International School History - TOK -
The value of history: its uses and abuses.

     Eric Hobsbawm - Stories my country told me

Production: BBC-TV; GB 1995
Director, Script: Frederick Baker
Camera: Christian Mehofer
Cut: Colin Kniff

, 52 Minutes

Eric Hobsbawm the great historian, travels on the Pressburg Railway from his native Vienna to Bratislava (formerly Pressburg). A journey of a mere 35 miles takes him through a tiny landscape that has seen some of the most turbulent political changes of the century - from the lost world of the Habsburgs to Europe's newest state, Slovakia.

Eric Hobsbawn - quotes:

I'm bound to say that virtually everything that nationalists say about the past is wrong. As the famous 19th century French expert Ernest Renan said: 'Getting your history wrong is part of becoming a nation'. Essentially nationalism is a fairly modern phenomenon but it gets its emotional validity by pretending to have existed there from all time.

The danger in a nation state which is based on ethnicity or something like that is that the State belongs to one of these groups and the others are less important. For instance, Slovakia. Slovakia belongs to the Slovaks and the others are, at best, tolerated. lt's a historian's job to apply the rules and the rules are essentially that you mustn't tell lies.
Nationalism is not compatible with the progress of history.

I think the new South Africa is an enormously hopeful and encouraging phenomenon, largely because it runs dead against the grain of what is at present considered standard nationalism, namely ethnic, linguistic, cultural separatism. It is in some ways a return to the tradition of the French Revolution and the American Revolution.

Human beings need a lot of identities because human beings are not one dimensional. The problem arises if you believe that one of these identities has a privilege of dominating all the others.

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