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1. Wyatt Reader <hirener@EARTHLINK.NET> 2. email@example.com 3. RollinsPC@aol.com 4. firstname.lastname@example.org -----Message from: Wyatt Reader <hirener@EARTHLINK.NET>----- For what it is worth, anyone who believes or takes the films about Vietnam warfare as revealing to them, the war and its meaning are simply misguided and do not know what the Vietnam War was, is or meant. WW II was far more capble of being understood from films than Vietnam has ever been presented or shown. Mr. Schultz makes some excellent comments also, with his response. Mr. Grey has is quite right. Wyatt Reader Wyatt Reader <hirener@EARTHLINK.NET> -----Message from: email@example.com----- Chris Schulz wrote " To deny of the human element of these matters is to deny the matters themselves; without the human experience, these matters do not exist." Well, carried all the way out, this means that it is personal human experience that causes wars, not that wars create personal human experiences. Or taken more broadly in the context of discussing History, that only personal human experience causes everything that happens, in politics, industry, research, etc. From a certain point of view, that is correct and there is no denying the human elements of History. It was Hitler's personal experiences that made him who he was, and enabled him to marshal the forces that brought him to power, where he was then able to impose his vision on Germany and finally lead Germany into what became WW2. Again, how does understanding the struggles and suffering of a U-boat crew reveal to anyone how the Treaty of Versailles affected postwar Germany, and Hitler's mindset, and created the situation where he was able to marshal the forces that brought him into power? Also, 'The whole of historiography is "a reflection of the viewpoints of those in charge of making it." ' Yes, we mere human beings are incapable of perfect objectivity, so the viewpoint of those studying any event is certain to have some effect on their interpretation of that event. In fact, even in the physical sciences (based on a solid reality as opposed to the fluid reality of historical events) the inclinations of those doing research can have major effects on the outcome of that research. Arthur Conan Doyle, who taught science, instructed his students to never begin a course of investigation with a likely conclusion in mind, since to do so would inevitably bias their generation and interpretation of the data to support that conclusion. Indeed, in today's furor over the hypothesis of Climate Change we see trained and highly qualified scientists displaying blatant biases in their work on the subject. But the ideal for any scientist is to cultivate as much objectivity as possible, and to design experiments that can as equally support or deny a hypothesis. There have been fits and starts in the progress of science over the past few centuries, but by and large it has functioned to bring us the amazing technology we all share in today. While we cannot hold a filmmaker to high standards of objectivity, we can and I believe absolutely should promote the cultivation of objectivity in historical research. To approach History with a major bias or even a firm belief in what must have transpired is a betrayal of the profession and a disservice to society as a whole. And unfortunately, examples of exactly that kind of approach are only too easy to find. For instance, if one were to write a book about any of our Presidents and focus very tightly on only their flaws, mistakes, and failures, it could make almost any of them look like a very poor performer, and the converse, focusing only on their virtues, brilliance, charm, and successes might make the same man look stellar. (Recent books focused on bad behavior by US troops in Viet Nam can make it seem as if the American forces were no better there than the Japanese Imperial Army was in China, which is blatantly false and unfair.) In the past decades we seem to have seen the legitimization of bias in reporting and research. "Advocacy journalism" came from the sixties and seventies, even though that term should be an oxymoron. The proper response of professional historians to this trend should be rejection, with reemphasis on trying as much as possible to remove one's own biases from examining events and interpreting their meaning. What filmmakers and other artists do in presenting historical events has very little to do with what a professional historian does. Lest anyone think I am a radical new-age reformer, I supply the following quote- "The first law for the historian is that he shall never dare utter an untruth. The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true. Moreover, there shall be no suspicion of partiality in his writing, or of malice." Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Oratore, II.XV,62 (And yes, I know Cicero did not live up to this ideal himself; that does not diminish the value of the ideal.) R J Del Vecchio ____________________________________________________________ Senior Assisted Living Put your loved ones in good hands with quality senior assisted living. Click now! http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL2141/c?cp=xeCYvt5L9ZfEv6mPUQeFoAAAJ1Btrf8aMdi3lUsVs0vlhu56AAYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASUQAAAAA= firstname.lastname@example.org -----Message from: RollinsPC@aol.com----- H-War subscribers interested in war in film should be reminded of the following: WHY WE FOUGHT: AMERICA'S WARS IN FILM AND HISTORY Eds. Peter C. Rollins and John E. O'Connor. UP of Kentucky, 2008. Covers conflicts from the American Revolution to the war in Iraq. One editor is a Vietnam veteran and the other an anti-war activist--so there is balance in coverage. Also, for a panoply of books on Film and History, see _www.petercrollins.com_ (http://www.petercrollins.com) . O'Connor and I are at the end of our trails, but we published quite a few books on Hollywood as Historian, The West in Film, the Image of the Native American, World War I, and many other topics. John was more into theory and his solo works are valuable for those into methods and teaching strategies. (I sure learned a lot from him.) RJ DelVecchio's excellent posting stresses the continued impact of such films; there are perils in these studies, but there are great teaching opportunities as well. Peter C. Rollins _RollinsPC@aol.com_ (mailto:RollinsPC@aol.com) RollinsPC@aol.com -----Message from: email@example.com----- Regarding the thread of using films in teaching military history, I would point out that using film to teach history of any sort has both positives and negatives attached. It has always amazed me that "special interest" groups make such a big thing of censoring textbooks used in public schools, but generally pay no attention to the films that teachers use in the classroom--with the exception of general prohibitions against "R" rated films, etc. That said, there are generally two valid reasons I have found for using war films in teaching history. The first is my continual goal to get my students to understand that all "history" is interpretation. Within that context the previously noted practice of showing the evolution of public "thinking" on the Vietnam War is possible using a range of films. Even a film with as many historical inaccuracies as "Pearl Harbor" has some merit in that it shows how badly Hollywood can distort history thereby teaching students to heed "caveat emptor" when it comes to trying to learn history through film. (As personal caveat, I must note that using any film must always be considered within the context of how much class time is consumed verses the lessons that can be taught/learned.) The second value of using films is to illustrate two concepts that students sometimes find difficult to visualize. The first being tactics--excerpts from "Gettysburg" can illustrate the "how" Civil War battlefield tactics better than most lectures. The second "value" is where the Hollywood has its greatest asset--showing how the "big picture" of war and politics can impact the life of an individual. When done correctly (or when the instructor judicially selects excerpts), film can bring to the student an appreciation of how something as immense as World War II had an impact on individual lives. Finally, I have learned through decades of trail and error that any film, regardless of whether used in total or an excerpt, must be preceded with an introduction that "sets up" the viewing experience, and that using full length films should never be done unless some sort of writing assignment is coupled with the viewing that forces the students to reflect on what has been seen. Edward F. Finch D.A. in History Education firstname.lastname@example.org ----- 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 -----