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Old November 8th, 2012, 07:08 AM   #1

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Historical events forming national psyche.


Perhaps no other concept is so often misused, or so vague and open to anyone's interpretation as the "national psyche" or the "soul" of a nation or people. Nevertheless, with hindsight as our mighty tool we try to explain our present selves by looking at the past. Different circumstances led to a great variety of peoples and cultures. What are some key historical events that shaped the peoples you are interested in?
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Old November 8th, 2012, 07:15 AM   #2

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Perhaps no other concept is so often misused, or so vague and open to anyone's interpretation as the "national psyche" or the "soul" of a nation or people. Nevertheless, with hindsight as our mighty tool we try to explain our present selves by looking at the past. Different circumstances led to a great variety of peoples and cultures. What are some key historical events that shaped the peoples you are interested in?
Fascinating thread topic Zeno, but assuming there is such a thing as "national psyche" (and I believe so), hadn't we better direct the scutiny at ourselves not other peoples? The issue is tricky enough as it is...
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Old November 8th, 2012, 07:18 AM   #3

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Fascinating thread topic Zeno, but assuming there is such a thing as "national psyche" (and I believe so), hadn't we better direct the scutiny at ourselves not other peoples? The issue is tricky enough as it is...
I think it's better to leave that to anyone's discretion to decide. I know, for me, i can't speak any more for my own people as a whole than for any other people. It's all just my own interpretation, often based on hearsay.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 08:14 AM   #4

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The Greeks - Interesting how they bickered amongst themselves for so long before the Macedonians came along and whipped them all, including the Persians, into shape.

If I had to think about key invents which make a part of history interesting to me, I would have to say that those crutial moments where a battle could have changed a nation. The one where winning or losing altered the nations history for better or worse.

Then there are also those people who stand out in history who may have set off the catalyst that changed history.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 09:15 AM   #5

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I'm into American history. And there's millions of instances you could say. For me it would be attacks on us and every war we were involved in. On top of that are the tiny coincidences, mind lapses, or just pure luck that's built the modern world. For example a cigar box forgotten behind at an old confederate camp that contained future plans and helped the union drastically. There's an article on these on cracked.com
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Old November 8th, 2012, 10:10 AM   #6

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Well I think its undeniable that the idea of a "national psyche" is an intellectual construct but so is history itself. The past is gone, we cannot get those moments back. We can only create our most convincing or "truest" interpretation of past events. Likewise, you can't actually see or hold a national psyche, it's just an idea that we use to refer to the evolution of thousands, millions or billions of psyches that have powerful uniting ideas within them. They also live physically together so that has important implications. Again though, the idea of a national psyche is a total invention but its a good one and very useful.

My favorite event in terms of changing how a large group of people think and organize themselves is the French Revolution.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 10:26 AM   #7

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The US historically was an isolationist nation that wanted no part of foreign wars, at least outside of the Western Hemishphere anyway.

WW1 and WW2 and inability to stay out of global conflicts even when the US tried, transformed the US into an interventionalist nation. You can still find Americans that favor having a tiny military and an isolationist foreign policy, but they are a small minority now. Prior to WW1 and between the world wars they were a solid majority.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 10:41 AM   #8

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Originally Posted by ucanefan View Post
I'm into American history. And there's millions of instances you could say. For me it would be attacks on us and every war we were involved in...
I see the Spanish-American War as the final bonding agent that
finally healed the nation back into one. There was a common, foreign
enemy to engage.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 10:44 AM   #9

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The event which i was thinking of before starting this thread was the withdrawal of the Roman empire from Britain in 410. I was wondering wether current British euroscepticsim has however remotely something to do with that. Like when things go to smithereens over on the old continent, they know they're on their own.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 10:45 AM   #10

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The event which i was thinking of before starting this thread was the withdrawal of the Roman empire from Britain in 410. I was wondering wether current British euroscepticsim has however remotely something to do with that. Like when things go to smithereens over on the old continent, they know they're on their own.
That's an interesting thought.

I wonder what the ratio was to Britons that were happy that the Romans withdrew compared to ones who prefered Roman rule?
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