Monday, February 18, 2013

Revisionist History: Presidents Day Edition

I used to enjoy the History Channel until it became another Reality Channel. That left H2 (the second History Channel)  to present programming that resembled history.
So it's Presidents' Day (Formerly known as Lincoln's Birthday) and I decide to watch H2's Ultimate Guide to the Presidents. It is to presidential history what fortune cookies are to Chinese philosophy.
Woodrow Wilson.
It's a simple biography, until those evil Republicans took over Congress in his second term. While H2 identified that the Democrats lost because ceding power to the League of Nations was not really a popular concept, and having the US become the "world police" we are today was also tough for a war weary America to stomach, they decided to make an interesting "stretch" into the cause and effect of future events.
Get ready folks:
Because the Republicans refused to accept the Treaty of Versailles as Woody wanted it, as a result, Germany endured severe economic hardship and that allowed for the Rise of Hitler.
... Wha?
I don't recall which "historian" H2 had deliver this bizarre bit of tripe, but maybe he shouldn't get any notoriety. For a historian to blame the actions of Congress in representing the will of the people as a direct cause to the rise of Hitler, he may have just came out and said: "the republicans had a freeze-dried batch of Hitler eggs... Like Sea Monkeys, and decided to unleash them upon the world because Wilson was a smart man that should have gotten his way, the will of the people be damned!"
The historian by the way is some guy named Steven Gillon. I guess in the age of twitter and texting, just stating the historical outcome in 45 words or less suffices for professional history.
So much for 24 hour History programming.
One benefits of the Information Age: I now have quite an extensive library of "real history"  and the classics   accessible - for free - on my iPad. I will close my evening reading Peary's account of his successful final race to the North Pole. I highly recommend it.
Who needs TV?


Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

I guess they didn't bother to mention the US suffered high inflation followed by a brutal depression during the end of his term. Wilson's policies were making a lot of people poor.

Consider Wilson had a very bad stroke it was his wife that was running the show at the end.

ikaika said...

As a graduate of Monmouth College, not a day went by when we were reminded that we were in the "summer white house".

the attempt to present unbiased history (espescially with regard to Presidents) tends to white-wash some of the ugly realities.

ikaika said...

they did mention that his wife was "defacto president" and they sort of regaled that she was the first female president by same. Some of these historians are not doing the field of study any kind of service.
Prof. Pearson, where are you?!?!?