• 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

    Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev loaded Cuba with 162 nuclear warheads with 90 of those strategically aimed at the United States. Because of this, President John F. Kennedy had to muster a response under pressured and time-constrained circumstances with generals and cabinet members advising him.

  2. Free essay

    IB I.A History Emiliano Zapata

    (Ruiz 247). The value of this book is that he author has a greater sense of history than the people during the time of the Revolution, thus he created a framework where a class struggle is eminent. Much information is concentrated in this book giving the reader ample amount of information to work with.

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

    - In 1969, Nixon ordered for bombs to be dropped in North Vietnam in effort to cut off the secret route that Northern Vietnamese were using to smuggle supplies and enforcement for the Viet Cong. - Nixon tried to cover up the bombing in North Vietnam by "authorizing falsification of the Air Force records" (Gaddis 173).

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

    Acute shortages meant all factories and businesses were nationalized to be able to gear them towards war production. Workers lost their freedom and worked excessive hours without wages. Meager ration of food, clothing, and lodging. 4. Grain had to be delivered to the state in rural areas.

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

    a plane crash on his mission to Congo on 18th September 1961, the Soviet Union under Khrushchev proposed the Troika plan to the UN to appoint three UN Secretary-Generals to precede Hammarskjold, one representing the Communist world, one for the West, and one for the group of non-aligned nations.

  1. Notes on the History and Development of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

    - Plan Dalet- implemented in May 1948 by the Haganah, claimed to be defensive in nature, but Ahron Breginan asserts that it became a blank check for Jewish forces to expel Arab Palestinians, as was carried out in the ensuing days of the war.

  2. The History and Development of the American Dream

    All three helped to establish basic guidelines for success in a land of infinite possibility. There are unquestionably many Americans who continue to abide by such tenets and in doing so are rewarded for their efforts. Yet there are also those who have come to believe that the American Dream's

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