Carr, EH (1892 – 1982)
Carr was a British historian, journalist, and left-wing thinker, whose 14 volume history of Russia was still unfinished at the time of his death. We will consider Carr’s book What is History? which said that historians put a great deal of themselves into their books as a result of selective use of evidence. The book has been continually reinterpreted, though, and Carr’s original meaning is a little elusive.
Gaddis, John Lewis (1941 – )
Gaddis is an American ‘Cold War’ historian whose developing views on what caused the conflict typify how historical opinion changes as a result of new evidence being discovered.
Taylor, AJP (1906 – 1990)
Taylor was an Oxford historian who wrote extensively on aspects of 19th century and 20th century European political history. From an early age, Taylor was brilliant and rebellious, and both of these traits are highly visible in his revisionist ideas on the causes of the Second World War, which shattered the historical paradigm of the time.
If you read a history book written in the United States from the 1950s, on the origins of the Cold War, you’d get a definitive answer on which country was to blame, backed up with extensive evidence to justify its points. The book would say it was the fault of Soviet Russia, under the leadership of Stalin, and it would refer to Stalin’s takeover of eastern Europe, his refusal to grant its governments the democracy he had promised them, and his desire to spread communism to all corners of the globe. ‘Orthodox’ thinkers
the late 1960s, the chances are, you’d get a very different view. You’d read of America’s desire to take over economic control of Europe and tie the countries there to the dollar. ‘Revisionist’.
By the 1980s and 1990s, the story would be retold again. Historians would point out that the Cold War was inevitable, given the ideological differences that existed...