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: WSJ (7-3-07)
It's easy now, in a nation awash with complaints about what our Founders did not do, what imperfect humans they seem to 21st century eyes, to overlook how startlingly bold their views and actions were in their own day and are, in fact, even today. Who else in 1776 declared, let alone thought it a self-evident truth, that all men were created equal, entitled to inalienable rights, or to any rights at all? How few declare these views today or, glibly declaring them, really intend to treat their countrymen or others as equal, entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
Certainly not America's 20th century enemies, the Nazis and communists; certainly not today's Islamic radicals, who consider infidels unworthy to...
SOURCE: Salon (7-3-07)
How the World Works in no way condones the use of nuclear weapons against civilian populations, but there's a problem here.
In March, Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe declared that there was no proof that the Japanese military had forced "comfort women" into prostitution. A letter signed by 44 Japanese members of parliament and published in the Washington Post made a similar declaration. They are all still in office.
Earlier in June, 100 more lawmakers, all members of Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, declared that there was "no massacre in Nanjing" in 1937. Instead of 200,000 deaths caused by rampaging Japanese soldiers, as generally held by historians, there were at most 20,000. No one was forced to resign.
Let's not even bother...
SOURCE: http://www.theglobeandmail.com (6-29-07)
John Ibbitson: Studying Canada's past is parochial — not to mention divisive. And who really cares about Louis Riel anyway? Bring back the history of Western civilization
Your province's history curriculum is propaganda designed to brainwash children and stoke ancient resentments, and should be abolished.
A Canadian history curriculum, properly constructed, would focus primarily on the role that our nation has played in the ongoing advance of Western civilization — the most important fact of the human story. Paul Johnson splendidly defended this approach in his introduction to The Offshore Islanders, way back in 1972.
"What ideas has Soviet Russia produced?" he wrote."Or Communist China? Or postwar Japan? Where is the surge of discovery in the Arab world? Or liberated Africa? Or, for that matter, from Latin America, independent now for more than 150 years? It is a thin harvest indeed, distinguished chiefly...
SOURCE: Slate (6-29-07)
SOURCE: Nieman Watchdog (6-20-07)
In a syndicated op-ed published recently in the Washington Post and elsewhere, Henry A. Kissinger's ostensible purpose was to apply the lesson he drew about the U.S. "defeat in Vietnam" to the possible "collapse in Iraq." His lesson turns out to be the old Cold War-era domino theory dressed up in modern war-on-terror garb. Just as "defeat...
SOURCE: WaPo (7-1-07)
President Bush's favorite role model is, famously, Jesus, but Winston Churchill is close behind. The president admires the wartime British prime minister so much that he keeps what he calls "a stern-looking bust" of Churchill in the Oval Office. "He watches my every move," Bush jokes. These days, Churchill would probably not care for much of what he sees.
I've spent a great deal of time thinking about Churchill while working on my book "Troublesome Young Men," a history of the small group of Conservative members of Parliament who defied British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasing Adolf Hitler, forced Chamberlain to resign in May 1940 and helped make Churchill his successor. I thought my audience would be largely limited to World War II buffs, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the...