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French History Revision

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French Revolution

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French Revolution, also called Revolution of 1789, revolutionary movement that shook France between 1787 and 1799 and reached its first climax there in 1789—hence the conventional term “Revolution of 1789,” denoting the end of the ancien régime in France and serving also to distinguish that event from the later French revolutions of 1830 and 1848.

What was the French Revolution?

The French Revolution was a period of major social upheaval that began in 1787 and ended in 1799. It sought to completely change the relationship between the rulers and those they governed and to redefine the nature of political power. It proceeded in a back-and-forth process between revolutionary and reactionary forces.

Why did the French Revolution happen?

There were many reasons. The bourgeoisie—merchants, manufacturers, professionals—had gained financial power but were excluded from political power. Those who were socially beneath them had very few rights, and most were also increasingly impoverished. The monarchy was no longer viewed as divinely ordained. When the king sought to increase the tax burden on the poor and expand it to classes that had previously been exempt, revolution became all but inevitable.

Why did the French Revolution lead to war with other nations?

King Louis XVI of France yielded to the idea of a new constitution and to the sovereignty of the people but at the same time sent emissaries to the rulers of neighbouring countries seeking their help in restoring his power. Many revolutionaries, especially the Girondins, believed that the revolution needed to spread throughout Europe to succeed. An Austro-Prussian army invaded France, and French revolutionary forces pushed outward.

How did the French Revolution succeed?

In some respects, the French Revolution did not succeed. But the ideas of representational democracy and basic property rights took hold, and it sowed the seeds of the later revolutions of 1830 and 1848.

The French Revolution Class IX SST History: Important Questions

1. Who was Louis XVI?

Louis XVI was the King of France. He was from Bourbon family. He ascended throne in 1774. He married, the Austrian princess Marie Antoinette, at the age of 20 years.

2. Why was the treasury of France empty and what were the reasons that led to the need of increasing taxes?

The following points explain why the treasury was empty and the king was going to propose increase in the tax resources.

  • The treasury was empty because of the long-drawn wars in which France was helping the 13 colonies to gain independence from Britain.
  • Another big reason was the extravagant expenditure incurred to maintain the functioning of the court at the palace of Versailles.
  • The debt due to the war had risen to more than 2 billion livres and the lenders had started charging 10% percent interest on state credit.
  • The other regular expenses included the cost of maintaining an army, the court, running government offices or universities.

3. What was old regime?

The rule of Monarchy before the French revolution is called old regime.

4. Describe the structure of the French society during old regime.

4. The structure of the French society before the French revolution is given below:

businessmen, merchants, court officials, lawyers etc

5. Mention the different types of taxes during the old regime.

The system of taxation was highly unjust and impractical at the mode of collecting revenue, watch expensive and corrupt. The nobility and clergy who purchased 40% of the national wealth. The minimum and the main burden of the Texas and fell on the unprivileged classes – the third estate. The following two main types of taxes were paid.

  • Taille -The direct taxes were paid to the state. There were other various indirect taxes levied on commodities of daily conjunction like salt, tobacco, etc.
  • Tithe – such taxes were expected by the church and it comprised 1/10 of the agricultural produce.
  • Feudal dues – the nobles had feudal privileges whereby agents were obliged to render services to the Lord – to work in his house in fields – to serve in the army or to participate in building roads.

6. What do you understand by the ‘Subsistence Crisis’?

The gap between the poor and the rich widened as France was under grave influence of inflation on the eve of the outbreak of the French Revolution. It resulted in the struggle to survive. The following points explain the reasons behind the subsistence crisis.

  • The population of France rose from about 23 million 1715 to 28 million in 1789 and it led to a rapid increase in the demand for food grains. The production of grains could not keep pace with the rising demand.
  • The price of bread, the staple diet of the majority, rose rapidly the workers employed as labourers had their wages fixed and were not able to keep pace with the rising prices of the bread.
  • There were frequent drought or hail that reduced harvest adding to the subsistence crisis that occurred frequently in France during the Old Regime.

7. What was the vision of the growing middle class in France?

  • A middle class was growing from among the third estate that was educated. They were prosperous as they had earned their wealth through an expanding overseas trade and from the manufacture of goods such as wool and silk textiles that were either exported or bored by the original members of society.
  • Besides merchants and manufacturers, the third estate included professions such as lawyers, doctors, teachers, and administrative officials etc.
  • They were educated and receptive to new ideas and were liberal in their thoughts’ favoured privileges and social positions based on merit and not primarily on birth. They had the vision of a society based on freedom and equal laws and opportunities for all.

8. Which philosophers inspired the French Revolution?

It is said that an idea can cause a revolution or the pen has the power to change and transform the society or the thinking of the people. This also applies to the French Revolution which was influenced by the great philosophers. The contribution of some philosophers is listed below.

John Locke – he was a British philosopher who refuted in his “Two Treatises of Government” the doctrine of the divine and absolute rights of the monarch. He emphasised that no group in the society should be privileged by birth. It must be the basis of a person’s social position. For his liberal views is also called the father of liberalism.

Jean Jacques Rousseau – He was born in Switzerland. In his book “social contract” propose the idea of form of government based on social contract between people and their representatives. He said that the king remained on the throne under no obligation to go with the contract. If he failed in his duty, the contract was broken and it would be deposed by the general i.e. the will of the people.

Montesquieu – He was born in French. In his book ‘speed of laws’ he openly attacked the absolute monarchy of France he advocated the constitutional monarchy and proposed a division of power within the government between the legislative, executive and the judiciary. This model was an exercise in the USA after the 13 colonies achieved independence from Britain.

Voltaire – He was a French philosopher who was a crusader and exposed the corruption and the evils prevailing in the church and attacked the superstitions, tyranny and injustices. He criticised the government and society and bitterly condemned the maladies afflicting them. He advocated the freedom of speech, freedom of religion and separation of church and the state.

9. How was the National Assembly formed in France before the French Revolution of 1789?

  • The king had called a meeting of the Estates General to propose new taxes and the Third Estate had also sent its 600 most prosperous and educated members as representative to convey the grievances of the people contained in around 40,000 letters.
  • The Third Estate members asked to consider the Three Estates as a single assembly for individual voting on democratic to replace the traditional voting system based on one vote for each Estate.
  • The king rejected the proposal of new voting procedures demanded by the Third Estate.
  • The members of the Third Estate walked out of the assembly. They viewed themselves as the spokesmen of the whole French nation.
  • On 20 June, they met in the hall of an indoor tennis court in the grounds of the Versailles.
  • They declared themselves as National Assembly and took oath not to disperse till they had drafted a constitution for France to limit the powers of the King.
  • The National Assembly lasted from 17 June 1789 to 30 September 1789.

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10. What were the important achievements of the National Assembly (1789-1791)

The Third Estate took a revolutionary decision when it declared itself as the National Assembly on 17 June 1789 as they viewed themselves as the spokesmen of the whole nation. The following points estimate the works of the National Assembly.

  • Rights of the Privileged Classes abolished – On 4 August, 1789 passed a decree abolishing the feudal system of obligations and taxes. the nobles voluntarily surrendered their feudal rights and privileges like rights of hunting, fishing and collecting taxes. Tithes were abolished and lands owned by the Church were confiscated.
  • Declaration of the rights of man and citizen – it was one of the most important works of the National Assembly that declared some fundamental rights to its citizen in August 1789. It was signed by the king on October 5, 1789.
  • France becomes a constitutional monarchy – the constituent assembly completed the Constitution in 1791 with the main objective to curtail the powers of the monarch. The law-making powers were distributed to legislative Assembly which was indirectly elected.

Thus, we can say that the constituent assembly abolished feudalism, serfdom and privileges of the elite. It ended the era of absolutist monarchy and class-based society class-based society It laid the foundations for modern society based on individual rights.

11. Explain the role of National Convention’ (Oct. 1792-Oct. 1793) and its achievements.

  • The National assembly was replaced by an elected ‘National Convention’. It started its work on September 21, 1792.
  • The national Convention ended monarchy and declared France a Republic on 22 September 1792.
  • Emperor Louis XVI was tried for treason and executed on Jan 21, 1793 followed by his queen Marie Antoinette in Oct 1793.

12. What was the ‘Reign of Terror’ that lasted from 1793 to 1794?

Perhaps it was the most terrible time during the revolutionary period in France as Maximilian Robespierre had adopted the policy of civil control and punishment to punish the enemies of Republic in the name of saving France from the forces opposing the Democratic and public system in France.

  • All those local team work considered as a means of Republic. They were arrested, imprisoned and tried by Revolutionary Tribunal.
  • If the Revolutionary Tribunal found the accused guilty, they were guillotined.
  • The reign of terror became intolerable and even his own party men started demanding moderation in policies.
  • The reign of terror ended with the execution of Robespierre. He was arrested on the 27 July 1794 and was executed the very next day.

13. What were the achievements of Robespierre government?

  • Laws were issued placing the maximum ceiling on wages and prices.
  • Peasants were forced to transport your Grange to the cities and sell it at fixed prices.
  • Consumption of more expensive white floor was restricted and also regions were asked to eat the equality bread made of whole wheat.
  • Meat and bread were rationed.
  • Equality norms were introduced in modes of speech and address. The traditional Mosieur (Sir) was replaced by Citoyen and the term Madame (Madam) by Citoyenne i.e citizens.
  • Churches were shut down and converted into barracks or offices.

14. Write a short note on the formation and the rule of the ‘Directory’ in Frances.

  • The reign of terror came to an end with the execution of Robespierre in July 1794. The new constitution was drafted in October 1795. The new constitution provided for two legislative assemblies who appointed five members to form an executive called Directory. This system was adopted as a safeguard against the concentration of power in one-man executive.
  • The role of the Directory was marred with instability as the members of the directory and the legislative assemblies clashed with each other and it became unpopular among the French people.
  • It was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte through a coup in 1799.

15. What was the condition of women in France?

  • Most women in the third estate had to work for a living. They worked as seamstress or laundress, sold flowers, fruits and vegetables. They worked as domestic servants in prosperous houses.
  • Most women did not have access to education or job training but the wealthier families could study at a convent.
  • Working women also cared for their families and id daily chores like cooking, fetching water, queuing up for bread and looking after the children.
  • Their wages were lower than those of women.

16. Did women participate in revolutionary activities? What were their demands?

Since the very beginning the women had been very active in all the events related to the revolution. When the men were busy fighting at the front, the women took responsibility of earning a livelihood and taking care of the families.

  • The crowd that the stormed the Bastille on 14 July 1789 included a large number of women
  • On 5 October 1789, a large number of women set out for the royal palace at Versailles and forced the king and his family to leave Versailles for Paris.
  • Women established around 60 political groups in different cities of France. The society of Revolutionary and Republican women was the most renowned club established in 1793 in Paris.
  • Their major political demands included the right to vote, to be elected to the assembly and to hold political offices.
  • Examples of some prominent Revolutionary Women include the names of Olympe de Gouges, Charlottee Corday and Marie Jeanne Ronald.

17. What were the steps taken by the revolutionary government to improve the lives of women?

  • State schools were established and elementary education was made compulsory for all girls.
  • They could not be forced to marry against their will and marriage was made into a contract entered into freely. It was registered under civil law. And divorce was made legal.
  • Women were entitled to train for jobs, become artists or running small businesses.

18. Mention different steps to abolishing of slavery in French Colonies.

There was widespread slavery in the European colonies of the Caribbean and the Americas. Martinique, Guadeloupe and Domingo (Dominican Republic) were the main French colonies in the Caribbean in the 17th century.

  • The National Assembly debated long on the issue of a abolition of slavery but it did not pass any laws abolished slavery in French colonies fearing opposition from businessmen pros and incomes depended on the slave trade.
  • The abolition of slavery was one of the most revolutionary achievements of the Jacobin rule as the National Convention passed laws in 1794 to free slaves of French colonies but it was a temporary measure as it was reintroduced by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.
  • It was in 1848 that the slavery was finally abolished in French colonies.

19. What was the triangular slave trade?

  • The slave trade began in the 17th century and the triangular slave trade was carried between Europe, Africa and America.
  • The Europeans did not want to go to work in distant and unfamiliar lands so slaves were bought from Africa and sold to Plantation owners of sugar, coffee, indigo and tobacco plantations to meet the demand for labourers.
  • The French merchants sailed from the ports of Bordeaux or Nantes to the African coast, where they bought slaves from local chieftains. There were packed tightly shackled in the ships that sailed for around three months to reach Caribbean island where the slaves were sold to the plantation owners.

20. What was the legacy of the French Revolution? How did it affect the world and especially Europe?

The effects of the French Revolution of 1789 were far-reaching not only for France but the whole world. It began a new era of liberty, equality, fraternity being the watchwords that he echoed in the whole of Europe.

Effects on France

  • The revolution brought about the downfall of the monarchy. First it was made a constitutional monarchy and then declared a republic on September 22, 1792.
  • The old social system based on feudalism and the privileges of the nobles and the clergy came to an end and a new social order based on the foundations of liberty and equality began to take shape.
  • The Declaration of Rights of Man granted individual freedom and fundamental rights on August 26, 1789.

Effects on the World

  • Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, the award words of the French Revolution became a source of inspiration for different countries of Europe. The people became aware of power of masses in converting an absolutist monarchy into a contitutional monarcy or a republic.
  • The masses in other European countries also started movements to achieve a individual freedom, right to property, an establishment of responsible government and the freedom of writing a speech in publication et cetera.

Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte

The French Revolution gave rise to Napoleon Bonaparte. After the dissolution of ‘Directory’ He first became the first consulate and then ultimately the Emperor of France in 1804. He is called the ‘child of revolution’.

Revision for humanity

  • One of Gaudin’s most important financial reforms was to create a centralised organisation responsible for tax collections.
  • Detailed tax register made with efficient land registers – amount paid spread out much more evenly.
  • 250 million francs a year (29% of government expenditure)
  • 6 January 1800 – Bank of France established, aimed to improve efficiency of state finances
  • 28 March 1803 – franc de germinate became the basis of his monetary system
  • Gave France the most stable currency in Europe at the time – remained for 120 years
  • Successful battles provided France with much needed revenue – Prussia had to pay 311 million after its defeat at Jena in 1806

Economically, Napoleon provided great benefit to the people of France as even though taxation was increased, it was much more evenly spread out amongst the classes on a land-based system and further provided money for the state to help stabilise the economy. This was a significant factor that allowed Napoleon to stay in power for such a long period of time despite the dictatorial nature of his regime.

  • 12 March 1804 – Civil Code. Basis of the legal system, founded on the work of successive Revolutionary governments.
  • Although it abolished feudalism and gave title to those who gained biens nationoux, it also gave man total authority over his wife and children – adulterous wife or defiant child could be sent to prison.
  • Ordinary people were only allowed a ‘moral education’ – primary education.
  • Secondary education almost entirely restricted to sons of notables – highly centralised.
  • 16 July 1801 – Concordat. Beneficial as allowed people to have their own religions, but also bound church and state which many saw as a restriction of religious freedom.
  • 1810 – Arbitrary imprisonment without trial was reintroduced.
  • Joseph Fouche – Minister of Police – introduced gendarmes, a secret police that imposed censorship and reported on anyone being a threat to the security of the state.
  • Furthered by Prefects introduced in February 1800 – highly centralised bureaucracy.
  • Censorship – 1811 provincial papers reduced to one per department, with censors on each newspaper.
  • All new books had to be inspected by the police before publication.
  • 1810 – more than half of the printing presses were shut down.

Despite the minimal benefits like the abolition of feudalism and freedom of religion, the negative reforms brought in by Napoleon heavily outweigh the benefits in terms of social prosperity as essentially Napoleon’s authoritarian dictatorship restricted the freedom of many citizens of France.

  • French revolution had established a more representative voice for the people particularly after the abolition of the monarchy and the instalment of elected bodies like the Directory.
  • Napoleon’s Constitution of 1799 provided ‘universal suffrage’ where 6 million could vote.
  • To an extent this is popular sovereignty but only 6000 of them were ‘fit for public service’
  • First Consul had the power of appointing the Senate, initiating all legislation and manipulated the Senate by giving them substantial salary and appointing his supporters.
  • Plebiscite of 1800 – very limited representative democracy.
  • 50% of the electorate supposedly voted ‘yes’ but in actuality it was around 20% as Lucien (Minister of the Interior) had added manty votes on.
  • 1801 – Napoleon offered Consulship for life – first step towards hereditary principle
  • 1802 – Tribunate purged for criticising Civil Code – merely a rubber stamp now.

Politically, there was very little benefit for the people of France as even though there was the notion of universal suffrage and elected governing bodies, they merely acted as fig leafs of democracy and the people had a minimal say.

Overall, Napoleon provided a very minimal extent of benefit to France during his reign, what benefit there seemed to be was mainly in the aspect of economic reform, which helped strengthen the country and allow him to continue his reign. However, other aspects of his regime like the Constitution of 1799 and the Civil Code gave the façade of liberty and equality but actually were merely tools in allowing him to supress the people to allow his Empire to grow with little complaint or opposition.

The Outbreak of the Revolution

What do you mean by Estate general?

  • It was a political body. It had 300 representatives of noble and clergy and 600 representatives of 3rd estate.
  • Every estate had one vote. This meeting of the Estate general was called up by the monarch. Last time, it was held in 1614.

Explain the meeting of the estate of general held on 5th May 1789? (imp.)

  • The meeting was called by Louis XVI at the hall of Versailles.
  • The meeting aimed to decide New taxes.
  • There were 300 representative noble and clergies and 600 representatives of 3rd estate.
  • Peasant, artist and women was not allow to participate in the meeting. Each state had one vote.
  • But 3rd estate demanded every person had one vote(this idea of Russo according to his book The Social Contract).
  • The monarch refused the demand of 3rd estate.
  • The 3rd estate walks out of the Hall and sit-in protest.

What was the Tennis Court Oath(20th June 1789)? (imp.)

  • After, the failure of a meeting of the estate general, the third estate gathered in a tennis court at ‘Versailles‘.
  • They declared themselves a ‘National Assembly’.
  • They decided to formulate a constitution. The sword not to disperse fill the constitution was not draft.
  • This was led by Mirabeau(noble) and Abbe Sieyes.

Write a short note of the Revolt of a peasant?

  • Due to severe winter, the crops were destroy.
  • Hence, the price of the bread was increase. Bakers exploited poor people.
  • Bakers closed their shops and did not sell the bread.
  • After standing long hours in line, the people entered the shops and destroyed the shop.
  • The king ordered his troops to move into the city(Paris).
  • People misunderstood it and they attacked on the Bastille.

What was the Fall of Bastille in Detail? (V. imp.)

  • The cause of the french revolution was the fall of Bastille.
  • There were so many causes of the french revolution but the main reason was the increase in the taxes.
  • The taxation system was not good because of taxes paid by only 3rd estate.
  • The form of the government was a monarchy.
  • Tithe & Taille taxes were pay by the peasant.
  • Clergies and Nobles were recruitment for the higher post.
  • By the above-mentioned causes, the people revolted on 14th July 1789.
  • In the morning, 14th July 1789 the king ordered his troops to enter in the city(Paris).
  • People misunderstood it, and they thought that the ordered to kill them.
  • They gathered in front of town hall and formed a ‘Militia’ and attacked on the government building.
  • People collected arms(guns, bombs) from government buildings.
  • And move toward the East of the city and attacked on the Bastille(A fort, symbol of the king deposition).
  • They killed the commander of Bastille and freed the prisons.
  • They looted the food grains and expensive stones like gold, silver, diamond, etc. and sold these stones in the market.

Fall of Bastille

Fact:- Fall of Bastille was the beginning of French Revolution

What happened on the night of 4th August 1789?

  • On this day, the national assembly passed a ‘Degree’.
  • It abolished the feudal system.
  • All the privileges given to clergies and nobles were abolish.
  • The tithe was abolish. Land owned by the church was confiscate.
  • As a result, the government acquired 2 billion Livre (its currency).
  • The power of Monarch was made limited.
  • The Monarch accepted all the conditions of the national assembly.

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The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of military hostilities between France and other European powers that lasted from 1792 until 1802. After King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed in the French Revolution, other monarchies around Europe were threatened. Britain joined the alliance against France. In order to sustain its war efforts, France employed the first national conscription and declared war on Austria. The French army was able to secure a victory over Austria and Prussia and the first republic was established. The young and ambitious Napoleon Bonaparte came to the fore and became known after his role in the Paris Convention, creating the Cisalpine Republic in northern Italy, and capturing Vienna and establishing a provisional democracy. After failing in Egypt and winning in Syria, Napoleon returned to Paris and led a military coup, which resulted in him becoming the First Consul.

Learn more about the flow of events during the French Revolutionary Wars, King Louis XVI, Queen Marie Antoinette, and Napoleon Bonaparte, and the cause and effects of the French Revolution with our KS3 resources. You’ll find Student Activities, Lesson Presentation, and Revision Notes ready to download below. KS3 resources are ideally suited for Years 7, 8 and 9, or ages 11-14.


The term "negationism" (négationnisme) was first coined by the French historian Henry Rousso in his 1987 book The Vichy Syndrome which looked at the French popular memory of Vichy France and the French Resistance. Rousso argued that it was necessary to distinguish between legitimate historical revisionism in Holocaust studies and politically motivated denial of the Holocaust, which he termed negationism. [13]

Usually, the purpose of historical negation is to achieve a national, political aim, by transferring war-guilt, demonizing an enemy, providing an illusion of victory, or preserving a friendship. [14] Sometimes the purpose of a revised history is to sell more books or to attract attention with a newspaper headline. [15] The historian James M. McPherson said that negationists would want revisionist history understood as, "a consciously-falsified or distorted interpretation of the past to serve partisan or ideological purposes in the present". [16]

Ideological influence Edit

The principal functions of negationist history are the abilities to control ideological influence and to control political influence. In "History Men Battle over Britain's Future", Michael d'Ancona said that historical negationists "seem to have been given a collective task in [a] nation's cultural development, the full significance of which is emerging only now: To redefine [national] status in a changing world". [17] History is a social resource that contributes to shaping national identity, culture, and the public memory. Through the study of history, people are imbued with a particular cultural identity therefore, by negatively revising history, the negationist can craft a specific, ideological identity. Because historians are credited as people who single-mindedly pursue truth, by way of fact, negationist historians capitalize on the historian's professional credibility, and present their pseudohistory as true scholarship. [18] By adding a measure of credibility to the work of revised history, the ideas of the negationist historian are more readily accepted in the public mind. [18] As such, professional historians recognize the revisionist practice of historical negationism as the work of "truth-seekers" finding different truths in the historical record to fit their political, social, and ideological contexts. [19]

Political influence Edit

History provides insight into past political policies and consequences, and thus assists people in extrapolating political implications for contemporary society. Historical negationism is applied to cultivate a specific political myth – sometimes with official consent from the government – whereby self-taught, amateur, and dissident academic historians either manipulate or misrepresent historical accounts to achieve political ends. In the Soviet Russia and the USSR, the ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Soviet historiography treated reality and the party line as the same intellectual entity [20] Soviet historical negationism advanced a specific, political and ideological agenda about Russia and its place in world history. [21]

Historical negationism applies the techniques of research, quotation, and presentation for deception of the reader and denial of the historical record. In support of the "revised history" perspective, the negationist historian uses false documents as genuine sources, presents specious reasons to distrust genuine documents, exploits published opinions by quoting out of historical context, manipulates statistics, and mistranslates texts in other languages. [22] The revision techniques of historical negationism operate in the intellectual space of public debate for the advancement of a given interpretation of history and the cultural perspective of the "revised history". [23] As a document, the revised history is used to negate the validity of the factual, documentary record, and so reframe explanations and perceptions of the discussed historical event, to deceive the reader, the listener, and the viewer therefore, historical negationism functions as a technique of propaganda. [24] Rather than submit their works for peer review, negationist historians rewrite history and use logical fallacies to construct arguments that will obtain the desired results, a "revised history" that supports an agenda – political, ideological, religious, etc. [6] In the practice of historiography, the British historian Richard J. Evans describes the technical differences, between professional historians and negationist historians:

Reputable and professional historians do not suppress parts of quotations from documents that go against their own case, but take them into account, and, if necessary, amend their own case, accordingly. They do not present, as genuine, documents which they know to be forged, just because these forgeries happen to back up what they are saying. They do not invent ingenious, but implausible, and utterly unsupported reasons for distrusting genuine documents, because these documents run counter to their arguments again, they amend their arguments, if this is the case, or, indeed, abandon them altogether. They do not consciously attribute their own conclusions to books and other sources, which, in fact, on closer inspection, actually say the opposite. They do not eagerly seek out the highest possible figures in a series of statistics, independently of their reliability, or otherwise, simply because they want, for whatever reason, to maximize the figure in question, but rather, they assess all the available figures, as impartially as possible, to arrive at a number that will withstand the critical scrutiny of others. They do not knowingly mistranslate sources in foreign languages to make them more serviceable to themselves. They do not willfully invent words, phrases, quotations, incidents and events, for which there is no historical evidence, to make their arguments more plausible. [25]

Deception Edit

Deception includes falsifying information, obscuring the truth, and lying to manipulate public opinion about the historical event discussed in the revised history. The negationist historian applies the techniques of deception to achieve either a political or an ideological goal, or both. The field of history distinguishes among history books based upon credible, verifiable sources, which were peer-reviewed before publication and deceptive history books, based upon unreliable sources, which were not submitted for peer review. [26] The distinction among types of history books rests upon the research techniques used in writing a history. Verifiability, accuracy, and openness to criticism are central tenets of historical scholarship. When these techniques are sidestepped, the presented historical information might be deliberately deceptive, a "revised history".

Denial Edit

Denial is defensively protecting information from being shared with other historians, and claiming that facts are untrue – especially denial of the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated in the course of the World War II (1939–45) and the Holocaust (1933–45). The negationist historian protects the historical-revisionism project by blame shifting, censorship, distraction, and media manipulation occasionally, denial by protection includes risk management for the physical security of revisionist sources.

Relativization and trivialization Edit

Comparing certain historical atrocities to other crimes is the practice of relativization, interpretation by moral judgements, to alter public perception of the first historical atrocity. Although such comparisons often occur in negationist history, their pronouncement is not usually part of revisionist intentions upon the historical facts, but an opinion of moral judgement.

  • The Holocaust and Nazism: The historian Deborah Lipstadt says that the concept of "comparable Allied wrongs", such as the expulsion of Germans after World War II from Nazi-colonized lands and the formal Allied war crimes, is at the centre of, and is a continually repeated theme of, contemporary Holocaust denial, and that such relativization presents "immoral equivalencies". [27]
  • Proponents of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy often use historical examples of non-chattel slavery to falsely claim that white people faced the same conditions of slavery as black people did. While other forms of slavery are abhorrent, they do not involve generational slavery in law as chattel slavery did.

Book burning Edit

Repositories of literature have been targeted throughout history (e.g., the Library of Alexandria, Grand Library of Baghdad), burning of the liturgical and historical books of the St. Thomas Christians by the archbishop of Goa Aleixo de Menezes, [28] including recently, such as the 1981 Burning of Jaffna library and the destruction of Iraqi libraries by ISIS during the fall of Mosul in 2014. [29]

Chinese book burning Edit

The Burning of books and burying of scholars (traditional Chinese: 焚書坑儒 simplified Chinese: 焚书坑儒 pinyin: fénshū kēngrú lit. 'burning of books and burying (alive) of (Confucian) scholars'), or "Fires of Qin", refers to the burning of writings and slaughter of scholars during the Qin Dynasty of Ancient China, between the period of 213 and 210 BC. "Books" at this point refers to writings on bamboo strips, which were then bound together. This contributed to the loss to history of many philosophical theories of proper government (known as "the Hundred Schools of Thought"). The official philosophy of government ("legalism") survived.

United States history Edit

Confederate revisionism Edit

The historical negationism of American Civil War revisionists and Neo-Confederates claims that the Confederate States (1861–65) were the defenders rather than the instigators of the American Civil War, and that the Confederacy's motivation for secession from the United States was the maintenance of the Southern states' rights and limited government, rather than the preservation and expansion of chattel slavery. [30] [31] [32]

Regarding Neo-Confederate revisionism of the U.S. Civil War, the historian Brooks D. Simpson says that:

This is an active attempt to reshape historical memory, an effort by white Southerners to find historical justifications for present-day actions. The neo–Confederate movement's ideologues have grasped that if they control how people remember the past, they'll control how people approach the present and the future. Ultimately, this is a very conscious war for memory and heritage. It's a quest for legitimacy, the eternal quest for justification. [33]

In the early 20th century, Mildred Rutherford, the historian general of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), led the attack against American history textbooks that did not present the Lost Cause of the Confederacy (c. 1900) version of the history of the U.S. Civil War. To that pedagogical end, Rutherford assembled a "massive collection" of documents that included "essay contests on the glory of the Ku Klux Klan and personal tributes to faithful slaves". [34] About the historical negationism of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the historian David Blight says:

All UDC members and leaders were not as virulently racist as Rutherford, but all, in the name of a reconciled nation, participated in an enterprise that deeply influenced the white supremacist vision of Civil War memory. [35]

California Genocide Edit

Between 1846 and 1870, during and after the conquest of California by the United States, the region's Native American population plummetted from around 150,000 to around 30,000 due primarily to forced removals, slavery, and massacres perpetrated by both government forces and by white settlers in what most historians consider to be an act of genocide. [36] [37] [38] Despite extremely well documented evidence of widespread mass murder and other atrocities perpetrated by American settlers during this time period, the public school curriculum and history textbooks approved by the California Department of Education ignore and omit the history of the California Genocide. [39] Although many historians have strongly pushed for recognition of the genocide in public school curricula, government-approved textbooks deny it because of the dominance of conservative publishing companies with ideological impetus to deny the genocide, the fear of publishing companies being branded as 'un-American' for discussing the genocide, and the unwillingness of state and federal government officials to acknowledge the genocide due to the possibility of having to pay reparations to indigenous communities affected by it. [40]

War crimes Edit

Japanese war crimes Edit

The post-war minimization of the war crimes of Japanese imperialism is an example of "illegitimate" historical revisionism [41] some contemporary Japanese revisionists, such as Yūko Iwanami (granddaughter of General Hideki Tojo), propose that Japan's invasion of China, and World War II, itself, were justified reactions to the racist Western imperialism of the time. [42] On 2 March 2007, Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe denied that the military had forced women into sexual slavery during the war, saying, "The fact is, there is no evidence to prove there was coercion". Before he spoke, some Liberal Democratic Party legislators also sought to revise Yōhei Kōno's apology to former comfort women in 1993 [43] likewise, there was the controversial negation of the six-week Nanking Massacre in 1937–1938. [44]

Shinzō Abe led the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform and headed the Diet antenna of Nippon Kaigi, two openly revisionist groups denying Japanese war crimes.

Editor-in-chief of the conservative Yomiuri Shimbun Tsuneo Watanabe criticized the Yasukuni Shrine as a bastion of revisionism: "The Yasukuni Shrine runs a museum where they show items in order to encourage and worship militarism. It's wrong for the prime minister to visit such a place". [45] Other critics [ who? ] note that men, who would contemporarily be perceived as "Korean" and "Chinese", are enshrined for the military actions they effected as Japanese Imperial subjects. [ citation needed ]

Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings Edit

The Hibakusha ("explosion-affected people") of Hiroshima and Nagasaki seek compensation from their government and criticize it for failing to "accept responsibility for having instigated and then prolonged an aggressive war long after Japan's defeat was apparent, resulting in a heavy toll in Japanese, Asian and American lives". [46] Historians Hill and Koshiro have stated that attempts to minimize the importance of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is revisionist history. [47] EB Sledge expressed concern that such revisionism, in his words "mellowing", would allow the harsh facts of the history that led to the bombings to be forgotten. [48]

Croatian war crimes in World War II Edit

Some Croats, including some high-ranked officials and political leaders during the 1990s and far-right organization members, have attempted to minimize the magnitude of the genocide perpetrated against Serbs and other ethnic minorities in the World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany, the Independent State of Croatia. [49] By 1989, the future President of Croatia Franjo Tuđman (who had been a Partisan during World War II), had embraced Croatian nationalism [50] and published Horrors of War: Historical Reality and Philosophy, in which he questioned the official number of victims killed by the Ustaše during the Second World War, particularly at the Jasenovac concentration camp. [51] Yugoslav and Serbian historiography had long exaggerated the number of victims at the camp. [52] Tuđman criticized the long-standing figures, but also described the camp as a "work camp", giving an estimate of between 30,000 and 40,000 deaths. [51] Tuđman's government's toleration of Ustaša symbols and their crimes often dismissed in public, frequently strained relations with Israel. [53]

Croatia's far-right often advocates the false theory that Jasenovac was a "labour camp" where mass murder did not take place. [54] In 2017, two videos of former Croatian president Stjepan Mesić from 1992 were made public in which he stated that Jasenovac wasn't a death camp. [54] [55] The far-right NGO "The Society for Research of the Threefold Jasenovac Camp" also advocates this disproven theory, in addition to claiming that the camp was used by the Yugoslav authorities following the war to imprison Ustasha members and regular Home Guard army troops until 1948, then alleged Stalinists until 1951. [54] Its members include journalist Igor Vukić, who wrote his own book advocating the theory, Catholic priest Stjepan Razum and academic Josip Pečarić. [56] The ideas promoted by its members have been amplified by mainstream media interviews and book tours. [56] The last book, "The Jasenovac Lie Revealed" written by Vukić, prompted the Simon Wiesenthal Center to urge Croatian authorities to ban such works, noting that they "would immediately be banned in Germany and Austria and rightfully so". [57] [58] In 2016, Croatian filmmaker Jakov Sedlar released a documentary Jasenovac – The Truth which advocated the same theories, labeling the camp as a "collection and labour camp". [59] The film contained alleged falsifications and forgeries, in addition to denial of crimes and hate speech towards politicians and journalists. [60]

Serbian war crimes in World War II Edit

Among far-right and nationalist groups, denial and revisionism of Serbian war crimes are carried out through the downplaying of Milan Nedić and Dimitrije Ljotić's roles in the extermination of Serbia's Jews in concentration camps, in the German-occupied territory of Serbia by a number of Serbian historians. [61] [62] Serbian collaborationist armed forces were involved, either directly or indirectly, in the mass killings of Jews as well as Roma and those Serbs who sided with any anti-German resistance and the killing of many Croats and Muslims. [63] [64] Since the end of the war, Serbian collaboration in the Holocaust has been the subject of historical revisionism by Serbian leaders. [65] In 1993, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts listed Nedić among The 100 most prominent Serbs. [66] There is also the denial of Chetnik collaboration with Axis forces and crimes committed during WWII. For instance, Serbian Historian Jelena Djureinovic argues in her book The Politics of Memory of the Second World War in Contemporary Serbia: Collaboration, Resistance and Retribution, that "during those years, the WWII nationalist Chetniks have been recast as an anti-fascist movement equivalent to Tito's Partisans, and as victims of communism". The glorification of the Chetnik movement has now become the central theme of Serbia's WWII memory politics. Chetnik leaders convicted under communist rule of collaboration with the Nazis have been rehabilitated by Serbian courts, and television programmes have contributed to spreading a positive image of the movement, "distorting the real picture of what happened during WWII". [67]

Serbian war crimes in the Yugoslav wars Edit

There have been a number of far-right and nationalist authors and political activists who have publicly disagreed with mainstream views of Serbian war crimes in the Yugoslav wars of 1991–1999. Some high-ranked Serbian officials and political leaders who categorically claimed that no genocide against Bosnian Muslims took place at all, include former president of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, Serbian Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vulin and Serbian far-right leader Vojislav Šešelj. Among the points of contention are whether the victims of massacres such as the Račak massacre and Srebrenica massacre were unarmed civilians or armed resistance fighters, whether death and rape tolls were inflated, and whether prison camps such as Sremska Mitrovica camp were sites of mass war crimes. These authors are called "revisionists" by scholars and organizations, such as ICTY.

The Report about Case Srebrenica by Darko Trifunovic, [68] commissioned by the government of the Republika Srpska, [69] was described by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia as "one of the worst examples of revisionism in relation to the mass executions of Bosnian Muslims committed in Srebrenica in July 1995". [70] Outrage and condemnation by a wide variety of Balkan and international figures eventually forced the Republika Srpska to disown the report. [69] [71] In 2017 legislation that banned the teaching of the Srebrenica genocide and Sarajevo siege in schools was introduced in Republika Srpska, initiated by President Milorad Dodik and his SNSD party, who stated that it was "impossible to use here the textbooks … which say the Serbs have committed genocide and kept Sarajevo under siege. This is not correct and this will not be taught here". [72] In 2019 Republika Srpska authorities appointed Israeli historian Gideon Greif – who has worked at Yad Vashem for more than three decades - to head its own revisionist commission to "determine the truth" about Srebrenica. [73]

Turkey and the Armenian genocide Edit

Turkish laws such as Article 301, that state "a person who publicly insults Turkishness, or the Republic or [the] Turkish Grand National Assembly of Turkey, shall be punishable by imprisonment", were used to criminally charge the writer Orhan Pamuk with disrespecting Turkey, for saying that "Thirty thousand Kurds, and a million Armenians, were killed in these lands, and nobody, but me, dares to talk about it". [74] The controversy occurred as Turkey was first vying for membership in the European Union (EU) where the suppression of dissenters is looked down upon. [75] Article 301 originally was part of penal-law reforms meant to modernize Turkey to EU standards, as part of negotiating Turkey's membership to the EU. [76] In 2006, the charges were dropped due to pressure from the European Union and United States on the Turkish government. [75]

On 7 February 2006, five journalists were tried for insulting the judicial institutions of the State, and for aiming to prejudice a court case (per Article 288 of the Turkish penal code). [77] The reporters were on trial for criticizing the court-ordered closing of a conference in Istanbul regarding the Armenian genocide during the time of the Ottoman Empire. The conference continued elsewhere, transferring locations from a state to a private university. The trial continued until 11 April 2006, when four of the reporters were acquitted. The case against the fifth journalist, Murat Belge, proceeded until 8 June 2006, when he was also acquitted. The purpose of the conference was to critically analyse the official Turkish view of the Armenian genocide in 1915 a taboo subject in Turkey. [78] The trial proved to be a test case between Turkey and the European Union the EU insisted that Turkey should allow increased freedom of expression rights, as a condition to membership. [79] [80]

Soviet history Edit

During the existence of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1917–1991) and the Soviet Union (1922–1991), the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) attempted to ideologically and politically control the writing of both academic and popular history. These attempts were most successful in the 1934–1952 period. According to Klaus Mehnert, the Soviets attempt to control academic historiography (the writing of history by academic historians) to promote ideological and ethno-racial imperialism by Russians. [11] [ better source needed ] During the 1928–1956 period, modern and contemporary history was generally composed according to the wishes of the CPSU, not the requirements of accepted historiographic method. [11]

During and after the rule of Nikita Khrushchev (1956–1964), Soviet historiographic practice was more complicated. Although not entirely corrupted, Soviet historiography was characterized by complex competition between Stalinist and anti-Stalinist Marxist historians. [12] To avoid the professional hazard of politicized history, some historians chose pre-modern, medieval history or classical history, where ideological demands were relatively relaxed and conversation with other historians in the field could be fostered [82] nevertheless, despite the potential danger of proscribed ideology corrupting historians' work, not all of Soviet historiography was corrupt. [12]

Control over party history and the legal status of individual ex-party members played a large role in dictating the ideological diversity and thus the faction in power within the CPSU. The history of the Communist Party was revised to delete references to leaders purged from the party, especially during the rule of Joseph Stalin (1922–1953). [note 1]

In the Historiography of the Cold War, a controversy over negationist historical revisionism exists, where numerous revisionist scholars in the West have been accused of whitewashing the crimes of Stalinism, overlooking the Katyn massacre in Poland, disregarding the validity of the Venona messages with regards to Soviet espionage in the United States, [83] [84] [85] as well as the denial of the Ukrainian Famine that took place during 1932–1933 (also known as denial of the Holodomor).

Azerbaijan Edit

In relation to Armenia Edit

Many scholars, among them Victor Schnirelmann, [86] [87] Willem Floor, [88] Robert Hewsen, [89] George Bournoutian [90] [91] and others state that in Soviet and post-Soviet Azerbaijan since the 1960s there is a practice of revising primary sources on the South Caucasus in which any mention about Armenians is removed. For instance in the revised texts the word "Armenian" is either simply removed or is replaced by the word "Albanian" there are many other examples of such falsifications, all of which have the purpose of creating an impression that historically Armenians were not present in this territory.

Willem M. Floor and Hasan Javadi in the English edition of "The Heavenly Rose-Garden: A History of Shirvan & Daghestan" by Abbasgulu Bakikhanov specifically point out to the instances of distortions and falsifications made by Ziya Bunyadov in his Russian translation of this book. [88] According to Bournoutian and Hewsen these distortions are widespread in these works they thus advise the readers in general to avoid the books produced in Azerbaijan in Soviet and post-Soviet times if these books do not contain the facsimile copy of original sources. [89] [91] Shnirelman thinks that this practice is being realized in Azerbaijan according to state order. [86]

Philip L. Kohl brings an example of a theory advanced by Azerbaijani archeologist Akhundov about Albanian origin of Khachkars as an example of patently false cultural origin myths. [92]

The Armenian cemetery in Julfa, a cemetery near the town of Julfa, in the Nakhchivan exclave of Azerbaijan originally housed around 10,000 funerary monuments. [93] The tombstones consisted mainly of thousands of khachkars - uniquely decorated cross-stones characteristic of medieval Christian Armenian art. The cemetery was still standing in the late 1990s, when the government of Azerbaijan began a systematic campaign to destroy the monuments.

Several appeals were filed by both Armenian and international organizations, condemning the Azerbaijani government and calling on it to desist from such activity. In 2006, Azerbaijan barred European Parliament members from investigating the claims, charging them with a "biased and hysterical approach" to the issue and stating that it would only accept a delegation if it visited Armenian-occupied territory as well. [94] In the spring of 2006, a journalist from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting who visited the area reported that no visible traces of the cemetery remained. [95] In the same year, photographs taken from Iran showed that the cemetery site had been turned into a military shooting range. [96] The destruction of the cemetery has been widely described by Armenian sources, and some non-Armenian sources, as an act of "cultural genocide." [97] [98] [99]

After studying and comparing satellite photos of Julfa taken in 2003 and 2009, in December 2010 the American Association for the Advancement of Science came to the conclusion that the cemetery was demolished and leveled. [100]

After the director of the Hermitage Museum Mikhail Piotrovsky expressed his protest about the destruction of Armenian khachkars in Julfa, he was accused by Azerbaijanis of supporting the "total falsification of the history and culture of Azerbaijan". [101]

According to the institute director of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, Yagub Mahmudov, prior to 1918 "there was never an Armenian state in the South Caucasus". [102] According to Mahmudov, Ilham Aliyev's statement in which he said that Irevan is our [Azerbaijan's] historic land, and we, Azerbaijanis must return to these historic lands, was based "historical facts" and "historical reality". [102] Mahmudov also stated that the claim that Armenian's are the most ancient people in the region is based on propaganda, and claimed that Armenians are non-natives of the region, having only arrived in the area after Russian victories over Iran and the Ottoman Empire in the first half of the 19th century. [102] The institute director also said: [102]

The Azerbaijani soldier should know that the land under the feet of provocative Armenians is Azerbaijani land. The enemy can never defeat Azerbaijanis on Azerbaijani soil. Those who rule the Armenian state today must fundamentally change their political course. The Armenians cannot defeat us by sitting in our historic city of Irevan.

In Azerbaijan the Armenian genocide is officially denied and is considered a hoax. According to the state ideology of Azerbaijan, a genocide of Azerbaijanis, carried out by Armenians and Russians, took place starting from 1813. Mahmudov has claimed that Armenians first appeared in Karabakh in 1828. [103] Azerbaijani academics and politicians have claimed that foreign historians falsify the history of Azerbaijan and criticism was directed towards a Russian documentary about the regions of Karabakh and Nakhchivan and the historical Armenian presence in these areas. [104] [105] [106]

In relation to Iran Edit

Historic falsifications in the Republic of Azerbaijan, in relation to Iran and its history, are "backed by state and state backed non-governmental organizational bodies", ranging "from elementary school all the way to the highest level of universities". [107]

As a result of the two Russo-Iranian Wars of the 19th century, the border between what is present-day Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan was formed. [108] Although there had not been a historical Azerbaijani state to speak of in history, the demarcation, set at the Aras river, left significant numbers of what were later coined "Azerbaijanis" to the north of the Aras river. [108] [109] During the existence of the Azerbaijan SSR, as a result of Soviet-era historical revionism and myth-building, the notion of a "northern" and "southern" Azerbaijan was formulated and spread throughout the Soviet Union. [108] During the Soviet nation building campaign, any event, both past and present, that had ever occurred in what is the present-day Azerbaijan Republic and Iranian Azerbaijan were rebranded as phenomenons of "Azerbaijani culture". [110] Any Iranian ruler or poet that had lived in the area was assigned to the newly rebranded identity of the Transcaucasian Turkophones, in other words "Azerbaijanis". [111] According to Michael P. Croissant: "It was charged that the "two Azerbaijans", once united, were separated artificially by a conspiracy between imperial Russia and Iran". [108] This notion based on illegitimate historic revisionism suited Soviet political purposes well (based on "anti-imperialism"), and became the basis for irredentism among Azerbaijani nationalists in the last years of the Soviet Union, shortly prior to the establishment of the Azerbaijan Republic in 1991. [108]

In the Republic of Azerbaijan, periods and aspects of Iranian history are usually claimed as being an "Azerbaijani" product in a distortion of history, and historic Iranian figures, such as the Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi are called "Azerbaijanis", contrary to universally acknowledged fact. [112] [113] In the Azerbaijan SSR, forgeries such as an allaged "Turkish divan" and falsified verses were published in order to "Turkify" Nizami Ganjavi. [113] Although this type of irredentism was initially the result the nation building policy of the Soviets, it became an instrument for "biased, pseudo-academic approaches and political speculations" in the nationalistic aspirations of the young Azerbaijan Republic. [112] In the modern Azerbaijan Repuiblic, historiography is written with the aim of retroactively Turkifying many of the peoples and kingdoms that existed prior to the arrival of Turks in the region, including the Iranian Medes. [114]

According to professor of history George Bournoutian: [115]

"As noted, in order to construct an Azerbaijani national history and identity based on the territorial definition of a nation, as well as to reduce the influence of Islam and Iran, the Azeri nationalists, prompted by Moscow devised an "Azeri" alphabet, which replaced the Arabo-Persian script. In the 1930s a number of Soviet historians, including the prominent Russian Orientalist, Ilya Petrushevskii, were instructed by the Kremlin to accept the totally unsubstantiated notion that the territory of the former Iranian khanates (except Yerevan, which had become Soviet Armenia) was part of an Azerbaijani nation. Petrushevskii's two important studies dealing with the South Caucasus, therefore, use the term Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani in his works on the history of the region from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Other Russian academics went even further and claimed that an Azeri nation had existed from ancient times and had continued to the present. Since all the Russian surveys and almost all nineteenth-century Russian primary sources referred to the Muslims who resided in the South Caucasus as "Tatars" and not "Azerbaijanis", Soviet historians simply substituted Azerbaijani for Tatars. Azeri historians and writers, starting in 1937, followed suit and began to view the three-thousand-year history of the region as that of Azerbaijan. The pre-Iranian, Iranian, and Arab eras were expunged. Anyone who lived in the territory of Soviet Azerbaijan was classified as Azeri hence the great Iranian poet Nezami, who had written only in Persian, became the national poet of Azerbaijan."

Although after Stalin's death arguments rose between Azerbaijani historians and Soviet Iranologists dealing with the history of the region in ancient times (specifically the era of the Medes), no Soviet historian dared to question the use of the term Azerbaijan or Azerbaijani in modern times. As late as 1991, the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, published a book by an Azeri historian, in which it noy only equated the "Tatars" with the present-day Azeris, but the author, discussing the population numbers in 1842, also included Nakhichevan and Ordubad in "Azerbaijan". The author, just like Petrushevskii, totally ignored the fact that between 1828 and 1921, Nakhichivan and Ordubad were first part of the Armenian Province and then part of the Yerevan guberniia and had only become part of Soviet Azerbaijan, some eight decades later (. ) Although the overwhelming number of nineteenth-century Russian and Iranian, as well as present-day European historians view the Iranian province of Azarbayjan and the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan as two separate geographical and political entities, modern Azeri historians and geographers view it as a single state that has been separated into "northern" and "southern" sectors and which will be united in the future. (. ) Since the collapse of the Soviet Union the current Azeri historians have not only continued to use the terms "northern" and "southern" Azerbaijan, but also assert that the present-day Armenian Republic was a part of northern Azerbaijan. In their fury over what they view as the "Armenian occupation" of Nagorno-Karabakh [which incidentally was an autonomous Armenian region within Soviet Azerbaijan], Azeri politicians and historians deny any historic Armenian presence in the South Caucasus and add that all Armenian architectural monuments located in the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan are not Armenian but [Caucasian] Albanian."

North Korea and the Korean War Edit

Since the start of the Korean War (1950–53), the government of North Korea has consistently denied that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched the attack with which it began the war for the Communist unification of Korea. The historiography of the DPRK maintains that the war was provoked by South Korea, at the instigation of the United States:

On June 17, Juche 39 [1950] the then U.S. President [Harry S.] Truman sent [John Foster] Dulles as his special envoy to South Korea to examine the anti-North war scenario and give an order to start the attack. On June 18, Dulles inspected the 38th parallel and the war preparations of the 'ROK Army' units. That day he told Syngman Rhee to start the attack on North Korea with the counter-propaganda that North Korea first 'invaded' the south. [117]

Further North Korean pronouncements included the claim that the U.S. needed the peninsula of Korea as "a bridgehead, for invading the Asian continent, and as a strategic base, from which to fight against national-liberation movements and socialism, and, ultimately, to attain world supremacy." [118] Likewise, the DPRK denied the war crimes committed by the North Korean army in the course of the war nonetheless, in the 1951–1952 period, the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) privately admitted to the "excesses" of their earlier campaign against North Korean citizens who had collaborated with the enemy – either actually or allegedly – during the US–South Korean occupation of North Korea. Later, the WPK blamed every wartime atrocity upon the U.S. military, e.g. the Sinchon Massacre (17 October – 7 December 1950) occurred during the retreat of the DPRK government from Hwanghae Province, in the south-west of North Korea.

The campaign against "collaborators" was attributed to political and ideological manipulations by the U.S. the high-rank leader Pak Chang-ok said that the American enemy had "started to use a new method, namely, it donned a leftist garb, which considerably influenced the inexperienced cadres of the Party and government organs." [119] Kathryn Weathersby's Soviet Aims in Korea and the Origins of the Korean War, 1945–1950: New Evidence from Russian Archives (1993) confirmed that the Korean War was launched by order of Kim Il-sung (1912–1994) and also refuted the DPRK's allegations of biological warfare in the Korean War. The Korean Central News Agency dismissed the historical record of Soviet documents as "sheer forgery". [120]

Holocaust denial Edit

Holocaust deniers usually reject the term Holocaust denier as an inaccurate description of their historical point of view, instead preferring the term Holocaust revisionist [121] nonetheless, scholars prefer "Holocaust denier" to differentiate deniers from legitimate historical revisionists, whose goal is to accurately analyse historical evidence with established methods. [note 2] Historian Alan Berger reports that Holocaust deniers argue in support of a preconceived theory – that the Holocaust either did not occur or was mostly a hoax – by ignoring extensive historical evidence to the contrary. [122]

When the author David Irving [note 3] lost his English libel case against Deborah Lipstadt, and her publisher, Penguin Books, and thus was publicly discredited and identified as a Holocaust denier, [123] the trial judge, Justice Charles Gray, concluded that:

Irving has, for his own ideological reasons, persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence that, for the same reasons, he has portrayed Hitler in an unwarrantedly favorable light, principally in relation to his attitude towards, and responsibility for, the treatment of the Jews that he is an active Holocaust denier that he is anti-semitic and racist, and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism. [124]

On 20 February 2006, Irving was found guilty, and sentenced to three years imprisonment for Holocaust denial, under Austria's 1947 law banning Nazi revivalism and criminalizing the "public denial, belittling or justification of National Socialist crimes". [125] Besides Austria, eleven other countries [126] – including Belgium, France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, and Switzerland – have criminalized Holocaust denial as punishable with imprisonment. [note 4]

Poland Edit

The Act on the Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation is a 1998 Polish law that created the Institute of National Remembrance. The 2018 amendment, article 55a, referred to by critics variously as the "Polish Holocaust bill", the "Poland Holocaust law", etc., has caused international controversy. [127] Article 55a banned harming the "good name" of Poland, which critics asserted would stifle debate about Polish collaboration with Nazi Germany. [128] Article 2a, dealing with crimes perpetrated against Poland or Poles by Ukrainian nationalists, caused controversy in Ukraine. [127]

Systematic efforts have been made by Polish nationalists to exaggerate the number of Poles who were murdered by Nazi Germany. These include the conspiracy theory that the Warsaw concentration camp had been an extermination camp in which 200,000 mainly non-Jewish Poles had been murdered using gas chambers. [129] The Wikipedia article on the camp was edited to reflect these claims, a hoax that lasted for 15 years before the claims were detected and removed. [130]

1989 Tiananmen Square Protests Edit

The 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests were a series of pro-democracy demonstrations that were put down violently on 4 June 1989, by the Chinese government via the People's Liberation Army, resulting in estimated casualties of over 10,000 deaths and 40,000 injured, obtained via later declassified documents. [131] [132]

North Macedonia Edit

According to Eugene N. Borza, the Macedonians are in search of their past to legitimize their unsure present, in the disorder of the Balkan politics. [133] Ivaylo Dichev claims that the Macedonian historiography has the impossible task of filling the huge gaps between the ancient kingdom of Macedon, that collapsed in 2nd century BC, the 10th–11th century state of the Cometopuls, and the Yugoslav Macedonia established in the middle of the 20th century. [134] According to Ulf Brunnbauer, modern Macedonian historiography is highly politicized, because the Macedonian nation-building process is still in development. [135] The recent nation-building project imposes the idea of a "Macedonian nation" with unbroken continuity from the antiquity (Ancient Macedonians) to the modern times, [136] which has been criticized by some domestic and foreign scholars [137] for ahistorically projecting modern ethnic distinctions into the past. [138] In this way generations of students were educated in pseudohistory. [139]

In textbooks Edit

Japan Edit

The history textbook controversy centres upon the secondary school history textbook Atarashii Rekishi Kyōkasho ("New History Textbook") said to minimize the nature of Japanese militarism in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–95), in annexing Korea in 1910, in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–45), and in the Pacific Theater of World War II (1941–45). The conservative Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform commissioned the Atarashii Rekishi Kyōkasho textbook with the purpose of traditional national and international view of that Japanese historical period. The Ministry of Education vets all history textbooks, and those that do not mention Japanese war crimes and atrocities are not vetted [ citation needed ] however, the Atarashii Rekishi Kyōkasho de-emphasizes aggressive Japanese Imperial wartime behaviour and the matter of Chinese and Korean comfort women. It has even been denied that the Nanking massacre (a series of murders and rapes committed by the Japanese army against Chinese civilians during the Second Sino-Japanese War) ever took place (see Nanking massacre denial). [140] In 2007, the Ministry of Education attempted to revise textbooks regarding the Battle of Okinawa, lessening the involvement of the Japanese military in Okinawan civilian mass suicides. [141] [142]

Pakistan Edit

Allegations of historical revisionism have been made regarding Pakistani textbooks in that they are laced with Indophobic and Islamist bias. Pakistan's use of officially published textbooks has been criticized for using schools to more subtly foster religious extremism, whitewashing Muslim conquests on the Indian subcontinent and promoting "expansive pan-Islamic imaginings" that "detect the beginnings of Pakistan in the birth of Islam on the Arabian peninsula". [143] Since 2001, the Pakistani government has stated that curriculum reforms have been underway by the Ministry of Education. [144] [145] [146]

South Korea Edit

12 October 2015, South Korea's government has announced controversial plans to control the history textbooks used in secondary schools despite oppositional concerns of people and academics that the decision is made to glorify the history of those who served the Imperial Japanese government (Chinilpa). Section and the authoritarian dictatorships in South Korea during 1960s–1980s.The Ministry of Education announced that it would put the secondary-school history textbook under state control "This was an inevitable choice in order to straighten out historical errors and end the social dispute caused by ideological bias in the textbooks," Hwang Woo-yea, education minister said on 12 October 2015. [147] According to the government's plan, the current history textbooks of South Korea will be replaced by a single textbook written by a panel of government-appointed historians and the new series of publications would be issued under the title The Correct Textbook of History and are to be issued to the public and private primary and secondary schools in 2017 onwards.

The move has sparked fierce criticism from academics who argue the system can be used to distort the history and glorify the history of those who served the Imperial Japanese government (Chinilpa) and of the authoritarian dictatorships. Moreover, 466 organizations including Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union formed History Act Network in solidarity and have staged protests: "The government's decision allows the state too much control and power and, therefore, it is against political neutrality that is certainly the fundamental principle of education." Many South Korean historians condemned Kyohaksa for their text glorifying those who served the Imperial Japanese government (Chinilpa) and the authoritarian dictatorship with a far-right political perspective. On the other hand, New Right supporters welcomed the textbook saying that 'the new textbook finally describes historical truths contrary to the history textbooks published by left-wing publishers,' and the textbook issue became intensified as a case of ideological conflict.

In fact, there once was a time in Korean history that the history textbook was put under state control. It was during the authoritarian regime under Park Chung-hee (1963–1979), who is a father of Park Geun-hye, former President of South Korea, and was used as a means to keep the Yushin Regime (also known as Yushin Dictatorship). However, there had been continuous criticisms about the system especially from the 1980s when Korea experienced a dramatic democratic development. In 2003, liberalization of textbook began when the textbooks on Korean modern and contemporary history were published though the Textbook Screening System, which allows textbooks to be published not by a single government body but by many different companies, for the first time.

Turkey Edit

Education in Turkey is centralized: its policy, administration and content are each determined by the Turkish government. Textbooks taught in schools are either prepared directly by the Ministry of National Education (MEB) or must be approved by its Instruction and Education Board. In practice, this means that the Turkish government is directly responsible for what textbooks are taught in schools across Turkey. [148]

In 2014, Taner Akçam, writing for the Armenian Weekly, discussed 2014–2015 Turkish elementary and middle school textbooks that the MEB had made available on the internet. He found that Turkish history textbooks are filled with the message that Armenians are people "who are incited by foreigners, who aim to break apart the state and the country, and who murdered Turks and Muslims." The Armenian genocide is referred to as the "Armenian matter", and is described as a lie perpetrated to further the perceived hidden agenda of Armenians. Recognition of the Armenian genocide is defined as the "biggest threat to Turkish national security". [148]

Akçam summarized one textbook that claims the Armenians had sided with the Russians during the war. The 1909 Adana massacre, in which as many as 20,000–30,000 Armenians were massacred, is identified as "The Rebellion of Armenians of Adana". According to the book, the Armenian Hnchak and Dashnak organizations instituted rebellions in many parts of Anatolia, and "didn't hesitate to kill Armenians who would not join them," issuing instructions that "if you want to survive you have to kill your neighbor first." Claims highlighted by Akçam: [148]

[The Armenians murdered] many people living in villages, even children, by attacking Turkish villages, which had become defenseless because all the Turkish men were fighting on the war fronts. . They stabbed the Ottoman forces in the back. They created obstacles for the operations of the Ottoman units by cutting off their supply routes and destroying bridges and roads. . They spied for Russia and by rebelling in the cities where they were located, they eased the way for the Russian invasion. . Since the Armenians who engaged in massacres in collaboration with the Russians created a dangerous situation, this law required the migration of [Armenian people] from the towns they were living in to Syria, a safe Ottoman territory. . Despite being in the midst of war, the Ottoman state took precautions and measures when it came to the Armenians who were migrating. Their tax payments were postponed, they were permitted to take any personal property they wished, government officials were assigned to ensure that they were protected from attacks during the journey and that their needs were met, police stations were established to ensure that their lives and properties were secure.

Similar revisionist claims found in other textbooks by Akçam included that Armenian "back-stabbing" was the reason the Ottomans lost the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 (similar to the post-War German stab-in-the-back myth), that the Hamidian massacres never happened, that the Armenians were armed by the Russians during late World War I to fight the Ottomans (in reality they had already been nearly annihilated from the area by this point), that Armenians killed 600,000 Turks during said war, that the deportation were to save Armenians from other violent Armenian gangs, and that Armenians who were deported were later able to return to Turkey unscathed and reclaim their properties. [148]

As of 2015, Turkish textbooks still describe the Armenians as "traitors", call the Armenian genocide a lie and say that the Ottoman Turks "took necessary measures to counter Armenian separatism." [149] Armenians are also characterized as "dishonorable and treacherous," and students are taught that Armenians were forcibly relocated to protect Turkish citizens from attacks. [150]

Yugoslavia Edit

Throughout the post war era, though Tito denounced nationalist sentiments in historiography, those trends continued with Croat and Serbian academics at times accusing each other of misrepresenting each other's histories, especially in relation to the Croat-Nazi alliance. [151] Communist historiography was challenged in the 1980s and a rehabilitation of Serbian nationalism by Serbian historians began. [152] [153] Historians and other members of the intelligentsia belonging to the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU) and the Writers Association played a significant role in the explanation of the new historical narrative. [154] [155] [156] The process of writing a "new Serbian history" paralleled alongside the emerging ethno-nationalist mobilization of Serbs with the objective of reorganizing the Yugoslav federation. [153] Using ideas and concepts from Holocaust historiography, Serbian historians alongside church leaders applied it to World War Two Yugoslavia and equated the Serbs with Jews and Croats with Nazi Germans. [157]

Chetniks along with the Ustashe were vilified by Tito era historiography within Yugoslavia. [158] In the 1980s, Serbian historians initiated the process of re-examining the narrative of how World War Two was told in Yugoslavia which was accompanied by the rehabilitation of Četnik leader Draža Mihailović. [159] [160] Monographs relating to Mihailović and the Četnik movement were produced by some younger historians who were ideologically close to it towards the end of the 1990s. [161] Being preoccupied with the era, Serbian historians have looked to vindicate the history of the Chetniks by portraying them as righteous freedom fighters battling the Nazis while removing from history books the ambiguous alliances with the Italians and Germans. [162] [158] [163] [164] Whereas the crimes committed by Chetniks against Croats and Muslims in Serbian historiography are overall "cloaked in silence". [165] During the Milošević era, Serbian history was falsified to obscure the role Serbian collaborators Milan Nedić and Dimitrije Ljotić played in cleansing Serbia's Jewish community, killing them in the country or deporting them to Eastern European concentration camps. [61]

In the 1990s following a massive Western media coverage of the Yugoslav civil war, there was a rise of the publications considering the matter on historical revisionism of former Yugoslavia. One of the most prominent authors on the field of historical revisionism in the 1990s considering the newly emerged republics is Noel Malcolm and his works Bosnia: A Short History (1994) and Kosovo: A Short History (1998), that have seen a robust debate among historians following their release following the release of the latter, the merits of the book were the subject of an extended debate in Foreign Affairs. Critics said that the book was "marred by his sympathies for its ethnic Albanian separatists, anti-Serbian bias, and illusions about the Balkans". [166] In late 1999, Thomas Emmert of the history faculty of Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota reviewed the book in Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans Online and while praising aspects of the book also asserted that it was "shaped by the author's overriding determination to challenge Serbian myths", that Malcolm was "partisan", and also complained that the book made a "transparent attempt to prove that the main Serbian myths are false". [167] In 2006, a study by Frederick Anscombe looked at issues surrounding scholarship on Kosovo such as Noel Malcolm's work Kosovo: A Short History. [168] Anscombe noted that Malcolm offered a "a detailed critique of the competing versions of Kosovo's history" and that his work marked a "remarkable reversal" of previous acceptance by Western historians of the "Serbian account" regarding the migration of the Serbs (1690) from Kosovo. [168] Malcolm has been criticized for being "anti-Serbian" and selective like the Serbs with the sources, while other more restrained critics note that "his arguments are unconvincing". [169] Anscombe noted that Malcolm, like Serbian and Yugoslav historians who have ignored his conclusions sideline and are unwilling to consider indigenous evidence such as that from the Ottoman archive when composing national history. [169]

French law recognizing colonialism's positive value Edit

On 23 February 2005, the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) conservative majority at the French National Assembly voted a law compelling history textbooks and teachers to "acknowledge and recognize in particular the positive role of the French presence abroad, especially in North Africa". [170] It was criticized by historians and teachers, among them Pierre Vidal-Naquet, who refused to recognize the French Parliament's right to influence the way history is written (despite the French Holocaust denial laws, see Loi Gayssot). That law was also challenged by left-wing parties and the former French colonies critics argued that the law was tantamount to refusing to acknowledge the racism inherent to French colonialism, and that the law proper is a form of historical revisionism. [note 5] [171] [172]

Marcos martial law negationism in the Philippines Edit

In the Philippines, the biggest examples of historical negationism are linked to the Marcos family dynasty, usually Imelda Marcos, Bongbong Marcos, and Imee Marcos specifically. [173] [174] [175] They have been accused of denying or trivializing the human rights violations during martial law and the plunder of the Philippines' coffers while Ferdinand Marcos was president. [176] [177] [178] [179]

Denial of the Muslim conquest of the Iberian peninsula Edit

A spin-off of the vision of history espoused by the "inclusive Spanish nationalism" built in opposition to the National-Catholic brand of Spanish nationalism, it was first coined by Ignacio Olagüe (a dilettante historian connected to the early Spanish fascism) particularly in the former's 1974 work La revolución islámica en Occidente ("The Islamic revolution in the West"). [180] The negationist postulates of Olagüe were later adopted by certain sectors within Andalusian nationalism. [180] These ideas were resurrected in the early 21st century by the Arabist Emilio González Ferrín. [180] [181]

Some countries have criminalized historical revisionism of historic events such as the Holocaust. The Council of Europe defines it as the "denial, gross minimisation, approval or justification of genocide or crimes against humanity" (article 6, Additional Protocol to the Convention on cybercrime).

International law Edit

Some council-member states proposed an additional protocol to the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention, addressing materials and "acts of racist or xenophobic nature committed through computer networks" it was negotiated from late 2001 to early 2002, and, on 7 November 2002, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted the protocol's final text [182] titled Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cyber-crime, Concerning the Criminalisation of Acts of a Racist and Xenophobic Nature Committed through Computer Systems, ("Protocol"). [183] It opened on 28 January 2003, and became current on 1 March 2006 as of 30 November 2011, 20 States have signed and ratified the Protocol, and 15 others have signed, but not yet ratified it (including Canada and South Africa). [184]

The Protocol requires participant States to criminalize the dissemination of racist and xenophobic material, and of racist and xenophobic threats and insults through computer networks, such as the Internet. [185] Article 6, Section 1 of the Protocol specifically covers Holocaust Denial, and other genocides recognized as such by international courts, established since 1945, by relevant international legal instruments. Section 2 of Article 6 allows a Party to the Protocol, at their discretion, only to prosecute the violator if the crime is committed with the intent to incite hatred or discrimination or violence or to use a reservation, by allowing a Party not to apply Article 6 – either partly or entirely. [186] The Council of Europe's Explanatory Report of the Protocol says that the "European Court of Human Rights has made it clear that the denial or revision of 'clearly established historical facts – such as the Holocaust – . would be removed from the protection of Article 10 by Article 17' of the European Convention on Human Rights" (see the Lehideux and Isorni judgement of 23 September 1998) [186]

Two of the English-speaking states in Europe, Ireland and the United Kingdom, have not signed the additional protocol, (the third, Malta, signed on 28 January 2003, but has not yet ratified it). [187] On 8 July 2005 Canada became the only non-European state to sign the convention. They were joined by South Africa in April 2008. The United States government does not believe that the final version of the Protocol is consistent with the United States' First Amendment Constitutional rights and has informed the Council of Europe that the United States will not become a Party to the protocol. [185] [188]

Domestic law Edit

There are domestic laws against negationism and hate speech (which may encompass negationism) in several countries, including:

    (Article I §3 Verbotsgesetz 1947 with its 1992 updates and added paragraph §3h). [189] (Belgian Holocaust denial law). [190] . [191] (Gayssot Act). (§130(3) of the penal code [192] ). . [193] . [194] . [195] . [196] (Article 55 of the law establishing the Institute of National Remembrance 1998). [197] . [198] . [199] . [200] (Article 261bis of the Penal Code). [201]

Additionally, the Netherlands considers denying the Holocaust as a hate crime – which is a punishable offence. [202] Wider use of domestic laws include the 1990 French Gayssot Act that prohibits any "racist, anti-Semitic or xenophobic" speech, [202] and the Czech Republic [203] and Ukraine [204] have criminalized the denial and the minimization of Communist-era crimes.

In the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), by George Orwell, the government of Oceania continually revises historical records to concord with the contemporary political explanations of The Party. When Oceania is at war with Eurasia, the public records (newspapers, cinema, television) indicate that Oceania has been always at war with Eurasia yet, when Eurasia and Oceania are no longer fighting each other, the historical records are subjected to negationism thus, the populace are brainwashed to believe that Oceania and Eurasia always have been allies against Eastasia.

The protagonist of the story, Winston Smith, is an editor in the Ministry of Truth, responsible for effecting the continual historical revisionism that will negate the contradictions of the past upon the contemporary world of Oceania. [205] [206] To cope with the psychological stresses of life during wartime, Smith begins a diary, in which he observes that "He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future", and so illustrates the principal, ideological purpose of historical negationism. [207]

Franz Kurowski was an extremely prolific right-wing German writer who dedicated his entire career to the production of Nazi military propaganda, followed by post-war military pulp fiction and revisionist histories of World War II, claiming the humane behaviour and innocence of war crimes of the Wehrmacht, glorifying war as a desirable state, while fabricating eyewitness reports of atrocities allegedly committed by the Allies, especially Bomber Command and the air raids on Cologne and Dresden as a planned genocide of the civilian population. [208]

Cases of denialism Edit

  1. ^ An example of changing visual history is the Party motivated practice of altering photographs.
  2. ^ To clarify the terminology of denial vs. "revisionism":
    • "This is the phenomenon of what has come to be known as 'revisionism', 'negationism', or 'Holocaust denial,' whose main characteristic is either an outright rejection of the very veracity of the Nazi genocide of the Jews, or at least a concerted attempt to minimize both its scale and importance . It is just as crucial, however, to distinguish between the wholly objectionable politics of denial and the fully legitimate scholarly revision of previously accepted conventional interpretations of any historical event, including the Holocaust." Bartov, Omer. The Holocaust: Origins, Implementation and Aftermath, Routledge, pp. 11–12. Bartov is John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History at the Watson Institute, and is regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on genocide ("Omer Bartov"Archived 16 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine, The Watson Institute for International Studies).
    • "The two leading critical exposés of Holocaust denial in the United States were written by historians Deborah Lipstadt (1993) and Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman (2000). These scholars make a distinction between historical revisionism and denial. Revisionism, in their view, entails a refinement of existing knowledge about a historical event, not a denial of the event itself, that comes through the examination of new empirical evidence or a reexamination or reinterpretation of existing evidence. Legitimate historical revisionism acknowledges a "certain body of irrefutable evidence" or a "convergence of evidence" that suggest that an event – like the black plague, American slavery, or the Holocaust – did in fact occur (Lipstadt 1993:21 Shermer & Grobman 200:34). Denial, on the other hand, rejects the entire foundation of historical evidence . " Ronald J. Berger. Fathoming the Holocaust: A Social Problems Approach, Aldine Transaction, 2002, ISBN0-202-30670-4, p. 154.
    • "At this time, in the mid-1970s, the specter of Holocaust Denial (masked as "revisionism") had begun to raise its head in Australia . " Bartrop, Paul R. "A Little More Understanding: The Experience of a Holocaust Educator in Australia" in Samuel Totten, Steven Leonard Jacobs, Paul R Bartrop. Teaching about the Holocaust, Praeger/Greenwood, 2004, p. xix. 0-275-98232-7
    • "Pierre Vidal-Naquet urges that denial of the Holocaust should not be called 'revisionism' because 'to deny history is not to revise it'. Les Assassins de la Memoire. Un Eichmann de papier et autres essays sur le revisionisme (The Assassins of Memory – A Paper-Eichmann and Other Essays on Revisionism) 15 (1987)." Cited in Roth, Stephen J. "Denial of the Holocaust as an Issue of Law" in the Israel Yearbook on Human Rights, Volume 23, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1993, 0-7923-2581-8, p. 215.
    • "This essay describes, from a methodological perspective, some of the inherent flaws in the "revisionist" approach to the history of the Holocaust. It is not intended as a polemic, nor does it attempt to ascribe motives. Rather, it seeks to explain the fundamental error in the "revisionist" approach, as well as why that approach of necessity leaves no other choice. It concludes that "revisionism" is a misnomer because the facts do not accord with the position it puts forward and, more importantly, its methodology reverses the appropriate approach to historical investigation . "Revisionism" is obliged to deviate from the standard methodology of historical pursuit because it seeks to mold facts to fit a preconceived result, it denies events that have been objectively and empirically proved to have occurred, and because it works backward from the conclusion to the facts, thus necessitating the distortion and manipulation of those facts where they differ from the preordained conclusion (which they almost always do). In short, "revisionism" denies something that demonstrably happened, through methodological dishonesty." McFee, Gordon. "Why 'Revisionism' Isn't", The Holocaust History Project, 15 May 1999. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
    • "Crucial to understanding and combating Holocaust denial is a clear distinction between denial and revisionism. One of the more insidious and dangerous aspects of contemporary Holocaust denial, a la Arthur Butz, Bradley Smith and Greg Raven, is the fact that they attempt to present their work as reputable scholarship under the guise of 'historical revisionism.' The term 'revisionist' permeates their publications as descriptive of their motives, orientation and methodology. In fact, Holocaust denial is in no sense 'revisionism,' it is denial . Contemporary Holocaust deniers are not revisionists – not even neo-revisionists. They are Deniers. Their motivations stem from their neo-nazi political goals and their rampant antisemitism." Austin, Ben S. "Deniers in Revisionists Clothing"Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine, The HolocaustShoah Page, Middle Tennessee State University. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
    • "Holocaust denial can be a particularly insidious form of antisemitism precisely because it often tries to disguise itself as something quite different: as genuine scholarly debate (in the pages, for example, of the innocuous-sounding Journal for Historical Review). Holocaust deniers often refer to themselves as 'revisionists', in an attempt to claim legitimacy for their activities. There are, of course, a great many scholars engaged in historical debates about the Holocaust whose work should not be confused with the output of the Holocaust deniers. Debate continues about such subjects as, for example, the extent and nature of ordinary Germans' involvement in and knowledge of the policy of genocide, and the timing of orders given for the extermination of the Jews. However, the valid endeavour of historical revisionism, which involves the re-interpretation of historical knowledge in the light of newly emerging evidence, is a very different task from that of claiming that the essential facts of the Holocaust, and the evidence for those facts, are fabrications." The nature of Holocaust denial: What is Holocaust denial?Archived 12 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, JPR report No. 3, 2000. Retrieved 16 May 2007.
  3. ^ Further information of how Irving was discredited as a historian:
    • "In 1969, after David Irving's support for Rolf Hochhuth, the German playwright who accused Winston Churchill of murdering the Polish wartime leader General Sikorski, The Daily Telegraph issued a memo to all its correspondents. 'It is incorrect,' it said, 'to describe David Irving as a historian. In future we should describe him as an author.'" Ingram, Richard. Irving was the author of his own downfall, The Independent, 25 February 2006.
    • "It may seem an absurd semantic dispute to deny the appellation of 'historian' to someone who has written two dozen books or more about historical subjects. But if we mean by historian someone who is concerned to discover the truth about the past, and to give as accurate a representation of it as possible, then Irving is not a historian. Those in the know, indeed, are accustomed to avoid the term altogether when referring to him and use some circumlocution such as 'historical writer' instead. Irving is essentially an ideologue who uses history for his own political purposes he is not primarily concerned with discovering and interpreting what happened in the past, he is concerned merely to give a selective and tendentious account of it in order to further his own ideological ends in the present. The true historian's primary concern, however, is with the past. That is why, in the end, Irving is not a historian." Irving vs. (1) Lipstadt and (2) Penguin Books, Expert Witness Report by Richard J. Evans FBA, Professor of Modern History, University of Cambridge, 2000, Chapter 6.
    • "State prosecutor Michael Klackl said: 'He's not a historian, he's a falsifier of history.'" Traynor, Ian. Irving jailed for denying Holocaust, The Guardian, 21 February 2006.
    • "One of Britain's most prominent speakers on Muslim issues is today exposed as a supporter of David Irving. . Bukhari contacted the discredited historian, sentenced this year to three years in an Austrian prison for Holocaust denial, after reading his website." Doward, Jamie. "Muslim leader sent funds to Irving", The Guardian, 19 November 2006.
    • "David Irving, the discredited historian and Nazi apologist, was last night starting a three-year prison sentence in Vienna for denying the Holocaust and the gas chambers of Auschwitz." Traynor, Ian. "Irving jailed for denying Holocaust", The Guardian, 21 February 2006.
    • "Conclusion on meaning 2.15 (vi): that Irving is discredited as a historian." David Irving v. Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt/II.
    • "DAVID Irving, the discredited revisionist historian and most outspoken British Holocaust denier, has added further fuel to the controversy over his early release from an Austrian jail by recanting his court statement of regret over his views." Crichton, Torcuil. "Holocaust denier reneges on regret", The Sunday Herald, 24 December 2006.
    • "Discredited British author David Irving spoke in front of some 250 people at a small theatre on Szabadság tér last Monday." Hodgson, Robert. "Holocaust denier David Irving draws a friendly crowd in Budapest", The Budapest Times, 19 March 2007.
    • "An account of the 2000–2001 libel trial in the high court of the now discredited historian David Irving, which formed the backdrop for his recent conviction in Vienna for denying the Holocaust." Program Details – David Irving: The London Trial 2006-02-26 17:00:00, BBC Radio 4.
    • "Yet Irving, a discredited right-wing historian, was described by a High Court judge after a long libel trial as a racist anti-semite who denied the Holocaust." Edwards, Rob. "Anti-green activist in links with Nazi writer Revealed: campaigner", The Sunday Herald, 5 May 2002.
    • "'The sentence against Irving confirms that he and his views are discredited, but as a general rule I don't think that this is the way this should be dealt with,' said Antony Lerman, director of the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research. 'It is better to combat denial by education and using good speech to drive out bad speech.'" Gruber, Ruth Ellen. "Jail sentence for Holocaust denier spurs debate on free speech", j., 24 February 2006.
    • "Deborah Lipstadt is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies and director of The Rabbi Donald A. Tam Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University. She is the author of two books about the Holocaust. Her book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory led to the 2000 court case in which she defeated and discredited Holocaust denier David Irving." Understanding Auschwitz Today, Task of Justice & Danger of Holocaust Deniers, Public Broadcasting Service.
    • "After the discredited British historian David Irving was sentenced to a three-year jail term in Austria as a penalty for denying the Holocaust, the liberal conscience of western Europe has squirmed and agonised." Glover, Gillian. "Irving gets just what he wanted – his name in the headlines", The Scotsman, 23 February 2006.
    • ". is a disciple of discredited historian and Holocaust denier David Irving." Horowitz, David. The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, Regnery Publishing, 2006, 0-89526-003-4, p. 175.
    • "If the case for competence applies to those who lack specialist knowledge, it applies even further to those who have been discredited as incompetent. For example, why ought we include David Irving in a debate aiming to establish the truth about the Holocaust, after a court has found that he manipulates and misinterprets history?" Long, Graham. Relativism and the Foundations of Liberalism, Imprint Academic, 2004, 1-84540-004-6, p. 80.
    • "Ironically, Julius is also a celebrated solicitor famous for his defence of Schuchard's colleague, Deborah Lipstadt, against the suit for of libel brought by the discredited historian David Irving brought when Lipstadt accused him of denying the Holocaust." "T S Eliot's anti-Semitism hotly debated as scholars argue over new evidence"Archived 24 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine, University of York, Communications Office, 5 February 2003.
    • "Irving, a discredited historian, has insisted that Jews at Auschwitz were not gassed." "Irving vows to continue denial", Breaking News, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 7 February 2007.
    • "David Irving, the discredited historian and Nazi apologist, was on Monday night starting a three-year prison sentence in Vienna for denying the Holocaust and the gas chambers of Auschwitz." "Historian jailed for denying Holocaust"Archived 1 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Mail & Guardian, 21 February 2006.
    • "Irving, a discredited historian, has insisted that Jews at Auschwitz were not gassed." "Irving Vows To Continue Denial"Archived 2 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine, The Jewish Week, 29 December 2006.
    • "The two best-known present-day Holocaust deniers are the discredited historian David Irving, jailed last year in Austria for the offence, and the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who wants Israel wiped off the map." Wills, Clair. " Ben Kiely and the 'Holocaust denial'", Irish Independent, 10 March 2007.
    • "[Irving] claimed that Lipstadt's book accuses him of falsifying historical facts to support his theory that the Holocaust never happened. This of course discredited his reputation as a historian. . On 11 April, High Court judge Charles Gray ruled against Irving, concluding that he qualified as a Holocaust denier and anti-Semite, and that as such he distorted history to defend his hero, Adolf Hitler." Wyden, Peter. The Hitler Virus: the Insidious Legacy of Adolf Hitler, Arcade Publishing, 2001, 1-55970-532-9, p. 164.
    • "Now that holocaust denier David Irving has been discredited, what is the future of history?" Kustow, Michael. "History after Irving"Archived 16 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Red Pepper, June 2000.
    • "In Britain, which does not have a Holocaust denial law, Irving had already been thoroughly discredited when he unsuccessfully sued historian Deborah Lipstadt in 1998 for describing him as a Holocaust denier." Callamard, Agnès. "Debate: can we say what we want?", Le Monde diplomatique, April 2007.
    • "Holocaust denier and discredited British historian David Irving, for example, asserts. . that Auschwitz gas chambers were constructed after World War II." "Hate-Group Web Sites Target Children, Teens", Psychiatric News, American Psychiatric Association, 2 February 2001.
    • "Holocaust denier: An Austrian court hears discredited British historian David Irving's appeal against his jail sentence for denying the Nazi genocide of the Jews.", "The world this week", BBC News, 20 December 2006.
    • "Discredited British historian David Irving began serving three years in an Austrian prison yesterday for denying the Holocaust, a crime in the country where Hitler was born." Schofield, Matthew. "Controversial Nazi apologist backs down, but still jailed for three years", The Age, 22 February 2006.
  4. ^ Laws against denying the Holocaust:
    • Philip Johnston "Britons face extradition (to Germany) for 'thought crime' on net" in The Daily Telegraph, 18 February 2003
    • Brendan O'Neill "Irving? Let the guy go home" [from Austria] BBC 4 January 2006
    • Malte Herwig The Swastika Wielding Provocateur in Der Spiegel 16 January 2006
    • "German neo-Nazi revisionist Zuendel goes on trial". European Jewish Press. 12 February 2006. Archived from the original on 22 February 2006 . Retrieved 12 February 2006 .
    • "Row over anti-revisionist laws". 4 January 2006. Archived from the original on 2 March 2006 . Retrieved 12 February 2006 .
    • "Belgian Holocaust denier held at Schiphol". Expatica News. 5 August 2005. Archived from the original on 16 May 2006 . Retrieved 12 February 2006 . Archived 25 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine by the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Antisemitism and Racism
    • Philip Johnston, "Blair's pledge on Holocaust denial law abandoned" in The Daily Telegraph, 21 January 2000 and Lithuania.
  5. ^ In retaliation against the law, Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika refused to sign a prepared "friendly treaty" with France. On 26 June 2005, Bouteflika declared that the law "approached mental blindness, negationism and revisionism". In Martinique, Aimé Césaire, author of the Négritude literary movement, refused to receive UMP leader Nicolas Sarkozy, the incumbent president of France.
    ^ The term "negationism" derives from the French neologismnégationnisme, denoting Holocaust denial.(Kornberg, Jacques. The Future of a Negation: Reflections on the Question of Genocide.(Review) (book review), Shofar, January 2001). It is now also sometimes used for more general political historical revisionism as (PDF) UNESCO against racism world conference 31 August – 7 September 2001 "Given the ignorance with which it is treated, the slave trade comprises one of the most radical forms of historical negationism."
    Pascale Bloch has written in International law: Response to Professor Fronza's The punishment of Negationism (Accessed ProQuest Database, 12 October 2011) that:

"[R]evisionists" are understood as "negationists" in order to differentiate them from "historical revisionists" since their goal is either to prove that the Holocaust did not exist or to introduce confusion regarding the victims and German executioners regardless of historical and scientific methodology and evidence. For those reasons, the term "revisionism" is often considered confusing since it conceals misleading ideologies that purport to avoid disapproval by presenting "revisions" of the past based on pseudo-scientific methods, while really they are a part of negationism.

French Revolution essay questions

A satirical British cartoon depicting “French happiness” and “English misery”

This collection of French Revolution essay questions has been written and compiled by Alpha History authors, for use by teachers and students. They can also be used for short-answer questions, homework activities and other research or revision tasks. If you would like to contribute an essay question to this page, please contact Alpha History.

France before 1789

1. Evaluate the French royal court at Versailles, why it existed and the contribution it made to French government and society.

2. “The French nobility did little but concern themselves with leisure, finery, decadence, affairs and intrigues.” To what extent is this statement true in the context of late 18th century France?

3. The presence of things like lettres du cachet and the Bastille give the impression that pre-revolutionary France was an authoritarian society that oppressed personal liberty and freedom. To what extent was this true?

4. Examine the role of religion in 18th century France, both in ideological and practical terms. How did ordinary French people view the Catholic church and its clergy?

5. Identify and discuss tensions between the Three Estates that may have contributed to revolutionary sentiment in 18th century France.

6. To what extent was feudalism a cause of the French Revolution? Describe how feudal bonds and dues impacted on the ordinary people of France during the 18th century.

7. Explain why the taxation regime and the collection of tax revenue in 18th century France failed to meet the fiscal requirements of the nation.

8. Some historians argue that commerce and trade in France were restricted by regulations that were overbearing, complex and inconsistent. What were the grievances of the merchant and capitalist class in pre-revolutionary France?

9. Discuss how the strains and stresses of imperialism might have weakened the domestic government in 18th century France, paving the way for revolutionary sentiment.

10. Consider the political, economic and social position of women in 18th century France. Did the women of France have more motivation or potential for revolution than the men?

Government and royalty in the ancien regime

1. Louis XIV is once reported as saying “L’etat, c’est moi” (‘The state is me’). To what extent was this true, both of Louis XIV and his two successors?

2. Describe the relationship between the Bourbon monarchy and the French people in the century before 1789. How did French kings impose their will on the nation?

3. In what ways did the Roman Catholic religion support the Bourbon monarchy – and how was the church itself supported by the state?

4. Discuss the relationship between the Bourbon monarchy and the Second Estate. How did tensions between the king and his nobles shape the political landscape?

5. Evaluate Louis XVI and his character, personal abilities and his suitability for leadership. Was he a flawed king, or simply a victim of circumstance?

6. Critically examine the relationship between Louis XVI and his ministers during the 1780s.

7. Explain why Marie Antoinette was a target for intrigue, gossip and propagandists. To what extent was her reputation deserved?

8. The extravagant spending of the royal family is often advanced as a major cause of the French Revolution. To what extent was this true?

9. Explain how the ideological foundations of the French monarchy were challenged and possibly undermined by Enlightenment philosophers and writers.

10. According to Simon Schama, the Bourbon monarchy was threatened by “whispering campaigns”. To what is he referring to, and how did they endanger the monarchy?

The troubled 1780s

1. Giving close attention to specific writers, explain how the Enlightenment challenged and undermined the old regime in 18th century France.

2. What contribution did salons, cafes and other social gatherings make to the rising revolutionary sentiment of the 1780s?

3. “The libelles and political pornography of the 1780s contained no significant political ideas so had little impact on the old regime”. To what extent was this true?

4. Identify and discuss two individuals who attempted to achieve fiscal and political reform in France during the 1780s. To what extent were they successful?

5. Explain how France’s involvement in the American Revolutionary War impacted on the nation in moral, ideological and practical terms.

6. Discuss the actions of the parlements and the Assembly of Notables in the late 1780s. How did these bodies contribute to the developing revolution?

7. Explain the events of 1788 that led to Louis XVI calling for the convocation of the Estates-General.

8. What were the Cahiers de Doleances and what did they suggest about the mood of the French people on the eve of the revolution?

9. Why did French harvests fail in the late 1780s, leading to a downturn in agricultural production? What impact did this have on the lives of ordinary people?

10. What factors and forces led to the failure of reformist policies in the 1780s? Did these reforms fail because of resistant conservative interests or a disinterested, incompetent royal government?

The drama of 1789

1. Who was the Abbe Sieyes and what contribution did he make to the French Revolution, both in ideological and practical terms?

2. What happened at the Reveillon factory in Paris in April 1789? What working class grievances, fears and rumours triggered these events?

3. Explain how issues of ceremony, procedure and voting created divisions within the Estates-General when it met in mid-1789.

4. For what reasons did the National Assembly form in June 1789? Was the formation of this body inevitable – or did it occur because of chance and circumstance?

5. “From the beginning of 1789, the push for economic and fiscal reform in France became a push for political reform.” Explain the meaning of this statement, referring to key ideas and events of 1789.

6. Discuss the context, reasons and outcomes of the sacking of Jacques Necker on July 11th 1789. What impact did this have on the unfolding revolution?

7. Why has the storming of the Bastille become the best-known event of the French Revolution? What were the outcomes of this event, in both real and symbolic terms?

8. What were the causes and outcomes of the Great Fear? Was this event evidence that the French peasantry was a revolutionary class?

9. Why did the newly formed National Constituent Assembly move to abolish feudalism in France on August 4th? How sincere were these reforms and did they last?

10. On the surface, the relocation of the royal family from Versailles to Paris, a few miles away, seems a minor event. Was this really the case? Why did the king and his family relocate and what impact did this have on the revolution?

Creating a new society

1. Examine the background, motives and political values of those who sat in the National Constituent Assembly between 1789 and its dissolution in 1791.

2. What steps did the National Constituent Assembly take to abolish or replace the political institutions and social inequalities of the ancien regime?

3. While many aspects of the French Revolution have been forgotten or discredited, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen has endured. Summarise the political values and ideas contained in this critical document.

4. The most influential political figure of 1789-1791, argue many historians, is the Marquis de Lafayette. Describe Lafayette’s background, attributes and political values. To what extent did he truly represent the revolution in France?

5. Evaluate the political leadership of Honore Mirabeau in the revolution between June 1789 and his death in April 1791. Did Mirabeau seek to advance revolutionary change – or to restrict it?

6. What were the political, social and economic objectives of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy? Discuss the impact this reform had on the clergy, the king and the French people in general?

7. How successful was the National Constituent Assembly in resolving the economic and fiscal problems of the ancien regime? Refer to three specific policies in your answer.

8. Evaluate the relationship between the National Constituent Assembly and the French peasantry and working classes. Did the Assembly implement policies that improved living and working conditions for ordinary people?

9. To what extent did the revolution enjoy popular support around France by the end of 1790? Which people, groups or regions were actively opposing the revolution?

The descent into radicalism

1. What were the causes and outcomes of the Champ de Mars massacre? How and why did this event change the development of the new society?

2. Evaluate the brief life and political impact of the Legislative Assembly. Did this body suffer from internal failings – or was it simply a victim of treacherous times?

3. Discuss the fate of the moderate leaders Mirabeau, Lafayette and Bailly during the radical period. What were the events and factors that undermined their leadership?

4. How did France come to find itself at war with other European powers from 1792 onwards? What impact did war have on the government?

5. Explain how radical writers like Jean-Paul Marat and Camille Desmoulins influenced the development of the new society between 1789 and 1794.

6. What were the political clubs and what role did they play in the evolving new society? Discuss three specific clubs in your answer.

7. Why is August 10th 1792 considered a pivotal day in the course of the revolution? What impact did the events of this day have on French government and society?

8. Evaluate the fate of the king between June 1791 and his execution in January 1793. Could Louis XVI have saved himself – or was he already doomed?

9. Who were the sans culottes and what were their grievances? Referring to at least three specific events, explain how they influenced the national government between 1791 and 1793.

10. Explain the composition of the National Convention and its various political divisions and factions.

The Terror and beyond

1. In what ways was French society reformed and reinvented between 1792 and 1794? Identify and discuss five elements of the ancien regime and its society that were abolished or reformed by the National Convention.

2. What was the Committee of Public Safety? How did this body come to possess arbitrary power – and what did it do with this power?

3. Identify and discuss three events or factors that you believe were the most significant causes of the Reign of Terror.

4. Explain the purpose and operation of the Paris Revolutionary Tribunal. How did these change as the Terror intensified in late 1793 and 1794?

5. Discuss the arguments advanced by Robespierre and his followers to justify the use of revolutionary terror.

6. What was the Cult of the Supreme Being and how successful was it in achieving its objectives?

7. According to one historian, the revolution began to “eat its own children” in early 1794. Explain the meaning and validity of this statement.

8. Identify and discuss reasons for the arrest and execution of Robespierre and his supporters in July 1794.

9. What steps did the Thermidorian leaders take to wind back the Terror and purge France of Jacobinism?

10. “The leaders of Thermidor attempted to return France to the political, economic and social values of 1789.” To what extent is this true? Discuss, referring to specific policies.

The French Revolution

In 1774, Louis XVI, a 20 year young from Bourbon dynasty ascended the throne of France. He was welcomed by empty treasure. France was reeling under a tremendous debt which had mounted Up to 2 billion lives.For meeting these expenses increase in the tax was inevitable.

The French Society was divided into three estates. First, two enjoyed all privileges.

3rd Estate: Big businessmen, merchants, court officials, peasants, artisans, landless laborers, servants, etc.

  • Some within the Third Estate were rich and some were poor.
  • The burden of financing activities of the state through taxes was borne by the Third Estate alone.

The Struggle for Survival: Population of France grew and so did the demand for grain. The gap between the rich and poor widened. This led to subsistence crises.

Subsistence Crisis: An extreme situation where the basic means of livelihood are endangered.

The Growing Middle Class: The 18th century witnessed the emergence of the middle class which was educated and believed that no group in society should be privileged by birth. These ideas were put forward by philosophers such as Locke the English philosopher and Rousseau, French philosopher. The American constitution and its guarantee of individual rights was an important example of political theories of France. These ideas were discussed intensively in salons and coffee houses and spread among people through books and newspapers. These were even read aloud.

The French Revolution went through various stages. When Louis XVI became king of France in 1774, he inherited a treasury which was empty. There was growing discontent within the society of the Old Regime.

1789 – Louis XVI called the Estate General to pass the proposals for new taxes. The Third Estate forms National Assembly, the Bastille is stormed, peasant revolts in the countryside.

1791 – National assembly completed the draft of the constitution. It limited the powers of the king and guaranteed basic right to all human beings. France became the constitutional monarchy.

1792-93 – France abolished the monarchy and became a republic. The national assembly was replaced by convention. King and queen were executed.

1793 – 94 – It is referred as the reign of terror. Robespierre followed a policy of severe control. He executed all the so-called ‘enemies’ of the republic.

1795 – Jacobin Republic overthrown, a Directory rules France. A new Convention appointed a five-man Directorate to run the state from 26 October 1795.

1799 – The Revolution ends with the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Time Line : The French Revolution

1770s-1780s — Economic decline: French Government in deep debt.
1788-1789 — Bad harvest, high prices, food riots
1789, May 5 — Estates-General convened, demands reforms.
1789, July 14 — National Assembly formed. Bastille stormed on July 14. French Revolution starts.
1789, Aug. 4 — Night of August 4 ends the rights of the aristocracy.
1789, Aug. 26 — Declaration of the Rights of Man
1790 — Civil Constitution of the Clergy nationalizes the Church.
1792 — Constitution of 1791 converts absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy with limited powers.
1792 — Austria and Prussia attack revolutionary France
1793 — Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette are executed.
1792-1794 — The Reign of Terror starts. Austria, Britain, the Netherlands, Prussia and Spain are at war with France.
— Robespierre’s Committee of Public Safety repels back foreign invaders.
Executes many “enemies of the people” in France itself.
1794 — Robespierre is executed. France is governed by a Directory, a committee of five men.
1799 — Napoleon Bonaparte becomes the leader.


From the very beginning, women were active participants in the events which brought about so many changes in the French society. Most women of the third estate had to work for a living.Their wages were lower than those of men.

In order to discuss and voice their interests, women started their own political clubs and newspapers. One of their main demands was that women must enjoy the same political rights as men. Some laws were introduced to improve the position of women. Their struggle still continues in several parts of the world.

It was finally in 1946 that women in France won the right to vote.


There was a triangular slave trade between Europe, Africa and Americas. In the 18th century,there was little criticism of slavery in France. No laws were passed against it. It was in 1794 that the convention freed all slaves. But 10 years later slavery was reintroduced by Napoleon. It was finally in 1848 that slavery was abolished in the French colonies.


The years following 1789 in France saw many changes in the lives of men, women and children.The revolutionary governments took it upon themselves to pass laws that would translate the ideals of liberty and equality into everyday practice. One important law that came into effect was the abolition of censorship.

The ideas of liberty and democratic rights were the most important legacy of the French Revolution. These spread from France to the rest of Europe during the 19th century.

In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself emperor of France. He set out to conquer neighboring European countries, dispossessing dynasties and creating kingdoms where he placed members of his family. He saw his role as a modernizer of Europe. He introduced many reforms which had long-lasting effect on Europe. He was finally defeated at Waterloo in 1815.

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