Blog

Western Historical Amnesia

Srdja Trifkovic’s latest live interview on Sputnik Radio International

PRESENTER: Dr. Trifkovic, what do you think of the latest poll suggesting that most West Europeans think that the U.S. contributed more to the defeat of Nazism during World War II than the Soviet Army?

ST: The current generation of Europeans, especially those under 50, is less well educated and has less of a historical awareness than their parents and their grandparents. If you look at the geography of Paris, there is a prominent square named after the battle of Stalingrad and a metro station called “Stalingrad.” In the immediate aftermath of World War II, most French people were aware of the real score.

As for Germany there could not have been any doubt, because after all the Germans were at the receiving end of it all. Ninety percent of their casualties, all casualties taken together – the Wehrmacht, the Luftwaffe, the Waffen SS, and so on – were inflicted by the Red Army.

There’s deliberate indoctrination, to some extent, not so much in the big West European countries, more so in the revisionist-minded Central and Eastern Europe which used to be under the Soviet sway. There we are witnessing a systematic and deliberate misinterpretation and mispresentation of the past for current political reasons.

PRESENTER: Some people are saying that this is anti-Russian propaganda?

ST: Oh, no. It would not have had that effect if it was simply the result of the crisis in relations between the Western world and Russia over the past fifteen months, since the Maidan, since early 2014. It’s a deeper malaise, a deeper problem. It is the problem of the historical amnesia of the Western man in general.

We are witnessing a similar problem in the United States. When I taught history and political science there, I was amazed at the low level of historical knowledge and understanding of even reasonably well educated young Americans who came from good high schools. The problem is in the overall perception of history as “bunk.” Constantly looking “forward,” never “backward,” creates a sort of vulnerability to manipulation, because people who do not know history – as Cicero had said – are doomed to remain children for ever.   

Add a Comment

 

Join the conversation...

You are currently using the BETA version of our article comments feature. You may notice some bugs in submission and user experience. Significant improvements are coming soon!

or

Be the first to comment on this article!

X