The Second World War was the most destructive conflict in human history. It shaped the world into what it is today. If nothing else, we ought at least to remember the most destructive war in history and the terrible tragedies it wrought. World War I provided the first intimations of Total War: the idea that war was fought not just by armed combatants but by the nations themselves. World War II realized this concept to the greatest extent in history. The distinction between combatants and noncombatants almost became meaningless.