Ideas Featured

Are the History Wars Worth Fighting?

Professor Robert Tombs, Founding Editor of History Reclaimed, speaks to the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation in Sydney.

Is our past really being misrepresented in our schools, cultural institutions, and broader society; leading to the history of the West being presented as one only worthy of shame, apology, and reparations? Or are the ‘history wars’ merely an invention of the paranoid, to stir up synthetic controversy and prevent belated recognition of dark sides of our past?

Professor Tombs examines the cost to society from historical half-truths, whether in the form of violence, a loss of sense of community, or a belief that violence, racism and exploitation in the past is a permanent feature of the West in the present day.

He argues that while we must recognise difficult aspects of our past, we need to “…urge society to remember accurately, fully and honestly, and to understand the vital differences between the past and the present, crucial to understanding both our forebears and ourselves.”

About the Ramsay Centre

The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation is based in Sydney Australia. It was created with an endowment from the late Paul Ramsay AO, founder of Ramsay Health Care, to promote a deeper understanding of Western civilisation, through scholarships, educational partnerships and events. The Ramsay Lecture series hosts speakers from all walks of life who have important and interesting perspectives relating to the world and our Western heritage.

About Robert Tombs:

Robert Tombs is the Founding Editor of history Reclaimed. He is Emeritus Professor of French History, Cambridge, and a Fellow of St John’s College.  He holds the Palmes Académiques for services to French culture.  Recent works include The English and Their History (2014), Paris, bivouac des révolutions (2014), and This Sovereign Isle: Britain In and Out of Europe (2021).

 

About the author

Robert Tombs

Robert Tombs

Robert Tombs is Emeritus Professor of French History, Cambridge, and a Fellow of St John’s College. He holds the Palmes Académiques for services to French culture. Recent works include The English and Their History (2014), Paris, bivouac des révolutions (2014), and This Sovereign Isle: Britain In and Out of Europe (2021).