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  • Writer's picturePatrick Joseph

Later, Adolph

Springtime, 2300. A team of time travel scientists are minutes away from their first voyage backwards. The lead physicist, who wishes to remain anonymous, speaks. “Before we activate our inaugural time machine trip, I have a comment and a question. First, you’ve been an astonishing team, and there’s no group of scientists I’d rather be making this journey of discovery with. Secondly, does everyone remember when Hitler died?”

In concert the team of scientists shout “April 30, 1945!!!”

“A+, team! Let’s fire her up!”

The initial trip is to calibrate by going back 24 hours. The day fades into view. The team is at once present and not present. They see yesterday selves heading out to enjoy the last meal of the last linear day in history. Yesterday's team follows their protocol, refusing to turn and peer backwards at their own tomorrow. After 5 minutes, the process completes. Their environment is 100% here and now.

“When did Hitler die?”

“April 30, 1945!!!”

“Unanimous! The mob is right again. When are we going next?”

“April 30, 1945!!!”

From the paper “Resolving The First Temporal Paradox: The Evidence for Killing Hitler”: The first time traveler will be compelled to resolve the Hitler question. Hitler’s date of death has remained the same for over 250 years, suggesting a few premises. 1. Time cannot be accessed for travel. 2. Time is a condition, not an object to change. The state of the condition is observable forward and pastward. 3. Time can be navigated, and conditions changed. The date of death chosen may have prevented an even greater, yet forever unknowable catastrophe. No matter, this team and all future teams determine April 30, 1945 is the date historians and physicists pile in their time machines to go kill Hitler.


Earlier, the bunker quickly fills with visitors from all over time arriving by the second. A dozen future cultures discovering time travel, all taking the same first flight. The travelers are clothed of their times, displaying hairstyles and skin tones unimagined by Hitler. Fear and confusion dart across his eyes. Hitler is speechless, surrounded by a growing crowd of assassin-scientists.

The anonymous temporal scientist speaks. “I am from 2300. Those around me are from other, later eras. We are all travelers through time and have two objectives. First, to witness your death. Secondly, to determine if one or all of us kill you, or if, as history reports, you do it. Maybe it’s chicken or egg. Either way, you have 20 seconds.”

Bodies overwhelm the tiny space, obscuring the dim light of a flickering bulb and sending the room into shadow. Time moves fast, bodies push towards the eye of the hurricane. A cluster of elbows, an abrupt rapport and flash, blood mists the eyes of would-be witnesses. Hitler's body sways, his terminal body held upright by a tight ring of scientists. The visitors return forward in one swift moment. Hitler collapses backwards into open space, a smoking gun in his dead hand. The trigger was pulled by the inevitable and aimed by necessity. Hitler lands upright on the sofa, perfectly seated next to a stiffening Eva, wearing her favorite dress and a perfume of almonds.

“When did Hitler die?”

“April 30, 1945!!!”

“Who killed Hitler?”

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