Moses, John: The fallacy of Presentism in Australian history

John Moses

The fallacy of Presentism in Australian history‘, Honest History, 23 August 2016

The paper seeks to illustrate that historiography can be misused for promoting political agendas. It uses examples from Marxism-Leninism, particularly in the then East Germany and from recent writings about the Australian and European experience of war. The author is critical of the work of GA Wood many years ago and, more recently, of Christopher Clark, Peter Cochrane, Douglas Newton and Henry Reynolds. He refers favourably to the writings of Fritz Fischer, Imanuel Geiss, Paul Kennedy and John Röhl. He concludes: ‘If historians leave out the context in which decisions in the past, remote or recent, were/are taken the result will not be history, but Presentism’.

The author is a Professorial Associate of St Mark’s National Theological Centre, Charles Sturt University, Canberra, and has previously contributed an article to Honest History on whether conflict is endemic to the human condition. He is joint author with George A. Davis of a book on Canon David Garland and the origins of Anzac Day.

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