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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 29 March 2003 - 05:09 PM

As historians we are fully aware that textbook writers are influenced by nationalism. However, it is difficult for the classroom teacher to get examples from foreign textbooks. Whenever I have travelled to other countries I have attempted to find and purchase school textbooks. Over the next few weeks I will be posting some examples here. Hopefully, other members will also add examples. This will provide a useful resource for teachers who want to compare how different countries teach about the past. The first few entries will be taken from Chinese textbooks.

The Opium War

Qi Wen, China (1979)

The Opium War, which was a turning point in Chinese history, marked the beginning of China's gradual transformation into a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. In fact, the whole history of modern China is one of the Chinese nation fighting against the imperialists and their servants.

In the 17th and 18th centuries the major countries of Europe gradually became capitalist societies. They looked everywhere for markets for their merchandise and seized colonies.

China with its vast territory, rich resources and large population quickly became a target. Early in the 19th century Britain smuggled large quantities of opium into China, leading to grave social and economic consequences. In 1839 the Qing government sent Lin Zexu to Guangdong to ban the use of opium. To protect its opium trade, Britain launched the First Opium War in 1840. While the Chinese people rose spontaneously in armed struggle against the invaders, the corrupt Qing government, fearing for its existence if the people became powerful through fighting the British, preferred to submit to the foreign enemy. In 1842 it signed the 'Treaty of Nanking" with Britain, bartering away China's national sovereignty, paying a large indemnity and ceding territory. The United States and France followed Britain's precedent, and compelled the Qing court to conclude similar treaties. These unequal treaties cost China its sovereign rights. The flood of foreign goods into the home market caused the disintegration of its feudal economy. Thus China grew into a semi-colonial, semi-feudal country.

Su Kaiming, Modern China (1985)

The large-scale smuggling of opium brought tragedy to many families in south and central China. To obtain this drug, many addicts sold their land and houses, and even their wives and children. Thus, outside of the small number of merchants and officials who profited from this illicit trade, the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people were filled with indignation and wholeheartedly supported the war against the British invaders.

The British troops also went on raids in the villages along the seacoast. They plundered, killed, and molested the women-folk. In self-defense the peasants organized themselves into militia units, and neighbouring villages pledged to help one another in case of emergency. The struggles of the people to defend themselves were the only heartening aspect of an otherwise gloomy story of official appeasement and capitulation.

#2 John Simkin

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Posted 30 March 2003 - 06:41 AM

The Sino-Japanese War

Qi Wen, China (1979)

The years after the 1870s saw the transition from world capitalism to imperialism, from free competi tion to monopoly. In the scramble for markets, raw materials and export of capital, the capitalist powers stepped up their invasion of China. In 1884 France launched the Sino-French War against China and VietNam. In 1894 Japan started a war against China and Korea - the Sino-Japanese War. Throughout this time, the Qing government, defying popular sentiment, made repeated concessions and compromises and finally concluded the humiliating "Treaty of Shimonoseki" with Japan, whereby Japan received a large part of China's territory, a big indemnity and special privileges in making investments and building factories in certain Chinese ports. This treaty was a heavy shackle on the Chinese people.

After the Sino-Japanese War, the imperialist powers struggled among themselves for investments, leased territories and spheres of influence in China. They tried to carve China up and end its existence as a nation. For half a century, starting from 1850, tsarist Russia forced China to conclude a series of unequal treaties, extorting many privileges and slicing off a total of 1.5 million square kilometres of China's territory. In this intense rivalry, the United States put forward in September 1899 the so-called "open door" policy, whereby each power's "sphere of influence" in China was recognized, but within these spheres each was not to restrict the trade and navigation of the other powers. Thus, on the one hand, the other powers were to open their spheres of influence to the United States so that its monopoly capital could plunder and exploit the whole of China, and on the other, the sharp contradictions between the imperialist countries were to be mitigated for the time being. A political agreement for the joint partitioning of China was therefore reached among the imperialist powers.

Su Kaiming, Modern China (1985)

In 1894 Japan, with a modern army and navy, was prepared for military adventures. Short of resources, its leaders cast their hungry eyes particularly on Korea and the adjoining parts of China, including both the northeast and the Shandong peninsula across the sea.

In June of that year the Qing government was called upon by the king of Korea to send troops to help quell an insurrection in his country. Citing the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Tianjin signed in 1885, by which both countries had pledged not to intervene directly in Korea without informing the other, Japan dispatched troops, too. China sent 3,000 men, Japan 18,000. In July Japan set up a puppet government and demanded the withdrawal of Chinese troops from Korea. Without warning, Japanese troops began to attack Chinese forces, and war was formally declared on August 1, 1894.

This war lasted only about six months. While the various groups in the Japanese government were. united in the effort to win the war, the Qing government was rent by factional strife and intrigue. In the field, the Japanese army first drove the disorganized Chinese troops out of Korea; then its naval forces routed the poorly-led Chinese navy in the Yellow Sea. By February 1895, the Japanese forces had crossed the Yalu River into Chinese territory, conducted landings at the naval bases of Dalian ("Dairen" or "Dalny" in Japanese and Russian respectively) and Liishun ("Port Arthur" in British parlance) on the Liaodong peninsula, smashed the "powerful" Beiyang

Edited by John Simkin, 30 March 2003 - 06:42 AM.


#3 John Simkin

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Posted 31 March 2003 - 03:40 PM

Communism in China

Zhong Wenxian, Mao Zedong (1986)

It was around the time of the May Fourth Movement (1919) that Mao Zedong first came into contact with and began to embrace Marxism. In July 1919, he launched the Xiangliang Review in Hunan, and the following year he organized the Cultural Reading Society for the spreading of revolutionary ideas. In the autumn of 1920 he set up communist groups in Changsha. Himself a founder of the Chinese Communist Party, Mao Zedong attended the First National Congress of the Party which marked the formal inauguration of the Communist Party of China in July 1921. He was later made Secretary of the Hunan Regional Party Committee of the CPC and put in charge of leading the workers' movement in Changsha and Anyuan.

Qi Wen, China (1979)

China's industrial proletariat was born with the emergence of modem industry. Around 1870, industrial workers in modern China totalled less than 10,000. The number increased to about two million prior to the May 4th Movement in 1919. Though not very numerous, this industrial proletariat represented China's new productive forces and was the most progressive class in modern China.

From the time of its birth the Chinese proletariat continuously fought against oppression and exploitation by foreign capitalism, domestic feudal forces and the bourgeoisie in various ways - political, economic, and otherwise. In 1917, the great October Socialist Revolution broke out in Russia under Lenin's leadership. It inspired China's advanced elements to study and publicize Marxism and the ideas of the Revolution. Consequently a group of intellectuals with incipient communist ideas like Li Dazhao and Chen Duxiu appeared, and these helped to spread Marxism in China. Under the influence of the October Revolution, the May 4th Movement - a great anti-imperialist and anti-feudal revolutionary movement - took place in China, at which the Chinese proletariat demonstrated its might for the first time. Meanwhile Marxism-Leninism spread and linked itself with the revolutionary practice of the Chinese people. In ideology and in training cadres, the May 4th Movement set the stage for the founding of the Communist Party of China. On July 1, 1921, Mao Zedong, Dong Biwu, Chen Tanqiu, He Shuheng, Wang Jinmei, Deng Enming and others, representing the communist groups in different places, met and held the First National Congress in Shanghai to found the Communist Party of China, the vanguard of the Chinese proletariat.

Su Kaiming, Modern China (1985)

In February 1923, Sun Yat-sen returned to Guangzhou where he immediately set up a headquarters of a new revolutionary government. Soviet Russia sent Michael Borodin (1884-1951) and some military advisers to help him, and a provisional central committee of the Kuomintang which included a number of Communists was organized.

The Chinese Communist Party held its Third National Congress in Guangzhou in June 1923, and the question of forming a revolutionary united front with the Kuomintang was discussed. The congress affirmed Sun Yat-sen's contribution to the Chinese revolution and resolved to help him in reorganizing the Kuomintang and establishing cooperation between the two parties.

The gap between Sun Yat-sen and the West continued to widen. When he threatened in December to seize the customs revenues in the port of Guangzhou, the powers staged a naval demonstration to preserve the status quo. Thwarted, Sun angrily stated, "We no longer look to the Western powers.
Our faces are turned toward Russia."

In January 1924, Sun Yat-sen called the First National Congress of the reorganized Kuomintang in Guangzhou. Among the Communists who attended were Li Dazhao, Mao Zedong and Qu Qiubai (Chu Chiu-pai, 1899-1935). The congress adopted the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal policy advanced by the Communists, agreed to absorb individual Communists and Socialist Youth League members into the Kuomintang, and decided to reorganize the Kuomintang into a revolutionary alliance of workers, peasants, the petty-bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie. In this way, new blood was infused into the ranks of the Kuomintang and Sun Yat-sen became the leader of a revitalized revolutionary movement.

#4 Richard Jones-Nerzic

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Posted 31 March 2003 - 05:27 PM

As historians we are fully aware that textbook writers are influenced by nationalism. However, it is difficult for the classroom teacher to get examples from foreign textbooks.

I agree this is a fascinating subject and perhaps something our international members might be able to help with. We are now required to teach interpretation to even the youngest or least able students. National perspectives is a relatively easy way to do this.

I had a Korean student last year at GCSE who brought in an old textbook that included the 1950 war. She made a website of her translation and included some scanned pages. This was at the same time as the dispute over the revision of Japanese textbooks threatened to undermine Korean-Japanese relations ahead of the last World Cup. I do a CNN derived lesson about this with my IB group.

In the long-run, what might work well on this forum is if we identify international subjects that we teach in common with colleagues around Europe or the world. For example, I know from experience that the Armada is taught rather differently in Spain than it is in the UK. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) modern text books that I have seen in France or Spain are rather too subtle in their differences to be of use in the classroom as interpretation exercises. However, the old narrative based textbooks from the 1930s are a different matter...:flowers:

Jane Austen's 'History of England' type stuff would be ideal.
All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke


European School Brussels III
International School History

#5 John Simkin

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Posted 01 April 2003 - 04:38 PM

Mao Zedong

(1) Su Kaiming, Modern China (1985)

To help artists and writers find some answers, the Communist Party in May 1942 held a forum on literature and art in Yan'an. Mao Zedong spoke twice at this historic meeting, in part summing up the thinking of the most progressive artists and setting forth conclusions reached through discussion and argument. He reminded artists that they had a very important role to play in the ongoing struggle. The revolution needed armed forces to fight the battle of the sword, but that was not enough. The revolution also needed a cultural army - fighters armed with pens - to educate and unite the people and promote the liberation of the country.

To accomplish this task, writers and artists must first shift their class stand and become one with the masses, seeing things from their viewpoint. No artist can write convincingly of what he doesn't know. "China's revolutionary writers and artists, writers and artists of promise," he said, "must go among the masses ... in order to observe, experience, study and analyze all the different kinds of people, all the classes, all the masses, all the vivid patterns of life and struggle, all the raw materials of literature and art." They must also learn the language of the masses. Only then can they proceed to do creative work.

(2) Qi Wen, China (1979)

At that time (1931) Wang Ming, who had assumed leadership of the Party Central Committee, pursued his policy of "Left" adventurism, causing great losses to the revolutionary forces: The Red Army soldiers were reduced from 300,000 to 30,000 and Communist Party members from 300,000 to about 40,000. Under these, circumstances, the Red Army had to move out. In October. 1934, it began its world-famous Long March from Jiangxi.

In January 1935, the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee held an enlarged meeting at Zunyi in Guizhou Province. Militarily and organizationally it rectified Wang Ming's "Left" adventurist line and established Mao Zedong's leadership over the whole Party. From then on, the Chinese revolution advanced along a victorious road. In October 1935, the Red Army triumphantly arrived at the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region. Later it smashed the encirclement campaigns of Chiang Kai-shek. As the Chinese Communist Party fought for the establishment of a national united front against Japanese imperialist aggression, it established its base in the northern Shaanxi city of Yan'an.

(3) Zhong Wenxian, Mao Zedong (1986)

Mao Zedong worked in Guangzhou as acting Head of the Central Propaganda Department of the Kuomintang, edited the Political Weekly and directed the Sixth Class at the Peasant Movement Institute. In November 1926 he was appointed Secretary of the Peasant Movement Commission of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee. Published between the winter of 1925 and the spring of 1927, his works Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society and Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan, dealt with the fundamental problems relating to the Chinese revolution and set forth some of Mao's basic ideas on the New Democratic Revolution in China. In these treatises Mao Zedong underlined the great significance of the peasant problem to the Chinese revolution and the paramount importance of the leadership of the proletariat over the peasant movement. Critical of Chen Duxiu the Party's principal leader at that time, for the compromises and concessions he made in dealing with the right wing of the Kuomintang Mao denounced Chen's Right deviation in denying the proletariat their rightful leadership of the Democratic Revolution.

In April 1928, he joined with the insurgent forces of Zhu De to form the Fourth Army of the Workers' and Peasants' Revolutionary Army (later renamed the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army), with Mao Zedong as Party representative and Secretary of the Front Committee, and Zhu De as Army Commander. In January 1929, he and Zhu De led the main body of the Fourth Red Army down the Jinggang Mountains to southern Jiangxi and western Fujian, where more revolutionary bases were set up (these were later to become the Central Revolutionary Base Area). With Mao Zedong as their chief representative, the Chinese Communists proceeded from the reality of China. Conducting armed struggles in rural areas where the forces of reactionary rule were weak, the Communists opened up China's characteristic revolutionary road to the final seizure of the country's political power by encircling cities from rural areas and then capturing them.

(4) Zhou Enlai, Mao Zedong (1978)

During the Great Revolution, Chairman Mao was already aware that the peasants were the largest ally and that the people's revolution could not triumph without them. And sure enough, the revolution suffered defeat because his views weren't listened to. Later, when we got to the countryside. Chairman Mao saw that in order to carry out the revolution it is necessary not only to rely on the peasants, but also to win over the middle and petty bourgeoisie. As Chiang Kai-shek's counter-revolutionary treachery became further exposed, only the comprador-bureaucrat and feudal landlord classes supported him. But a group of people inside the Communist Party made "Left" deviationist mistakes and were very narrow in their outlook, holding that the middle and petty bourgeoisie were unreliable. They didn't listen to Chairman Mao, and the result was that the revolution suffered another setback and we had to march 25,000 li. Then Chairman Mao proposed that we unite with Chiang Kai-shek and other members of the upper strata to resist Japanese aggression. But some people said that if we wanted unity, there shouldn't be any struggle. Chairman Mao replied that Chiang and the others were our domestic enemy; we were uniting with them in order to fight the national enemy. But they were not reliable partners or allies, and we must guard against them; otherwise, they might turn on us. We took measures to avert Right deviations and to prevent unqualified compromises. During the present War of Liberation, "Left" deviationist mistakes were made in agrarian reform in the countryside. In order to eliminate the landlord class, landlords were given poor land or no land at all so that they could not eke out a living; or too many people were classified as feudal rich peasants or landlords. Moreover, on the question of executions, it was stipulated that no one should be executed except for those who had committed serious crimes, refused to mend their ways' and were bitterly hated by the people. But, sometimes, when the people were filled with wrath, these distinctions were not made, and the leadership did not attempt to persuade the masses, so too many people were put to death. This had an adverse effect on our united front with the peasantry, and particularly with the middle peasants. This mistake was also corrected by Chairman Mao.

(5) Deng Xiaoping, Mao Zedong Thought (1978)

Comrade Mao Zedong wrote a four-word motto for the Central Party School in Yanan: "Seek truth from facts." These four words are the quintessence of Mao Zedong Thought. In the final analysis, Comrade Mao's greatness and his success in guiding the Chinese revolution to victory rest on just this approach. Marx and Lenin never mentioned the encirclement of the cities from the countryside - a strategic principle that had not been formulated anywhere in the world in their lifetime. Nonetheless, Comrade Mao Zedong pointed it out as the specific road for the revolution in China's concrete conditions. At a time when the country was split up into separatist warlord domains, he led the people in the fight to establish revolutionary bases in areas where the enemy's control was weak, to encircle the cities from the countryside and ultimately to seize political power. Just as the Bolshevik Party led by Lenin made its revolution at a weak link in the chain of the imperialist world, we made our revolution in areas where the enemy was weak. In principle, the two courses were the same. But instead of trying to take the cities first, we began with the rural areas, then gradually encircled the cities. If we had not applied the fundamental principle of seeking truth from facts, how could we have raised and solved this problem of strategy?

#6 Chocolatechip

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Posted 04 April 2003 - 02:35 PM

Hi John, I'm a history teacher in Singapore and if you have yet to get our history textbooks (with our version of world history) here, I would be glad to help you. :teacher:

And for other history teachers out there who are interested in doing an exchange of textbooks, I'll be glad to assist. :)

Edited by Chocolatechip, 04 April 2003 - 02:36 PM.


#7 John Simkin

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 06:49 AM

It would be great if you could post some extracts from your textbooks. British teachers would be particularly interested in material where the interpretation of past events is likely to be different from that appearing in British textbooks. For example, here is an extract from a book published in Spain on the Spanish Armada. It was published during Franco's dictatorship and reflects the Spanish nationalism being promoted during this period.

You can find a collection of primary sources to go with this extract at:

http://www.spartacus...k/TUDarmada.htm

L. Ortiz Munoz, The Glorious Spanish Empire (1940)

The greatest armada the world had seen was prepared. It was called invincible. One fine day in June 1588, it unfurled its sails before the wind in Lisbon harbour. There were ten squadrons with a total of a hundred and thirty sail, galleons, ships of the line, galleys, hookers, caravels, tenders and cutters. In command of the fleet was the Duke of Medina Sidonia, a loyal man of proud lineage and great wealth, but in no wise versed in naval science.

Aboard the fleet sailed seven army regiments numbering nineteen thousand men, and a further eight thousand sailors and two thousand oarsmen. It was the posthumous achievement of the genius of the Marquis of Santa Cruz, almost a floating city, with all its services marvellously arrayed.

The ships built in Antwerp by Farnese were to join this armada; and a part of the seasoned Regiments of Flanders, numbering twenty-six thousand men, were to join this army.

The ten squadrons of the Empire advanced upon the Atlantic with crushing impetus. But soon there befell that adversity which was to herald worse evils. A storm lashed the galleys in the latitude of Finisterre, and the Armada had to regroup in Corunna. Then again they sailed in imposing majesty and perfect formation to give battle to the British fleet. In England the news produced a thrill of horror. Greater still was the panic when at dawn on the 30th of July, in the Port of Plymouth, the sun showed on the horizon the splendid advance of those enormous galleons with their high prows, tall poops, billowing sails and waving standards. They moved on steadily. They formed a crescent and their line stretched for seven miles. The English squadron, smaller in number and size, but lighter and more agile, was anchored in the port. The Spanish admiral deliberated as to what was best to do. The most capable captains were hotly of the opinion that not a moment should be lost in taking advantage of the magnificent opportunity. This was the time to attack the enemy fleet and annihilate it. But the Duke turned down the idea. The King had ordered that the squadron should not give battle until the ships of Farnese joined it,

The opportunity and the initiative having been lost - even the favouring wind - the English fleet, seeing ours pass by, harried it cunningly, making use of its agility. Our ships suffered slight losses in this first skirmish. But at last the Armada made fast at Calais, where it awaited Farnese. This was the beginning of calamity. The English hatched a plot. During the night they sent in some ships which had been set on fire. The alarm was raised. Men began to think they were like the terror-ships laden with gunpowder which had been encountered at Antwerp. The Duke, hasty and inexperienced, dashed out to the open sea to fight his adversary.

A terrible wind from the south-east was stirring the waves. The rain began in a flood. Lightning and thunderbolts lighted the thick darkness. The hurricane beat upon the galleons and played havoc with them, delighting in scattering them and sending them crashing into one another, or against the coastal reefs, sweeping over them and sinking them. When dawn came, the fleet was broken and dispersed. Heroism did not suffice against the attack of the English ships. The storm came on again and the damage was made greater still. The Duke ordered a retreat, to save what remained of the vessels. But the way back was by North Scotland and Ireland, and the squalls there delivered the final blow and wrought further havoc upon the fleet.

The Invincible Armada of the Imperial Spanish Fleet was for the first time conquered. But not by the men, nor by the squadrons, it put out to fight. It was vanquished by the elements, against which valour and human daring are impotent, because it is God who rules the seas. Only against the hurricane and the gales did we lose, because the Lord wished it, the naval supremacy of the world.

#8 Carole Faithorn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 11:58 AM

This is excellent, John. Thanks. Just what I need right now :teacher:

Does this book have anything on Philip II more generally (eg on 'El Prudente') and/or on the Spanish Inquisition? or on the Dutch Revolt? If so I would be more than grateful if you could post some extracts. :flowers: :flowers:

#9 John Simkin

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Posted 07 April 2003 - 08:46 AM

The quote from the Spanish book came from a pamphlet on foreign textbooks published in 1954. I inherited it when I became head of history in a school in Brighton. The former head of history did not believe in throwing anything away and I got some real gems.

You might be interested in the following that also appeared in this pamphlet.

(1) M. O’Siochfhrada, Cromwell in Ireland, an extract from a textbook published in the Republic of Ireland in 1945.

Cromwell was a dour, stern, pitiless man, but he was also a swift, conquering soldier. It was he who fought best against Charles in England and, when this campaign was over, the English Parliament sent him over to Ireland with a strong army to fight the Irish.

He landed at Rinn, near Dublin, in August 1649, with an army of 14,000 men. The towns around Leinster were still occupied for the Confederation, and it was these towns that Cromwell attacked first.

He first moved north to Drogheda. There was a strong garrison in that town, but it was not long before Cromwell's guns made breaches in the walls. The town was captured after a few days and the population, men, women and children, were slaughtered horribly and bloodthirstily. After that, all the towns around Drogheda were surrendered to Cromwell.

Then he moved south to Wexford. The town was fortified for defence, but through the treachery of a man named Sinnott. Cromwell's soldiers were admitted to the town and then the garrison and townspeople were slaughtered.

Advancing, Cromwell captured New Ross, Durgarvan and other towns until he went into winter quarters in Youghal. The slaughtering and conquering progress of Cromwell terrified his enemies and during the winter of 1649-50 most of the towns in Munster yielded to the Puritans. Among these towns were Cork, Cappoquin, Cashel, and many others.

After the winter rest Cromwell advanced again in January 1650. Kilkenny was yielded to him in March, and that finally scattered the Confederation. Cromwell turned towards Clonmel. It was there only that a worthy stand was made against him. Black Hugh O'Neill was at the head of the garrison. He was a nephew of Owen Roe O'Neill. Cromwell besieged the town from 29 April to 18 May, but did not succeed in capturing it. During that time 2,000 of his men were killed. The garrison's ammunition was by then exhausted and they left the town secretly by night.

On 28 May 1650, Cromwell sailed from Youghal to England. He spent only nine months in Ireland, but he had done enough during that time to realize that he must leave his officers to finish the war.



(2) J. Lkkes and J. A. Nonneskens, Second Anglo-Dutch War, a text book published in the Netherlands in 1951.

Cromwell died, and within a short time England had a king again, Charles II. He was no friend to our country.

Our trade was still greater than England's. The Navigation Act did much harm, but we continued to earn money in every part of the world. There was still growth - there was still prosperity.

John de Witt well knew that there would be another war with the British. He had a great navy built of new, strong and heavily armed ships, as good as the English ones, perhaps better.

In 1664 the English started it. Peace still reigned, yet they seized by treachery territories in Africa belonging to the Dutch Republic. They also laid siege to New Netherlands and New Amsterdam. But they did not have it all their own way! A fleet was sent out under a bold and skilful admiral, Michiel de Ruyter. He had risen from cabin boy to commander. De Ruyter threw the English out of our African possessions. Next he would have sailed to America… but war broke out in Europe as well, the Second English War, from 1665 to 1667. So De Ruyter sailed back to the home country. Before he arrived we had lost the first battle in the North Sea. Happily Michiel, the man from Flushing, then returned. Naturally the English had lain in wait for him: they wanted to take him prisoner. No fear of that! Michiel took a route which the English were not expecting. He sailed round Scotland and came into Delfziji. Great was the rejoicing. He was at once made commander-in-chief. He and John de Witt set about making the fleet ready again. The Grand Pensionary worked hard with him at the task: more than once
they went to sea together. Better wages were forthcoming for the seamen, and better conditions too. But above all the two leaders strove to make the units of the fleet work well together. No longer was each ship to fight on its own. Fight together and support one another, that was the new slogan.

And how much better did it go ! In 1666 De Ruyter fought the English fleet for four days off the North Foreland. Michiel won the famous Four Days' Battle. On his admiral's ship, The Seven Provinces, he was always in the thick of the fight, he and his subordinate officers Cornelis Tromp (son of Marten Tromp), Jan and
Cornelis Evertsen, Tjerk Hiddes de Vries from Friesland. All were brave and bold, but Michiel from Flushing was the greatest of them all. Yet he remained simple and unaffected. His sailors called him the " Best Tar " and they were ready to go through fire for him.

In 1667 peace negotiations opened at Breda. John de Witt wanted to end the war. A great new danger threatened, this time from the south, from France. That country had always been our friend: John de Witt wanted to keep her friendship.

There reigned in France a powerful king, Louis XIV. He was not content with his great power. France must be made greater still. First Louis wanted to add the Southern Netherlands to his country. They still belonged to Spain, now a weak
country.

France as a neighbour - that was something the Dutch did not want. Nor the Grand Pensionary either. So strong a neighbour would be dangerous in the extreme. Louis might well want to take some of the Republic's own territory. It was for this reason that John de Witt wanted peace with England. He could then
devote himself to the French King's plans of conquest.

The English were dawdling at Breda. We will put a little speed into them, decided De Witt. De Ruyter was sent out with a strong fleet. He sailed for England, he sailed up the Thames. On the Thames lay London, the capital of England. London threatened - that shook the British I Their warships were either
burned or taken and brought away.

This attack on Chatham was a heavy blow to England. They had never expected to see the Dutch so near their capital! Now they wanted peace too.

At Breda the war was brought to an end. It was a pity that we did not get New Netherlands back. But we got another piece of territory in its place. We had captured Surinam. That was worth more then!

As a reward for the attack on Chatham De Ruyter was given a magnificent gold goblet. Michiel from Flushing had earned it.

#10 John Simkin

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 12:51 PM

Here is an interesting passage from an Indian textbook published in Bombay in 1986. The author is Toni Patel.

The incident which occurred at Jallianwalla Bagh on 13th April, 1919 will ever remain in the memory of all Indians as an eloquent symbol of British tyranny in India. The massacre of unarmed Indians, which left four hundred dead and twelve hundred wounded, aroused a universal surge of indignation against the British rulers. The tragedy prompted Poet Rabindranath Tagore to resign the knighthood conferred upon him by the British Government.

Indians hated Major General Dyer, the chief perpetrator of the crime. Cinder mounting pressure the British Government was forced to censure him. But for many Britons, Dyer was a hero who had saved the British Empire. The House of Lords justified his heinous act as "preventive massacre". Sir Michael O'Dwyer urged "The Morning Post" to launch a fund collection drive for Dyer in which the British ladies took a keen interest. The British-owned "The Times of India" contributed Rs. 20,000 to this fund. The fund totalled £ 26,317. In 1940; Udham Singh shot Sir Michael O'Dwyer to avenge the Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre.

The sacrifice of the martyrs of Jallianwalla Bagh resulted in further intensification of the struggle for independence. It turned millions of loyal supporters of the British Raj into nationalists. The Jallianwalla Bagh massacre thus became an important landmark in India's struggle for freedom.

Edited by John Simkin, 27 October 2003 - 12:53 PM.


#11 JohnDClare

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 09:32 PM

The quote from the Spanish book came from a pamphlet on foreign textbooks published in 1954.

JW Hunt, English History through Foreign Eyes (Historical Association, 1954).

I have it too!!!! It was photocopied to me by Gordon Batho, who has one of the greatest collections of past History textbooks the world has ever seen.

Small world. Or are we history teachers just intellectual clones automatically attracted by the same things?

#12 Martin_M

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 10:14 PM

What a fascinating topic! I have found somewhere there are huge differences inside Spain e.g. Catalan textbooks focus on the person of King Ferdinand of Aragon while Castillian textbooks emphasize the achievements of Queen Isabel. It would be great if someone could put here some quotations.

#13 Jim Belben

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:48 PM

For a different take on this I was intrigued today to take delivery of a Japanese translation of one of our Key Stage 3 books Impact of Empire by Michael Riley, Jamie Byrom and Chris Culpin. It is unusual for UK History text books to be translated into other languages because of differing curriculum requirements but I was doubly surprised that the Japanese should pick up on one of our books for teaching about the British Empire. If your Japanese is up to it here is the link to the website page where you can see and indeed buy the Japanese edition!

@HodderHistory
www.hoddereducation.co.uk
 





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