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Why study history and WW2

LAURENCE REES: Why should anybody bother to study history in general and this period in particular?

SIMON SEBAG-MONTEFIORE: World War Two is the simplest war to study in terms of black and white, in terms of evil. I sincerely believe that the Nazi regime was definitely the most evil and disgusting regime ever to rule in all of human history. And there’s serious competition for that position. I think Stalin also, apart from the Hitlerite regime, caused the greatest misery and was the most disgusting regime of anyone, and yet without it we couldn’t have defeated Hitler. But I think that this is a moral story and to that extent it’s important for everyone to study. There are endless lessons in the resistance to dictators, to international banditry, to empire builders and to totalitarian regimes backed up by Utopian ideologies. And in all of these things there are amazing lessons for everyone to learn. But also these are the most amazing stories too and they’re so exciting and so fascinating and the characters are so much larger than life, so in terms of history it has everything. There’s a moral lesson, there’s a national struggle and it’s also very exciting to know about.