History is ofte thought of a team sport. In school, we study history so that we don't repeat it.

In society, research and breakthroughs made by a certain team will help unlock answers for the next group of people.

However, there are some historical inventions, advancements, or even failures that come down to the actions and decisions of just one person. These historical figures are still talked about today.

Curious to learn more, Redditor MisterDecember asked:

"What decision by a single person had the biggest impact on human history?"

Words On A Page

"My man, Johannes Gutenberg. This was also my answer as he ushered in the modern period of human history. His work developed the Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Enlightenment, and Scientific Revolution (as well as laying the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses)."

"He also never profitted from his invention and died in poverty."

– unclejarjarbinks

"GUTENBERG, DARN TOOTENBERG. Pretty cool dude. More people need to know his story. They even made a musical!"

– RonnieRegan10

Medical Marvels

"Jonas Salk who invented the vaccine for polio refused to commercialize the patent for it. Decades later it is estimated that the vaccine had cured millions and he forfeited billions in potential income."

– Status_Ad8334

"Frederick Banting, the discoverer of insulin did the same."

– EverydayEverynight01

"Alexander Fleming was a sloppy medical researcher in the 1920s who returned from a 2 week vacation to find he had left out one of his culture plates and it had grown over with mold."

"Most lab technicians would never have allowed this to happen in the first place. If it did happen, they would have immediately scrapped the mess and thought nothing else of it. Fleming decided to take a close look out of curiosity ... and discovered that this mold made destroying bacteria its business. And business was good."

"He had discovered penicillin. And birthed essentially the entire field of successful, safe antibiotics, revolutionizing medicine the world over practically overnight."

– redkat85

Poor Military Decisions

"The decision of John F Kennedy to ignore the unanimous recommendation of his military advisors to launch air strikes on Cuba in October, 1962. Close second, the decision of Nikita Kruschev to offer a deal to Kennedy as a way out of the Cuban Missile Crisis."

"The biggest event of of the 20th century (and arguably ever) was the one that didn’t happen: global thermonuclear war."

– CSWorldChamp

The Dangers of Lead

"Thomas Midgley Jr. He put lead in gasoline which led to a measurable decrease in IQ and a probable increase in crime rate."

– Hungry_Treacle3376

"This guy KNEW about the dangers of lead and still used it. Lead-based items were already known to be toxic at this time, but despite that, he had said at a public health conference he said, "we do not feel justified in giving up what has come to the industry like a gift from heaven on the possibility that a hazard may be involved in it", which is absolutely evil."

– Njumkiyy

Filling The Need For Food

"Norman Ernest Borlaug: an American agronomist, who improved wheat production, called the Green Revolution. He probably saved more than a billion lives, who otherwise would have died from food shortage."

– jta54

A Religious Decision

"Henry the 8th creating the church of England just so he could get a divorce"

– currypoo

Nikola Tesla. Enough Said.

"Without a doubt it's the one and only:"

"--== Nikola Tesla ==--"

"He invented:"

  • AC Power
  • Induction Motor
  • Radio Remote Control
  • Tesla Coil
  • Bladeless Turbine
  • Steam-powered oscillating generator
  • The Magnifying Transmitter
  • Radio Transmissions
  • Whilst he didn't invent neon and fluro lights, he invented the first Neon Light Sign

"His invention of AC power has literally changed the world. This is utterly the biggest impact on humanity, ever."

– JJisTheDarkOne

Another Reason Water Is So Important

"Thomas Newcomen, who needed to find a way to get water out of his tin mine. Invented a steam-powered pump in the early 18th century, and viola, ushered in the Industrial Revolution. Which by the way is still continuing. It is just in its latest computer phase."

– lacks_imagination

Birth Of The USA

"So there is this thing called butterfly effect. The older someone is, the bigger impacts they have had. Therefore my answer is the first homo sapien that qualifies making a simple decision of who to mate with."

– Vigorous_Piston

"One more. Henry VIII created the Church of England in order to divorce his wife and marry Anne Boleyn. This union resulted in Elizabeth I who sent Walter Raleigh to claim land in the new world. Boom………USA."

– Myfourcats1

Possibly The Best Invention Yet

"Recent, but the invention of the internet."

– PermabannedX4

"Yeah the digital revolution had been pretty mad. So much of the world immediately at out fingertips now. So much knowledge, so much art, so much beauty and science with SO much potential."

"So naturally I use all that power to scroll reddit and sh*tpost all day."

– Revolutionary_Elk420

That's definitely the best one! It just goes to show, one person can make a difference.

Whether that difference is good or bad is another story!

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