In the past two years, our country has increasingly begun to talk about studying stories. Last year was declared the Year of History. This year, the preparation of a single history textbook for secondary schools has begun. And soon a discussion was launched in print and on the Internet in connection with the publication of preparatory materials for this textbook. During the discussions, it was repeatedly said about the low level of knowledge of history in our country. From personal experience, including teaching, I could see this more than once.
Do we have a story?
“In essence, this is Pyrrhic victory,” I say to the students, and immediately ask them: “Who is Pierre?” In response, silence. “What is the fifth column? Again silence in the audience. "When did the Reichstag burn out?" The last question is decided to answer the head of the course: "The arson of the Reichstag occurred when our troops took Berlin." The answer is complemented by a student, reporting that Hitler was hiding in the basement of the burning Reichstag, who at the last moment managed to escape to Argentina, "but his secretary committed suicide." On the events of 1933, humanities students obviously did not hear. It is clear that my students are not aware of some important signs of the past, which have long become common nouns and are used to characterize contemporary events.
I decide that students have a bad letter “P”, and therefore I try to ask questions about objects starting with other letters: “You are Muscovites, and therefore you know Miklukho-Maklaya Street and Michurinsky Avenue. Who were Michurin and Miklukho-Maclay? ". I see before me only bewildered faces. The fact that the names of many Russian scientists are unknown to today's youth, I already knew from a survey conducted among high school students of one of the regions of Russia. They were able to name two dozen brands of cars and about a dozen "brands" of chewing gum, but they remembered only two domestic scientists - Lomonosov and Mendeleev.
Poor knowledge of history is discovered not only by representatives of the younger generation. Three years ago, in Russia, VTsIOM conducted a survey, during which knowledge of the history of the country's population of all age groups was tested. It turned out that only 8% of respondents were able to correctly answer 11 class questions from the 2 class program. Only 4% were able to correctly answer 7 questions. Only 8% gave the correct answers to 6 questions. And this is despite the fact that there are many people in the country who are deeply interested in history.
The fact that even the most significant events in the history of our country are not known to many people, my husband was convinced when she told her acquaintance that she would soon go to Kulikovo Field. Upon hearing this, her friend laughed. The word "Kulikovo" seemed very funny to her. It turned out that this already elderly woman, who belongs to a prosperous stratum of the population and is fond of writing icons, has never heard of the field where the great battle took place. Alas, she is not alone. A survey conducted last year showed that the phrase "Battle of Kulikovo" says nothing to 39% of Russians. Among the rest of the respondents, only a few could exactly name the time of this battle. However, some believed that it happened not in the XIX, not in the XX century.
This year, on the eve of 22 June, polls were conducted on the streets of Moscow, during which many young men and women said that this date says nothing to them.
It is obvious that people who do not know anything about the Kulikov battle and 22 of June have very vague ideas about national history. Such people are easy to convince of the most fantastic speculations about the Mongol yoke and the attack of Hitler Germany on our country.
The main Chinese secret
Hero of the play A.S. Griboyedov "Woe from Wit", Chatsky wished "from the Chinese ... a few to occupy the wise from them of the ignorance of foreigners." However, the troublemaker of Moscow society could also draw attention to another useful experience of the Chinese people: the Chinese have a thorough knowledge of their country's past.
The observance of ancient customs, knowledge of legends, and the cult of ancestors that developed in traditional Chinese society contributed to the creation in the 5th century BC. Confucius learning system, in which an important place was taken by the study of history. Historical records of long-standing events in the "Book of History" ("Shin Ching"), "Book of Songs" ("Shu Ching") and other sources have been studied for thousands of years in schools.
Subsequently, in China it became considered mandatory to read the book "Three Kingdoms" (in the Russian translation, it occupies two volumes of 750 pages in each), which details the events of the Chinese distemper of the II-III centuries. Another mandatory reading was considered almost as voluminous historical novel "River backwaters", which tells about the peasant uprising of the XII century. These epic narratives were complemented by a multitude of stories and narratives, poems and poems, and dramas on historical themes.
Attention to the experience of the past set people on the need to preserve the moral principles, the unity of the country and its cultural tradition. Probably, this attitude to the past largely contributed to the fact that, while many ancient civilizations disappeared, leaving behind only dead cultural monuments, the Chinese survived despite numerous invasions of foreigners and other adversities.
In addition, a detailed knowledge of the past helped the Chinese to constantly learn from it, drawing valuable insights for the present. It can be assumed that thanks to this education, China became the birthplace of many practical inventions that appeared on the planet long before their discovery in other countries of the world.
In my childhood, we, schoolchildren, enthusiastically read the book "Chinese secret", which told about the history of porcelain, created for the first time in China. Now it seems to me that the book kept silent about the main "secret of the Chinese." It would be interesting to learn how the development of education, built on cultivating the attention of millions of Chinese schoolchildren to the historical past and traditions, developed technical thought. Probably, the system of education contributed to the fact that china began to be produced in China in the 4th - 6th centuries. Even in the II century AD paper was first produced in China, gunpowder was invented in the 9th century, typography was established in the 11th century, paper money appeared in the 8th century, and in the 13th century a compass was invented.
Constant attention to past events has entered the daily life of the Chinese people.
Chronicles and works of art dedicated to the past of China, including even those that did not seem to describe very significant events, taught people to make the right decisions and help them overcome current difficulties.
When in the medieval Chinese drama, her hero Sun Chunar was forced to wade on foot in a snowstorm, he, in order to cheer himself up, recalled similar incidents from the distant past. He sang about how a statesman of the 4th century BC, who was expelled from the capital to his native village, walked in the same storm. er Su Qin. Sun Chunar dedicated a couple of lines to a third-century figure n. er to the eccentric Wang Huizhi, who went to a friend in a snowstorm on a boat, and then turned back at his doorstep, deciding that he should not disturb the master. Sun Chunar didn’t forget about how a man of the first century, a new era, Yuan An, and a tenth-century official Lu Mengcheng, showed restraint during brutal blizzards. These people and incidents with them were well known not only to viewers of that time, but also to many Chinese viewers and readers in subsequent times.
Stories about the past, which were known to everyone in China, helped the state and military leaders of the country of the twentieth century. In his memoirs comes from a poor peasant family, Marshal Peng
Dehuai recalled how, in his youth, he read "Three Kingdoms" and "River Creeks", and therefore in his mature years he was able to find apt comparison between his comrades in arms and the heroes of these works. In the biography of Marshal Zhu De, writer Amy Xiao told how, after the Chinese Red Army entered the village, a rally of a popular old Chinese opera about the events of the 2nd century AD was played at a rally, in which "wise Kun Ming almost defended the city from the attack of Syma ... The improvisers only remade a few phrases, changed the names of people and the names of localities. " In a slightly modified version, the ancient play sounded like a call for restraint and inspired faith in victory.
In his work 1936 of the Year "Strategic Issues of the Revolutionary War", Mao Zedong paid special attention to the military history of China and gave instructive examples of a whole series of battles of distant antiquity: under Chengao 203 BC, under Cunyan 23 AD. , under the Guangdong 200 AD, near Mount Chibi 208 AD, near Ilin 222 AD, near the Feishui River 383 AD His excellent knowledge of these ancient battles by the listeners allowed Mao not to go into details.
In his twentieth-century book about China, the former Kuomintang man Kuo Pingchio also repeatedly used historical comparisons. He found similarities in the policies of the Chiang Kai-shek government with the practices of the Eastern Qin dynasty (317 –420) and the Southern Song dynasty (1127 – 1279). The author compared Mao Zedong and persons from his circle with the founders of the Han dynasty (II century BC).
A broad knowledge of historical experience, the constant study of the lessons of history could not but contribute to the fact that China was able to quickly turn from a poor country, ruined by the imperialists of the country into one of the leading powers in the world.
When Motherland is in danger
Although the history of our country is shorter than Chinese, Russian culture also has deep historical roots. The memory of the past was saved in the annals, legends. Many epic poems were memorized by heart, and they have been preserved for centuries in people's memory. Although the epics about Ilya Muromets began to be created in the XI century, they were recorded from the words of those who continued to perform them in the XVIII - XX centuries.
Russian historians, starting with V.N.Tatishchev and N.M. Karamzin, describing and analyzing the thousand-year history of our country, contributed to the scientific study of its past and inspired the best figures of national culture to create works on historical themes. It is not by chance that the best literary works of Russian literature (Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”, Pushkin’s “Captain’s Daughter”, Lermontov’s “Borodino” and many others) are devoted to the most important historical events. Many paintings by Repin, Surikov, Vasnetsov, Vereshchagin and other top Russian artists illustrate the most important events in the history of Russia. The greatest works of Russian musical culture by Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Borodin and other composers were also devoted to events in Russian history.
The song of family feasts about Yermak, who "sat enveloped in thought ... on the quiet bank of the Irtysh," leads to a distant old days. He composed the lyrics of this song Ryleev and it deals with the events of August 6 of the year 1585.
The songs that sound nowadays about Stepan Razin, composed at the end of the XIX century, tell about old times. The memory of the heroic and tragic events of the Russian-Japanese war 1904 - 1905. keep the song "On the hills of Manchuria" and different versions of songs about the feat of "Varyag".
To the exploits of our ancestors and the historical experience of the people especially
often turned in our country in the years of ordeal.
In the harsh days of 1812, the emperor Alexander I called in his Manifesto to resist the French aggressor: "Yes, he will meet in every nobleman of Pozharsky, in every spiritual Palitsyn, in every citizen of Minin."
Judging by the scope of the nationwide Patriotic War, the emperor's call found a response in the hearts of people of all classes of Russia. They were inspired by examples of the selfless struggle of the Russian people for 200 years before the Napoleonic invasion.
22 June 1941, Locum tenens of the Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Sergius, wrote and typed with his own handwritten message "The Message to the Pastors and the flock of the Orthodox Church of Christ", which said: "The times of Batu, German knights, Karl of Sweden, Napoleon are repeated. try to put our people on their knees before the untruth. But it’s not the first time that the Russian people have to endure such trials. With God's help this time too, it will dispel the fascist enemy forces ... Let us remember the saints of the Russian people the leaders of Alexander Nevsky, Dimitry Donskoy who believed their souls for the people and the homeland ... the Lord will grant us victory! "
Through 11 days in his speech on the radio 3 July 1941, I.V. Stalin once again reminded: "Napoleon’s army was considered invincible, but it was defeated alternately by Russian, British, German troops." He also added: "The German army of Wilhelm during the period of the first imperialist war was also considered invincible, but she suffered defeat from the Russian and Anglo-French forces several times and, finally, was defeated by the Anglo-French troops." From these historical examples came the conclusion: "The Nazi fascist army can also be defeated and will be defeated, as the armies of Napoleon and Wilhelm were defeated."
Speaking at the November 7 parade, 1941, Mr. Stalin again gave examples from national history. Addressing the soldiers of the Red Army, he called for:
"Let the courageous image of our great ancestors - Alexander Nevsky, Dimitri Donskoy, Dimitri Pozharsky, Kuzma Minin, Alexander Suvorov, Mikhail Kutuzov inspire you in this war!"
At that time, these names were known to the overwhelming majority of Soviet people, young and old. Unlike many modern people, I, like many children of military and pre-war times, learned about the Kulikovo battle long before they entered school. I was three years old when I was presented with a set of cardboard soldiers who depicted the soldiers of the Kulikovo battle from the troops of Dmitry Donskoy and Mamai. On the box were two dates: 1380 and 1940. Such kits were released in 1940 on the occasion of the 560 anniversary of this battle. Not being familiar with the story, I played the Kulikovo battle, singing "Borodino". I memorized this poem of Lermontov, while my sister taught him out loud, preparing homework.
We also learned early about the Ice Battle. A couple of years later, I and my peers in Barnaul, in which I found myself during the evacuation, ran around the yard with plywood boards, each of which had a leopard depicted like Alexander Nevsky from the film of the same name. At the same time we played in the "defeat of the Germans near Moscow." Such a combination of historical eras was natural at that time. On the walls of the houses in Barnaul, one could see posters with verses: “We are beating great! We cut down desperately! Grandsons of Suvorov, children of Chapaev!”. On this poster, the artists Kukryniksy depicted the soldiers of the Red Army, and behind them the silhouettes of Chapaev, Suvorov and Alexander Nevsky.
There, in Barnaul, having barely learned to read, I read the magazine Murzilka many times, in which there was an essay about the Battle of Kulikovo. The essay was with pictures. In the drawing, which occupied two journal pages, Russian soldiers held banners with the faces of Jesus Christ. In the center of the picture, the monk Peresvet and the batyr Chelobey met in mortal combat. The text was accompanied by excerpts from the poem Ryleeva about this battle. It is obvious that many five-year-old children of that wartime would not have started laughing at the mention of "Kulikov Field" ...
Jokes about the past?
It would seem that today there are few people who doubt the necessity
study history. Answering the question of the ROMIR service, 67% agreed that "every citizen of Russia should know the history of his country well." Rather, they agreed with this statement than 26% did not agree with. Only 2% categorically disagreed with this, while 7% disagreed rather than agree.
But how, then, explains the numerous testimonies of the ignorance of historical facts by many people? And this is the age of universal literacy and the rapid development of the Internet!
Faced with obvious failures in the historical knowledge of my students, I decided to tell them about unknown events of the past.
In particular, he said that in Spain, a revolt was launched in 1936 against the republican government. The rebel troops, led by Generals Franco and Maul, supported by fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, attacked Madrid, the capital of Spain, 1 of October, 1936 of General Maul, on his radio said that his troops were attacking Madrid in four columns, but the fifth column already located inside the Spanish capital. In response, the Republicans announced that they would expose and destroy the traitors from the "fifth column".
Six months later, during the reception of tests for the most careless students, who, as a rule, did not attend lectures, I again asked the question about the “fifth column”. To my surprise, one student said she knew the answer. It turned out that she attended a lecture at which I spoke about the columns of General Maul. I suggested she tell everyone that she knows. Student briskly rattled; “Once, the Nazis organized a parade, as it were. In fact, there were four columns on the square. But the fifth column was invisible in particular.”
Why did the student remember my explanation? It is clear that she was not aware of either the "Spanish Civil War", or "General Franco", or the "Republicans". She perceived the information on the basis of those fragmentary ideas about the world, which she owned.
A similar discovery was made by the hero of Aldous Huxley's "After the Fireworks" writer Fanning. Fascinated by the letter of his young admirer Pamela Tarn, the writer met her and took her to the museum, where Etruscan works were displayed. In front of the first statue, the girl asked Fanning about the time of her creation. Hearing his answer ("At the end of the sixth century"), Pamela asked another question, which in English sounded briefly: "BC?" ("BBC?"), That is: "Before Christ?" This meant that the girl not only did not know the time when the Etruscans lived, although it was part of the school curriculum, but she probably would not be surprised if Fanning said that the statue depicting the ancient pagan goddess was created in the 6th century AD. when the Etruscans disappeared long ago, and paganism gave way to Christianity, Rome fell, and Italy was ruled by the barbarian Ostrogoths, and then the Lombards.
Soon, Fanning was convinced that his companion, picking up other people's phrases, could maintain an outwardly “intelligent” conversation and even construct a “smart” letter, but her fragmentary ideas about culture and history floated in a space free from historical facts with a friend. It is completely obvious that neither Pamela Tarn, nor the Moscow student mentioned by me, is not alone in her ignorance of the past and the unsystematic perception of certain facts of history.
Unfortunately, many people understand by “good knowledge of history” the ability to amuse a company with an entertaining story, which includes the names of historical persons, the names of ancient peoples and countries. These stories can even emphasize their erudition. It is possible that after visiting the museum, Pamela Tarn could surprise her interlocutors with her “education”, mentioning “Etruscan sculptures”. It is not excluded that the students I mentioned could have told someone confused stories about a fascist parade of five columns, or about Hitler's flight to Argentina from a burning Reichstag. A similar “expert on history” can make a note on the Internet, stunning other users with the delusional message that the first German plane was shot down by Soviet pilots only on the fifth day after the start of World War II.
For a number of reasons in our country, many began to treat history not seriously, as a “non-practical” subject.
For many people, history has become a collection of jokes in which real events are reduced to the limit, the complexities and contradictions of the historical process, as well as the historical context, are eliminated. Such an anecdote can make you laugh, scare, but not teach.
The preference for entertaining the plot in the course of acquaintance with history is reflected in the choice of sources of historical knowledge. Only 15% of those surveyed by ROMIR called their “main source of knowledge on history” “scientific literature”. However, 60% of respondents said that for them "the main source of information on the history of our country" is "television".
Meanwhile, the specificity of the television genre, giving a colorful story about historical events, does not always contribute to their deep coverage. Even if the creators of the program strive to enlighten the audience, it is not easy for them to do it in an incomplete hour (or even half an hour) of television time. In addition, many creators of television programs strive to keep the attention of the television audience in all possible ways, and therefore the truthfulness of the presentation of events is sacrificed to entertaining content, often very far from the truth.
Finally, home conditions, in which the viewer watches the program (not necessarily from the very beginning and often distracting from the screen), do not contribute to attentive study of historical material.
Oblivion of school lessons, unwillingness to study history thoughtfully and systematically, like any subject of scientific research, the tendency to uncritically pick up and repeat snatches of flashy information from questionable TV shows and messages in print or on the Internet, as well as from idle talk of ignoramuses led to a monstrous degradation of historical knowledge in a significant part population of the country. This also contributes to the uncritical attitude to their own knowledge, which increases with the rapid growth of the number of graduates of higher institutions and Internet users. On this basis, charlatan essays on history themes that are blindly mistaken for "scientific literature" flourish in full color.
Photo: Konstantin Vasilyev's painting “Parade of 1941 of the Year”