Why read history?
“A wonderful ferment was working in Germany (circa late 1920’s, on the eve of Hitler). Life seemed more free, more modern, more exciting than in any place I had ever seen. Nowhere else did the arts or the intellectual life seem so lively. In contemporary writing, painting, architecture, in music and drama, there were new currents and fine talents. And everywhere there was an accent on youth. One sat up with the young people all night in the sidewalk cafés, the plush bars, the summer camps, on a Rhineland steamer or in a smoke-filled artist’s studio and talked endlessly about life. They were a healthy, carefree, sun-worshipping lot, and they were filled with an enormous zest for living to the full and in complete freedom. The old oppressive (Prussian) spirit seemed to be dead and buried. Most Germans one met – politicians, writers, editors, artists, professors, students, businessmen, labor leaders – struck you as being democratic, liberal, even pacifist.”
– William Shirer, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”