• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Uses and Abuses of History - Margaret Macmillan

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Does history have a use beyond understanding the past? According to Margaret MacMillan, history enables humans to understand each other and to prevent the repetition of past mistakes. However, the value of history is limited to the accuracy of its interpretation. Although history is often a guide and friend, it can be harmful if used improperly, which is why MacMillan's book is appropriately entitled The Uses and Abuses of History. History is valuable because it allows humans to understand each other. For example, the Cold War (1946-1992) was dangerous because neither side understood the other. The Americans believed the Soviets wanted world domination when their motives were traditional Russian ones, dictated by their history of being invaded repeatedly (156). The Communists assumed that capitalist countries would attack them, even though western intervention was supported half-heartedly by politicians like Winston Churchill1, who had little appetite for conflict by the end of the First World War (156, 158). ...read more.

Middle

History reminds humans to learn from disastrous events in the past and warns humans against repeating them. The Great Depression, which rendered the League of Nations obsolete, taught the United Nations to create The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the International Trade Organization (164). Consequently, there has not been a reoccurrence of the 1930s to this day (164). Furthermore, in 1979, Soviet troops positioned in Cuba brought back vivid memories of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 (165). It was later discovered that the troops from 1962 were never relocated because Kennedy3 had not insisted on their removal (166). Soviet and American relations deteriorated further because the Russians had not learned from the events of 1962. In addition, the Americans failed to apply the counter-insurgency techniques acquired from the Vietnam War to the first two years of the War in Iraq (170). ...read more.

Conclusion

When Anthony Eden6 applied the lesson to the Suez Canal Crisis, an international calamity transpired (177). Nasser7 was not an aggressor like Hitler. He was a nationalist, who wanted to regain control of the Suez Canal so he could acquire the resources to develop Egypt (178). By interpreting Munich as a comparable event as the Suez Canal Crisis, Eden misused history. These two examples illustrate how the unsuccessful interpretation of history can result in tragedies such as an unprepared defence or an international crisis. History is a guide and a friend because it teaches humility and scepticism, but humans can also abuse history by using it to justify what is already believed to be true. In addition, humans must beware of grand claims in history's name as well as historical explanations that oversimplify the problem. In conclusion, history should be used, and enjoyed, but must be handled with care. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate History section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate History essays

  1. Investigation: The Cuban Missile Crisis as a Thaw in the Cold War

    As it stands, the Soviet Union had to build up their nuclear arsenal to combat the United States monopoly, making the United States spy with U-2 photographic missions to keep tabs on this build up. The missions caused conflict and showed that the United States was willing to mettle in Russian affairs, prompting the Kennan policy of containment.

  2. Cold War Study Guide - Compare/contrast the Vietnam War policies of Lyndon Johnson and ...

    - Carter's hopes of ending the war in Vietnam were essentially made impossible by the ending of détente. The US' reaction to the ending of détente opposed Carter's initial goals for the war in Vietnam. SALT Agreements NIXON: - SALT Agreements stands for Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, which took place from 69-72.

  1. Gulf of Tonkin History IA

    Their excuse was "sonars not operating properly, radars not locking on targets, probable false targets, and false perception due to lack of visibility." The next morning, on August 5, the Admiral was woken up because he was sent a message from President Lyndon B.

  2. Free essay

    IB I.A History Emiliano Zapata

    obtain public support, denounce Madero as a leader because of his betrayal to the cause, embody the ideals of the Plan of San Luis Potosi, and carried out specific instructions on how to redistribute land for the masses. This primary resource contains the ideals of the revolution during that time,

  1. Effects of Nasser on Egyptian Society

    But the far bigger impact for society was the direct impact through the persecution, as the Muslim Brotherhood was the biggest organisation in Egypt and so many Egyptians needed to go into the underground. Another Factor that changed Egyptian society was the nationalisation of the media and the sponsoring of radio Cairo's news program 'Voice of the Arabs'.

  2. The History Of The Vietnam War

    The success of the 1945 revolution was a result of the work of the Vietminh and the popular support it had attracted, but it was also a product of timing. Japan had been defeated in World War II, and France had yet to send soldiers and personnel back to Vietnam to retake its lost colony.(Schoenbrun 20)

  1. IB History HL, Extended Notes: Russia, the Tsars, the Provisional Govenment and the Revolution.

    Terms 1. Russia lost 25% of its territory, 1/3 of its population, over 50% of industry, and 80% of its coalmines. 2. 6 billion marks of reparations. Consequences 1. Gave Russia time for consolidation at a critical stage. Economic gains of Central powers less than expected, returning German prisoners experienced revolution.

  2. Extended Essay - The Role of a UN-Secretary General to Achieve World Peace: The ...

    T.N: It is true that he has tackled numerous disputes and wars such as the West Iranian problem, the Borneo problem, the Cyprus crisis, the Prague Spring, the Congo civil war, and the India-Pakistan war, but, his contribution in ending the Cuban Missile crisis is the most well-recognized.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work