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EU History Book


John Simkin
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Brussels has just produced a school textbook on the history of Europe for children (Histoires de l’Europe). Each of the 28 members and prospective members of the EU is allocated four pages. British newspapers have been complaining about the omissions from the pages on the UK. This includes the fact that the book fails to mention Britain’s role in the two world wars. However, it does mention the war in the pages devoted to other countries. In the French pages Britain is only because General de Gaulle led the French resistance from London.

The German section does not include the word Nazi. Instead it says “1929 saw a surge in extremist movements… and in 1933 Hitler became chancellor”.

The Sunday Times claimed that the book is an attempt to placate the Germans who have been claiming that they are badly treated in British textbooks.

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Brussels has just produced a school textbook on the history of Europe for children (Histoires de l’Europe). Each of the 28 members and prospective members of the EU is allocated four pages. British newspapers have been complaining about the omissions from the pages on the UK. This includes the fact that the book fails to mention Britain’s role in the two world wars. However, it does mention the war in the pages devoted to other countries. In the French pages Britain is only because General de Gaulle led the French resistance from London.

The German section does not include the word Nazi. Instead it says “1929 saw a surge in extremist movements… and in 1933 Hitler became chancellor”.

The Sunday Times claimed that the book is an attempt to placate the Germans who have been claiming that they are badly treated in British textbooks.

I guess when given four pages for your national history you are unlikely to include much reference to its dark side :cheers

I don't imagine, (but don't know) that such a book is intended as a History text or reader for students of history - far more likely it is in the context of a celebration of European Unity and to be used in Citizenship type lessons - hence the lack of focus on conflict??

Sounds like a great source for lessons on interpretations of history though :cheers

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In my view, it is evident that this sort of politically correct books make politicians feel well, but have nothing to do with teaching history. With all my respect for every European nation, how can you give the same number of pages to France and to Slovenia?

"European" political correctness also makes politicians to miss out controversial periods, tiptoeing about spells of conflict.

I believe that we should stress common features of European history: teaching about Europeans who fought fascism from Germany to Britain from Spain to Russia or teaching about European fascism from Adolf Hitler to Oswald Mosley.

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Something like that might make a good exercise for the IB Paper 1 examination which requires the students to assess the usefulness of sources based on their origin and purpose...

However, I agree with Juan Carlos that otherwise it would seem to me to be rather a perverse way of looking at the history of European nations...

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