What’s the use of history?Does it tell the truth?

President Dmitry Medvedev recently announced the setting up of a commission to counter the falsification of history. He said this was becoming increasingly “severe, evil, and aggressive”.

The Second World War has somewhat redefined the political landscape of Europe with the emergence of new countries like East Germany and the prevailing Cold War which was an era of mutual suspicion between the Capitalist and the communist blocs. The lessons learnt from WWII is that differences should be settled diplomatically through cooperation and integration instead of coming to a bloody conflict culminating in millions of deaths and irreparable damages.

There was a case reported by Alistair Cook in his famous “Letter from America”. In the USA, a teacher asked his student who were US allies in WWII. His reply was they were Germany and Japan. After WWII, sworn enemies became close friends. France and Germany became closer after their bloody wars from German unification in 1871 going through the WWI and WWII. People in Europe feel more European through concrete actions like the EU.

Each country’s history is written according to an ideology. Each regime tries to depict it as it sees fit. There is the official line which tries to justify an action in the past. There is the example of Turkey which still categorically denies any genocide in Armenia and no Turkish historian can publicly say the contrary without being prosecuted.

It can be difficult for a country to protect its history totally as long as there are controversial sides in it which are seen from a different prospective. There isn’t a single version of a major historical event. What is seen by some an act of defence is seen by others as aggression.

There always remains a dark side in the recent history of many countries as long as it is enshrouded with secrecy or there is the absence of hard evidence .So it remains open to different interpretations rightly or wrongly.

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