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Old August 26th, 2016, 02:36 PM   #1
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When is it justified to destroy historical monuments?


It seems like we're all quick to condemn ISIS and the Taliban for desecrating ancient monuments and relics of the past, and rightfully so, imo. But what about something like the Tannenburg Memorial?

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Was the dismantling of that monument wrong?

What about when the liberated Iraqis tore down Saddam's statue?

I can understand that some of these things may be symbols of oppression, but is tearing them down the right thing to do?

When and where should we draw the line?
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Old August 26th, 2016, 02:43 PM   #2

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When they are monuments to the Lost Cause, or were erected to signify defiance to the civil rights' movement. Some of the monuments to the Confederacy in the south have controversial histories, and shouldn't be mourned if they get moved or scrapped in the future.
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Old August 26th, 2016, 03:08 PM   #3

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When their presence is too painful for the majority of people to see.
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Old August 26th, 2016, 03:16 PM   #4
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If the monument, especially one that is on public land and maintained by public funds, celebrates some human or national atrocity like genocide, civil war, or a unlawful regime, that can warrant its own destruction. I as an American am not against destroying all Confederate monuments as it is part of our history, but I am all for getting rid of the ones that paint the Confederate generals or the force as a justified and noble cause. Even if slavery was or wasn't a factor, it's still a failed rebellion against the union.

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Old August 26th, 2016, 03:27 PM   #5

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Going to say never. Trying to destroy monuments is practically an attempt to destroy history. What you can do is move it to another place or put it in a museum.
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Old August 26th, 2016, 03:46 PM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Oda Nobunaga View Post
Going to say never. Trying to destroy monuments is practically an attempt to destroy history. What you can do is move it to another place or put it in a museum.
So all those statues of Lenin and Stalin in former-Soviet countries and Eastern Europe shouldn't have been brought down and put in other places and museums? It's a lot of statues, they wouldn't have space to put all of them in museums.
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Old August 26th, 2016, 04:01 PM   #7
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Some are too big to put in a museum.

http://www.city-data.com/picfilesc/picc11807.php
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Old August 26th, 2016, 06:14 PM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Oda Nobunaga View Post
Going to say never. Trying to destroy monuments is practically an attempt to destroy history. What you can do is move it to another place or put it in a museum.
Memorials are sometimes more propaganda piece than history.
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Old August 27th, 2016, 04:30 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scaeva View Post
Memorials are sometimes more propaganda piece than history.
Memorials are often more propaganda piece than history. But what to do in this world of ours where the celebration of any victory by definition means someone else must remember a defeat (as we are less likely in the modern world to kill/enslave all the losers, raze the place, and sow salt in the fields...)? Beyond the specialists and those of us who read their work, the remembrance of history itself often reflects the same problem.

Which makes this interesting:
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When their presence is too painful for the majority of people to see.
At first glance, this may sound "whiny" as a justification (not meant at all as a reflection on you personally, Jake10!), but the point is people change, and perspectives on the past change. Moreover, though difficult for us history-conscious people to accept, present needs are as legitimate as preservation of a sense of the past. So the counter-question is also important: what makes a historical monument too sacrosanct to ever come down?

I don't think there can be an absolute answer to these questions. But the history-conscious can examine motives. Moving or dismantling a memorial should be accompanied by thorough word and picture documentation of where it stood and what it was meant to signify to the people who built it. If not done in this spirit, an attempt to erase history can be suspected and opposed on that basis.
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Old August 27th, 2016, 05:39 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Oda Nobunaga View Post
Going to say never. Trying to destroy monuments is practically an attempt to destroy history. What you can do is move it to another place or put it in a museum.
By that logic, there should be a lot more Hitler statues in Germany.
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