We read about big events, e.g. the Pacific War section of WWII, and consider them rather abstractly, words to be recited rather than the human reality they were.
I watched this film recently :
Note that the propaganda so obvious to us today wasn’t so obvious to them then.
There are equivalents for Germans in WWII :
There are tons of stuff out of the USSR about those early days with the same message “Everybody believed it, why wouldn’t I?” I have relatives who cried when they heard that Stalin had died.
Isn’t the obvious lesson “people are easily mislead in their deepest beliefs”?
That “You can’t be too skeptical”? Especially about anything your government tells you? To never give power and money the benefit of any doubt?
All of the evil in the world begins with someone believing in some ‘fact’ that isn’t true, e.g. “we are better than them”, “they are subhuman in this very important dimension”, “they are a danger to me and mine”. People don’t do bad things to each other unless they believe something like that, and my understanding of history says they have been very rarely correct.
Civilization declines when masses of people believe the same wrong thing. Those declines generally aren’t kind to ordinary people. We are the cannon fodder, the first to suffer privations, starve or die of disease, the people whose interests don’t count when our elites negotiate with each other.
The first requirement of morality is getting the facts right and using them in clear thinking, same as the first requirement for reaching a good future for you and your family.