NYT: World War II and the Ingredients of Slaughter

This 80th anniversary of World War II is an opportunity to reconsider how the world reached that dark defile, in which some 70 million people died. An opportunity, too, to remember the words of the American judge Learned Hand, on how free and civilized people can come back from the brink.

“The spirit of liberty,” he said, “is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.”


 

Opinion | World War II and the Ingredients of Slaughter

Opinion The spirit of certitude that dominated the politics of the 1930s is not so distant from us today. Joseph Goebbels Credit Credit Universal History Archive/Getty Images World War II began 80 years ago this Sunday after Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a “nonaggression” pact that was, in fact, a mutual aggression pact.

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“When there is no vision the people perish.” The President rallies the nation.

President Hoover, Mr. Chief Justice, my friends: This is a day of national consecration. And I am certain that on this day my fellow Americans...

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