Why is it always the Nazis? What about someone who actually did more than destroy half the world at the time? I mean the Romans. Why is nobody asking if the Romans couldn't have gotten us to Mars by year 1000? They had such potetnial and momentum[...]
That's an intriguing thought! I think the reasons they didn't were that they got lazy and decadent. With the means of long-distance communication they had (heralds on horseback), ruling such a huge empire must have been almost impossible so that from a certain size on it perhaps was destined to split up.
And when they had reached the critical size they stopped fighting others and started fighting within the empire, killing scapegoats first (slaves, POWs, christians and other fringe groups) but almost simultaneousely turning at each other as well.
It seems to me that they put large efforts into destroying instead of creating. Else they'd possibly have had steam engines and railroads by the year 400. (After all, the Greek and Egypts had already experimented with steam engines centuries earlier and the latter are known to have had batteries and the means to electrically galvanize metals)