Hitler's orders for the last stretch of World War II was a scorched earth policy, and he explicitly said that there was no need to consider what Germans would need to stay alive, even at a very primitive level. The war had been a test of their worthiness; they had failed it; they deserved to die.
The first emperor of China pursued a policy of endless war not to conquer but to impoverish the lands he already ruled. If they were kept poverty-stricken, his subjects would concern themselves with things like eating more than bare subsistence, musics, rite, filial piety and brotherly love, benevolence, sincerity, virtue -- and other dangers to the state.
(You know, if you put either of those attitudes in your Evil Overlord, people would use it as an example of epic fantasy's unrealistic characterization.)
During World War II, a Japanese official argued for total freedom of speech, with no censorship whatsoever. Censorship encouraged people to stop and think before they spoke, and therefore encouraged timidity rather than boldness.
At aristocratic balls in Victorian Great Ball, women did not have dance cards. After all, everyone in such rarefied circles already knew everyone else.
Early tourists to the United States sneered at the trees because they were meaningless. In England, if you saw a stand of fine trees, you knew there was a wealthy landowner about, but in America, trees could stand in a neighbor full of the impoverished.
After the Messenian helots revolted against Sparta, Sparta first called for aid from Athens among other Greek cities, and then sent the Athenian forces, and them only, packing. Athens settled survivors of that revolt in their own city, where they were very fond of making memorials, as at Delphi, that annoyed the Spartans.
From the time of the Restoration to Victorian era, they had no clue what order Shakespeare's plays had been written in. In Victorian times, people began slowly piecing together all the clues to see what they could find. They still haven't gotten it all nailed down, but before this time, they didn't even distinguish between his early comedies and his late ones.