But Germany will always suffer, I fear, from the intensely dramatic character of the crimes of the Third Reich.
Margaret Thatcher was fearful of German unification because she believed that this would bring an immediate and formidable increase of economic strength to a Germany which was already the strongest economic partner in Europe.
There are thus great swathes of the past where understanding is more important and reputable than judgement, because the principal actors performed in line with the ideas and values of that time, not of ours.
There is nothing false or arrogant about German pride in German technical and business skills.
A genuinely democratic Iraq might well act as a fresh spur.
But it cannot follow that because weapons and troops are now being deployed we are bound to go to war.
History provides no precise guidelines.
It was essentially for self defence that we went to war in Afghanistan and would go to war in Iraq.
People know they are lacking something, they are constantly wanting some kind of spiritual guidance.
We must admit that history is enjoyable to a large extent because it enables us to pass judgement on the past.
Men like Hitler and Stalin and their immediate lieutenants cannot plead in defence of their actions that these were justified by the accepted values of that time.
There is no consensus even today on the merits of Napoleon - and certainly no agreement on the rights and wrongs of the origins of the First World War.
The first two Prime Ministers whom I served, Ted Heath and Margaret Thatcher drew strikingly different lessons from the Second World War.
People are very interested in politics, they just don't like it labelled politics.
It depends on how it is done but what we are drifting into, which is that people grow up without any sense of a spiritual dimension to life, is just impoverishing.
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