Chapter 23. The Power and Creativity of a Transforming Vision

James MacGregor Burns

If you're teaching a class in leadership and want to fire up a lively discussion, just pose this old chestnut of a question: "Was Adolf Hitler a leader?"[117] The last time I tried this, in an honors class, a woman student vehemently answered, "YES." Evil though he was, she declared, he mirrored the hopes and hates of the German people, he won elections, and he fulfilled his promises by changing Germany along the lines his followers wanted—so how could he not be called a leader? She had the class all but convinced and almost had me, too. Almost.

It was not, of course, that she was in any way pro-Hitler, who stands as perhaps the most universally detested man in all ...

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