Who is the biggest fool in Dutch history
No, human history does not need to be rewritten. At best it has to be reread. That's what this book has to offer. A new reading of history. Anyway, everyone reads them the way they need to, one might object. How else would we get to the shelves of history books that basically all tell us the same thing over and over again, but always differently. That's not what it is about. All these kilometers of shelves full of history are in agreement in the larger context. There are the successful battles, the great statesmen, the thriving cultures, the good guys and the bad guys.
But were the good guys really the good guys and the bad guys really the bad guys? Were great statesmen really great, or were they just portrayed that way? Was a battle really successful, or weren't there more Pyrrhic victories than the winners would like to admit?
How, for example, the glorious history of the GDR is to be interpreted, read in a history book from East Berlin in 1980 still much differently than in a history book from West Berlin. For some, the GDR was the last stop before the just and blissful ideal world, for others an ailing bankruptcy system with Stalinist features. You only had to live a kilometer further in the direction of Prenzlauer Berg, and the world was served on a completely different tray than around the corner at Kuhdamm.
In the meantime, in this case, "history" itself has determined which reading of the story is the right one. The GDR history books are diligently turned through the shredder, shredded and chased into the garbage ovens. The reading of history that they had widespread for decades was unfortunately - a mistake, even if learned people wrote it. And as it is, a former GDR spy was a bad spy, a former FRG spy is still a good spy. On these points, as in others, the historians are immediately followed by justice. In the wake of the major historical events, she will make the appropriate judgments for the winner, and history is not only written, but also legally proven.
What do we learn from it? Had Sitting Bull won the Battle of the Wounded Knee in 1890, chased away the American cavalry, then recaptured all of Dakota and founded our own Indian state, we could probably read history books these days that would give us a slightly different version of the American conquest which is in official circulation in US high schools. And of course the Sitting Bull judiciary would also have a different view of the validity of those treaties that white settlers had made with the Indians at the time, and about which all of America today no longer wants to have anything to do with.
In other words, history is always the story of whoever tells it. This not only applies to the small episode, such as a secondary cavalry massacre at the Wounded Knee, it also applies to the whole of world history. In our latitudes it is mainly the story of the triumphant advance of the noble, educated and superior European. Can you guess who wrote it? Correct: the noble, educated and superior European. Differences only arise insofar as there are also different readings among Europeans, depending on nationality. So the English take care not to write a history of the French, just as it is bad for the Spaniard to write down the history of the British, the Russian should keep his hands off the Poles, the Dutch do not try the Portuguese, and distance is also commanded between Danes and Swedes. The Germans should stay away from everything at all. Otherwise one could get into a quarrel about the correct interpretation of certain facts and events.
Nonetheless, there are a number of historical events which have taken their place in the general history of mankind so irrevocably that neither the national glasses nor a coincidentally dominant current of thought could displace them. We mean, for example, an event like the "discovery of America". He just discovered it, Columbus, in the year 1492, that doesn't change whether you are a Marxist or a capitalist, a Luxembourger or a Tibetan, a CDU member or a Jehovah's Witness. The most disputed is whether Columbus, instead of Genoese, was perhaps Portuguese after all, or Spaniard, or Luxembourger, but these are irrelevant as long as the act of discovering America remains undisputed. Apart from the annoying but hardly deniable realization that there were also various Viking voyages far before Columbus, historians agree that it was Columbus who discovered America for modern Europe, that this was a great achievement that Columbus was a bold captain, and that he therefore deserves a place in the VIP box of historical figures.
What if someone comes up and says: Columbus was a fool! He did everything wrong that could be done wrong. See evidence below!
So it will come in this book. And Columbus won't be the only one. He has prominent team-mates when it comes to putting together the "team of the greatest idiots in world history". We could add Attila the King of the Huns, who overran himself on their wedding night, Emperor Barbarossa, who ignored the rule of "don't go into the water on a full stomach", Widukind, the King of Saxony and forced Christians, Catiline, the most unsuccessful conspirator of all time, Emperor Wilhelm two, who had no idea of boobs and bubbles, and if it had to, the historian Helmut Kohl (just not as captain).
The question here is not: What has someone achieved historically, but how did he get there? Under which circumstances? Did Columbus discover America because he wanted to discover America? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! He had no idea about America. Like Helmut Kohl, he stumbled upon German unity. Luck? Fool? Can? We will see!
It is similar with major events or what we consider major events. On closer inspection, they turn out to be quite a flops, unsuccessful campaigns, ailing state structures, failed revolutions, botched buildings. All of this is hidden somewhere in the kilometers of shelves mentioned above. You just have to find it. And so it is clear what is happening in this book: This book is on a search for clues. We are looking for the biggest flops in world history and the biggest idiots in world history.
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