The most influential people of 20th century; 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. Those recognized fall in categories: Leaders & Revolutionaries, Builders & Titans, Artists & Entertainers, Scientists & Thinkers, and Heroes & Icons. Within each category, have a look at 10 most influential people in the world.
10 Most Influential People of 20th Century:
1. Albert Einstein
Claim to Fame: E=MC2, Theory of Relativity, paved the way for the atomic bomb.
Albert Einstein top the most influential people of the century, on the grounds that he was the preeminent scientist in a century dominated by science. The 20th century will be remembered foremost for its science and technology, and Einstein serves as a symbol of all the scientists—such as Heisenberg, Bohr, Richard Feynman, …who built upon his work.
2. Alexander Fleming
Fleming was a Scottish bacteriologist and Nobel Prize winner, best known for his discovery of penicillin. He is one of the most influential people of the 20th centurey.
Fleming wrote many articles on bacteriology, immunology, and chemotherapy. His best-known discoveries are the enzyme lysozyme in 1923 and the antibiotic substance penicillin from the mould Penicillium notatum in 1928, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945 with Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain.
3. Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler, one of the most influential people of the century, become infamous as a personification of human evil. His name is inexorably linked to the Holocaust and extermination of Jews and other ‘undesirables’. He was the most debated personality of the century and a great German leader. Hitler is also seen as the principle cause of the Second World War in which over 70 million people died. He died on April 30th, 1945, criticized for being one of the most cruel ruler in history.
4. Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela was recognized for his role in ending South African apartheid in the 20th century, and as a symbol of forgiveness in the 21st century.
Mandela was a South African political activist who spent over 20 years in prison for his opposition to the apartheid regime. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in helping to end racial segregation in South Africa. He is considered the father of a democratic South Africa and widely admired for his ability to bring together a nation, previously divided by apartheid.
5. Princess Diana
Princess Diana is possibly the most monumentally insignificant person who ever lived, based on the ratio of news coverage to actual achievement. She was an iconic figure of the late 20th Century. During her life she was often said to be the most photographed person, appearing on the cover of People magazine more than anyone else. She epitomised feminine beauty and glamour. At the same time, she was admired for her ground-breaking charity work; in particular her work with AIDS patient,s and supporting the campaign for banning landmines. Married to Prince Charles in 1981, she received the title of “Her Royal Highness Princess Diana of Wales” She is the Mother of Prince William and Prince Harry 2nd and 3rd in line to the throne respectively.
6. Joseph Stalin
Stalin’s name meant “man of steel” and he lived up to it. He oversaw the war machine that helped defeat Nazism and was the supreme ruler of the Soviet Union for a quarter of a century from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. Stalin presided over the industrialization of Soviet economy and was the supreme war leader during the Second World War. In consolidating his absolute power, he ordered many ‘purges’ in which people in positions of power were executed or sent to gulags. Stalin was also instrumental in the formation of the Cold War and annexation of Eastern European countries after the end of WWII. He was effectively the dictator of the state.
7. Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi, another most influential people of the century. He was a prominent Indian political leader who campaigned for Indian independence. Gandhi employed non-violent principles and peaceful disobedience. He was assassinated in 1948, shortly after achieving his life goal of Indian independence. In India, he is known as ‘Father of the Nation’.
8. Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, ceramacist and poet. One of the founders of cubism and one of the most influential artists of the Twentieth Century. Picasso, Henri Matisse and Marcel Duchamp are regarded as the three artists who most defined the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the 20th century, responsible for significant developments in painting, sculpture, printmaking and ceramics.
9. Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Churchill, one of the most influential people of 20th century. He was a British politician and author, best known as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. Also, he was an officer in the British Army, a historian, and an artist. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States. Churchill was famous for his stubborn resistance to Hitler during the darkest hours of the Second World War.
10. Walt Disney
Walt Disney, one of the most influential people of the century, was an American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor and film producer. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a prominent figure within the American animation industry and throughout the world, he is regarded as a cultural icon, known for his influence and contributions to entertainment during the 20th century. As a Hollywood business mogul, he and his brother Roy O. Disney co-founded The Walt Disney Company.