How do we conquer "history is written by die victors" ?

Dec 2018
26
Cheyenne
#31
I always thought this premise was ridiculous. Yes more often than not the victors do get to write the history, however, when history is analyzed we actually tend to be more interested in the losers of the conflict. Thus history tends to have a quite sympathetic slant towards the losers more often than not
 
Jul 2017
421
Memphis
#32
Apologies if this has been covered before, but i'd like to know something.

History is written by die victors is something that we have all heard. The victors exaggerate their victories and their conquests. We cannot rely on that solely for the truth.

How we do conquer the exaggerations and the sometimes half truths or even flat out lies, to get the best possible and most accurate truth ?
It's not true about the American Civil War.
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,281
Brassicaland
#33
Democracies where theorically free speech is guaranteed are far from perfect when it's time to put those principles in practise, yet we should trust in the existance of historians who offer a different perspective (like Ernst Nolte or A. J. Gregor, just to put an example), otherwise historical research dies. Sorry if I repeat something already said by (an)other user(s).
History is often written with different viewpoints and interpretations, and the open questions of "why and how" can lead to many paths in research.

I always thought this premise was ridiculous. Yes more often than not the victors do get to write the history, however, when history is analyzed we actually tend to be more interested in the losers of the conflict. Thus history tends to have a quite sympathetic slant towards the losers more often than not
We are often sympathetic to the losers because they were not necessarily evil or bad, and the losers often face contemporary plights.
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#34
Certainly not true of WW2

Japanese school children have been taught a very different history of WW2, a lot by omission; there is no mention of The rape of Nanking, no Burma railway , no comfort women and no mistreatment of prisoners of war.

Japanese history textbook controversies involve controversial content in one of the government-approved history textbooks used in the secondary education (junior high schools and senior high schools) of Japan. The controversies primarily concern the Japanese nationalist efforts to whitewash the actions of the Empire of Japan during World War II.[1][2]Japanese history textbook controversies involve controversial content in one of the government-approved history textbooks used in the secondary education (junior high schools and senior high schools) of Japan. The controversies primarily concern the Japanese nationalist efforts to whitewash the actions of the Empire of Japan during World War II.[1][2]

Japanese history textbook controversies - Wikipedia

Officially, the Japanese government consistently refused to acknowledge any misdeeds for decades.

WW2 is the most thoroughly documented war in recorded history, as far as I'm aware. I'm sure many writers from the allied countries have been less than completely candid, especially when it comes to a war crimes committed by allied soldiers, or indeed the allied powers generally; Eg The fire bombing of Dresden is often cited as an example,. The response tends to be something like "that was payback for Coventry'", a text book example of the 'you too' logical fallacy.
 
Mar 2019
5
Amsterdam
#35
There are substantial gaps throughout the history of civilization. For the reason that Opposing sides of war write or rewrite history. As the commenter above mentioned. There are more such cases and some are even more radical than above, for example, the events of the Holocaust. They are well documented both from historical records and personal accounts but there are groups who deny it ever happened. These denials, supported by “misinformation and false claims,” are used to question the validity of the historical genocide. Deniers use fantastical explanations of previously recorded event, like Arthur Butz, who accounted for the “‘disappearance' of millions of Jews” as an escape from poor marriages and are actually alive and well (Lipstadt 2011). Or the Tiananmen Square protest. Where China denies any killing that happened.

Sometimes the governments or organizations on purpose discredits actual events, creates fake ones to support their agenda. That is why it becomes very hard to track down the actual happenings. Different side has different story. Leading to historians have different opinions on the happenings on one or another event. Simply because there are no biased records. It would be cool that Britannica or Historia would play the part of the biased gatekeeper in history record preservation. Especially in the today's history.

As we saw Governments and companies with monopolies over media outlets can and do introduce real-world threats of information suppression, censorship, and bias. The Chinese government is well known for its control and censorship over "both traditional and new media" outlets. Sinclair Broadcast Group is “one of the largest owners of local news stations in the (United States)” and has sparked mass controversies over the bias propagated by their media outlets and the impact their monopoly will have on the general public. To make matters worse, these entities do so under the guise of neutral and objective reporting. In the present, history is being told online by an ever-growing number of outlets. What can we do to validated and trust these recorded events? So I think this question will be ever more important to answer than before.
 
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