Lies they told you in history class

pppppppppppppppppp

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Jun 23, 2011
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Hey guys, I'm taking a US History Class right in high school and recently our teacher showed us this video from School House Rock (a series of educational videos for kids).

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We then had to write an essay on why this video is stupidly inaccurate. (For example, I talked about how Euro-American relations were a lot more complicated than "America is awesome and England is full of dicks")

This is hardly the first time in class we've had to unlearn what is essentially propaganda we were taught as kids. It got me wondering if other schools/states/countries have the same kind of biases in the classroom.

So guys, what kind of lies, if any, did you learn in your history class?
 

Kotaro

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Feb 3, 2009
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I can't remember elementary and middle schools, but my high school teacher was really good about this. First thing he did on the first day was hand out the textbooks. Then he said the following (paraphrased):
"I am giving you these because I'm required to. Not once in this class will you open those books. They are full of oversimplification and lies, and there is no reason for them to exist."
We never used those textbooks.
Also, check out this book: http://www.amazon.com/Lies-My-Teacher-Told-Everything/dp/0743296281/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317616699&sr=8-1
 

octafish

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Apr 23, 2010
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That, when white people colonised Australia the indigenous population just sort of evaporated.
 

rayen020

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May 20, 2009
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i don't know that i ever learned any lies because i've always had an interest in history and usually fact checked anything taught to me. something that has always interested me though is how the history syllabus usually went for me though. (this is in the US)

Learning period of six weeks
1)native american studies
2)american colonization and revolution
3)the US consitution/1780-1811
4)1815-1860
5)1870-1914
6)1919-1939/civil rights movement

ummm... not to complain but aren't we missing a couple of really major events on here? like world/nation changing events? oh yeah and i suppose i got the old oversimplification of the American Civil War being fought because of slavery.
 

lacktheknack

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Jan 19, 2009
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I don't know. I went on to Computer Sciences after high school, and never touched another history class, and Canadian history isn't interesting enough to go research on my own.

So I dunno. The only history I get is from local museums, which surely won't be epically inaccurate...
 

Pat8u

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Apr 7, 2011
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octafish said:
That, when white people colonised Australia the indigenous population just sort of evaporated.
Oh there big on teaching about what happened to the aboriginals when I was a kid they even talked about several massacres*

*Can't spell the word
 

crimsonshrouds

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Interestingly enough the right wing in america is trying to rewrite history even more...

I didnt love history till high school and the teachers never really gave patriotic classes and that combined with the history channel documentaries that arent biased and show both sides in conflicts. I also took a history course in college that cemented in my mind that the bible is bs.

I believe im quite knowledgeable in history. My basic writing skills needs work so im thinking of looking into courses or books on that.
 

Atticus89

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Nov 8, 2010
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That Columbus traveled across the ocean to prove the world wasn't flat and Magellan proved that the world was round in his voyage.

Columbus and others during the time knew that the planet was round but they wanted a quicker route to the Far East rather than sailing around Africa so they weren't expecting the Western Hemisphere having land. Magellan also didn't prove the world was round but his expedition was the first to circumnavigate the world, an unprecedented and remarkable event at the time.

I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting, but these two stand out. I'm a history major so I've basically forgotten what I was taught in public schools.
 

Ambi

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Oct 9, 2009
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History = His Story (God's story aka the bible) and EVOLUTION IS A LIE

And I don't even know about 9/11, he confused the hell out of me.
 

octafish

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Pat8u said:
octafish said:
That, when white people colonised Australia the indigenous population just sort of evaporated.
Oh there big on teaching about what happened to the aboriginals when I was a kid they even talked about several massacres*

*Can't spell the word
You can spell the word.
I guess to be fair this was in the eighties, I only learnt about the massacres of the original Australians later through self guided reading.
 

Thaluikhain

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Hmmm...not sure if there was any outright lies as such, but the Gallipoli campaign was glorified and mythologised to hell and back. Presumably there must have been, though, because so many people don't know little details like who fought there, when, why, or which side won.

(Mind you, I only recently found out that there was a Jewish Legion involved, and a bunch of sailors that were made into soldiers, but under control of the British Navy, cause they had too many sailors and not enough soldiers)

Also, the Indian mutiny being caused, IIRC, the use of pig and cow fat in the cartridges. In reality, they replaced them to stop that being a problem, and the mutiny didn't start until some time later.
 

j0frenzy

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American history in general loves distorting the hell out our founding fathers and the disputes that lead up to the revolution. I also had a substitute try and tell the class that presidential elections were rigged since Wilson created the Federal Reserve and that the popular vote and electoral vote have not aligned since the Federal Reserve was created. That was my human anatomy teacher for 3 months.
 

Machati

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Nov 13, 2010
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Most of what you know about nazis. Not Hitler or the higher-ups but the people and a lot of the soldiers..
I've taken plenty of history classes and the nazi-german part is alwaays overgeneralized for the sake of simplification or something.. I don't know why, history classes love talking about nazi germany, you'd think we'd talk more on the views of people in germany at that time..

Basically they're just like "All nazis were evil dicks that hated jews and supported killing them!" I'm American but I have family that lived in Nazi Germany, including my great grandfather that was a nazi soldier. He worked by the trains. They didn't tell him what was in the trains. He only found out on his own and when he gave water to emaciated jews he was courtmartialed. Apparently he was supposed to be executed for doing that but because he had a wife and kids he wasn't killed for it.

History classes, or my history classes anyways, always skimmed over the opinions of actual nazi citizens and soldiers. Most people I meet think the nazi people were like sheep that knew about and were totally cool with everything Hitler did. It wasn't really like some small minority of rebels that Hitler had to keep quiet. Not to imply that people talked freely to each other about not liking the Nazi party, my grandmother wasn't even comfortable talking about this sort of stuff until she was dying.

I guess it sounds kind of "duh" when you think on it but my point remains... and considering how easily accepted it is in video games to just have nazis as the easy evil villain, I'd say my history class isn't the only one that taught people that all nazi soldiers were jew hating bastards.
 

Shazbah

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Apr 14, 2009
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octafish said:
Pat8u said:
I guess to be fair this was in the eighties, I only learnt about the massacres of the original Australians later through self guided reading.
That makes sense then, I was about to comment that I didn't really learn Australian history until high school and pretty much the first thing I learnt was the Stolen Generation and that we were dicks when we got here.
Also was pretty disgusted that the White Australia Policy existed right upto 1975. Made me less proud of this country, although I still love it I now know we're not perfect, which I think is the right way to teach a country's history
 

Thaluikhain

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Jan 16, 2010
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Machati said:
Most of what you know about nazis. Not Hitler or the higher-ups but the people and a lot of the soldiers..
I've taken plenty of history classes and the nazi-german part is alwaays overgeneralized for the sake of simplification or something.. I don't know why, history classes love talking about nazi germany, you'd think we'd talk more on the views of people in germany at that time..

Basically they're just like "All nazis were evil dicks that hated jews and supported killing them!" I'm American but I have family that lived in Nazi Germany, including my great grandfather that was a nazi soldier. He worked by the trains. They didn't tell him what was in the trains. He only found out on his own and when he gave water to emaciated jews he was courtmartialed. Apparently he was supposed to be executed for doing that but because he had a wife and kids he wasn't killed for it.

History classes, or my history classes anyways, always skimmed over the opinions of actual nazi citizens and soldiers. Most people I meet think the nazi people were like sheep that knew about and were totally cool with everything Hitler did. It wasn't really like some small minority of rebels that Hitler had to keep quiet. Not to imply that people talked freely to each other about not liking the Nazi party, my grandmother wasn't even comfortable talking about this sort of stuff until she was dying.

I guess it sounds kind of "duh" when you think on it but my point remains... and considering how easily accepted it is in video games to just have nazis as the easy evil villain, I'd say my history class isn't the only one that taught people that all nazi soldiers were jew hating bastards.
Um, what do you mean by Nazi? If you mean members of the Nazi party, than yes, it's not much of an exageration to they tended to be evil.

If you mean citizens of German, or members of the German military in general, that's another thing altogether. It's not that Nazis weren't evil, it's that not all Germans/Austrians/French[footnote]the French get overlooked, but once France was run by Germany, many French soldiers naturally were as well[/footnote]/whomever were Nazis.
 

joshuaayt

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Nov 15, 2009
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In my first year of high school (Which I think is middle school, in America? The thing right after elementary school... whatever, I was relatively young) we were taught, in history class, that students don't have the right to complain about physical abuse. Then, of course, one of us did, and that ended pretty soon afterwards.

Something relevant to the question, though? Our school was pretty good- we learned the Vietnam war from both sides, the Korean war from both sides, WW1 from... Well, actually, only the side that reflected poorly on the English Brass. But I'm sure there was a more sympathetic version we were supposed to learn!

It always did bother me that there could never just be a "What actually happened" version of history. What we need is an omniscient, impartial chronicler. That would be sweet.
 

chaosyoshimage

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Everything about Thomas Edison. That dude stole nearly all of his inventions from the real genius Nikola Tesla. Hell, he impeded Tesla's progress in various fields, such as his work with alternating current. But did they teach us any of that? Nope it's the tired Edison invented the lightbulb shtick...