Today, while listening to my all-time favorite podcast "Stuff You Missed in History Class," I learned about a German chemist named Fritz Haber. Haber's contributions to chemistry are dichotomous. On one hand his developments in fertilizer possibly allowed for the current population, and according to the podcast, two in five people would be dead if not for the increased crop production allowed by his fertilizer developments. On the other hand, Haber was also heavily involved in chemical warfare developments during the first World War--and as Sarah and Deblina point out, he actively sought to development gases used in warfare. He left Germany in the 30s--despite being a very patriotic German, he was Jewish. However, his research was used to develop Zyklon B--the gas used to kill millions of Jews during the Holocaust. Haber's own relatives were killed in camps from Zyklon B.
(You can read more about Haber on the How Stuff Works website here.)
This made me think of Gael in The Hunger Games trilogy. In Mockingjay it is the development of Gael's bomb that leads to Katniss' sister Prim's death, and ultimately plays a large part in Katniss choosing Peeta over Gael.
Any of your favorite characters that remind you (or were based on) historical figures?