In his alternative-history novel Making History, Stephen Fry researches a rather specific persona – Adolf Hitler – and tries to answer the question: could it be possible that the world without Hitler would have been a much worse place to live?
A talented physicist with the help of a random assistant creates a contraption that makes it possible for him to influence the past enough to make sure that Hitler has never been born; he hopes that the world will turn into a much more hospitable place if it weren’t torn apart by the World War II.
The reality, however, differs from his expectations. Fry believes that Hitler didn’t come into power accidentally, but seized it when some charismatic figure was expected to appear and release Germany from the humiliating condition it was placed into after the World War I. In his alternative universe Hitler is replaced by another leader, Gloder, who is no less charismatic, but much more reasonable than Hitler. Making use of the resources Hitler wasted, lacking the psychotic outlook on life Hitler had, he increases his power and systematically expands the Third Reich over the whole Europe, doing the same things Hitler always dreamt to do, only successfully.
And it is very possible that Fry has a point here. Hitler, although being able to create the most powerful army that has ever existed, was subject to delusions that eventually led to his demise. If his place had been taken by a more practical man, who knows what the world would have been now?
Typically for Fry, the book is written in excellent English and it is yet another reason to treat it with respect and interest.