The good, the Bad, and the Downright Weird
Lately there has been a lot of talk about people trying to revise history. People act like this is something new, but it has been going on since history was first recorded. It has been said that in wars, the history books are written
by the winners. This is definitely true. In American history, we read about our brave patriots fighting against all odds and beating the great British empire in our revolution. Imagine for a moment if modern news reporting, using 21st century language was available back then in England.
News of the World (A Newscorp Co.) Exclusive – Dateline Boston, Massachusetts, The American Colonies
The insurgency continues here despite our troops valiant efforts. Rebel forces are still employing barbaric tactics against our loyal troops. The insurgents use snipers carefully hidden along roads and murder our troops as they attempt to peacefully move down the road It is impossible to tell loyalists from insurgents by their appearance. The rebel forces dress in the style of the locals and unless caught red handed, after they commit
their heinous acts, they blend into the indigenous population. Posing as ignorant native savages, they are able to sneak about unnoticed. The rebels also use strategies developed by these savages which our troops are not familiar and this gives them an unfair advantage. Working with these savages, they are able to travel virtually undetected by our troops. Local militia groups have formed with no central command. They obviously know nothing about the proper way to fight a war. They employ roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs) often disguised as innocent looking, everyday items.
Our loyal troops are lured into ambushes and are brutally murdered by these devices. In a related story, the French Navy seems to be aiding the insurgents by shooting at British ships bringing troops and supplies. It seems that the French will stop at nothing to inflict as much pain as possible to our people, even siding with the savage rebels. The search for insurgent leader, George Washington continues, but we are told by reliable
sources that the rebels have constructed an elaborate underground command and control bunker consisting of a maze of caves and tunnels where he can move about the country at will without detection. These are not your ordinary caves, they are equipped with all the modern equipment available, including the latest in high tech lanterns, stockpiles of muskets, powder and projectiles, along with the precursor ingredients necessary to create WMDs and IEDs.
Fortunately, our troops were able to receive a message from Paul Revere who is imbedded with the insurgents. He has warned us that the rebels will not let us take their guns away. This allows us to avoid the embarrassment of asking for their guns and being told no.
As you can see, it all depends on your point of view. Most of we learned in American history is, at best, a glorifying distortion of what really happened or a downright lie. It starts with the “discovery” of America. There were people here long before the Europeans discovered the Americas. The Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving is mostly fiction. The history books make it sound like it was all a vast wilderness which is not true. The Pilgrims were welcomed by the native people who already had cleared the land and were farming it. There were towns and trails in existence. They taught the settlers about the native fruits and vegetables and taught
them how to grow them. The settlers felt that they had a divine right to take what they wanted. They sometimes would find an Indian who was a bit shady and “buy” land from him. The problem was that the land was not his to sell as the Indians believed that the land belonged to all and the concept of land being the property of a person or group was not fathomable. Many Indians were captured and sold into slavery, often being shipped across the Atlantic in exchange for African slaves. That way both groups would be unlikely to
escape since they did not know the area where they were held. In the end, the worst thing that the Europeans unintentionally brought with them were European and African diseases that the native Americans had no natural resistance to. Millions died, many from the basic childhood illnesses that were routine until very recently. Of course, the settlers had no concept of germs causing illness. They thought that disease was a punishment from God so when the Indians got sick and they did not, they assumed that God was on their side
and the Indians had done something to offend Him. Most of us have heard about the Louisiana Purchase where the US “bought” the entire middle of the country from France for fifteen million dollars. The problem is that France did not actually own the land. They had only done basic exploration and said that it was theirs. In reality, the US bribed them to give up any future claim to it. These are a couple of small examples and there are thousands more, but I am not writing a history book. If you want to learn more about this and many other
historical inaccuracies, I suggest reading Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen. It is a good starting point for getting a clearer picture of our real history. I have a friend who was a history major in college and he tells me that when he graduated and began to do his own research, he found that most of what he had learned was wrong. These are examples of negative revisions of history and they continue to the present.
Fairly recently a new group of historians are giving a positive meaning to revising history. Their goal is to go back and do new research to correct the historical errors. The book I cited is a good, but generally acceptable example. Much more controversial are works concerning World War Two and the time since. One of the better known “revisionist” historians is the British scholar David Irving. His area of expertise is Europe in WW-II. Rather than to simply rehash what others had written, he chose to go to the original source. He went to
the places where events happened and studied legal documents that others had skipped over. At the time of his most intense research, there were many people still alive who had lived through the events. He carefully interviewed them and was often able to get access to personal journals from the major players. When his first book about the bombing of Dresden was published, he was honored for his thorough and detailed research. Then he decided to write a new biography of Adolph Hitler using his detailed research techniques. His
reputation from the Dresden book allowed him to gain the trust of Hitler’s closest associates and he got access to files never before seen by an outsider. What he found was a man who was very charismatic, an excellent politician, and a very bright person who really cared about Germany and its people, though he made some very bad choices. In no way did he glorify Hitler or excuse the evil acts that he ordered, but painting him as less than the total monster that was the “proper” thing to do landed Irving on the wrong list. I call it the fecal file. Among
other things, he found that Hitler did not want a war with Britain as he felt that the English and the Germans were kindred spirits. Early in the war, he offered Churchill a deal; he would withdraw from France and all of Western Europe and he wanted Britain to join with Germany to destroy the Soviet Union. For largely personal political ambitions , Churchill turned him down. The one item that got him in the most trouble was when he revealed that in studying the official records of the German High Command and Hitler’s personal papers, he
was not able to find one document ordering the setting up of death camps. This revelation goes against all of the officially accepted beliefs and its mere mention is a serious crime in Europe and many other parts of the world. Being a stubborn man who felt that he was on to something, this only prompted him to dig even deeper and he began to question the whole story of the holocaust. He has been called a holocaust denier which is not true. He acknowledges that there were labor camps where many innocent people died, but questions the
official numbers and the original intent of the camps. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, much more information has become available and Irvinghas found that the Germans murdered over a million innocent people on the eastern front and buried them in mass graves. Horrible as this is, they murdered them on the spot; they did not ship them off to death camps, and their religious affiliations did not matter. Saying anything that deviates in the slightest from the official story is cause for immediate arrest in Europe and in 2005 Irving
was arrested in Vienna and held for 14 months in a barbaric prison built in 1839 for comments he made in 1989. After intense pressure from people around the world, particularly writers, the courts found a technicality to allow his release. Due to his controversial nature, his publishers have dropped him. He has generously made his work available online for free download.
He is not the only historian to be arrested for daring to question what really happened. Ernst Zundel, the husband of VT’s outstanding writer, Ingrid Zundel was prosecuted in Canada for making similar remarks. She has written extensively about this, so I will not repeat it here. She is the expert having lived through it. I only read about it. There have been others also.Recently, the 9-11 truth movement has been trying to revise the official story as to what really happened that fateful day in 2001. They have experienced many much more
subtle forms of censorship and ridicule and several have mysteriously had ‘accidents’ or “committed suicide.” Since trust in our government is at an all time low, many people are now willing to examine alternate theories and the movement seems to be gaining some steam. It is doubtful that we will ever know the whole truth; after all it has been 48 years since the JFK assassination and we are still debating what really happened. That does not mean that we should not try, however.
What puzzles me the most in all this is if the official history is the truth, why does it need to be defended by the power of law? What are they trying to hide? If Irving, Zundel, and the others are wrong, why not simply challenge their facts and conclusions. It is ridiculous that countries that claim to value freedom, still employ the thought police. Telling people what they have to believe under penalty of law is what we are allegedly fighting the Taliban to get rid of. The right to think for yourself and express your thoughts is one of the real freedoms we still have. I suggest that you exercise this right as much and as often as you can. If we are not vigilant, it could be taken away.