Rewriting History: The Power of Censorship The history of the world has undoubtedly been dominated by an endless struggle for power. However, after a brief glimpse into the pages of history it should not take long to realize that the trick to maintaining power lies in the control of information. Even the most fearsome military generals of the past acknowledge the power of the mind and ideas over lethal force. Former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin once said “… [Ideas] are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, then why should we let them have ideas.” Stalin’s quote personifies the main concept of this literature review which will be discussing the history of government censorship and its effects that are prudent today. Several tactics will be examined that relate to the commanding regime’s attempts at influencing the public with an array of propaganda. The main topic will cover the struggle of historians’ to accurately depict epic battles in Europe and Asia, to the conflicts in the deserts of the Middle East. Some of the most interesting questions about censorship’s role in the power of the government are ironically, what questions the government allows to be asked. In fact, Michael Scammell quickly points out that “one of the first words to be censored by the censors is the word censorship”. This literature review will be focusing on the ability of historians to establish and efficiently report an accurate message to the masses. Herein lays the philosophical debate of where to draw the line between the dangerous reality of the world and the public’s right to the truth. Moreover, the goal of this study is to answer questions that pertain to just that, to seek out information qualitatively and determine; how censorship can be justified? What is the relationship between propaganda and censorship? Which methods do censors use? What are the intended and unintended effects of censorship? The right to wield the sword of
References: De Baets, Antoon. Censorship of Historical Thought. Westport: Greenwood P, 2002. 1-36.
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Orwell, George. 1984. Penguin Books, 1949. 42.
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