John Lukacs on Why We Should Do History

John Lukacs is fast becoming one of my favourite historians. In his recent study of the invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany in June of 1941, he notes that one of the most important reasons for remembering the past is the correction of misreadings of the historical record, since, as he says, “the pursuit of truth is often a struggle through a jungle of sentiments and twisted statements of ‘facts’.” As Lukacs puts it: “The most important (and yes, perennial) duty of the historian is to struggle against the prevalence of untruths.”[1]

[1] June 1941: Hitler and Stalin (New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2006), 142.