Based on my own experiences from when I was in school, there isn't enough emphasis on history nor is the time spent teaching it used wisely. At the high school level I'd love to see history program that looks like this. I want to get a masters and teach at the college level (if I do go into teaching):
Freshman Year: Ancient History (emphasis on Greek, Roman and Egyptian)
Sophomore Year: Middle Ages through the Industrial Revolution
Junior Year: American History
Senior Year: Government
I'd be willing to bet that most adults don't know there were more than two political parties in the history of the US.
I agree that kids should be taught about these things early so they can get an understanding of what happened and what was behind it (ie, a lunatic). It had nothing to do with religion really, it had to do with anyone that wasn't a model german..or the perfect race. I agree some things aren't appropriate for grade school kids. I remember my junior year of high school we watched a documentary about concentration camps. It showed the gas chambers, the living quarters, everything. It even showed a bulldozer moving a pile of bodies. That image still haunts me to this day. NOT something for an 8th grader, but something that older teens have to see while still in school.