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.
If Margaret Thatcher had been Prime Minister at the time, there would have been no Treaty of Maastricht.
We should be wary of politicians who profess to follow history while only noticing those signposts of history that point in the direction which they themselves already favour.
People know they are lacking something, they are constantly wanting some kind of spiritual guidance.
Silence is regarded as a sort of sin now, and it has to be filled with a lot of gossip and soundbites.
Some people find it difficult to argue with a woman Prime Minister and shrivel up.
Diplomacy is unfashionable in the world of knee-jerk reaction and the dogmatic sound bite on television.
War on Iraq runs the risk of turning the Middle East into an inexhaustible recruiting ground for anti- western terrorism.
We, Britain and Germany, can neither of us be happy about our handling of the Iraq war.
Wisely used history can give pleasure and provide us with a useful tool; but we should not become its slaves.
People are very interested in politics, they just don't like it labelled 'politics'.
Prison is an expensive way of making bad people worse.
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.
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.
The tragedy of 9/11 galvanised the American superpower into action, leaving us in Europe divided in its wake.
No military timetable should compel war when a successful outcome, namely a disarmed Iraq may be feasible without war, for example by allowing more time to the UN inspectors.
Ten Downing Street is a house, not an office. That is its most important characteristic.
We must admit that history is enjoyable to a large extent because it enables us to pass judgment on the past.
It is normal for politicians in all countries to profess themselves the pupils of history, anxious to draw the right lessons from her teaching.
Margaret Thatcher, growing up in a bombed and battered Britain, derived a distrust which has grown with the years not just of Germany but of all continental Europe.
A genuinely democratic Iraq might well act as a fresh spur.
But Germany will always suffer, I fear, from the intensely dramatic character of the crimes of the Third Reich.
History provides no precise guidelines.
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.
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