For thousands of years before the twentieth century, history was just what famous people did. For the first forty years of the twentieth century fame had been setting up a history of its own, separate from the real one. A lot of famous people didn’t do anything really historic except get famous, usually in America. But for two eventful years after the outbreak of World War II in Europe, it was like old times. History was back in Europe where it belonged, and the people making it were more famous than the Americans. They were running their own show again. The Americans were out of it.