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هل يمكن للسياسيين أن يكتبوا التاريخ؟

ستانفورد - "اٍن التاريخ لا يعيد نفسه، لكنه يحب القوافي"، على حد قول الأديب مارك توين.  خلال الأجيال السابقة، قام القادة السياسيون باعتماد هذه الملاحظة، محاولين تشكيل إرثهم بالافتخار بالأعمال التي أنجزوها وبإلقاء اللوم على أسلافهم أو خصومهم السياسيين بالنسبة للأعمال التي فشلت.

ولا يزال العديد من السياسيين يتلاعبون بالحقائق حتى بعد تركهم  لمناصبهم. قال رئيس الوزراء البريطاني ونستون تشرشل إن "التاريخ سوف يكون لطيفا معي، لأنني أنوي كتابته". وبالفعل، فاٍن مجلداته العديدة عن الحرب العالمية الثانية تحتوي ليس فقط على العديد من العبارات التي لا تنسى ( "أعظم اٍنجازاتهم وما يدين به الكثيرون لعدد قليل من الناس ")؛ بل تتضمن أيضا مبررات تدخلاته خلال الحرب.

قد تكون كتابات تشرشل انحيازية، لكنها تقدم معلومات وتفاصيل لا يمكن الحصول عليها بسهولة من المذكرات والملخصات، والتي عادة ما تكون غير مكتملة وذات أسلوب حرس. كما يعرف المؤرخون، هناك ضغوط كبيرة لذكر الماضي كما يريد المنتصرون. وكما قال نابليون بونابرت ذات مرة "التاريخ هو مجموعة من الأكاذيب المتفق عليها".

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