Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Who Cares About History?

Can you identify these three men? Can your kids identify them?

They are, from left, Soviet Premier Josef Stalin, U.S. President Harry Truman and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Potsdam Conference in Germany in 1945. They met to discuss how to deal with post-Nazi Germany in the aftermath of WWII.

As prime minister, Churchill inspired the Allied Forces to stay the course and fight the Nazis in a bloody war that left parts of England in shambles due to air attacks by the Germans. He was revered in Britain for his efforts.

But that was then. A new study finds that 20% of British teens do not believe Winston Churchill ever existed. Then again, nearly two-thirds of them think King Arthur was a real person. Guess we Americans aren't the only ones dealing with a dumbed-down culture.

Here's one historian's take on the study:

Historian Correlli Barnett said: "This suggests a complete lack of common sense and respect for our greatest heroes of the past."
"Churchill and Wellington were great men, but this suggests we no longer value people of great achievement.
"It's all about celebrities and popular culture. What it also tells us is what is going wrong in our school curriculums.
"Something must be completely lacking in our national education that people could be so ignorant as to think these people never actually existed.


Leslie said...

Hmm my kids wouldn't recognize them because we are doing history chronologically and have only gotten to the Middle Ages so far.

However, we did study Arthur as the Celtic King who is part history and mostly legend.


Janet said...

I read about this just yesterday! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Yowsas.

Crimson Wife said...

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that the only reason I recognized Truman was because he was standing next to Stalin & Churchill. If you'd shown me an unlabeled picture of him alone, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have had a clue.