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Post Is the History of the Defeated "Cancelled Out"?
Created by John Eipper on 01/30/14 6:45 AM

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Is the History of the Defeated "Cancelled Out"? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 01/30/14 6:45 am)

I will accept the arguments of David Pike in his post of 29 January. However, the problem with the history of WWII and the reasons behind it is that the war was some kind of religious war or more precisely an ideological war: capitalism and Marxism allied against corporativism and national socialism.

For instance, it was not a war between England and Italy for the possession of Malta, but a war about the new economic/welfare system advocated by Mussolini and the old one of the British Empire, the so-called war of blood against gold. (Poor Mussolini; he should have known that gold always wins.)

Therefore we may find Italian historians who are much more against Fascism than any British historians, while we may find British favourable to Fascism; just remember John Amery, son of the British Minister for the Colonies, who was hanged at the end of the war, not to mention the great American poet Ezra Pound, etc.

When the history of the defeated is reported, it is about the adjectives and adverbs used and the related facts chosen. Just two examples:

--The great Giampaolo Pansa, who later discovered and revealed the frauds in the history of the Italian Resistance, published the 1970 L'Esercito di Salò (the Salò Army), which was based on original documents of the GNR (National Republican Guard of the RSI) of Brescia, and by choosing the worst from such documents he wrote a devastating book. It was far from the overall reality, but he employed true facts.

--About myself it could be written: "At the young age of 31, thanks to his good career, he was promoted to Mooring and loading Master in an important port of the Persian Gulf." Sounds like I am an excellent mariner.

But the same fact can also be written: "He was already 31 years old by the time he was finally promoted to Mooring and loading Master in a remote port of the Persian Gulf." Sounds like I am almost a failure. And this is how history is written.

JE comments: It's impossible not to impose your point of view on history.  Just consider "fighters" versus "soldiers," "base" vs. "lair," or the venerable "terrorist/freedom fighter" distinction.  I recall a discussion I had some years ago with a journalist friend, who argued that with a few adjectives and a careful choice of verbs, it wouldn't be hard to put a negative spin on Mother Teresa.

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