16 June 1944(1944-06-16) (aged 57) Saint-Didier-de-Formans, Vichy France
History is, in its essentials, the science of change. It knows and it teaches that it is impossible to find two events that are ever exactly alike, because the conditions from which they spring are never identical.
The good historian is like the giant of the fairy tale. He knows that wherever he catches the scent of human flesh, there his quarry lies.
The historian is, by definition, absolutely incapable of observing the facts which he examines.
The ABC of our profession is to avoid these large abstract terms in order to try to discover behind them the only concrete realities, which are human beings.
But history is neither watchmaking nor cabinet construction. It is an endeavor toward better understanding.