Margaret Scott

Geschichte, gebraucht und missbraucht

LONDON – In ihrem brillanten Buch „The Uses and Abuses of History” erzählt die Historikerin Margaret Macmillan von zwei Amerikanern, die über die Gräueltaten vom 11. September 2001 sprechen. Einer vergleicht die Geschehnisse mit dem japanischen Angriff auf Pearl Harbour und die USA 1941. Sein Freund hat keine Ahnung, wovon er spricht. „Na du weißt schon,“ sagt darauf der erste, „das war, als die Vietnamesen die amerikanische Flotte bombardiert und den Vietnamkrieg begonnen haben.“

Das historische Gedächtnis ist nicht immer so schlecht wie in diesem Beispiel, aber internationale Politik und Diplomatie sind gespickt mit unpassend gewählten Präzedenzfällen. Sie werden missbraucht, außenpolitische Entscheidungen zu rechtfertigen, die dann unweigerlich in die Katastrophe führen.

Das Treffen zwischen Adolf Hitler, Édouard Daladier, Neville Chamberlain und Benito Mussolini zum Beispiel wird von Politikern häufig in den Zeugenstand gerufen, wenn vor Gericht die Befürwortung von Truppeneinsätzen im Ausland verhandelt wird. Über die unselige britische Invasion in Ägypten 1956 wurde geredet, als seien mit Gamal Nasser die faschistischen Diktatoren der 30er Jahre wiederauferstanden. Wenn man ihn beschwichtigt hätte, so hieß es, wären die Ergebnisse in Nahost katastrophal.

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