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Victors Write History

Be on guard when you hear someone say that it is the victors who write history. I've heard this phrase only from those who follow it with something absurd. Historians of any competence do not mindlessly support the positions of their governments – just as journalists are not supposed to mindlessly support the what ever a government spokesperson says. If Germany had won World War II, some bad history would have followed because the Nazi regime was not big on intellectual or journalistic freedom. It was different with those on the winning side of World War II. Historians dissecting events that led to World War II or that involved World War II have not been mindless propaganda for all those in decision-making positions among the victors. Obviously, where historians or journalists are allowed some freedom we can separate them from those in power, and we can separate them from the victories or defeats of those who hold power. To say that it is the victors who write history is to deprive good historians of any credit.

Copyright © 2006-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.