I have spent much time during the past few evenings helping my son study for his History test later in the week. As I worked with him through his studies, I found that his class is presenting a brand new version of History, a version that never occurred. While you can make a case for different interpretations of certain events that happened centuries ago, you cant change basic facts. Unfortunately this text book does, for example it claims that Jesus lived in Palestine, which is simply propaganda. There was no such place as “Palestine” in the time of Jesus.
After the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 CE they renamed the land of the Jews, Palestina to punish the Jews. The Romans took away the Jewish name, Judea, and replaced it with the name of an ancient enemy the Jews despised. The Philistines were an extinct Aegean people whom the Jews had historically fought against (remember Goliath?), before modern times there were never an Arab people called Philistines or Palestinians.
Beyond the ancient mistakes, my son’s text book distorts events I saw with my own eyes.
The Book in question is published by McDougal Littell and is called World History Patterns of Interaction. My son’s test covers much of the period from the end of WWII through the 1980’s. It sets up the Cold War period with the mistaken explanation that both sides were aggressors. On page 983 it gives the politically correct, “both sides believed that they needed to stop the other side from extending its power.” What it should have said was that it was a battle between the Soviet side wanting to expand its communist philosophy across the world, and the west trying to prevent the takeover.”
The book also white-washes Castro’s Cuba. Page 985 says “Soviet aid to Cuba ended abruptly with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1981. This dealt a crippling blow to the Cuban Economy.” There was no mention of the brutality of the Cuban regime, the fact that all opposition newspapers had been closed down, all radio and television stations were in state control, moderates, teachers and professors were purged, or the torture and inhumane treatment in Cuban prisons.
Perhaps the biggest rewriting of history was the discussion regarding the end of the Cold War. It talks about Nixon and detente, then BOOM on page 991,” fiercely anti-Communist U.S. president, Ronald Reagan took office in 1991. He continued to move away from detente. He increased defense spending, putting both economic and military pressure on the Soviets.”
And the result of Reagan’s policies? Tensions increased. That’s it! According to the text book, an increase in tensions were the only result of the evil Reagan’s polices. But never fear, because there arose a leader in the USSR who knew not the cold war. The book explains later on page 991 ...”a change in soviet leadership in 1985 brought a new policy toward the United States and the beginnings of a final thaw in the cold war.” Wow, look at that…out of the blue the USSR woke up and decided to play nice.
This explanation doesn’t mesh with history (or my eyes). I witnessed the peace-through-strength strategy executed by the Reagan Administration which drove the Soviet economy into the sewer. I saw Reagan announce what may be the greatest bluff in the history of man the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars). This initiative posed a technological challenge to the Soviet Union. The part we never told the Soviet Union (until President Obama blurted it out a few months ago) is that the technology posed a challenge to us also. But the prospect of Star Wars Technology scared the pants off the USSR, so did Reagan’s willingness to apply significant rhetorical and other pressures against the Soviet or as he called it, evil empire. This pressure was on top of the political pressure applied by a Pope born in Poland.
At a session of the Russian Politburo in October 1986 Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev tried to sell a groundbreaking disarmament plan including a 50 percent reduction in nuclear arsenals. If he didn’t propose these cuts, Gorbachev told his colleagues, the USSR’s weak economy could not keep up with Reagan’s military expansion.
[W]e will be pulled into an arms race that is beyond our capabilities, and we will lose it because we are at the limit of our capabilities. … If the new round [of an arms race] begins, the pressures on our economy will be unbelievable.
Pope John Paul II provided a moral focus with his constant anti-communist sermons; his visit to his native Poland in 1979 stimulated a religious and nationalist resurgence centered on the Solidarity movement that galvanized opposition.
Reagan imposed economic sanctions on Poland to protest the suppression of Solidarity. In response, Mikhail Suslov, the Kremlin’s top ideologist, advised Soviet leaders not to intervene if Poland fell under the control of Solidarity, for fear it might lead to heavy economic sanctions by the west, representing a further catastrophe for the Soviet economy. That “non-intervention” was the beginning of the slippery slope that lead to the easing of the communist oppression, and the fall the Soviet Union.
It is said that history is written by the victors, but in the case of Cold War history, it has been rewritten by the Progressives who want to indoctrinate our children to their inaccurate version of history.
Reagan’s Cold War Victory based on Peace Through Strength is a lesson that should be taught to our kids. Beyond being the true story of the collapse of the USSR, it is an example that should be followed by our present leadership as we fight a war against Islamic Terrorism.