For those who experience today the past is kept alive by museums, books, films, not least by parents and grandparents who lived through part of it and talk about it. Not ancient or medieval times, of course, but a chunk of the 20th century. World War I is too far back, but not World War II.
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In this day and age, Mussolini's Italy is gone, as is Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia and Eastern Europe. Tojo's Japan, too, for that matter. To be sure it cost tens of millions of lives, but it was accomplished. Still, there was something curiously fascinating about them while they existed _ their global ambitions and determination to achieve them regardless of the numbers of bodies they climbed over. And they almost made it. However, "almost" doesn't cut it. Perhaps if they'd done this but not that, or done that but not this they could have made it. For a while, it was a close thing.
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