Wagner. :Rossini si vantava di aver finalmente capito la musica di Wagner leggendola a rovescio! Verdi, dopo un’audizione dell’ouverture del Tannhäuser, in una lettera a un suo amico chiamava Wagner matto. :Siamo dunque alla finestra di un manicomio glorioso, mentre dichiariamo, senza esitare, che il contrappunto e la fuga, ancor oggi considerati come il ramo più importante dell’insegnamento musicale...

Norman Mailer photo

„Americans have been leading a double life, and our history has moved on two rivers, one visible, the other underground;“

—  Norman Mailer American novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, film maker, actor and political candidate 1923 - 2007
Context: Americans have been leading a double life, and our history has moved on two rivers, one visible, the other underground; there has been the history of politics which is concrete, factual, practical and unbelievably dull if not for the consequences of the actions of some of these men; and there is a subterranean river of untapped, ferocious, lonely and romantic desires, that concentration of ecstasy and violence which is the dream life of the nation.

Isaac Asimov photo

„Asimov: Science fiction always bases its future visions on changes in the levels of science and technology. And the reason for that consistency is simply that—in reality—all other changes throughout history have been irrelevant and trivial. For example, what difference did it make to the people of the ancient world that Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire? Obviously, that event made some difference to a lot of individuals. But if you look at humanity in general, you'll see that life went on pretty much as it had before the conquest.
On the other hand, consider the changes that were made in people's daily lives by the development of agriculture or the mariner's compass... and by the invention of gunpowder or printing. Better yet, look at recent history and ask yourself, "What difference would it have made if Hitler had won World War II?" Of course, such a victory would have made a great difference to many people. It would have resulted in much horror, anguish, and pain. I myself would probably not have survived.
But Hitler would have died eventually, and the effects of his victory would gradually have washed out and become insignificant—in terms of real change—when compared to such advances as the actual working out of nuclear power, the advent of television, or the invention of the jet plane.“

—  Isaac Asimov American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, known for his works of science fiction and popula... 1920 - 1992

Joseph Stalin photo

„History shows that there are no invincible armies and that there never have been.“

—  Joseph Stalin General secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union 1878 - 1953
Radio Address https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1941/07/03.htm (3 July 1941)

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