New exhibition about Vietnam

An excellent new exhibition and series of resources on the US and the Vietnam War, from the National Archives.

 

https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/currently-on-exhibit-remembering-vietnam

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Russian Revolution and the “uses of history”

Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Here’s a really interesting editorial about the Revolution and the uses of history– how to put history to work in service of political goals:

“Manipulating history for political ends is not unusual — see the Trump administration and the Civil War. But in Russia, invoking history has long been a way of proclaiming political or ideological affiliation. The “Great October Socialist Revolution” was the founding myth of the Soviet Union; Nov. 7 (Oct. 25 on the old Russian calendar), the date of the uprising that brought the Bolsheviks to power, was the national holiday, on which tanks, missiles and high-stepping soldiers swept through Red Square.

The history of the revolution — and of the czarist past, and for that matter of the entire world — was written to fit the myth of Soviet Russia as the vanguard of civilization, and woe to those who tampered with the official version. Unless they were the guardians of the official version, to whom it fell now and again to rewrite and update that history — like when Stalin went abruptly from demigod to footnote.”

New exhibit on Vietnam War

A major new exhibition on the Vietnam War at the New York Historical Society:

“For the people who live it, history is personal. And if you live it intensely, you feel you own it, or it owns you. A lot of Americans still feel that way about the Vietnam War years. No matter how removed you were from actual combat, if the war consumed your attention, shaped your emotions, and dictated your actions, you were in the middle of it.

That’s where the word-and-object jammed exhibition called “The Vietnam War: 1945-1975” at the New-York Historical Society puts you. From the minute you walk in, you’re surrounded.”

 

“Revising” history? A new historical marker for Sherman’s March

A new historical marker has gone up in Atlanta, and it is raising questions about historical “revisionism” and how events in the past– especially destructive and emotionally-fraught events, such as Sherman’s March to the Sea– how remembered and memorialized, how they are — literally– set in stone for the future.  ALTJPATLANTA1-articleLarge

“There’s still a strong resentment for what happened and how it happened and for Sherman himself,” Dr. James C. Cobb said. “They want to whitewash everything and make it so much nicer than it was. It wasn’t nice. War isn’t.

“You all the time run into college kids who don’t know which side Sherman was on — and their parents and certainly their grandparents would be aghast to know that. It’s not just a matter of education. It’s a matter of being the blank slate that younger generations present for revision or education that older generations don’t because they’re steeped in the mythology of their ancestors.”