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 "Retrospective historians"

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Brett Hendey

Brett Hendey

Posts : 239
Join date : 2010-12-02
Location : Kloof, KZN

PostSubject: "Retrospective historians"   Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:56 pm

I read in the current issue of the 'International Express' the opinion of a veteran of the Dam Buster's raid during World War II:
"I have a personal hate for what I call 'retrospective historians'. If ever I met any of those characters I'd hope my hands were tied behind my back because I don't quite know what I would do. But as they weren't there or aware of the circumstances at that time I'd tell them to keep their bloody mouths shut."

I wonder what survivors of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift would make of modern-day analyses of the actions in which they took part?

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PostSubject: Re: "Retrospective historians"   Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:01 pm

Brett, what a fascinating concept and I imagine the reading of their views would be quite something to behold. Also, it'd have been extremely interesting to see what the reactions were from said historians, as well as any answers given by them to questions posed by the Isandhlwana veterans. Suspect
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Posts : 898
Join date : 2011-10-21
Location : Algoa Bay

PostSubject: Retrospective historians   Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:52 pm

Hi Brett and Colin
Surely, we are now talking about " The Honourable League of Armchair Generals?"
Yes, it is very easy to be professors in hindsight, but the counter to that is the question ; Does not history judge ?
I quite frankly think that for all that has been said and done that our forebears did a great job under primtive conditions despite facing great adversity, this stemming from very poor leadership and a superior underestimated enemy.


Last edited by barry on Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: "Retrospective historians"   Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:59 pm

'History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon'. Napoleon Bonaparte quotation.
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Posts : 2103
Join date : 2010-07-30
Age : 52
Location : North London

PostSubject: Re: "Retrospective historians"   Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:39 pm

"History is written by the winners"

However, just like science, history is not a static subject. What was thought to be true 101 years ago is not necessarily going to be true forever. History is not written in stone.
As more information and documets are uncovered, discovered and past secrets are declassified, new facts and viewpoints emerge to give us a wider understanding.

This mustn't be confused with "revisionism" as in the sense of Holocaust deniers, who attempt to deny history, contrary to a massive body of overwhelming evidence in order to push their own sick beliefs, in a similar way to how Creationists deny the enormous weight of scientific evidence about Evolution and Natural Selection in order to push and enforce their own agendas.
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Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 62
Location : Melbourne, Australia

PostSubject: retrospective historians   Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:12 pm

Hi Brett .
I agree , wouldnt it be fascinating to read the survivor's thoughts on the modern day publications and '' Take '' on the war .
cheers 90th.
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

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Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 71
Location : Cape Town South Africa

PostSubject: Re: "Retrospective historians"   Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:36 am

The really interesting question here is: Because of the scale of the battle, and the fact that a lot of action was conducted out of sight of half the troops, would any suvivor be able to give an account that covered the overall view?

As the double-stars, though sundered far,
Seem to the naked eye a single star.
So facts of history, at a distance seen,
Into one common point of light convene.


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