Roundup: Talking About History
This is where we excerpt articles about history that appear in the media. Among the subjects included on this page are: anniversaries of historical events, legacies of presidents, cutting-edge research, and historical disputes.
SOURCE: The Straits Times (Singapore) (9-12-05)
Former prisoners of war packed the balconies of the building now known as City Hall, watching the defeated Japanese march in. Locals waited on the Padang for the ceremony, which would mark the end of three years of oppressive Japanese rule.
The same Union Jack that had been taken down on Feb 15, 1942 - when General Arthur Percival surrendered Singapore - was retrieved from its hiding place in Changi Prison, and flown proud and high again. It was an impressive, emotive spectacle - exactly what it was meant to be.
But a new page of history had turned, pointed out Associate Professor Kevin Blackburn, also with the NIE: 'People were meant to be impressed, but over 3 1/2 years, they saw their white masters doing the jobs of coolies.
'That an Asian country had...
SOURCE: Irish Times (8-30-05)
Ireland loves its history. But it likes one-sided history. The side may change, depending on each generation's fad, fashion or political correctness.
Take the early 20th century myth: how an oppressed Ireland rose up against its British oppressor in 1916. Not exactly. In reality only a tiny fringe rose. Far from having the country behind them, they needed protection from Dublin mobs, while nationalist newspapers called for the execution of Pearse, Connolly and the rest of the leaders.
Roll on a couple of years to the triumph of republicanism in the 1918 general election, and many of its critics jumped on the 1916 bandwagon, with far more claiming to have been in the GPO than physically would have fitted in the building. And yet, somehow Ireland was neither as anti-British nor as pro-Sinn Fein as the later spin suggested.
Throughout the 1920s Remembrance Sunday wreath-layings at the...
SOURCE: Gazette (Montreal) (9-9-05)
Film historian David Thomson calls the Civil War drama starring Charlton Heston and Richard Harris "a broken thing" because of the way it was cut after Peckinpah lost his fight to see it released in its original form in 1965.
The beautifully restored new edition being unveiled on DVD this week by Sony Home Entertainment is still not complete. Crisp, the vice-president of film restoration for Sony, calls the new release "the extended version."
"This is definitely not the ultimate final director's version," he said by phone from Los Angeles. That's because some of the footage hacked away 40 years ago has been deemed irretrievable.
But Crisp is excited over what he did unearth. And...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (9-9-05)
The film-maker and historian Kevin Brownlow, whose new documentary Garbo (co-directed with Christopher Bird) was commissioned to mark the centenary, acknowledges that the life of the actress remains shrouded in mystery. He tells about his one near-encounter with his subject. He spotted Garbo, in a street in New York, laden with supermarket bags. At the time, he was desperate to speak to her for a series he was making about Hollywood. 'I tried hard to meet her, but...
SOURCE: The Irish Times (9-9-05)
This reinterpretation was propagated "not because it was good history but because it was politically expedient to do so", said Dr John Regan of the University of Dundee.
The imposition of a democratic narrative on the formation of the State demanded the generation of a historiography venerating the State and sometimes indulging in the rhetoric of achievement "without fully bringing to bear rigorous historical faculties". The modernisation of Irish history had faltered after 1970.
Addressing a conference at University College, Dublin, marking the 30th anniversary of the death of Eamon de Valera, Dr Regan said...
SOURCE: South China Morning Post (9-9-05)
A new exhibition at the Museum of Sydney, titled "Cook's Sites", consists of a dozen contemporary photographs of places Cook visited during his three voyages of discovery around the Pacific. The photographs are enormous, several metres wide, and are contrasted with sketches and paintings of the same views produced by Cook's official artists more than 200 years ago.
Cook has long been regarded as the founding father of white settlement in Australia and New Zealand. Australia's national anthem, Advance Australia Fair, originally contained the unashamedly jingoistic verse:
When gallant Cook from Albion sailed,
To trace wide oceans o'er,
True British courage bore him on,
'Til he landed on our shore.
SOURCE: Toronto Star (9-9-05)
The convoy of 45 vehicles and some 200 troops is part of an aid package that includes ships and rescue teams.
Mexican forces under revolutionary Gen. Francisco (Pancho) Villa, angry at U.S. support for a rival, staged a small raid into New Mexico in 1916.
They were the bedraggled remnants of an army faction on the losing side of the Mexican revolution, but their action is seen by historians as the last military incursion into the United States.
The Villa troops killed several people on a raid on Columbus, New Mexico, prompting Washington to send a larger force into Mexico in retaliation.
The two countries fought a full-blown war in the mid-19th century, when the United States took what are now its southwestern states from Mexico.
SOURCE: The Guardian (London) (9-8-05)
In its day, which lasted from the middle of the 500s BC until the defeat of Darius III by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, the Persian empire ruled a vast portion of the then-known world from the Nile to the Indus. It connected the Mediterranean with modern Afghanistan. Rich beyond dreams, powerful beyond dispute, the great kings ruled from their mighty palaces at Susa and Persepolis, tolerating the religions and cultures of subject peoples and harvesting the creativity of near eastern civilisation that had already, before they came along, invented writing and urban life. ...
The most vivid portrait of a Persian ruler isn't...
SOURCE: Newsday (New York) (9-8-05)
Shelby Foote was not the greatest Civil War historian of his generation, but he was the best Civil War talker. Just after he died this year, Fresh Air, Terry Gross' public radio show, rebroadcast an interview with him. It was mesmerizing - the gentle Southern voice, the quiet authority, the personal connection to the war and to the South.
Then there were Foote's instant replies to the big questions. Years of study and contemplation had given him the ability to crystallize the cold logic of the Civil War. When Gross asked why so many battles had led to such horrible slaughter, Foote had the answer. It was, he said, because the weaponry was so superior to the tactics.
This explains the rebel turkey shoot at Fredericksburg, Va., its counterpart on the third day at Gettysburg and the carnage at Cold Harbor, Va. It also is the key to the battle at Franklin, Tenn., in which Confederate Gen...
SOURCE: USA Today (9-8-05)
With Americans drowning in their attics, the postponement or relocation of games might seem trivial. But it's not. These games do need to go on.
"Sports needs to be restored as quickly as possible," says Ronald Kamm, immediate past president of the International Society for Sports Psychiatry. "It reduces stress, bonds people and offers a veneer of normalcy."
It might be only a veneer, but it's a critical one in the hurricane's swath -- Southern states where the passion for football...
SOURCE: Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia) (9-8-05)
Last week, the vociferous Dr Peter Stanley, principal historian for the Australian War Memorial, produced a paper
designed to shout down anyone who believes Imperial Japan intended to invade Australia.
The answer is more complex than Dr Stanley points out.
It's unlikely a full-blown appreciation of an Australian invasion was ever put together, but that doesn't mean Imperial Japan didn't think about it.
Let's have a look at what happened back in '42. The speed with which the Japanese took the Pacific by the throat made everyone's head spin -- particularly the Japanese.
It was a bit of a surprise when, one after the other, massive colonial garrisons in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Singapore fell over to a poorly equipped and overstretched...
SOURCE: Huffington Post (9-4-05)
So here's the truth about Chief Justice Rehnquist you won't hear on Fox News or from politicians. Chief Justice William Rehnquist set back liberty, equality, and human rights perhaps more than any American judge of this generation. His rise to power speaks volumes about the current state of American values.
Let's begin at the beginning. Rehnquist bragged about being first in his class at Stanford Law School. Today Stanford is a great law school with a diverse student body, but in the late 1940s and early 1950s, it discriminated against Jews and other minorities, both in the admission of students and in the selection of faculty. Justice Stephen Breyer recalled an earlier period of Stanford's history: "When...
SOURCE: NYT (9-6-05)
Witt was among the many Arkansas friends and associates of Clinton who accompanied the President to Washington during his first , term. At the start, however, Witt seemed among the least likely to become a major player in the Administration.
FEMA haq been labeled a "political dumping ground" in one Congressional report, and Senator Ernest F. Hollings, a Democrat from South Carolina, had called the agency "the sorriest bunch of bureaucratic jackasses" he had ever known.
The public and press also held FEMA in low regard, primarily because of how the agency had handled two big...
SOURCE: Slate (9-4-05)
There will be little dispute that Rehnquist was a great leader and effective administrator of the Supreme Court and the national judiciary. He ran a tight ship in the great marble temple that houses the court. Every justice with whom I have spoken in recent years has noted that the court was functioning well under his leadership. Because of the power of his intellect—many law clerks thought him the smartest justice on a generally smart court—he quickly grasped the key issues in each of the complex and numerous cases that came before the court. As a consequence, he was able to lead the court's discussions in conference with efficiency and dispatch. Some colleagues thought he presided over...
SOURCE: Slate (9-4-05)
Rehnquist's early writings could have melted paint. In 1973, when he and Byron White were the only dissenters in Roe v. Wade, his language was uncompromising: "To reach its result, the Court necessarily has had to find within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment a right that was apparently completely unknown to...
SOURCE: The Australian (9-3-05)
This version of what would be a textbook massacre was created by selectively reading a few bits of paper. The good news is that it probably never happened. Let's review the facts.
One day in 1835, Portland pioneer Edward Henty walked along the beach to Convincing Ground. The entry in his diary is the first recorded use of the placename.
In 1836 explorer Thomas Mitchell visited Portland. He was told that Aborigines and whalers were sharing the carcasses of beached whales. Only some of the head material was taken by the whalers because removal of the rest was "too tedious".
The remainder was left for the Aborigines, who had...
SOURCE: NYT (9-3-05)
Year Senate floor debate on a Supreme Court nomination first opened to public: 1929
Number of nominees who appeared before Senate Judiciary Committee before 1925: 0 (Harlan Fiske Stone was the first)
Number of nominees refused permission to speak before the committee: 1 (John Parker, 1930, later rejected)
Average time between nomination and Senate action on nominees in 19th century: 1 week
Average time between nomination and Senate action on nominees in last third of 20th century: 9 weeks
SOURCE: South China Morning Post (9-1-05)
On the Mountain of Tai Hang depicts what the mainland's official war historians see as a crucial period in the eight-year anti-Japanese struggle. Set in the first three years of the war, the movie portrays how Red Army commander-in-chief Zhu De swept into Shanxi province and prevented a Japanese victory in a region left with only depleted Kuomintang units as defence.
The bombastic rhetoric that accompanies the film is explained when the credits roll: the master-mind behind the epic is none other than Bayi Film Production Factory, the filmmaking wing of the People's...
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Education (9-2-05)
John Stuart Mill, author of On Liberty and The Subjection of Women, spent 25 years working for the British East India Company in the mid-19th century. He believed that India and other "barbarous" nations "have not got beyond the period during which it is likely to be to their benefit that they should be conquered and held in subjection by foreigners." Alexis de Tocqueville, among the century's most sophisticated proponents of democracy, argued during the 1840s that it was urgently necessary for France to subjugate and colonize Algeria....
Two of the most visible exponents of [a] ... new wave in empire studies...