This post from the nascent group Historia reveals the problems that students have exploring their historical interests because of the skills that are involved. I know too many colleagues who decided to become Americanists (after hoping to be Germanists, medievalists, and South Asianists–in that order) because they would not tackled the language challenges. I am reminded how difficult that it was for me to develop the skills that I needed: not just knowledge of French and Germany (as well as some rudimentary Dutch), but also the ability to read old paleography. Many Germanists tend to crowd into twentieth century topics because they refuse to learn Suetterlin.