Most of our heroes have been ordinary people. The ordinary man is capable of enormous heroism and enormous bestiality. That’s the lesson of Nuremburg. It’s very easy to blame Nazism on the bestiality of these people. If a thousand people are killed by an earthquake, it’s a terrible thing, but it’s not tragic. There’s no tragedy because there’s no human element in it. It doesn’t teach you any lesson except to watch out for earthquakes. The hard lesson of the tragedy is that ordinary people can be brought into a condition to do these things. That’s much more dangerous.

Telford Taylor, in Studs Terkel, ”The Good War”: An Oral History of World War II