BFF: Magneto and Professor X
When asked recently on the CBR Forums about whether or not Charles Xavier would be similar to Magneto if he had the same experiences, I came up with this answer. I will expand it over the holidays when we redesign the site, but if you are interested:
Well, Xavier came from an abusive background from a younger age than Magnus was when he went through the Holocaust. From his withdrawn mother and abusive stepfather Charles experienced feelings of powerlessness, abuse, and abandonment (in a way) by the very people who were supposed to protect him. Yet he came out of it a very different person, indicating that he and Magnus are, at their core, very different people.
So no, I don't believe he would come out the same way. I think he would come out darker, but I do not believe he would be as violent a militant separatist as Magnus is.
I think the fundamental difference between the two men is that Xavier is a person who (no pun intended) lives in his head and Magnus is a person who lives in his heart. Magnus is extremely intelligent, brilliant in fact, but that intelligence is usually put to work after the emotional decision has been made. His uses his mind only to rationalize/justify the decision and then act on it. Xavier is a passionate activist, but his decisions stem from logic, even the bad ones. Xavier is more of a cold calculator which gives him distance from otherwise scarring events and allows him to act more rationally on his experiences. This emotional coolness is probably from a combination of his needs as a telepathy to shut people's thoughts out and his experiences as a child, in which he was alone. Unfortunately, that calculating nature often has separated him from the people he cares about and who care about him. Xavier can sit in the middle of crowd of X-Men and still be alone, Magnus has to force people away.
What is interesting is that Xavier outwardly, deliberately, believes in the best in human kind, working for coexistence, yet his actions sometimes show he subconsciously believes in the worst in man's nature. Magnus consciously acts on his very outspoken belief in the worst in human kind, yet his very nature is (a twisted form of) idealism. He believes an ideal world is possible and has dedicated his life to that goal. If he were as truly cynical as he claims, he would retire the field with his stolen millions and tell the world to go screw itself. Magnus is proof of the axiom "A cynic is a disappointed idealist".
That maybe the key to their friendship: Each echoes what the other's dark and light side. Outwardly expressing ideas they each won't admit to believing.