Do we ever learn from history?

March 26, 2014 · Collections ·

I am continually amazed by how history repeats itself, and not always for the better. We recently acquired a set of diaries kept by a young Waterbury man just prior to and during his study to become a doctor. James A. Root, Jr. was between college and medical school when he finally decided to keep a diary. His first entry was on August 20, 1939.

On September 1, 1939, at 8:45 a.m., James wrote: “Well, at last he’s gone and done it. Six hours ago German troops marched into Poland. It is Hitler’s undeclared lightning war. He will have a good twenty-four hour start on England and France which is a great advantage.”

When I read that entry, all I could think of was Putin’s “invasion” of the Crimea, supposedly to protect ethnic Russians who live in Ukraine. We all know what happened after Germany took Poland. I just hope the same thing does not happen this time. Humans do not seem to learn from their past.

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