History lessons vary by country, perspective

Published 7:00 am Friday, August 7, 2015

It’s been 70 years since the nuclear bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so in response the Washington Post decided to look into how the event is taught to students in other countries around the world.

What was discovered, as expected, is that other countries view the event in varying lights.

Some found the event to be atrocious, so taught it as such. Others described the event to their students as a necessary evil that put an end to the war. While other countries either barely mentioned the event as part of the greater war, or didn’t mention it at all, according to the article.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Naturally any nation that was invaded by Japan portrays the bombing in a positive light, while Japan takes an understandably different view.

Today, nearly every American citizen knows releasing a nuclear bomb on civilians was clearly a horrible event for Japanese citizens.

But, one of the most interesting facts discovered in the Washington Post’s findings is that the method in which history, all history, is taught has changed in the last couple of decades.

Previously history was presented in textbooks via a narrative written as though the information presented was a fact to be remembered and subsequently recited on an exam.

Recently however, teaching history has taken a broader approach of presenting documentation and other solid facts and then letting the student come to a decision on their own. This new method is intriguing, because by allowing students to absorb various information from several sides, the students are free to see the positive and negative affects to such a huge decision.

By telling people what to think about a certain historical event without presenting every viewpoint, we are robbing them of the ability to think critically, make moral decisions and lead a truly ethical life.