Rewriting History


Why do the PC Brigade seem obsessed with rewriting our history and not teaching it to our schoolchildren? choolchildren leaving school are now almost completely ignorant of British history. Is it in a mistaken attempt to portray a harmonious Europe or as a way of forgetting our colonial past? Is it in a misguided attempt not to offend the losers? Changing history is a dangerous thing to do as it is only by learning the lessons of history that we may manage not to repeat them!

In the pages of a history book, however, most of us would expect Britain’s role in the years 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 to at least warrant a mention. But in a work for schools produced by Brussels, there is no reference to World War I or World War II in the section on Britain. The glaring omission consigns key events such as the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, Dunkirk and D-Day to the dustbin. And, in a move seen as rewriting history for the sake of Euro-friendliness, it erases the pivotal role Britain played in shaping the future of Europe. Nothing of note is recorded as happening in Britain early in the 20th century, with the Great War conspicuous by its absence. Again, nothing significant is marked between 1931, when the author notes the Commonwealth was created, and 1947, when Britain pulled out of India. World War II is not mentioned – although it does feature in sections on many other countries in the book. In the section on Germany, meanwhile, the word Nazi is not mentioned. Instead, it is merely noted that 1929 saw ‘a surge in extremist movements’ and that in 1933 Hitler became chancellor. The book Histoires de l’Europe Volume 1 was produced by the European parliament’s Office of Information. About 10,000 copies have been distributed to Belgian children aged 16 to 18.

There was incredulity at its omissions. Historian Dr David Starkey said: ‘The jaw drops. Only one country resisted Germany in 1939-40 and it is important that country is mentioned. And World War I is one of the central events in British domestic history.‘What this must seem to suggest is that Britain decided not to take part in either of the two European conflicts of the 20th century, in which case the outcome of those conflicts would have been somewhat different, to put it mildly.’ The book allocates four pages to each of the 28 members and prospective members of the EU. But Dr Starkey said: ‘It’s ludicrous that we should get the same as somewhere like Estonia. The whole history of Scotland warrants only one and-a-half lines.‘This tidying up of history is an indication of a move towards greater European unity. It’s airbrushing.’

Chris Heaton-Harris, Tory MEP for the East Midlands, said: ‘For World War I and II not to get a mention is bizarre. I think it’s part of an agenda within Belgian society nowadays to have as little as possible to do with the Brits or the Americans. It’s sad, because if it were not for those two groups of people it would have been a very different picture on the Continent for the last 60 years.’ Robert Whelan, of think tank Civitas, said omitting World War I made any claim that the book is a history of Britain ‘ridiculous’. A spokesman for the Belgian section of the European parliament’s Office of Information, said: ‘Everyone knows about World War II so we didn’t think it was necessary to put it in.’

There can be little doubt that if you were German you’d want to rewrite your history. After all, the responsibility for two world wars, the murder of six million people in concentration camps and another 15 million outside them — all within living memory — are acts with which only a masochist or a psychopath would want to associate himself. In recent days, though, the campaign to airbrush the evil out of the Teutonic past has assumed a new vitality. Last week Joschka Fischer, the Fourth Reich’s foreign minister, complained on a visit here that the British view of Germany was an obsession with ‘goose-stepping Prussians’, whereas his country was now peopled by ‘real democrats’. Then it was revealed that a new European Union-sponsored history makes no mention of the apparently minor events of both world wars, or of Winston Churchill and Britain’s heroic, lone resistance to Fascism in 1940. Brief mention is made of Hitler, none at all of the Nazis. Yesterday, it was reported that a group of British history teachers are spending their half-term in Germany, being persuaded (at the German taxpayers’ expense) to take a more benign view of the country and its past.

Hang on though, Hitler was, after all, democratically elected, and had made no secret — in his personal manifesto, Mein Kampf — of what he intended to do, not least to the Jews. Yet to listen to German politicians now (and to most old German people), you would seriously wonder how Hitler ever got an army together in the first place! But I knew one old German lady, now deceased, who was happy to tell me truth about Hitler's rise to power and how they all worshipped him. They believed all his rhetoric about the Jews and weren't sorry to see them killed. They were also happy that his war would restore their people as the rightful leaders of the world.

The organisers of celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of Lord Nelson’s triumph and heroic death at the Battle of Trafalgar have been told that the celebrations must not offend the French. Instead, they must focus on the hardships of ordinary seamen on both sides. The aim is not to celebrate his victory over the French. Portsmouth, home to Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory is preparing politically correct education packs for schools. They will include information about the diets of 19th Century sailors and recipes for ships’ biscuits but there are likely to be few mentions of the glory of the 1805 victory off the coast of Spain.

As I have pointed out many times before on this site, even the supposed 'victims' think that the PC Brigade are barmy and the French are no exception to this. They admitted they were baffled by Portsmouth’s politically correct nervousness. ‘They obviously want to show us a great deal of respect but I don’t think it is necessary,’ said Lesley Sourbe, an official from the Normandy port of Caen, Portsmouth’s twin city. 'Napoleon was going all out for world domination.'

P.I. thanks Simon Heffer and Jonathan Oliver.
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