Least understood

In his brilliant book Vichy France, (Robert) Paxton wrote that ‘an American reader who honestly recreates the way the world looked from France (in 1940) cannot assume that he or she would easily have found the path to a 1944 hero’s role.’ And Ophuls told me that former British prime minister Anthony Eden was also speaking for the filmmaker when the statesman made this crucial observation at the end of The Sorrow and the Pity: ‘If one hasn’t been through — as our people mercifully did not go through — the horror of an occupation by a foreign power, you have no right to pronounce upon what a country does which has been through all all that.’

That is one of the most important and least understood lessons of World War II.

-Charles Kaiser The Cost of Courage

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