Soysal has examined how textbooks for children aged 11 to 14 have taught European history over three decades. She has found some startling changes since the Eighties.(Link via Joanne Jacobs)
The Vikings have gone from being depicted as pillaging aggressors to skilful, peace-loving traders. In early editions of From Cavemen to Vikings (A and C Black), the Vikings are referred to as 'fierce raiders [who] began to attack our coasts'. But in its 1994 edition, they are described as 'Danes [who] besides being farmers, were much better at trading than Saxons. The Danes and Saxons settled down together and Saxon England became one rich and peaceful kingdom.'
'Vital pieces of history have been taken out of schoolbooks and the curriculum in the European-wide drive to pretend the union has a common identity and background,' said Soysal. 'But, unless our children understand the truth about how Europe was created, they will never appreciate the current world conflicts or understand European reactions to them.'
In the 1994 edition of The French Revolution (Heinemann), Napoleon is depicted less as an invader and more as a reformer whose code of measurement was introduced throughout Europe.
In Journeys into the Past (Zeitern und Menschen), the traditional image of the Saracens as barbarians is transformed in 2001 to one of a civilised race which lived in peace and harmony with the crusaders. National transformations, such as the division of the Frankish Empire into three kingdoms in the ninth century or the French Resistance in the 1940s become part of a natural evolution towards the inevitable creation of a future Europe.
Sunday, April 20, 2003
European history textbooks are being rewritten to make it look like there was no conflict in Europe's past. Everyone just got along in a PC ideal world in Europe for the past thousand years.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 9:39 PM