Friday, 17 June 2011

History is just another Mystery

I have always wondered on this one wonderful dialogue from one of my favorite movie 'Kungfu Panda' where the old turtle says "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery but today is a gift and so it is called present" . Ok there might be some great guy who would have originally quoted this but I remember it from the movie so please bear with it :-) . The second half of the sentence will be a post on its own but the more I read about history I feel the first part is not really true as I find History also a big mystery in itself.

  I am not a big fan of ancient history but I love the modern history. The history of the last two centuries which included wars and terrorism were my favorite topics to explore. Without exaggerating the figures, I would have read at least 25 books on World War 2 and Hitler and the more I read the more I get convinced that one would never truly know about Hitler or world War 2 and that history is as much a mystery as the future.

  They say History is always written by the person who won the war and that is something common from many centuries. We have always read history written by winners and so we only know their version of the story. Though Historians try to be as neutral as possible but many historians have agreed that what we write is actually our view of what we think happened based on the facts we get.

  One classic example for it is the Second World War or Hitler. Hitler is one of the most influential persons of his century. He is among the few men who created History but so little is known about him though there are more than thousands of books written on him. One of the big reasons was cause he shot himself when the war was about to end. Had he being captured alive, we might have had a better idea of what he thought and did. Elaborating more on the point expressed about the historian's view. Based on all the documents available which are same to all historians still there is so much confusion and speculations to what actually happened. One noted Historian David Irving in his book 'Hitler's war' had claimed that Hitler had no clue about the holocaust and he solely should not be blamed responsible for it. Then there are always books by historians who deny holocaust being ever happened.

 My study on the subject is not so deep that I can state what would have actually happened. Rather since my study is only on books and not on original documents and artifacts, I do not consider myself even worthy to give my opinion on holocaust. But this is an example of how historians have given two entirely opposite views on the same person and events. Also the fact that history is written by winners denies us knowing the complete story. There were many war crimes done by the Allies as well in the Second World War which included crimes by Stalin or crimes by Allied group strategic bombing on the German cities killing millions of innocent lives.But these war crimes were never considered for punishment or accounted for.

 All these facts really make me wonder if we would actually know what happened. The more I read the more I get convinced that this is not the true version. However books like 'Men who created History' are definitely a great source as these are not written but just edited by giving chapters on events. The best part of such books is that it presented both sides of the story for the reader.

 So know with an unknown past and an Unknown future, present remains the only known thing. But if we humans just stay in the present then we become selfish and self centered by not accounting for past mistakes or not considering the future problems. Wow, now thats what I call a classic catch-22 situation.