According to the famous philosopher George Santayana, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Perhaps there is more to history class than memorizing historical dates and the presidents in order. History is a field of research that is concerned with collecting, organizing and presenting event that has occurred in the past. This half humanities half social science discipline serves to give us insight into how society and civilizations have developed before us to where we are today.
History as a concept might seem straight forward, but that is not the case when you consider the countless different areas of study. You can study the history a period, a region, a culture or a religion. Furthermore, you can pursue studies in the history of militarism, economics, diplomacy, art, technology, civil rights, and just about anything that has developed over a timeline. There is also the complication of political correctness in history. Since every denomination views and wants to see history in a slightly different light, sometimes history is altered or censored according to the politics of the party responsible for publishing a textbook or article.
Although just about everything has a history, pre-college history classes are mostly concerned with general world history and American history. From the colonial period to the Great Depression and World Wars, there are so many details that need to be covered to get a full grasp of the big picture. For an example of how specific these details can be, here is a list of conflicts that have occurred in American in the 20th century (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_the_United_States) :
1914–1918 World War I
- 1914 A Japanese fleet captured the Mariana Islands from Germany without any loss of life. This is notable as the only land action fought during World War I that took place on what is now U.S. soil (Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands).
- 1916 German saboteurs destroy ammunition in Jersey City to be used by the Allied forces. The ensuing explosion sends shockwaves through the New York area and kills 7.
- 1918 German submarine SM U-156 attacks the port of Orleans, Massachusetts on July 21, sinking several small vessels, in an action which became known as the Bombardment of Orleans.
1916 Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa leads a night raid on the New Mexico border town of Columbus.
1941–1945 World War II
- 1941 Japanese surprise attack on American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
- 1942 Bombardment of Fort Stevens, Oregon by Japanese submarine I-25
- 1942 The Lookout Air Raids by a floatplane from Japanese submarine I-25; incendiary bombs were dropped but did not start a forest fire in Oregon
- 1941–1945 Mostly during a period known as the "Second Happy Time", numerous American warships and merchant vessels sunk in American territorial waters by German U-boats.
- 1942–1943 World War II Battle of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.
- 1944–1945 Fire balloon bombing of the US by Japanese balloon bombs: six civilians killed, minor damage inflicted.
With many centuries of historical events, dates and figures to memorize and understand, it is no surprise that history poses problems for students that take on its challenges. If you feel that you are struggling to keep up in class or just having difficulty placing concepts together, you can help yourself out by looking down below and finding a history tutor that will teach you how to go about making sense of it all.
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