The Most Important People of the Century is a compilation of the 20th century’s 100 most influential people, published in Time magazine in 1999. The people, who are recognized for changing the world, for better or for worse. They are the people who inspire us, entertain us, challenge us and change our world. Following is a brief description of the ten most important people that the 20th century saw.
10. Henry Ford
Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. He was neither a leader, nor a politician. However, he invented a car that transformed the face of the automobile world. In 1999, from a survey conducted among Americans, Henry Ford made his place among the Gallup’s List of Widely Admired People of the 20th Century. He was also the innovator of welfare capitalism.
9. Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Muhammad Ali Jinnah was the most influential figure in Indo-Pak subcontinent’s history. He wa a great leader, lawyer and politician. Jinnah served as leader of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until Pakistan’s independence on 14 August 1947, and as Pakistan’s first Governor-General from independence until his death. He is revered in Pakistan as Quaid-i-Azam (Great Leader) and Baba-i-Qaum (Father of the Nation).
8. Mao Zedong
Chinese communist revolutionary, and political theorist, Mao Zedong. The founding father of the People’s Republic of China from its establishment in 1949, he governed the country as Chairman of the Communist Party of China until his death. By bringing China under unified standards, Mao Zedong is considered as one of the most important personalities to have lived in the 20th century, and a legend of a leader in the Chinese Communist Party. He effectively led both the Chinese revolution and the Chinese Communist Party.
7. The Wright Brothers
The most important people of the 20th century, no doubt, The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation pioneers who were responsible for one of the biggest and the most significant inventions of the 20th century; the airplane. From a mere bicycle repair shop to experiments and research in the field of airplane development, their mania for airplanes led to the creation of the first heavier-than-air airplane.
6. Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party). He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. Hitler was at the center of Nazi Germany, World War II in Europe, and the Holocaust. He was the most debated personality of the century and a great German leader. He started the biggest war the world saw, and changed the entire face of the world by leading Germany throughout World War II. However, he committed suicide on April 30th, 1945. Often criticized for being one of the most cruel ruler in history of the world, he also instigated the Holocaust.
5. Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a British politician, best known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He was a successful leader, Prime Minister, writer who won a Nobel Prize in literature, and a sound statesmen. He was elected halfway through the Second World War, and was the biggest strength for Britishers and Allies all around the world.
4. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States (1933–1945) and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic depression and total war. Whether or not he was a ‘good’ president, he made a special place in the list of presidents of USA who were democratic and most revolutionary. This is because he won wars on two fronts, and helped America getting out of the depression by the progressive norms and policies. He also created a Social Security system that helped senior citizens, thus, prodding the Golden Age of novelty and production in America.
3. Mahatma Gandhi
One of the most famous pacifists who ever lived, Mahatma Gandhi was the most important political figure in the history of India. Indians call him the Father of the Nation as he is one of the world’s greatest leaders, and the father-figure of Indian Independence Movement. Known for his beliefs like total non-violence and civil disobedience, it was because of him that India got independence in 1947. This is how he made his place among the most influential people in history.
2. Nelson Mandela
A former president of South Africa and an anti-apartheid activist, revolutionary and politician Nelson Mandela. He was the first president who elected in a fully representative, multiracial election. His administration focused on dismantling apartheid’s legacy, and cutting racism, poverty and inequality. Politically a democratic socialist, he served as president of the African National Congress (ANC) political party from 1990 to 1999. He has received more than 100 awards and honors. However, the most notable achievement of Mandela was the Nobel Peace Prize he received in 1993, which made him one of the most influential people in the 20th century.
He was kept in prison for 28 years because of fighting for human equality in South Africa. He died after a long struggle with cancer on Dec. 5, 2013, at the age of 95.
1. Albert Einstein
The most influential scientist of the 20th century epoch, Albert Einstein (1879-1955) is known as the Father of Modern Physics. He may have revolutionized scientific thought, but what made the public adore him was his down-to-earth sense of humor. Known for making short quips, Einstein was the people’s scientist. Despite being one of the most brilliant men of the 20th century, Einstein appeared approachable, partly because he always had uncombed hair, disheveled clothing, and a lack of socks. During his entire life, Einstein worked diligently to understand the world around him and in so doing, developed the Theory of Relativity, which opened the door for the creation of the atomic bomb. He received a Nobel Prize for his contribution to the field of Theoretical Physics in the year 1921.