It's always the little things that come back to haunt you If you ever get a phone call from the Prime Minister, let's hope it's not to tell you that you failed to prevent a world war.
| So you're a proponent of the "great man" theory of history then?|
| I would say that the reason prewar Germany changed from a liberal, tolerant, disarmed, democratic country into a fascist, ultranationalist, anti-semetic, warmongering dictatorship is because they elected as prime minister a fascist, ultranationalist, anti-semetic, warmongering man. |
| No, I think "great man" theory generally oversimplifies history. |
But I do think it's fair to say that wartime Germany's government was a cult of personality of one person who turned his obsessions with violence and anti-semitism into state policy. Before he became the leader, his party consisted of a dozen kooks who met in a bar once a month. He was the one who organized it and turned it into the horrible thing it became. If he had died in World War One, his party would neither have adopted his obsessions as party policy, nor would it have ever achieved power. No other German political party was advocating rearmament in the 1930s, so it's pretty hard to see how anything like World War Two could have happened if the NSDAP hadn't gotten into power.
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