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The Importance of History
Can anything worthwhile be gained from continued research into historical events?
History seen as study of the past is an integral part of many education systems across the world. Many countries spend huge amounts of money and resources to uncover their past. Every year new and new historical sites are uncovered, excavations on those sites are conducted and the result are studied by archeologists throughout the world.
But have we gained anything worthwhile from research into the past?
The answer seems clear: Yes, we have.
The Study of history especially into historical battles and wars is beneficial when not vital for the evolution of warfare in the modern world. Military strategists continually study wars such as the World Wars, the Napoleonic Conflicts and many modern wars.
Tactics and strategies are analyzed and continuously refined, so as to improve their effectiveness and efficacy in future conflicts, without historical study into conflicts, advanced warfare tactics prevalent today would never have evolved from those primitive tactics man used to use in wars.
Many countries nowadays are trying to acquire Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), as history has convincingly displayed their awesome destructive power, and their potential to deter aggressions and conflicts thrust upon on a country, like the Cold war remained ‘cold’ because both countries had WMD and were aware of the consequences if they were used.
Another example were historical research is vital is the judicial system. History sets precedents of judicial cases, which are studied by judges to before they make decision in similar cases themselves. The effectiveness of certain punishments for offences is also evaluated through history.
Thus we study history in order to learn from it, improve our past experiences and avoid repeating past mistakes. However this is not always the case.
When World war one broke out in Europe, The Empires of Germany, Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman, were fighting against the axis France, Britain, and Italy. The result of this conflict was total destruction for all of Europe. However just after 20 years, the same nations were getting closer to another military confrontation. Yet again the same nations were allowing Germany to rise militarily, yet again they failed to act soon enough, and yet again they found themselves in another conflict. Yet again the conflict brought total destruction for Europe. What went wrong here, why didn’t the study of history prevent a cataclysm in Europe when just one had happened 2 or 3 decades ago? The answer to this we can only acquire trough yet again historical research.
In another part of the world, the first gulf war broke out between Iraq and Iran when Iraq claimed that one of Iran’s provinces was her own, and subsequently invaded it. The consequent conflict was disastrous for both countries. However just less then half a decade later Iraq invaded an independent country Kuwait, claiming that it was a part of Iraq. Yet again the subsequent military conflict war disastrous for Iraq, the effects of which are still rampant throughout Iraq.
Again history repeated itself, thus the saying that history repeats holds validity with the notion that we learn from history.
In the light of these examples we can see that something worthwhile was gained from history however it was not always beneficial to mankind, in cases of warfare for example.