Hobsbawm spent two years as a boy in the short-lived Weimar Republic and watched as the Nazis came to power.
“The fact is that no one, right, left or centre, got the true measure of Hitler’s National Socialism, a movement of a kind that had not been seen before and whose aims were rationally unimaginable.”
and also this:
Even its few years of ‘normality’ rested on the temporary quiescence of a volcano that could have erupted at any time. The great man of the theatre, Max Reinhardt, knew this. ‘What I love,’ he said, ‘is the taste of transience on the tongue – every year might be the last.’ It gave Weimar culture a unique tang. It sharpened a bitter creativity, a contempt for the present, an intelligence unrestricted by convention, until the sudden and irrevocable death.
Interesting observations from someone who was there. Maybe no one could put it back together again?