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1. Chris Schultz <email@example.com> 2. Jeffrey Grey <J.Grey@ADFA.EDU.AU> -----Message from: Chris Schultz <firstname.lastname@example.org>----- At the risk of dragging up that eternal debate about 'What Is History', I have to take exception to the idea that "understanding war for an historian has to be a different topic than understanding the human experience of war" (as R J Del Vecchio suggests). Firstly, this assumes a hegemonical structure to governments, nations, and war itself that should make everyone a little uncomfortable. To deny of the human element of these matters is to deny the matters themselves; without the human experience, these matters do not exist. While there are still empiricists and culturalists out there who occasionally are at odds with each other, they tend to do so over methodologies and interpretations, and rarely over subject matters. The most "conservative" historians I know do not deny the importance of social and cultural histories--even in military history. Virtually every example given by Mr. Del Vecchio not only emphasizes the social and cultural dimensions of warfare, but the human experience which he is so quick to dismiss is the very core of it all. Japanese militarism did not exist in a vacuum devoid of human contact; its (alleged) "takeover of the culture" suggests intermediaries working at all levels of society, and not just the top; and the "brutality of the Japanese Imperial Army" in various places is so obviously about the human impact of conflict that it actually proves my point. Lastly, let's please drop the assumption that a film is somehow more prone to opinion than other forms of history. The whole of historiography is "a reflection of the viewpoints of those in charge of making it." I'll also add that interpretations of all media vary, and historiography is no exception. Chris Schultz Carleton University PS: In Platoon, the protagonist very clearly says why he's in Vietnam. We don't have to like it, but its at least as valid as any other reason given that it was Stone's OWN reason for enlisting. Chris Schultz <email@example.com> -----Message from: Jeffrey Grey <J.Grey@ADFA.EDU.AU>----- > Having run into too many younger people who have seen > Platoon, Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, and other famous > Viet Nam movies, who have proudly proclaimed they understand > that war from those movies, has made me somewhat sensitized > to the excessive reliance much of the public puts on movies > as real history. > > R J Del Vecchio > I entirely agree with Mr del Vecchio here, and would add (for what it's worth) that when I use feature film in my teaching of military history - which I do a great deal - I use it specifically to show the class how their understanding of complex historical events, based on popular cultural representations, is frequently, badly, wrong. Jeffrey Grey H&SS/ADFA Jeffrey Grey <J.Grey@ADFA.EDU.AU> ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----