MY GRANDMA used to tell me about the bomb shelters.

Across Scotstoun, she said, the terrifying wailing could be heard, a moaning warning amplified up the closes and through the tenement back-courts.

It penetrated their top floor room and kitchen as the children grabbed their pre-packed satchels full of homework. She, in turn, grabbed the children.

My Grandpa was seldom there. He worked nights at his shipyard in Clydebank, riding the darkened tram down Dumbarton Road until, one bright moonlit night, German bombers struck.

The two days of devastating bombing became known as the 'Clydeside Blitz'.

Like so many other men, he never returned home and there was no funeral. The men's pay packets found amidst the rubble were divided equally between the widows.

The bereaved family had to cope as best they could. But the underground bomb shelters held fresh terror offering, as the families now knew, no defence from a direct hit.

And black outwalks to and from school through Kelvingrove Park were bleak.

I was born in the 1960s when my Grandma's grief still seemed acute. But her generation's memories of unimaginable grief at the destruction wrought across our continent convinced us that we'd never again see war visited upon Europe on such a scale again.

The Cold War which held nations captive on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain offered a grim stability.

When the Wall fell, I was a young reporter on 'Newsnight'. I visited the darkened streets of East Berlin, exploring the majestic architecture of Mitte, its buildings still pockmarked by bullets and shrapnel.

Hope was in the air. Some called the period 'the end of history'.

Old nations claimed their seats at the United Nations. We promised, collectively, to renounce war and respect existing borders. Dictatorships held free elections, and in some cases elected dictators.

George Bush looked Putin in the eye, got a sense of soul he said, and found him trustworthy.

It was an assessment the people of Grozny, Syria, Crimea, and now the rest of Ukraine would not share.

I've been thinking a lot about my Grandma as I watch the carnage in Ukraine. As I write, Vladimir Putin has bombed a theatre sheltering 1000 people with 'children' written outside in large Cyrillic letters to deter attack.

War crimes are being committed by the invaders daily. Old people are being stretchered out of their apartments, blinking and dazed. Maternity wards have come under attack, and Germany is rearming in response.

Retired generals are speaking on the radio about Kyiv being encircled in a mediaeval style siege.

My Grandma died four decades ago. In the intervening years, our societies have advanced technologically beyond recognition.

But, in the heart of Europe, another war criminal is pounding a civilian population in the hope of crushing their collective spirit into submission.

He will fail. But how dismal it is that we bear witness not to the end of history, but the endless recycling of a centuries-old story.