Historical Bias

May 2009
139
USA
I can't help but think of The Holocaust, and The Rape of Nanking.

Both countries committed horrible deeds in both. It is well known that japanese soldiers bayonetted infants in Nanking, to "set an example" to the Chinese. The Holocaust is well documented so I wont go into detail. But did any of the Allied governments do such horrible things? No, we stopped it as best we could. We also weren't the antagonists in the war. None of the allied goveernments were guided by totalitarian rulers (Hitler, Hirothito, Mussolini, and Franco for example).

In the Persia V Greece part....

David V Goliath scenario, I think we we all like rooting for the little guy.
While I agree with most of your post, I don't agree with the last point about totalitarian leaders. I don't think totalitarianism is necessarily "evil" any more than democracy or communism. In terms of individuals, I would rate Stalin, an Allied leader, as more cruel than any of those you listed with the exception of Hitler. Also, while Hirohito was an emperor, his government had a lot of authority that wasn't directly controlled by him. He could overrule or ratify things if he chose, but I wouldn't really consider him totalitarian. Finally, Franco was not a ruler of any country involved in World War II.
 
Feb 2010
565
Yaller Dawg
While I agree with most of your post, I don't agree with the last point about totalitarian leaders. I don't think totalitarianism is necessarily "evil"
Oh no thats not what I meant, I dont think it's evil itself. The leaders themselves generally were corrupted eventually.

"Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutley" -John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton
 
Jan 2008
18,733
Chile, Santiago
Dominic Montserrat in Akhenaten History, Fantasy and Ancient Egypt wrote :".... my own prejudice, and something of my own history, will become clear from parts of the Akhenaten myth I have chosen to survey here. ..."

The word history comes from the greek historia (or historiè in dialect Ionian) meaning at the origin investigation or search. With this definition in mind it is understandable that Cicero called Herodotus the father of history (De Legibus, I, I, 5), nevertheless he calls some parts of his books : fallacious.

Do we have biases when we study history? By that I mean, when we look at a conflict involving two countries or peoples, do we tend to think of one side as "the bad guy," and the other as "the good guy."
BTW who is WE ? Which kind of books/articles is reading WE ? There is a wide gap between newspapers, novels, stories and ....History.
 
Jan 2010
1,316
Bon discussion Barlier. I'm sure it would be fun to have a conversation with you about the different points of view regarding the same events that exist between historians in Britain and France. I sometimes think first there are national myths and then there are historians to propagate and embellish them.
 
Sep 2006
1,453
Korea (but I'm American!)
When I said "we," I suppose you can substitute the word, "you," unless of course you are a borg like me or gollum.
 
Jul 2009
400
I don't think the Germans were bad guys in World War 2. They had reasons for being angry with the world (Versailles). It was just he NAZI government that twisted that anger and included their own ideas into it (extermination etc).
 

Edratman

Forum Staff
Feb 2009
6,701
Eastern PA
Every single aspect of human endeavour is viewed with a bias, a personal slant, a "not my fault", a "it's your fault", not my grandfathers fault, a "I'll look better if I write this", a "I won't look so bad it I put it this way", a "I dislike him so I'll blame him", a "Your great-uncle screwed by great-uncle so I'll blame you", etc, etc, etc.

Police and authorites find eyewitnesses unreliable:
http://www.jstor.org/pss/3595153
http://www.springerlink.com/content/n1574627h45021k2/

For example, take the economic/banking near total collapse that occured a mere year and a hlaf ago. We are told constantly that we live in the age of information, that everything is available to us. Google the "2008 Economic Crisis Causes" and you will find 51,200,000 sites. Fifty-one Million! There are hundreds of thousands of causes on this one topic alone. Conservatives blame the Liberals, liberals blame the conservatives, some blame the bankers, the bankers blame the government; no reason to go on.

If any of you have children, you get a good and frequent look at how pliable the truth is.

So why would any topic be different? History, HAH!!

And the old saying "History is written by the winners", actually should be "History is written by the survivors". I think the former comes from an era when the principals actually were engaged in efforts that were mortally dangerous, and the loser often shed his mortal coil.