So pithy, this student statement of Franz Rosenzweig about his history professor, Friedrich Meinecke, at Freiburg in 1908: “He treats history as though it were a Platonic dialogue, not murder and manslaughter.”
Rosenzweig, citizen of the militant Kaisersreich, the German Empire, knew about war as a contemporary fact. The quotation shows his frame of mind about war–it was no abstraction to him. Before long he had the opportunity to serve the state during the Balkan Wars and the Great War, though not in direct combat. His opinion of war did not improve, and war sharpened his focus on the ultimate things.