Thursday, 19 September 2013

What Really Happened

Having always loved reading history (particularly with a sceptical eye) I'd always liked the idea of making my millions by writing a book called "What Really Happened" that would be a series of extended essays dissecting widely held views about various historical events and explaining what actually happened without any of the guff we usually get with it.

They say that history is always written by the winners. This isn't always true, because often the losers will still have their say, normally indicating the opposite of what the winners said. Only after enough time has passed and the stories have lost their propagandistic value will the impartial truth begin to emerge.

But sometimes that propagandistic value can last thousands of years and it seems like we might never reach a more enlightened common view on certain events.

Take Sir Francis Drake. The English consider him a hero. The Spanish consider him a pirate. But even in my GCSE history classes 7 years ago we were still taught about him as if he was something to be proud of. Even 417 years after his death we don't get a more balanced view.

Another great example is the Cuban Missile Crisis, which could just as appropriately have been called the Turkish Missile Crisis. Where the big bad Soviets almost caused World War 3 by having the temerity to seek nuclear parity with the Americans.

The fact that Khrushchev agreed to take the missiles about of Cuba on the condition that the Americans took their missiles out of Turkey was something that was brushed under the carpet for decades and not widely known at all. If more people had known that the only reason the Soviets wanted missiles in Cuba pointed at America was because the Americans had missiles in Turkey pointing right at them, they might have questioned how noble America really was in the episode and, God forbid, even have smelt a hint of hypocrisy coming from them.

Unfortunately I'm no where near that ambitious enough to write a full book, but could probably muster the occasional blog post. That sounds much more reasonable.

I thought I'd keep it as Jersey based as possible for now though.

I'll start with a post in the next day or two on this recent rubbish we have been fed about the Royal Mace and Jersey's "loyalty" to the English Crown.


  1. Very interesting. I look forward to your next posting.

  2. Sir Walter Raleigh, as far as I can tell from my very limited research, was, I believe, a massive git. He'd be a good one to start with.

    1. Sir Walter Raleigh was of course Governor of Jersey at one point and commissioned the building of Elizabeth Castle and saved Mont Orgueil Castle from demolition.

      That being said, despite being Governor he barely spent any time here at all. Surely the point of being Governor is that you are here!?

  3. I will also look forward to your posting Sam. Of course it was the unelected Bailiff who first mentioned the idea of a mace party, and at that time the cost was muted at about £23,000.

    Then, it just snowballed. No freeze on the amount the States wasteful spending. Are you aware of the true cost in an island now officially in an economic downward slide for the last five years ?

  4. Sir

    Yes, why not ruin any self respect and national pride we have left by digging up the dirt on our history.
    I wonder if anyone will question your motives?

    1. I'd be much more likely to question your motives for insinuating that I'm out to denigrate our island.

      I'm actually out to do the exact opposite, thank you very much.

    2. "rubbish we have been fed about the Royal Mace and Jersey's "loyalty" to the English Crown"

      I think this makes your motives clear.

    3. No, it makes your motives clear.

      The island during the Civil War was mostly loyal to the Parliamentarians, not the Monarchy. That's just a historical observation.

      It shows nothing about my motives other than my commitment to seeking out the truth.

      If you have a problem with that, it says more about you than me.

  5. Sir

    You are very politically charged in a certain direction. How will you avoid this distorting your view of history? (something most people are prone to). Will we have to take what you say with a pinch of salt? We all suffer from unconscious and hidden biases which we are the last to recognise in ourselves. Historians (proper ones not those with a deliberate agenda) train to overcome this.

    Sadly, I think there is a danger that your efforts will be perceived as anti establishment unless you get this right. Maybe starting with a symbol of our national pride might make that task of getting it right harder from the start.