Thursday, February 07, 2008

Historical Ignorance

"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." Winston Churchill

That may be true, but what if no one studies history...? Or worse, what if no one believes in history at all? I recently came across this article below (refered on Dr. Haykin's blog). Apparently one in four Britons do not believe Winston Churchill ever existed! Here is the article published on FOXNews.
One in four Britons don't believe wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill existed, according to a recent survey. Churchill is compared to Florence Nightingale and Sir Walter Raleigh, seen by many survey respondents as a mythical person, the London Daily Mail reported Monday. The survey, conducted with 3,000 respondents to test their general knowledge, reported other historical figures such as Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, Cleopatra and the Duke of Wellington were made up for books and films, the Mail reported. The survey, by UKTV Gold, also found that Sherlock Holmes was a real person. Young Britons under 20 lack a basic historical education according to the survey results, historian Correlli Barnett told the Daily Mail. "This suggests a complete lack of common sense and respect for our greatest heroes of the past," Barnett said.

This survey adds irony to Churchill's famous double imperative, "Study history! Study history!"

1 comment:

Jeremy W. Johnston said...

According to a comment on Dr. Haykin's blog, "it looks like Fox may have misreported the survey. It was 1 in 5 and it is Teens not the population as a whole."

“A fifth of British teenagers believe Sir Winston Churchill was a fictional character, while many think Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur and Eleanor Rigby were real, a survey shows.”

Nevertheless, this is a startling statistic; it is also a harsh wake-up call for educators to be more diligent in teaching about history.