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Thread: History is written by the winners

  1. #1 History is written by the winners 
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    I think many of you have heard this saying.
    But how many people know where it came from?
    And what is its meaning after all?
    For me, this saying is so deeply embedded in my soul that my internal contradictions are still afraid for the meaning of this quote.
    Here I would not like to express my subjective opinion yet.
    Now I would very much like to know your opinion on this matter.


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  3. #2  
    ox
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    Not that many of the winners were ever there to witness it.
    Most of it is just fable built on fable.

    https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/g...ntayana_105733


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  4. #3  
    Forum Senior Double Helix's Avatar
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    History written by the winners is often accurate.

    Who would challenge the widely accepted history of the two World Wars?

    Not many would be taken seriously. There were a lot of witnesses.

    And much of history is written by the witnesses. They include the people involved in the history, or those who study it long after events have occurred.

    Distortions of history is the real concern, not just those who write it.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Helix View Post
    History written by the winners is often accurate.

    Who would challenge the widely accepted history of the two World Wars?

    Not many would be taken seriously. There were a lot of witnesses.

    And much of history is written by the witnesses. They include the people involved in the history, or those who study it long after events have occurred.

    Distortions of history is the real concern, not just those who write it.
    What about the history of the Hundred Years War, as taught in England?
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post

    What about the history of the Hundred Years War, as taught in England?
    You are going to have to fill me in on that. Sorry to say, never had the time to study it. Have spent a lot of time with WWII.

    Is it not taught correctly in England?

    And there is always the creep of alterations to history as time goes by, but that is not always true. Depends a lot on where you live, in many cases.

    History is only as good as a society will allow for the truth to be told.
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  7. #6  
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    Who won the Korean War?
    Was it China and North Korea or the US and South Korea?

    The only thing I know is that at least one MASH unit had wisecracking medics.
    (Apparently true).
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Who won the Korean War?
    Was it China and North Korea or the US and South Korea?
    The war is not over yet.

    It is a local cold war which continues to reflux, under the surface.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Helix View Post
    ... is a local cold war which continues to reflux, under the surface.
    While tensions still exist how does it "reflux" under the surface?
    Korean War was the first major conflict of the Cold War between Russia and US, and that war is now over.
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  10. #9  
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    Visited my daughter and grandkids during Xmas. One day we were watching photos and videos of the kids originating from birth to present. Struck me that the generations to come can/could have their whole lives documented and saved for future viewing. Is visual history less likely to be distorted than written or oral? Maybe just harder to lie? Both elected and aspiring politicians have had careers shot down in flames by undeniable recordings of themselves.

    Seems every event is recorded these days. Should be more difficult to write history when a recorded version, perhaps by a non winner, is made available. Maybe a more honest world in the making
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Double Helix View Post
    ... is a local cold war which continues to reflux, under the surface.
    While tensions still exist how does it "reflux" under the surface?
    Korean War was the first major conflict of the Cold War between Russia and US, and that war is now over.
    Always thinking of the Korean "problem" from the North's perspective, since they are the ones who refuse to end the tensions.

    With all their nukes and missile testing, their activities are much more interesting than all the TVs etc. coming out of the South.

    Using literary license to define the situation as a reflux - boiling but contained. Let's all hope the tensions remain "under the surface".
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Helix View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post

    What about the history of the Hundred Years War, as taught in England?
    You are going to have to fill me in on that. Sorry to say, never had the time to study it. Have spent a lot of time with WWII.

    Is it not taught correctly in England?

    And there is always the creep of alterations to history as time goes by, but that is not always true. Depends a lot on where you live, in many cases.

    History is only as good as a society will allow for the truth to be told.
    France won. But English school history never mentions that, focusing instead on a few battles that were won by England (Crécy, Agincourt, Poitiers), and slides over the fact that England started by owning the whole of Aquitaine, Anjou and Normandy and by the end held only one town: Calais.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    France won. But English school history never mentions that, focusing instead on a few battles that were won by England (Crécy, Agincourt, Poitiers), and slides over the fact that England started by owning the whole of Aquitaine, Anjou and Normandy and by the end held only one town: Calais.
    Your position is supported by wiki (1), which claims "Victory for France’s House of Valois and their allies." And that "England loses all continental possessions except for the Pale of Calais."

    Appears to be a regional history, where the losers write their history books. Would not be the only time.

    Have frequently seen it mentioned the Japanese teach a different version of WWII (2). Their text books leave out a lot of nasty things they did, and suggests they were justified in their actions. For instance, the attack on Pearl Harbor is viewed as retribution to a U.S. embargo, which they define as an undeclared act of war. They don't mention the embargo resulted from their behavior in east Asia - invading China, etc.

    One often needs to consult with numerous sources on history, as war is not the only thing which is distorted.


    "Hundred Years' War"

    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Years%27_War


    "Japan's 'nationalist' school books teach a different view of history"

    2. https://www.dw.com/en/japans-nationalist-school-books-teach-a-different-view-of-history/a-40092325

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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Helix View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    France won. But English school history never mentions that, focusing instead on a few battles that were won by England (Crécy, Agincourt, Poitiers), and slides over the fact that England started by owning the whole of Aquitaine, Anjou and Normandy and by the end held only one town: Calais.
    Your position is supported by wiki (1), which claims "Victory for France’s House of Valois and their allies." And that "England loses all continental possessions except for the Pale of Calais."

    Appears to be a regional history, where the losers write their history books. Would not be the only time.

    Have frequently seen it mentioned the Japanese teach a different version of WWII (2). Their text books leave out a lot of nasty things they did, and suggests they were justified in their actions. For instance, the attack on Pearl Harbor is viewed as retribution to a U.S. embargo, which they define as an undeclared act of war. They don't mention the embargo resulted from their behavior in east Asia - invading China, etc.

    One often needs to consult with numerous sources on history, as war is not the only thing which is distorted.


    "Hundred Years' War"

    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Years%27_War


    "Japan's 'nationalist' school books teach a different view of history"

    2. https://www.dw.com/en/japans-nationalist-school-books-teach-a-different-view-of-history/a-40092325

    Here, for example is a current potted history of the Hundred Years War from the BBC: https://www.historyextra.com/period/...red-years-war/

    It too, manages to mention Agincourt at length, makes various references to Shakespearean quotes (We happy few.....) and......totally fails to explain that all the territories England fought to retain were lost to France. Shakespeare's glamourisation of certain battles seems to have mesmerised even the BBC into a thoroughly unsatisfactory account of the war.
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