So waiting for the Dolphin swim at Discovery Cove in Orlando, my daughter Nikki and I were seated with a Brit family--mom, daughter and son. After small talk about the great value of the pound vs the dollar etc, I mentioned that Churchill was one of my heroes. The son, no more than 16 countered that he really liked Hitler, and his sister Gandhi. I was stunned and sickened.This is so bizarre that it sounds like an urban legend. Is there anyone out there, preferably from Britain, who can confirm that this sort of history is now the norm in British schools?
According to him, Hitler was a great leader and did great things for the German people. He brought them out of depression. His quest for land was only to provide "living space" for the German people. The reason for the London bombings was because Britain "carpet bombed" German cities. Hitler had to attack France, for they were a treat to his effort to gain land for living space. The atrocities of the Holocaust were attributed to the fact that he was "mad", so it wasn't his fault. In general, his intentions were noble.
In speaking privately with his mother after my discussion, she stated that this is the new curriculum in the British schools to combat "prejudice" against Germans. They teach the children not to "judge" Hitler.
Yep, it seems this is bogus. I'm surprised that Rick Moran would publish such a thing without a bit more research. On second thought, maybe I'm not so surprised.
Or maybe not. James in the Samizdata comments:
I seems to me that James has made a good case that "riddled with errors" might, in fact, be wrong. I can see how a child could come to the conclusions in the letter if history is taught without context. Which raises the question, just how would one teach a youngster about Hitler and the Nazis? If you don't allow yourself to be judgemental and gloss over such things as the camps, is it not possible that Hitler and Stalin (and Mao) will appear as not such bad chaps? Somewhere along the line the idea that mass slaughter is an evil that trumps all could get lost in the rush to be fair.
It's riddled with factual errors.
For a start, 'British schools' assumes that there is only one curriculum, when there is not. The English curriculum varies not wildly, but enough to denote a difference to the Scottish one.
Perhaps the parent's exageration stems from the lack of contextual teaching in history. What is described isn't far off what I was taught in GCSE Modern World History not more than seven years ago. Combined with the simplistic nature of taught facts, the lack of context and lack of multi-dimensional thinking on behalf of most pupils leads many of them to reach naive conclusions.
I remember a number of people in my age group coming to the conclusion that, because he built roads, 'revitalised' the economy, 'stood up to' European bullies and helped drive up employment, he was somehow a 'great leader'- just with a 'flawed logic'.
A similar 'fluffy' picture is painted with the birth of the Soviet Union, also taught in GCSE Modern World History- the glory of the Five Year Plan and the Stakhanovite ethos. The brutal totality of the Soviet era is left entirely untouched.
You'll all be pleased to know that FDR was part of the syllabus, too...
Or maybe the kid was winding someone up, J at Samizdata:
Ah-ha, says I. I think that J is onto something.
I say the kid:
a) is smart
b) was trolling you
c) has won
I remember my brother used to do the same:
"What do you want to be when you grown up then?"
"I'm going to be unemployed and sponge off the state."