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Werner Heisenberg

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An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject, and how to avoid them.
--
Physics and Beyond : Encounters and Conversation (1971)

 
Werner Heisenberg

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Stalin made mistakes. He made mistakes towards us, for example, in 1927. He made mistakes towards the Yugoslavs too. One cannot advance without mistakes... It is necessary to make mistakes. The party cannot be educated without learning from mistakes. This has great significance.

 
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The two worst strategic mistakes to make are acting prematurely and letting an opportunity slip; to avoid this, the warrior treats each situation as if it were unique and never resorts to formulae, recipes or other people's opinions.

 
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I never criticized United States planners for mistakes in Vietnam. True, they made some mistakes, but my criticism was always aimed at what they aimed to do and largely achieved. The Russians doubtless made mistakes in Afghanistan, but my condemnation of their aggression and atrocities never mentioned those mistakes, which are irrelevant to the matter -- though not for the commissars. Within our ideological system, it is impossible to perceive that anyone might criticize anything but "mistakes" (I suspect that totalitarian Russia was more open in that regard).

 
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Did Stalin make mistakes? Of course he did. In so long a period filled with heroism, trials, struggle, triumphs, it is inevitable not only for Joseph Stalin personally but also for the leadership as a collective body to make mistakes. Which is the party and who is the leader that can claim to have made no mistakes in their work? When the existing leadership of the Soviet Union is criticized, the comrades of the Soviet leadership advise us to look ahead and let bygones be bygones, they tell us to avoid polemics, but when it comes to Stalin, they not only did not look ahead but they turned right round, completely backward, in order to track down only the weak spots in Stalin's work.

 
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Did Stalin make mistakes? Of course he did. In so long a period filled with heroism, trials, struggle, triumphs, it is inevitable not only for Joseph Stalin personally but also for the leadership as a collective body to make mistakes. Which is the party and who is the leader that can claim to have made no mistakes in their work? When the existing leadership of the Soviet Union is criticized, the comrades of the Soviet leadership advise us to look ahead and let bygones be bygones, they tell us to avoid polemics, but when it comes to Stalin, they not only did not look ahead but they turned right round, completely backward, in order to track down only the weak spots in Stalin's work.

 
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